PHD #080: Smoke Your Last Cigarette
Smoke Your Last Cigarette
Summary: Haeleah and Sawyer speculate while the Alpha team is holed up, waiting for the team to recuperate enough to move.
Date: 17 May 2041 AE
Related Logs: Any dealing with Leonis.
Haeleah Sawyer 
Marigold Road Northeast
This diagonal thoroughfare that links suburbs to town forms the southern arm of the rotated 'Y' that is the backbone of the city. With room enough for four cars on each side of the road and lampposts every seventy-five meters to guide their way, Marigold Road would become a glittering parade of hazard lights and neon at the first sign of dusk. Now that Kythera's electrical grid has been well and truly fried, no power exists to illuminate what unbroken signage remains: like the supermarket here, the gas station there, and the home improvement store behind, to name the stores on but one of its blocks. Most prominently displayed of all is a white Asklepian staff on a field of navy blue, to the right of which crest stands the ruined remains of Kythera General Hospital.
Post-Holocaust Day: #80

Haeleah is cleaning her rifle. It keeps her hands busy, and concentrating on the vaguely technical activity seems to put her more at ease than the other (limited) options for passing the time. She's huddled with the others near the remains of the hospital, in the shade of the wall of a seemingly sturdier building. Rifles parts carefully stripped and laid out so she can go over them with a rag. Her pistol is still assembled at holstered at her belt. She's not going to unarm herself completely, the way things stand.

Why they chose to stay here, is anyone's guess. The imminent threat of the centurions passed, but that hasn't lulled any of them into a sense of security. Sawyer's done her best to hold it together, though at some point tears have washed little clean tracks through the dirt and the grit on her cheeks that makes her look ashen, their path long gone dry. They say the waiting is the hardest part, and now they're forced to sit it out as the group recuperates from their wounds. "I hate this part, ya know? It was almost better when we were fleeing for our lives, at least we had the benefit of adrenaline."

Haeleah hasn't cried. There's just a numb sort of restlessness about her. If she can't occupy her hands with tasks like basic rifle maintenance, she paces. At least she's sitting now, cleaning the crevices of her weapon with far more attention than it probably requires. Dark eyes flit up to Sawyer as she speaks, then back down to concentrate on the task. Though she does reply, "Yeah. No toasters, at least." Not yet, is the unspoken addition to that. "Small favors or whatever. Frak. I should have remembered the first rule of the military. Do not *ever* volunteer." Another glance up and half-smirk. It's kind of a joke.

Sawyer gives a little 'heh' of laughter, thought it's lacking any true mirth. "I don't know what the frak I was expecting. A vacation? Chance to see a sunrise again…but that /scream/. That was it. That's what made it real." She shakes her head, causing a lock of hair to slip out from the band her ponytail is drawn back in. Like most, she lost her helmet and the majority of her gear by their hasty retreat. "I wonder why they waited to hit the Hospital. Barron had been there for a while…did we cause this?"

"Maybe…" Haeleah replies quietly, looking down again. All traces of forced-humor gone. Not that she knows any better than Sawyer. But the idea's haunting her as well. "If we are, though, I wonder why they didn't come back?" She doesn't continue down that line of thought, either. It doesn't go any place particularly encouraging right now. "I don't know what I was expecting, either. It's weird. It actually looks more…normal than I figured it would. The buildings still standing, people still left. I mean, not many but…I kept telling myself that it was all gone. Made things easier."

"I guess they thought they crushed us all beneath the building." As if her lungs remember the experience, Sawyer gives a little dry sounding cough. "I know what you mean. It's not just a wasteland of ash. I've seen pictures, of course. Some of the recon they've done along the way. Makes me feel guilty though, for so easily writing off my family and friends. They could still be alive, in another pocket of humanity. I should be hopeful, but all I can feel is dread that they're going through what these people have. What we are now."

