PHD #361: SFAE*
Summary: * Stupidest Frakkin' Arguments Evah. A play in three parts.
Date: 22 Feb 2042 AE
Related Logs: The Untold Story (Mark). Questing (Marko).
Leyla Mark Marko 

Act 1: Heart vs. Mind or WTF is wrong with you?

Aerospace Facility
The fourth largest single room on the Cerberus, the Aerospace Facility actually appears larger than the Galley because there isn't a kitchen. The only separate area is a large cage at the rear that contains all the cutting, welding, and air tools necessary for assembling nearly anything. Although primarily for assembling new Vipers and Raptors or fixing large parts of current ones, just about anything on the ship can be fixed here. Raised areas of the deck stand in for tables and an intricate crane system runs along the ceiling to move anything too heavy for crews to situate on their own. On both the port and starboard sides of the room are huge elevators that drop down into the floors for projects to travel to and from the Hangar Decks.
Post-Holocaust Day: #361

The elevator lights turn as the huge motors beneath lift the massive plates. They aren't old enough to groan but the weight is obvious from the noise involved. When it finally arrives at the level Mark is standing on it with a few snipes. "Alright guys, head on back to clock out. We'll finish that junk tomorrow. See you later," he dismisses with a wave. Yep, real up on his military protocol. The group scatters as Mark looks around at the usually quiet fabrication room. Hands stuffed into his pockets he makes his way across the deck after a few moments pause and lets his eyes stray randomly to whatever draws his attention.

Not so quiet as one might expect, at the end of the day. The sound of machinery is sign enough that either 1: Someone's still here, or 2: Someone didn't hit the 'Off' button when they should have. The first, more than the second, if one gets closer to the far side of the facility, where more of the piecemeal work is done. One of the engravers is still spinning up, the soft hiss of glass on metal as it's being ground down a contrast to the dripping of water into the collection tray, or the mist of spray rising from the point at which the water's cooling the heat of friction. Deck coveralls again, covering the small figure of the taurian pilot, Leyla's eyes protected by safety goggles as she works the small square of glass in hand.

Aroo? Mark heads over towards the sound of machinery and smiles at seeing the figure in orange coveralls. He grabs a set of glasses and wanders over towards her. Following the first rule of noisy machinery, he doesn't surprise her. The man stands off behind her, waiting until a pause in the work before he calls out to her. "Leyla," he says just loud enough to be heard and get her attention. Don't screw around with heavy machinery. "What's up?"

Leyla doesn't respond to the ChEng's arrival, at least if dropping what she was working on and screaming like a little girl would be considered the appropriate one. Rather, she finishes the task at hand, sliding off of the stool she's working on, a hand flipping the switch to allow the engraver to spin down, as she carries the piece she's been working on over to wash away the glass dust and particles and leave it to air dry until she can pick it up again. The piece is circular, and has the start of a sort of rounded honeycomb sort of effect being carved into it. "Mark. Keeping busy."

"Yeah, so I noticed." The man watches her move about and just keep it short. Not totally unlike the woman but still. "I haven't seen you in a few days. Wanted to thank you for loaning me your bunk. Slept like a rock." He keeps his hands in his pockets and looks towards the glasswork but he doesn't approach until he's getting better signals.

Leyla seems quite content to let the man do as he pleases, as she goes through the routine of cleaning and washing down the engraver. Cleaning as you go always yields better results than letting it all pile up at the end, "Oh, it was no trouble. Like I said, the bunk above me's free, or you can use mine, it doesn't really bother me at all." A hard twist on the locking mechanism, before she starts to work off the engraving wheel she was using, in favour of one with a finer grain. "And you need to get as much sleep as possible, so don't be shy about that."

Mark nods a few times, watching her. "Well I might take you up on that but figured I hadn't seen you for a few days and.." Awkward. He lifts his hands from his pockets and crosses them over his chest. "You've been pretty busy. Something wrong, Leyla? Something bothering you? I didn't say anything on an asshole level to you again did I? Because wow, I'd feel like an ass after all that."

"No, you didn't say anything on that level to me, Mark. I'm just not that good when it comes to these sort of personal relationships. There's a reason I'm not close to many people on the ship. And that includes the air wing." The first grinding wheel is removed, washed off, them set to dry, before Leyla takes the second to spin it into position. "I don't really know how to do that sort of thing."

Mark listens in silence, letting her words hang as he dips his head forward. Its his confused face. He thinks on that for a few moments before looking back to her. "You'll have to forgive me but I don't quite follow. Apparently there is something wrong and.. you feel that you're needing to explain yourself for not being good with people? Leyla?" He peers at her. "I don't expect much of you as far as us hanging out because you're a very self-contained person. I get that. But you're going to have to forgive me if I don't quite understand why there is something amiss."

