PHD #299: Shoot First, Ask Questions Later
PHD #299: Shoot First, Ask Questions Later
Summary: Khloe and Vandy have another heart-to-heart. Marines, a Medium Devlin, and a Deckie add on and the conversation shifts to the salvage operation on Tauron.
Date: 22 Dec 2041 AE
Related Logs: None
Constin Corrath Devlin Khloe Radcliffe Vandenberg 
Galley - Deck 9 - Battlestar Cerberus
Behind the two hangar decks, the Cerberus' Galley is the largest room on the ship. Nearly half the size of a football field, the eating area is made up of long lines of stainless steel tables that can be folded up and placed against the wall for larger events. Individual seats are the standard military issue, boring and grey with lowest-bidder padding. The line for food stretches across one of the shorter sides of the room while the kitchen behind works nearly twenty-four hours a day to produce either full meals or overnight snacks and coffee for the late shifts.
Post-Holocaust Day: #299

Khloe has just sat down to… whatever meal it is for Khloe. Viper jocks often eat, sleep, and R&R around the schedules they have for CAP rotation and other responsibilities they have; in the case of Captain Khloe Vakos, there's a lot of sim time, athletic center, and paperwork that fills up her day. So let's call it 'lunner' - sometime between official lunch and dinner. On her tray is the varying assortment of whatever passes for vegetable, starch, and dairy these days aboard the Cerberus - probably lots of stewed or chipped or creamed veggies, some reconstituted fruit, and a scoop of mac & cheese.

Lieutenant Vandenberg wanders into the galley in her combat blacks - again. She strips off the helmet and dangles it from fingertips while she moves through the line. A sandwich is tossed onto the tray with a few slices of canned peach. Coffee acquired, Natalie turns to look over the room and spots Khloe. Initially she angles away from the Viper Captain but seems to think hard on it as she moves. Led almost involuntarily by a change of directioni n her legs, Natalie looks up to Khloe on the approach and lifts her chin a touch in greeting. "Sir. Mind if I sit? Wanted to- well I'm not any better with it than you are."

Khloe glances up, pausing mid-chew of some of the aforementioned starch and cheese product. When she resumes chewing and nods, it probably means she's inviting the Marine to sit with her. Wiping her mouth with her napkin and then going for her glass of water, she says, "Feel free, Lieutenant. I'm not much of a conversationalist, though." She eyes her tray. "What manner of thrice-killed pseudomeat is in that sandwich?"

Natalie nods to the unsaid invation and settles her tray. The helmet is plopped into the seat next to her as she settles in a bit stiffly. "This? They're calling it chicken salad. It smells like egg salad. Want to taste test, sir? Promise I won't hold it against you if you'd rather not. Heroics of that magnitude are reserved for the Gods, probably." She clears her throat, scooting the seat in. "Look sir, I wanted to say something similar that you did. The line about my life not turning out how I wanted. The insinuation that I should shut the frak up and be thankful. Is that what you were going for, sir?" Natalie doesn't make eye contact until the end.

Khloe wrinkles her nose and shakes her head. "No, thank you. Vegetarian." Whether or not Natalie knew that about Khloe, it makes sense why the Knights SL is never seen in the galley on days when it reeks of whatever prepackaged meatslop they serve every so often. Stabbing her fork down in the thick muck she's calling her lunch, Khloe glances up at Vandenberg's cut to the chase. "Of all the times you could have brought that up, why does it have to be now?" Sigh. "I don't see a point in whining when we're in the middle of a holocaust against humanity, Lieutenant, that's all."

"Ah. Well then nevermind. Probably better for it," Vandenberg muses at the comment of being a vegitarian. The last gets Van to look away though and she stabs a fork into the peaches without remorse. "Because you went on a limb to say what you did the other night, sir. I owed it to you to keep the honesty." She pops the peach in her mouth and clears her throat. "I see your point with what you were getting at, Captain, and you're right. I bitch about the little things to avoid the bigger picture and its sad." The Lieutenant slices a piece of peach in the bowl with her fork. "Its related to the why of how I cannot find the 'shut the frak up' switch in my mind. I grew up rich and isolated." She slices a hand. "And I don't mean that as a complaint. Its just how I had to cope. I dumped most of that aristocratic shitknobbing when I hit puberty but some of it still lingers. Just wanted you to know that I'm not a frakking fragile rich girl, Captain. I don't want a medal or a thanks, just want it understood, sir."

