PHD #089: Right Where They Want Us
Right Where They Want Us
Summary: Discussions about MolGen and inevitable(?) doom in the embassy garden.
Date: 2041.05.26
Related Logs: All Leonis logs.
Ashwood Bannik Kulko Oberlin Samuel Tisiphone Polaris 
Sagittaron House — Grounds — Leonis
Post-Holocaust Day: #89
This was a beautiful place, once upon a time. Grounds that were once expansive and lush with vegetation in the forms of planned gardens, walking paths, and sitting areas are now dead and barren; trees devoid of leaves, bark charred, grass dead and brown. A 10-foot tall wrought iron fence with spiked tops and thick brownstone joiners every 20 feet surrounds the consulate and the grounds. In several places the bars, normally 8-10 inches apart, have been separated enough for a person to slip through sideways.

<Note: Several people were viciously mauled by RL during this scene and had to pause/bow out for large chunks of time. Please squint and make believe any inconsistencies re: entrance/exits aren't actually there. Thanks!>

Another muggy, sunny summer's day on Leonis. Tisiphone finds herself again, sunburn bedamned, pacing restlessly through the dead and withered garden-grounds of the Sagittaran Embassy. It would be weather one might enjoy — near a beach, in more summery clothes, cool drink at hand, no shattered cityscape looming all about. Instead, with a canteen of tepid water deemed 'refreshment' and a pair of fatigues she's seriously considering turning into shorts, she finds herself slumping discouragedly into the corner of one of the wrought-iron benches designed to match the ornate fence, squinting against the sunshine at the unfamiliar faces guarding the perimeter.

Ashwood solves the problem of heat by having no shirt at all. Only the gods know where that tight blue t-shirt of his has ended up, though the safe bet is 'somewhere in Marty's corner,' and it's with surpassing confidence that he now strides through dying trees and dead brush wearing just his excessively fashionable jeans and the blue-red boxers peeking out from beneath the tight denim waistband. The sun beats dully through angry grey clouds, its rays gleaming gently off his toned and sweat-slicked muscles. A pistol, safety on, rests easily in his back pocket — because one really can't be too careful, after all, even here.

"Yo dude," he calls to one of Barron's burly guards, fingers raised in the universal sign of peace. The man's green armband is almost black from dust and dried blood. "Doc wants to see you inside." And after sensing the guy's evident hesitation: "Re-la-a-a-ax, big guy," he drawls. "I gots this."

Kulko wanders out onto the grounds armorless for the first time in days, though he's still stubbornly sporting the Colonial-issue tanktop, dogtags jingling with each step. He passes the de facto meatshield on his way into the courtyard, offering a crisp, respectful nod as he passes. He pauses at the base of the small stairs to light a cigarette, and revel in the shade of an overhanging tree.

The garish pink shirt Tisiphone's been sporting for the last handful of days must be down for laundry at the moment — she's back in a tank-top, herself, the perimeter of her sunburn showing clearly at her neck and upper arms. A couple more days of this weather and they'll fade away, replaced with new outlines. The dark red bandana's pulled off her head so she can mop at the sweaty, overgrown fuzz beneath. Her attention's flicked back toward the door, expression shuttered.

The departing III grunt doesn't bother to give Kulko the proverbial time of day, brushing past the young officer with hardly a word of greeting. But he walks tall and carries a big shotgun, and really — that's all the Colonials could want, right?

Ashwood, for his part, is markedly more cheerful. Drawing his pistol, he checks its magazine (just like they do in the movies!) before letting it rest in his sweaty palm. Stocky legs crossed beneath him, he takes up position below the brick wall on top of which the consulate's wrought-iron fence has been built, ready to fire from cover should the need arise. No gunslinging cowboy, he.

And aloud, after a few deep breaths? "Sup," he says, waving his free hand in Tisiphone's direction. "Think we can smoke this shit?" Hand sweeps out expansively from his chest to indicate the various flammable plants surrounding him.

Kulko pauses to look after the gunman as he re-enters the embassy, only strolling into the courtyard after the door is good and closed. "Suppose it couldn't hurt none. We already ate and drank off this nuclear frakhole," he drawls at the notion of potent combustibles. His own flaming cylinder of plant matter is ashed as he approaches the pair.

