PHD #184: Tactical Expenditures
Tactical Expenditures
Summary: Tillman comes down to the surface in costume and discusses present tactics and the future of Tactical with Cora and Cidra.
Date: 29 August 2041 AE
Related Logs: Sagittaron logs
Cidra Cora Tillman 
Sagittaron - The Farmstead
This is a sad and squalid patch of loamy earth, the blackness of which is broken up every few meters by rotting bits of green. Located on some of the highest ground near the Jharkand Delta, the farm went to seed a while before Warday — making it good only for growing weeds. An old farmhouse is the plot's most notable feature, perched as it is at the very summit of the hill — beside the charred walls of a barn quite recently set aflame. Those rickety structures aside, only two other hints of civilization remain. A poor excuse for a road winds its way down the slopes, its grey-white gravel partially obscured by encroaching dirt, while a small broken-down water pump creaks idly in the breeze, its handle worn by decades of use. The fields themselves have the undisturbed look of once-flooded ground — before the intrusion of men. The remains of broken tractors, plows, and various other farm implements have been carried by rising waters to their final resting place by the base of the farmhouse. Just enough barbed wire fences have survived to mark the edges of the twenty-acre property.
Post-Holocaust Day: #184

Tillman didn't stay the night. Something about Pewter's objections. He wasn't happy since he'd apparently had other business. But the man has managed to catch the first Raptor of the day down. The man is sitting on the winglet of one, well-hidden away from the prying eyes of the woodline by stacks of supply crates that are being readied for the move. As he was for Constin, the XO isn't dressed in his blues or greens. Any passers-by would see him dressed in Marine battlegear with a rifle slung over his shoulders. The rank pips on his lapels read him as a Staff Sergeant, and to most, he might just be assumed to be another Marine considering how he's hidden under his helmet. But having sent for Cora, the man seems in high spirits and content to enjoy the non-recirculated air of Sag in the meantime.

Cora is located and informed of the major's arrival, and she makes her way out to the Raptor promptly, dressed in the marines' black pants but standard naval tanktops. "Sir," she greets Tillman, a brow lifting as she asks curiously, "Staff Sergeant?" Then she goes on, "I apologize for missing you last night, we were off investigating one of the other sets of coordinates before news came of your trip. We finally located some that actually wanted to be rescued, as I'm sure you heard. Lieutenant Craig had mentioned you were looking for some particular information, though. What can I do for you?"

Tillman looks up at the arrival of Cora and stands from his place on the Raptor, moving his hands behind his back. Gotta look like a Staff Sergeant to anyone who might be watching somehow. "I'm not here to assume command or anything like that, Lieutenant. Also keeps me on a low profile, according to Pewter." There's a faint twitch of his lips. "No apologies. You were out leading a search and rescue. Damned glad to hear you were able to find some people. About ten or so, yeah?" To the last he surpressed a chuckle. "Yes. Craig called you for intel. I'm compiling strike information about the SSLF in case offensive bombardments need to be undertaken. However at this point in time I don't see the need. I've given command authority for Sergeant Constin to call for naval gunfire support only in defense of the base of operations itself. Anything more would require my own and the Colonel's approval. I was wondering what your thoughts were on that and the SSLF."

"So you're incognito?" Cora asks, brow lifting again, "Should I be denying that you're here if anyone asks?" The second question at least sounds serious. She moves on quickly enough, "Yes, nine. They were carefully searched by the marines and are getting medical attention back on the ship now." She listens then as he describes his question and considers a moment before replying, "I think it's wise to restrict that level of defensive aggression to the base only," she says, "Unless we were to get pinned down elsewhere or something along those lines. Which is to say, so long as it is not pre-emptive. I think engaging the SSLF more than that would be a waste of resources."

"You can tell people I'm here or not. There's nothing to worry about. I'm probably going to head back after this, anyway. I've got a stack of paperwork ready for me to sign." Yay. He's oh so excited about that. He listens to the rest, though, without comment until the end. "My concern for clandestine gunfire support is limited, though verified by the encounter last night. I trust the Sergeant to use his best judgment however sometimes events can spiral. It happens to a Marine Private. It happens to an Executive Officer. However, hitting the SSLF strategically is a concern because they've resorted to suicide bombers. Attacks may not come in the form of mortars or snipers. Hard to use artillery to defend the camp with a couple of anti-government fanatics running around trying to mingle and blow you all up. Hit the source." She can probably guess what that means. "What're you thinking in regards to the plans for the CAG to talk to the leader of this group?"