Khloe shrugs, apparently not having much sympathy for the Lieutenant's honesty. "Then, in the same vein of honesty, Lieutenant, you'll have to excuse me for delivering a ration of shit every time I hear you carry on about how much your life is so terrible, and the Service doesn't provide every frakking thing you might need on a daily basis," she states. And to punctuate, she scoops another forkful of mac into mer mouth, purposefully biting the fork with a small nod. You sat here, you deal with it, is the facial expression on her face.

Van stares back at Khloe, eye to eye, with nary a blink. Given the propensity of the little Marine to explode in all manners of speech, it could come to it. But it doesn't. Natalie looks back to the bowl and stabs at a peach. "I'll take it as long as you also remember what was said before. Just do me one favor, aye? I know you don't owe me squat just hear me out:" Van chews on the peach and settles the fork back in the bowl. "I ain't out to shove your face in a beltsander, sir. I respect you. A lot. I'm not out to prove I need yours or any of that crap. But when you hear something that could be taken a few different ways, pause. Growin up where we did? We usually react. Just the law of the land. Give it a pause next time. Ya don't have to put your guns away, sir, just think you don't have to be so quick on the draw, yeah?"

Khloe leans back from her food, crossing her arms and eyeing Vandenberg disdainfully. She lowers her voice so that her next words don't carry very far beyond their table. "I'll give you this one for free, since you seem to not have me figured out, yet. You call it 'quick on the draw'. I call it 'maintaining professional distance'. You caught me at a moment of weakness the other night. Respect is good; it's what maintains the chain of command and creates a sense of trust between soldiers. But don't think that I'm going to hug you and sing campfire songs every time either you or I frak up and share emotions. Is that clear?"

What every good session of Canceron fronting requires: another Canceron. Constin is a mere hour and a half late in getting lunch today- must be a slow business day in the SecHub. In the standard battledress blacks and slinging a P90 CQB rifle, the big sergeant helps himselkf to a double dollop of some sort of cheese pasta product and a side of sandwiches, before taking note of the unfolding love-fest. "Huh."

"Sir? Ain't a person alive who can figure you out and pretendin to is just as lost a cause as trying to mount a hood ornament to a Viper." Vandenberg doesn't look miffed or pissed off by the remarks from Khloe. She just eats another peach and looks back up. When she finishes, "Take your own advice, Captain. I'm not talking about singin' songs or having hearts to hearts. You don't want to be close to anyone. I get that. I'm not looking to have someone brush my hair or hold my hand when I get shot. I'm not even looking for a friend. So yeah, that's real clear, sir. Keep your distance and all that fine stuff. Its your prerogative. All I'm asking for is a chance for you to consider alternative meanings to what is being said. How that has to do with being unprofessional is something I'll need explained, sir." She doesn't seem to see Constin.

"I really don't want to have to make this about rank, because I told you once that I don't feel comfortable ordering you around when you're a jarhead and I'm a stick," comes Khloe's quick retort, her dinner of creamed veggies and faux-cheese-pastas forgotten due to her favorite thing in the world: arguing. "How about this: instead of having me derive some magical meaning from your motor-mouth nonsense in a way that's not my first and easiest interpretation, just say it straight. Don't frak around and just cut to the chase. Because if you're going to dance around, chances are I'm going to get pissed and miss your point. Jarhead to stick. Keep it simple."

"I'ma take that as permission to skip the 'sir's," Constin voices evenly in semi-greeting, as the big man draws near enough to the two distracted officers to set his tray down at the table and take a first bite. Without looking up from his food, the sergeant voices, "I miss anything important, or just more of you two speaking an epic when 'mutual respect' would've served?"

