PHD #221: School's In
School's In
Summary: As some of the offduty crew help in setting up a makeshift school down in the hangar, Astra discovers that there are still some unpleasant lessons left to learn.
Date: 05 Oct 2041 AE
Related Logs: None specifically. All Astra logs generally.
Astra Leyla Samuel NPC 
Hangar Deck - Starboard
This Hangar Bay is filled with boxes, crates and other various supplies that are needed throughout the ship. Most have been moved to one end and lashed with tarps to keep them out of the way. The place has gone from extra ship storage on one end and the ability to house over 450 people on the other end. Whatever could be made into cots has been set up like a huge barracks. Some areas have been made more presentable with a few items that belong to the person holding onto their small area in this world. Marines guard this area 24/7 and food is brought in cafeteria style, feeding people out of vats and buckets as they line up with their plates. One area has been tarped off to the side, that holds canvas showers and sinks. As a small improvement in the standard of living, the Head, showers, and sinks have been hooked up to running water and sewage, meaning that they no longer stink or need to be cleaned daily.
Post-Holocaust Day: #221

The end of the world is no excuse, when it comes to being able to do your homework. No it is not. And at the moment, it seems as though a small crew of people pulled from both the civilians who are still, for the time being, camping out in the starboard hangar and offduty ship's crew who have offered to donate their time and seeing to making certain that every child's worst nightmare is coming to pass.

Over on the far side of the hangar, where excess storage has been roped, palleted and tarped off, works seems to be underway on moving and arranging the storage to create two makeshift 'rooms' albeit with only a few walls(allowing for security sweeps to be done) and no roofs. Boxes, crates and sundry are being stacked and sorted for the walls, and empty crates are either being used for 'chairs', if they're small enough, or have been broken apart and set on other crates for 'desks'. Yes, it's very jury-rigged and yes, it doesn't look as ice as what, perhaps, the children were used to, but it's what they can do and what they're offering right now.

For some reason, Samuel came back down here after he was finished with his sift here. He's unsure of what he can do to help people here, but at least he should do something, right? Keeping quiet as he looks around in the crowd for now.

When modern technology fails or is in short supply, older techniques, even ancient ones, suffice. Astra is moving towards the two new rooms, carrying with her two long boards whose original purpose is unknown now, but both which have been painted black on one side. She drags them along, limping; they are perhaps five feet long by three high, makeshift blackboards like one might find in period-set movies. The woman's hair is tied back but damp with sweat; she has been working long hours on this project. She lowers the boards a moment or two; almost there, she still needs a rest.

Newly minted she might be, but it doesn't seem to have in any way effected her work ethic, and Leyla is shlepping crates with the best of them, working along with one of the engineers, Carlsen, who seems to have been the one to design the rooms to be both as private and as noise dampening as possible, given the location, circumstances and security concerns. They are, after all, trying to create two spaces where the children of the ship can work and learn in 'relative' quiet.

Samuel moves through the crowd, pausing as he sees Astra and those boards. "Need any help with those?" he asks after a few moments. Reaching over for the boards, so he can help with them should she let him.

Astra looks up, blinking for a few moments, then nods. "I could use a hand, yes," she murmurs, finally offering a smile. "They're a bit heavy, but…" A shrug, and she lifts her ends of the boards which are as big as she is.

Thankfully, the crates that had been temporarily stacks in the 'doorway' of the room into which Astra seems to be carrying her boards have only just been scooted out of the way. The final panel is put down on the final two crates and the last table is ready. from the size of the creates and the numbers of tables, it seems likely that the two rooms, which do have a walkway built into the walls to allow a teacher to move from room to room without having to step outside of them, have been arranged to be able to separate the children roughly by age group. Leyla looks over from where she's securing the panel to stop it from falling off the crates as Astra and a marine, by the looks of him, carry in the black boards, "Hey, let me get that." She moves to, if she can, take over Astra's position in front.

"Always glad to help," Samuel offers, with a bit of a smile as he starts lifting the boards on his side. Waiting as he hears Leyla's words, keeping quiet for now.

