PHD #007: Smith to the Birds
Smith to the Birds
Summary: Cidra comes to perch in Atreus' space for awhile. Talk winds from funky ships, to the gods, to home and family.
Date: 05 Mar 2041 AE
Related Logs: Directly precedes Interview with the Chief
Atreus Cidra 

[ Chief's Office ]---——[ Hangar Deck - Battlestar Cerberus ]

The room is fairly small, to maximize the area of the deck itself. It contains a smallish metal desk with locking drawers, a computer terminal, a file cabinet against one wall and metal shelves filled with tools, spare parts, and manuals. There are two chairs facing the desk, clearly scavenged from somewhere else. One area of the shelving, nearest the desk, has been cleared and is clean. This holds a coffee maker that constantly seems to have some brew or other in it. Above the chair behind the desk, in a position of prominence, a framed picture has been hung. It is an embroidered image depicting Hephaestus with his two metal helpers. The work is beautiful and almost lovingly detailed. The god is laughing, one eye bright where a patch covers the other. He is held aloft by his helpers, one done in glittering gold, the other in silver.

=[ Condition Level: 2 - Danger Close ]=-------—-

The deck outside the office's hatch is relatively quiet, all things considered. Within the office, Atreus is seated at his desk, a spreadsheet of some sort open on the computer terminal to his right. He has a stack of what appear to be invoices on the desk and he holds one up in one hand while he scrolls through the spreadsheet with the other. His expression is a bit more closed today, as though he has much on his mind. Still, the hatch is open, so he must be more or less available.

Cidra approaches the Chief's little area, knuckles knocking lightly outside. She sticks her nose in a little but awaits a proper invitation before entering. The CAG's had good manners drilled into her long before she set foot in the military, clearly. "Chief Atreus."

Atreus blinks slightly at the knock, dragging his gaze away from the computer terminal. The invoice is set with its fellows and Atreus stands and; even though it is his office, salutes, "Come in, Major, please." His hand motions to one of the available chairs, "Sit down if you like, sir."

Cidra returns the salute, getting the protocol business out of the way without fuss. "Thank you." She does sit. "You've coffee?" She's not above missing a chance to poach from him. "I wanted to see how things were with you. And thank you for you and your people's prompt work on the planes. The number of aircraft has thinned, so we need all we can."

The return salute is a boon this day and Atreus lowers his arm readily enough, "I do, as it happens." Turning, he finds a clean mug and lifts the pot from the coffee maker. One day, perhaps, he will prowl around and do some poaching of his own. Just not today. Once the mug is full, he puts the pot back. Reclaiming his seat, he sets the mug gently down near you. "I am out of cream, though I do have some milk sent down from the galley." A brow lifts in mute query. Sitting back, he clasps his hands, resting his forearms on the desk, "Firstly, thank you for that and you are welcome. I think we all know just how precious those birds are, Major. Here on the deck? We are very grateful for you and your pilots. We know that you all are a thin line between this battlestar and disaster." As he speaks, his tone softens toward a gentle, almost prayerful hush. Then, a breath and he smiles again, "To that end, we will do everything we can to keep all the ships in good shape." The other question? He leaves lie for the moment. "How about you, Major? And yours?"

Cidra waves off the offer of cream, sipping it black. "We endeavor to keep up our end. Thus far, I am glad we have had some time to breathe since the night of the attack." Another sip. She speaks no more of that night. "Things are difficult but we are maintaining, I think. That is all one can hope for right now. Speaking of. I received Lieutenant Oberlin's report on his analysis of the flight computers. I confess, I know not quite what to make of it."

Atreus nods, his gaze dropping briefly, "I am glad to hear that you are maintaining. I am sorry for our losses." And that is enough of that for now. Looking back up, his gaze turning a little inward, Atreus nods, "I was reviewing it earlier and am in the same boat, in a way." Scooting back in the chair, he makes short work of gathering the invoices into a pile, then placing them in a folder. Opening a drawer, he places the folder in a marked spot, then flips through a few more before drawing the report out again, "You know, Major, I cannot help but think that we are missing something important." The folder is placed on the table and flipped open. "I want to start looking at the maintenance records for the ships that failed. See if they have something in common that the programming in the computers might not show. Perhaps a symptom that showed up in other ways." Looking up a bit, he arches a brow her way, "Do you mind if I send my folk around to interview the pilots and ECOs again?"

Cidra waves a long-fingered hand again. "You may ask whatever of me and mine you like, Chief. This matter is of grave concern to me. To be betrayed by your plane in flight…" She exhales a long breath. "It is a thing that chills me, I am not ashamed to say. It is of utmost priority that it not happen again."

