PHD #319: Stay Within The Lines
PHD #319: Stay Within The Lines
Summary: Vandenberg comes to Khloe for advice on the Zeus Bull connections she's been making. Khloe ends up snarling at Vandenberg for not knowing her boundaries.
Date: 11 Jan 2042 AE
Related Logs: Zeus Cylon Memorandum, Bull By The Horns
Khloe Vandenberg 
Flight Simulation - Deck 11 - Battlestar Cerberus
A training room specifically dedicated to honing aerial skills, this area is equipped with several flight simulator pods that allow the pilots to practice maneuvers and tactics without being in a real live plane. The Viper-pods are installed on one side of the room with a little space between them, an attempt to provide a realistic feel for close-range wing training, while a smaller number of Raptor sim-pods are installed on the opposite side of the room from the Vipers. A central computer terminal and overhead display screen sits at the head of the room, where one can input exercises and data to be run in the sims, scroll through score records, and control the training modules.
Post-Holocaust Day: #319

Another day, another simulation. As Khloe is one of the few pilots in her squad that actually blocks out time to practice in the sims several times a week, she can be predictably found. Dressed in her flight suit, she's at the master console, likely reviewing data or sorting through a list of available programs. There's a small notebook beside her, open, that looks like it already has dates, times, and scores jotted in them - the Captain probably tracks her own progress over time.

Again, Vandenberg enters silently. She's in her navy greens but doesn't quite look comfortable. That could be attributed to the place, which is not her normal stomping ground, or her uniform. Or maybe its the contents the folder in her hand. But what is apparent is that she is here for someone specific. The Marine heads over towards the pilot at the console but keeps a short distance. "Captain Vakos, sir? I need your advice. Maybe some help and direction?" Natalie needs direction like a Viper needs guns though this is probably something specific.

"You need my advice like you need a hole in the neck," Khloe responds, a hint of frustration in her voice. She continues to stare at the screen, brows knit and her lips pulled downward in a thoughtful scowl. "Damned machine." She looks up at Vandenberg, and some of the frustration immediately vanishes. "Sorry, Lieutenant. I'm… I'll stow it. What can I do for you?"

"Heh. I've had a hole in the neck, sir. I think I could still use the advice in a lot of things. But I do have something in particular." With Khloe's acceptance of her presence, Vandenberg steps forward and opens the folder. There's only one sheet of paper in there. She keeps her eyes on it. "Ah, I wrote something to command, sir. I didn't hear anything back until this morning. I guess I'm taking point on this but I'm not sure where to go from here other than talking to the sister more." She looks up towards the Viper pilot. "Sir, are familiar with the hostage situation the other night and the Cylon known as 'Poole'?"

Khloe shakes her head, quickly. "I try to keep myself distanced from facts surrounding the skinjobs. I know their faces, but I don't know their 'names'. You give a machine a name when it's special to you, when you have an emotional attachment to it. I refuse to 'name' a Cylon." She glances at the paper again, then peers up at Vandenberg. "As far as the hostage situation, I know there was an exchange of hostages, but beyond that, I didn't look into it any further. Not my place, really, it doesn't concern me."

Vandenberg takes a long breath when Khloe finishes. "Okay. The Five that took our people hostage demanded a ceremonial knife and our Five Prisoner in exchange for our own people back. It went to a good length to try and get those two things back. I think I figured out why. Now I don't surmise you are religious but I could use a set of fresh eyes on this and I trust you." She takes out the paper and hands it over to her to read. "Thoughts, sir?"

Khloe takes up the page and reads it, from start to finish. She then adjusts her grip on the paper and goes back, skimming for a few key sections that interests her. "Well, I can't say I understand half the religious references on this page, but if you think you have a method for tracking the Cylons, or at the very least predicting their seemingly-erratic movements, then you were right on going straight to the top," she says. She places the paper back into the folder, fingertips turning the page just so, so that it is perfectly aligned with the folder's edges. "Beyond that, though, I really can't help you."

"Sir, I consider myself religious and its a lot for me to try and follow. The symbolism of it all is what catches me." The Marine doesn't move to pick up the folder. She just watches it as if hoping that answers might spring forth. "Command thinks that this is pretty flimsy. My direct commanders haven't or won't comment on it. Marine S2 is down with a minor injury at the moment. I don't know that he's even read it." She looks back to Khloe. "Captain, I honestly believe this could be really important to all of us. But I'm a field commander. Making cases isn't my strong suit. Have any ideas for what I could do to make this a stronger case, sir?"