When is Ashwood ever /not/ cheerful? Tisiphone's never gone quite so far as to play the 'show some gravitas' card, but there's always a bit of wary puzzlement when she speaks with him. And, with Marty not attached to his hip? There's a wandering, appreciative eye dragged down and up the man before she speaks. Guy walks around, looking like that, he's asking for it, right? Right. "Checked it all last night. Dead ivy's not my thing." Snort. She looks down to her pocket, starts digging out her cigarettes. "You know there's locked rooms upstairs? Offices. Reinforced doors. Anything left here that's worthwhile, it'll be in there."

"Which is why I say we let Chris go to town on 'em, but I don't think boss-dude would let us blow up some powder to get some quality weed." He sees you watching, Tisi-poo, don't think he doesn't — which is why he now offers that trademark sly grin that won him his first internship after his 'glory days' at SLCC. Don't worry: he'll be here all day. "Anyway, Frankie says this shit out here might be promising, but you know Frankie — love him to death, but he'll light anything that stays still long enough and fits in his bubbler." Ashwood chuckles lowly at the thought, drawing out his words as he flips his gun from side to side. "Think he thinks the smoke's bad for his lungs or something like that. So I asked him the other day, you know, I said 'Frankie, my man, my main man, then why do you get two double-cheeseburgers with an extra-jumbo pop?'" The reporter shrugs expressively. "You know what he said? He said 'Cuz Colin, man, I'm frakkin' hungry.'" Light, lilting laughter. "Can't argue with that, yo. That shit's champion."

"Rather have another burger than some'a them fries anyway," Kulko affirms his sympathies, exhaling up out the courtyard. "You think its true, its not as bad for you as tobacco?" Tis' statement gets a flare of interest. "How reinforced? Like they'd need somethin' more than a boot and some Tee-Ell-Cee?"

The corner of Tisiphone's mouth quirks once, then again. It's close to a grin — closer than she's been all day, at least. It fades away again as she tucks her unlit cigarette into the corner of her mouth, slips the pack away, and asks Kulko, "Bum a light?" The ciggie bobs in her mouth. She's trying to smile. "Dunno about the doors," she adds. "Sounded solid. Locked. I couldn't budge 'em. Maybe it just needs a couple beefsteaks." A glimmer of humour in sunshine-squinty eyes.

"Dunno," says Ashwood, snapping his fingers when Tisiphone orders her boytoy to serve her addiction. Nice play, lady. "Maybe after I'm done here I'll tell Frankie we've got some triple-chocolate cookies hidden behind those doors. Guarantee you, man, dude will be right through — like the last time he jumped in a pool — " Perfect teeth sparkle as the sun catches his genial smile. It's just like a commercial. "Just went fwoosh and all the water ended up on those chicks tanning on the deck — think they were from network or something, too. And of course Chris has to go 'Yo Frankie, you're level eight, right?' and he — " The smile fades into wry fondness, into quiet contemplation. "He says 'Can't cast them lust spells cuz I don't dig that fake-ass shit.'" Blond hair falls over his eyes as he slouches forward, expression masked. "Glad he made it," the reporter murmurs absently. "Good dude."

Kulko fishes back out the disposable lighter that's been serving his purposes, handing it over bottom-first to the pilot. Ashwood's stream-of-consciousness outpouring is studied attentively, the Canceran remaining largely silent. Entirely so, in fact. He just folds his arms and smokes down the Colonial, having finally secured some non-mentholated nicotine.

Play FAILED — she gets the lighter, not the cherry. Better luck next time, Ensign. Tisiphone actually lifts a pale brow one tiny fraction when the lighter's offered, gaze flicking up to the JTAC's face a second later. "Thanks." A little droll, that — but she'll take what's offered, and light up with a thick puff of smoke before offering it back. "Talked with some folks last night," she says, changing gears as she shifts restlessly against the wrought-iron bench. "About MolGen. Sounds like it was some sort of- scientific cult. Suicide pacts. The works."

"Biotech," comes Ashwood's disdainful voice from his post by the fence. "Rayburn's crazies. Bring them in, get taxes, profit — except he forgot the bit about the taxes." He sighs as he tests the weight of his pistol in his hand, shoulders slumping back against cool red brick.

"Well, robotics was off the table," comes Kulko's snide response. "Folks need some way to hold themselves over the gods. Turned out they couldn't zig, they zagged." Seems simple enough. He pockets the lighter again and pulls a long, sharp drag, eyes tracing over Tisiphone as she shifts about. "Ain't had a chance to speak with Calvin yet. What sort of stuff were they workin' on?"

