PHD #117: That Which We Earn
That Which We Earn
Summary: Marko and Tisiphone are promoted. Despite Tisiphone's best efforts. Matters of trust are discussed thereafter.
Date: 23 Jun 2041 AE
Related Logs: Tug Of War; Lucky's New Lot
Cidra Marko Tisiphone 
Ready Room - Deck 7 - Battlestar Cerberus
With the hatches at the rear of the room, the walkways on both sides slope down towards the dais at the front of the room. The stadium seating forms a partial semi-circle around the speaking podium and provides enough seats for all three hundred members of the Air Wing. The walls are adorned with the patches of each squadron aboard and their mottos stenciled in white lettering above each one. Behind the podium is a set of large LCD screens that can display any matter of material from reconnaissance to maps to gun camera footage.
Post-Holocaust Day: #117

[Intercom] Cidra says, "Pass the word. Ensign Apostolos and Ensign Scaurus, report to the Ready Room, please."

The Ready Room has only one solitary figure at the moment. Cidra. Standing at the podium. Left arm still bound up in a sling, but otherwise looking quite polished. She waits.

Marko arrives a few minutes later, frantically scrubbing at his hands with a blue tuff towel of the kind often found on the hangar pod. "Evenin', CAG. Sorry for the delay, sir. Caught me elbow deep in Raptor guts." the young man smiles. "Can someone explain to me how it is we've developed the ability to travel faster than light, but nobody's figured out how to make something to get hydraulic fluid off your hands?"

The latest in the never-ending cycle of CAP rotations came and went not that long ago. Recently enough that Tisiphone, fresh off her first time out since her return from Leonis, is still peeling her flight her flight suit down to her waist as she stalks in, the door swinging shut behind her with an overloud WHUMP. Straight down toward the podium she heads, with none of the good cheer Marko brings with him, and the look of Something Huge(tm) on her mind. Perhaps her fellow Ensign is hoarding all the happiness for himself.

"Apostolos. Scaurus. Up here, and come to attention," Cidra orders the pair of them as they file in, beckoning with her right hand toward the dais. If she makes any note of the mood of either ensign, even the dark cloud Tisiphone brings with her, no sign of it is given. She just watches them in that vaguely weighing way she has of eyeing things a lot of the time.

Oh boy…that doesn't sound good. Marko shoots a confused, somewhat wary-frightened look towards Tisiphone. The his hand towel is hastily stuffed in his pants pocket as he enters into full-on military mode, marching up to the dais and coming to full attention. He doesn't click his heels, but it's a near thing.

No joy for Tisiphone's approaching thunderstorm, and no joy for the CAG's order, either. Long legs storm her up to the dais and bring her to an abrupt, coiled halt. Her mouth twitches in a bloodless line, teeth set down hard on some words desperately, /desperately/ wanting to come forth. Flared nostrils, fire in the eyes. Someone left their Happy Place back on Leonis. The restraint buckles, and one hand flies out in a slash of frustration. "Sir, how the /frak/-"

"Table it, Apostolos, or you will make me regret myself," Cidra says shortly, cutting Tisiphone off briskly. "Now." She's not one for barking, really, but there is a sharpness in her tone. The woman can project her drawling alto when she wants to. Despite that, when she does get going properly, her manner is not overly put-out. "I shall not belabor this," she says, stepping out from behind the podium to stand even with the pair of them. "We all have much work to do. But, now that our Wing is whole again - or as whole as we can make it - the time has come to strengthen it. We have lost much. But that which remains, I believe, is stronger. The pair of you came here as rooks not even five months ago. None are rooks any longer. In the past months you have both shown great initiative, great courage, and a great quality." A pair of small black boxes is held in her hand. She leaves them at attention for now. She's not done.

Tisi's outburst causes Marko's eyes to momentarily, _very_ momentarily flick over to give her an 'Are you frakking crazy?' look before going back to Cidra's. Her words do seem to take some, if by no means all, of the apprehension from his demenor.

There's all but an agonizingly slow scraping sound as Tisiphone pulls herself into the most reluctant at-ten-tion she's formed to date. It's picture-perfect once it's there, but it looks like it stings and burns, every inch of the way. She remains tense and coiled, jaw set hard — though the sleety daggers she's flicking at Cidra abruptly slash away, down to those boxes held in her hands.

The Viper pilot's daggers are, for the moment, ignored. Or so it seems. Cidra just gets on with business. "You are hereby promoted to the rank of lieutenant, junior grade. It is very soon for this, and for that I apologize. You both deserved more time to season yourselves. But such luxuries are gone. As I said, we need strength up from the lower ranks, and I see great strength in both of you. At ease, Flasher. You shall have to pin these on yourself. I am short a wing at the moment." And Marko is handed one of the boxes. Tisiphone is left to stand at attention a moment longer.

"I won't let you down, sir." Marko replies, accepting the box with all of the decorum and bearing he was taught at the academy before snapping off a salute. Then, he goes to at ease, opening the box to peruse the pin inside. If he has something else to say, he's keeping it to himself for the moment, simply trying to savor the moment.

