PHD #195: 'Round the Yard
'Round the Yard
Summary: Three conversations, One CAG. She gets around.
Date: 09 Sep 2041 AE
Related Logs: Singing in the Rain specifically, all Sag logs generally.
Bran Cidra Constin Leyla Sitka Tisiphone 
Tihar Penitentiary - Exercise Yard
The prison courtyard is paved with cracked concrete, the few stubborn weeds that managed to poke through the gaps long since killed by radiation. There is a large garage for the facility's vehicles near the main entrance. The newer, steel-and-concrete prison block looms nearby; beyond it, the bleak black walls of the original prison, narrow window-slits carved into the basalt.The area between the two prison blocks has been converted into an exercise-slash-recreation yard for the inmates, and is cordoned off by chainlink and razor-wire. A few concrete chessboards jut out along one wall, while basketball hoops and a Pyramid court in shambles are against another.On the opposite side of the courtyard stand three gallows, their massive palmwood timbers blackened with age. They face the exercise area, and would have provided the inmates a clear view of their most typical escape from the prison.
Post-Holocaust Day: #195

It's mid-evening, and the sunset has long since bled from the sky. The prison yard contains isolated pockets of light — one or two in the exercise yard proper, another over near the new prison block, where the steady trickle of survivors are being bedded down and processed, and another still by the Vipers, where Ensign Apostolos has taken the lack of nearby deckies as an opportunity to pace around the Mark VII, and smoke, and stare at its matte grey flanks.

Constin is out of battledress blacks and bodyarmor for the first time in weeks. Black trousers and boots are in place, but the sergeant wears only a service tanktop, his dogtags, and approximately three rolls of gauze and tape above the belt. The big man moves stiffly and breathes carefully as he steps out of the bunkhouse and into the Saggitarion night, turning a narrow eyed look around the prison yard.

Unfortunately, the lack of deck technicians means a lack of people qualified to repair the antiques better known as Mark II vipers— which the Knights' squadron leader insists upon flying. So while Tisiphone smokes and contemplates her strike craft's paint job, Shiv is recognisable (or not) only by the lower half of a bulky fatigues-clad frame sticking out from under his nearby red-and-white fighter, and the occasional grousing in Sagittaran.

Cidra emerges from the area leading into the old prison block. What the CAG was doing in there, one can only guess. It's not exactly a 'work' area for any other than the Medical personnel who were down examining the bodies. She's in fatigues, plus the green Navy cap that's become an omnipresent accessory for her during her time on Sagittaron. With the sun down, it's particularly unnecessary now. If one didn't know better, one might suggest she just likes wearing it. She turns her stride in the direction of the planes, but detours when she spots Constin, step taking her past the guards' barracks. "Sergeant."

For once, Leyla is neither in the guard barracks working on her canisters, nor is she by her raptor checking it over and prepping it for leaflet drops. What she is doing, at this precise moment, is venting all of her frustrations on the pile of metal brought back from the quarry for repair work. With the work that needs to be done to gather supplies for salvage and repairs, and the repairs that need to be done, it seems that every hand has been gathered that can be gathered to assist in moving things along. And, given that the pilot is more than skilled at the use of a welder and cutting torch, she's taking up her few rest hours in cutting the large pieces of metal down to size. Combat dress, instead of a flight suit, welding leathers over that, plus goggles, to shield herself from the glare of the oxy torch she's using to divide the metal into serviceable sheets. And for the moment, she's lost in the bright pinpoint of light, the smoke, the spark and flash of popping molten metal dripping down onto the ground below.

Tisiphone tucks her cigarette into the corner of her mouth as her steps pause by one of the Viper's autocannons. She scratches at a blackened dent in the housing, one part restless, one part fretful, then retrieves her cigarette with the sharp deliberation of someone reminding themself to stop fidgeting. "You sure that's supposed to go there?" To Shiv, presumably, as she lightly punts a small chunk of concrete toward his leg. She can't even see what he's working on.

"Major," Constin drawls evenly back to Cidra's greeting, giving a short dip of his chin to the CAG in lieu of a salute. "New arrivals're still being processed, looks like," he observes simply, turning an eye from the Air Wing Major across the yard at the 'new arrivals' of whom he spoke.

