PHD #137: Memories in Space and Skin
Memories in Space and Skin
Summary: Tillman and Cidra discuss some intel revealed by the Eleven skinjob/abomination.
Date: 13 Jul 2041 AE
Related Logs: Civility is referenced; Tug of War comes out of the archives
Cidra Tillman 
Ready Room - Deck 7 - Battlestar Cerberus
With the hatches at the rear of the room, the walkways on both sides slope down towards the dais at the front of the room. The stadium seating forms a partial semi-circle around the speaking podium and provides enough seats for all three hundred members of the Air Wing. The walls are adorned with the patches of each squadron aboard and their mottos stenciled in white lettering above each one. Behind the podium is a set of large LCD screens that can display any matter of material from reconnaissance to maps to gun camera footage.
Post-Holocaust Day: #137

Cidra is early for her face-time with the XO. The room is darkened and she's sitting in one of the front row seats. In her officer blues, but slouched in her chair and smoking. The room is darkened and there's flight footage playing on the screen. Time-stamped 03.14.2041. Salvage sortie/clusterfrak over the area that's come to be colloquially called the "Virgon Graveyard," it might be recognized as.

Tillman wanders down the side of the briefing room with his hands in his pockets. He's off duty, the green pants and tanktops the universal signal for it. Yet still, he keeps carrying that sidearm. He stops at the front row and glances to the gun camera footage and back to the CAG. "Helluva fight. Looks like ..Virgon? Debris is pretty well-packed." He takes a long breath, the mood somber. His eyes stay on the flashing footage.

"Virgon. Yes. It was something of a debacle, really. Well, defeat from the jaws of victory," Cidra comments, not taking her eyes off the screen. Smoking languidly, long fingers holding the cig when she's not dragging off it. "This is from our initial large-scale salvage mission back. The one were Money Shot and Doc where so injured. We did not get back to base quick enough. Well. Pain is a gift. As my father used to say. It teaches you many lessons…" It's the mid-point of this piece, however, that she's viewing. Not the end. It is paused with the controller by her hand. "Have a seat, Clive, please. Smoke?"

Tillman clears his throat, nodding. "Yeah. I remember this. Helluva thing. If I recall, this is where Lieutenant Sophronia had some leadership troubles. Made a bad call." Its no secret that the two are friends and they talk. He clicks his teeth. "Been a lot of those. We're getting better, though." A slow pace brings him over towards Cid and he takes a seat, lifting his hand in denial. "Nah. Thanks. I quit, actually. So..I take it you want answers about these humanoid Cylons."

Cidra is on duty for her part, though her own sidearm is nowhere in sight. She wears it when required, but avoids carting it about when there is no immediate need. There is a subtle aversion about her to things like pistol shooting and fisticuffs, though she knows the ins and outs of aircraft gunnery systems like the back of her hand. "Lucky was far from the only one who made a bad call that day. Quit?" A little surprise, perhaps. Her own cig is put out in her ashtray when he mentioned that. Carefully. It's only half-smoked. She can work on the rest of it later. "That is good. I mean, good for you. And, yes. The *abominations*." She sneers the word with utter coldness. "I did read your communication concerning the Raiders. They can be…reborn as well? Like the flesh abominations?"

"Yeah. Nobody's perfect. But indeed. Weened myself off. I still carry a pack in case someone needs one." Like himself, maybe? The Major settles back in the chair, motioning to her cigarette. "You don- Well okay. Relight it if you want. Temptation helps me fight the urge." Odd way to look at it, perhaps? To her last, he meets her eyes. "Sure can." A long breath taken. "That's assuming of course that she's telling the truth. Which, shitfire, if it is? It makes a lot of sense. But given what we know? It might be likely that you and your people will be facing Raiders with increasing skill over the course of this war. As for her? I'm not even sure she would go back given the option. I wouldn't be shocked if she did but I get the idea that she sort of enjoyed the interrogation."