"The last time we met, we had a disagreement. That wasn't my intention. And I never apologized for that, and I should have. You deserve better than to be challenged, just because your ideas don't fit with mine. I should have been more accepting of the fact that your point of view isn't always going o be my point of view." The second wheel is set onto the engraver, and tightened down to withstand the torque of the engraver when it gets up to full speed, "So you didn't have an asshole moment. I did. And I've learned from experience that the best way to fix that is to remove myself from the situation."

Mark listens without interruption. That all strikes him in an odd fashion. The man watches her work but steps around her to lean against the bench. He's not inside her personal bubble, but he isn't far from it. "Let me just say that I don't recall a disagreement but if we had one from your perception, then okay. I appreciate the apology but I don't think its needed. If you took something away from that, even better. But seriously, Leyla? Removing yourself from a situation or person just because you don't agree with them is no way to go about business. I consider you a good friend and a fantastic teacher. Interacting with people might be tough but insulating yourself from friends isn't something that I'd look forward to from you. Disagreements are what help us grow. We learn from them. I welcome them from you."

"I'm not sure how you could have missed it, it took up enough of the last of our conversation that you nearly went back down to work gain, without even trying to get any sleep." Which clearly irked the woman, "But if you don't even remember it, then it must not have been that important after all." She finishes with the second grinding wheel, before she looks back, "You'd be surprised how good I am at insulating. Most people don't even recognize that I'm doing it." There's a strangeness to her expression halfway between bewilderment and disbelief, "Are we, Mark? Friends?"

"Oh that?" Mark chuckles, shaking his head. "Yeah, Leyla, that was just my opinions on family. I was going to go back to work because if I think about that stuff too much it gets me in a rather down mood. Work distracts me. Its how I insulate myself from my own demons." There's that honesty. Its not exactly a somber tone but its not the usually upbeat guy. "I recognize it because you actually let me get close enough to get to see something of you and I'm not talking about your tatau. And yes, wholeheartedly. Leyla, I would definitely consider us friends. If that scares you then I'm sorry but I think its a pretty fair approximation of our relationship."

"So how is my insulating myself any different from you drowning yourself in your work? Seems to me that there isn't any difference at all, if we're both trying to escape our demons. And it's not as if they're not going to be there in the morning. And every day until we face them." Funny how it seems more important for you to face your demons than for her, but Leyla is as she is. But there's a tightening of her lips, an uptilt of her chin, "I'm not afraid."

"Its different because it doesn't have me insulating myself from potential relationships - and I don't mean strictly romantic. I got to work to -see- other people. To interact and have laughs. Lose myself in it. I guess at the end of the day what I'm trying to say is that- well, okay." Mark smirks. "See? Damnit. You make me think about this stuff. Look, I guess you're right but at the same time I am willing to talk about them. I told you that I wouldn't try to change you, Leyla. I don't intend to. But I do ask that you consider what we talk about. I'm not your therapist. Just a concerned friend." Mark watches her reaction to the last though and smiles. "Maybe, maybe not. But if you feel one way or the other about it I'd call that a good thing. Its okay to care - which I know you do. If you didn't, you wouldn't insulate yourself when you think you might harm someone else."

"You can work all day with someone and not have any sort of relationship with them, friendly or otherwise. And you did say that you isolate yourself from people. But you claimed that you had to, because you're the ChEng now. And it's part of the job, right?" No, it wasn't exactly those words, but it was close. At least in her mind, "If you don't want to keep thinking about this sort of stuff, you probably shouldn't spend more time with me. Because it's probably never going to change. We're always going to be talking about and doing things that aren't going to make you comfortable. And I don't need a therapist." But the defiance peters out at the end, "It's not okay to care. But that's just my own personal opinion."

Mark chuckles, shaking his head. "I go to work to see people. I interact with them and care a great deal about their welfare and how their lives are going. But I also don't involve my personal life with their own. Rarely I will see these people outside work because that is what I mean about keeping professional distance. I ask them about their boyfriends and girlfriends. I like to know because they are important to me. I dodge their questions to me. That's what I was referring to." Though the part about her challenging him gets a quirked brow. The Captain puts his hands into his pockets and watches her. "Fine. But we're going to also talk about and do things that also make you uncomfortable. It won't be tit for tat, but I can give you the same challenge. And no, I don't think you need a therapist either." With her defiance losing steam, he looks away with a genuine smile. "Maybe it isn't, but denying a fact isn't going to change it. Be logical, Leyla. Why would you insulate yourself from people you might hurt? Is it because you fear conflict? I highly doubt you're afraid of many things in life."