"Neither of us was hired because of our reading and writing skills, Lieutenant," says the taller of the two Canceron women. "Honestly, if I came across something like this? I'd give it to Toast. Major Hahn. She's religious and she's fancy with her words. If you haven't gone to her yet I can put a word in for you." Shrugging helplessly, Khloe goes on to qualify, "I can't promise anything, but if there's any merit to your discovery, the Major will see it and be able to express it in a manner in which Command will hear."

True enough. Vandenberg nods to the commentary about reading and writing. The callsign confuses her but the name catches her. "Ah. Okay. The Sister doesn't even believe in what I think I've found just adds up in really strange ways. If you wouldn't mind, sir? Putting in a word? I'd really appreaciate it. I feel kind of like a flag waving in the wind and nobody wants to pay a mind. Its more than a little frustrating." Natalie deadpans that. Definitely not the 'woe' attitude she had a few months ago on the firing range.

"I'll see what I can do." Khloe flips the folder closed. "As much as I really have no stomach for religious hoo-doo and couldn't care one frakking bit about the thinking of a Toaster, I do respect Major Hahn more than anyone else on this ship. Including her beliefs. Just promise me that if she doesn't feel it's worth following up on, you let it die there, all right?" Khloe pushes up from the master console and, after circling around, takes up the folder and offers it back to Natalie.

Vandenberg takes the folder back ith a nod. "Sir, if she believes its worth nothing I can't let it die. I might pursue it on my own but I won't bother other people with it or spend duty time on it. I know in my gut that this is serious. I feel as strongly about this as I ever have about anything else." That's straight hardened resolve in her voice. "I don't want to lie to you sir, so that is the best I can promise."

"No, damnit, no!" Khloe actually steps within what a normal person might consider their 'personal space', although for a Marine it's probably a lot worse. Her voice drops lower, somewhere between a quiet dressing-down and the concerned murmurs of a friend. "You listen to me, Lieutenant, and you listen good. You need to learn boundaries. If a higher rank tells you not to do something, you don't. frakking. do it. I'm taking a huge risk by going behind the backs of your superiors and going to mine on a hunch." There's a faint laugh of exasperation that follows. "Hells, I don't even believe in the gods! But I'm doing this because… well, frakked if I know. Just, once Toast takes your information, you let it go. If she praises you for your efforts, great. If not, that's fine too. Just do your frakking job and let our superior officers worry about it. Am I clear on this?"

Vandenberg startles, straightening to attention. Eyes forward. Her lips purse, face falling to a mask. Its not until she is asked a question that she responds. "Sir. You would have me quit when nobody I know supports me but I believe in something so strongly that, forgetting myself, could be huge for humanity? I don't believe this is about me sir but I will trust your judgment. If you, sir, feel adamant about this as you do, then forget I said anything. I wouldn't want to get you into trouble. That is not my intention or desire. I'll take my findings elsewhere, sir." She still does not move. Its like watching a marble statue speak.

Even though the Marine does not move, Khloe still gives in to the overwhelming urge to go to grab Vandenberg by the shoulders. But immediately her hands are torn back, like she grabbed ahold of a hot metal pot. "I swear, I could shake you right now, you're being so frakking obtuse," comes Khloe's response, her voice strained through a clenched jaw, hands still tensed open, as if her hands were scalded. "You've not heard a damned thing I've said." Shaking her head, she turns away from the Marine to grab her notebook, which she snaps closed. "I'll arrange the meeting with Major Hahn. You frakking be ready, and don't embarrass me, one way or another." Turning back to face Natalie, the taller woman glares down at her in frustration.

The grab doesn't phase her as much as the remark about her being does. That hurt a little. "I'm not being obtuse and I am listening closely, sir. But I am following my orders from fleet command. I have written instructions from Colonel Pewter that I am to talk to anyone necessary about this to confirm it because of the implications. I am to involve anyone I have to and upgrade their clearances to Top Secret as I see fit." Vandenberg finally lifts her eyes to Khloe. "Sir, I came to you first because I trust you to steer me in the right direction. The last thing I want to do sir is embarass you."

"Then know your role," glowers Khloe. "If Pewter says no, then damnit don't make him roll up a newspaper and hit you on the nose. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to try and figure out how to approach Major Hahn on this subject." Khloe doesn't break eye contact with Vandenberg as she leans across the console to flip a switch and turn off whatever she was working on. Then, she steps to the side, and then beats a hasty exit. From the sound of her heels striking the deck, she's pissed.

Natalie lowers her eyes again and looks to the floor. She takes all of it like a baseball bat. There's nothing said, no smart-ass retorts. No commentary. The shorter woman just stands there until after Khloe is gone. Whether she's set to boil or something much lower is lost to time. She leaves five or so minutes later with her folder.

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