"Sir, we don't know the source. We'd have to blanket the basin, and we probably still wouldn't get them all," Cora opines, "I'm not sure I see the strategic value. I prefer the plan to relocate our base camp to an area less likely to be full of hostiles, from which we can concentrate on running search and rescue like we came to." As for the plan to talk to the leader, she shrugs, "I think it's unlikely to come to much good, but I also somewhat doubt it will be a problem, if it does come about. Their attacks have been small and inconsistent, which indicates to me that they want to convince us to leave, not force us themselves. It's possible they might try something at a meeting… but I'm not sure what. Taking hostages doesn't get us off their planet, after all."

"Not necessarily. Where we lost that Engineering Officer? From what I understand they've occupied some of the buildings there. But we can hit the basin pretty hard with munitions. We don't have to hit everything and we can replenish off of the Virgon Graveyard. We'll probably want to do that anyway in the next month or two. Nevermind that I'll expend a lot of ordnance if it ensures the safety of our people here. If moving the base, as the CAG suggested, is the best course of action then so be it. I'm not the on-site commander and you all have a better sense of the location." Tillman readjusts his stance. Probably been awhile since he has had to stand like this for any reasonable amount of time. "But I agree with the rest of the assessment. However, there is the remote possibility that they may try to take the CAG hostage and intend only to return her only once we've left the planet. Might be worthwhile to prepare for that. If they do, I'll be showing them no mercy."

"That's not precisely correct," Cora replies, "They were occupuying a building or two in Aigosthena at the time that we arrived there, but that appeared to be for the purpose of holding a particular prisoner, who they then executed. Sergeant Constin pointed out that the way the approach was rigged indicated a more serious operation they were protecting, but regardless, I doubt they have remained there now that they know we're aware of the place. At any rate," she continues, "I don't believe it would be effective to attempt to bomb them at this juncture, or necessary. We have to remember, also, that the cylon presence at the Virgon Graveyard has been increased such that our Raptor couldn't even get close. We shouldn't count on it for supplies. But yes," she continues, "I agree we ought to prepare for the worst if Major Hahn does secure a meeting."

Tillman nods. "Well if its an operation worth protecting in a group of houses, likely they'd look for another set of homes if they move it. Best guess? Two shells into each end would level it. We expend that a dozen times over in half a second of combat. Most of the time with much less effect." He seems fairly set on this. The XO doesn't seem inclined to play anyway but hard with the SSLF. "If the Cylons have taken up residence at the Yard, it might be a good idea to get them to look elsewhere. They can guard it all they want, but that means they're pulling combat units off defensible locations. Create an interest for them elsewhere. Test their resolve to defend it. If they pull units from Capirca before the yard, then that tells us something about their interest there. Fair enough, though. We can always hit one of the fleet replenishment yards. We didn't strip Audumbla as far as I've been told."

"They may very well have moved to another set of homes, yes," Cora replies with a nod, "But we don't know where those are, major, and I don't think it's worth our time to try to track them down at this point, or to bomb every village in the basin just in case they're there, since that's basically the opposite of what we came here to try to do." As for the matter of Virgon, she nods, "True, that would be interesting. And it might be a good idea to do a survey of the fleet anchorages and replenishment yards, send recon Raptors to check out whether they're intact and if the cylons are guarding them or not so we know what our options are for the future. But in general," she circles back to the situation on Sagittaron, "I think relocation is a good plan, and I'm working with Major Hahn and Sergeant Constin to identify a suitable location. Hopefully we will be able to move shortly, and from there complete review of the rest of the coordinates."

Tillma shakes his head. "We've been here how long? We've had multiple wounded, including Sergeant Constin, and one killed. We've found.. ten people total? Meanwhile they're sending suicide bombers against us. If Pewter wasn't so dead-set on this I'd have pulled us out of here already." He doesn't sound happy. At all. The man might even see this entire operation as a waste. Tough to say for sure, though. "As I said, I won't fight relocation. I didn't choose the LZ so I'm leaving that to those that did. Just be aware that I will cut orders that protect my people, damn the munitions expenditures. So either this operation continues to cease open hostilities, rolls up faster, I cut orders to open fire, or we are evac'ing this Colony and leaving it probably for good. Those options may be combined as well." He takes a breath and looks around.