"Do you even have a personal life to be interfered with, Mark? I might not know you that well, but I get the feeling we're both on the same page in that regard." That is to say no more of a personal life than Leyla does, which is pretty much nil. "And I fail to see how dodging questions really saves you from getting involved. They're only trying to match your level of involvement with theirs." Another snort, as if to defy the man's ascertain that he can make her uncomfortable, "I don't fear conflict. But I don't like the person I become when it becomes the only option I have left. And you wouldn't like me then either. Hell, I'm not even sure why you like me now, but that's neither here nor there."

Mark shrugs, the movement carefree. "No, I don't really have a personal life. I work most of the time. I read. I like to drink when I'm forced to take time off. That's about it. But what works for me with evading questions and still keeping up with my people. It doesn't always work for everyone else. Everyone's leadership style is their own. They know I care. I know they care. The difference is that they don't have to worry about me. I'm allowed to worry about them because its part of my job." The man delivers it all as if it were an off-hand fact. But he smirks lifting a finger to shake once at her. "Nice. Skillful dodge, right there. We've been over why I like you. And I don't intend to challenge your person code about violence. But I do intend to see a result to my question about why you would insulate yourself if you didn't care - something other than a dodge. You're a smart person. You don't have to answer me vocally, but don't run from it in your own mind."

There's a decided wrinkle of her nose, when Mark mentions drinking in his off-time. Clearly not one of the pilot's favourite passtimes, "If one person really cares about another person, then worrying about them comes with the territory. That's what it means to care about people, to take the good with the bad." Leyla finishes with the engraver, but stand beside it, rather than settle back onto the stool to get back to work, "And I never said that I didn't care about people. I just recognize that preserving them and their wellbeing is more important than preserving mine. Some people are expendable, others aren't."

"Yes, exactly. But you said that caring isn't okay which had me wondering why. I know you care about me and I'm glad. I care about you too, Leyla. Just keep in mind that part about taking the good with the bad. Remember, I'm a horrible dickhead sometimes. I don't mean to be but that's just who I am. You keep almost everyone at a distance but that's just who you are. Its part of what makes you charming, yeah?" Mark gives her a friendly wink and looks to the grinder as she finishes. He doesn't seem to be too concerned with its status more than just having something to look at for a brief second. He takes a long breath while he thinks on the next part. "Leyla, absolutely no part of humanity is expendable anymore. Especially you. Think about all the things that would not have happened this far into our lives, let alone especially this war, had you not been here. Not to mention the living, breathing history you carry." He finally looks back to her. He's serious about the next part. "Leyla, you want to know what pain is? Hearing a friend say they're expendable."

"For other people, sure. Not for me. There's no future for me, Mark. Just the end of the road, getting closer and closer every time the cylons jump into our proximity. It's letting someone get close to you, knowing that any day they'll have to mourn you. That's not caring, that selfishness. It's taking a few moments of joy, and condemning them to the pain after your die." Still, Leyla's steadfast, even through Mark's declaration, "Atreus was expendable. We left him on Aerilon. So was that man we condemned to death returning him to Sagittaron. We do pick and choose who lives and who dies. Thus, not everyone has the same value." A light lift of her shoulders, at Mark's final declaration. She can't take back what she said.

Mark furrows his brow. "So its selfish for you to allow other people to care about you? You do realize the irony of that statement, right? You can't possibly say its fair to tell other people how they should care about you. Or even -if- they should. If we just run around and never bothered with feelings then we might as well be Cylons, Leyla. We suffer through the pain because of the joy of friendships. We do it because we care and want to share in those good times. That you may not want to proactively get involved is your choice but saying that other people aren't allowed to care about you? That's pretty bad." Mark places a hand flat on the workbench. "Atreus chose to return to Aerilon knowing full well what it meant. I have no idea what you're talking about with the other guy. But we do not pick and choose who dies based simply on abstract fact or the lack of self-image. There is no 'For Sale' sticker on your forehead telling me or anyone else what you are worth. You toe the line and you fight. You fly out in a Raptor every day and risk your life. If you really believe that you're expendable and worthless then step aside and turn in your wings. Disown everything you have worked your whole life for and suffered past. You're one of this fleets most valuable people. You don't have to like it but you should probably come to terms with it."

"Whether it's fair or not isn't really the issue. But yes, it is selfish. No less selfish than what Apostolos did when she killed herself. She couldn't deal with her own shit, whatever that was, you know, besides frakking her SL, so she killed herself. Because she couldn't handle her own pain. Only she didn't think about the dozens of people who's have to deal with theirs once they found out she was too much of a coward to stick it out and deal with her pain like the rest of us do. I do the same thing, a little bit at a time, every day, except I do it in a raptor, not with drugs." Unlike the ChEng, on most days, Leyla actually is wearing all of her identifying insignia, including the wings she reaches up to pull off of her leftside lapel, setting them down on the engraver, before she turns to head for the hatch leading to the hallway.

