PHD #006: Pawns of Ares
Pawns of Ares
Summary: Tisiphone comes to Cidra with a request.
Date: 4 March 2041 AE
Related Logs: None
Cidra Tisiphone 

[ Naval Offices ]----——[ Deck 10 - Battlestar Cerberus ]

This area is set-up much like any standard office building. Cubicles have been constructed using cheap waist-high walls, their contents left neutral for whoever needs to use them. Inside each cubicle is a desk with a laptop and chair. Simple overhead lights bring dull illumination to the room except over the back wall where each one of the colonies twelve flags hangs from its own pole. Fake, potted plants dot the room and seem to be standard issue along with the water cooler and coffee machines. Off the main room are a few private offices such as that of the JAG or CAG.

=[ Condition Level: 2 - Danger Close ]=-------—-

The CAG's 'private office' isn't much more than a glorified closet with a hatch of its own for some nominal privacy. Cidra's doesn't have need of much more. She spends her time on the hangar deck, sims, or other proper work areas if she can help it. Business has her ensconced in it today, however. The hatch is slightly ajar. Part invitation for those passing by, part practical for air circulation. The wisps of cigarette smoke drifting out suggest smoking is being done by her, in addition to actual work.

Tap-tap-tap. Tap-tap-tap. Bony knuckles at the hatch. A moment later, Tisiphone peeks cautiously around the threshhold. She hasn't shaved her scalp in some days now, and she's starting to grow a dandelion-pale fuzz. "Sir?" she inquires. "I-" She hesitates, then prods herself forward. "I wanted to speak to you. I left a note, but- I know you're busy."

Cidra is seated at her desk at the moment, smoking and reviewing some papers. She cigarette is snubbed out carefully at the tapping. Very carefully. There's still something of that one left to be smoked. She stands. "Ensign Apostolos. Yes. I got your note. Come in, please."

Tisiphone steps in, closes the door until it's left open only a crack, and immediately gives her best, most minty-fresh salute. She's in fatigues, technically speaking, but they're picture-perfect, her boots polished to gleaming. Ah, Ensigns. "Sir," she repeats, as she drops the salute, clasping her hands behind her back. Of course she doesn't immediately state her purpose. She probably had a parade instructor loudly disabuse her of such a familiar notion, not that long ago.

Cidra acknowledges the salute fluidly, getting that out of the way. "Sit, please." Dark circles mare the underside of her eyes, and the faint lines around their edges are more prominent than usual. Other than that, she's keeping it together. Outwardly. Despite the invitation to sit, she does not immediately retake her chair. "Would you like some tea? I've…a little tea left."

Tisiphone hesitates for only a moment before she takes the offered chair, parking her backside on the edge of the seat. "No- Thank you, Sir." She touches teeth to her bottom lip for a second, then risks it: "I'd smoke, though. Would you like one?" She's familiar with how carefully-conserved cigarette butts look.

Cidra pours herself a cup from a carafe about her desk anyhow. The liquid is pink and smells a faint mix of herbal and floral. Rosehips are clearly a prominent ingredient, if one knows about such things. "I shall in a moment. I do not like to mix my palate. But feel free to smoke, please." Once she's tea'd, she sits again. "What is on your mind?"

Tisiphone draws two cigarettes out of her lightly-crumpled pack, slides one of them onto the corner of the Major's desk, then lights up the other for herself. She musters her courage over several lungsful of smoke, blowing it out at the ceiling tiles, then begins: "When the time comes for reconnaissance of Sagittaron, Sir, I'd like to volunteer for the team that goes." She looks directly at Cidra as she says it, her expression somewhere between nervous and intent.