Cora doesn't comment on whether or not they ought to be leaving altogether, replying simply, "Sir, no one is unconcerned with our safety down here. But with all due respect, carpet bombing every village or cave in the basin in an attempt to take out the SSLF won't make us safer or accomplish our objectives. There is a reason that the marines had been on the ground for thirteen years here without wiping this group out, and it isn't because they went easy on the munitions expenditures. We're not going to accomplish in a week what they couldn't in a decade. But I do think that relocating will help prevent further incidents of hostility, and in addition we've mostly exhausted the coordinates in the basin and will be working farther afield and further from SSLF areas of influence. So I would expect all of this to become more or less moot once we've moved."

Tillman shakes his head. "We don't need to wipe them out. Just keep them moving so they don't have time to hit us. The CAG seems to think I have some intention of turning this planet into a wasteland, too. I worked here when I was in the Corps. Tauron, too. Bombardments are targeted into likely areas, not randomly into villiages. And not done at once." He says it all evenly. Harassment fire. "As for movement, I'll agree there. I heard scuttle about shifting to a prison from the CAG. Sounds like a good choice." He lifts a hand and removes his helmet in the sun, running a hand through his dying hair. The man looks a little tired. "How're you doin otherwise, Cora? I know its no vacation but are you at least getting to take some time for yourself down here? Maybe unwind a bit?"

"That would require additional recon, sir, to identify the most likely areas and schedule out the movements and track their flight, et cetera," Cora points out, "Which would only slow us down further unless significantly more personnel and craft were detailed to this mission. And yes, Major Hahn mentioned the possibility of a prison," she nods, "It sounds like a good choice. Easily defensible and so on, as I'm sure you know." As for leisure time, her brows tic upwards very faintly and she replies, "Not especially, major. There's a great deal to coordinate and keep track of here, all things considered. But it's not so bad to be out in the sun again, so that's something."

Tillman shakes his head. "People are creatures of habit. They stick near water sources. Especially in heat like this. Hell, we can shoot recon shots with a telephoto lens from the observation deck." The 'Staff Sergeant' shrugs. He nods along with her mention of the prison, knowing. "Yeah, I hope so. Just don't forget to relax. I know you're working hard and there's a ton to do, but don't dig yourself into a rut. Take an hour or something once you all get moved. Things Which Make Cora Happy. You've got a nice smile. Be nice to see more of it around the ship." While it might come out as hitting-on from anyone else, Tillman seems more concerned for her personally than in flattery. "Besides, we've got a lot of work for you when you get back on up to the ship. Hate to have your butt kicked here then come home to a new workload."

Cora doesn't quite eye Tillman askance at his concern for her stress level, but she does regard him evenly and more or less expressionlessly minus a faint shifting in something between surprise and amusement at the bit about her smile. "Yes, there is a lot to do when I get back," she confirms, assuring him, "It's not going to suffer as a result of my work here. Unless I get shot or something, obviously. I make no promises on that point."

"If it makes you feel any better, Lieutenant, I'm not going to worry you've put in a lot of hard work since you came aboard. Haven't abused any trusts, either. Thrown yourself in and done what I ask of all my personnel in CIC: You lead from the field." Tillman nods once, placing the helmet under his arm. "And I'm not worried about your work when you get back. I know you've got a lot of dedication to the job. That's why, after a recommendation to Pewter, effective immediately I'm changing your billet from Intel to Lead Tactical. Unless you have some objections?" He quirks his brow with a bit of a smile.

"I try, sir," Cora replies, lips curving briefly, wryly, "I have to work twice as hard to prove I'm not a skinjob, after all." At the recommendation to Pewter, she blinks, and here registers an actual expression, brows lifting as if she's not sure she understands. "Sir?" she inquires, "I'm not objecting, but I'm not sure I follow."

"You've had ample opportunity to ruin this fleet, Nikephoros. If you wanted to, you could have. I'm convinced you're one helluvan asset to the fleet and humanity. And if anyone says otherwise, call it a leap of faith by Command Staff." Tillman seems fairly serious about all that, nodding as he speaks. "I'm placing you into the TACCO position, Lieutenant. You'll speak for Command when we aren't available and carry the torch. You'll be planning a lot of strikes and working with me to fine-tune our assets. Its a lot of responsibility but I'm convinced you can handle it. That's what I meant by extra workload."