It would seem the galley's the happening place to be on the Cerberus, today. Making his way through the hatch, Corrath's slipping into the room, clad in his regular duty uniform, an indication that he's either just getting off or simply taking a break. There's only a cursory look around before he's angling off to the food line to claim a tray and then .. food.

Vandenberg takes the first part with only a shortly lofted brow as if that's something she was not expecting to hear - though the wording was. The rest just gets a furrowed brow. "Fine sir, but you didn't look too happy when I broached this conversation that way." The Marine turns the fork in her hand, watching the woman across the table from her. "Fair enough, Captain. I'll keep it simple for you - as you requested. Just wanted to impart something to you. Wasn't shopping for a spar." As Constin sits, the Lieutenant nods to him. "Nah, nothing important, Sarge. Just having a spirited discussion on double entandres and loose lips. How's pickins from your detail today?"

Khloe stabs at the creamed gop that constitutes her entree with her fork, again, as if that somehow alleviated the frustration that's on her face and the desire to strangle Natalie that's roiling under the surface. At Constin's addition to the table, she utters a simple, "Sergeant," without breaking her doom-gaze at Vandenberg.

"Shit," Constin return to Vandenberg's inquiry, as he takes a second bite. "Wrote up that request to collect records with the scavenging teams, but ain't likely to see anything done until the Eff-Tee-Ell's up and running agasin," he adds, with a snort.

It only takes Corrath a moment to claim what's currently being passed off as food these days and with a cringe of his nose, he's turning to survey the room and when his eyes fall upon the trio at the table, he's simply angling his way over towards them. Once close enough, there's a soft cluck of his tongue against the roof of his mouth before he's offering, "Howdy folks."

Vandenberg gives Khloe a questioning look as if not quite understanding what's set the Viper SL off. It may or may not be genuine. She aims her gaze back to Constin and nods. "Well probably best to get it done before then. I think once we get those damned engines fixed we're Golf-Tango-Foxtrot-Oscar from this place. Then you'll be lucky to get a Raptor back here - let alone a few of them. Unless you could convince Captain Vakos to go to bat for you with the CAG." She gestures to the other woman with her fork back and reaches for her chicken salad sanwich instead, settling the fork on the tray. "Hey O'Hare. How's tricks? You hear about Elf's run-in at the book burnin?"

"If the CAG has made up her mind on a risk-versus-reward scenario, and it's too risky, there's likely nothing I can do to help you, Sergeant," Khloe says to Elf, finally digging at her lunch again that doesn't involve violent jabs while glaring at Vandenberg." She glances over to the approaching Corrath, affecting a slight smirk. "Good to see you from outside the bars, Lieutenant," she says to him. "I never did get my report card from when I was sitting in 'time out.'"

"Yeah, just kicking m'self for not thinking of this sooner," Constin mutters in answer to both women's comments. "Still, there's only so much good it'd do anyhow. But every little bit's better than nothing, yeah? Sir," he drawls to the newly arrived Corrath. A snort of something not unlike amusement at the talk of a report card.

Setting his tray down at one of the empty spots at the table, Corrath's then simply taking a seat as his eyes shift over towards Vandenberg, lips curving into a quick grin, "Hear about it? I was there. Which reminds me .." Eyes make their over to Constin before he's offering, "Sarge. Remind me to have a chat with whoever authorized Averies to be on that mission. Dealing with the deckies was bad enough." Oh, now it's over towards Khloe and he's flashing her a quick smirk, "I think you get an F, Captain, for winding up in my brig and losing control of yourself on the Deck. Let's try and not make a habit of that, hmm? Otherwise, I'mma gonna start charging Major Hahn rent for letting you folks cool off in there."

Vandenberg gives a quick smile to the glare from Khloe. Yep. She knows damned well what angered the Captain. "Bah, don't sweat it Sergeant." She finally turrets her gaze back to Elf. "I should have thought of it too. So should O'Hare. Or Tillman. Or someone else." She takes a big ol bite out of the sammich. There's a popped brow at Corrath's mention of being there. "Why did I get stuck guarding the nuked decks, damnit? I still need to talk to the punk that led you down there."