"You ever do a piece on them?" Tisiphone asks Ashwood, gesturing a little with her cigarette at him. "Ever- frak, ever hear anything at all about 'em, other than them being a cash-grab for the city? Whatever was going on there…" She half-turns on the bench, leaning sideways into the backrest, one arm stretched along it, the other hugging her shins toward her chest. "They didn't say a lot beyond 'shit be fucked, yo,'" she says, her gaze aimed toward Kulko but focussed on some middle distance. "Sawyer said something about a robot that didn't try to kill them. And they saw one of those- women. Two of them, actually."

"He mentioned that on the radio," Kulko notes. "Else we might not have known to put her down." He shifts his weight, hooking his free thumb into one of his beltloops. "Too many questions here. Be glad to get back shipside, start answerin' em."

"Kept to themselves, mostly," Ashwood says, setting down his gun at last. Black metal rests gently against dirt and gravel while he stretches, touching fingertips to toes in an effort to make sure he's still limber. "Marty wanted to do some digging a year ago, maybe eighteen months? Turns out their parent conglomerate — Impunge, maybe? I forget. Anyway, their parent made an offer to some doc dude who was all about 'exploring the synthesis of the biological and the cybernetic' or some consultant-speak. Miranda Keeler, I think. All sorts of hippies came out of the woodwork to raise a sto-o-o-rm of shit." The reporter sniffs. "Dealers made a killing until the board backed down and sent her back to the boonies. Lost the trail after that."

Exploring the synthesis of the biological and the cybernetic? Tisiphone looks as comfortable with Ashwood's words as if she was being asked to dig up her own grandmother's bones and perform acts of gross human indecency upon them. Despite the heat, a hackle of gooseflesh crawls down from her scalp across both arms, raising pale hairs in its track. Pulling hard on her cigarette, she scrubs at her arms and looks away from the conversation. That dead tree over yonder. So compelling. "Lieutenant Oberlin could stand to hear that," she says. "Maybe there's more they can put together. Sounded like they spent several days there."

"All sounds like doubletalk to me," Kulko half waves it off, "But you're right. There's somethin' here we ain't seein'. There's a reason this city weren't leveled like the others. That was half the reason we're on this rock. Be nice if they found it, after all."

Tisiphone's seated sideways on one of the wrought-iron benches, knees hugged to her chest. Kulko is standing somewhere between her and Ashwood, who's leaning up against one of the brick pillars along the perimeter, his handgun stuffed into the edge of his pants. Gangsta.

"Ye-a-a-a-ah." Spoken as five syllables, not one, as Ashwood's gaze drifts over to Tisiphone's tree before sliding to his gun. "Been meaning to chat with him, but he's busy and I'm busy." A curious unfamiliar edge enters his tone, which — though it loses none of its melodious smoothness — has roughened considerably. Irony, perhaps: because cooped up in here, just how much work is there to be done? "I'll find him when I find him and we'll sit down and have a good long chat." A bead of sweat pools near his bellybutton, whisked away by an idle fingernail. "All I know is this: whatever your MolGen was working, it sure as Aphrodite's tits are buxom and bountiful wasn't even close to legal, else Marty wouldn't have spent so long barking up that tree. Call it feminine intuition."

Cooped up in here, indeed. There's a reason Tisiphone knows what's up with the dead shrubberies — she's paced their circuit several times now. When she's not down here, pretending to relax, she's looming upstairs by one of the smashed-out windows like some kind of sunburned gargoyle. She folds her arms across her knees and rests her chin down on them, frowning hard at the tree. "Gods, we're frakked," she mutters, the words flat. "We're- so frakked."

"Hey — he-e-e-yy." In one smooth motion Ashwood is up, pistol shoved back into his pocket before he makes his way over to Tisiphone's bench — not bothering to keep his head down in the event that a Cylon sniper is out to pick him off. Chalk that up to confidence, stupidity, or both. Blue eyes do their best to fix on hers as his warm hands run through now-stringy hair. "Chin up, yeah?" Lips purse as he weighs his next words. "Or if you can't, just pretend in front of Marty." The tenor of his voice is lighter than he perhaps intends, and his grin is just a little on the side of 'wan.' "She's — you know, she's already enough on edge," is how he finishes. Probably not what he'd originally intended to say. "Redheads." A nervous chuckle.