"I certainly have," Cora replies, "And I'm glad that you and the colonel, at least, recognize that and trust me. I appreciate that, sir, very much." When he clarifies what he's giving her, though, she looks surprised again, but nods, "I— Thank you, sir. I'm honored to serve, and I look forward to working with you on that."

"If there's a problem with people giving you shit about trust, you politely tell them to go frak themselves and come talk to me. I'll start asking them to list off the chances they've had the opportunity from CIC to level the fleet or kill myself or the Colonel. Or list their above and beyond work for the fleet. Besides, if we thought you were a Cylon, you wouldn't be hunting them now would you?" Tillman cuts her a wink at the last question, his voice kept very quiet so no prying eyes might hear. "Now there is just one last problem that needs to be resolved with this position. Its typically held by a Major but occasionally by a Captain. What're you plans, off the cuff, to perform your duties and speak for Command as a Lieutenant?" He seems to be asking it as a matter of academics.

Cidra arrives from the The Bowers.
Cidra has arrived.

"I generally just point out that they could as easily be a cylon themselves," Cora replies, "But I'll do that, major. I don't imagine they'd find it a very pleasant conversation." At the quieter remark and the accompanying wink, her lips quirk and she nods, "No, perhaps not." At the question regarding ranks, her brows rise slightly and she replies, "It is a slightly more complicated position as a Lieutenant, I suppose, but I would put forward command's positions and my own plans to the ranking officers as required and simply have to work harder and more diligently to persuade them of the correctness and efficacy of whatever I'm proposing."

The Major nods once in his Marine uniform, helmet tucked under an arm still. "There you go. People want to make accusations? Fight fire with fire, Lieutenant." He listens to the rest, watching her eyes intently. He's quiet for a moment, though. "Yeah, that sounds like an acceptable answer, Lieutenant Nikephoros. But I'm not looking for 'acceptable' from my TACCO." The man gives a heavy sigh, shaking his head, suddenly looking as if he might be unsure about the choice. "I like to test my subordinates, Lieutenant. Make sure they're up to the task. Sadly, I think you finally let me down. I can't really deal with someone who is just going to try and work harder as a Lieutenant. Shit just doesn't fly with that all the time." He wets his lips and futzes with his chest armor, reaching in for a second. "This stuff is a bitch. Heavier than I remember. That or I'm getting older." He grunts and looks back to Cora. "Like I said, I need more. Sorry, Cora, but we're gonna have to promote you, too." He opens his hand out between them for her to take them as he lowers his voice to a sly whisper. "Psst. You're out of uniform."

"I was going for 'politic'," Cora replies when Tillman calls it 'acceptable' and though her expression remains safely neutral once again there is a faint sense around the eyes that she doesn't quite believe him. She reaches out a hand to take what he offers, replying at that whisper, "Sir, so are you." Her lips quirk in a brief smile, and then she opens her hand to see what she's got.

Cidra strolls over from the area where the planes are currently being housed. Dressed in fatigues and a green Navy cap to keep the sun off her face. She got more sun than was good for her during her first days on Sagittaron and learned her lesson. Albeit too late to save her from being rather red at the moment. At least her nose is done peeling. In general she's headed back toward the farmhouse, though there's an ambling quality to her pace. She looks thoughtful. Cora and Tillman are noted, however. Brows arch. And in that direction she angles.

"Yeah, but the difference is that while I'm out of uniform like this? It makes me look thinner. Black slims my girlish figure. I need the help at my age." Tillman winks and nods to her hands where a pair of Captains pins reside. "Congratulations, Captain Nikephoros. I'd love to sell you a salute but I don't want to get you shot." He grins, nodding to her smile. "That's what I'm talkin about, Cora. Right there." Noticing the approach of a certain woman Tillman dips his head. "Major Hahn. Good evening."

"Don't sell yourself short, sir," Cora replies as she looks up from those pins, her fist closing around them again quickly. Some people might prefer to avoid the responsibilities and burdens of rank, but she appears not to be one, because that 'Captain Nikephoros' draws a brief flash of a blistering grin. "Thank you, sir. I'll have to find a shirt to pin them on."

"Major Tillman, sir. A good eve upon you," is Cidra's extremely polite and rather formal - even for her - reply to Tillman's greeting. Head likewise inclined. She doesn't salute. This is a forward area, after all, and snipers like to pick off officers. Her features are carefully schooled to neutrality and remain so as she approaches the pair of them properly. "We shall begin striking the camp tomorrow and move out properly the day after, pending clearance of the site I have identified. Local prison on the outskirts of one of the urban areas in the province of Xenos. I shall get you and Colonel Pewter a full plan of our movements once I have firmed them and had them properly encrypted, sir." She seems about to go on relentlessly reporting, but something in that stops her. And actually makes her smile a crack. "Captain Nikephoros?"