"It is fine. It is impolite to smoke overmuch around those who do not," Cidra says. And she is nothing if not polite. She turns her head to face him properly, giving him a small nod. "It would make sense, yes. Their tactics have proved surprisingly adaptable. Far more so than the records from the Cylon Wars of forty years ago show they should be." Brows arch at his last about the skinjob. "It-" The pronoun is used with a certain amount of pointedness. "-may only be trying to gain our trust. But. If what it says is useful, we shall do with it what we can."

"C'mon Cid. You've known me awhile. I don't think you gotta worry about being too polite. I think you've earned the right to smoke around me if I'm not." Clive casts a smirk at her and looks back to the screen as she speaks. "This thing is anatomically human. Same organs. Same physical flaws. Through all the tests, it looks human. Call it an 'it' if you prefer, Cid, but I get caught over gender with it. Damn thing even smells human." Apparently it needed a bathing. "I have no doubt that its trying to gain our trust. Specifically mine, most likely. The problem is figuring out the why. To what ends. What the hell is motivating this thing to just hemhorrage intelligence at us?" he says, shaking his head.

Cidra's manners were ingrained into her far deeper than anything OCS could manage. There's no particular artifice or fussiness about them. They are a part of her nature. Always have been. Her cigarette stays out. "It-" The point isn't argued, but she's still firm on her use of it. "-is the same…model our people encountered down on Leonis, yes? One of them? I do recall the term 'Eleven' in the reports from some of mine who returned from the surface in their relations of their encounters with the things."

Tillman dips his head in confirmation, eyes still on the screen as the tracer fire dances across the stars. "That'd be right. Same model. It asked us to call it simply 'Eleven' but I asked it to come up with a name to encourage individuality. If we can break its identity enough from its programming, it may be easier to get information from. However," the man clears his throat. "She indicated that the Eleven on Leonis was known as 'Yazdah'. If this is true, there already might be that individuality building. More to the point, though, this model helped our people down there. Saved a lot of lives. Most importantly, it didn't give away their position or attack them. This one seems to have the same focus."

"Yazdah. Eleven." Cidra repeats them, drawing out the syllables in her drawl a little. Names are important points with her. "Assisted them in that moment, perhaps, but for what purpose? It is coming in well for it now, no? As it has not yet been lined up before a firing squad. Or tossed out an airlock. What does it know? Of us? And do you think it part of this…sharing of memories, in death? The one who was a pilot on this ship…known to me and mine as Ryan Shaker…he was exposed to much of our ship. As any of our personnel are, without us even thinking of it."

The man shakes his head. "For right now, I'm assuming that she has her own motivations - much like that Yazdah did. However, she says she's been cut off out here since Warday. Not much communication. Even her intel that she's delivering seems to be contradictory in a way that confirms what she is saying. I won't know what it knows of us until I can get back in there with it. I have a lot of questions. That encompasses all of it. As for Shaker.." There's another long breath. "She indicated that after he offloaded during his death, he was apparently brought back. She claims that his brothers, I'm assuming the other Twelves, were angry with him. This may indicate a lot. I want to chase that angle, too. If he Resurrected and was too ingrained with this crew? He might have given them the finger."

"Lieutenant Ryan Shaker. Salt. Twelve, you think he was?" All of that repeated with a certain amount of ceremony. Cidra shakes her head. "I cannot get the image of him flying against the first Raiders from my mind. But he was an abomination…" It's a paradox she does not even make an effort to sort now. Then, out of the air, she asks, "Why did you quit smoking?"

"The Eleven we have in the brig confirmed it. Apparently his model, these Twelves, believe themselves to be perfect machines. She said they are fairly dangerous and should be avoided. Looking at it from a purely psychological perspective? He may have come to the conclusion that we aren't the monsters we are made out to be. Call him an abomination if you like, but if he pissed off the rest of them?" Tillman gives a stern nod. "Frak yeah. Good for him." The last seems to take him by surprise, though. A light shrug. "Hell, I dunno. I smoked so many during the planning for that rescue op and the thing went to shit during the execution. Figured that if I'm too distracted by needing a cigarette than I'm not paying attention to my work. Also saves supplies. Quinn, too." Even though he already had three daughters.