"Once anti-rads run out they won't last too long," Haeleah says. Which could be as much a statement for themselves as for the rest of the colonies right now. "Frak. It's all so frakked up…" She trails off, blinking hastily. Still not crying. She starts in on that grimly concentrated cleaning of her rifle again. Clearing her throat. "So. How the hell did somebody like you end up hitching a ride on a battlestar, anyway?" To desperately derail the subject to something completely new.

Anti-rads. The necessary evil. Sawyer never thought she'd miss taking those shots, but now that they have little to none? It makes the situation that much more dire. Maybe that's the reason the normally closed off Journalist is happy to answer a question about herself for once. "I used to work..uh.." Sawyer clears her throat, trying to work past an uncomfortable lump rising in her throat. "…criminal stories. You know, the 'mind of a serial killer' or the 'rise of rape cases in influential neighborhoods'. The real dirty gritty stuff that sold publications. Everyone loves sin." Sawyer pulls up her legs, tenting her knees with a scrape of her heels against the concrete. "I did a stint in the local prisons, helped to uncover a drug ring in the system. Some guards were involved, it was nasty stuff. But at the end, I frakked up. Someone got killed and…" There's a faint shrug. "I was sent to cover something nice and safe and boring like military budget cuts as my probation."

Haeleah looks up at Sawyer again. Curly head tilting as she talks. That wasn't quite the answer she was expecting, and she has to reassess the reporter a little. "Damn, girl. So much for safe and boring, huh?" Another attempt a chuckle. She pauses a moment, eying her rifle parts and beginning to put them back together, before she speaks again. "I joined up to pay off my student loans. And get grad school done on the Colonial cubit. I mean…I wasn't one of those u-rah types, y'know? I mean…I'm still not. They put everybody thought Basic, but I never thought I'd see much outside an engine room or a data terminal. The Cylons…frak, all that was ancient history."

Sawyer quirks a bit of a smirk, "Yeah well. Guess I shouldn't complain too much. Getting stuck on the Cerberus is the only reason I'm alive." Though for how much longer? Sawyer cranes her head to look at their surroundings, her eyes settling back on Haeleah as she shares her story. "Never thought you'd be wishing for a nice safe Colonial uprising, or something like that, hmm? I don't think anyone was expecting an apocalypse. I guess that's why it was so bloody brilliant on their part. So you were always a tinkerer?"

"It made sense…" Haeleah mutters. It's an answer to Sawyer's last question, though she doesn't immediately elaborate on it. Her rifle's reassembled at a quick clip, small fingers going through the motions with the parts far more comfortably than she appears while trying to fire it. "I mean, machines. Computers. They make sense. They're made to do a certain thing and if they frak up, there's usually a reason for it. If you can wrap your head around how the parts work, how the schematics are supposed to look…you're in control." *Click*. Her rifle fits smoothly back together. "Except for the toasters. I still can't wrap my head around why somebody would've ever *wanted* to make a machine that can go…outside its programming. Well, I guess hindsight's twenty-twenty and all that."

Sawyer hugs her arms around her knees, watching Haeleah work as if there's some comfort in the routine she's going through. "Which makes that…abomination down in MolGen that much more creepy. It's like they uploaded their…personality, their psyche into the machines, realized what a frak up that was, and then tried to fix it. We really need to be able to analyze the rest of that data more closely once we get off this rock. /If/ we get off this rock."

Haeleah shudders at mention of the machine down in MolGen. "I don't know what the frak that was. I was hoping when we came here that we might get some answers. I don't know if we did or not. There was a frakton going on in that complex, but everything we figure out about it just seems to make the whole thing weirder." A pause and she asks, "You talked to any of the people who were with the doctor?" She trusts the journalist has been more social than she. "Any of them mention that…that woman…" Ghost, whatever. "…we saw in the cafe that day?"

Sawyer grimaces along with the shudder from Haeleah. Seems the feeling is mutual as far as the machine goes. "I had a chance to speak with a handful of them, yeah. Stories were pretty much all the same. Disadvantaged kids who fell into the wrong crowd, maybe did some time. Seems Doctor Barron was big on work in the community, and criminal rehabilitation, and that's how that rag tag bunch came under his wing. I…I haven't seen some of them since the hospital collapse." A hand gets pulled down her face and over her mouth, "But no word of that woman, not a single mention of her."