"So you're just going to lump yourself in with her because denying people the chance to get to know you is no less selfish than just quitting on life because life is about pain and joy, Leyla." Mark purses his lips. Though as she rips off her wings, the man stares at her. He lets her get about two steps before he grabs up the wings and reaches for her arm to turn her back around to face him. "So you're just going to quit, too? You're going to walk out on everything because one of your friends told you to that? You're going to throw away everything because someone challenges you to question your own self image?" He narrows his eyes. "You don't have the right to quit. Not on your wing, not on the fleet, not on me, and sure as hell not on everything you've worked for. //Especially/ not because you think you're expendable. Don't you even dare."

Leyla doesn't get an answer in, not until she's grabbed and pulled around to face the ChEng. And despite the fact that she has to crane her neck to look up at him, she does it with her usual self-possession, and not at all like a child looking up at a much older, taller parent, "I couldn't change your mind about family, and you wouldn't even entertain the idea, and I'm supposed to change how I feel about myself because you think I should? What I think about my life and my own self-worth outside of my ability to fly a raptor has absolutely no bearing on how well I do my job. And I always do my job."

Mark stares right back at her eyes. "You want to change my mind about family then I dare you to take the first step and admit the truth about yourself. You quit being so damned selfish about who you are and what people should be allowed to feel about you and I'll quit being a pigheaded sonuvabitch." Though the last gets a lofted brow. "Oh really? So you threw your wings down on the table because you always do your job and what you're told?" He holds them up next to his head. "Because right now you're not going to be able to do your job exactly because of your own self-worth and what I just put in front of you."

"Since you're not my therapist, but you clearly seem to have some ideas, Mark, why don't you tell me what the truth is about myself that I'm supposed to be accepting? That's I'm useful to the fleet, of course I am. Like you are, like Gabrieli was, until he couldn't do the job anymore. A cog in the machinery, Mark, that's what we are. Like Val, Duke, Tess and Tally were when Toast ordered them to fly into the engine of a basestar to destroy it, buying the lives of the fleet with theirs. Four lives to save hundreds more. Don't you get that at the end of the day it doesn't matter what I feel? It only matters what I can do."

Mark takes a breath and just shakes his head. "You know what? You're right." He looks away for a moment and then back to her. "I have been telling you and its not getting through. I don't know what's got you so upset with me but I guess that ain't the point. So hey, tell you what.. I surrender. I've tried to explain that simply giving up our lives without feeling anything is what makes us human and not machines. I can't make you understand that." He turns and tosses the wings back onto the workbench. "Take them if you want them, Leyla. But for frak's sake you might try admitting once that you aren't always right what is going on. At least I am willing to meet you halfway about family. I'm reaching out here to try and make that kinship with one of the hardest people in the fleet." He looks like he might say more before he stops short on the breath. Mark looks off past her before moving off on his own accord.

"Some battles aren't worth fighting." Leyla remains where she is, making no move to go after the man, even after he releases her arm. She simply stands there, the expression on her face testament to how gut-wrenching it has been for her to push him away. And if she tells herself that it keeps him safe and relatively happy, well, it doesn't do anything to assuage the pain she has to live with because of it. She does reach out for her wings, her voice quiet, before she schools her expression, moving to depart herself, "Goodbye, Mark." And then, so softly that it's said to herself, "I'm so sorry."

Act 2: ECM vs Physics or WTF are we talking about again?

Map Room
The one object that dominates this room is the one it is named for: the giant plotting table in the center of the room. Bottom-lit like the plot in CIC, this one is twenty feet across and about the same distance wide. The maps, which are rolled and kept in a locker at the side of the room, provide much more detail than most of the charts in CIC and are especially useful in planning tactical operations. Unscaled models of ships are available to be situated on the surface of the table and risers on each side of the room allow for a small audience to watch or be briefed. A single large LCD screen is built into the wall at the far end to display reconnaissance or other supplemental material.
Post-Holocaust Day: #361

"Okay….co-ordinates at three four one carom one one four." Marko says to himself, frowning thoughtfully as he pours through the Cerberus' vast collection of maps, both digital and hardcopy. "Here we go." he says, keying up the master display to reveal a map of the space surrounding the area the ship he and Leyla found on the day they found the Ark. "Not a lot special about it." he says, thinking out loud. "Just on the fringe of Tauron space…..Tail end of the run…"

"Which makes me wonder why they stopped there at all. I mean, maybe they were salvaging fuel and materials, but they have more than enough of that around Virgon, they wouldn't need to get anything from there. So there must be something we missed, something we looked over. All I can think it it has to be something to do with these ships, who their passengers were or what they were carrying." Leyla's standing by the main LCD display, squinting up at the map. Clearly, she never got the lecture about going blind by standing too close to a screen.