"These creatures represent a horror that chills me than a waterfall of Raiders, Clive," Cidra says, tone low. "Do not sympathize with them because they seem to share our face. We, or our forefathers rather, made the Cylons. Our flawed vessels. And they turned upon us. They are our horror. The Cylons made these creatures, by all appearances…what abomination comes of the vessels of the Cylons…?" A wave of her hand. "You are not a man of the Faiths. I know this. But these things…there could be nothing but evil in their creation. This I feel in my marrow."

"Yeah, I was just about to say, Cid. Don't make this about religion. They're the enemy. They don't need to be more than that. But an enemy isn't always united. In fact, its damned rare. You might hate these things for what they are, but it doesn't change their existence. We deal with them in the most effective way possible." Tillman finally looks back to her. "You blow them out of the sky. I plan operations and direct the crew. But I also will get information from these things however I can. There's a large gap between sympathy and putting on a show."

Cidra's blue eyes narrow some, but she does not actually argue any of that. There are points of it she looks like she might /want/ to, but she does not. She merely says, "Use it for all that you can. But do not forget what it is." She leans back in her chair, working the controller for the vid screen again. Going through the frames of it in search of something. "You are not a man of the Faiths. So I do not know quite what you make of this. But I did want to show you something. It was in my initial report on the incident, but it was long ago. Still, the image has stayed with me…"

"At the end of the day, Cid, whether it be a she, and it, or a member of another race - its still the enemy. When I close my eyes I see the faces of my family the same as anyone else. You might hear about me giving and granting for this Eleven. That I'm doing it favors. But at the end of the day, remember this conversation. I look at that Eleven and in the back of my mind I see the thing that murdered my wife and daughters in cold blood." The XO seems firm and unshakable on that. If she were to see the tape, it might even be hard to believe. Well, he -did- get his start in the Navy with intel.. With her mention of something on the screen, he looks away from her and towards the camera footage. He's more than a little interested.

Cidra's blue eyes shift back to Tillman for a moment, watching his face as he talks of his family. There's a quiet sympathy about her. She bows her head for a beat, as if in silent benediction to them. "How you carry that I cannot fathom," she says softly. But, then, on to business. "Look at this." She gets the recording to the point she was looking for, rewinding it to near the beginning of the encounter, then plays it slow. It shows Heavy Raiders, retrieving 'fallen' Cylon Raiders from the debris field. Salvage. Or recovering their dead.

"I carry it like everyone else. In my heart." Its spoken quietly. An XO is supposed to form that barrier with the rest of the crew. Its apparent Clive either can't or won't break that bond. As she begins talking, though, he leans forward in the chair. He peers at the screen, silent for a few moments. "What the hell?" He rises from the chair to look at it. "I had totally forgotten about this. What're you thinking?" The man doesn't look at her. His eyes stay on the screen.

"Chaos that this mission turned to, it is something I took care to note. It stuck in my mind…" Cidra's fingers idly lacing themselves around the controller. As they might 'round her cigarette, was she still working it. She does not answer him immediately. "The most sensible suggestion, of course, is that they were engaged in salvage of their own." This is clearly not the one that has lodged itself in her head. Though she does not immediately say more.

Tillman clears his throat once more, crossing his arms while he stares at the screen. "Good head on you, Cid. I'd forgotten about this." He wipes a thumb across his nose and slowly looks back to her. "This Cylon we have? She talks about a single God. A lot. It might mean a lot of different things but you thinking they might be trying to bury their dead or something? Even though these Raiders off-load their experiences?"

"They ignored our people for quite some time to get on with this particular job," Cidra says. Which is more apparent when watching the footage in slowed. Indeed, the first contacts seem far more engaged in their own retrieval effort than in any attempt to strike at the Colonial forces. She seems reluctant, however, to expound more on whatever's in her head. At mention of the singular god, however, she makes a low hissing sound. "Blasphemy from the abomination. But. Perhaps they believe in something, however vile it may be. Do you know much of the necessity for final rites after death, Clive?" He may or may not. It's not a part of the faith confined to the Scroll-beaters of Gemenon, but not something one who isn't a regular Templer-goer might have fully absorbed.