"Sure… thanks…" Astra answers, a bit breathless even with her rest and the help. She eases out of the way so that Leyla can take up the boards, and she moves a few steps so that the pair can move freely, and so that she can get a look at the rooms. A delighted smile brushes her lips. "Oh… it's wonderful. Absolutely wonderful. They'll be able to sit and study… and feel like their lives are more… normal now. Oh thank you…"

"Not a problem," is Leyla's answer, as she takes up Astra's spot. "I think we can put one board in here, if you don't mind, marine," said not out of rudeness, but because she simply doesn't know his name right just yet, "and take the other through to the other room." A shake of her head, but she doesn't have to answer, as Carlsen does that for her, "Oh, it's no trouble. I figure we might as well do what we can while we can. Just let me know where you want the boards, and we'll find a way to rig them up for you."

"Okay." Samuel offers, before he adds, "And the name's Samuel. Samuel Blaine." He offers a bit of a smile in Astra's direction as well. "No problems at all. Good to do something useful here."

"That wall there," answers Astra, nodding, "and the same in the other room." She points to the wall that the tables are 'facing', more or less the front of the room. "I made mounting holes, so they can be nailed or chain-hung if hooks go over the top of the wall. The boards themselves just have to be stable enough to not fall when written on or erased. It's an old way of doing things, but we used them for some things in my school on Aquaria. I think I can adapt them here." She wipes the sweat from her forehead.

"Yes, sir," is all Leyla has to say, cheerfully, mind, as Astra directs her to the walls in question, working with Samuel, after she offers a, "Leyla, Aydin, or Sweet Pea," to the man, to hang the first board, climbing up on the crates to secure them with hooks and chain. Strict orders, she has, not to damage the supplies being stored, and chains better distribute the weight. "We had ones like this back home. I used to love getting demerits and having to clap the erasers. I'd come home covered from head to toe in white powder."

Samuel nods a bit, "Pleasure to meet you," he offers to Leyla as he moves to better help lifting the board up high enough for the fastening to get done properly.

"I had a teacher, when I was a girl, who used to throw erasers at us if we weren't listening, or were passing notes or misbehaving. He had incredible aim. Used to be a sharpshooter. Derek Kostanos, or… Mister K, we called him." Astra takes a few things out of her bag and sets them on one of the tables. "What a terror. At any rate, yeah. We don't have any erasers, but there's a few spare rags that work just fine."

Leyla can monkey climb with the best of them, and the first board is soon set to rights, before she hop hop hops back down to the deck to move to grab up the second. "Sounds like you went to a taurian school system." A flash of a smile, before she lifts her end of the second board and looks to Samuel, "You ready?"

"Had a teacher once that threw a piece of chalk at one of my friends, while he was asleep over his desk. Bounced right in front of the poor guy, and over his head. He never slept during class again," Samuel offers a bit lightly, before he moves to pick up his end of the second board. "Anytime you are," he offers.

"Taurian? No. Just a strict school…" Astra shrugs. "We tried very hard to put discipline in our school, but not… overwhelmingly so. Because… it was arts-focused too. It was… a good place to learn." She closes her eyes a moment, then looks around. "What else needs doing? I hate to just stand around here doing nothing."

Chirpy little deckhand Redman to the rescue, as the woman, even tinier than Astra if it can be believed, pops her head in at just the right time, what with Leyla and Samuel wander off towards the second room, Leyla throwing back, "I don't think they were nice enough to call it discipline at my school." "Whew, where's a whole lot of stuff coming." So efficient is the deck, "I was going to do it all myself, but you know, there's that cute paralegal down in JAG, and I flipped my hair, and voile!" No, little Jena Redman has absolutely no qualms about sharing her personal business with anybody. A mail bin is thunked down on the deck filled with facsimile copies of the books and lessons they've been able to recover from the surface for the 'school', "We got a couple more coming, they're sort of all thrown together. We had to make a dash for it before the JAG got back," but there's a batting of her eye lashes that's a sure sign that the photocopying was NOT the reason Redman was running for her billet out of the JAG office.

Shaking his head a little bit as he listens to the others now, Samuel helps with the moving of the board, smiling a little bit as he thinks back to his own days of schooling.

"Oh! Oh, thank you!" Astra actually does jump up and down a few times, until her wrapped ankle gives way and she thumps down onto one of the makeshift chairs. "This is absolutely wonderful. Hold on; I'll get you the bin back. You do need it back, and sooner rather than later, right?" Astra starts merrily pulling the copies out of the bin and stacking them on the tables. "Last time I flipped my hair it got tangled in a thorn-bush and it took two hours to get me untangled. Leyla," she adds, calling over, "What did they call it if not discipline?"

