PHD #471: One of Those Crazies
PHD #471: One of Those Crazies
Summary: Shiner comes to Rose looking for work. They talk about the latest ongoings in the fleet. Then the Tyr cult is brought up, and Rose loses the argument.
Date: 12 Jun 2042 AE
Related Logs: Just Following Orders, No Chariots, No Trumpets
Rose Shiner 
Hydroponics - MV Elpis
Encompassing most of the port cargo pod, this area has been reconfigured to host a massive hydroponics operation. A latticework of catwalks and narrow ladders, pipes and transparent plastic enclosures, and grow-lighting surrounds rows upon rows of vegetables at varying stages of growth. Evenly-distributed pump machinery rumbles and clatters along, pumping nutrition-enriched water throughout the quietly moving system. A small portion of the hydroponics area deals with the cultivation of seedlings, providing a plastic membrane for the young plants until they have larger root systems. Rows of tanks line the outside wall, apparently some sort of algae growing facility - greens, ambers, and reds all cast a colorful tint. And at the fore area of the pod, many bins and tables and several refrigeration and packaging stations have been set up to handle the processing of vegetables harvested from this constant process.

There are workers here at seemingly all hours, monitoring the machines and the flow of life-giving water to the thousands of plants, transplanting new seedlings, or harvesting and packaging vegetables that have grown to maturity. At all hours, the facility is guarded.

A small set of rooms at the fore of the hydroponics bay houses a triage and first aid treatment center. The freighter's sickbay is a minimal affair, containing a few beds and some basic equipment. A front desk is staffed by a corpsman at all times, and there's a small waiting area consisting of plastic chairs and some old magazines. A small office, shared by the doctors and nurses who work here, stands privately off to the side, where patient files are kept under lock and key.

Condition Level: 3 - All Clear
Post-Holocaust Day: #471

"Frankly, I don't care what the numbers say. It's wrong. The experiment has produced the same results in the past thirteen trial runs on three different strains. Please, just for me, do it over." Rose, standing in her white lab coat and clipboard, having a conversation with one of the 'hydroponics technicians'. Essentially, glorified lab assistants, for those with a scientific bend that are less inclined to pick vegetables and mist plants. Rose, looking a little on the tired side, with some carefully-concealed bags under her eyes and a hint of frizz to her hair, walks back over to her 'office' - a glorified cube that's marginally larger than the others, and plops down in her office chair. Haphazard stacks of papers and other notes lie strewn around her workspace like any academic prone to 'creative clutter'. Pushing her glasses up and pinching the bridge of her nose, the would-be scientist then turns to glare challengingly at one of her computer screens. It's one of those days.

Heralded first by a waft of shower gel, a voice decides from behind Rose, "You know what you need? A good cup of tea and a biscuit." Shiner nods emphatically, leaning up against the entrance to the cube and looking for all accounts like some kind of new age hippy. At least he's washed, but he's still unshaven, his clothing's pretty rumpled and somewhat adjusted from the regulation off duty gear by the addition of a comfortable faded red hoodie and rather than issued boots, a set of lurid green flip flops. "Everything's better for a cup of tea and a biscuit. How do you take yours?"

The hand falls away and she blinkblinks at Shiner, her glasses not quite settled back down on her nose again. But she's forced to do exactly that because, initially, she doesn't recognize him. "David? I hardly recognized you. What're you doing here, of all places? Um, tea, yes, that'd be just fine. Let me find a spare mug for you." And she begins rummaging through her piles of stuff, moving short stacks of papers and binders and books and everything else that smart people surround themselves with. "Can't say I have any cookies or tea cakes or anything like that, but there's plenty of vegetables to gnaw on, if you like. We get first pick down here, you know."

"What, here? Oh, right, yeah. I'm stalking you," Shiner tells her matter of factly, producing a thermos and waving it. "I've got a mug on this. White and two all right for you? It's all I've got." He shunts a pile of probably very important documents to one side, perching up to sit on the desk as he unscrews the lid of the flask. "Alternatively, I figured I'd come and offer a hand and stuff, and y'know. Tea bribes. Always a winner. You need anything lifted, carried, welded or driven? I'm your guy."