"They ignored your people??" Tillman was obviously unaware of all this. "Oh Hell. That poses some damned interesting questions." He readjusts his stance with her movement of topic. "They do believe in something. Or at least this one seems to. I'm having the Sister move in to talk to her about it. Find out what it can about their religion." With her last, though, he shakes his head. "Fraid not. My knowledge there is pretty limited to military funerals." Hopefully she'll explain.

"At first. Yes. Eventually we clashed, of course, but look here." Cidra slows the footage even more…

Then, several things happen at once. The moment Trask powers up his DRADIS console, the field resolves before him, junk readings clearing out to reveal not one but six separate contacts flying in tight formation, two of which are transmitting something much different from the 'regular Cylon signature' the ECO teams have come to learn and love. And then, suddenly, his own warning light begins to whoop and scream for the Cylons have gone active, too, hopping from band to band as they search. There's no possible way the Raptor could have remained undetected and yet the Cylons don't break formation, preferring instead to inch through the edge of the field some thirty klicks out.

"They would have spotted us the moment we went to active DRADIS. They had to. Yet they delayed in full engagement. Further on you can see them retrieving their fallen Raiders…" She goes to that. She just watches for a moment, not immediately replying to his question. When the answer does come it is spoken to the screen rather than with eye contact made to him. "Many of the Faiths believe that the final rites are paramount. In assuring a soul's passage to the rivers. To the Elysium. Or even to Tartarus. The hells are preferable to nothingness. Dying in a fashion that doesn't admit for the recovery of the body is near the worst thing that can happen to a person of the Colonial faith, the last rites requisite, in most cases, for entry into the next life."

This is all taken in by the XO carefully, the man listening to every word. At the end, he nods once. "I've heard the part about last rites from the Sister. Its why I refuse to leave anyone behind unless there is absolutely no choice. So are you thinking that the Cylons have adopted this as part of their own faith? The need for burial? Even despite the downloading?"

The bodies of fallen pilots are, of course, often irretrievable. If they aren't simply blown to bits across the stars. Such would be a likely way to die for her, and all under her command each time she does as much as send out a CAP. Cidra's eyes lock on the footage, watching with an intent sort of somberness. "I do not know, Clive. I do not know. It just…I carry this image in my mind…"

The man drops his arms and moves back over towards her, expression softening. "I'll be bringing it up the next time I talk to her. I appreciate it, Cid." He looks her over, focusing on the expression given to the screen. "Cidra?" He meets her eyes - or tries to. "What else sticks in your mind?" Its a more personal inflection than a professional one, though the option for an answer is always left open.

Cidra is big on eye contact, so she meets his without any trouble. They are not particularly easy ones to read, however. Most of the time they do a good deal of weighing of others without giving much of herself in return. "Many things in these times, Clive," is her reply. "But we are still defenders. Our duty is to protect this ship. And duty remains, even when all else is gone."

Clive nods a few times. "I know the feeling. But, I probably don't see it the same way you do. As religious as you are, Cid, I don't think we'll ever fully understand where the other is. Especially since my own thoughts on it have become so jumbled." He puts his hands into his pockets, eyes staying on her. The man seems like he might say more on it but falls short for words, his own gaze looking to the floor. "Duty. Yeah. I do it for my family. Because they want me to. Because they need me to. Just like they need you. My wife and daughters would just want me to be happy. But our family.." He smiles a bit at the deck underneath them. For the Crew. For the rest of the people in the fleet that look to them.

Cidra says nothing on family. Or much else of her own thoughts, for her part. She clears her throat, fingers plucking up her cigarette again. It is not relit, but it is fingered. "Yes, well, speaking of duties I have some to attend to. I thank you for speaking with me, Clive." The footage is properly turned off now, and she stands to retrieve and stow the tape.

Tillman moves back as she stands, giving her space. "You ain't alone, Cid. You come find me if you want to talk about family. Or anything else." He offers her a quick smile as he looks up from the floor, turning to head off in search of his own duties.

Cidra's lips twitch in one of those bare hints of a smiles. It does not quite reach her eyes. Though she does add a sincere, "Thank you." She'll depart the room once her footage is put back where it should be.

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