PHD #000: EVENT - The Blameless Tide
The Blameless Tide
Summary: Battlestar Cerberus is commissioned.
Date: 26 Feb 2041 AE
Related Logs: What Sweet Price Freedom, others to come.

Abbot Alessandra Arkat Atreus Cadmus Callista Cidra Daphne Demos Evandreus Hellicon Karthasi King Kulko Laskaris Malone Marcion Margaret Marko Naevi Nikias Nostos Oberlin Quinn Raedawn Rojas Santiago Sitka Sofia Stavrian Temperance Tillman Tisiphone Trask NPC Polaris 

The Grand Ballroom — Picon Anchorage — Picon

Formerly a munitions storeroom during the Cylon War, the Grand Ballroom on Picon Anchorage has reaped far more than its share of the dividends of peace. One entire wall of the massive room has been replaced by a tremendous transparent window through which can be seen the sublime wonders of space — distant stars, drifting ships, and the great blue-white planet below. But tonight the view of her vast oceans is obscured by the Fleet's guest of honor: the Battlestar Cerberus, her bulky frame glowing a muted silver where running lights meet steel.

The view on the inside is no less spectacular. Say what you will about the Colonial Fleet: it sure knows how to throw a party, especially when its budget is on the line. Waiters in white tuxedoes flit about the candlelit room, their tails the same color as the wispy cloths folded over the hundred fifty pedestal tables arranged around the dance floor by the window. Their silver trays overflow with finger food for all — gourmet snacks to be washed down by glasses of a Virgon red some fifteen years older than the battlestar outside. A jazz quartet provides musical entertainment for the evening, its members rocking in time to the rollicking beat.

Eat, drink, and be merry. This night is yours.

Marcion walks around, uncomfortably picking at his dress grays… he's not used to them at all. A piece of something edible is picked up from a tray and tried and swallowed. He then sighs. "I shoulda stayed with the engines," he mutters.

Quinn is looking a bit out of place in her dress grays. Maggie never really fits with formality too well, too much of her farm girl, freckled, frizzed out and used to the tough labour sort of work, not the sort that attends black tie functions. Still, she's managing to pull it off, every pleat in place, her red hair restrained into two french braided pigtails to reduce the amount of fly-away frizzes that her red curls often give. Of course… it means she's in pigtails, which may or may not be 'Cute'. She's looking a hint strained, picking at some food, not touching the drink. Maybe it's all the big wigs around.

Marko finds himself a strategic corner near one of the waiter's routes and settles in to watch the party, a vague smile playing over his lips at the sight of so much fanciness. "Saving the Fleet's budget…one thousand cubit bottle of wine at a time." he comments.

Tillman is standing over by the window with his hands tapping idly by his side. Not a drink to be seen, the man seems to just be surveying the crowd from his own spot and not much attention paid to the view outside.

Thank goodness for custom tailoring. Sofia looks to Marcion, finding him amongst the happy madness. She tilts her head, heading over to him like a vulture at a marathon. "Hey… you okay?" She doesn't seem too uncomfortable among the crowd, but she also looks like she should be glaring or chasing them around with a riding crop or selling shady Pyramid bets. She smiles a little here and there although she looks ready to waggle antennae, hiss and bolt under a fridge. So many officers and important people. Maybe if she stays still they won't see her.

Naevi is well-suited to her dress grays, tugging at the hem for a moment to make sure the tunic sits evenly upon her. That done, she retrieves a glass of wine from a waiter and takes a sip of it. Color her impressed by the expression on her face, holding it up to the light and giving it a once over as though trying to discern just where it comes from. Making after one of the waiters sporting snacks, she bobs her head slightly in time with the music.

The normaly fairly laid back hulking marine Meg joins some of the others in not looking at all comfortable in dress greys, especialy as they really don't flatter her hefty form. Still everything that can be is polished so hard it almost glows, and you could cut yourself on the creases. She tugs at her collar a little, then growling at herself settles in back in place and looks around the officers and dignatries with a soft groan.

Santiago arrives on her own, outside the watchful eye of the Aquarian delegation and its more senior representatives, who are no doubt sequestered with some other bunch of politicos. The white-clad woman takes a brief pause to acquire a tall glass of red wine, after sliding a sheer wrap from her shoulders, to expose several tattoos. She's already slightly flushed from an earlier round of revelry in the Chapel.

Cidra is in her dress grays, hair pinned up neatly, even a touch of make-up on her face. Not exactly dolled up, but she's dressed to be a good little soldier in the war for budgetary capacity. She's sipping a sparkling glass of water she's procured from one of the trays. While she does not look precisely uncomfortable, she makes a direct b-line for Quinn when she spots her. "Captain. Glad you could make the show. I was afraid I would be trapped here alone." Her tone is wry.

Dress grays are not the uniform of choice for a medic. The collar's already irritated a red line into the side of Stavrian's neck, which he can't quite get himself to stop scratching at. He's doing his damndest not to look horribly out of place in this expensive shindig, having picked up a glass and now standing in a relatively inconspicuous spot with one hand jammed in his pocket, taking in the larger view.

Kulko stands to Tillman's right, looking decidedly relaxed in his nearly-new dress uniform. He hasn't the TACCO's compunctions about sobriety, with a glass of the Virgon held by the stem between two fingers. "Helluva party," he notes under his breath.

Did someone say Virgon Red? Decked out in the finery of his dress greys, Lt. Oberlin has already been here, sampling some of the delights of home. He stands here, chattering away at some bored VIP. For what it's worth, he doesn't seem to have a problem with the finer things in life. That includes dress uniforms, expensive wine. He's got a glass in his hand but seems to be more into the concept of tasting it and making idle chatter with some tall blonde in a red dress with legs out to here. "So what I was saying was this - Do I regret reassignment to space duty? Sometimes." He pauses to let out a snicker. "Wait. Who am I kidding. No. The answer is just that. - No."

"Fine. Suppose." Marcion responds to Sofia with a sigh. "Not sure why here, though. Not good at, er… meeting and greeting. Do better with numbers, figures, and Tylium to burn" He looks over at her. "You enjoy this sort of thing?"

Somewhere, a chef is crying. With his hamster-like mouth stuffed full of gourmet snackage, Arkat is stood aside, looking through the window with a glass of wine swirling gently in his hand. He looks pretty at ease in dress greys, although his face is approaching 'little sozzled tomato' hues thanks to earlier revelry.

[TAC3] Sitka says, "This is red flight lead to all points. Check your cameras and make sure you're using radio frequency one one niner."

[TAC3] Laskaris says, "Lasher copies, one one niner."

Dress attire of duty uniform, Cadmus Maragos always ends up looking like he's got some kind of pole up his rear. Probably just the thousand hours of drills they run into you in CMC boot. However, despite his stiff bearing, he's actually smiling. More than that, he's got a glass of something in one hand, and he's *smoking*, shock of shocks. "No, I don't think so," he's saying, "I'd never bet on the Scorpia Fireballs. They get roundly beat every year by the Elekos Flares, but the Flares only want to be local."

The Air Boss walked into the room, looking very much like the Poster Boy for the fleet; His uniform was pressed and flawless, every medal and decoration per regs. None of them really meant much to Chris Hellicon, save for the polished gold wings on the sash. Taking a drink from one of the nearby waiters, he nods and simply stands aside, looking out the window to the planet below.

One of the people that seems to have no trouble with wearing the dress grays would be Malone, who walks around a little bit, staying silent for the moment as he looks around, nodding to the various people present. He looks rather relaxed, just walking around and watching the other people present for now.

Demos circulates gradually through the room. Her body moves fluidly, gracefully, and to the rhythm of the jazz. She seems utterly relaxed in the company and with the situation. Accepting a glass of something from one tray and a nibblette of something else from another, she smiles brightly, briefly, and moves on. Her gaze flickers to one, then another, never lingering overly long.

[TAC3] Alessandra says, "Roger…camera on and on the proper frequency, Lead."

Callista is perfectly at home in the Grand Ballroom, afterall she was used to these kinds of big galas. In fact, her biggest thought in her own mind is if only she could have worn a dress instead of a dress uniform, she tries not to dwell on it too much. A fluted glass of champagne in hand, she sips it occasionally but ignores all of the food laid out while she walks around trying desperately to find someone she knows.

Nikias is not one of the QUODEL members, but one would have trouble seeing that a glance with how he mingles with them. A glass of red in one hand, and the other either shaking hands or gesturing with his words, Nikias flits from one delegate to another. Smiling, talkative, and anything if not the presentable face of his corporation on this night.

"You don't really sound too fine," Sofia points out. Weasel senses are good for that. She wrinkles her nose. "No not really. But I don't mind it too much, we get plenty of folks wanting stuff as engineering quartermasters and all. I heard there was free food and folks would be here," Sofia figures the fewer people want to shuck her out the airlock the better. She smiles and waves to Margaret. Sofia's eyes cross as she thinks. That's gonna stick someday. "If it makes you feel better, I can stick around. You can tell me about the engine." Nod.

Tillman nods to Kulko's words. "Yep. First time at a commissioning, though. Been to enough of these that I'm kinda done with it. Lots of rank and the ilk floating around. It'll be a good chance for you to press flesh and meet some faces, though." The TACCO just keeps his eyes wandering around the room.

Evandreus heads along after his Captain, looking all spiffed up in his most dapper greys, shaved close and attentively, hair groomed with product that must have been applied after the removal of his flight helmet in order to give it that extra bit of adorable curl. Smells nice, too, just a little bit of an almost minty cologne. Despite the fanciful evening, he seems relaxed, ready to enjoy it, and maybe get a headstart on the night's drinking.

Greje, for her part, also in pristine greys, is standing a little stiff this evening, doing her solid best to maintain a decorous outer appearance despite the revelry of the day.

[TAC3] Nostos says, "Halo copies, one one niner is one as is the camera. I'm all set for this dog and pony show."

King is about as comfortable as he can get here. He seems to be keeping mostly to himself, just letting everyone else go about their own business until a familiar face comes near. "Well, Sergeant Demos, you are looking pretty comfortable here." he says as he steps up and nonchalantly grabs something off of a passing tray. "Glad to see someone I at least recognize."

Tisiphone is doubleplus picture-perfect in her dress greys, her shorn scalp polished to a shine. Doubleplus nervous, as well, having triple-checked every pin, button, latch, cuff, lace and clasp. This afternoon's wine isn't helping her nerves, and a lingering red glassiness shows in her eyes. "Dudes?" she says, as she looks upon the vast ballroom. A glance to one side, to Daphne, then to the other, to Temperance. "This is for real, isn't it?"

Naevi makes after Evandreus once she spots him through the crowd, glass of wine in hand as she wanders up behind him and taps him on the shoulder, "Hey, Bunny. You got a ticket, too? Pretty fancy stuff."

[TAC3] Rojas says, "Spanner copies. One one niner, camera's running."

[TAC3] Alessandra says, "Hey, Captain. While we're just sitting here on our asses, waiting, can I ask a quick question?"

Quinn turns her head, looking momentarily over to Evandreus and then giving a quick sniff to the air. She blinks, furrowing her brow at him with a half smile. "Colonge? You smell like an After Eight…" Or whatever minty candy product the colonials love. "It's yummy." Just those little things like the word 'yummy' that don't fit with her lovely Caprican accent or stiff uniform. Still, she's trying to relax a bit. This is a party, after all. She gives Naevi a brief smile and nod as the woman comes up near Evan. "Shall I leave you to your date?" She half teases.

Hot damn, expensive wine. Stavrian has one sip of that and one of his dark brows shoots up, as he tips the glass towards himself and then away. The dark reddish tint coats the sides thickly, and he smirks a little at himself. Of course the Fleet busts out the thousand-cubit vintage. He taps his finger against the side of the glass, stepping to the side to avoid a cluster of richly-bedecked QUODEL members that have spotted cheese and would gladly gnaw through him to get to it.

[TAC3] Sitka says, "Go for it, Lucky."

[TAC3] Alessandra says, "Just whose idea was it to put frakking cameras in our cockpits…sir."

[TAC3] Raedawn smiles for the benefit of the monitor jockeys. "Copy, Lead. Loud and proud on one-one-niner!"

"I'm not at liberty to talk about that, really. Well, not express my /true/ opinions." Oberlin continues to chatter with the blonde as she apparently touches on a subject of some inspiration. "But I think we still need to be careful with the automated systems. The key is, if there's not a 100 percent foolproof manual override built in, you're asking for it. I mean, you're really asking for it." The woman just nods her head a little and asks in a voice darkened by maybe a bit of whiskey and cigarettes, "So you endorse that budget bill then?" There sounds like a bit of hope in his voice. Oberlin quickly responds, "Lady, you know I can't make statements like that." She rolls her eyes a bit even as he tries to affably cover up the awkward situation with a grin.

"Dunno, sir. Awful easy to get yourself in hot water." Kulko glances Tillman's way, then scans the room, looking for a friendly familiar face. "Might better just stay on the sidelines." As a waiter passes, Kulko plucks from a tray something that formerly lived in a shell, until it was pried out and fried in butter and garlic.

Callista through some turn of fate or luck finds herself standing by the window beside Hellicon. Glass of champagne in hand, she smiles at the man and comments, "It's quite a view isn't it?" A sigh escapes her lips before she continues, "It makes me feel absolutely insignificant."

