PHD #129: Preposterous
Summary: There are not enough hours in the day to do all they should do. Cidra and Trask discuss the mindfrak of the Audumbla incident and what is to be done about it.
Date: 06 Jul 2041 AE
Related Logs: As Flies to Wanton Boys
Cidra Trask 

Several hours after the test flight that resulted in the entire CAP suffering from CO2 poisoning, the SAR team found the lone Raptor that jumped to unknown coordinates after a gunshot went off inside. Rumor has it that…

…the only survivor is the Harriers' interim Squadron Leader, LT Kal "Bootstrap" Trask.

…that LT Trask had to be forcibly sedated and hauled to Sick Bay because he refused to let anyone who was not LT Jesse Stavrian near the corpses.

…that LTJG Mike "Wank" Orr was shot through the forehead with his own service pistol.

…that PO1 Lessa Morgenfield apparently was the one who pulled the trigger before blowing out her own brains with the same gun.

…that no charges have been filed against LT Trask, although that may or may not change upon further investigation.

Naval Offices - Deck 10 - Battlestar Cerberus
Post-Holocaust Day: #129
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: 3 - All Clear

Between the clusterfrak CAP, the search for Trask, and all the mess that followed, Cidra hasn't bothered to change out of her flight suit or shower this night. Once the ECO was conscious and (perhaps more than to her liking) coherent, she accompanied him back to the offices to jaw over the whole nasty sequence of events. She's just stepped into her office, waited until Trask passed the threshold as well, and closed the hatch behind her.

For someone who caused such a horrid ruckus upon his return, Trask has been quiet since he finished sassing the MPs to summon the CAG. Abnormally (and even disquietingly) quiet to someone who passingly knows him. The Taurian's disposition on Leonis was positively sunny in comparison to the tempest that is now brewing. This brooding manifests as scowling. The moment the hatch is closed, hard eyes regard Cidra. This is well beyond the point of 'I told you so' in regard to Morgenfield having even been allowed on the mission. In a tone as abrasive as his expression, he simply says, "Here on out, my people are learning how to check all their gear, and they will be the ones to sign-off it. They will be required to arrive earlier for CAP for these equipment checks."

"That is a good notion," says Cidra shortly. "Sit, if you like." She does, for her part. Lighting up a cigarette. Whatever raw adrenaline and anger the CAG was running on earlier has left her. Now she just looks absolutely drained. Regarding him in return once her cigarette's lit, "How that creature was allowed access to the air supply canisters again I cannot fathom." Pure venom in her tone as she speaks of Morgenfield. "What happened after your ship jumped away? I was told a gunshot was heard before the SAR was launched. Orr?" A small bow of her head at mention of his name.

Even though he's still dressed in his flightsuit, odds are that Bootstrap has smokes stashed somewhere on his person. This does not prevent him from taking one from Cidra's pack regardless of whether or not one was offered. There's not even a scampish 'oh, I would love one, thanks' blitheness to his approach. The lighter is commandeered for use without any concern that it belongs to the CAG. In both instances, his hands tremble like someone who is exercising all semblance of self-control to not succumb to rage-fueled acts of violence. Standing, a long drag is taken, head turning to bore into one of the walls. A snort of smoke and sardonicism follows. "Bitch frakking shot herself." Somehow, he manages to sound both flippant and incredibly angry. Thinking back on it, though, upsets him, and he starts to pace like a restless animal.

Cidra takes the filching in stride. She wouldn't have left them out if it wasn't sort of assumed it'd occur. A short nod at his last statement. "I would feel no regret of that, save it denies her a firing squad. *Proper* questioning for her crimes." She sets down her cigarette in her ash tray, hands folding on her desk. Knuckles clenched white. Her hands are a better mirror to what's going on inside her head than her face, generally. She's not so good at schooling them. "I have told Specialist Bannik to personally see to the checks of the air supply of any planes launched from the Deck, and to pass that along to Damon. Them, I trust. That is a temporary measure, of course. They cannot be on duty all the time."

More cigarette puffing of an agitated kind. "That's nice," is mildly snarked with an exhalation of smoke, before he again resolves, "My people are still learning how to check their gear and will be responsible for clearing anything they will use." Pace as he may, this is a point from which he will not budge. "Speak with Damon about arranging training time 'cuz I have no idea what the frak is up with Atreus. If Fasi wants to supervise the lessons, that's fine, but I'm the final authority as to whether or not they've learned what they need to know." After a moment, one hand clenches in his hair, which is then tugged in some manner of upset.