Samuel has made his way out and about, ducking down a bit more than Ashwood does. Looking around, he notices the people present, heading in that general direction, a bit slowly.

It's a sharp and humourless look Tisiphone flicks back to Ashwood when the man moves into her line of sight. "No. Really," she says to him, matter-of-factly. "We're frakked." She props her right elbow against her knee, leans her cheek against her forearm — a posture she used a lot, while her arm was still in a cast. The other hand plucks the cigarette from her mouth as she pulls a final drag off it, flicking it away to smother in the dead grass. "Second we landed. Centurions there. Cripple our ship, barely even look at us. Second we're out of the forest, we're herded like goats onto that frakking bridge. So sure we're dead they don't even check — and then when they do? They just keep us pushed back. Right where they want us. Only frakking reason we made it /here/ is because now they want us /here/. It's perfect. We're pulling all the city's survivors that're worth a damn with us as we go. Doing their own frakking work for them." Her voice gets tighter and tighter as she speaks, the blase tone fraying at the edges. "Soon as we've done whatever they're waiting for us to do, we're done, too. Frak, I'm- I gotta go." Who knows /where/ — but she's pushing up to her feet, all jangled nerves and tension.

"Hey." The edge in Colin's voice finally comes into focus as his hand whips out to grab her wrist, fingers heavy against the protruding bone — it's weary patience that's snapped at last. "Chill." Gone is the affected surfer-patois he sheds like a second skin, replaced by a tone more brittle than anything she's likely heard from his mouth of late:

"You want, I'll pop you now and it'll all be over. I can do it cleanly now — Chris showed me just where to aim. Says they don't feel a thing — like crippled horses, he said. Too lame to run fast, too old to go to stud." His chiseled features turn grim. "So they just chew their apples and stare out past the barn and chew some more apples until — " The woman is released as he leans back into the bench, eyes shut, splinters cutting into the skin of his bare shoulders. "Vets don't kill them, Chris said. They kill themselves. Vets just finish the job."

Samuel pauses a little bit as he hears the conversation now. "Am I interrupting something?" he asks, after a few moments, before he catches the end of Ashwood's words, "Some would say that it's only life that kills…" he comments, a bit thoughtfully. Glancing around for a few moments now.

Tisiphone goes to stalk away, only to be corraled by a hand at her wrist. She whirls around, right at the edge of her escapeable distance, frayed look kindled by a flare of white-hot anger. Whatever she utters at him isn't Caprican Standard by any means, but it would be easy to imagine it involves something about his lineage, the sorry state of his manhood, or how his head will look served up on a plate. "Let. GO. Of. Me-" she hisses, about the time she's released, and staggers back a step. Her hasty retreat stalled, she's left there tense and glaring at Ashwood with some mixture of fading fury and defeat.

No more words from Ashwood, not yet; instead, coiling up from his seat like a reloading spring, he forces into himself whatever he'd planned on saying. And the gun? It's left on the bench's faded, peeling paint, it and its shadow bulging like tumors on brilliant Sagittaron orange. Malone receives a brief pat on the back — commiseration, perhaps, or merely tacit agreement he doesn't express even when he reaches the door. But as he undoes the locks, fingers working by memory, cool blue eyes settle on the deflating pilot with something like pity.

"Just got one bullet left in that revolver," he says, tone flat. "One out of ten. Good odds, dude. Like you told me: better than waiting for the Cylons to do it." There's no warmth at all in his smile. "Hope you're feeling lucky." And then he's through the door, roaming inside to see if Barron's finished up with that burly fellow from III.

Just where she hates to be — thwarted, in whatever direction, for whatever purpose. Tisiphone stares after Ashwood, sleety dagger after sleety dagger flung at retreating shoulders, her arms folded up tight against her chest. There are breathing exercises that are supposed to be good at times like this — breathe in, hold to th- frak it, breath in, hold to 1, 2- no, seriously, FRAK IT — that have her shoulders hitching with effort. Her eyes narrow as he turns, delivers his parting shot, and exits; as the door closes behind him, she turns her head and spits at the ground, before stalking over to collect his sidearm.