Demos is startled a little when she is addressed. Looking over, she smiles and inclines her head, "Sergeant King, I believe." Her gaze flashes over the crowds, then returns. She laughs just a little, the sound joyful and relaxes, "Oh, I am. It is almost fun, in a way. How are you holding up, though?"

"Would prefer talking about Engine," Marcion says. "But not much to say. Have some ideas for ChEng once available again. Some experiments to run, if can." He looks around and sighs. "Just not good at parties. Remind me of junior high. Keep waiting for bullies to throw me into the bunch." He shrugs at Sofia with a sheepish grin.

[TAC3] Laskaris says, "You said it, Lucky."

Fellow Marines, Meg breathes something of a sigh of relief as she starts towards King and Demos. Moving smoothly despite her size she shifts through the servers, dignatories, officers and pilots on her way over "Sarge, Sarge" she says with a nod to both King and Demos, casting a faintly dubious eye over a tray of gourmet morsels as it is offered over.

Cidra comes up upon Quinn, Evandreus and Naevi. Sniffing the air. "Hmm." But if she makes anything of the smell of cologne, she does not comment. "This is quite the affair. Not the sort of thing that is to my tastes, really, but try to relax. Enjoy yourselves. You've all certainly earned it."

Temperance, following Tisi and Daphne in, reaches out and grabs both girl's arms and squeezes. "S' like every party I ever though' I weren't invited to," she says excitedly. She looks awful in her dress grays…they're too tight in places they shouldn't be, and too loose in others. "Can we 'ave some wine? I'm thinkin' we need wine." She eyes all the people in the room and adds, "Is it jus' me, or are there all kinda people in 'ere lookin' suddenly attractive when they ain't never looked like hot stuff afore?"

[TAC3] Raedawn says, "Sir, permission to answer the Lieutenant's question?"

Tillman gives a quick laugh. "Ensign, I wouldn't worry about it. Just remember to call all the officers 'sir' and smile a lot. Dour looking officers tend to make the heavier brass nervous." He smiles to a young woman as she passes by. "I met my last CO formally at a function like this. Spent the next five years with her."

The music, an understated tickling of the ivories, brings a slight smile to the platinum blonde's lips. Ms. Santiago Blue is carried on sharp stiletto heels, wine in hand, to a spot where she can take in the view. By the time she stops walking, she's drained half of the glass. "Cheers, Picon."

[TAC3] Halo taps his camera and he looks down at it, "Hello people of the Colonies, this is your handsome Viper Pilot speaking. Ladies, I'm single." Halo as he says on the radio, "How do I know if this thing is on?"

[TAC3] Sitka's chuckle fizzes across the slight static on their radio frequency. "Just smile and look pretty, Lucky. Shouldn't be hard. Goddess, how's our feed looking?"

Kulko looks aghast, eyes locked on the TACCO. "Sir. You, ah… you didn't really…" He drops his voice to a near whisper. "You frakked your CO? Isn't that against regs?"

King shrugs, chomping down a little rudely on the tiny snack he snatched. "I would rather have my platoon over in the training room right now." he nods to Meg as she approaches. "Especially Corporal Tiran here. It's terrifying to see her in there. And not in the good way." He chuckles and nudges her playfully, "So, Corp, you doing alright? These smaller girls ain't giving you trouble?" Yes, he said all that while chewing. Life in the enlisted ranks will do that to you.

Evandreus keeps arms folded loosely behind his back, turning his head toward Naevi as she comes up behind him. "I'm just the chauffeur," he points out, putting an unnecessarily classy spin on the title in the spirit of jocularity. "Even the chauffeur gets a monkey suit," he adds with a chuckle, then looks back toward his Captain, "Hah!" he gives a laugh at her conclusion, "It's better than smelling like the inside of a flight suit. Enough time to change and primp, not enough to shower. What? You're abandoning me already? At least save me a dance for later on, yo," he prods her with an elbow.

They say opposites attract, but that's not true. Marines gravitate to Marines, no matter what the occasion. Disengaging himself from the deck crewman he was speaking to, Cadmus meanders his way toward Margaret, King, and Demos. "Sargeants, Corporal. Good to see you here as well," he says, lifting his glass by way of greeting.

[TAC3] There's a slight snort from Lucky and then, barely missing a beat, she's addressing Lasher. "Maybe we'll be famous, Lasher. Get our names on that walk of fame thing they laid out in Caprica City."

Marko looks around for familiar faces, suddenly feeling a little silly at standing in a corner by himself. Thankfully, he sees Daphne, Tisiphone and Temperance and starts making his way through the crowd towards them. And hey, here's a waiter with expensive wine that doesn't slap his hand when he snags a glass.

[TAC3] Shiv's voice sounds amused, but he adds a little belatedly, "Permission granted, Goddess."

If Daphne's normally OCD, then this is obviously an occasion for medication. The sad part is that it won't actually show that she spent the last seven hours doing nothing but making sure her uniform was as perfect as it could be. She's wearing light makeup… just enough to highlight her face without making it obvious that she's wearing the stuff. At some point the ensign got the colonial equivilent of a french manicure, as well. She manages not to chew her lower lip into kibble. She manages a smile to Temperance and Tisiphone, "I'm terrified that someone is going to pinch me and I'll wake up. That's the only thing that could ruin this night."

Tillman snorts and tilts a little forward at the waist with his laugh. "No, son. I didn't sleep with her. Purely professional relationship. She and my wife are actually friends as well. Which, I'll tell ya, helps a lot when you're spending five years being ordered around by a different lady. She spent Colonial Day last year with us."

Hellicon looks to Callista and chuckles a bit. "It does… I never could get used to it. Still can't. You know, there are times that I really miss flying," he says as he looks over to her. "I'm sorry," he says as he extends his hand. "Chris Hellicon, Air Boss…"

[TAC3] Lasher snorts. "Don't get ahead of yourself, Halo. Heh, Lucky. If only."

Sofia blinks. "Boy you really are out of it, huh?" She tilts her head and gently pats his shoulder. "You'll be fine. We can get some snacks, talk about the engine and maybe meet some folks. No bullies here," She promises. Wait, is Sofia bbeing NICE? Even being nice she looks like she should wear a trenchcoat and dart under a fridge. The Marine gathering has Sofia blinking. "Like, I know some of the marines- they're pretty nice," She smiles. A look to Marcion, "But we can just hang out somewhere, ok?" For all the dark middle management soul drain powers, weasely slinkiness and general disgruntlement - there is in fact, 3% of her heart left. Daw.

Quinn smiles at the younger pilot, the expression on her face immediately fond, almost motherly towards Evan. This is definitely a relationship that goes beyond their few weeks on the Cerberus, no doubt. She elbows him right back, if lightly, "You smell that good and I might even save you too. But… just find me whenever you want, Bunny. I'm all yours." She promises warmly, leaning up to kiss his cheek just a moment, "Good job, by the way… Impressed the hell out of the brass. Seems we all did." She includes Naevi in the last part of that statement. After all, they got an invite here, didn't they?

Pilots and marines, and then there's…the rest. Stavrian gives the forming groups in the room a glanceover over the rim of his glass, taking another sip of his wine that turns into a hefty swallow instead. Going to need this tonight, good lords.

Demos fades a little as Meg comes to join them. She smiles at the taller woman, "Corp. Welcome to the fray." She includes a wink that is friendly, then tilts her head at King. "Ah, yes? A veritable whirlwind of destruction, is she?" A hand is extended toward the woman, "Pleased to meet you, Corperal Tiran. I am Sergeant Phaedra Demos." Turning a bit more, she smiles, "Evening, Cadmus. Have you met these people?"

[TAC3] Nostos says, "Oh, you heard that then. Well, ladies now you know why I am single."

"I think they ran out of bananas," Naevi says idly, watching one of the snacks waiters pass by as she sips her wine glass and offers the CAG a bright smile, "I thought some of the things I went to back on Libran were fancy … who knew the military could pull out all stops when it came to elegance? I'm impressed."

"So what do you think abou - " starts Lt. Oberlin as he continues his small talk with the QUODEL blonde who seems to have rapidly lost interest in anything the officer has to say. He beams a cheesy smile and she responds with an awkward one in return as she waves her hand, cutting in "If you will excuse me, Lieutenant. It was a pleasure meeting you but I hve business over here with. Someone." She points randomly and Oberlin just good-naturedly waves and looks down at his wineglass, swirling it around before taking a sip and taking a survey of the ballroom for familiar faces.

[TAC3] Alessandra says, "I can think of a few more reasons, Halo, but I won't list them off while in polite company."

Quinn turns her eyes briefly to the CAG, nodding professionally, even if she's just been caught giving the LT a motherly kiss to the cheek. It was a celebration, right? They were allowed. "Sir. Thank you… though I think staying clear of the wine, no matter how tempting, is probably still a good idea."

[TAC3] Laskaris says, "Polite company? Where?"

Kulko exhales deeply with relief, before turning a special shade of embarrassed. He takes a lingering sip of his wine, returning to his scan of the room. "Is Cerberus' CO here? You're about as senior as I've met on board, sir, and I'd rather not have to figure out who's who by how loud they're barking in CIC."

Santiago finishes her first glass, and goes for another as a waiter passes by within aggro range.

The last of the Harriers to arrive, Lieutenant (JG) Kal Trask took his sweet time making his entrance, cutting it close to going from fashionably late to reprimand-worthy tardy. Already on his third cigarette since landing, he enters the circus with a casualness that no amount of proper decorum can shake. Bootstrap sure as hells cleans up very nicely, though.

[TAC3] Alessandra says, "It's not in your cockpit, I'll tell you that much, Lasher."

Marcion smiles and shakes his head. "Should be fine. Am an officer, now… must keep up appearances." He glances around. "See snacks. Not bad, must be for civillians. Is there a bar available?" He glances over at Sofia and smiles. "Ever seen a geek drunk?"

Malone turns to look out of the window now, humming a bit to himself. Waiting to see what

Callista continues to smile warmly at Hellicon, trying her best to focus on the conversation at hand, "Kathleen Aurelia, I'm the Cerberus' psych and it's a pleasure to meet you Chris." Moving her glass towards Hellicons to clink it against her own, she says, "To new friends." It becomes apparent she is even a little wobbly, probably nowhere NEAR her first glass.

"Abso-frakkin-lutely terrified I am going to bleedin turn around and knock an Admiral arse-over-tit, sarge," Meg replies softly to King as she looks around nervously, in case one was sneaking up on her. She nods briefly to Cadmus, then as her stomach growls loudly reaches for something on a tray and takes an experimental bite of it, seeming to like it she snags another two and starts to eat, manners a bit crude but she is neat at least as she nods to Demos.

[TAC3] Raedawn says, "There's actually a camera in the regular Viper cockpit as part of the black box package, Duckie. You can see it just above the artificial horizon indicator. This one's just a better quality camera, and it's in a better place for good shots. It's the standard Petrel package, since we end up at so many demonstration flights."

Quietly, Arkat proceeds to stand next to an overly-idle waiter. He looks at the waiter. He looks at his dress greys. Realisation dawns with a slow groan.

Malone turns to look out of the window now, humming a bit to himself. Waiting to see the things happening here at the moment.

A particularly elegant waiter steps to the dais where the musicians are playing, tapping the pianist on the back of his shoulder before whispering something into his ear. The beautiful thing about improvisation? The band can stop on the thin edge of a ten-cubit note, as indeed they do, and just like that, the music draws to a halt with a flourish of keys and some last-minute strumming of the double-bass in the corner. Then, the waiter raises a triangle from a pedestal by the piano, ringing it once, twice, and three times.

"Ladies and gentlemen, if I may please have your attention? It is my great honor to present to you Admiral Michael Abbot."

"Relax, Ensign. Like I said, don't sweat this." Tillman taps his hands against his legs, still looking around. "Admiral Abbot?" A nod. "Oh I'm sure he's around here someplace. If he is I'll be sure to introduce you… and there he is." The TACCO nods towards the voice introducing the man.

Quinn's eyes then are drawn by her ECO, looking about as cleaned up as she's EVER seen him… and damn, if he doesn't clean up. Maggie actually goes dead silent a few moments, eyes half wide and a sudden blush spreading across her freckled cheeks. Damn, Trask… Her mind has totally derailed.

Evandreus rolls his eyes to one side at the kiss, like a little kid whose mom's wiping some smudge off of his face with spittle in public. But he's grinning, and surely doesn't mind it. He lowers his voice. "If you hadn't let me hitch a ride on your coattails, I'd still be on Victory getting my ass shot at by angry people," he chuckles, low, to her, then looks up. Admiraldude.

Callista turns to spot Malone over by himself and after recalling him from the ships mess hall with her brother before, she motions the man over with a frantic exagerrated wave, "Ensign! Come join us." The wave could also be interpreted as given to Arkat, since the man is alone.

Hellicon smiles and clinks his glass to hers. "New friends… So, the Psych for the Cerberus, huh? I'll have to remember that one," he says as he chuckles, still fully in control of his faculties… It's going to take more booze to knock him over.

Stavrian scoots out of the way again for a young woman chasing after the wine bottle on the table behind him. Shoved all the way to the end of the table by now, he gives up that particular spot and edges towards the first familiar face he can spot — Demos and company. "Sergeant. Corporal." Demos and Margaret, respectively. Before he can say anything else though, the Admiral's presence is announced. "Shit."

Kulko relaxes the best way he knows how, draining his wine glass and setting it on a passing tray. He settles into parade rest, and turns his eyes towards the triangle-dinger.