"Corporal Punishment," comes the answer, from the woman who's up on the stacked crates high enough that she can keep her head over as she strings the chain to hang the second board up where Astra's picked out. "And they liked to use it. A lot. Paddles, rulers, canes, that sort of thing." A shrug, as best Leyla can manage while hanging nearly upside down, before she starts to move back in the opposite direction to climb off the crates.

Samuel grins momentarily as he works on lifting up the board. "Corporal Punishment? I seem to remember that guy from basic… I think he was from… Tauron or something…" Looking around the room for a few moments.

"Oh goodness, no. We didn't have that. When I was at school the worst thing that could happen to you is that you had to stand out on The Rock. This was a big flat rock that had railings around it. If it was windy or stormy you were harnessed to one of the rails. Unless it was too cold or stormy. Anyway, you had a placard around your neck with your "crimes" printed in big letters, and you would have to stand there for the rest of the day. A lot of ferries passed by there, so usually half the town knew if you'd done something wrong by when you got home. Gods." Astra shakes her head, then hands the mail bin over. "Thanks. I'll get right on this."

"Hey, it's no trouble. Let me bring the rest in," chirps Redman, as she grabs the empty bin and goes off to start the line for the other four she brought with her. "We sort of glued together some books for you too, for the kids to use to take notes in and things." In the come in a series. "They don't smell so good right now, but if you let them air out a little, they should be okay after a while." Leyla finishes with the board, and makes her way down, going back out to the room where Astra's school supplies are being delivered, "You the only teacher in the hangar, Astra?"

"The Rock? Sounds ominous," Samuel offers a bit thoughtfully as he moves out to the other room as well. Looking a little lost in thought for a few moments, before he adds, "Didn't happen much things like that back when I was in school. I guess they could have sent us out for the wild animals, or something…"

"Looks like someone already did you." Hey! It's not like you can't really notice the huge clawmark running down the side of his face and part of his neck, "I heard there was some sort of encounter on the surface. I hope it was worth it. Cause it looks wickedly painful." Leyla settles in by the bins, helping to clear them out so they can be sent back down to JAG by Redman.

"If there are, they haven't stepped forwards," answers Astra. "Well, there's Callie Reddik, but she's not lucid most days…" A sad shake of her head. "And Edo Kimmler, who taught two months before going into business consulting fifteen years ago. Maybe we'll find more on the other colonies, if we get survivors. If not… Just have to come up with a program to teach teachers, too." She blows back some wisps of stray hair, then looks over at Redman. "Thanks. I'll let them air overnight and then make sure the kids don't sniff them too much."

Samuel nods a little bit at Leyla's words, "That was from our little field trip to Leonis a while back," he offers. "Got into a little fight with a bear. I'd say the bear won, but I'm still here," he says with a half smile. "Got attacked by a wolf there as well, and now I got ran over by a stag when we were down hunting. Seems like the animals have something against me, these days…" Grimacing a bit.

"Well, maybe you can start screening them, at least. I mean, get people together who have skills the kids might need, have them get facts down for you to teach, if nothing else. Geography, the sciences and such. See if Lt. Lunair will let you down into hydroponics. Might do some good for them to learn how to raise crops and such, especially if their freighter gets off the ground." Samuel does get a quirk of a smile, "Did you at least catch and cook the deer that ran you down?"

"Screening's next on my list, actually. I wanted a basic curriculum set up so that the kids can start now, and can add once there's time to get teachers. With only thirty children, there's at least room to improvise and build a school model from the ground up. Deck up. I want to include life skills, like hydroponics. Also basic first aid, basic survival skills, safety, and emergency preparedness." Astra moves to another stack. "Wolves, bears, and deer? Wow. Makes me realize how lucky I was."

"Someone was kind enough to shoot it when I didn't quite succeed, yes," Samuel offers with a quiet smile. "And it's good things to avoid. I just wonder what will happen next time. Will I get bitten by squirrels or something?"

"Well, I imagine there are people on the crew, like these," Leyla lifts a hand, indicating the people who are still buzzing around trying to get everything set up, "who'd be willing to help out with classes, or even offer some manuals you could use to build plans out of. But I think if we could get that hydroponics going like we want to, we could employ people not only to work there, but to teach others how to do it too. Not everyone is going to be able to go back to the job they had before. We're all going to have to learn to do and be things we never thought we would."