"Nope," answers the Captain's voice from underneath the belly of his viper. It's accompanied by a clang as he tosses a panel aside, and shuffles in closer in order to jam his screwdriver up into the access port's guts. The hunk of concrete smacks his boot, and he almost smacks his head as it jerks up swiftly— and reflexively. She might spot the look he gives her, or she might not. Either way, with a huff of breath out his nose, he resumes his work. "If you're bored.." Another clang. "..I can give you some reports to finish."

Cidra's gaze follows Constin's across the yard, to said new arrivals. "Looks like. How are you faring?" She looks the Marine up and down in a very direct manner. Not that there's anything beyond stark clinical assessment in her gaze. "From the reports you took a good deal of fire in the retrieval of those civilians. I had thought you would still be back on Cerberus." It's sort of an inquiry of concern. In her way.

Tisiphone has the grace to glance away and poorly conceal a smoky bark of laughter as a cough, following Shiv's near-braining. "Do I look like a secretary?" she inquires, glancing back with a sharp flick of cigarette filter at him. "Besides." Her eyes narrow thoughtfully on his boots, then flick away as the welding torch backlights the Viper. Pilots. Easily distracted by blinkenlights. "I can't forge your signature yet."

There's nothing more satisfying than wanton destruction, when you're in a foul mood, and Leyla is clearly in a foul mood, given the way she's attacking the scrap metal, cutting pieces off and shifting them over along the makeshift rack to cool, as she moves down along the line, as it were. But perhaps not so wanton, as each cut is neat, precise and pencil drawn straight. It's anyone's guess if she'll run out of metal first, or oxy-acetylene first, but she certainly seems to be a woman on a mission.

Sitka's grin might not be visible, but it's probably evident in his voice when he speaks; his tone is low and subtly amused. "You know, Apostolos, there isn't anywhere to go below Ensign. After that, you're looking at kitchen duty for life." He happens to catch sight of the CAG's boots, then, and those belonging to the marine she's talking to, across the yard. His brows furrow slightly, though he resumes his work on the fighter.

"Got shot at a bit," Constin answers Cidra evenly, in the grand marine tradition of understatement. "Cleared for light duty this morning. Inspecting patrols, scheduling shifts.. Paperwork, that kinda shit." GODS he hates paperwork, and the flicker of distaste across his face reflects the fact. "No marines or fleet personnel killed," he adds with a hint of relief coloring his otherwise level tone.

"A bit," Cidra repeats mildly. A bare hint of a smile might, just might, threaten her lips. It's subtle if it's there. "You and yours did all you could to keep an RPG from making very short work of my Raptors and the personnel aboard them. You have my thanks. See that it is conveyed to the Marines who were with you as well, yes? If you see them before I do."

Tisiphone, for her part, can't see much of the others around the darkened expanse of the prison yard, their forms thrown into silhouette and long shadows whenever the welding torch sparks. Her eyes narrow in a protective flinch every time it does. "That'd suck," she says, crouching down to look at Sitka. "You'd haveta find someone else to do your homework for you, then, wouldn't you?" She doesn't quite smile, but she does manage a wry, smoky snort.

"A bit," Constin confirms, deadpan. A short nod to the thanks offered by the CAG. "I'll do that, sir. But counting ten-plus civvies pulled out of a combat zone? Thats something pretty nice on its own, Major." the sergeant briefly allows a tight grin to curl his lip.

Bran is clearly in the right place at the right time, or just the right place, given the familiar faces loitering about. He looks over yonder in one place while circling around the back end of a Raptor, giving the proverbial baby elephant an appreciative look, and then turns his attention to other points of interest. The man shifts his weight from one boot to the other while clasping his hands together behind the small of his back, just so he can walk smoothly in the direction of Leyla. Once the distance is crossed, he could easily speak up but spends the next few moments trying to figure out what the scrap metal is for.