Rose pauses in her search for another mug, and instead grabs her own from its home beside one of her monitors. It's a white mug that looks like it's been superglued back together again, with a classic 'Kiss me; I'm Aquarian' emblazoned on the side with one of those funny-looking clovers that grows only on certain islands. And the rim is stained with her lipstick, which she surrepticiously gives a quick wipe with a tissue. "I'll accept a tea bribe any day of the week," she admits tiredly, and sets it down by his leg for him to fill. Peering up at him across the tops of her glasses, she asks, confusedly, "Are you… asking to help out, here? I'm flattered, Mr. Wright, but what about your duties? Your pilot training?" Someone hasn't heard.

"I don't have any duties," Shiner explains, concentrating as he pours the tea out and offers the mug back across. "They kicked me off training, and the Chief doesn't want me back on deck. So I've got a shit ton of time to spend here, if you want me. There's only so much time any one guy can spend kicking back and watching porn, and I'm tuckered out."

"Kicked you off…? Oh, but that's horrible! Did they give you a reason why?" Rose carefully accepts the mug, but she's more interested in Shiner's answer. "I thought you were moving ahead quite well in the academic department… oh, I wondered why you didn't reschedule our tutoring sessions after the bit with the Areion. You know, I still don't know what really happened with all that. Lots of rumors of muntiny and whatnot, but they jumped us away before we could really see anything."

Shiner pours himself a cup into the plastic lid of the flask, wrinkling his nose. "It's not important. I followed orders and I got screwed over for it. In good news, they didn't shoot me." He lifts the cup to his lips for a sip, locking eyes with Rose as though to defy her to ask further. "So where do you need me? What needs done?"

Rose holds up a hand. "Now wait a minute, slow down, eh? Why doesn't Andreas want you on the deck? What happened?" She frowns, now, looking as if she's trying to make all of this add up - all of this make sense. But it's not working.

"Because he's a frakking /dick/," Shiner responds vehemently, ever the mature one. "Look, some officer chick told me to keep folks away from where she's working, right? So I do as I'm told, and then it turns out she's frakking sabotaging the place, and I get pulled in for frakking /treason/, locked in the brig for a couple of weeks, threatened with getting shot, kicked off the whole nugget thing and all that and told to go back to the deck. So I go see the Chief and he's a total knob end about it all and I end up in sickbay yet again. All right? So now I'm stuck without a job, and everyone thinks I'm a frakking spy or something, so just give me something to frakking /do/, all right?"

"Wait, what? Treason? Sickbay?" Rose rises to her feet, her confusion giving way to concern. In a round-about way, as she circles around a stack of binders to draw closer to Shiner, she regards him with growing disbelief. Then, the question she already knows the answer to, but is afraid to ask. Even her voice is trembling a little. "Why did you end up in sickbay, David?"

"'Cause the Chief's a knob end, I told y— oh, shit. Yeah," Shiner suddenly realises. "Look, I'm sure he's a great guy and everything, and you've got real good taste in men. We just had a kind of falling out. With a lump of metal crashing into my head."

"What?! He attacked you?" Eyes go wide. It's precisely what she feared. "Why isn't he in the brig, then? I mean, of all the times I was with him, he never raised his voice and never lifted a hand, but…" She shakes her head in disbelief, and actually reaches out to Shiner for a hug. It's a purely innocent gesture on her part. "And it's not like he's taken the time to even call, lately," she says mid-hug. "I wouldn't even classify us as 'together', any more. Especially not now. I don't like violence."

Shiner isn't going to turn down the opportunity to squeeze a woman close. "Dude, he's threatened me with a sledgehammer enough times, y'know?" he points out, arm looping around her waist. "Besides, he's a frakking chief. He does shit he's told and they promote him. I do shit I'm told and I'm a frakking traitor. One rule for them, another one for us. Welcome to the frakking fleet. Home of the greatest ton of /bullshit/ in the universe."