Atreus looks up from the file and nods. All the mirth is gone, the fascade briefly stripped away. What is left is a deadly, calm determination, "I do understand, Major. There is nothing more pressing on the Deck." His tone holds a quiet authority, steady certainty, "We will find what caused it. We will find a way to protect you." The man tilts his head a bit, "What about you, Major? Has anyone reported anything to you about the events just before the failure? I have one lead from one pilot. We are persuing it, but confirmation from someone else would be encouraging."

Cidra regards Atreus, blue eyes steady. She nods a little at his words. They do seem to give her some reassurance. "Thank you," she says simply. As to his question, she thinks on it, lines forming in her forehead as she frowns. "It is something we are all puzzling over, though most have given a similar account. For my part, my Raptor was green when I launched it, all systems fine. Even in the madness that was getting launched that night, I did check. Then, we were out in space with the hostiles…red. I was nearly dead in the water. I was fortunate I was no targeted by the enemy. My ECO did eventually manage a restart to get it working again, but we were only able to limp home."

Atreus nods, though does not dwell on the situation further at the moment. "Yes, that is what has been reported. What is frustrating, however, is that no one has said what the ECOs did in order to get the birds going again. That information would be invaluable. So far, I do not know if any of my folk have been successful in corning any of the ECOs. I have not heard from everyone yet, so cannot be sure. And…" He glances at the file, then back up, "Ensign Apostolos mentioned a brief flash of red light. Did you happen to notice?"

Red light…" Cidra takes another moment to think on that, nodding a little. "There was that, come to it. Though I cannot now recall its origin. The hostiles, perhaps. My mind was most occupied with trying to order the battle group. As for my people, as I have said, they are at your disposal. In whatever help they can be with this endeavor. Use them as you will."

Atreus nods, "Right then. That is confirmation enough for now. Thank you. I will get with Oberlin and Damon. We are going to work from a different angle." He fumbles a pen from his desk, catching it before it falls, then makes a note on the paper on the top of the stack inside the file. That done, the file is closed, the pen returned to where it originally lay and the man sighs, "Now, then. Unless you need to wander off, I would like to talk to you about something unrelated to the ships. Do you have the time, sir?"

Cidra is settled comfortably into her chair, so she looks quite planted for the time being. She sips her coffee, nodding to Atreus. "I can make time for you, Chief. What is this matter?"

Atreus says, "I need your advise, really, Major. Person to person rather than Major to Chief PO. Is that okay?" He rises then slips around the desk. A couple of strides and he is at the hatch. Glancing out, he takes a moment to be sure that all is still quiet outside. As things are trucking along, he closes the hatch and returns to his seat, "It is a bit delicate and a bit personal. So, if you would rather not go thare, I understand and will respect that."

The barest hint of a smile comes to Cidra's lips. There's a sadness to it, but it's a genuine smile. "I would be most grateful to speak as person to person, Constantine." Well, she knows his first time. "If I may take the liberty. And if we are to speak as such, you may call me Cidra. I would be grateful for it, honestly. I some times feel…I do not know. I have had so little time to get to know my shipmates, especially my pilots. I am CAG to them, but they do not truly know me yet, and I feel the distance most acutely in these times. There is…a distance." She sounds a little sorry for it.

Atreus's smile warms a bit and some tension fades, "Thank you, Cidra. This means a lot to me. I know how you feel. Can't really afford to be buddies with the Deck Crew, though they are fine people and I do like and respect them. There will come a time when I have to know that they will jump when I call." Then, he has the grace to look a bit sheepish, his smile almost conspiritorial in it's uncertainty and self-consciousness, "Though I hope that you will not be upset with me when you hear what it is that I want to talk about." He pushes his chair back and crosses one ankle up onto the opposite knee, which always sounds awkwerd but is really quite comfortable. "I further hope that you will feel welcome to come down here for plain ol' ordinary conversation any time you want to. So. Here it is…" Best get potentially awkward things out of the way, "I am going to be avoiding one of your pilots for a while. I want you to know why, in case her feelings are hurt. She has not done anything, and I will be talking to her about it. It is just that she looks… exactly like my wife. And she isn't."

Cidra dips her head in a solemn nod. "I had a CAG when I served in Tauron space. On the Battlestar Columbia. He gave me my LT pins. I was young to it. Not yet thirty. He said to me, being a soldier is to be willing without hesitation to give your life for your comrades. Being a commander is to be willing, without hesitation, to put a gun to the head of a comrade who you love and trusted truly as a sister or a lover, to whom you owe your life, and to pull the trigger. For such is what you could be doing each time you give an order." Cheery little segue, that. But her nod to Atreus is most grateful. "I would welcome such welcome. We work in tandem in many ways, you and I. A CAG and Deck Chief must great trust in one another if all is to be well." She looks a little puzzled as he actually gets into it, however, then intakes a small gasp. "By the gods…what strangeness that must be. And a painful strangeness right now. Certainly, Chief. Which one of them, if I may ask?"