Left to stew, and stew Tisiphone does, her metaphorical stovetop dial set to 'slow burn'. Her eyes snap back up to the CAG's from the boxes and hold there steadily. She keeps her silence — save for the quiet scratches of harshly-controlled breaths.

Cidra transfers Tisiphone's box rather awkwardly into her left hand, so she can return Marko's salute with a fluid one of her own. "I have no doubt of it, Scaurus. Clear eyes and steady hands to you." The pins given to him, but she's not entirely done with him yet. Before moving on she leans forward to kiss him. On the cheek. Both cheeks briskly, if he'll allow. There's nothing romantic about the gesture, or even particularly affectionate. It has a sort of ceremony to it, albeit nothing Colonial Military.

Marko blushes brightly at Cidra's unexpected addition to the little ceremony, but doesn't resist it. Cidra is, of course, Geminese, he knows how they roll when it comes to this sort of thing. "You too, sir." he adds, shifting a little on his feet and giving the woman a little smile. With that, the box is placed, very carefully, into one of his cargo pockets on his fatigues. Off duty greens and these kind of uniform pins don't go well. That done, he's able to shift his attention to Tisiphone, settling back on his heels a little as he contemplates the big, angry black cloud hovering over her head. "You okay, Tis?"

Tisiphone gives no answer to Marko's query — the CAG hasn't released her from attention, just yet. Her mouth shifts again, though, twisting into some new configuration of glittery-eyed temper.

Cidra gets that other box back in her right hand after she's through with Marko, moving onto the dark cloud that is Tisiphone. "At ease, Apostolos." The little box is offered. Though with a mild, "And never swear at me again."

Yeah, cussing out the CAG. That's a career enhancer. Ask anybody! "Hello? Tis?" he asks, waving his hand at the young woman. "You okay?"

Tisiphone may well have anti-enhanced her career all the way back out the young end of Academy if she hadn't been cut off. "Later," she says to Marko, sidelong, as she eases down to parade rest — that's somewhat ease-like, isn't it? — then reaches forward to accept the box. "Sir," she says, only, to Cidra, pulling another salute. Sharp, and brief.

The salute is acknowledged fluidly. And, despite Tisiphone's foul mood, Cidra leans forward to kiss her as well. If she'll allow. Though this time the aim is full on the lips rather than her cheeks. Again, there's a ceremonial quality of the gesture. Even moreso than with Marko, really.

Well, this is…awkward. For his part, Marko's happy as a clam, if clams can be happy, but let's not get too meta about all this. Tisiphone, on the other hand, basically looks like someone just took a dump in her lunch box. "Bet you never expected to get these so fast, huh, Tis?" he asks, making one more, desperately lame attempt to lighten the mood.

The Ensign(-no-more) is familiar with ceremonial kissing. Or so tightly-wound at the moment that there's no room in her posture for a startled flinch back. Either is plausible. Cidra is likely to notice Tisiphone's breathing goes completely AWOL until she leans back again, however. Her fingers tighten around the box, then carefully loosen again. "Sure didn't," comes the wooden response to Marko. Poor fellow. Sagittaran storms are stubborn things.

Cidra eases back, eyeing Tisiphone in that same mild way. But not rebuke is forthcoming. Yet. "Consider this effective immediately. The proper paperwork is already through to command and your squadron leaders are notified. You have served well, and I now trust you will set a good example to those under you. Dismissed, Lieutenant Scaurus." She uses the rank to him with a hint of almost affection. Mild blue gaze remains on Tisiphone. "Money Shot has something she would like to discuss with me, I do suspect."

"Copy that, sir." Marko replies, voice indicating that he's fully aware of what a monumental understatement _that_ is. "Oh, sir, if and when you've got about thirty minutes to spare, I've got something I need to run past you." he adds. "Nothing pressing, well, nothing that can't wait until you've got time to really discuss it.' he corrects himself. "Anyhow, I know it's not protocol, but, thanks, sir." he smiles. "Easy goes it, Tis." he adds as he makes his way for the hatch.

"I do, Sir," Tisiphone admits, readily enough. Her own boxed pin is slipped down into her pocket and she returns to that leashed-in parade rest, head swivelling like an owl's — as much as human vertebra permit — to track Marko's departure.

Marko leaves, heading towards the Deck 7 [Out].

Cidra inclines her head to Marko as he goes. Then turns her proper attention to Tisiphone. "You have permission to speak freely, though you lacked the courtesy to ask for it," she says levelly.

Again, Tisiphone sets her teeth, grinding them into some fractionally-different configuration than they'd been set before. A flare of nostrils to mark an oh-so-careful breath, oh-so-carefully breathed out. "I spent eight weeks cooling my jets over someone who apparently slept their way through Wingman Tactics 101, and now uou've turned the leadership of the squad over to them? You'll understand my extreme alarm here, Sir." The thin lines of muscles and tendons in her arms shift — she's doubtless unknotting and reknotting her fingers behind her back.

"This is about Sophronia, then. Well. I did suspect that was coming," Cidra says. "I knew her appointment would not be without resistance in the squadron. To her credit, so does she. But she was the best choice of the available options." A statement that can be taken a number of ways.

