PHD #021: Stop-Loss
Summary: Pallas is informed that his release has been canceled by Cidra.
Date: 19 Mar 2041 AE
Related Logs: None
Cidra Pallas 
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.
Condition Level: 3 - All Clear / Post Holocaust Day: #21

Twenty-one days have passed since the nuclear holocaust. Day twenty-one, March 19th. Pallas' release date, as was given to him a month before it all happened. The recovering pilot has parked himself in a Viper simulation pod and is going through some basic maneuvers - poorly. His left shoulder appears to still be giving him some problems, because his reaction time and maneuverability is lower than it usually is. Not that he was any kind of hotshot flyboy before his injury. "You shitbadgering frakhammer," he mutters, forcing himself to fly through the pain. "Come on."

Cidra is standing at the central computer terminal, where she's got a bird's eye view of the reactions and data coming in as Pallas goes through his computerized jaunt. A faint frown lines her face, but it could be as much from concentration as a judgment on his performance. The CAG is not an easy woman to read. She is silent, making some notes on a handy pad. The occasional narrowing of eyes or nod of her head the only real reaction apparent from her.

Pallas is flying close formation with his virtual wingman - his actual wingman, Ensign Abilon, still being unconscious in sickbay - as he enters enemy engagement. Warm-up time is over. While he's never been a top-notch pilot, he excels in one area of Viper combat: instead of being locked into a mostly two-dimensional thinking pattern, he is very free with three-dimensional tactics. As the enemy fighter intercepts, he brings his Viper 'downward' at full speed. But he can't maintain the trajectory under the G-forces and breaks off, cutting the bracket maneuver short and leaving his wingman high and dry. "Frak!" He kicks the side of the pod and veers his Viper away to regroup.

Cidra makes a low "Ah" sound. And a note. A rather lengthy note. But that's the extent of her reaction as she watches the wingman abandoned to the mercies of their virtual opponents. Scritch, scritch, scritch.

It might only be a simulation, but the enemy isn't stupid. With the leader and wingman split, it places itself right between them - going after the wingman first. Seeing what's about to happen, Pallas fires full reverse and tries to flip his Viper in place to target the bogey. No dice. Whether it's the shoulder or just lack of skill and strength, his Viper flips, but out of control. There goes the wingman. He ends up getting the enemy fighter in the end, but… Coming out of the pod, he whips his helmet against the nearest wall. With his good arm, of course.

Cidra eyes flick up from observation of the final outcome of the simulation. To Pallas. Blues nailing with a very direct and none-too-pleased gaze when the throws his helmet. "Lieutenant!" The snap in her tone is always a little surprising from the habitually mellow-mannered woman. But she does deploy it when she feels the need. "Pick that up."

Pallas looks for a second like he's about to snap back in kind, but the words are bit back when he sees who it is. The visual confirmation of the CAG's presence, as opposed to just the familiar voice, puts him back in his place. At least, for now. "Sir," is all he says, but his jaw flexes several times all the same as he retrieves the helmet from where it's still spinning on the floor. It's tucked under his arm as he returns to stand before the CAG.

Cidra steps out from behind the terminal and stands, hands laced behind her back, regarding Pallas. For a moment she says nothing. Just looks at him. The silence will stretch on longer than is strictly comfortable unless he speaks. Which, given the look in her eyes, is probably not wise. "Well," she finally begins. "That…was what is was. How's the arm feel? Your reaction time was down from your previous exercise records."

"Stiff." Such an eloquent man, Pallas. His left arm just kind of hangs down by his side, relaxed, no longer in the sling as of this morning. After another silence, he adds, "The arm's fine. It's my shoulder. Physio says it'll be fine." He glances over to the central terminal where his information is still being displayed. Bad information. Poor reaction time, poor maneuvering, loss of wingman. His only redeeming factor, if it can even be called that, is that he got the enemy. "So, since it appears you're still interested in my piloting abilities, I'm assuming that today's not gonna be the big day after all."

Cidra lets out a short, humorless "Heh" sort of chuckle. "Call it stop loss if you like. I shall not lie, that was not a sterling showing, but you're still flight-capable. We can afford to lose no pilots right now. That will have to be enough." There's something almost apologetic underlying her tone. Blue eyes are grave. "Continue with physical therapy as long as Medical deems it necessary. Also, I shall send your squad leader, Lieutenant Laskaris, orders to put together some exercises to attempt to keep your reflexes sharp. Those're ever the first thing to go with age." She's coming up on the forty-mark herself, so that sort of thing is likely becoming a more pressing interest for her. She exhales. "You should be out a transport back to Aquaria. To enjoy your retirement. But. Many of us should not be here. We've all little choice now."

"Color me surprised," is Pallas' answer. It's more to himself, though, than a sarcastic comment to Cidra. Still, the fact that he's in the Sim Room on the day that he's supposed to be releasing points to him having suspected this happening. Which doesn't require an astrophysicist to figure out, all things considered. "My reflexes are fine, sir," he says. Slight pause before the 'sir'. "Once my shoulder's healed, I'll be good to… keep doing this thing." The words are bitter in his mouth. "The Navy can continue owning my soul until a Cylon blasts me out of orbit. That's the only retirement left, isn't it."

Cidra's brows arc at the slight pause before she's sir'd. But, as ever, her precise reaction to it is difficult to read. It's not commented upon. "I hope there is some more future for us all than that. For the moment, we press on in defense of the ship." She manages to sound as if she believes it. "As terrible as it is to contemplate, we are the fortunate ones." As opposed to those incinerated back on the colonies. "We shall all…keep doing this thing. As you put it. Dismissed."

"The fortunate ones…" Pallas lets those repeated words hang in the air for a moment before he takes the helmet out from under his arm, salutes, and turns. His drill's about as sloppy as his display of piloting. As he clears the hatch and exits the simulator room, the sound of his helmet being whipped against the nearest wall out there can be clearly heard.

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