"Well… like I said, I do like the idea of getting the children involved in learning the hydroponics. But I want them to learn a lot of different things. Give them options…" Her voice trails off, and Astra looks up. "I wonder, though. Once all the colonies have been surveyed… what then? Do we find a new home and start over?"

Samuel nods a little bit to the others, "That's what I was thinking about as well," he offers to Astra. "We probably have to settle down somewhere, or there's no big point in things, I guess."

"Well, it won't be on any of the Colonies, that's for sure. There's not a one of them that isn't so laden with radiation that it wouldn't fry you if you stayed there too long. That's why we're working so hard to get people off the surface, because the radiation is going to be affecting people on the surface fore decades to come, possibly generations."

Astra nods sadly. "Yes. I didn't expect that we would. I don't expect to have a lot of children to teach, at least not for a while." For a moment Astra squeezes her eyes shut, takes a deep breath. "None of the colonies, but… where then? Do we stay in space forever? I suppose it can be done. Or… do we find somewhere else, build a life, hope the Cylons don't find that planet? A lot of skills would be different, priority-wise at the least, depending on where we decide to make a home. Or is there a plan yet, beyond save everyone we can? Which should be the priority, gods know. I'm just wondering how to teach for what comes after."

"Has to be somewhere else, yes," Samuel offers with a bit of a nod. "Needs to be some other suitable planets out there somewhere, though."

"As far as I know, the plan is to save and salvage as much as we can from every Colony that we can. Beyond that is above my paygrade. We're having a hard time enough getting through every day, to worry too much about the future, at least that's how it seems in the berthings." Unlike the civilians, who, fortunately or unfortunately have a lot of free time on their hands, the crew is busy almost 24/7. "we don't even know what all the Cylons are up to, or how far their reach extends beyond the Colonies. I guess as we can do at this point, is teach them how to be good human beings, better than we were ourselves." Redman's back though, peeking her head back in, "El-Tee, chief wants to see you, something about you getting your raptor shot up yesterday." A frown, and the pilot gets to her feet, "I better go see what he wants, but I'll be back down later to check on you, Astra."

"Thanks, Leyla. I appreciate this all so very much." Astra stands up briefly, nodding her head. "I'll do the very best I can for all of the children. It might not be much in the grand scheme of things, but it's the best I have to contribute. I'll see you later." She remains standing for a moment or two, then sits back down, turning back to the stacks of facsimile sheets.

Samuel nods a little bit, "Take care, sir," he offers to Leyla, with a half-wave. Looking around the area again, a bit thoughtfully. "Anything else you need moved down here?"

"We're all doing all we can do, and it isn't much in the grand scheme of things, until we look at what we're all doing together. And that's staying alive." But now she's off to have a fight with a certain chief of the deck. "I'll see you later, Astra, Samuel."

"No… no, I think it's good for now," answers Astra. She waves after Leyla, then settles herself more comfortably, propping up her sore foot. "Thanks for helping, sir. It means a lot."

Samuel nods a little bit, but doesn't leave the room yet. "So… How's things down here?" he asks after a few moments. "I only know what we see while on duty around here, after all…"

"As good as can be, I suppose," murmurs Astra. "We've divided ourselves into the troublemakers and the non-troublemakers. We try to mingle as little as possible. Things get ugly on the Troublemaker side. We're most of us in shock of some sort or another. It comes out in different ways. People want some privacy. They don't want to have to endure countless security sweeps. They want to be able to move about freely without needing a guard. That's hard. It feels sometimes like we're prisoners with benefits."

Samuel nods a little bit, "Let us hope we have a better solution soon," he offers quietly.

"I hope so. I know there's… suspicion. Hosedown was telling me some other pilot thinks she's a Cylon. I just don't get that. I mean, a human's a human, and a Cylon's a Cylon. I don't get how you could think one was the other. And… there's enough violence and bad things that happen without that sort of thing." Astra sighs softly and shakes her head.

"Some of them look like us," Samuel replies quietly. "Trust me, I've met one…" He glances around for a few moments. "We encountered one of them down on Leonis. Maybe even more of them, actually, but one that revealed what she was…"

The papers that Astra holds fall from her fingers. She blinks, staring at the man. "L-look l-like us?" she stammers. She passes her hand across her face, and her fingers are shaking. "Cy-cylons… look like people?" A hard swallow, and there is a sudden fear in her eyes. "So… there could be Cylons here… right now? Even in this bay?"