[TAC3] Alessandra says, "I got that, Goddess. About there being one to begin with, I mean. I am just not really keen on being on a video or whatever it is you're planning on doing with it."

King shakes his head, answering Demos' question. "No, we have not met." He holds his hand out to Cadmus, "I'm Staff Sergeant King, Charlie's platoon leader." He jerks a thumb towards Margaret now, "Corporal Tiran, my scariest looking fireteam leader."

Naevi turns her attention towards the dais, taking another sip of her wine before she straightens her back slightly and prepares to listen to whatever it is that is to be said.

As his name is called, Michael shifts his attention in the direction of the podium from his spot at the back of the room with the other senior officers and government officals. There's a muted 'excuse me' before he turns to make his over to the podium. Reaching it, his hands lift to settle atop it, on either side. "Good evening, everyone, and welcome. As some of you are aware, I'm Rear Admiral Michael Abbot, CO of the Cerberus. For the duration of the War Games, I was tasked with simply observing things along with several of the civilian delegates." The Admiral pauses there, a slight smile touching upon his lips. "I'd like to start by saying that I was impressed with how each and every department and those within conducted themselves. The Cerberus, and myself, couldn't ask for a better crew to serve with. It's going to be my pleasure to work with all of you and it's something that I certainly am looking forward to." The man offers a brief pause, one that allows him to shift his gaze amongst those that have gathered, "While things didn't go exactly as planned, any and all obstacles were dealt with in a fashion that represents the true spirit of the Colonial Fleet Military." Now, Michael shifts slightly and a hand lifts to motion to someone on the side. "With that said, I'd like to take a moment to pass the podium over to Secretary Allan Rejn who would like to say a few words on behalf of the Delegates."

Cidra lets out a low chuckle to Naevi. "The brass knows how to put on a good show when they've got their hands out. Well. I give them all the support in that I can. See if you can snag some of the shrimp. They are quite excellent." A faint smile is offered to Quinn. The kissing is not commented on, so take that as a sign she doesn't disapprove. "I do not drink overmuch. The snacks look quite good, however. Beats galley food, no doubt." If she has anymore comments on the snacks, however, she stows them. Admiral? She turns to watch this show, posture straightening.

Cadmus nods to the two other marines - he seems *familiar* with them, but one could hardly say they've excanged more than two words aboard the Cerberus. He takes King's hand, smiling again. "Pleased to make your aquaintence, Staff Sargeant, Corporal Tiran." And then he goes quiet - gods above, an Admiral!

Temperance is looking around, admiring the newly pretty men - ahem - people, in their fancy uniforms, when she spots Trask. "SHIT," she says quickly, trying to hide behind Tisiphone. Peering around her, she tries to get a better look at him and raises an eyebrow. "He's so damn scary," she comments, "An' he's likely ta spit on me iffn' I drink 'round 'im, but ya gotta admit… man looks good in th' grays."

"Uh oh." Oberlin mouths soundlessly as he steps away from the wine rack towards a more familiar sight. He catches the decked out form of Trask and snickers under his breath before moving to close in with Tillman and Kulko. "Looks like I found TACCO storage." He falls silent right before the Admiral makes a speech and continues to smirk before Rejn takes the stage.

Demos nods to Meg, lifting her hand further to take a bit of something from the same tray. "I sympathize, truly. It is rather busy in here." Turning at Stavrian's voice, she turns to bring him into the circle, "Sir. Welcome. These people are…" But, the introductions are lost as the tinkling of the triangle is heard. The announcement commences and Demos gives up the introductions as she turns to listen.

[TAC3] Halo is amusing himself with his camera as he keeps looking into it and after a few moments he says, "I really am ruggedly handsome in this uniform."

"No," Tisiphone says to Temperance. It sounds stern, but the manic glimmer in pale eyes betrays it. "We may not have /a/ wine. We may have /several/. Well." An imperious-ish gesture with one hand. She tries to affect a hoity-toity accent, mangling many colonies' heritage in one fell swoop. "Let's start with one, for manner's sake." The nearest drink-bearing waiter is flagged down, goblets retrieved for the three Ensigns.

[TAC3] Sitka says, "The stuffed shirts want a pretty show, Lucky. So that's what we're going to give them."

Margaret starts to reply to her fellow marines and now an officer, but then the Admiral is announced. She quickly swallows the remnants of her food and looks up to him, automatically assuming a parade-rest position, listening attentively.

[TAC3] Laskaris says, "Halo, save the self-stroking for when you're off duty."

[TAC3] Alessandra says, "That is why you're single, Halo. Just saying. And roger, sir. I'll suck it up and be purdy for the…people."

Callista laughs softly at the comment and goes back to looking out the window, "So, why don't you fly anymore? You sounded a bit disappointed." She attempts to take another sip of her drink, but she's apparently drained it back already and without hesitation she flags down one of the servers with a wave and a dazzling smile.

King says…nothing.

[TAC3] Raedawn says, "Are you sure your callsign's not 'Ham', Halo?"

Arkat spots a wave, but before he's given a chance to move, the Admiral is announced. Heyup, Parade-rest is almost instant, the marine ending up closer to Santiago than anyone else. Bad mix.

Malone pauses a few moments as he hears the Admiral being introduced, and listening to the speech, while making his way over in the direction of the wave from Callista, while still watching the Admiral with most of his attention.

"What? Did I lose my geek cred?" Sofia grins at Marcion. "You'll be okay," The Crewman reassures him. "The nice thing is - given the crowd, you'll probably be just one of the crowd. And actually, we can have some snacks and drinks too," A nod at Marcion. She'll start to move and pause at the call for attention. She settles in at a parade rest.

Stavrian holds his wineglass behind his back for this parade rest, not risking setting it down. It might get stolen, or dosed with glitter or something. He gives an upward nod to Demos and Margaret in silent return of greeting, then his blue eyes lock onto Abbott and Rejn.

Santiago has eyes for the stars, and the planet. Longing, 'save me from this' eyes. "… Fairies, always fashionably late." She's been hanging out with the Deck apes, you see.

What? The Admiral is speaking? Quinn hasn't heard a thing for about 60 seconds, but finally her mind drags itself out of whatever embarrassing corner it was hiding in with the image of Trask cleaned up and in his dress grays. She clears her throat, trying to swallow back her blush before giving her green eyed attention to the speakers above them. Professional, yes. She can be professional, dammit.

[TAC3] Nostos says, "I am not being hammy…well, more than normal. Fine. Yes sir, I'll look pretty for the people back home."

Marcion is about to move for some wine when the admiral starts talking, and so falls to parade rest with Sofia, unsure of what else to do. At least the pep talk is short and sweet. The Civvie speech, however, does not promise to go quite so well.

A short but vigorous man nearly bowls the admiral over as he moves up the steps to the dais, his thick neck causing his starched collar to bulge out further than the ruffles on his shirt — Allan Rejn, no doubt, whose homely face should be more than passingly recognizable to most of the QUODEL folks in town. "Thanks, Admiral," he begins, clearing his throat as he reaches into a pocket for a napkin covered in handwritten notes. "On behalf of the Quorum of Twelve, I've got just one thing to say to all you." Horn-rimmed glasses fall past the bridge of his nose, pushed back up with a single beefy thumb. "Way to go. You blithering idiots just lost the Fleet a whole lot of jobs." Rejn pauses for effect as he squints at his napkin, drumming his fingers against his not insubstantial paunch as he summons another waiter for a glass of red.

Puff-puff-puff. Trask does not smell nice and minty like Evan. No, he smells like quality sage enveloped in a residue of fresh tobacco. For the nonce, he doesn't notice any of his squad members. Standing there like a naughty boy who is behaving for the time being, he flits his big brown eyes towards the dais and the Admiral.

The Admiral's little speech forces Marko to stop halfway over to where Temperance is. Then comes the fun part of figuring out how to manage a decent parade rest with a wine glass in his hand, something they didn't exactly cover at OCS. Though whether or not he's listening to his new CO's actual words, he's certainly taking the chance to memorize the face.

Stepping from behind a few compatriots, Atreus turns his attention to the Admiral. He grins a bit too widely as the flush of the ritual earlier in the day has not quite faded. He nods to one or two of his crew, then gives the Admiral his full attention. Or, the Admiral and the guest.

As more speechmakers get lined up and his Captain's brains get jammed by her ECO's mad ECM skills, Evan begins to gravitate toward the drinks. He's flying, later, of course, so there won't be much in the way of alcohol for him, but one or two of the pink girlie drinks will be out of his system by the time the whole thing's over, so he picks up one of those, swirling at it with the little straw speared through two halved strawberries. Strawberries. Heh. He squints up at the next speechmaker.

[TAC3] Alessandra says, "Halo, you're ego's getting so big, we're going to need to add a sidecar to your Viper so it can make room for you."

Daphne responds to Tisiphone. Unlike the Saggie, Daphne manages an upper class/high life accent with ease, one of the perks of having lived everywhere, "I dare say this is just the most precious little soiree and we simply *must* share a glass to celebrate the good times to come. Ladies?"

Quinn's blush completely dies a heartbeat later as she actually HEARS what the man has said. What?? He's joking, right? She stares in confusion, a touch of almost anger crossing her features as she tries to figure the speech out and the bureaucrat giving it.

Tillman just stares at Rejn. The hands at his side stop tapping and his face goes blank. If he could fire cannons out his iris', he probably would.

Stavrian's eyes squint towards the podium as Rejn barrels up and delivers that little stinker of a start. His lips purse together, trying desperately not to smirk, and he waits for the rest.

Margaret blinks as she looks up towards Rejn, her head tilting a touch to one side. She looks between her fellow marines with a raised eyebrow, then back to the speaker and falls silent, her expression quizzical.

Blink. Sofia stands near Marcion, her jaw falls open. Oh dear. Did she miss something? An eyebrow… lifts. She looks to Marcion as if to confirm what she just heard.

"What in the-" Kulko cuts off there for politeness' sake, and makes an effort at picking his jaw up off the floor. "Boss," he queries of Tillman, "What'd we do?"

Nikias manages to empty his first glass of Virgon Red, with minor sips in between his socializing with the various delegates in attendance. Politely extricating himself from his current conversation, he slips away to track down a waiter for a refill, bringing him right next to Sofia, Marcion, and company. "Excuse me." he says to the waiter, right next to the engineers, lifting his glass in indication, and giving a polite 'thank you' as it's filled. Though Allan Rejn's comment makes him stop right there, a faint smirk tugging at the corner of his lips as he regards the man on stage, a little shake of his head to go along with it.

Between Rejn's approaching the podium and the end of his sentences, Arkat's glass of wine suddenly becomes empty. That's right. Impromptu magic show. The only thing on his face that moves is a twitch at the corner of his mouth.

Tillman doesn't say a word to Kulko, just motioning lightly with his hand in the gesture of 'Wait and see'. More than likely he'll have something to say later.

Hellicon looks back to Callista and chuckles a bit. "I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a bit. I was grounded a little over a year ago," he says. "Long story there." He then takes a sip from his glass and continues. "By title now, I'm Air Ops, but I'm hoping to get a medical clearance to get back to flying."

King just shakes his head. "Frakker…" He mutters under his breath, mostly to his trusty Corporal. "Prolly gonna say something to make us feel badass after that."

Demos's smile fades and a frown begins. She glances at Stavrian, then around to Meg, Cadmus and King. By the time she looks back at the speaker, the frown is deeper and she finishes her morsel. Dusting her fingers on a napkin, she folds her arms in front of her. The wine glass is emptied and placed back on a passing tray. Irritation is evident in the woman's reserved, almost guarded expression.

Rejn's comment strikes silence in the normally glib Oberlin, as he just screws up his face, clenches his jaw. "Did I just hear that right?" He asks out loud. "Nah, you're shitting me." Unfortunately, it's a little more audible than he might have liked. He takes a sip of the wineglass to drown out the awkwardness.

"Probably correct," Marcion says softly, either to himself or to Sofia, no one can be sure. "E-Class has put all previous FTL models out of date by a large margin. Of course, can all get jobs building new E-Classes." He shrugs. "Casualties in the path of progress, but it happens. That, or man is blithering idiot." He glances over at Sofia. "Is also possible."

[TAC3] Nostos says, "Fine, fine, I'll reel my ego in for a bit. 'Sides, we all look so so pretty and it is our job to entertain some people here in a few."

If Michael is at all concerned with what Rejn has just said, he doesn't appear to let it show on his face. Rather, a faint smile crosses the Admiral's lips and he gives his head a slight shake before taking a moment to look out amongst those that have gathered.

[TAC3] Alessandra says, "Hey, Lasher. If we ge out of these Vipers before the party's over, you owe me a drink and a dance."

Naevi nods her head towards the large window and the Cerberus beyond, making an attempt at a joke and murmuring to those near her, "That ship looks familiar."

Atreus just stands there for a moment in silence. When Oberlin's comment sounds, the Deck Chief nods at the man, clearly agreeing. Then, without comment, he turns to head for the exit. It is crowded in here, however, so the journey will take a while to accomplish.

[TAC3] Laskaris says, "I do, do I? Heh. If you insist."

Not insubstantial paunch? Nah; Rejn is just fat — and from his quivering flesh there suddenly emerges a thundering full-body laugh. "Man, I'm going to kill the intern who told me that joke was a good idea. Damn girl has no idea how to win over a frakkin' audience, but hey. You can teach 'em to write good speeches, but you can't teach 'em to grow those beautiful, bountiful — well. Never mind." The napkin crumples in one massive fist.