The XO smirks. "Do that. Just remember those things weigh a lot. Especially in your new slot. I've been shouldering a lot of it since I was promoted up so I can help you out as needed. Just remember - never be afraid to ask for help. Don't believe that bravado bullshit about it being a weakness. Take advantage of your support system - which goes both ways now. You can rely on the people under you as well as request some assistance from me for tasking. No reason to be shy about it." The man see's her grin and reaches out to chuck her lightly on the shoulder. "Got good vibes, regardless. We can't wait to see you in action, Captain." Its then that he looks to Cid and listens carefully. "Xenos. Copy that. Any initial intel?" Noting her surprise, the XO chuckles. "Captain Nikephoros, indeed. She's also been reassigned. Major Hahn, this is our new Lead Tactical Officer." TACCO Supreme.

Cidra eyes Tillman rather mildly as he speaks to Cora. Brows arching at parts of that. But all that directly follows is more reporting, "Just background information at the moment. I am unsure it shall even be a viable place to move. I have ordered Viper scouts out on the morrow to do a quick fly-over. Get eyes on the area for any signs it is not as deserted as it should be. If it appears empty, I shall send in a Raptor with a Marine team to clear the place properly. Then we move." Back to Cora, then. Expression warming a few degrees. "Captain Nikephoros. I shall not say congratulations. More rank is only heavier. But it is well-deserved."

Cora just listens, though there's a faint sort of thrum of kinetic energy through the officer now that was not present earlier. "Yes, sir," she replies with a crisp nod at Tillman's advice, "I'll do that, sir." The chuck on the shoulder is still a surprise, even in her improved mood, and she nods and repeats, "Thank you, major." She turns back then as Cidra arrives, greeting her, "Major," and falling silent to focus on the relocation plan related, the intensity of her focus as sharp as ever. She starts to ask a question but stops as Cidra does instead, letting Tillman explain about the promotion. "Thank you, major," she replies to Cidra with a nod, and a curve of a smile that is warm for a moment before she's back to business: "Will we be moving personnel and equipment over two raptor-loads at a time, or will more planes be sent down temporarily for the relocation?"

Tillman just tilts his head forward and back. "Sound plan, Major. If you need anything from the ship, don't hesitate to call. Engineers, Medical, whatever. We'll even do free delivery." Turning from Cidra, he settles his eyes back to Cora. "You're very welcome, Captain. Thank you for all the hard work you've put down." He then falls quiet, letting the two other officers discuss the plan and listening carefully.

"I shall inform you and Colonel Pewter if I require additional logistical support, Major Tillman, sir, thank you," Cidra replies. "Sergeant Constin tells me we may require additional Marines to hold a complex that shall likely be larger than this farmstead, but the facility shall theoretically also be simpler to secure, so we play that by ear and I shall let you know. Also, I am drafting my formal surrender of this area to the South Sagittaron Liberation Front, which shall be broadcast after all of our people are well gone from this area. Captain Nikephoros, I shall want that sent over both the frequency we identified the insurgents using and a wider band. I would like all to hear it." A pause and she adds, "In case there are any left in this area who are not SSLF, it can serve as warning for them to leave." As to Cora's question she replies, "I would like our going to be done as quietly as possible. Load our supplies up and move out along the standard patrol schedule throughout the day. We will likely need to make some two Raptor-load runs just to get everything off but they should be interspersed throughout the day. No additional planes for now. I believe the personnel I have here should be capable of handling it."

"You're welcome, sir," Cora replies to Tillman more seriously before focusing in on Cidra's plan once again. She listens, nodding periodically in acknowledgement and replies, "That will be easily done. We can include other frequencies the SSLF has been known to use and those near the one we heard last as well as common civilian bands." The answer to her particular question is listened to in silence as well, and then she nods, "That makes sense, sir. It should be possible to disguise as our typical traffic, I'm sure."