"I heard one of them crying back there when we were leaving…crying not to leave him…" Haeleah says softly. Like she's just now admitting it to herself. "You tell yourself there's nothing you could've done but…" She shrugs. Slinging her fresh and clean rifle back over her shoulder. "Lieutenant Oberlin said she must've been a twin to that woman we saw on the recordings in MolGen. I guess she must've been. I guess that makes the most sense." Sounds like she's trying to convince herself, though. Under her breath she mutters, "Frakking ghosts…"

"A few months ago, I would have agreed that there had to be a logical explanation. Now? I'd say damn near anything was possible." Talk of ghosts have the Journalist rubbing at her arms, "Anything." Sawyer repeats the word, a little rueful shake of her head. "But anyways, sister or no, she sure was walking around like she owned the place. Her suit, hell her shoes were immaculate. Certainly wasn't concerned with her surroundings or standing out like a giant purple target."

"Yeah, me too," Haeleah mutters, as to the 'Anything's possible' part. She narrows her eyes at Sawyer and, for a second, seems about to ask her something. But, whatever it is, she shakes her head and seems to change her mind. "It doesn't seem like she's with the doctor's people, at least. That's…something. When I first saw these patrols I was afraid we were going to fall in with her…whatever the frak she is. I wonder how many people are left on this planet. These people seem jumpy about more stuff than toasters."

"They keep talking about rival looters, maybe she's with them and we just happened to luck out and choose the right side. Still, that doesn't diminish the fact that she nearly damn well /warned/ us the shit was going to hit the fan. Even seemed smug about it. What if…what if…" Sawyer makes some sort of flustered gesture with a flutter of her hand. "She…/sent/ them?"

Haeleah blinks. Eyes suddenly going even wider. That hadn't occurred to her but when it's said aloud, it obviously looms unsettlingly possible in her mind. "We know she was watching us. Or, at least, she knew our names. Averies…frak. What if she did?"

"Then I think I might as well smoke my last cigarette…" Sawyer mumbles, patting herself down to do just that. She pulls one out of a chest pocket of her vest, horribly bent and partially smooshed with a thin red ribbon tied around it. Shaking fingers untie the little 'gift' and she tucks the filter in her mouth. "We need to get off this planet. Yesterday. As soon as we're able to move, I suggest we find that rendezvous point and stop pussyfooting around this scary place."

"I'm all behind that plan," Haeleah says. "Just a question of how. Our Raptor's toasted. I hope Trask and the others got off the planet all right. Made it back home. Are sending the cavalry for us." Hey, she can hope.

Sawyer finds a pack of water proof matches, one of the many toys they were given. She strikes one, quick to shield the flame and extinguish it as soon as her cigarette is lit. "Have we even /tried/ to make contact? With the other team, with anyone? I'd hate to think they've assumed we're dead. We're out of the compound, we should be able to get a signal now, right? They have to come for us, they just do. But we need to start helping them."

"We haven't gotten anything on them that I've heard but I haven't tried the comms in ages. Not since the hospital…came down on our ears," Haeleah says, looking back behind her to the collapsed remains of the place again. "It is worth a shot. I should tinker with mine. Not like we've got a lot else to do right now." And it'll keep her hands busy.

Sawyer takes a deep inhale of the cigarette, eyes closing as she savors the taste. Gods only know when her last nicotine fix was, or when her next one will be. "If you make contact, will you wake me up? I'm going to smoke this, then get my five minutes of shut eye."

Haeleah nods, settling her back against the rubble and fishing into her engineering kit. She doesn't try to bum a smoke off Sawyer. Non-smoker that she is. Though lungs are probably the least of anyone's worries in the irradiated hellscape. "Good luck with the sleep," she says, sincerely. She hasn't gotten many few easy hours these last days.

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