"I suspect you all have got no idea how deeply disappointed I am to announce that, despite our best efforts to uncover your truly unsurpassed incompetence, we have, sadly, failed. Or. More precisely, what I mean is this." Thick lips break into a crooked grin. "You boys and girls had to put up with me, my annoying people, and a godsdamned star going on the fritz, and if the worst I can say is that you all are good people who, like all good people, sometimes made some silly mistakes, well." A bit of phlegm catches in his throat, hocked out onto his balled-up tissue before his other hand rises, glass clutched between his fingers. "That makes you better people than I will ever be. And while I can't tell you exactly what our report is going to say, what I can tell you right now — congratulations, gentlemen and ladies, for showing me and my team what the Fleet is all about. You do yourselves, your Admiral, and your Colonies proud. Bottoms up."

The Secretary's intro produces the slightest of smirks from Marko, not at the joke, because, well, it wasn't very funny. But at the thought of the look on Rejn's face when someone tells him about it in a few days.

Callista doesn't really seem to care about the speech going on, in fact she seems completely oblivious to it maybe a side effect of the alcohol. A sympathetic look is offered to Hellicon before she asks, "What happened, if you don't mind me asking? I don't want to pry, I just hate to see someone unhappy." She glances over to Malone again, noting the mans progress in getting over to her and Hellicon.

Santiago holds out her empty as a passing waiter passes. "Not drunk enough for speeches."

Cidra regards Rejn over her glass of sparkling water during the first part of that. Steadily. If she could fire lasers from her blue eyes, they'd be locked on teh politico right now. "Ha-ha," she deadpans softly, though she does drink to that last bit. "Quite so," she mutters firmly under her breath.

[TAC3] Sitka says, "You kids pull this off, I'll buy all of you drinks."

Well, that lasted a moment as a wheezing, rumbling sound emits from Oberlin's guts as he starts to laugh out loud in a series of staccato bursts. It starts small but almost gets to the point where it strikes him down. "Huh hahahahaha!" Again, he raises his wineglass as a prop. Again, this was a bit loud.

Temperance stares at Rejn speaks, and then glances to the other girls. "Wine, now, aye," she announces, taking them both by the arm and steering them over towards a waiter holding a tray of glasses. "We'll be takin' those, thanks love," she chirps to him, snatching his tray and setting it down on a nearby table for the girls to share. Grabbing two glasses, she passes them out and snags one for herself. "No toasts tonight, darlin's, let's jus' do i' down an' dirty." That said, she inclines her glass to them and downs the entire thing quickly. "Jus' don't let Trask see me," she adds. "After wha' that guy jus' said, I'm thinkin' things're gonna get rowdy 'ere, an' I don't need a wisecrackin' Trask thrown in the mix."

[TAC3] Alessandra says, "I'll hold you to that, Shiv."

Tillman just listens to the man as he continues peaking to everyone. His face doesn't even twitch when he explains his remarks. Nope, the Captain just holds his silence and glances towards the window beside him.

King rolls his eyes and mutters, "Dumbass." Once again, probably mostly for his favorite Corporal. Then he turns his attentions back to his little group, containing Margaret, Stavrian, Demos and Cadmus. "And hello, sir." He says…finally noticing Stavrian.

Cadmus smiles very slightly, lifting his glass a little, and taking a sip. Rejn's commentary did not seem to ruffle his feathers, since if he had *not* followed the 'joke' with something resembling humor, there probably would have been a lynching in the Anchorage tonight.

Quinn finally just rolls her eyes, shaking her head slowly at the bureaucrat. She mutters something under her breath which, fortunately, is too soft to really be heard by anyone. "Frakking politicans…" Can be made out, though. She then steps away from her liuttle grook, heading in the direction of Tillman and Kulko, apparently planning on making a few other greetings while she's still sober and looking pressed as possible for Margaret Quinn

Catching the same waiter passing Santiago, Arkat can't help but interject as his own glass gets filled. "It's no fun if the speech isn't being told by someone with a tie wrapped around their forehead and with a high ratio of slurred words."

[TAC3] Nostos says, "Will you buy one for my ego? I think Lucky would demand it, sir."

Kulko exhales deeply, a relieved, almost goofy grin spreading across his face. He taps a passing waiter on the shoulder, snagging another wineglass. "Close call, init sir?" he offers to Oberlin, extending a hand. "Ensign Stephen Kulko. Howdy… good to meetcha."

… Awkward. Sofia rubs the back of her head. "Well, okay." Her eyes cross almost entirely. She nods at Marcion, "I guess you were right. It was a set up for a joke. I can fetch you a glass if you want, sir- hey isn't that that Nikias fellow?" She motions over to Nikias, who has parked near them.

[TAC3] Laskaris says, "Kids? Here now, Shiv. Some of us are potty trained, ya know."

"I think 'ee might need to requisitin a sense of bleedin 'umour" Meg says, her raspy Aerilon accented voice probably travelling further than she intended. Clearly her throat her cheeks color a little and she snags some wine from a passing server to try to cover up her embarassment "sorry sir" she adds to Stavrin a bit more softly.

Stavrian overhears Cidra's dry comment and nearly snickers. He coughs softly to cover it, wine reappearing from behind his back and finding its way to his mouth without further ado. "Frakking hell." Cheers, whatever. He gives King a nod once the rim of the glass isn't blocking his mouth anymore. "Staff Sergeant."

Hellicon chuckles a bit and nods. "Well, I tell you what… I'll tell you my life story tonight after the festivities. Less noise and we can sober up some too," he says as he grabs another drink from a waiter passing by.

[TAC3] Alessandra says, "Only some?"

[TAC3] There's another chuckle from Shiv, but no response to that.

"Seriously." Santiago replies to the nearby marine (Arkat) without actually looking at him. "Or a pool to toss them in once they've got boring." Her usual sort of party is not this sort of party, despite the frock.

Evandreus sips the pink concoction with three fingers pinched around the top of the straw, separating his lips from the strawberries, then stirring it with a further rattling of icecubes. Finally drifting all the way toward Club Ensign, "Hey, guys," he greets them, warm and casual, eyes still loitering toward the front to see who else is coming up for speeches.

[TAC3] Laskaris says, "Bets are still out on the rooks, Lucky."

Ah, an excuse to drain his glass and get rid of the frakking thing, excellent. Marko tips his glass up and drains it in one, long pull, A moment later, the glass is on a the tray of a passing waiter and he finds himself adjusting his vector to join up with Evandreus and the CAG.

Marcion nods. "Wine sounds good. And there… ah!" He grins and points. "Tisi… er… Ensign!" He smiles at Sofia. "Friend. Viper pilot, but quite intelligent. Be back in a moment." He heads towards Tisiphone. Poor geek probably has never approached a group of girls before in his life. This should end well.

[TAC3] Alessandra says, "Hey. 'Bet' is a naughty four-letter word with me now, Lasher."

Before Rejn did his whole 'Pshaw! Just kidding!' bit, Trask looked utterly blase. One might even say bored. Might have something to do with being a Black Country boy. Unemployment is as natural as breathing to that poor ilk. Puff-puff-puff. That laugh of Oberlin's draws his attention and the onset of a sly smirk. Coordinates set, the ECO make his course towards the Intel officer.

Tillman deadpans the next: "Nothing close about it. The man thanked us and said we were good people. Didn't say anything about confirming budgets." He keeps his voice low though until he looks back around and spots Quinn. A warm smile appears and he dips his head to her politely. "Captain. You look stunning as usual. How're things going for you?" A pause before he motions to Kulko. "This is Ensign Kulko. He is getting some CIC time for a future Tac Officer billet of his own. Ensign, this is Captain Quinn, one of our Raptor squad leaders."

With no one left ot talk to, Naevi sets about wandering aimlessly and peering every now and then into the depths of the high class wine she's been given.

Cidra slides a glance over at Stavrian at his chuckle, offering the Medical an inclination of her head. "Politicians do have a flare for the dramatic, don't they," she observes softly to him.

[TAC3] Raedawn says, "Mommy? I have to go-ooooooooo…"

Nikias shakes his head with a faint laugh at Allan Rejn's closing words, taking a quick sip from his glass before turning to move on. In doing so, he spots Sofia's attempt to catch his attention, and steps over. "Good evening." he says in greeting with a polite smile.

[TAC3] Nostos says, "Don't make me turn this ship around."

Arkat can't help but compare outfit designs between himself and Santiago. It's the fact she looks pretty while he looks like a waiter, really. "I gotta say, I'm torn. I'm not sure if you'd be more at home in a fancy pad with glass walls and chic design with a patio-pool, or a bar." He sips at the wine. "-With a pool."

Daphne laughs to Temperance and grasps a wine glass in her hands. She downs the wine in a long gulp, mirroring Temperance with a grin. "I think Trask is a lot like death and taxes. Unpleasant, Ever-present, and Unavoidable."

Callista nods and feigns dissapointment with a skill rivalled only by the best actors, "Alas, wellll, I will just have to wait anxiously until tonight is over." Another large sip of her wine is taken before she sighs, "This is such a frrraaakkin' dull party, the least they could have let us do is wear civvie clothing." The slurred curse word sounding very out of place in the midst of her caprican accent.

Quinn turns her head up, standing on her tip toes for a moment so she can smoothly kiss Tillman's cheek in turn, a warmer smile crossing her freckles and cream features. "Captain Tillman. Now you're just flattering me, but thank you. Dress grays certainly don't disappoint on you, either." She looks him up and down with an approving grin. then she's being introduced to someone else. She offers her calloused, strong hand in Kulko's direction. "A pleasure, Ensign Kulko. Don't tomato the politicians. They aren't smart enough to be smooth. Though I almost did myself."

Oh dear. Sofia opens her mouth, closes it. "Sure, I'll keep a glass for ya." She rubs the back of her head. An amused look like watching her brother wander off after a girl. "Good luck, dude," Beam. Go Marcion Go! She looks over as Nikias greets her. Eh! Uh oh. Sofia smiles, and politely wiggles her fingertips. "Oh- er- hey there, sir. Was getting some wine. Um." Shoot. She's not good at this. Where's an Officer when you need one? "Well, actually, some people might meet you soon."

"At least our Admiral knows how to give a speech," mutters Tisiphone, rolling her eyes again at Rejn. She taps her own wine goblet against Daphne's and Temperances, clink-a-clink, and knocks it back as if it was moonshine, not some hundreds-cubit vintage.

"So they do, sir." Stavrian answers Cidra just as quietly as he sets his empty wineglass down on the tray of a passing waiter, whether it was meant to go there or not. Sagittarian manners. "Only way to make it better would be to light him on fire. Can't say I'd be real opposed."

"Who gives a frak so long as there's a pool?" Santi replies, with a glances over her shoulder, eyes scanning for a new waiter with more wine.

Demos half smiles as the 'joke' plays out. "Ah." That is all that the result warrents, apparently. She half turns as King speaks, but does not actually face him. Rather, she keeps her gaze on the man on the stage, her expression remaining focused though a little pained. As another waiter passes, she claims a second drink. Turning as Cidra approaches, she smiles at the woman, then fades a bit to give her and Stavrian a bit of semi-privacy.

Rejn steps back to a faint smattering of not-quite applause before a tall and lanky woman dressed in firmly-pressed greys steps up. "Please welcome the Commander of the Ninth Fleet, Admiral Esther Kulle!" comes the waiter-qua-emcee's voice over the PA.

"Never done this before," she murmurs to a nearby priest, her voice just loud enough to be caught by the mike. From his hands she takes up a small silver goblet, raising it above her head as her eyes seek out the teleprompter in back. "Hear, Poseidon," she begins, blinking a bit as the text scrolls down unexpectedly. It'll take her a moment to regain her bearings.

Callista nods and feigns dissapointment with a skill rivalled only by the best actors, "Alas, wellll, I will just have to wait anxiously until tonight is over." Another large sip of her wine is taken before she sighs, "This is such a frrraaakkin' dull party, the least they could have let us do is wear civvie clothing." The slurred curse word sounding very out of place in the midst of her caprican accent.

Tillman turns a bit red at the swipe of the lips but he nods. "Thank you, much, Captain. Just don't sell yourself short. The grays are your thing." He gives her a friendly wink and then nods to Kulle. "Just sent her our AAR this morning. Might be worth hearing this." The Tac lifts his chin a bit as if it might help his hearing over some of the others.

Naevi turns her attention towards the Admiral and the beginnings of the speech, falling into a rested-but-attentive stance once she's put her glass down for the moment on a rare flat surface so her hands can fold behind her back.

Cidra regards Stavrian a beat, as if trying to summon something to her mind. And failing. "Pardon me. I do not think we have been introduced properly. I am Major Cidra Hahn. You are…? I am sorry but I did not get your name. I do recall you from the chapel. From the taking of the auspices." A cloud comes to her eyes as she mentions those, looking as if she wished she hadn't. But she doesn't have time to probe further. An Admiral is coming. She turns, straightening her posture again with respect.

Kulko takes the proffered hand up to his second knuckle, half-bowing at the waist. "Pleasure's all mine, sir. I'll do my level best - but you have to admit, he was layin' it on pretty thick. Had me goin, but good."