Sitka seems slightly distracted while Tisiphone speaks to him. Might be the repairs he's trying to conduct, or might be the conversation he's trying — and failing — to catch the gist of, across the yard. Another flare of the welding torch has him shying away— though he's safe for the most part under his viper, with a flashlight to guide his hand. "Just don't.." Thunk as he slots the panel back into place, and begins putting screws in. "..tell the CAG about my slave labour scheme. Hey, could you hold this for me, for a second?" He extends the flashlight toward Tisiphone.

"So say we all," Cidra replies to Constin as to his bit about the civilians. Lips crooking a hint closer to a smile. She inclines her head to him in a deep nod and then resumes her course toward the planes. The flashes of the welding torch, and Leyla's intense work with it, is noted. It can't be missed, really. But it's the Vipers she angles toward. Perhaps drawn by the siren's call of slave labor. Perhaps just thinking it best to give Leyla and her torch some room at the moment.

"Just because you're standing behind me, doesn't mean I don't know you're there, Bran," comes Leyla's reply, as she catches the ECO's approach from back and away. The upside to wearing goggles, they shield your eyes from sight. The downside…well, there is no downside. Light leakage and flare is all on those who aren't wearing them. A rather demure snick and pop, and the torch is off, and Leyla gives the metal time to cool, free right hand pushing the goggles up onto the top of her head, dominant left setting the torch into it's clip, before she bends down to check the levels on the welding gas tanks.

"So say we all," Constin echoes the CAG once again, offering only a further, "Sir," in parting as Cidra turns her steps across the yard. The marine takes a moment to- late as usual, partake of the night's dinner ration.

"Your secret's safe with me," says Tisiphone to Shiv, though considering the tone and the way the corner of her mouth tugs, it could be anything but. She leans forward on her toes to grab the flashlight, then braces her arm against her knees, pointing the beam of light at the Captain's 'handiwork'. "Got a location for us to check on patrol tomorrow," she says to him, after a measured drag off her cigarette.

Torch passed to the Ensign, Shiv resumes the task of screwing the panel back into place. Light slices briefly across his face and hands as Tisiphone gets it into position, illuminating his indelicate, grease-smudged fingers and the rather exacting work they're engaged in. Oddly enough, he isn't all thumbs. Though one might not go so far as to call it a masterpiece of engineering, either. "Mmhm?" he mumbles, on the heels of the junior officer's observation. "What sort of location?"

"I didn't even say you didn't, yet," vaguely-innocently offers Bran in reply to Leyla, looking from her and to the background for a lingering moment. He's weighing if staying around the woman was a good idea, compared to any other choices and options, but that wistful look of his fades and he clears his throat. He produces a pen into his right when the torch is thumbed off, letting it roll between his fingertips in the meantime of eyeing over the scrap again. "So," he starts, in trying to be conversational, "Before I start bids on guesses, what is all this?"

Cidra comes to a stop when she passes the Viper Sitka's working under and Tisiphone is idling by. Eyeing it, rather in that same wing-to-tip, assessing way she'd eyed Constin earlier. "Something wrong with this one?" she inquires. "I had wondered how the older planes would be holding up in atmosphere, particularly parked here where the radiation is higher."

"Mmm-hm," echoes Tisiphone in kind, adjusting the angle of her flashlight's beam. Her eyes narrow upon the Captain for a second, considering, then edge away. "Cluster of farms couple hundred miles south of Sthenoi," she continues, casually. "Survivors we pulled out of there said- Sir." Cidra's arrival brings her to a neat halt, her cigarette lifted in informal salute.

Leyla lifts a hand, not bothering to remove the glove, wiping the back of the leather across her forehead, which, while leaving a streak of soot across her forehead is not at all glaring, considering the rest of her face is covered in it in streaks and patches to an equal degree. "Salvage, from the crusher we found in the quarry. Prepping it to be brought back to the ship, last I heard." Really all she needs to know, at this point. None of this stuff is going to end up on or in her raptor. The metal's just not that good.

Having honed the art of multitasking to a tee, Shiv is able to listen to Tisiphone while bolting the panel back in place. He's just finishing up, as a matter of fact, by the time Cidra rolls up to his viper. She's greeted with a greasy, fatigues-and-tanks-clad Captain armed with a screwdriver and a mop of curls sticking up every which way. "Just a loose actuator, sir," he explains somewhat diffidently, eschewing the salute for a crooked smile aimed the CAG's way. "I'll have one of the mechanics look it over in the morning." Tisiphone just gets a small, firm nod to signify his understanding.