Samuel grimaces, "Perhaps I said too much…" he offers, a bit quietly, before he nods. "There could be, but we'll try to make sure that it isn't. No need for a witch hunt or something, yet."

Astra shivers, shaking her head over and over. She looks about, then closes her eyes, taking a few deep breaths. "N-no. I'm glad to know. It's just…" She draws herself up. "I had my passports and everything. I'm as verified as verified can get. I know a pilot… got rescued off of Aerilon too. Just a few days ago. She has run of almost the whole ship, doesn't have to go places with guards. I do. That isn't fair. I'm no more or less provable a Cylon. The civilians have to be treated less like prisoners and more like they can be trusted until proved otherwise. Else someone's going to start trouble, and not necessarily one of the troublemakers, either."

Samuel nods a little bit. "Please don't let everyone know what I told you? Wouldn't want possible trouble to start earlier than it probably well anyone." He pauses for a little while, before he adds, "And as for not fair, I understand. Aren't they trying to get another ship set up for the civilians? I think I heard some rumors about that somewhere." He grimaces a little bit as he looks around for a few moments.

"So I've heard," answers Astra. "I don't know if it will hold all of us or not. I'm not privy to much information at all." She shakes her head. "I won't let anyone know. And please, don't think I'm not grateful. It's just… most of us civilians aren't used to dealing with the military. We need answers beyond— that's how things are. We're not trained to follow orders. For good or for bad… it just doesn't come naturally. And…" She shakes her head again. "I'm afraid of being on a civilian vessel with all the children if the Cylons attack."

"I understand," Samuel offers after a few moments. "None of us really prepared for something like this. And we non-civilians have something to occupy us with, at least." He adds, "And we're at least more used to the part about staying out here in the ship for very long periods of time. Most of it, at least."

"I've got nine kids of my own to take care of. I mean…" Astra sighs softly. "I was on vacation. I wasn't expecting to spend months in the wilderness. I wasn't expecting to find myself pregnant, though that was something we'd hoped for. Wasn't expecting to end up widowed, much less have seven kids to take care of. But I love them so much. I am glad to be their mother. I'm glad to have the school to set up. But it does make me think of the future more than most, I think."

Samuel nods a little bit, "Nine kids… Seems like a lot of work…" He shakes his head a little, "We'll have to make sure we get through this," he offers, before he adds, "Should you need someone to look after those kids at some point, and if I'm off duty, just let me know, okay?"

"Sure thing. Mister Blaine, right? I never know what to call you all." Astra nods. "But I'll make sure to look you up. There are times I could use a bit of a break, sure, but not everyone is trustworthy."

"If I'm on duty, people call me Blaine, or Corporal Blaine," Samuel begins, before he adds, "But when I'm off duty, it's enough to call me Samuel, or Sam." He nods a bit to that last part, "Quite true, unfortunately," he replies.

"Sam. And me, it's Mrs. Koios… or just Astra. Astra's fine. The students call me Miss Astra. That works too." She keeps sorting through the papers. "I feel better, though. There's a school and I have others who I can trust with the children. Thanks, Sam."

Samuel nods a little bit, "You're welcome," he replies. "Good if I can do something useful in my off duty time as well, instead of just…" he shakes his head a little, "Just being there, I guess."

"Be glad you have off-duty time, and enjoy it," answers Astra, laughing gently. "Even asleep, I'm not really off-duty. The children… they need me all the time. Even when I can find someone to watch them… I get called."

"I am," Samuel replies, with a bit of a half-smile, before he shakes his head a bit. "It's just that at times it's good to have something to do, instead of the mind doing things without the rest of me taking part." Spoken a bit quietly, that part.

"Well…" Astra reaches out her hand. "You're welcome to come by any time. The babies… it's a little harder, unless you're used to feeding them. Thera… well, she usually comes with me, because she's not… stable. But… if it's something that helps you too, then I'm very glad."

Samuel nods a little bit as he hears that, "Will do," he offers, with a bit of a smile, before he grimaces. "I should be grabbing some food and getting some rest before my next shift," he says. "I'll see you later, okay?"

"Yeah, I'll see you later. Thanks, Sam. I have to be getting back to the kids for a bit, and then I can finish this. Take care… and gods keep you." Astra smiles, then rises slowly and limps off to her children.

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