"What the fr-" Whoa, girl. Mouth. Mind the mouth. Tisiphone rakes her teeth hard against her bottom lip, pulling white, bloodless lines across it, before trying again. "You haven't exactly been one I've pegged for poor judgement before, Sir. I don't see what else I could possibly have to bring up. But." Wheat-white brows furrow, her expression caught somewhere between frustration and pleading. "How can she /possibly/ be the best choice? Even Spiral has more sense out there than she does. It's-" She stops, looking sharply away, for the span of two breaths, before she says, "There's no fr-" Ahem. "There's no way I'm flying under her. She's a death wish for a wingman."

Cidra's eyes narrow. Better mind the mouth. "I would not have put her in that position if I felt her a judgment a danger to you or any other pilot, Apostolos. This, I would hope you know better than. Do not think I did not weigh all my options carefully, and I do consider her the strongest person to fill that left by Captain Laskaris." And there is respect in her tone as she speaks of Alessandra. "We spoke a bit last night of trust. I do not think you entirely understand my view on that. I shall explain, if you like."

"/You're/ not the one that was left out there to dangle while she flew off to try and impress Lasher, Sir," Tisiphone points out with a fresh flaring of anger in sleetstorm eyes. "You haven't exactly stared face-first into her judgement." She prims her mouth shut, breathing harshly through her nose, and twists her head to look down. "Fine," she says, the unspoken whatever hanging in the tone. "I'm listening, Sir. It's obvious I don't understand."

"In my life in the military I have learned to separate trust and respect, and I do deem them two quite different things," Cidra begins. "Respect is given. It must be, or the chain of command, particularly in combat, shall fall apart. You respect the rank. You respect the wings. You respect the position. You do not do this, and all falls apart. It has not to do with the person who wears those things. It has to do with the service, and how it *must* work for us all to survive. Trust is another matter. Trust is earned. I told you I trust Shiv, and I did not mean that lightly. I trust Bootstrap as well. Despite his flaws, and he had his share, I very much trusted Laskaris. And I trust you and Scaurus. I would not have done this if I did not. A person earns this for me by, every day, showing that they have your back. That they care more for their fellow pilots and the protection of this ship than their own lives or petty cares. This is no small thing to me, Apostolos."

"Yet she demonstrated quite clearly she cared more for her own petty cares than her fellow pilots out there, Sir," Tisiphone points out. "And this is the one we're supposed to believe is looking out for us?" Beneath that anger — or maybe it's the /real/ reason her shoulders are wound like piano wire about to snap and her eyes glitter like one half-mad — is fear. "This is the one you expect us to trust? Expect /me/ to trust?"

"No, I do not expect you to trust her," Cidra says. "She has not earned that with you. That is unfortunate, but it is on her, and not you. She committed a grave error above Virgon. Do not think I have forgotten it. But over the past months, particularly since her return from Leonis, I have seen her put the protection of this ship and the welfare of the pilots junior to her at foremost, time and again. And I have not of late had any reason to question her judgment. Sophronia has earned my trust. Now she must earn that of the Knights, and I do not claim it should come easily. All I ask that any officer give another is due respect. The rest must be earned."

"Like you said about Spiral. The rank deserves respect. The person filling that rank-" Tisiphone's head moves in a vague little wiggle. The person behind it's another story entirely. She's quiet for thirty seconds or more, trapped somewhere in her tense thoughts, before she carefully pulls a breath in, holds it for three, and exhales. "I sure hope you're right, Sir. I'm really looking forward to being proved dead frakking wrong about her." The profanity slips out, and her eyes widen a split-second too late. "Sir! Sorry, Sir." Rigid as a post again.

"Do not swear *at* me, Apostolos," Cidra says mildly. "Profanity in general I have come to accept. Again, it is not a matter of vocabulary. It is a matter of respect. But at least you learn." A pause. "As I said, I would not do this if I did not think she would act in the best interests of you and her fellow pilots. But she must prove herself as a leader. It is no easy thing. I hold no illusions that all in this Wing like me." A little wry. "But I do strive, each day, to earn your trust. And will strive for yours again tomorrow."

"Yessir. Sorry, Sir," Tisiphone repeats again, before the oh-shit rigidity abates. Somewhat. Again, the lines of whipcord muscle twitch in her arms as her fingers retangle behind her back, weight shifting forward then back again on her heels. "I've said all I needed to say, Sir. Is there anything else?"

"No, for my part," Cidra replies. "You are dismissed if there is nothing further. I shall see you later, Lieutenant."

There's a heartbeat, maybe two, that come and go there before Tisiphone's brain kindly points out the title belongs to /her/, now. That's /you/ she's talking to, girl. Her hands untangle from behind her and drop down to her sides before she pulls herself into another sharp salute, holding it there as she says, "Thank you, Sir. I'll try not to disappoint you."

Cidra returns the salute with the same fluid motion she always does. Ingrained in her after fifteen years in uniform, it's as natural as anything. "I trust you will not."

Tisiphone's mouth purses, her eyes wavering uncertainly on the CAG's for several seconds. They abruptly skitter away as she nods, then turns, and makes her hurried way toward the door. She's already digging the box out of her pocket as she steps through.

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