Cidra, for her part, just looks curious when Tisiphone goes all neat stop in her conversation. "Have you intelligence on where more people might be located? That is most excellent. Do be certain to take a Raptor with you if you do think there is chance of recovering survivors on the scene." The Viper is given another long once-over, then a nod down to Sitka. Faintest of smiles, perhaps, as she observes him working the thing. Perhaps. "Well, this is hardly an ideal landing strip, particularly for the Vipers. It is good upon the mechanics that they are all holding up as well as they are."

Bran stops rolling the pen along his knuckles and holds it between forefinger and thumb against his palm, slow to nod to the response given. He moves it to his left hand and holds his chin with the right while looking over the metal some. "Looks like it'd be better just as art, you know," her kind of art, "Not that it's horrible or anything," it's just scrap though, "We make the best of what we have, no matter what."

As Shiv finishes up, Tisiphone pushes back up to her feet and turns the flashlight around in her hand, offering it back to him as if it was a weapon, not a tool. She watches him for a moment before nodding back to him. "Nothing that hasn't already been passed along, Sir," she says to Cidra. "Just new scenery for the morning patrol." A nod to the Major, another for the Captain, and she takes her leave from the conversation, heading for the prison's garage, cigarette smoke trailing behind.

Only too happy, it seems, to let Cidra do what she's paid for, Shiv stays mum on the subject of the recon for the time being. Though as he hauls himself back up to his feet, a glance is shot Tisiphone's way that's tinged with concern. "Thanks for the help," he murmurs, hand held out for the flashlight. Then, "Sir," accompanies a faint twitch of a smile as he reaches for his jacket. Apparently intending on taking his own leave momentarily.

Cidra eyes Tisiphone. Then shifts a look over at Sitka. Brows slightly arched. Like she half-believes she's missing something and cannot put her finger on it. Not that she actually *asks*, mind you. Gaze just follows Tisiphone. "All right, then," she says simply. "Clear eyes and steady hands out there, Shiv. Report anything of note you find." And she'll leave patrol routes at that, apparently. Though she does ask Sitka, "How is she of late? This place makes her…uncomfortable, I know." Not that the CAG is particularly fond of the scenery in Tihar, either.

"Can't really afford to do much sculpture anymore, not like this," Leyla offers, as she removes the canisters from their housing, setting them off with the others that need to be topped up in the morning. "Metal's too precious for that anymore. I've been picking up little unusable scraps though, might try to do something with that. I don't think we're that desperate yet that we need to be melting everything down." Not that the Cerberus has those sort of facilities anyway. "Mostly I've been using them to make maquettes. It's the only thing I have room for." Not like Derry, where she'd spend most of her time in the abandoned warehouse near her tenement, scrapping and cobbling things together. "What's got you so chatty tonight?"

Tisiphone's abrupt wandering-off seems as much a mystery to the Captain as it does to the CAG. He watches after the blonde for a moment or two, then resumes tugging his jacket on, olive drab slithering over inked skin and swallowing it whole. He's about to head off — in the opposite direction — when Cidra's question gives him pause. Blue eyes peruse her face carefully in what light there is, and then he lifts a shoulder in a gesture of uncertainty. "I think she'll be better once she's back on board the ship. This place isn't.." He fusses some more with his jacket. Not usually a fidgety sort, Shiv. "..well, it's always difficult, going home, you know?"

Thinner, sunburn long since gone to a tan, sun-bleached hair — the Ensign's not batting too much differently from anyone who's survived Sagittaron thus far. The smiles she had for the Jharkhand Basin are long since blown away in Aera Yazd's dust, though. "Still dead, hey?" comes Tisiphone's voice, distant, as she puts a hand to the edge of the garage and leans around the corner to look in at the impromptu mechanics working on gods-know-what, within. "I told you, man." She shakes her head at someone inside the garage, blows a line of smoke at them.