Cidra nods short. "Some of the Viper crew at least should be trained in that manner as well. However much we do, though, Bootstrap, we are at a certain measure always going to be at the mercy of the Deck crew. If we cannot trust them, we are well and truly lost." It's not an argument, so much as a partially voiced fear they might be there already.

"Everyone should frakking be trained for it. It should be frakking mandatory," is the sharp reply, fingers in his hair further clenching. "And I worked six years on the Deck, so spare me the lecture." Pointedly, he looks at Cidra, and then resumes smoking and pacing. The hand abruptly drops and now balls into a fist that he repetitively opens and closes as befits someone itching to punch something. "They won't like it," he says, voice a bit quieter, rueful despite the harshness, "but they'll just have to suck it up. My squad already knows that I expect them to learn how to make on-the-fly repairs. I've yet to get anything arranged, but I'll send Damon a memo." Most likely, just as soon as he gets out of here. "Yeah, it's the Deck's job to ensure we can do our job, but our people need to step up to the plate and learn how to help themselves. They should /know/ even if it's for the sake of knowing." He's not called Bootstrap for ironic reasons.

"I share your concerns, Lieutenant," Cidra says. There's no particular bite in her tone, but it cools several degrees. "Do not think me blind or unaware of what we have lost tonight. This undoes me more than a waterfall of Raiders. There are not enough hours in the day to do all we should do. But we shall do what we can." Hands unclench again, going to pick her cigarette up for more puffing. "I shall take care of the memo to Petty Officer Damon tonight. As I said, I do think such should apply to our Vipers as well, so we had best not do it piece-meal."

The pacing does not abate, and the puffing continues, as does the trembling of that cigarette-holding hand, and the clenching and unclenching fist of the the other. Her tone may cool, but he's fired-up. Abruptly, he stops, leaning forward in an aggressive stance. "Wank is not dead because of /you/." So she'd better not even go there with the 'I get it' stuff. Trask isn't having any of that. "I /knew/ she was bad news. I frakking raised a /stink/ that she was coming along — and yet /I/ took my attention off of her. /I/ was too busy being a damn ECO that she was half a heartbeat from pulling the trigger before I realized what was going on." In those turbulent eyes of his, the self-recrimination is painfully evident. As is the anger, which is largely, but not entirely, inwardly directed.

"I should have put my foot down with Chief Atreus about her, especially if she was to be still working where she could muss with our air," Cidra says. The self-recrimination's there, whatever he says. "Her superiors never should have allowed it of her in the first place. The JAG should never have let her go. There is much blame to spread, Trask." Not that she argues with his feeling of responsibility. It's an impulse she can relate to, and probably isn't even one she disapproves of in leadership. They instill self-flagellation with pride on Gemenon. A pause and she asks, "You saw those abominations on Leonis. Those… not machines, not men. Is that why you were so concerned about Morgenfield's body?"

"I still could've prevented it," is the plaintive refrain, those expressive eyes of his large and harrowed. "I heard her on the ground. I thought she was sick like the rest of us. By the time I turned around to check on her…" Tension enters his face, and he winces with the vivid recollection.

When Cidra speaks of skinjobs, the tragedy turns into the darkest of comedies. Sardonically, the man replies, eyes shining with tears he patently refuses to release, "She smiled, Cid. She looked me straight in the eyes and smiled. I'll be seeing you, Kal. That's what she said, right before she blew her brains out." What follows is a weak laugh because flippancy is the best way he knows to deal with stress. "Nice," he continues with the recollection, "We made the jump and she said Nice. I can hear — I hear them. Well done." Vaguely, he shakes his head, bemused by what that may mean. "Then she said I'll be seeing you, Kal, and blew her brains out." It's suitably traumatic that it being repeated can be excused. It also puts his post-rescue behavior into perspective.

Looking downward, Trask taps some ash into the tray, takes a deep breath and then an even deeper drag. Exhaling the smoke, he steels himself to willfully look the CAG. For all his resilience and defiant posturing, he's acutely aware of his vulnerability, and it likely shows. "That reason enough for you?"