"Think the only way we're gonna know what it was they were doing is to go inside that ship and take a look." Marko replies, starting to cue up tapes from the mission they found the thing on. "We could sit here and speculate until the River Styx freezes over." he adds with a little shrug. "Not gonna get us any closer to an answer. Besides, we need that ship more than we need answers of any kind." he adds simply. "Ready to go over the PiRCS data?" he asks.

"I know, but we still need to get clearance to do it. And with all the shit that's going down right now, I don't know if Toast would let us go out there just to poke our noses around. But we have got to get more ships into this fleet, if only to help us move people around. We can't afford to keep using the raptors for transport." A nod, as she steps back a bit from the screen, "I'm ready."

"Well, the good thing about this boat, Sweet Pea, is that, barring any sudden changes, she isn't going anywhere." Marko replies with a chuckle. "Gravity inside of that asteroid belt's pretty stable. I've been crunching the numbers on that for the last hour. So unless the Toasters take an interest in destroying her, nothing else should." he says, tapping a key to start a frame by frame replay of their visual sweep. "I'm not seeing any hull breeches so far." he notes, watching the images carefully.

Leyla tilts her head peering up at the images, as if shifting her head would give her a better view of the entirely 2-D image, knowing it won't, but it's an instinctive reaction, "Can you access that database of ship insignia we should have in the system. Are there any marks on this thing we could use to try to identify who it might have belonged to?"

"I can try." Marko replies, pausing the playback to try and capture as many of the markings on the ship as he can. These, he feeds into the computer to scan for matches. "Okay….Registry number Mike Victor one one five oh sixer eight November Sierra…." he replies a few minutes later. "She's the….MV Ithaca…Scorpia-registered. Huh…'free trader'….No mention of weapons systems on her sheet, but you know what the lag time's like between the Registry and the Fleet." Marko grumbles. "Ain't bureaucracy grand? Ownership's listed as Kylos Lines, which means about nothing also."

"Yeah, especially since Kylos Lines closed up shop about five years ago." Leyla's expression has taken a decided downturn, "They were the last holdout commercial line to close in that merger with Glenaine on Virgon, remember? Glenaine bought up half the companies working the outer rim of the Colonies. Which means this was probably one of the ships they sold off rather than scrapping them." The ship itself shows repair upon repair, its hull a patchwork quilt of repairs and overlays. "Which means it was probably sold private, like the Elpis. At auction to the highest bidder. Nobody worth anything would have been in that thing."

"Yep, remember what I said about Phantom Six?" Marko smirks. "You're looking at the MV Phantom, right there. All that's missing is the perky teenage mechanic, the hard-nosed ex-Marine she's married to, the thug they hired on Aerilon and the Priest with an iffy background." he pronounces. "As for the rest of her, I got nothing." he shrugs. "Which is hardly surprising, considering."

"And the crew transport." Leyla lifts a hand, indicating the shot of the back of the ship, where the hangar is left open, "So where did that go? If they were smart, they wouldn't have gotten out in the middle of the shitstorm the Cylons must have been raining down on them, so they most likely waited until the skies had cleared to leave the ship. So where did they go? And does it have anything to do with why the cylons came back there?"

Marko gives an eloquent shrug by way of reply. "As I said, only way to know's to check her out." he replies simply. "We could guess until we're blue in the face." he adds. "But she's there, and, Gods willing, she'll stay there long enough for us to come back to her when we're not all hands on deck for CAP."

"Until this is all settled, we can't even think of going out there. If we jump out, what happens when the cylons have come while we're away, and we jump back with no idea where the fleet went to? We'd probably never find them again." Not an idea that Leyla is particularly attached to. "I like you a lot, Marko, don't get me wrong, but I don't want to die out in the blackness of space with you like that."

"Huh…I'm not exactly in a hurry to spend my last few hours without my wife at my side, either." Marko replies with a chuckle. "Still, looking gives me something to think about that isn't just staying alive from one CAP to the next." he sighs. "Besides, I know you." he says in a mock-accusatory tone. "You'd be breaking this stuff out yourself soon enough, thought I'd get a leg up on you for a change."

"The world doesn't stop turning just because you're stuck in a rerun. We still have to think about keeping the fleet alive, keeping humanity going, getting them what they need, even if we don't ever get to see the light at the end of the tunnel." Leyla's not made much comment, in the months since she's been paired with Marko, about the inevitability of death, but it's always there, waiting just around the corner. "How much energy does it take to keep the FTLs spun up? On the big ships."