"Thought that's what you got all the fancy schooling for, put it to use, make with the happy, less mourning," comments Bran offhandedly in a broken, staccato-like fashion before dropping his hand after stroking over the lengths of his jaw. Not that he was going for a compliment, more of an insult if anything, but in hindsight he should have done the former or simply kept quiet. His expression flatlines in response to the question but it soon has him easing the breadth of his shoulders into a lackluster shrug. "Is this you complaining that someone actually wants to talk to you?"

"Just because one comes from a place does not make it home," Cidra murmurs. "Even so it is…difficult, yes." She clears her throat after saying it, as if half-regretting actually voicing that observation to Sitka. But she just shrugs. "Well. We will have searched all of this planet we can within the next days, I think. We shall all soon be back aboard ship." She offers the Viper captain a slightly awkward parting nod.

Regretful or not, Cidra's observation gains a faint twitch of Shiv's lips. "So say we all," he mumbles, shoving his hands into the pockets of his jacket. A slight shiver, now that he isn't staying warm by slaving away under his viper. "Speaking of which, there's a couple of things I need to talk to you about. Don't want them getting lost in the shuffle." The nod's returned in kind, and he backs off a couple of steps before pivoting and lumbering off. For a smoke, probably, somewhere without volatile viper fuel.

"Last I checked, I didn't get a degree in sculpture. Although I can tell what degree you got, when you were pounding the decks." Leyla finishes up what she was working on, though there's a tightness around her eyes, at the mourning comment. Sam Bran is, quite likely, the only person on the Cerberus that can get a rise out of her when that topic comes up. But it's not like she can argue. "That's me wondering why the you want to talk to me. So here's a question." Leyla begins to pull off her welding leathers, to leave them out for the next person to use. "Who was the «insert colourful Taurian curse word here» who sent us out there with B-frames? Frak all, three years in the ass end of space and we never dropped a B frame on an incursion."

"Yeah, sure you will." Tisiphone's voice drips sarcasm as she flicks her cigarette's ashes at the tinkerers in the garage. "You just finish breaking it. I'll fix it in the morning." A chorus of indistinct male mutters trail in her wake as she twists through a gate to an exposed stairwell, her steps clattering as she picks her way up to the prison walls and finds a spot to lean against, staring out at the ruined city as she finishes her smoke.

Bran gets a metaphorical low blow to the kidneys but at least, when it comes to having a degree or not, it shuts him up from continuing any further. He takes it like a man. He also wrinkles the bridge of his nose and brow out of simple and easy to note distaste before exhaling it all out. "Just 'cause," is offered by the man while he unconsciously clicks his pen. Then he's actually answering, "It could've gone worse, and better, and an Ar would have been lovely, but everything happens for a reason. Doubt I'll need a degree to figure what for."

Cidra lets Sitka go without anything further. Eyes do angle to follow Tisiphone. Beading in that direction for a long beat. But the younger Viper pilot is likewise left to go on her merry way. For now. The CAG also takes her leave of the Viper area. Continuing in her rounds. Finally drifting toward that Raptor, now that the blowtorch work seems to be concluded. Though she's too far off to hear much of the conversation between pilot and ECO. Yet.

There's a wrinkle of Leyla's own nose, at the last. Devout child of the gods thy name is not Leyla Aydin, "Well one of these days, when your gods come to you and give you a vision that explains exactly why all this shite happened, why I had to bring my people back bleeding their blood out over my decks, why seven people we might have been able to save are rotting out there, you make sure you wake me up and let me know." And they are her people. The minute they step foot in her raptor, every soul is hers. Be they a Colonel or a convict. To fly and to protect. But anything else Leyla might say is halted by her downward glance, as she unclips and ditches the combat vest. The shirt that would normally have been underneath was removed, in lieu of the welding jacket. There's 'I can take the heat' and then there's 'This is just stupidly hot'. Once she's down to her t-shirts, and at least slightly cooler, she hunkers down near the scrap, digging a cigarette tin out of a pouch.

