PHD #410: Ten-Second Hypothetical
Ten-Second Hypothetical
Summary: Khloe and Birdie have another illuminating conversation.
Date: 12 April 2042 AE
Related Logs: All Areion imprisonment logs.
Khloe Finch Marty 
Colonial Pete's — MV Elpis
Colonial Pete's is the long-awaited successor to Kythera's Aquarian Pete's, though this version is more bar than strip club. Not that there aren't any strippers here, in fact there's even a raised platform complete with pole built just for them. The majority of the room, however, is dominated by mis-matched tables and chairs and a long bar. Lighting is haphazard, the harsh fluorescents that came with the place usually left off in favor of lower lighting from scavenged lamps and even a bit of neon rustled up from somewhere and hung behind the bar. There's a pretty decent sound-system playing a wide variety of music, and a couple of low-tech bar games, like a mini pyramid arena.

There are always a few burly-looking guys around to keep an eye on rowdy patrons, and especially to guard the doors to the back rooms, where the stills are kept along with (rumors say) a few private alcoves for those willing to pay extra for one-on-one time with the girls.

A large black chalkboard that once adorned Cerberus' Ready Room hangs behind the bar. Scrawled on its surface beneath a crude picture of a steaming bowl are the words 'SOUP OF THE DAY: MOONSHINE.'
Post-Holocaust Day: #410

Probably the last person to set foot in Pete's, especially during a fleet-wide crisis, would be Khloe Vakos. The Captain is in her dress blues, with her sidearm holstered; with arms crossed and her usual business scowl on, she is pacing the length of distance between the exit and an intermediate point in the center of the room. She has been approached twice by bar-goers; civilians, both times, and both times sent away with a glare and two simple words: "Go away." This was not her first choice for a place to have an informal meeting between squadron leaders, but given the circumstances, this was as 'neutral' as it gets. Pausing only to glance at the chronometer, she continues her adgitated walk to and fro.

Dirk "Birdie" Finch is looking a bit more scraggly than usual when he walks through the hatch, bellying up to the bar after stopping to pat a passing waitress on the ass. But even his muttered "Hey, baby" doesn't really have much heart behind it. Carrying his sweaty flight suit in one hand, he snaps his fingers twice and slams a pair of vouchers on the table: demanding two of the usual, judging by the pair of grunts he directs at Marty Dames' general direction. He'll make Khloe come to him.

Khloe narrows her eyes. Rank hath its privileges, and she obliges, stalking up to him beside the bar. "Major," she intones sharply. "The sooner I get answers to my questions, the sooner I will no longer bother you. Understand that I have a Raptor waiting for me, and lest I report back in - " glancing at the chonometer, "- forty-eight minutes, all hell will break loose." She uncrosses her arms, but her right hand's thumb hooks at the right side of her belt, very near her holstered Five-seveN.

"Poseidon's blue dick. You came here strapped?" Birdie bends toward the bar, letting his flight suit fall from his arm. The smell of his aftershave wafts upwards as the heavy fireproof fabric slumps to the deck. "Ask away. I've got my cigs and my — whatever the frak she's mixing is called."

"The Nuclear Apocalypse," calls Marty, without turning around.

"What a name," drawls the pilot with a world-weary sigh, his dark eyes crinkled in amusement.

She shows no sign of flinching, other than her nostrils flaring at the scent of Dirk's oppressive aftershave, mixed with the fireproofed, rubberized material of his flight suit. "I'll reiterate what I tried to ask you over the wireless." Well, she was livid on the wireless. "Why has Areion made illegal arrests of Cerberus personnel and notable civilians?"

"Frak if I — thanks, babe," says Birdie to the redheaded waitress, grabbing both plastic tumblers as they're slid his way. He downs the first shot with a satisfied gulp, embracing the burn that sears his esophagus and unsettles his stomach. "Frak if I know. I do one thing for Rudy: blow shit up. Anything that doesn't relate to that, I don't need to know. And that's just fine by me."

"Yet you know if it, and you're aware of it," Khloe states the obvious. "I suppose with an elite, classified carrier, you get an elite crew. Crew that's frakking full of themselves and think they can push around good men and women." Her timbre changes towards the sharp, something Birdie's already gotten a taste of over wireless. Never shrill, Khloe's words just carry a heavy, weighted edge to them, like an axe meant for firewood. Or limbs. Depends on if you're Canceran or not. "An illegal order is an illegal order. Has your CAG said anything?"

"Papa?" If Khloe's words are like an axe, Birdie's low chuckle is like rich dark chocolate. "Said anything? No. Knows anything? Now that's affirm. But if you want to know what's rattling around beneath that felt hat, you'd better talk to him. Higher up on the see-oh-see and all. You want this?" He pushes the second tumbler the woman's way, his hairy hand searching within his pockets for a pack of smokes and a lighter.

"I don't drink," Khloe is quick to reply. But she doesn't let him change the topic. "I'm not interested in Colonel Baer. The reason why I flagged you down for a chat is because we're both Es-Els. We're on the same level, even if technically you're my superior." Despite her declaration, she does spare a quick glance for the alcohol, although it doesn't divert her attention for long. "Other than the fact that it's not your people being dragged away illegally, how can you stand for this kind of crap coming down from Rudy?"