"This class of ship?" Marko asks, consulting the data the computer's given him on the Ithaca. "Not so much as you'd think, really." he notes, sounding mildly surprised. "I'd call it at about zero sixer gigawatts, give or take…..based on mass alone. Sounds higher than it is, considering what it took to push the Elpis into sub-space." he notes. "Good design, at least, for it's age. Pretty fuel efficient." he adds, filing back through the image files. "That's interesting, she's got a ram scoop…..Won't take the place of tylium, but she can replenish her own RCS systems, maybe even siphon enough hydrogen and/or oxygen for water or power generation." he says, aiming a laser pointer to the relevant bits. "Looks like it was done after-market, look at the rivet lines."

A nod, as Leyla's eyes scan the images Marko's putting up on the screen, "So much more fuel efficient than the Elpis. Think there's any way we could make those same changes to the freighter?" Marko's no engineer, no, but a major part of his job is knowing an FTL drive inside and out. Knowing its fuel intake and how best to manipulate it to make things work as long as his pilot needs it to. "And I'm wondering if we couldn't find a way to keep the FTL drives hot on the other ships. Save us from having to stay out so long with the cylons while we wait for their engines to spool up."

"Eh, I'd have to crunch some serious numbers on _that_, Sweet Pea." Marko replies frankly. "FTL drives are stand-alone, as you know." he points out. "They're either spun up or they're not. Once spun up, they're kind of like a cocked pistol. You aim and fire, or, you don't. All I was ever trained to do was spin the FTL in the Raptor up, make sure the course was laid in correctly, then cycle….Keeping them hot?" he shrugs. "It might be possible, but I'm the last one to talk about it." he admits, frowning thoughtfully.

"No, you're the first person to talk to, because I know you'll tell me if the idea if stupid or not before I take it to anyone else, if I have to." There's something to be said for a non-judgmental sounding board, "I just know that we've got to find a way to make these things more efficient. Especially that civilian freighter. I know Payback and his crew are doing the best they can, but we need to find a way to make the jumps faster. We can't afford the sort of damage we're taking on a daily basis. And we're sure as hell not finding more salvage or more planes to get in the air. Frak. There's got to be at least one damned ship with some vipers and raptor in it that didn't get nuked. Hell, I know we can build them, but it takes too long. We've got to replenish the wing."

"Hey, I'm right there with you, Sweet Pea." Marko replies, sounding perhaps a trifle defensive. "But all I know's what I've been taught. And what I've been taught's you spin up the FTL, you fire it, then power it the frak down _quickly_." he explains. "You're talking about _major_ power drain just to cycle the damned things _once_. Cycling them, and holding that kind of charge?" he asks rhetorically, holding out his right elbow before slapping it with his left. "Who knows if the capacitors could even handle that kind of a strain for any length of time? And, as you well know, you blow one of those, you are _FRAKKED_…." he sighs. "If you're looking to shave time off of the fleet's jumps, maybe we need to think more about having pre-set co-ordinates ready and being more ready on the trigger. A lot of what's slowing us down's like what you said, the Elpis….There's gotta be something wrong there."

"I was afraid you were going to say that." Leyla sniffs, clearly not happy with the answer. Which is precisely the sort of answer she would give anyone who was asking, but Marko's a hacker damnit, he should be able to jury-rig something. Damnit. "Which mean a raptor on rotation checking those coordinates to keep them viable. Maybe setting up multiple lists of jump points. Each day gets a new jump point. Randomly selected, so that each ship has the coordinates keyed in and ready to go. And if some arrive at the point and not others the fleet can jump back to find them where they went missing."

Marko sighs when he realizes that Leyla doesn't get it. He's a _hacker_, not an engineer. Give him a computer terminal and even the most rudimentary network, he'll be ordering his groceries on it inside of ten minutes, and making someone else pay for them. Yes, he can soup a computer up to do things it was never designed to do, that's just basic technical skills and a little imagination. But what she's talking vis a vis the FTL drives requires intensive training that the Colonial Fleet doesn't just hand out to ECO's like him. He knows what's trained to know. Input co-ordinates, spin the drive up, turn the magic key. "That sounds pretty much like the way of it. Use the Raptors for what they're designed for." he shrugs, not knowing what else to say. "If you really wanna talk about the FTL drives, then Gods, go talk to Makinen, he's got the answers for you." he adds, sounding a bit exasperated.

Surprise, in Leyla's expression? Yes. Yes, she was asking Marko to speculate on something outside of his exact training, but she did drop it in lieu of talking about things they could do. But he still seems pissed at her. Again. "Right. Of course." Clearly confused, but she's not about to start an argument about it, "I'll let you get back to work then. I guess I'll be down in Fabrication if you need me."