Malone gets the rest of the way over through the crowd, nodding a bit to both Callista and Hellicon, "Good start of the evening?" he offers, quietly, before he looks over to the next Admiral to appear.

Temperance moves onto the next glass like a conveyor belt. "He caught me tryin' ta fly an op when I as 'ungover," she admits with a grimace. "Told 'im I was feelin' under th' weather. Didn't believe me, decided ta go backseat wi'me. Wors' flight o' my career." All 6 years of it. Tipping it towards the girls once more, she tosses it back like a pro. "Should we eat somethin'? Mingle? Or are we jus' goin' fer maximum intoxication an' ooglin' of manflesh?"

Marcion pushes through the crowd until he comes up on Tisiphone, standing there with Daphne and Temperence. "Ensign. Err, Ensigns. Hey there. Uh…" Hmmm. Apparently Marcion just realizes he is addressing three girls. At once. "Hello. Looking nice. Uh…" he glances around, desperatly seeking a subject. "Weird speech, eh?" Could someone throw the eltee a life preserver? Or at least a guide on advanced Quantum Physics to edit?

King gives a little sidestep, sort of mirroring Demos. It's good to let officers flirt in their own space. "I do believe you are right, Corp, it would have been far better if he'd went up there and just got to the point instead of trying to make a joke." He shakes his head with a sigh then as he continues about a more normal conversation. "And, Sergeant Demos, I must say that I do believe gray is a good color for you. Makes those ridiculously blue eyes of yours really stand out." Wine talking? Proooobably.

Hellicon chuckles and sees her acting skills in her disappointment. "I'll see to it you get the full story, you have my word," he says as he turns back to look out into the party briefly. "Yeah, tell me about," he says to Callista. "Add in the fact that I personally hate wearing these damn things… Mine is custom-tailored too, so it's form-fitting and not as comfortable as I like," he says as he briefly relieves the pressure around his neck by gently tugging at the collar.

The announcing of Admiral Kulle has Michael straightening as she approaches the podium, he's giving the woman a very respectful nod of his head. Once she begins to speak, only to have to catch her bearings, he offers a quick smile before allowing hands to slip behind his back so that they can clasp together in the small of his back. With that done, he simply remains quiet, waiting for the Admiral to begin once more.

Nikias does a quick glance over Sofia's badges and rank ensignia on her dress uniform, before nodding to her. "Mmm hmmm." he says with a knowing nod and faint smile. "I know I have been hard to find, though my superiors haven't really been open to the idea of me being open… as you can probably imagine. But you've cornered me and I have no place to go." he replies with a faux defeated tone, gesturing around at his surroundings as if he really were backed into a dead-end. "So I think I can answer a few questions, if you have any now."

Stavrian gives Demos a slight shake of his curly head, trying to indicate that the MP doesn't have to go slithering away. He may be wearing formal clothes, but the manner's not following. Then his eyes snap back to Cidra as she mentions those auspices, a flash going off in his own memory. He glances over the woman's face once and unconsciously straightens his shoulders, more respectfully. "Sir. Junior Lieutenant Jesse Stavrian. PA-C. I remember you too-…" Like her, there's something he might've been about to say or ask. But it gets cut off as another speaker is announced.

Quinn lofts both brows in Kulko's direction as he almost bows. She grins…"Smooth, this one, isn't he, Clive?" She teases gently, apparently charmingly approving of the Ensign Kulko. And then she hears the other Admiral announced and she turns her green eyes, apparently more than willign to listen to this speech.

Nikias does a quick glance over Sofia's badges and rank ensignia on her dress uniform, before nodding to her. "Mmm hmmm." he says with a knowing nod and faint smile. "I know I have been hard to find, though my superiors haven't really been open to the idea of me being open… as you can probably imagine. But you've cornered me and I have no place to go." he replies with a faux defeated tone, gesturing around at his surroundings as if he really were backed into a dead-end. "So I think I can answer a few questions, if you have any now."

Kulle is a sharp cookie: a toss of her hair and a blink of an eye and she's gathered the composure befitting a woman of her rank. So armed, she completes the rest of the benediction with the gravity befitting her role.

"Hear your supplicants, O Poseidon," she murmurs, her voice low and reverential. "Hear us, ruler of the sea profound, whose liquid grasp begirds the solid ground. Thee I invoke, whose steeds the foam divide, from whose dark locks the briny waters glide; whose voice, loud sounding through the roaring deep, drives all its billows in a raging heap.

"'Tis thine, cerulean daemon, to survey, well-pleased, the monsters of the ocean play. With prosperous gales waft Cerberus along, and swell her spacious sails; add gentle peace and fair-haired health beside, and pour abundance upon her in your blameless tide."

Three deep breaths. Then, she pours her libation to the Lords into a silver basin unobtrusively brought forward by a pair of waiters, bowing her head as she fills the silence with the rippling of wine hitting water.

"So say we all."

Callista seems overjoyed as Malone makes his way over taking the mans hand in her own as if he were a lifelong friend of hers, "Ensign Malone! I'm so glad you could join us, I was hoping my brother would be here but I can't seem to find him anywhere in this crowd." Making the introductions for Hellicon and Malone, she says, "Ensign Malone, this is Captain Hellicon if you didn't already know him." Shes glowing just a little from all the alcohol she's consumed tonight, a little shaky but she seems to be standing for now.

Daphne reaches for another wine glass. Her current one is WORTHLESS now! She raises it to her lips, "He's got the loudest mouth out of anyone I've ever heard, including guys who washed right out of flight school because they didn't take it serious…ly." Her head turns towards Marcion and her lips stop moving. After he finishes speaking, she wordlessly hands him her wine glass, as though he needs it worse than she.

Cadmus lifts a hand, covering his mouth with the back of it. Nothing like someone complimenting your sargeant to give you a little amusement. He continues to listen to the speeches, manner idle until the Admiral finishes. "So say we all!" he intones, the callback nigh automatic - but there's a glint in his eye, the flash of a believer's glare.

Tillman smirks. "There's always room for improvement." He smirks between them and looks back up towards Kulle. He falls dead silent as she gives her benediction. Tillman bows his head a bit with it, murmuring at the last, "So say we all."

Margaret keeps silent as more dignatries step up, her expression becomming properly reverential as th admiral begins the prayer, looking up to echo "So say we all" with the others.

Arkat snatches a refill from a passing waiter, the same courtesy given to Santiago. Silence reigns from the man while the ceremony completes, adding his own, quiet "So say we all." before returning to the muttered conversation at hand. "Find me a bar with a pool and I'll love you forever. Or at least one I can visit on leave." … "Bonus if it's on a station."

Santiago's just drunk enough to bring her fingers to her lips, and whistle a short, shrill catcall on the heels of a prayer to Poseidon. What? She's Aquarian. It's hard wired.

Evandreus turns his head a little at Temperance's last comment, raising both brows and then grinning, looking up front as the next speaker steps on up and starts to… pray. Well, there's no escaping it, is there? So he leans a little back against a table and hunkers down with his drink to wait out the storm, finally removing the little stirrer he'd been using as a straw and taking a drink from the edge of the cup.

Cidra's eyes linger on Stavrian's for a beat but she's done talking. Quiet for the Admiral. Particularly for this. Her head bows, eyes closing as the benediction to Poseidon is recited. Her lips move, following the words perfectly, though she keeps them in audible. "So say we all," she echoes softly.

"So say we all," Naevi recites back towards the admiral, bowing her head slightly as the offering is made - eyes closing and her own drink put aside for the moment. Silent prayer offered, she reaches out to retrieve her wine and takes another sip of it.

"So say we all," Stavrian echoes back, lips not moving much. He can't help a glance up and out towards the Cerberus as the choral response fills the room.

Oh boy, Admiral Kulle's turned this little soiree into a prayer meetin'. Well, isn't that special? At least it's to Poseidon, which means Marko can sit still through it and pretend to be paying attention. If it had been Aphrodite, he might've been hard pressed not to throw something.

Sofia is quiet for the important bits there, looking to Kulle. She smiles a bit. "So say we all," Sofia intones, although with less enthusiasm being a bit less devout. But the sincereity's there. Blink. Sofia lifts her eyebrows, "Well, don't act like I'm gonna club you, drag you off to my cave and leave you in leather cuffs." She puts her hands on her hips eyeing Nikias. "Because I won't. That's more of a dating thing really and certainly not in the first three." She even holds up three fingers for emphasis. /Someone/ has a weird sense of humor and given how expressive her face and gestures are, it's likely Sofia - from the family of artists. Eccentric flows from her demeanor like ivy leaves roiling off a wall. "I - uh -" Sofia rubs the back of her head. "Well. Shoot. It was the officers who wanted to talk to you. Now I feel like I've let you down. I can do something menacing like a finger waggle if it'd make you feel better." She even waggles her fingers. See? MENACING.

"Aren't you a marine?" Santiago finally gives Arkat a brief once over. "You work for a living." She says that like it might be catching. Getitoff.

"So say we all," Marko echoes dutifully.

Catching Quinn's movements, Oberlin briefly looks back at Tillman and Kulko before his head whips around and eyes the approaching Trask. "Nice threads, Lieutenant." The Intel Officer raises his glass in concert with a rather sly smirk in Bootstrap's direction, little lines around his eyes crinkling with unrestrained mirth. "Also. Good job with the Decoy Battlestar. I'd always wanted to see that maneuver in action."

[TAC3] Raedawn says, "So say we all… Almost time."

"Yes, I am." Arkat snips back, mouth filling with wine. "But I'm trained in the higher-classes. See, I only pretend to work."

Oberlin also, moments before, echoed a silent, "So Say We All."

"So say we all."

Quinn is dead quiet for the prayer, her expression going a hint solemn, though she doesn't bow her eyes. She just watches the room a bit closer, searching the crowd again… Looking for something in particular, it seems. "So say we all…" She finally echoes, a husky sort of whisper from her lips. Apparently earnest about the words.

Kulko raises his glass in concurrence with the Admiral and the room at large, echoing, "So say we all," before draining a third of it. Yeah, it's been a dry few weeks on the Cerberus, that it has.

"Should we be payin' attention ta this?" Temperance asks, gulping down the last of that glass and gesturing towards the Admiral up there. "'Case she's cursin' th' ship fer 7 years o'bad luck?" She grins to Marcion when he comes up and stammers, but Evandreus' look catches her attention and she smiles innocently back at him, shrugging her shoulders like, 'who, me?'

Nikias genuinely grins at Sofia's eccentric humor, that smile gradually broadening as the neolithic imagery is described. "No no, that's fine. Knowing that the Engineering crew need to speak to me is fine. I just presumed you might have had something to say as well, or at least a warning as to what I was going to be walking into it." he explains amicably. "But I am truly menaced regardless." he adds with a grin.

"So say we all," King intones loudly, like it's a personal motto.

Lowering his head as the prayer begins, Michael offers the 'So say we all' before his head lifts and his gaze shifts in the direction of his superior, "Well spoken, Admiral. Thank you." With that done and the pleasantries out of the way, the man now shifts to move out and mingle amongst the crowd.

Demos adds her own 'So say we all' quietly. She darts Stavrian and Cidra another smile, shifting back. Catching King's comments, she flickers a smile his way as a blush tinges her cheeks, "Why thank you, Sergeant. That is most kind of you. The color suits you as well." The smile remains, though she flashes a glance at Cadmus, then back to the stage. Shifting, she lifts the glass to her lips to swallow quickly. The wine warms within and the blush remains, tinged a bit with wine's encouragement.

Oberlin swivels to eye Admiral Kulle a moment. After the prayer ended, he raises his glass in her general direction, as well. He's been nursing this thing for a while and not going overboard, each sip a miniscule amount.

"So Maggie," Tillman begins, looking to Quinn. "Good work yesterday. Heard you on the radio. Sounds like you all had a good workout. How did things look from your end?" He keeps the discussion light for now.

"Hey, Bunny," Marko says, arriving at Evandreus' side. "Interesting crowd." he remarks. "Wait… you look different," he comments, cocking his head a little to peer at the man curiously. "I don't see what's… oh wait, there it is… My God… you're dressed," he grins.

"Hm." Santiago snitches a new glass of wine from a passing tray. It may shortly be work to stand about on five inch heels, watching out the viewport.

"Call me Esther, Michael, please." Kulle's severe face breaks into a faint smile as she claps her subordinate on the shoulder. "And yours really was better. I just had to read off a teleprompter; you actually had to write something and then say it aloud. Might come in handy in case that Rejn asshole ever comes busting down my door." That last is spoken very quietly.

"See, Cap'n? The whole arena thinks the Ensign here is too young for you." That would be blithely said to Quinn, then Trask stage whispers to Kulko, "Don't be fooled by the pigtails." Then, with the hand not holding his cigarette, Trask snaps up a jaunty salute to the TACCO. "Captain Tillman. Glad to hear that you aren't demanding a refund for services rendered." Oberlin then speaks. "It was seriously kick-ass, wannit?" Bootstrap casually replies. "As I told the TACCO, your analysis of the area was of tremendous benefit. Good one on that." The cancer stick is lifted in a 'cheers' gesture and then smoked some more.

The anchorage almost seems to shudder, ever so slightly, with the reverberation of roughly fifteen vipers at full burn, making their first sweep across the station's viewport windows. The pass is a close one, what pilots might call 'buzzing the tower', and the black is illuminated by engines lit with blue fire, rear exhaust valves ablaze. The fighters are moving quickly, and loop past in an inverted 'V' formation with a red and white Mark II in the lead, honour guarded by a pair of heftier Mark VIIs. There and gone in a matter of seconds, a few wine glasses and pieces of cutlery do the twitch and slide before coming to a standstill again.