Rose pulls back from the hug, shaking her head in disbelief. "I don't understand. I'll have to go over there and get the story straight from him, I suppose," she mutters. Shrugging lightly, she looks back at her desk. Oh, right, tea. "And I always thought the sledgehammer thing was a joke. You know, typically male. I thought it was cute." She grimaces, giving Shiner another sympathetic glance. "You could file a complaint, you know." And then she crosses back around to sit, and take up her tea again. Sip, thoughtful look.

"Who the frak's going to listen?" Shiner challenges, shaking his head. "Frak 'em all. If they want to think I'm a frakking traitor, let them. And next time one of 'em starts something, I'll punch their frakking lights out. I mean, what are they going to do? Brig me? Great. Winner. In the brig they can all frakking leave me alone for one thing. Demote me? To what! Chuck me out? Big deal, so I do exactly what I'm doing right now. Oh yeah. Nothing!"

Rose holds on to her mug for a moment, hands wrapped around it protectively and warmingly; despite it being a constant warm temperature in hydroponics, Rose doesn't seem to mind the warmth of the tea. "Well, I can offer you a voucher wage just like everyone else who works here, and start working you up the paygrade with a review every six months, if that's what you'd like? We could use… well, anything, really. We're short-handed on hydroponics techs - " meaning, vegetable pickers. "But I'm guessing that's not your thing. Hmm. You've driven forklifts, right? We could use some help in transportation and cargo. Although, it may mean you'll be exposed to the folks you're at odds with…"

"Yeah, I can drive pretty much all the heavy plant kit you've got," Shiner agrees, nodding. "Forklifts, scissor lifts, tow tractors, telehandlers, whatever. And if anyone gives me any grief, I'll just smack 'em. It's a deal. I mean, it's all civvies you've got working here, right? I don't actually have to work with any of the wankers from the Cerberus, do I?"

Rose bites her lower lip. "Well, you may be the technician assigned to transfer cargo to their processing plants, yes, but I can try to arrange it that you mainly work here. Is that all right?" She pulls out a clipboard from a stack of other unrelated paperwork (she apparently knows where everything is, at least) and begins filling out an employment form. Several other sheets fall loose, floating to Shiner's feet - they appear to be some of the lastest printings of Tyr Bannik's manifesto. "Oh, erm, just… hand me those…" She asks, blushing a bit. Printed on the back of one-sided forms that have been black-barred to protect personal or classified information, but it's clear what they are.

Shiner stoops to pick them up, tapping them together and taking a moment to read them over. He simply arches an eyebrow at Rose in question, taking another sip of his tea.

Putting on her best smile, Rose says, "I'm, uh, hoping that's not a problem," she states hesitantly. "Tyr and I are… well, I mean, I work for him. Er, well, no, not really. I'm a sort of… volunteer! Yes, that's it. Religious volunteer." She nods - that's her story and she's sticking to it. "Please don't be offended. I know the movement isn't popular with many."

"You're one of the crazies, then?" Shiner asks bluntly, wrinkling his nose and offering the papers back. "I thought you were all, like, smart and stuff. Y'know. Science. And stuff."

"I am!" Rose quickly takes the papers and forces them behind the application in her clipboard. Taking a sip of tea and swallowing her hesitation, she offers, "I don't think Tyr's ideas are crazy, else I wouldn't be helping him spread the word. I think there's value in his ideas, David." Not Mr. Wright. "Not all Cylons are the enemy, just like not all humans are responsible for the Colonial Wars. It makes sense. If they're as varied in opinion as we are, then chances are their leaders got ahead of the needs of their… well, people, I suppose. Fellow toasters?" She wrinkles her nose. "Anyway, don't you see a parallel in what happened with the Areion and what is happening with the Cylons? The twos and the elevens on Gemenon are trying to make the best of a rotten situation, much like we are after that mutiny. We've already investigated their behavior, twice now - and I think, sooner than you think, there'll be a growing movement of folks who are tired of running, and tired of being trapped in space." Her voice gets much smaller, and she begins wringing her hands together after setting her mug down. "I'd rather die on the ground, seeing an ocean again - a real ocean - than be trapped up here in cold, hard vacuum."