On reflection, Atreus is a bit surprised that the CAG knows his first name. Surprised and strangely pleased. But, that is lost as she speaks of her CAG. Although the situation explained is a grim one, it sparks a sympathetic half nod, "That is very, sadly, appropriate. I might borrow it from time to time. Especially when talking to Damon. I named him my second. Don't know if I told you that." His smile turns less ironic and more pleased when she goes on, "Thank you. I have always felt the same way. The Deck Chief and the CAG must trust and respect each other. Hopefully beyond that given the titles themselves. You have my respect, Cidra. You are clearly worth it. Trust?" The smile turns impish for an instant, "To a degree. I hope that I will earn yours." Then, however, the smile fades and his eyes shift from her over to a bookshelf to one side. There is a picture of a woman standing there. A very pregnant red-haired woman. "Margaret Quinn, Cidra. She has been nothing but professional. It is not her doing." His eyes fall, then return to her face, "And yes. It is painfully strange. Nearly horrifying. Especially when I catch a glimpse of her out of the corner of my eye."

"He was a man I admired very much. Very strong. I have thought of him often these last days," Cidra says softly, speaking of her former CAG. A deep nod to Atreus. "You've mine, Constantine. I have been most impressed with the way you run your people here, especially in these hard days. And they seem to have deft hands for our birds." To the matter of Quinn, she is more somber. A nod. "I quite understand. I am sure she will not wish to cause you pain, either. She seems a good woman. One I wish I had gotten a chance to know better before all this began." A pause to sip her coffee and she asks, after hesitating a beat, "Where are you from? Where is home, I mean."

Atreus says, "I wish I had gotten to meet him, Cidra. He sounds…" He laughs softly, though it is touched with that same pain that she showed earlier, "…like my father." His smile grows once more and he inclines his head, "Thank you. I will pass that on. They will like hearing that you are pleased with their work. The pilots as well, but there is something wonderful about hearing it from the /CAG/." He gives the title an emphasis that is both sincere and liltingly teasing. Licking his lips, he draws a slow breath, "She seems to be a good person, yes. I hope that; when things have… When we have a bit of distance… I can get to know her on her own terms. I would like to call her friend without wondering how much is real and how much is trying to find someone who… Whom the Gods have taken Home." His foot shifts, then resettles, "Home? Leonis." The smile returns, his eyes sparkling with memory, "I was the second youngest of nine. What about you?""

Cidra chuckles at the teasing not in Atreus' voice, lips curving upward into a little smirk. "Shower them with my compliments, your crew. From what I have seen, then well deserve them. Leonis? Ahh." A nod. "I am sorry to say I know it little. It was a stop-over location for me mostly, so I never got much beyond the bases. Though I did manage to take in a bull fight once during my stop-overs. Very exciting. For my part, I am from Gemenon." Her slightly drawling accent wraps around with name of the colony with a wistful colony. "I grew up in a city called Shinkirsei, not far from the Kobol Colleges. Not much of a city, for those who've seen Caprica or Picon. Or even your Leonis. But it is home. My parents still live there, in the Temple House afforded to my mother."

Atreus says, "Gemenon. I understand that the colony is beautiful though I have never seen it. Is that where you went to college? I am assuming that you did go." Turning, he finally claims his own mug from the shelf beside the desk and pours himself a mug. Leaning over, he offers a warm up. "Mom was a mechanic on base. Dad was a Marine Sergeant. When I enlisted I told them that I was a perfect distillation of both of them." He winks slightly, "They live in Pantheiras. If you were at the base there, you were in the same area." The chuckle returns, "I won't ask if you met them. That place was huge.""

"Parts of it are very lovely. Few who are born there leave it. It is very…insular in many ways. I wanted to see more of the universe, but it is always in my heart. I attended the Kobol Colleges, yes. I was a student of Theology in those days." Cidra holds out her cup for a warmer, sipping it again when Atreus has touched it up. "My parents are both priests. My mother is a Sister of Hera. Father a sworn Brother of Asclepius, though most of his work is in the Cult-run hospital in the city. He is trained as a nurse. The God of Healing encourages an earthly ministry."

Setting the pot back on its warmer, Atreus lifts his mug and kicks back, relaxation beginning to loosen his shoulders. Nodding, he lifts the mug in a half salute, "Theology. Wow. I have read the mysteries and have been called by my buddy, Hephaestus, but I do not have the head for studying Theology. It is too esoteric, I think. Not enough hands on work." He lifts the mug and takes a slow sip, a sigh shivering the surface of the liquid. "What was it like growing up in that sort of house? Did you have siblings?"