Stavrian rolls his shoulders stiffly as the cacophony of prayer chorus fades and the chatter around him starts in earnest again. He scratches absently at his earlobe, turning around as the floor starts to rumble with the force of the air show squadron taking off.

Naevi makes her way over towards the familiar Ensigns, specifically Tisiphone and Daphne, her glass of wine in hand. As the Vipers fly in formation, she cannot help but grin broadly, "I'll never get sick of formation flying. It looks so good."

What a picture of military synchronicity: all those planes moving as one. It's enough to elicit more than the usual oohs and ahhs of appreciation from the chattering crowd; indeed, Allan Rejn even pumps his fist in the air, allowing himself a loud triumphant whoop audible over the murmuring of several hundred voices while he reaches for another glass of wine to kill. "Ladies and gentlemen!" booms the voice of the emcee. "Put your hands together for the Black Knights and — from Picon herself — the demonstration pilots of the Picon Space Guards!" So thunderous is the applause that Sitka and his team might hear it in their cockpits, coming around as they are for another pass while the band plays on.

Cidra inclines her head to Demos. "Sergeant," she says, though her manner has gained a certain amount of solemnity after the blessing. She picks up her glass of water again, near draining the thing with a long drink. But some of her near-gloom fades at the flash of the Vipers across the viewport. "Ah. Captain Sitka's show. I have been looking forward to this." She edges toward a window to get a better view. Angling toward Tillman, Quinn and those around them, as it happens.

Quinn doesn't see whatever she's looking for, even Trask's smart ass remark doesn't quite bring her around to awareness for another heartbeat or so. She blinks, brain catching up with the conversation as she gives a half shy smile in Tillman, Kulko, and now Trask's direction. "I would heartily agree that most people in this room, the Ensign included, are too young for me, Bootstrap. But thank you for reminding a lady of her age. That's just what I wanted to hear tonight." She grumbles flatly in his direction, half rolling her eyes. She then gives a softer smile to Clive. "Thank you… it really was my boys and girls who did the work. The smart ass included." She nods to Trask. "And… now that that prayer is over, I think I can get a drink." Her eyes flicker up to catch the flight, applauding gently.

[TAC3] Sitka says, "Lasher, Lucky, Spanner, checkturn on our next pass; we'll move into a shackle."

Margaret frowns a touch as she spies a few of the officers not joining in the prayer. Shaking her head she sips from her wine, then makes a bit of a face. "Wot I wouldn't give for a bleedin' pint," she mutters softly then takes another swallow from it anyway. She looks up at the viper flyby, making an effort not to seem *too* impressed with them as she claps politely.

[TAC3] Laskaris says, "Understood."

Sure, Sofia has a faintly oily aura about her at the best of times, like she could just bolt and reappear somewhere else on a whim - the best of criminals, but deep, deep inside there might be a heart. She smiles and nods. "Sure. Well, I kind of do. Sort of. It's mostly business and I doubt it'd be fun to talk business here at a gathering. I suspect most of the ship will be in medbay tomorrow with hangovers," Sofia has MANAGEMENT SENSES. They are tingling right now. She smiles at his menaced ccomment. "Well that's good. Quality menacings are hard to do these days," She explains. "So you're- well, I guess it's best to introduce ourselves properly. I'm Crewman Sofia Wolfe," A curtsey. "Oh hey, the show's starting." She smiles and turns to watch. A bit of clapping as others do.

"I know, a travesty, isn't it?" Evan grins at Marko, "The Colonial Military should seriously start implementing some policy accomodations for those who were raised nudist," he gives his opinion, then looks up at the buzz with a bright grin. "Aiieee," he giggles a little. "Close one."

[TAC3] Alessandra says, "Roger, Shiv."

A little liquid courage can definitely go a long way, even for a man who has already proven brave. At least the awards across his sash act as evidence to support that. King grins and raises a glass when the Vipers zip on by, "To the pilots!" He says proudly, "For without them, the marines would have to fly themselves. And lord knows, we don't want to be bothered with that."

Taking the wine glass gratefully from Daphne, Marcion blushes fit to match the wine. "Thank you. Greatly appreciate." He turns to watch the flyby. "How come you're not flying out there? Would be fun, right?"

Stavrian barks a laugh at King's pronouncement. He holds up a hand to a passing waiter, refusing another glass of wine, and folds his gray-suited arms over his chest. His eyes track the sudden, quick movements of the Vipers outside.

Nodding quietly as he hears Callista's words, Malone offers a bit of a smile at Hellicon. "A pleasure to meet you, sir. I hope you're well this evening?" A brief pause, before he adds, "Both of you." He looks to the window again as the Vipers start to fly around. "Nice work…" he mutters.

Hellicon feels the anchorage shudder a bit as the Vipers make their pass over. "Damn, they cut that one a bit close," he says as he looks to the window, watching the planes grow smaller in the distance. "Anyways, I can't wait for this little Photo Op to be over with. Godsdamn uniform is about to piss me off," he says as he reaches for his collar once more to relieve a bit of the tight grip the collar is giving.

Kulko flushes a bit at Trask's jeering. "The Captain don't hardly look a day out of the Academy, sir. Not that I'd ever presume." The flyby saves him from the hot seat, and he fixes his attention a few moments on the viewscreen. "Gods, they're good at that, ain't they?"

Tillman hears the rumble and looks up to the window with a light smile. He backs a step off as the Vipers blast by and he laughs. "Cowboys," he finishes and looks back towards Trask and Quinn. "Aboslutely not, Lieutenant. You did an outstanding job. I hope you get everything you have coming to you in regards to the success." He applauds lightly and looks to Quinn with her muttered remark. He doesn't say anything else but he looks to Trask, then.

"It's ok, I'm not judging. It took me hours of practice." Arkat continues, sipping at his wine just in time for the vipers to rocket past and send a little of the red stuff up his nose. Again. "Shitfr-" Sneeze.

Lucky's Viper keeps up rather easily, the pilot keeping the craft in formation with very little in the way of effort. It is textbook, after all. Something all flightschool students are taught. The speed is as thrilling as it was the first time she did this, Alessandra getting quite the rush from the excitement, and for a moment she forgets that they're actually performing for an audience.

Cadmus seems to notice something, nodding swiftly to the marine contingent by way of disengaging from the conversation. Carrying his glass and cigarillo in one hand, he produces a small package of more cigarillos and meanders across the room toward Tisiphone and her group of pilots. "Pardon me, pilots, but… Here, Ensign, have one on me," he says, shaking one halfway out of the package towards Tisiphone. "Hope you're not too bored by being in here instead of out there."

With the chorus' of prayer ended, Atreus turns toward the windows. Catching sight of a few people, he lifts a wave here and there. Spotting one particular captain speaking to Tillman, he grins before turning again. The rumble catches his attention and Atreus moves closer to the window. A look of almost pride touches his eyes and he lifts a nearly empty glass in a salute.

"Very. I heard Shiv was really burning the midnight oil on this demo. Oughta be a hell of a show." Marko comments, snagging a skewer with three gigantic shrimp on it from a passing waiter. "I thought the Secretary was gonna get lynched for a second there." he comments, watching the window.

Nikias goes to extend his hand to Sofia, but the show interrupts that maneuver. "Nikias Makaed, Tzonis Group. A pleasure, Crewman Wolfe." he says nonetheless, turning to face the window and the squadron's show. "Don't suppose your work involves anything with Vipers?" he asks, gesturing with his glass-laden hand at the window.

The maneuvers are textbook, the situation is not. However, demonstration or not, Laskaris is in his element; formation flying, at least, he's never really had a problem with. He can't help but smile a little as the Vipers pass close to the anchorage where the assembled multitudes are undoubtedly watching, as he prepares to execute the first planned maneuver.

"Yeah. More show." Oberlin says, deadpan as he catches the flyby with a turn of his head. "My big sister moved to Picon with her jago— er, husband and kid. Little Nick would be crapping his pants right now to be this close to those planes."

Evandreus cackles at King's toast. "To the Marines," he raises a glass in retort, "Without whom we'd have to defend our own damned landing zones," he chuckles. "And we don't like catching bullets half as much," he finishes with a friendly wink over to the guy.

Michael makes his way around the room, offering polite nods to those that he passes and a soft murmered greetings to others, though he never stays in one spot for more then a few moments. Long enough to give the greeting and then he's moving on, finding the next gaggle of people and doing the same thing. Seems he's doing the polite thing and trying to pay his respects to everyone, in person, that's gathered.

[TAC3] Alessandra says, "Over and under and through, just like tying our shoes, kiddies."

A pause. Sofia notices the hand. She just smiles faintly. "Feel free to call me Sofia for now if it's easier. And yes, but no. I'm 3M. We manage everything and nothing at once. Think of it as Schroedinger's Engineering," A handwave. She grins. She'll wave at Atreus and lift her glass in passing. Hey, the Rear Admiral. Her eyes go wide. "Whoa, the Rear Admiral." And a show too! This is boggling to the humble Crewman. "What do you think of all this? Pretty neat huh?"

Demos nods to Cadmus as he leaves. She laughs a little at King's toast, but lifts her glass anyway. A sip is taken, "To the pilots." Catching Evandreus' reply, her laughter grows, "Well said, both of you." Stepping a bit forward, she hears the rumble and turns to look toward the window. "Oh, watch." She edges to one side to look around a taller person, "That is inspiring."

Callista raises her eyebrows as the Vipers come so close to the window and nearly jumps back, the event sobering her up a little bit. Smiling pleasantly at Malone, she shrugs, "Well sweetie, I'm doing fine except for the fact that this is less of a party and more of a meet and greet." She sighs dramatically, "With the lack of dancing, music and all the speeches." She takes another drink and shrugs after her little tirade, asking Malone, "How about you? Are you enjoying yourself tonight?"

Cidra offers a general "Good eve" to Tillman, Quinn and Kulko, once she's in there general vicinity. Her eyes are all for the viewport, however, that faint smile curving her lips. She is quiet as she watches the formation flying, observing it studiously but not too critically. Part of her is just enjoying the show.

The exhaust plumes trace comet-tails behind the zooming fighters. With something to look at to judge relative motion, this whole exercise becomes a whole lot more exciting. Goddess's fighter is tucked in just to the right of a formation, seemingly perfectly in line from airshow-center. In the midst of all of it, though, there's a lot of slight rocks and twitches as pilots course-correct and maintain the tricky formation, and Raedawn is having as tough a time as anyone else. But it's a rush like no other, countless drills or no countless drills.

[TAC3] Raedawn says, "But I use Velcro…"

"You know," Naevi muses to the nearby Ensigns while staring out the window, "I kind of wish I got tapped to do the demonstration flying. It'd be a great thing to have on film to show Arty some day."

Quinn just stares at Kulko a moment as he says she doesn't look a day out of the academy, clearly pushing her middle age if not there yet. She's getting close. "Now you're just being a smooth talker, Ensign. Trust me. I've been around the block more than a few times to catch that." She teases gently, but her smile is still clear. She actually pauses a moment to finally scoop up one of those previous, aged glasses of wine from a passing waiter. Apparently, she's giving into the celebration. She smiles to the CAG. "Boss. Hope you're managing to relax a bit, at least. Try the wine. It's almost as old as we are."

King is impressed and doesn't care if he shows it. He somehow manages to raise his glass higher in response to Evandreus' countertoast. Then that glass of wine is done. He tilts his head to Margaret once again, "This your first christening, Corp?" he asks curiously.

Nikias grins to Sofia and adds, "Enjoy it. As much as you might think these proceedings are for the 'brass' and the 'big wigs', really it's a lot of work for them. You get to enjoy it without worrying about the image you have to maintain at all times." he explains, then pauses to gesture to what is probably Allan Rejn off in the distance. "Well, except for politicians who are likely nearing the end of their terms, and don't care anymore. Must be liberating."

Cue the naughty boyish charm that Quinn finds so frustrating. "You'll always be my Cinnabun, Bread Basket…" Yes, two baked goods nicknames in one go, "Even when you'll get moldy and stale." There comes that scampish smile of Trask, augmented by those big brown eyes blinking at the redhead in a manly equivalent of fluttering lashes. Why, he doesn't even crack a joke about just how many times around the block the SL must've been. Back to Tillman, he remarks, "We all get what we're due, sooner or later, sir." There's something a bit weighted to that, a certain weariness seeping through his usual glibness. This is brushed aside, as he adds to Oberlin, "Sorry to hear that your brother-in-law is a jagoff."

"Heeyyyy. Evening, Major Hahn." Tillman dips his head to her. "Compliments to your fighting last night as well. I know you saw the memo but I think congratulations are in order personally as well. Damned nice fighting." He then looks to Quinn and gives a light laugh and looks to Kulko and back. "Ensign is just trying to say that he thinks you're the best-looking woman here tonight. Except for maybe the Major, here. Running a close race."

Kulko shoots a grateful look Tillman's way. "Aye, sir. A regular Caprican Derby, it is." He falls silent, caught in the gray area between polite and sleazy, and sips at his wine. A spinach-filled pastry is procured from a passing tray, because if his mouth is full he can hardly get himself in any more trouble, can he?