"I'm tired of running," Shiner points out. "And because I actually said that, they pegged me as a traitor with that Kepner dude. If I were you, sweetheart, I'd keep your gob shut. The toasters aren't /people/, damn it. They're frakking machines! Sneaky frakking machines, too, and smart ones. And, if I can just remind you, the very same frakking machines that nuked everything. You got family? Yeah, not any more you don't. Thanks a bunch, toasters! Gee, let's all just be friends now. I don't frakking think so."

Rose bites her lower lip again. "David, you can't blame the entire race for the actions of a few. Even if they are just cold machines, they're machines that have individuality. They have wants and needs like the rest of us." She sighs lightly, removing her glasses. "You don't need to remind me what they did to my family, my Aquaria, and to me," she says, as she was quite blind at one point. "I'm going to be dealing with the aftereffects of radiation poisoning for the rest of my life. My family's dead, and I doubt I can ever have children, myself. I'm quite aware of the loss."

Shiner shakes his head in frustration. "So, what, are you just on crack or something? They have wants and needs. Yeah, right. They want and need to blow us all up. They're not a race! They're frakking machines! They're /clones/, for frak's sake. Not people! Everything they do is programmed."

Rose crosses one leg over the other. "Then I want you to think about this, then, and really think before you respond. Why would the twos and elevens go against what we've seen as typical Cylon behavior - the desire to exterminate their creators - and try to live harmoniously with other humans? Why would they go out of their way to arm their populace, to put weapons in the hands of the very race they've worked so hard to destroy?"

"Because they're frakking spies!" Shiner retorts immediately, to hell with thinking. "And they want to turn us all against each other! Make us think they're all great people and everything, and then BAM! Sabotage! Death! Destruction!"

Rose levels a withering teacher's gaze at Shiner. "Don't you think they could have done that already? Why the unnecessary deception? Just send more toasters against us than we can counter. Eventually, we'll run out of pilots, and run out of soldiers, and run out of bullets. We're barely making minimums with the food production we do here. So why bother?" She tosses the clipboard down onto the floor with a clatter. "Why bother do any of this, David? Why not just give up? Or…" She leans forward in her seat, to make her academic point. "There's something else going on here that we can't see nor fully understand. And that's where faith comes in. Faith, David, fills the void where science fails." She grimaces slightly. "Faith keeps us going, even when it seems the ones we love the most aren't…" She swallows. "Aren't there for us."

"Frak faith," Shiner snorts, nonetheless leaning to pick up her fallen clipboard and offer it to her. "Look, you know what I believe in? Frak all. I believe in me, and everyone else can go frak themselves. I believe in killing toasters because they frakking killed everyone first. I don't believe in giving up, but I'm not about to say we're ever going to win. If I survive a day, I call that a win. If I survive a day and get to eat good food, or watch a vid, or get a girl, then that's a double win. Tomorrow can deal with itself."

"I see," Rose says, looking a bit tired again, all of a sudden. It seems she doesn't have much in the way of a counter to that. "If you're still interested in working down here, I can make the paperwork happen. But I'll understand if you'd not want to work for me, given the… the circumstances."

"Might as well work for one set of crazies as another," Shiner points out, shrugging. "At least you just want to talk me to death, not beat me to death. Sign me up. What do you need from me?"

Rose's eyes get very round and very shiny, and her lips downturn slightly. Blink. "I'll not talk your ear off, then, Mr. Wright." Back to formality. "You can work to your heart's content. Overtime if you want it. I've alcohol vouchers that I can send your way if that's your thing. Just… whatever photo ID you have, so I can scan it in and have a record." And she takes up her pen and begins filling things out.

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