PHD #224: Radio Test
PHD #224: Radio Test
Summary: Poppy takes Decoy out on a CAP, and there's some tension between the Captain and the Midshipman.
Date: 08 Oct 2041 AE
Related Logs: Hot and Bothered
Devlin Khloe 
Two Vipers putzing around the fleet in a CAP.
Post-Holocaust Day: #224

One of a hundred CAPs for Poppy, and the first for Decoy. The Black Knights SL talks on comms in her usual commanding alto voice, although in the cockpit she seems to have lost some of her edge. It's as if she's a different person when encased in a Viper. Being Devlin's first CAP, she took a little extra time handling pre-flight and launch. Of course the nugget has flown before, but for Khloe, procedure seems to be as important as oxygen.

"Decoy, Poppy," comes her voice over the radio. Mildly distorted thanks to the nature of comms, her voice sounds a little deeper than normal. Probably comes from the brass balls. "Protip: be in the habit of constantly going down your checklists. Verify your distance to your wingman, check your speed, check your meters, check DRADIS. Keep your eyes in motion. With your eyes follows your brain. It's difficult to maintain focus for so long. Brain naturally wants to be elsewhere. Over."

Devlin is clearly familiar with the pre-flight and launch procedures by this point, having clocked more than the minimum required number of hours in practice flights with various LTs and CPTs these last few weeks. Still, he does not seem to mind the extra layer of thoroughness on this occasion, carefully checking and re-checking each system and instrument prior to heading out into space. He doesn't seem to have much of anything to say beyond responding to direct questions, always politely, and always ending in 'sir'. Other than that, he keeps his mouth shut. In the same vein, his response now is simple: "Poppy, Decoy," he replies, "Understood, sir. I'll do that, sir. Over."

"Cerberus CIC, this is Poppy. Requesting departing instructions for Vipers Three-Zero-Five and Five-Four-Niner, over." Khloe finishes her preflights as she intones the formal request to CIC for departure instructions. She gives a thumbs-up to her deckhand without glancing up, apparently recognizing their presence without even relying on her eyes. Must be the sound of boots on the catwalk along the side of the Viper.

"Poppy, this is Cerberus CIC, you are cleared for launch. Port side is clear. Happy hunting," comes the response from CIC communications officer. As both Vipers begin their mechanical loading into the tube launchers, Khloe gives a glance over towards Devlin's Viper. "Decoy, Poppy. No need for 'sir' when we're in birds, nugget. Sticks are sticks. Over."

Devlin sits quietly in his viper as he awaits launch, pre-flight completed and checked. He keeps the com off (at least the broadcasting part) so that his fingers drumming against the stick as he waits can't be heard, though the deckhand that steps over to check into the canopy gives the nugget a thumbs-up and a pat on the glass when he leans down to confirm readiness. "Poppy, Decoy. Understood. Over," he replies, words crisp and brief as the Vipers are moved into position, and then launched down the chutes and out into the black.

Zoom. Once clear of the tubes, Khloe's voice crackles over the radio again. "Decoy, Poppy. Standard pattern. On my wing. Full mil once we establish perimeter. Over." And her Viper streaks out on the turbo boost provided by the launch tubes, mainly relying on momentum until she gets out to the established distance from Cerberus. Then, she kicks on the heat and turns hard right, changing her trajectory to be elliptical rather than perpendicular.

"Poppy, Decoy. Copy that," Devlin replies. He too waits until officially far enough from the battlestar, and then turns on the engines, zooming after Khloe and taking up his position on her wing. He matches his speed to hers, and his path, flying along at the appropriate distance off to the side of her Viper.

Once the two Vipers settle into their CAP pattern, Khloe does something that probably most folks would never expect her to do. "Decoy, Poppy. Switch to channel four. I repeat, channel one-two-three-four. Over." Her voice is even and calm, but there's a hint of hesitance hiding behind her command voice. Giving Devlin a chance to react, she calls out, "Decoy, Poppy. Do you copy? Over."

It takes a second, but Devlin replies a beat or two later on channel four, "Poppy, Decoy. I copy." He does not ask why the change, nor is there any indication in his tone that he finds this unusual. Maybe this is the CAP channel? He has no idea.