"Wait…wait." Marko calls, motioning her back. "Look, I'm willing to do the research." he says, frowning thoughtfully. "Y'know, look into things, but I just can't promise you anything." he explains, his voice sounding oddly pleading. "I have never taken a single class in FTL Theory, so all I know about it's what the manual says." he adds. "If you want me to start digging, then give the word, and I'll dig hard as I can." he says. "I just think you're talking to the wrong guy…Introduce me to the right one, maybe we can come up with something."

"Frak's sake, Marko. I wasn't asking you to do the research, I'm still not. I was asking you if you thought it was possible. If you say it's not then it's not, and there's no point it bringing it up to the ChEng, because he'd probably tell me the same thing. Mark's a lot of things, but he's not stupid. And when I stopped to think about it, I realized that if it had been possible, he'd have done it already. So then I tuned to thinking about jump coordinates, and you were still pissed. I'm not going to stand here and have some stupid argument with you."

"Okay…okay…" Marko calls, holding his hands up in near-surrender. "Can we please figure out what the _frak_ it is we're arguing about?" he asks simply. "Because until we do, I don't see any reason to go any further with any of this." he says, stifling a yawn behind his fist. "Look, I get it." he adds at length. "The whole stoic thing, so severe, so tough….I _understand_, Gods, I even sympathize…I had the option, I'd be there too…" he begins, taking the kind of deep breath any male of the species would recognize as 'I'm about to dive into deeper water than I can safely swim in'. "But it's enough okay, it's just _enough_. We can either trust each other or we can't. We can either work together, or we can't. I'm not _angry_ at you, I'm _frustrated_ with you." he sighs. "Go on, talk to Makinen or who ever, maybe they can give you what you want. I'm very tired, very hungry and would like to spend at least a few minutes cuddled with my wife. If that makes me a weak little frak, so be it. I've been called a shitload worse."

"I don't frakkin' know what we're arguing about. I asked your opinion, you gave it to me, I accepted it, you got pissed. Was I not supposed to let it drop? Did you want me to push you to do researching. What the frak, seriously. I don't know what the hell is wrong with you." Or her either, but that's not the point! Neither she nor Marko is likely to admit that the exhaustion of the last ten days is catching up to them. "I don't recall ever saying or even implying that I didn't trust you or want to work with you. If you want to find yourself a new pilot, go the frak ahead, cause I'm sure as hell not going to be known as the one who kept you away from your damned wife. Go eat and sleep and do all the shit a normal person does."

"I don't want another pilot, I don't want another anything. What I want is to….." Marko begins, tone equally heated, "Frakkit, nevermind…." he sighs, saving the feeds and shutting down the terminal. "We're too fried to make good sense…Go to _bed_, Sweet Pea. he says, firm as command. First go eat something, then go to _bed_." he says, his tone brooking little argument. "We'll talk this over more when both our brains are working."

"Sure, fine. I've been wanting to try the new meat surprise anyway." Cause she is so not in the mood to fight right now. "We've got the Alert raptor in the morning. Don't be there early. I expect you to be in Lunair's bunk," (does that poor woman even have a first name?), "bunk until fifteen minutes before your shift." Enough time to shower and get dressed. And yes, she's a full LT, so it's an order. But Leyla isn't looking back, she's just marching out the door.

"Yes, sir!" Marko shoots back hotly. "Sir-dy, Sir, Sir! Hoist the mizzen! Hoist the mains'l! Stoke 'er right up, we go full ahead! Damn the torpedoes..!" he snarls in a pirate-y voice. "Bring me a plank, an EVA suit and a kitchen knife!" he grumbles. "Not my fault you wanna live like the virgin Priestess…"

Act 3: Calm vs The Storm or WTF just happened?

Pilot Berths
The battlestar's pilots call this place home. Bunks line the walls with grey curtains to cover their sleeping areas. Lockers sit between each pair of bunks and a round metal table sits in the center, furnished with simple but comfortable steel chairs. A hatch at the rear of the room leads to a communal head.
Post-Holocaust Day: #361

Everyone sleeps, eventually. Pilots, crewmen, medics, even engineers. But mostly pilots, every second that they can get, now, when they're not flying CAP or sitting on alert status. And now, for a few more hours at least, it's Leyla's turn. The berthing may or may not be quiet, empty or not. She's dead tired wrung out and oblivious to the world. Just give her a bunk and a blanket and she's happy.

Enter Mark. The man looks over towards the closed curtain of Leyla's home. He's swapped out his dirty dungarees and showered, opting for sweatpants and tanks in case she doesn't kick his ass out. The man takes a breath and moves to sit on the edge. "Leyla," he whispers past the curtain. "Bed."