"The lesson has been learned, don't you worry, Lieutenant," Khloe says in response to Corrath. "All's well and has been mended. Next time I promise that if I end up in the brig it won't be because I beat up a crewman on the deck. Besides, I needed the matching 'beat the crap out of a deckhand' to go along with my 'beat the crap out of a superior officer' that's already on my record. Bird needs two wings to fly, and all that." She sips at her water, looking as innocent as possible… which isn't that innocent.

Some mealtimes are busier than others, and that must be why Devlin ends up taking a seat at the same table as a passle of Marines and Khloe. Surely it couldn't be by choice. Still, the ensign has a friendly smile, particular for Constin, who he spots and greets first, lifting a hand, "Hey, sargeant. How's it going? Oh," he spots the SL next, "Hi, Captain. And lieutenants," he adds to Corrath and Vandenberg.

"Sir," Constin eyes Corrath dryly, "I've had a complaint on file about non specialized civilians accompanying ground operations since Sagittaron." The mild irritation in his manner is sunk however as Khloe goes on about beatings and matched pairs. Another semi-restrained snort takes place as amusement leaks back into his manner. "Sir," he voices to the newly arrived Robinson.

Vandenberg makes a mental note to check Khloe's criminal record. She doesn't comment, though. Her head lifts to Devlin and the woman nods. "Ensign. Who lot of Wing floatin in." She finishes up her sandwich and takes up the coffee mug. "I'm with the Sergeant. Leave the civs off our ops. We've got enough to deal with for security. The extra eyes ain't worth." Van slings up her helmet as she rises. "Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go see about getting back down to Tauron for some recon. See you kids later." She flashes a big smile to Khloe at the end before nodding to the others and heading off for the hatch.

There's a quick smirk to Vandenberg as Corrath gives a slight shrug of his shoulders, "Dunno. I gladly would have swapped with you, Van. Too frakkin cold down there." Then, he's looking back over towards Khloe, a faint chuckle escaping past parted lips as he just pokes at his food. "Good enough, Captain. Now that you've got your matched pair, maybe everyone can just be friends, hmm? Would be a shame to see your wings clipped." There's a sidelong look at Constin as the S2 just nods. "I'll go beat on someone's desk. See if I can't get an answer." Then, Devlin's arriving and he's casting a look to the Ensign, only to offer a nod.

Khloe's eyes narrow again at Vandenberg's departure, watching her as she leaves. There's something unspoken between them, despite the apparent argumentative behavior that they ilicit from one another. "Yes, Lieutenant, you're quite right," she says in response to Corrath. "Although, to be perfectly honest, I wouldn't mind it. Life was a lot simpler in the Checkmates." At Devlin's joining, she nods at him. "Case in point. Hello, Decoy." Something else unspoken, apparently. "Haven't seen hide nor hair of you lately. Busy, busy?" Finally, Khloe can finish her stewed veggie lunch now that Vandenberg has left.

Constin nods once to Corrath's assurance of banging on desks. "I know Command has their reasons, and I follow orders. Just don't see the value in a civvie taking up a seat that could have parked the rest of a fireteam," he states bluntly. "We had a full fireteam, with Zasta support? Could've taken down those electric bitches in ten seconds flat."

Devlin's tray isn't exactly full, the plate piled with greens, something that claims to be grilled chicken, and a bowl of yoghurt. He smiles at Constin and asks, "How've you been?" before giving a friendly wave to Vandenberg as she departs. A couple bites are taken before he looks to Khloe, replying after he swallows, "Yes, sir." And then falls silent, just listening for the moment to the marines discussion.

Slipping in, Radcliffe is one of those who stands out, a 'vision' in bright neon orange amongst the blues and greys that make up the majority of the uniforms worn, most likely. Looking tired, she can't help but to shuffle her way towards the line, pausing only when a yawn the size of Caprica City threatens to tear her face into two halves. Too many hours of work and not enough sleep - definitely not a good thing. A few voices gain her attention and she darts a wary look towards the table where the officers sit before remembering why she's here and the trek to where food can be gotten is renewed.