Bran clicks through his pen again as if it were an unending cycle and then folds his arms over his chest, inclining his head to the side briefly. He starts to speak up but in the end doesn't bother. Instead, he gets partway through opening his mouth before offering a low shake of his head and idle gesture of his free hand before tucking it back out of sight. "You know what, you're going to be the first person when that revelation comes to pass. I'll make sure of it. The very first one and you'll be happy I did it too." He sets about quietly fuming though and turns his attention to the scrap again, because he can, which then leads to him looking up and elsewhere due to boredom and spotting the CAG. He promptly clears his throat.

Cidra is just in time for the less-than-devout spouting from Leyla. A soft "Ah" from the very Gemenese CAG. But no comment. "Sweet Pea. Pens. How does the eve find you?" Both pilot and ECO and looked over in that assessing way she has of looking at things. Albeit this time her gaze is less probing than it was for either wounded Marine or Viper. Since Bran spotted her first, he is offered the barest hint of an inscrutable smile. Why hello there.

Never let it be said that Leyla Aydin is ashamed of anything that might come out of her mouth. Because she isn't. But at least she knows when to pull the barn door shut behind her, late or otherwise. Bran's throat clearing brings her eyes around and her focus, as she settles on the CAG. She even gets to her feet, "Sir." But before she answers, she flicks open the tin, holding it out so Cidra can grab one, if she chooses. "Cigarette? And I'm in one piece, Sir. More than I can say for some that we brought back." She does shoot Bran a look. 'This is all your fault.'

"Sir," Bran is quick to slide that out before anything else, and even before relaxing upon the miniature episode between him and Leyla. He digs at the inside of his cheek with his tongue some upon the sidelong glancing from Leyla but his attention is shifting easily towards Cidra in the end. "We happen to be quite fine, better than the other day," with an ounce of simply honesty to lighten his tones he unfolds his arms and lets them rest comfortably at his sides, though he does have the habit of keeping his posture now squared.

"I shall. Thank you very much," Cidra says, taking one of the offered cigs, head inclined as she does so. Toast is never one to pass up the opportunity for a smoke. It is promptly lit with a battered old metal lighter she plucks from her pocket. That thing is rarely off her person, save when she's flying. A drag is taken before she says anything more. "It was hard going for you both. And Flasher and Classy. You did what you could in a situation where there were no good choices. People are alive who would not be otherwise. That is no small thing."

"Flasher did a hell of a job getting his bird back up and running, Sir." Yes, she's damned proud of her ECO. Sure, seats on the bus get moved round and round these days, but Flasher is hers. Boots said so. "So did Shiner and Scraps. Is he doing alright? I haven't had a chance to get back up to the ship to check in with him." For all she knows, he could be back down on the planet, but she doubts it. Poor kid took a shot right to the neck. Leyla, with no attempt to be purposefully rude, doesn't even bother to offer Bran a smoke. Waste of a good smoke on a man who, well, doesn't. Instead, she plucks one out herself, and a lighter to go with it. "Sergeant Constin gave us something to come back to."

Bran does take a moment to step out of the conversation in order to look at the cigarettes being passed about and silently pass some fashion of a judgment. He sniffs some at them but doesn't comment, since it'd be waste. He don't smoke! Somewhere along the line he misplaces his pen back into its hiding spot. "Nasty shot he took at that," with regards to Shiner, and he makes a face accordingly. That eases off some, soon enough, but duty calls elsewhere and that means he's off to save the day - elsewhere, with pausing in order to grant leave of the pair.

"Sergeant Constin informed me all of our Fleet personnel are expected to recover fully," Cidra replies. "Two of the civilians, as I do understand it, remain in quite serious condition. But they have some chance for treatment by our Medical staff, at least. And the others we retrieved are safe." She'll take what good she can get. For her part, she is either unaware or uncaring of Bran's disapproval of her smoking. CAG likes her cancer sticks. "In any case. Job is done as well it could be done under the circumstances. We shall learn what lessons from it we can and grieve those civilians we could not retrieve. Carry on, Lieutenant." And she's off with that. To go finish her smoke elsewhere. Not in Bran's vicinity. She's a *polite* smoker, generally.

And for a while at least, Leyla is left in the dark, and the quiet, with only the shuttered lights from the garage and the ebbing and rising glow of the cherry on her cigarette to illuminate her face.

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