"You are devoted to Hephaestus, then?" This makes Cidra smile and nod in approval. "He is a good Lord for those whose path lies in the work they do with their hands. A god of much strength. I am partial to Athena, for my part. I had actually intended to enter Her order and become priestess to her when I left university. But." Eyes rove the bulkheads in a wry sort of way. "Blessed Athena showed me another path, and I have served Her in this way." A light tap of her fingertips to the Cerberus patch on her flightsuit. "I am not sure I can comment on how it was, as I knew no other way. I was the eldest in my family, though my brother Cillian is only a year my junior. And I've two sisters. My parents were good people. My mother was stern at times but she loved us very much, and tried to set us on the right path. We were fortunate in many ways. My family enjoyed some respect in the community, and lived decently as honored members of the cults. Parts of Gemenon are very poor. We worked hard in charity of course but…when I was a girl I wondered why I was better off than some of my schoolmates. The gods did not seem to provide an answer."

Atreus nods, "I am. He and I have been together since the beginning. Or, at least, as long as I can remember." He swivels a bit and looks up at a wall hanging behind his chair, "My wife and son made this for me. They finished it just before I got my transfer here." Turning back, he watches and listens, warmth growing in his eyes and tone, "Athena. That is just perfect, Cidra. She is such a lovely, strong and focused Lady." His gaze flickers over the bulkheads, then return as she touches the patch on her flightsuit. "Personally? I am glad that she gave you another path. I admire the Priestesses, understand. But, to have missed the thrill of actually flying? You would have been a different person, I expect." His smile turns impish once more, "Oldest. Wow. I can't imagine living as the 'experimental model', Cidra. Honestly, how did you stand it?" His voice stills for the duration of a sip, then he lowers the mug, "Did you get along with your brother and sisters?" Then, he nods, "We were not wealthy. Mom and dad are making due now with his retirement and money from her shop. I expect that my daughter will take over the shop when she finishes her Journeymanship. Or. Uh. No. She might have." He clears his throat, then starts again, "The gods do not always answer. Or, sometimes, the answer is just no."

"Cillian and I are very close," Cidra says, smiling as she speaks of her brother. "He has followed my father into service of Asclepsius, and in nursing. He considered medical school, but the work of a nurse gives one more direct contact with parents. And the schooling is far less expensive, besides." A soft chuckle. "My sisters are much younger than me. I love them dearly, but I have not seen enough of them these past years. Eliane and Josseline are both married, with children and homes to keep." A somber nod at that last. "I have sought peace in prayer these last days, but it has been difficult. For now, I pray for the strength to bear what is to come. The rest, I shall have to find within myself."

Atreus takes another sip, then chuckles, "My family is enormous. My sisters and brothers took turns pummeling and pampering me. I pretend it made me even-tempered, unself-conscious and patient. I think it really made me… Oh… Spoiled. Yeah, I love them. All of them. But, I think I have a special spot for my younger sister, Helen and an older brother, Chrysippus. Though Helen annoyed the frak out of me when she was in high-school. I was just joining up and still worked as a mechanic. She always wanted me to bring home a mate of mine at the shop." His smile turns inward, "They are married now with three kids. I'm really proud of them." Her somber nod is met by one of his own and his voice is not quite too low to hear, "So say we all." The sip that follows is almost a toast, then becomes one as he turns to the wall hanging once more and lifts the glass toward the laughing god with his minions. Looking back again, he quirks a smile, "We'll make it, Cidra. Together. All of us." Or as many as possible, anyway.

Cidra raises her cup in a little toast, drinking the remainder of her coffee down. "So say we all," she echoes softly. After that she just sits for a moment, quiet, but the silence seems not uncomfortable for her. Relaxing in it, if only for a moment. Then, she stands. "I thank you very much for the drink, Constantine. And the talk. It was…a good way to find an even keel. I should leave you now. I've duties to be about, and I'm sure you do as well. We must do this again sometime, yes?"

Atreus finishes his coffee, draining the mug even unto the dregs. Setting the mug down, he rises and his smile returns, "It was. Thank you, Cidra. Remember that you are welcome any time. I'll even save you a mug every so often, but you'll have to come here to drink it." The Deck Chief lifts a brow, silently acknowleding the attempted bribe. "Thank you for coming. But yes. I have to set a few things in motion."

"The Labors of Hephaestus never truly end. But He does his work well," Cidra says with the faintest of smiles. With that, she slips out, leaving the office from whence she came.

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