Looking back to Khloe, Corrath flashes a quick smile as he gives a shake of his head, "Ya, well, simpler isn't in the handbook these days, Cap. Just do me a favor? Nex time you want to pound the frak out of something? Come down to the Sec Hub and knock on the door. Save all of us some trouble." Looking back to Constin, the S2's giving a soft snort, "I'd like to know what reason justifies a -reporter- on a -salvage- operation." The rest of the MaA's statement draws a laugh from Corrath, "I hear ya, Sarge. Ain't much to be done when we're missing half a team on these missions."

Khloe frowns at the topic of discussion. "Are you saying that you had a chance to frak up some Toasters left behind, and you couldn't, because you had civilians with you?" Scooping some of the creamed vegetable gop into her mouth, and chewing thoughtfully, she shakes her head. "That's a frakking shame. Of course you know that if there is one group, there's sure to be more. And if the skinjobs are programmed with any sort of attachment for their Bulletheads, they'll come back. Big Gun or not."

Constin grunts in wordless displeasure at Corrath's words. Devlin's inquiry gets a look and short roll of his right shoulder in a half shrug. "Of all the shit that could be going down? Dealing with a measure that's manageable. So I really shouldn't bitch. Having said that-" he turns his eye to Khloe, "Of course there's more, that ain't the damn point. I can't figure a single reason why we shouldn't send a full fireteam- that is able to handle threats- regardless of whether or not scrapping three skinjobs and a tin toaster would have been tactically advisable. Shit, would've made me feel better."

Devlin listens with obvious curiosity even as he eats at a steady pace, food washed down with water, the taste ignored (since it certainly isn't likely to be enjoyed). He chews on the tines of his fork absently as the marines discuss, speaking only to nod at Constin and offer with a shrug, "That's something? We should do cards again," he adds, "When we're off Condition 2, I mean. If you're interested." Another bite of… spinach? maybe?… and he adds, "Is this from yesterday? I heard some salvage team saw some Cylons burning stuff. Do you know where?"

When one is tired one goes for food that doesn't require much in the way of energy to consume, hence Brina's choice in food; something that could be gelatin takes up a considerable part of the larger of the tray's compartment, something red and jiggly that looks more like a science project than anything else. A glass of juice is poured and then she's turning around, looking blearily about until she notices Constin. Approaching the table he shares with the others, she pauses and looks from face to face before asking, "Mind if I join you all," keeping on her feet until she gets told she can or to frak off and go somewhere else to sit.

Poke. Poke. Corrath doesn't seem overly inclined to eat the food he's picked up, so he's finally setting his fork down before looking back to Khloe. "You heard right, Cap. Two marines, two techs, one doctor and a reporter. Doesn't give us much in the way of .. experience to work with." It's back to Constin then, the smirk returning to his lips. "Woulda made us all feel better, Sarge, trust me. As for the rest? Talk to the S3 and get her to bitch about operational planning on our end. She'd love it." Radcliffe's question garners a slight wave of his hand towards the empty chairs that grace the table, "Help yourself." Devlin's question simply draws a chuckle from his lips.

"That's the cutter, El-Tee," Constin states to Corrath's advice to poke the hornet's nest that is Vandenberg. "I've filed a complaint with command. Outlines why I think it's a bad notion to send civilians along. And I know for a damn fact it got considered. Which tells me? Command wants these folks going along for some damn reason. And it ain't my place to say the orders we get ain't to be followed, yeah?" Of all those present, Constin at least isnt having difficulty putting down the galley's offerings. He could be eating filet mignon and not notice the difference. "Radcliffe," he acknowledges. "If there's a chair left empty, you're welcome to it. And you bet your damned ass I'm game-" that last was for Devlin, simply not given the proper conversational pause before looking aside to the pilot.

"I'd have to agree with the Sergeant, then," Khloe states flatly. "Mixing civilians and military is a bad idea, especially on any sort of operations where there could be any threat involved." She shakes her head. "Really, what's reporting-worthy about a salvage operation?"