Marcion frowns into his wine glass. Nothing quite like getting ignored by three girls. Well, ok. There was. he called it 'High School.' "Well, enjoy evening. Will be… uh… place." Turning away from the group of pilots he walks back over to where Sofia and Nikias are standing. "Hello," he says into his wineglass. "Parties suck. Scientifically speaking."

Stavrian is silent now, busy watching the air show. The conversations around him have faded to a dull 'wahwahwah' in favor of the visuals out the window.

"Now that was nice," Marko comments, gesturing with his free hand to the window where the Viper pilots are showing off with great aplomb. "Hello there," he adds for Demos' benefit.

Margaret looks to King as she is adressed and nods once as she looks down from the viper display. "Aye, sarge," she says, putting her glass to one side "Pretty frakkin impressive but not sure this…" she says motioning about the ritzy party, " quite me bleedin thing," she adds softly.

Every pilot is can fly but not every pilot is a Viper Jock and <Halo> screams by in his Viper as he maintains formation and as he buzzes by his Viper gives off the sweet sound that only a Viper engine can make. The pilot maintains percision speed and distance as he keeps up with his fellow pilots on these manuevers, text book or not this is a show for all of the people getting dronk. <Nostos> says into his camera for anyone watching, "We are so, so pretty." With that the pilot is gone and following in formation for the next pass.

Moving a bit to give others a good view of the vipers doing the flyby, Atreus steps back a bit. He turns as he hears someone mentioning Major Hahn. His manner eases a bit as a familiar name is heard. Capturing a small sandwich from a passing tray, he eats it in a couple of bites, then moves closer, "Evening, Major. Mind if I join you all?"

Cidra shakes her head to Quinn at the wine. "I am staying level tonight, Captain. I am not much for wine, except for when the gods prompt me to it. I am enjoying this, however." She does pluck another glass of sparkling water from a passing waiter. Sip, sip, sip. Her smile warms at Tillman. "Compliments all around to your people as well. It was… invigorating. The whole affair." A low chuckle at the compliment. "There is no accessory so beautifying as a Raptor, Captain. It is what all the girls are wearing this season. And who is your young friend?" A look toward Kulko as she tries to place him. Though her gaze still flits to the pilots outside. Pride glinting in her blue gaze. "Chief Atreus. Good eve. Please do. We have a good view here."

"Well, they mostly are. I came for the snacks and to see if I could club someone to drag back to middle management. I get lonely sometimes, too, filing all those papers and crushing people's souls," Sofia jokes, waggling a single finger at Nikias. "No not really. I'm pretty happy, I've met a lot of good folks on this ship." She smiles. She'll catch a wine glass in passing. She frowns, seeing what went on with Marcion. Cautiously, she offers a pat on the shoulder. "Hey, not your fault. It's pretty crazy. I waved at someone and they didn't even notice me," She offers. She looks sympathetic to Marcion's plight. "This is a good spot to watch the planes if you wanna. I can get you some snacks too. Was thinking of trying something sweet," Nod. "And you can meet Nikias heere." Strangely, Sofia doesn't seem to be quite so malevolent when concerned with someone.

Demos turns a little, then fades back toward Stavrian. She looks up at the man briefly, "Have you ever wondered what it would be likd to fly like that, sir?" She sets her empty glass down on a nearby tray, then clasps her hands at the small of her back, the stance informal, yet regimented.

[TAC3] Laskaris says, "Alright. Shall we begin the fun stuff, then?"

"Don't be sorry for me, be sorry for Elise." Oberlin says again, smirking uncontrollably. "Worse, he's a Panthers fan. I can't trust people that love a team that basically /bought/ their way to victory. He's teaching my nephew horrible habits. I have to have some alone time with the little guy to undo the damage." Poor Oberlin. Little does he know. "So, you two Raptor jocks enjoying the… festivities?" He gestures towards Trask and Quinn. "Oh. 'Lo, Major." He adds to Cidra.

[TAC3] Alessandra says, "I'm ready, Lasher."

Spanner's viper rockets along at the right flank of the formation, engines and nozzles all firing to keep the craft in line with the rest of the show. Skill, grace and an ability to focus on multiple things at once result in the kind of precision only training can allow for. Of course, anyone watching the camera would just think there was a mix-up in the roster, with Rojas' face spread in a wide grin, tongue lolling out to one side.

Hellicon takes a big gulp of his drink and nods a bit. "Wow, this is good stuff," he says as he downs the glass. "I better hold off on another… Last thing I need is to be hung over tomorrow," he says with a chuckle. "So, what's everyone doing after the ceremonies are over with," he asks to both Malone and Callista.

[TAC3] Sitka says, "You bet your ass. Remember to keep your formation tight. Come out of the checkturn too fast, and you won't make it back in time for the thach weave. Watch your distance, call your marks if you need to."

Stavrian tilts his head towards Demos, though his eyes don't leave the show whizzing past outside. "Sometimes," he answers, talking only as loudly as he has to to be heard in this din. "More often I wonder how they can ever stand to have their feet on earth again afterwards." A brief glance at the MP next to him. "Do you?"

Quinn turns her head in the direction of the Chief, giving a slightly softer smile to the man, if still a bit -awkward- considering their encounter the other day. "Chief. No hugs today?" She winks at him teasingly, "I'm almost hurt…" It's her voice that is different, the clipped Caprican accent probably a far stretch from his wife's home town words, but otherwise those freckled features still look damn close to the woman he knows. She then gazes back to Oberlin, half nodding. "I am, I think… few more glasses of wine and I suspect I will be more. But someone has to keep an eye on this one." She nods towards Trask, "So I suspect I'll be the designated Raptor driver this evening. One glass won't hurt, though…" And she sips at her wine with a bit of a grin.

Just barely out of visual range, the lead bird in the little demonstration executes a smooth wing over wing flip in the vertical axis, simultaneous with a pitchback in the horizontal, bringing him about in a stomach twisting high-G reversal. As the other pilots begin executing their checkturns, the squadron's next thundering pass across the anchorage's viewport is evocative of fireworks sparking and dying. Two at a time, the vipers roll away at thirty degree angles, the roar of their engines lost to the vacuum of space but felt in the low rumble of kinetic energy as they blast by at a hair under the speed of sound.

A jaunty scout-style salute is offered to the CAG. "Major." Trask then finds himself distracted by the passing server. "Oh, hey. Hi, there. Havin' a good night, I hope. I'm wond'rin', think I could get a cranberry an' seltzer, slice of lime? That would be so awesome if you can make that happen." Absently, the Chief is offered a friendly wave. As the waiter departs with a nod, Kal calls out, "Thanks, man! I owe you one!" Back to the Cal with a 'C', he rolls his eyes. "Panthers suck. Stampede all the way." Figures. The guy is from Tauron, after all.

Nikias is quick to follow up on Sofia's cue. A quick turn, an extended hand to Marcion, and a greeting to boot. "Nikias Makaed, Lieutenant…?" he greets, and asks, in the same sentence.

Tillman laughs at the remark about Raptors and gestures to Kulko. "This is Ensign Kulko. A brand new addition to the crew. Fleet sent him over for his first deployment and he'll be taking a few lessons away from our CIC personnel on how the practical aspects of a Tac Officer are put into play." He than falls silent, letting everyone talk amongst themselves.

King grins and adds a bit of irony, "Why do you think I wanted you along, Corp?" he nudges her gently, "If I'd picked Private Trista, she'd either be dying of embarassment or all these pilots would be trying to play 'bag the private.'" He chuckles at that and shakes his head, "And lord knows I need some frakkin' company around here." He doesn't hide that his thoughts might be a bit elsewhere, especially when his eyes run over Sergeant Demos again. At least he can pull his attention back to matters at hand. "Alright Corp, time for some input here. Can you think of any way we can improve the combat efficiency of our platoon?"

[TAC3] Raedawn says, "(nervously) Here goes… /everything/…"

Santiago moves a bit closer to the viewport, to watch the vipers on their next pass, her eyes follow the high speed ships, eyes on the lead viper as it pitches and turns, spinning out in a controlled maneuver. "At least someone's awake at the wheel…"

Demos draws in a slow breath, her eyes alight as she watches the pilots in thier planes, "Oh, all the time, sir. Yes." Her voice mimics his, quiet and relaxed. "It looks absolutely amazing." A sigh escapes her lips and her gaze flickers from one plane to the other. "My younger brother is a pilot, though not in the service."

Callista twirls a strand of crimson hair around her finger, a soft shrug of her shoulders given in reply to Hellicon, she teases, "Well, provided I make it back to the Cerberus…….." She stops speaking immediately.

"Don't know yet," Malone replies to Hellicon, before he shrugs a little bit at Callista's question, "So far, so good," he replies, a little lightly. Gaze going to the Vipers again, watching them a bit carefully for now.

Fifteen planes? Make that seventeen, as two more Vipers drop in, late to the party. More precisely, they're two silver blurs), shooting by so quickly they might very well not have been there to begin with. They settle oh-so-briefly at the very back of the formation, winking in and out so quickly that they might not have been there at all. Such speed! Such precision! Such majesty of form! Another chorus of appreciative oohs and ahhs rises from the crowd —

Until two Mark IIs suddenly disintegrate under a hail of tracer fire from just above the window. A third — less than a foot away — gets caught in the impact, shredded by shrapnel; a fourth, the last victim of this terrible chain reaction, has to bank hard to port to avoid the same treatment. The sharp-eyed among the crowd might see her pilot desperately scramble to eject through her transparent bubble canopy, her gloved hands pressing suddenly unresponsive controls — but too late. The little fighter plows into the battlestar around which she'd previously been frolicking, her tailfin catching between the raised white 'R' and 'B' on the Cerberus' hangar pod before she, too, explodes.

Somewhere on the dais, a double-bass slips from its master's grasp and topples to the ground, wood echoing hollowly as strings snap and curl. Then?


<FS3> Laskaris rolls Vipers: Success.
<FS3> Rojas rolls Vipers: Great Success.
<FS3> Alessandra rolls Vipers: Bad Failure.
<FS3> Nostos rolls Vipers: Success.
<FS3> Sitka rolls Vipers: Good Success.
<FS3> Raedawn rolls Vipers: Good Success.

Oberlin cuts in, hearing Kulko's name brought up. "Cheers, Ensign. Welcome aboard." He says this as an aside to the junior officer and thrusts a hand firmly in the younger man's direction. "Lieutenant Oberlin. Intelligence officer. Things are." And then, the unthinkable happens. The flash, the noise. Somewhere, drowned in all that cacophany is the sound of Oberlin's wineglass as it slips from his fingers and /shatters/, splattering fine vintage Virgon Red that will never again be sampled all over the floor. "THE FRAK?"

Quinn's eyes jerk up, almost catching the sense that something is wrong… a moment before? Surely not. But she sees it, that burst of brief fire then nothingness. Explosion in space. Death, twisted metal, destruction. Chaos indeed. Quinn's wine glass suddenly slips from her hands, shattering on the floor at her feet as she just stares in numbed shock. "…Gods…" she breathes out.

"That so?" Stavrian's in the middle of what he was saying to Demos. "What does he-…" BOOM, outside. One can't hear it, of course, but the sudden fireworks are unmistakeable. "Oh my Gods."

Temperance opens her mouth to say something to either Cadmus or Marcion, but something out the viewportal catches her eye and her jaw hits the floor. "No!" she cries, rushing over for a better look. "Who's firin'?!"

Margaret blinks as she looks towards King, frowning faintly "What you sayin sarge?" she asks with a raised eyebrow "none of the frakkin pilots would be interested in me?" she asks softly, then looks down over herself and back up to him. About to say more she stops at the explosions and blinks "Frak me crossways…" she breathes out looking to King for orders.

Tillman is glancing around once more and catches the flash out of his eye. The man's brow furrows and he nudges Cidra. "Major Hahn. Looks like you've… ah…" He straightens and moves to face the window as he draws a breath, taking a step to the window. "Oh shit," he deadpans.

Marcion is about to greet Nikias when the Vipers start going boom. "Almost positive that isn't part of demonstration…" he says, then he looks over at Sofia. "Have to get to Cerberus. Have to get to Engines."

"Pleasure to meet you, sirs," Kulko offers Cidra and Oberlin's way, giving her the same little half-bow to which Quinn was entitled. "Honored to get the chance to cut my teeth on a battlestar—" Stephen's eyes shift to the window and stay there for a moment before he looks expectantly to Tillman. "Son of a gun… Boss?"

Marko is just about to reach for another glass of wine when the air show takes a turn for the craptacular. Explosions and tracer fire were almost certainly not on the flight program. Cursing fluidly, he knocks the waiter's tray out of the man's numbed fingers and racing for the nearest growler phone.

Santiago takes a half step back from the viewport, eyes widening with the sudden destruction as a few of the vipers spin apart. One hand goes to her throat, but pauses before touching. Just a gasp slips past her lips.

Evandreus watches the airshow with a casual ease, standing there at the back end of Team Ensign, brows suddenly lowered, mouth just a little open. That wasn't supposed to go that way. "What happened?" is all he asks, assuming, for the moment, someone massively screwing something up.

Malone frowns again as he sees the happenings outside. "What the…" Starting to move a bit in the direction of the window. "This is not good…"

[TAC3] Sitka says, "The FRAK— all points, all points, abort! I repeat, abort the maneuver."