At this late hour, there's another figure emerging from the front door of the abandoned Saggitaron embassy's administrative wing, a pensive look on his face and his left arm hanging in that seriously low rent sling. Lt. Oberlin's free hand is bunched in his pocket and his stubble-marked face darts from to and fro, eventually settling on the image of Ashwood. Tisiphone too. A pistol's tucked into his belt, but he otherwise appears as at-ease as he possibly can. And there's a sigh. No context was conveyed, of course, but it doesn't stop his impartial, world-weary sigh. "Really?"

Samuel shrugs a little bit now, shaking his head, before he looks around. Noticing Oberlin and offering the man a quiet nod, but not saying anything yet.

"Really /what/?" It's prickly and defensive, but without enough heat to push it to 'bitchy'. Tisiphone doesn't turn as she asks it — she's busy collecting and making safe Ashwood's sidearm with quick, angry gestures. Click. ClickCLACK. Something about the revolver draws her lips back from her teeth with exasperation before she grimaces — either at it, or herself — and shoves it into her pocket opposite her own sidearm, like some kind of lopsided gunslinger.

Samuel gets a bit of a caught eye and a nod in return on the part of the weary-looking lieutenant. His hand comes out of his pocket as he curls his fingers about his chin and just lingers there. To provide a study in contrasts, he's ice to Tisiphone's fire and remains stationary as his head slowly and gently lolls to one side to study what the Ensign's doing. "It was the first word that came to mind." He elaborates, dully.

Samuel is unable to hold back a bit of a grin as he hears Oberlin's elaboration, but otherwise, the Corporal stays silent now.

What's the Ensign doing? Trying, poorly, to vent a whole lot of emotion out in the general direction of Away(tm). Arms folded in a deathgrip across her chest, chin lifted slightly as she stares out at the tips of the wrought-iron fence and counts to three again, then again, then again. "Did Stephen catch you while you were inside?" The words are tight, and crack slightly on the question. "There's all sorts of crap he's waiting to tell you." 'Crap' is precise, isn't it?

"Was talking a bit with a couple of our new friends inside. Trying to figure out what they're good at." Oberlin begins now with a frank admission of how he was spending his time. "Breakout planning. I should have been some toolbox in a corporate conference room somewhere scribbling forgettable shit on a whiteboard. BRAINSTORMING." A single, dry 'heh' is uttered. Simple as that. "I haven't seen him, though. What's got /you/ so riled anyway? Other than, well, everything." He sweeps his good hand out now in the direction of the ruined buildings further into the city.

Ears aflame, Kulko emerges out from the building, flipping an assault rifle magazine end-over-end in one hand. Something to quiet the nerves, keep his hands busy - the boundless enthusiasm of the previous day has waned. He makes his way towards the assembled Cerberus crew.

"Everything," Tisiphone replies, taking the predictable dodge. Her mouth squirms through a series of unhappy curves as she lowers her stare from the fence-tips to the withered grass near her feet. "Nothing you need to hear. I mean- seriously." She clears her throat to try and get the words out more easily. It doesn't really work. "It's- just-" Shaking her head at herself, she mutters something and flops her hands down to slouch into her pockets.

Fumbling at his pocket again, Oberlin thrusts his good arm into his pocket and produces one loose, slightly crumpled cigarette. He starts to scoop it out and prop it between his lips as he then works on producing a lighter. This gets placed in the palm of his bad hand and he proceeds to awkwardly perform some kind of juggling act as he stuffs the smoke into his mouth. After all of this, he just shrugs a little, although his forehead bears a few deep lines as he stares at Tisiphone with a gaze as dull as his own voice. "Apparently not." Pausing some, he takes notice of Kulko. "Name Him and He Appears."

Water. Hot water. After being grimy and ick for so many days, Bannik is thankful for any of it, even just a pot of water. In other words, he's somewhat freshly washed, and he's entered the grounds, moving towards his 'savior.' "Tisiphone! Thank you so much for —" He trails. "Everything okay?" He seems wary of what he has happened upon.

"Tisiphone. Calvin. Bannik." Kulko's looking around for his own smokes in his pocket, giving up after just a moment. "I miss somethin?" The tension isn't sliced so much as blundered into, Stephen looking between the other officers expectantly.

"Everything's fine. Water's hot? I should go soak my head before it cools off." Tisiphone's voice is suddenly brisk, cracking a bit as it bullies past the earlier tightness. "I'll- catch you guys in a bit." She turns, scrubbing at her head through her bandana as she stalks off, beating a retreat for the embassy.

<more to follow if the those remaining logged!>

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