Devlin doesn't seem much bothered by the food either, having long since shut off the part of his brain that looks for quality in meals. He eats absently but consistently, attention directed instead at those around him. Radcliffe's arrival draws a friendly smile. "Hey," he greets the deckhand, before he turns back to Constin to flash the marine a wide grin. "Awesome," he replies, "Soon as we can do it right, for sure." He nods, sealing the deal, and then goes back to eating and listening, attempting again, "Was this in Knossos again?"

Radcliffe offers everyone a quick smile before choosing a place to sit, one next to the Sarge if possible. "How is everyone," she asks semi-meekly while poking at her jello with a spoon, the red mass sent to wobble before it's stabbed and the first bit is eaten. She's curious, openly so, but she doesn't ask what the others are discussing just yet, wanting to see if she can figure it out herself before making with any queries.

"You get the S3 to follow up with Tactical on it, Sarge. See if the paper pushers in Intel and the like can offer some …. valid explaination for their choices. I'd offer to do it, but one of them won't look at me and another doesn't know her ass from her head. Plus, I figure Vandenberg can weasel her way in for some information." Pushing the tray aside now, Corrath simply leans back in his seat, attention shifting over to Khloe so that he can offer a smile. "Your guess is as good as ours, Captain. Maybe the sudden aquisition of spare parts was going to be headline news?" To Devlin, he's simply shaking his head and offering, "Minos." Radcliffe's question of how is is answered with nothing more then a simple shrug of his shoulders.

Khloe grows quiet, finishing her meal. This is clearly a Marine problem, which her input can only be as a sort of peanut gallery.

Constin nods once, and says nothing more on the subject of Command. He instead occupies his mouth with chewing and eating while Corrath answers Devlin's prior question. "Skinjobs poking around down on the world. Burning a bunch of books and shit," he sums up, in a very cursory manner. Having said that, he gives a bone dry grin to Radcliffe and drawls, "Just peachy."

"Oh," Devlin nods to Constin and Corrath, nodding along a little. Food finished he turns to his yoghurt, spooning it up as he thinks. "I don't get it," he offers finally, shaking his head a little, brows drawn together, "Why do they hate our stuff so much? Like, bad enough they try to kill us all, but then they go to the trouble of smashing up our museums and burning our books and stuff? That's just… I dunno."

As Constin expands on the subject, Corrath simply nods his head as he reaches forward to grab his tray. Devlin's question brings a smirk to his lips, followed by a shrug of his shoulders, "Who knows, Ensign. Probably because it's differnet." Then, he's pushing the chair back so that he rise from the seat, "Well, suppose it's time to dump this stuff off and tend to some more work. Cap'n, Sarge, PO, Ensign .. enjoy the rest of your day." That said, he's angling off for the trash so that his tray can be cleaned and deposited off, before making his way to the hatch.

Khloe follows up Devlin's question with, "Why would they thoroughly eradicate life and nuke some of the colonies completely, and leave others marginally habitable?" At Corrath's retreat, Khloe nods to him. "Be well, Lieutenant."

Elf is given a smile back, Brina obviously pleased to be able to visit with him as well as everyone else. The smile fades however when she hears Devlin's question. "They probably want to get rid of all proof that we exist," she ventures carefully. "So that way, if they succeed and kill us all, they won't have to be reminded were lived." Corrath is looked at after his own answer and she shrugs, not exactly disagreeing with him but not going as far as to do so at the same time. "Could be," she says tenatively. Khloe is watched then, the lady watched carefully.

"If folks can get a screw loose, why not machines? S'where the damned expression comes from, yeah?" Constin comments with a wry sniff. "Just so happens the screw that shook loose they gave the name 'blasphemy', to." Another bite, as the sergeant silently weighs a decision before voicing further. "Can't trust it, of course.. could just be planted information, but the cylons were babbling about needing to find something before us dirty meatbags do. For that, they gotta search. Supposedly."

Khloe's eyes narrow. Her interest is piqued. "Find something before we do, you say," she says. "Something religious, maybe? What could possibly be so important that they'd want to get it before we did?" Eyeing her mostly empty tray now, Khloe states: "Well, I've dallied here long enough. Paperwork to do. Afternoon." And she picks up and heads out.

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