"Copy that. I'll have another Fireteam shipped down on the next Raptor for temporary duty. You can shoot them back when you don't need them anymore." To the topic of the surrender, Tillman doesn't seem to have much of a reaction. "Fair enough. Let 'em know they can have their basin back and to leave us the hell alone so we can leave them alone." As the two women begin to go further into detail, the XO looks around the Farmstead and resaddles his helmet. "Think Pewter might get pissed-off if I walk a patrol pattern with Sergeant Constin?" He doesn't really seem to be speaking to either of them directly, buckling it under her chin.

"I rarely have any idea what Colonel Pewter is thinking, Major, sir," is Cidra's reply to Tillman. A little rueful, that, but there is some actual awareness of the irony of the statement apparent. "Do as you will. You can handle yourself, I am sure." Her attention rests on Cora still mainly, however. "Very good, then. And honors to your service, Captain. You have been a clear head for all down here, which is a blessing in short supply these days. I am proud to serve with you." With that, she extends her right arm, palm open as if inviting it to be clasped.

"I don't expect the colonel is actually standing in the observation deck with binoculars, sir," Cora replies to Tillman, "And I'm sure your secret is safe with us. Do try not to get shot, though, please." She turns back to Cidra then, looking faintly surprised by the praise, but pleasantly so. "Thank you, major," she replies, "It's an honor to serve with you as well." She reaches out her palm towards the older woman's for the handshake.

Tillman chuckles to the CAG's words, nodding as he cinches the straps on his combat vest. "Thanks, Major." Its a movement that seems like it might once have been reflexive but has faded with time. "Heh, yeah. Lesson One, Captain: You'd have better luck predicting a random number generator when it comes to the CO." He waggles his brow and reaches behind him onto the winglet of the Raptor to pick up the rifle he brought with him. Apparently the Major went all-out. "What? Don't want to serve under the CAG, ehre, as the XO? I think she'd do a bang-up job." He cuts her a wink and finally nods to Cora. "What she said," indicating Cidra. "She's a sight better than I am with oration, I don't have to tell you. Much more concise, too."

"Kind words, sir," Cidra acknowledges Tillman's compliment, though it's very hard to tell what she makes of the sentiment. "Untrue, but kind. I could not do what you do." Then she focuses on Cora properly. She clasps the other woman's hand but does not really shake. Rather, it is simply held firmly, longer than one might a regular shake. Seeking to meet the TACCO's eyes with her own cloudy blue ones. And then, as if it were quite a normal thin to do, she leans over to kiss Cora. Full on the lips. They're both taller women, so she doesn't have to bend her neck too much. The gesture is not romantic. It has both a formal and rather sisterly quality to it. But it is on the mouth, and held for beat before she breaks off contact with both her lips and palm.

"I'd just prefer my first situation as Tac Officer not involve the XO having been shot," Cora replies to Tillman a bit dryly, though still amused enough by the whole situation not to be too snarky. The handshake that involves no shaking does not seem to catch the newly-minted captain too far off-guard, and her hand too remains still. Eye contact is also something that comes easily, and her gaze, a clearer blue, meet the CAG's steadily. The kiss, though. That she did not see coming. Which isn't to say that she pulls back or freaks out or even reacts at all but to remain still and let it happen, brows lifted in momentary surprise. It must, however, be easy enough to figure out the meaning of the gesture once its happening, because her expression is serious when Cidra draws back. Not that seems to quite know what to say, remaining silent for a moment, at least.

"Uh huh." Tillman sounds skepitcal of Cid's denial of position. He probably believes she could do a helluva job. The man seems on the verge of saying something else in reply to Cora but stops short when he see's the CAG kiss the new TACCO. Blink. Blink. "That-" was unexpected. "What-" was that for? "Okay. Well, congrats again, Cora. I'm going to go flag down Constin and go for a stroll. You two..ah. Well, enjoy the rest of your day." He shakes a finger once at Cora. "Especially you, Captain." He flashes a quick smile before hefting the rifle and sauntering off towards the farmhouse.

Cidra offers Cora the barest hint of a smile as she straightens. Then looks over at Tillman, expression all of inscrutable, brows still a little arched. What? "Clear eyes and steady hands, Major Tillman, sir."

Cora has no answers for Tillman, beyond a bland, innocent sort of smile and a nodded, "Yes, sir." What? The quick flit of a smile Cidra gets is far more genuine, and perhaps even amused.

Cidra watches Tillman go, blue gaze steady on his departing for as he heads off, before turning back to Cora. "How did he seem to you?" she inquires. "Apart from what I just saw. I have had little time to speak with the XO while he has been in camp." And most such interactions have likely involved similar relentless reporting.