Cidra shudders, flinching at that account. As if she's just felt a cold chill run down her spine. A long drag is taken off her cig, blown on in a thin stream. "My gods, Boots… abominations. All gods-damned abominations. Whatever she was." A small nod. As if she hasn't the strength for more than the slightest inclination of her head. "What by all gods' mercy could she have heard out there…?"

"Frakked if I know," is the dry reply, for the Taurian is starting to retreat into his fortress of facetious flippancy. "I expected her to kill me, to be honest. I jumped without giving her any warning and was hoping to quickly maneuver into a position that'd send her off-balance, but I was still shaking off the effects of the CO2." The cancer stick is consumed some more. "We were on a course to see the inside of that gas giant. She aimed the gun at me, after she murdered Wank, and told me to jump. Said 'jump us out and live'. I was so sick by then, I couldn't do more then smile and think 'do it yourself, bitch'. She started freaking out. Told me there was a good O2 can taped under my seat." Bootstrap levels a profound look at Toast. "What I don't get is why she was shrieking for me to jump before we both died, and then killed herself. If suicide was on the agenda, we could've just stayed put."

Cidra shakes her head. She's no answer to that. She just smokes some more, leaning back in her chair. Slouched, head lulling against the back of it. Eyes closed. Showering and bothering to strip out of her flight gear isn't the only thing she's neglected in the hours since Trask jumped away, was recovered and regained consciousness. Sleep has, it appeared, not really been on her agenda. "Just madness, perhaps. Perhaps we are all going mad."

The pacing's finally stopped. Indeed, he looks utterly exhausted when he finally sits. "She planted that can. She planted that can and wanted me to live, for whatever reason." Eyes closing, Kal slumps a little, his head lolling to the back. "Maybe it was the poisoning and I hallucinated it, but I swear there was fear in her voice before we jumped, and it was gone after she said she could hear them, whoever the frak they are. I kept waiting for Cylons to show." They never did.

"There is relief in oblivion. No peace, but relief…" Cidra murmurs to herself. Lips purse. She seems surprised she spoke that aloud. The fingers of her free left hand go briefly to her lips. Cigarette clasped, hanging over the arm of her chair, in her right fingers. Throat clears. "That is fearful strange. And it makes no sense to my mind, either. Nothing makes sense right now."

Not rousing, other than to speak, Trask needles, "Please tell me that Stavrian has the bodies." He has no bile for the MPs, even though they forcibly sedated him. They were doing their jobs, and he was doing what he felt was necessary when it came to people he doesn't know — and more importantly, doesn't trust — to be handling a possible skinjob corpse.

"Amen to that, though." Oblivion, presumably. "Kinda sucks that I'm a workhorse." Which means he's not about to go without a fight. "Apostolos mentioned that the Shaker doppelganger said Salt spoke of her. In the off-chance we're dealing with some manner of cyborg, it is theoretically possible that they could wirelessly transmit data. Keeping on the path of preposterous," the cigarette is drawn closer to his moving lips, "what if that's what she meant about hearing 'them'? Maybe she needed to transmit something before she died." It doesn't sound that he actually believes it as much as it is the most outlandishly logical hypothesis available.

"As I understand it, Doctor Bia has delivered the body to our good medic for work. Lieutenant Stavrian is a busy man of late." Said with a certain amount of rather self-mocking wryness by Cidra. "Possible, I suppose, but how would she have known she was in the proper place to transmit anything? You did say she did not tell you to jump anywhere specific, yes?" She shakes her head. As if trying to clear a haze from it. And failing. "I do not know, Boots. I am… you need some proper rest." And so does she. "I do not quite understand anything right now."

"I'm an electrical engineer," he points out after a puff. "Communications relays fall under that. Our comms and sensors were hosed in that soup. We actually jumped /outside/ of Audumbla." Which means no more interference. "I made what repairs I could to the Raptor to get to a point that I could be found." That all said, the ECO adds, "Even so, this is WAY beyond my scope. Parres in Engineering, though, has a background in mechatronics. I recall her once mentioning something about some debate regarding Cylons, Artificial Intelligence, and so on that took place while she was getting her degree. If anyone would have /some/ idea about how it might all work, it'd likely be her." For a moment more, he just slouches in that chair. Then, "Sleep well, whenever you do, Cid." Tiredly, he rises. "Unless you need anything else, I'm out."

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