"Decoy, Poppy," Khloe responds after a second, almost suggesting that she's gathering her thoughts. "The measure of a stick is how he or she holds up to the pressures of the uniform, and not just how good of a jock they are. You have good sim scores, although you could probably benefit from an instructor observing. You're not a raw nugget any more; very few people can match my style of flying. You did fine just then." There's a pause, and no 'over', so she's probably just considering how to continue. "I suppose what I'm saying is, I'm not worried about your Viper skills. Over."

"Poppy, Decoy," Devlin replies, adjusting the position of his Viper just slightly to anticipate the upcoming turn around Corsair and maintain proper distance between his wing and Khloe's, "Copy that. Over."

Khloe, too, adjusts for Corsair, but her anticipation is natural as she's done this before many times, and she's likely got her eyes on DRADIS at the moment. There's a long pause before she keys up the radio again. "Decoy, Poppy, watch your angle. Bump it starboard carem oh-two. And for frak's sake, say something so I don't feel like an idiot for moving us to a private channel. Over."

"Poppy, Decoy, adjusting to carom oh-two," Devlin replies into the com, making the shift, his Viper moving smoothly into the slightly different trajectory. He didn't say 'over' but it's not entirely clear he's planning to say anything else for a moment or two before he adds, "I would hate to make you feel like an idiot, captain, I know I've never enjoyed feeling that way myself. I'm glad you're not worried about my Viper skills. Over."

"Decoy, Poppy. If this were the Academy, you'd feel like an idiot every damn day," Khloe explains as the two Vipers cruise by Corsair and on their way around the standard CAP elliptical. "Humiliation, and learning how to swallow your pride, is part of becoming an officer. It keeps you from making mistakes that could threaten your life or the lives of your shipmates. But you should know this already. Am I right?" A small pause. "Over."

Devlin does not reply immediately, either focusing on his flying or (focusing on his flying and) considering his response. "Poppy, Decoy. I know pride can be dangerous, captain, and I don't think anybody you could ask would tell you that I have a problem with that. I know I'm only a nugget, and barely even a real one at that, and I've never pretended different. Over."

"Decoy, Poppy. Making sure we understand each other. You're not my main responsibility; the Knights are. But if I see a nugget whom I think is deviating from the flight path of 'be the best officer he can be', I'm going to come down on him, hard. Am I making myself clear? Over." Khloe's words are a little slow; she doesn't 'uhh', because that would imply she can't shut her mouth as she's thinking. But she's being extremely careful with her words.

"Poppy, Decoy," Devlin replies, not as slow, but careful, "Yes and no, captain. I understand the idea, but I'm not really sure what you think I'm doing wrong, exactly. Maybe you could explain that. Over."

"Decoy, Poppy, nothing I can really talk to you about. It's not appropriate, and not my place." Even as a Captain? "Rest assured I have a meeting with the CAG later on tonight, after we finish our run. Frak knows the problem could be with me, but I trust the Major to set things right. You know, I flew with her, about a decade ago, when I was a cocky Ensign fresh out of flight school." A long pause. "I trust her implicitly. Over."

Again, Devlin is slow to reply. "Poppy, Decoy," he says finally, "All due respect sir, I'm not sure how it can be appropriate to tell me you have a problem with me, but not to tell me what it is. I can't very well respond to it or fix it or whatever this way. And yes sir, I'd heard that. Major Hahn has everyone's trust here, no matter how little time we've known her. Over."

There's a slight course deviation from Khloe; she burns hot ahead suddenly, then at a safe distance flips and rotates on her horizontal axis so she's nose-facing with Devlin's Viper, coasting at station-keeping with him. It's as if she needed to see him. "I'm not about to tell you how to run your personal life, nugget," she radios, her voice deliberately very controlled even. "But you better have your mind on your training, your duties, your Viper and your Battlestar at all times, no exceptions. No distractions." She wheels about then, settling back into formation as if she never left. "Back to channel 1. Playtime's over. Radio test when you're back there. Over."

Devlin adjusts to account for Khloe's sudden flip, decreasing speed and maintaining a safe distance in that position. He does not respond on channel four, simply moving back into his spot on the squad leader's wing and replying on one, "Poppy, Devlin, radio test on channel one. Over."

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