Cidra regards Tisiphone across her desk as she sips her tea. There are cracks in that inscrutable expression she normally wears, but most that shows through is just quiet sadness. She sips her tea. "My father sent me this." A little toast with the cup, so it's clear she's referring to the liquid within. "He grows the rosehips in our garden on Gemenon, in the house we grew up in. I had not written him back to thank him before…well. I write him now. I write because I still hope." How much hope she does not say, but it's something. She clears her throat. "I know not when, or if, command shall want us to return to Sagittaron. The initial recons are being performed by Raptors only. Jump in, look around, jump out. I do not like sending them out without escort but…Vipers cannot jump. We are due to return to Virgon for a more thorough survey of the colony soon, however." Or what remains of it. She continues to look at the other woman, meeting her eyes. "You are Sagittaron, yes?"

"Yessir." There's no point in trying to deny it, or her motives. "Um. Xenos Province. Biggest city's barely a blip compared to anything on Caprica. Villages and homesteads, mostly." Wherein her own hope comes from — widespread farms do not a 'population centre' make. "But if they're saturation bombing the planets…" She trails off to a shrug. Therein her loss of hope, and the reason for her request. "I've never been back, since I left for Academy. If- if everything's gone, I…" Her voice softens — or weakens — a bit. "I would like a goodbye."

"Captain Quinn and I have spoken of this. We have made the decision not to send citizens of their home colony to recon it," Cidra says, lingering over her tea. Nosing it deeply before taking another drink. "It is all well to speak of training. Of duty. But my thoughts…they are too much with the high Temples now. Too much with the marble halls of the Colleges, to the white mountains, to Shinkirsei…that city where I grew up. I trust my head, at most times, to do my duty no matter how terrible. But if I were to go to Gemenon now…no, I would not trust my heart there."

Not what Tisiphone wanted to hear, obviously — her eyes slide away from the Major's and fix on her cigarette for a long while. Her mouth twists and purses — perhaps she's regretting her honesty, or considering some other angle of attack — but finally relaxes enough for her to take a drag off her smoke, aiming the exhalation at her boots. "I want to say," she begins, the words slow and measured as sandbags laid down against flooding emotions. "That it's not fair. We were all at Picon. We're all going to Virgon. They get their goodbyes. But- I know that's not fair to say, either, Sir."

"None got goodbyes on Picon…" Cidra says, though it's said softly. "Gods only know how many souls we left there. Well. Perhaps there are more still to find on Virgon. Perhaps the other colonies. I do not know. I hope and pray we can do more but…" She trails off to drain more tea from her cup. Then exhales slowly. "I wish I had more words of comfort for you, Ensign. There are no words in times like this that can ease them. I try to find tasks in the day to keep my focus. And I try to keep to hope, what of it remains."

"It's okay, Sir," Tisiphone starts to say, then makes a sharp sound and gestures with her cigarette. "I mean- it's not okay, none of it is, but- I understand. Been wrestling with this since I knew we were going to Virgon. Figured it was even odds, getting the okay from you. Couldn't really hope for more." Half-numb, half-accepting. She abruptly switches topics when she looks up at the Major again. "Your home on Gemenon, Sir — Ancestral home? Some folks on Caprica talked like their families had lived in the same place for centuries."

"Ancestral? Yes. You could certainly say that." Cidra's tin tea cup is empty, so it is set down on her desk. "My parents, my grandparents…so far back as I have been told, we have been Gemenese. I have a brother and two sisters. I am the only one who left home. Life was not easy in the Fleet always. If you are an officer not Caprican, not Picon…well." The barest hint of a smile for the younger woman. "You would know about that. I have put my feet on other planets but…home is home. It is in your blood."

Tisiphone knows that feeling, all right — such giant mounds of respect are heaped upon Sagittaran officers-to-be, too. She gives a slight nod and bitter twist of a smile in return, then spends a few moments rolling her cigarette between her fingers. "Have you been to see the Chaplain, Sir?" she finally asks. "I was- She's been very good at knowing exactly what to say. I spoke to her, a while, today. It really helped."

Cidra nods her head. "I have spoken with her at some length. About our fallen pilots and…personal matters. Sister Karthasi is a good woman. We would not agree on some aspects of Scripture I suspect but…she has been much comfort to me in these days. I do not envy her her tasks now. The age of Ares is hard upon the souls. And we have entered His age now, I fear to say."

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