Birdie shrugs. "Thought he was something of a prick myself first time I met him. He shook my hand, slobbered all over me, and said how happy he was I'd signed up. Then he started talking about his frakking divorce." Another chuckle, this one the color of pressed coffee. "What can I say, Pops? The man brought us back from the brink. We were sniffing around past the Arm Line when we got word of the attack. Next thing we know some bone-white asterisk is trying to ram a couple of nukes up our collective ass. I gave us about fourteen minutes to live. Now it's been fourteen months, and here's to fourteen more, and fourteen more after that." Finch crushes the next shot with abandon, slamming plastic onto wood as if to knock on it. "Track record like that? Sure I'll stand for it. Besides, the crazy shit he pulls always seems to work."

"And how precisely have you survived these fourteen months? A little skill, sure, and a little luck doesn't hurt," Khloe states; her body language is relaxing somewhat as she leans against the bar and crosses her arms again - her hand away from her sidearm. "But what it comes down to is trust. You work well with each other because you trust each other. Well, Birdie, when that trust does not extend beyond your ship, you're going to find that you might be high and dry and 'an acceptable loss' if Pewter says so. Because I'll be frakked if I'd piss on Kepner to put him out if he were on fire."

"Seems to me as if you trust us plenty whenever you need our big frakking Gun. Or whenever you need us to shoot down a couple of bogeys getting right close to your precious virgin pucker. Or whenever you want our techs to show you how to make your Vipers purr." Birdie taps the bottom of his box of cigs until one drops out to the wet countertop. It's lit without hesitation, smoke wreathing his face as he breathes it in. "Just saying."

"In the interest of not being a hypocrite, then, I'll be sure to let Major Hahn know that I'm no longer interested in a Viper 7.5," Khloe states flatly. "And if it'll make you feel any better, I'd rather die from Cylon KEW than be saved by your precious Gun. If you're not going to help me, Birdie, then I can officially tell you to go screw. You'll get no cooperation from the Black Knights."

Birdie's thick lips pull up into a thin little grin. "And here I thought you were about to propose," he says, tapping a bit of ash from the tip of his cigarette. "You want to die faster, that's none of my business. Just save us the trouble and walk out an airlock so we don't have to waste our precious parts fixing up your exploded bird. Look. What is it you want me to do? Run up to Rudy and order him to stop taking your people? This is war, babe, and in case you haven't noticed, they kind of look like us now. If we'd played things your way, we'd be a fine pink mist somewhere between heaven and here." Thick brows knit as he considers his empty glasses, toying with the possibility of ordering another pair. "Took my people, too, you know. One of my boys ended up pretty frakked up in the head when Rudy got done with him. But that's the price you pay for fourteen, and that's the price you've got to pay for fourteen more after that."

"Frak you, Birdie," Khloe replies. "It's the job of every officer to refuse following illegal orders and take the chance of getting brigged and court martialed. All it takes is one good officer to stand up and do what's right." She pushes off the bar and pulls her uniform jacket flat. "Thanks for the talk. A waste of my frakking time. I can see where you and yours stand on this matter. You're complacent. And in complacency, you're just as criminal as your commanding officer."

"Coward," says Birdie, cheeks hollowing as he takes a long and satisfied pull.

"And how the frak am I a coward, Major, when I'm the one trying to stand up for my people?" Khloe spits, pushing right up to him, inches from his face. "I frakking voted for Abbot to die. When it's clear cut that someone is the enemy or consorting with the enemy, the course of action is clear. Not this underhanded, outside-the-lines crap. So don't you call me a frakking coward."

Birdie doesn't flinch back, instead shifting position on his stool so he can spread his arms on the bar behind him like he owns the place. Holding his cigarette between his lips, he lets it dangle just a centimeter or so from Khloe's face. "Ten-second hypothetical," he says, only one side of his mouth lifting. "You're in a bunker when the Cylons come by. They haven't heard you. Then a baby starts crying. What do you do?"

"Get ready to shoot, because killing the baby doesn't solve the fact that it's already cried out and the Cylons likely heard it," Khloe states without so much as a second to think. "Besides, the baby shouldn't be topside in the bunker anyway, it should be down below, with the civilians. What the frak does that have to do with anything?" Glare.

"That's what I thought. Coward," Birdie repeats with a satisfied little smirk. "You knew exactly what the point of that question was and you did all you could to weasel out of it. This right here? This is real, babe. So keep on dancing around this shit like some Virgan ballerina all you like, hiding behind that bullshit you call duty. The rest of us'll pick up your slack. Now either kiss me or get out of my face."

"Weasel out of it? Frak you, Birdie. I made a mistake trying to summon you here to try and get some sane understanding as to what your Cee-Oh is up to. I see that your entire frakking chain is poisoned." As Khloe pulls back away from him, sadly not giving him any sort of lovin' whatsoever, she offers, "I don't hate the Cylons, Birdie. I just kill them because it's my job. You are letting hate blind you, and you are afraid of them. Feel free to let Baer know that I will be making a conscientious objection to any order that comes down the pipe, from either air group, involving the continued cooperation of said air groups." And, heels together, she offers a sharp salute, despite all the negative things he's had to say to her.

He doesn't even bother to return her salute. "Thanks for the psychoanalysis," says Finch, allowing himself another infuriating and contemptuous chuckle before crushing the tip of his cigarette between his thumb and forefinger. "Maybe next time, if you ask real nice, I'll tell you about my mother. Or I might just tell you a few choice things about yours." Then it's back to his drink. Looks like the rest of his vouchers will be seeing some use after all.

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