Damnit, Jim! She's a pilot not a—oh right. Leyla's arm, reaches out past the curtain, which, at least, opens the curtain enough to show that she is indeed in residence, and she is alone in there. Her eyes are barely open, and what she can see is mostly hidden by the hair falling in her face. Even she doesn't sleep with her hair braided. With a pilot's sure navigational skills, sleepy fingers manage to latch onto the edge of the other tank and tug, though it's unlikely she has the strength or presence of mind to pull the man into the bunk under her own power, "Sleepin'," slightly slurred, as if the man needed to be made aware of what she was doing.

Mark barely manages a smile. He looks at her sleeping form and lets off a light breath. Maybe this was a bad idea. She's a pilot. She doesn't need some jerk..being tugged into her bunk. Mark doesn't fight the pull and rolls down into her bed with her and blinks. He doesn't make a sound. There's not even a token protest. This was definitely not what he was expecting. His mouth opens to say something but she's probably back asleep by now. He adjusts his body to fit however she's accommodating and just lays there. Right. It won't be long before he just gives up and does what he'd been hoping to do - sleep.

Once Leyla recognizes that she doesn't need to keep tugging to get the man to move, she scoots over on the bunk, making enough room for him to lie comfortably. Yes, she's still in that halfway place between waking and sleeping, but she's more than well aware of who it is that's settling in next to her. Thankfully, she's small, and this doesn't end up like two sardines in a can. Instead, once he's settled on his side, which is, despite her own size, the only way two can really fit in the bunk, short of one of them sleeping on top of the other, Leyla burrows in against the warm, tucking her head down somewhere in the area of Mark's sternum. "I don't snore." See? That's important too.

Mark lets her burrow down, still somewhat surprised by this. But she doesn't seem the type to just randomly invite a man into her bunk unless she knew or suspected who it was. But she's giving him- Yeah, she must know. "Me neither," he whispers. His arm slides up under the pillow and his right arm brings the blankets up over them. Mark lifts his head a bit to make sure its falling around her completely and not leaving a draft. Unsure of what to do with his other arm he lets it fall between them for a hesitant second before just draping it over her. There's a long breath before he rolls his head into the pillow and looks around her bunk once more. What the frak with the arguing? Dumb. "I'm sorry," he whispers. Its barely loud enough to be heard. She wouldn't even wake if she were already gone.

She wants to stay asleep, she really does. But as familiar as Mark is, he's unfamiliar as well, and the dissimilarity of the man, larger size and slightly taller, compared to Bunny, the only other person she regularly, or irregularly sleeps with, means learning to adjust has the unintended effect of pulling her out of sleep, "I'm sorry too." Her voice is still soft, sleepy, but not with that edge of, I'm talking in my sleep. "Hate to hurt you."

Mark's face gives a sad smile. Poor Leyla. He knows he's supposed to be mad about earlier but he came to her. And seeing her like this is hard to deny. "Same," he whispers back before giving her a gentle squeeze in a hug. He releases the hug after a few moments and sighs. "I won't quit on you. Promise." Even after the fight earlier for all the anger, he *did* still come back to her. Its not an overly romantic gesture from the man but even without looking to his closed eyes its easy to tell he means that.

Leyla hasn't lifted her face from Mark's chest, despite the fact that it makes talking a bit dodgy. She seems, rather, to have the simple, very human need for contact, for being close to someone else, for affirming your own life through the feel and sound of someone else's heartbeat under your hand, or in this case against her ear. Taking a very fundamental comfort in proximity, something the woman, under most circumstances, almost strictly avoids. There's nothing romantic in her gestures either, or sexual. While it's not childish, it is child-like, looking for safety via proximity, in a very unsafe world, "Gonna be hard. I get mean and stupid."

Mark dips his head closer to her own almost like he were trying to comfort her through a trying time or hard emotions. He deflates a breath and smiles with her admission. "Thought you were talking about me for a second." His hand doesn't rub at her back. It doesn't linger in one area or scratch. He just holds her like this and lets the seconds pass as they both flirt with the edge of sleep. "We're strong. And friends don't quit."

"Not hard and mean. Just hurt, like everyone else." And if she's implying that she herself feels that way, well, it's a truer admission that one would get if she were fully awake with her shell pulled up around her. One arm snakes over Mark's side, settling comfortable, the other settling a hand on his chest next to her cheek, "So tired. Tired…being strong." And that's the one thing she'd probably never admit to in the light of day. A year of flying, of being the front line, of watching people fall by the handful. "Sleep now, better in the morning."

The man doesn't smile, twitch, or react to her arm moving around him or how close she's made herself to him in the bunk. He doesn't call her out on her words. He doesn't try to make a point. Mark opens his eyes to look down over her as she moves to fall back asleep and he gives her an unseen but caring smile. "Dream of better times and warm fields, Leyla. 'Til the morning." He relaxes his head into her pillow and closes his eyes, his last coherent thought that he hopes she remembers he is here in the morning.

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