Cora lifts a brow at the question before looking after the departing major. "Frustrated at the progress of the mission," she replies after a moment, "Unconvinced that it ought to continue at all given the rate at which we're locating survivors who actually wish to be rescued. But in better spirits when it came to the promotion bit. And I think he is pleased to be on the ground." She turns back then and asks, "Is that a Gemenese custom? The kiss?"

"Because what we were engaged in before was such a much more productive expenditure of our time and energy, and had such a low casualty rate." It is bitten off with more sarcasm than Cidra likely meant to show. She clears her throat, actually looking abashed. "That was uncalled for and unprofessional. Major Tillman is taking hand of the situation as he sees necessary. I am doing the same." They differ rather heavily on some important points, but that's not something she rehashes now. At the question about the kiss, she smiles one of those bare hints of a smile. "You could call it thus, yes. Though it is not precisely Gemenese custom in the broad sense. You said you were not a follower of the Faiths, Cora?" She apparently does know the woman's first name, sparingly as she uses it.

Cora has little visible reaction to that moment of sarcasm, except to smile faintly when it is apologized for. "I am sure he does not need to hear of it from me," she replies, moving on to nod, "I would not call myself faithful, no." She is curious, though, that's for sure, one brow lifting subtly upwards as she awaits further information.

Cidra is going somewhere other than preaching to the heathen with this. "I cannot recall if I ever did tell you…" Maybe when they were high. Some of those details are fuzzy. "…When I was younger, I considered joining the Sisterhood of Service to the Wise Lady Athena. I was even accepted into seminary after I graduated university. I did decide to join the Colonial Fleet instead." She explains not this whiplash turn of her life, but goes on. "I did do some studies in the summers as a scribe and servant to the priestesses, however, and felt myself nearly a part of the Sisterhood. It is a bond the priestesses share that I cannot really describe. Many do not marry, and live together in the Lady's Houses and Temples. They work in their Wordly ministries together. They share their service, all the pain and joy and struggle from it, in a way that makes them something more than family."

"I believe you did mention it at some point," Cora nods, though this time seems to include more detail, and she listens with interest. "And that," she guesses, "Is how they greet new members of their order?"

"It is both a formal greeting between Sisters of the particular cult of Athena I followed and a gesture of sorority in moments to honor," Cidra replies to Cora. "I did not join the Sisterhood. I would have made a…poor priestess, I think. But there is, I think, a similar bond of service between those who fight and fly together, I do think. I hold all my pilots as such. My Brothers and Sisters." Which would probably surprise a good many of them, but she's absolutely sincere.

Cora nods at this reply, listening as Cidra explains further, and, at the last, offering a pleased little smile, seemingly sincere as well. After a moment, she says, "You are an extremely difficult woman to read, as I am sure you know. I appreciate knowing where I stand, then, and am pleased and honored that you might consider me part of that community."

"Yes, I am told I am not…easy with people," Cidra says. She is 'told' this. Like this is some vague rumor floating around the ship. "I know some find me…cool." She is picking one of the milder descriptors. "I do not think it my job to flatter and be dearest of friends with all the ship. I do not care for such myself. I respect the service of all, but I generally find effusive expression of emotional warmth insincere. To try to hold all close cheapens true friendship." She pauses and says, rather awkwardly, "I would not mind us being friends, were that amenable to you."

"I suspect that I would not be described in much different terms," Cora replies with a bit of a shrug, one shoulder lifted and then eased back down, "And I would tend to agree with the rest as well. There is very little place for such things in a military environment even when they are sincere." At the offer of friendship, she manages not to quite give in to a smile, though her lips curve tellingly as she nods and replies, "I would certainly be amenable to that."

"Thank you. We are agreed, then," Cidra says. Negotiating the terms of their personal relationship. Another rather awkward shrug. Like she's considering whether she has to hug the TACCO now. She decides against it. "I should be getting back to the farmhouse. There are plans to make and, if we do find a suitable prison to move to promptly, I would like to be out of this basin within forty-eight hours."

"We are," Cora replies, and here she smiles, definitely amused, though pleased enough also that it does not seem mocking. She doesn't look for a hug, and does nod at Cidra's words. "That would be ideal," she agrees, "Do let me know what the recon reports of the prison come in, I'd like a chance to go over them myself as well, if you don't mind." With that, she lifts a hand in farewell and adds, "Good night."

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