"Anyone else see - " Naevi begins to speak, but when chaos breaks out and explosions flower across the fabric of space she realizes that this isn't part of the demonstration. She turns towards the others with a furrowed brow, asking the same question as everyon else, "What is that … ?"

Hellicon looks to Callista and chuckles. "Oh? And just where else would you end up," he says with a grin. "Myself, I'm thinking of trying to get back to Virgon and," he says as he looks out the window… "What… The Frak? What the frak just happened?"

Daphne is about to have a sip of her second glass of wine, finally. The light show outside makes her actually drop her glass. It hits the ground with a -crack-, becoming a puddle of wine and jagged debris.

Arkat follows Santi to the window, shoving another little gourmet meal into his mouth as his eyes follow the vipers. He's mid-sentence through "That? That's working. I'm lazy in com-" Then some Mark II's explode. Spat gourmet meal hits window.

[TAC3] Laskaris says, "What the hells? Break off, break off!"

Atreus smiles at Cidra, "Thanks, sir." Then, he catches Quinn's quip and clears his throat, "Uh. No, sir. No hugs today. Sorry." Laughter flickers in his eyes and the touch of the wine consumed earlier masks a deepening of the color in his cheeks. Sort of. His gaze shifts to Trask and the smile turns to a grin, "Solid work on that mimic, sir. Well done." Something catches the man's attention and he turns to tilt a glance out the window, "What…? What just happened?" It is an echo of everyone else's comment, but some things cannot be helped.

Marines are taught to think quickly. NCOs are paid to think faster. King starts up quickly "Corporal, grab someone and have them help you round of the civilians. Get them to a raptor and to safety. You ride with them." Then he's moving towards the windows. "SERGEANT DEMOS!" He's calling for her help on this one.

"That can't be right…" Tisiphone echoes Evandreus, ending on a faintly questioning tone. /Can it?/ A glance to her cohorts, to Cadmus nearby — to anyone, really, who might be able to tell her what's going on, and that everything will be all right.

"Did they crash?" Stavrian's eyes blink and narrow. He didn't see anything HIT the Viper, and so the source of the explosion's still baffling. And now people are suddenly shouting. "What the frak is going on?"

Cidra turns at the 'Lo. "Hello, Lieutenant. You look to be enjoying yourself." That slight smile directed at Oberlin. Then a nod to Trask. "Bootstrap. You're behaving, I hope?" She teases. Mostly. She does eye him for a second. Then gaze flits back to the Viper show. Letting out a soft "Ah" at the wing-over-wing acrobatics. Though she does offer a polite nod to Kulko when the introduction is given. "A pleasure, Ensign. I…" And then trails off abruptly. All traces of a smile fading. She drops her glass, it clinking and shattering on the floor, a gasp of horror escaping her. "What in hades… excuse me." She abruptly breaks off from the little group.

… Oh man. Sofia's eyes go wide. "Oh gods- who would-" Sofia blinks. She's dumbfounded. Who's firing at an event like this!? She looks between Nikias and Marcion. "That wasn't planned, was it?" She nods, "Right to the engines unless we're ordered otherwise. Sir- they will probably get you to a safe ship," Nod. She is going to star flailing. "Who would start shooting-" Oh well, no time for that. Commence FLAILING!

"Frak." Succinct. Powerful. Classic. Brown eyes dart to Quinn and then Cidra. All the cheek and glibness is gone. "Scramble for S&R." Yeah, it's not his place to make such calls, but the CAG can reprimand him later. Cigarette butt stomped out, Trask starts to navigate the chaos to get to the hangar.

[TAC3] Raedawn says, "Sir, I read two unidentified DRADIS contacts incom… wait, they're gone. What were… (debris sounds) HOLY FRAK!!!"

Nikias catches the last few seconds of the disaster outside, and the impact of the Viper. "Oh no." he faintly murmurs, eyes locked on the scene outside. As one of the civilians to be rounded up, he stands out amidst the various military personnel he's mingling with. "R-right… safety." he murmurs, snapping out of his observation, turning around to flaging down the nearest Marine who appears to be gathering civilians.

[TAC3] Alessandra says, "Frak…frak! I'm hit! Emergency landing! Command, this is <insert fighter designation here>! I'm coming in for an emergency landing!"

As she was watching the view, Demos reaches over to catch the back of a chair, "I don't know. It looked as though something exploded." Her tone is quiet. Then she flashes a look around the room, seeking someone. "Excuse me, sir. I need to find someone." Turning, she releases the support when her gaze flickers over King to Cadmus. "Back in a bit."

Callista looks between Malone and Hellicon with her eyes wide open, speechless for a few moments before she states obviously, "Something… something isn't right here." Looking around the room frantically to see all of the other people looking stunned, she looks towards the nearest entrance to the ballroom, "I think this party just got crashed, boys maybe we should start planning our exit."

Tillman looks to Kulko and Cid. Momentary stun into inaction. But he has it back, fast. "Kulko, stick on my ass. Looks like we might have to get some search and rescue going." He looks to Quinn. "Think you can drive, Captain?"

"Hope we've got some rescue birds up there." Oberlin says. One thing can be said for him. He doesn't stand around openmouthed for long, making some vague, helpful, if useless suggestion, looking at Tillman and Cidra, who are, to his knowledge, the closest bosses of him before glancing at Quinn and Trask as well. "Sirs? I'm still sober enough to do something useful here, but I'm kind of at a loss."

Cadmus quickly throws his cigarillo into his drink, drops the glass on the table he's standing by, and begins looking around the room. His head's snapping to and fro, eyes searching for orders. Orders, where are they? But he's not a trained fireman, S&R crewman, or anything other than a cop and a guy who shoots things. This is a bit above his pay grade. The only thing he can manage to do is nod vehemently at Demos.

Michael's attention had shifted to the window. The crash had been registered and something didn't seem right. As things begin to process, the Admiral makes his way over towards the podium to make use of the well placed mic that has been situated there. "Attention! All pilots return to Cerberus immediately. CAG, prepare your SAR birds."

Kulle's eyes widen too, but she's sufficiently trained such that she doesn't let anything escape her lips other than a sudden surprised sigh. "This is your show, Michael," she snaps, her people already forcing their way to the exits. Red wine spills everywhere as they push their way out. "I'll do what I can from here. Get to your battlestar."

"Aye, Aye, sarge!" Meg responds to him loudly. Her eyes scan around for the nearest safe exit and then identifying groups of civilians. She heads towards some of the most panicky, straightening up to look large, calm and official, although she is a touch wild around the eyes.

Lasher's Viper is one of the first to heel over, abruptly juking to starboard in his part of the maneuver. That's when he sees an orange flash in his peripheral vision; quickly turning his head to look, he looks on in horror as weapons fire (weapons fire? the frak? a detached corner of his mind notes) claims one of the Mark IIs. As Laskaris yells over the radio, he follows his own orders, pitching the nose of his Viper abruptly down, his RCS thrusters yanking the fighter around in a violent maneuver as he exits the formation that someone is now cutting to ribbons.

Quinn nods immediately to Tillman, though Trask is already having the idea. "I'm on it, Captain." And with that, Maggie begins dashing for the other deck, already unbuttning her grays as she's going so she can rip them off and rip into her flight suit faster than the speed of light. Or so she'll try. She's at Trask's side in a heartbeat.

Naturally, the people in Operations have noticed a hell of a lot more of what's going on than Marko, and are doing everything they can, which includes, apparently, tying up most of the growler lines. Unable to get through to anyone, Marko just drops the handset and races for the hangar, already starting to unbutton his dress tunic.

When King has Demos' attention he starts in on the orders. Similar. "Sergeant, get your guy to help Corporal Tiran round up the civilians and get them out of here. Need a wireless. Did we pack any gear onto the Raptors we came in?" He should know that, yes, but sometimes you just let the lower folks handle things without thinking about it.

Alessandra is the unfortunate of the pilots as some of the debris from the ruined Vipers tears into the tail of hers, making her careen out of control. She comes dangerously close to ramming into the Cerberus, the pilot's skill the only thing that manages to keep her from it being more than a close-frakking call. The landing pod is approched and literally crashed into, Lucky's Viper coming down hard, her fighter rendered unable to fly, the nature of the landing probably necesssitating FC to be called.

Kulko sets the wine glass on the nearest flat surface, wary of the effects of what he's already imbibed, and falls silent. He sticks to Tillman like glue.

Just like a room of people to start panicking. Stavrian grimaces as the sudden surge of shouting, turning back around and calling out, "Let the pilots out of the room! Clear the doorway!"

[TAC3] Sitka says, "Break formation, proceed to backup coordinates, and hold your positions until you're given the order to RTB. Cerberus, this is Red Flight Lead, requesting permission for emergency landing."

Temperance gives up on trying to see more out the window, and whirls around. "Where's th' CAG?" she yells out loudly. "Where's Toast?" She glances to Tisi and Daphne, and the boys standing nexy to them wildly. "We need orders," she gets out, grabbing Daphne's hand and holding it tight. "We have ta go, we have ta find her!"

Evandreus takes the time to turn around and put his drink down, rather than depositing it on the floor, actually getting the strawberries off the garnish before he turns back around, looking to the Ensigns gathered. "Looks like the show just went sour, guys," he points out, "Try not to worry too much, okay? We'll find out what happened when we find out." He seems pretty calm, but, then, he hasn't been given any evidence that this is more than an isolated accident, yet. He looks up to the Admiral, then over to his Captain, going to head on over and follow her back to the landing bay. SAR.

Tillman nods to Quinn and moves off after her and Trask, glancing behind him to make sure the Ensign is still there. "Keep up, Kulko. Don't lose me or Captain Quinn."

"But … " Naevi lets her glass of wine fall to the deck, turning around as she hears the order and immediately booking towards the exit. Get to the Battlestar. Get to the Battlestar. Return to Cerberus. She's damned if she's going to sit around here and boggle. She's trained for this sort of thing. Or so she thinks, anyway. She barrels straight for the doorway, not paying much heed to anyone else.

Cidra is making a straight line for Michael, movements swift, manner clipped. "Right away, sir," she says to the Admiral. Raising her voice. Her accented Gemenese voice can project if it needs to. "Pilots. ECOs. Back to Cerberus. On the double." She keeps it short and sweet, watching to make sure they all follow it, though she seems to expect nothing less. There is tension in her eyes, though she endeavors to keep any outward reaction she's having muted right now.

Kulko follows along at a brisk pace. "Wouldn't dream of it, sir. Let's get a move on."

"I think you're right, Callista," he says as he quickly looks around for the other CIC Officers… Hellicon isn't ready for this, no one is, but this is the job. Quickly, he finds Tillman… "Cap, orders?"

Shiv's viper wobbles a second, almost looks like it too might've been hit, then breaks cleanly out of formation. After a near-miss with another Mark VII that's careening out of control, the lead pilot guides his viper away from the anchorage and on an intercept course with the battlestar itself. If there is something shooting at them, common sense says to drag it away from the civilians.

Demos nods to King, "Right, Sergeant. On it." She pauses to add, "Yes, there is a kit on the raptor. It has wireless and a few other things." Turning, she moves again toward Cadmus. "Come on." Her gaze never stops roaming and when she spots Nikias, she heads his way, "Sir. Please go out those doors and board the raptor that brought you here. Watch your step, sir."

Marcion grunts as he is knocked to the floor by the push to make room for pilots. Pulling himself back up, he glares around, then his eyes settle on Sofia. "If get split up, order men to begin FTL spin-up. Has been cold too long, might need sooner than expected…"

"Action Stations. Shit. Shit shit shit shit shit." Oberlin says, gruffly. "This better be a frakking joke. A joke. I'll laugh later." He sure as Hell ain't laughing now. The Lt. is high-tailing it out towards the nearest airlock to get back to business. Along the way, he catches that red-dress-wearing blonde he was chatting up earlier. "I'll see you later!" He yells out, waving without breaking his stride. She, of course, doesn't take notice.

"'Scuze me! Pardon me! Thank you! Outta the frakkin' way! Raptors with a job to do comin' through!" That would be Trask making people get out of his way.

Quinn keeps peeling herself out of her grays as they hit the locker room. If it wasn't their lives too, she'd just fly in her dress uniform, but if more shit goes wrong, she'd like a snowball's chance in Hades of surviving. So she strips down to her skivvies, dragging up her abandoned flight suit out of her locker, half breathless from the run but without time to care. She calls back to Cidra, "On it, sir! Bootstrap, you're with me." As if she had to say that.

[TAC3] Lasher's voice is strained, and his composure seems to be fraying, but he hasn't lost it just yet, as his training kicks in. "Copy that, Shiv." A pause. "What the frak is shooting at us!?"

Callista keeps close to Hellicon, because the fact of the matter is, she has never experienced anything like this in almost a decade of her career. Not wanting to repeat a question already asked, she tries her best to listen for any kind of explanation.

Spanner's Viper is in the natural formation break when everything goes to hell. He extends the roll the second a full break is ordered and the engines flare in response as the standard roll continues on for long enough to get him away from any impromptu collision damage. For a second, it was almost like unfriendly fire went past his cockpit, but he's free and clear, following Shiv's craft loose and easy.

Daphne looks around, confused more by the chaos inside than the chaos outside, by the looks of things. "Yes… Yes, sir." She glances around to Temp and Tis, "Uh.. you heard her." She steers Tisiphone and Temperance out of the room on the touble. "I thought it was a training accident. Why are we…" She cuts herself off.

Evandreus heads to the lockers, too, and, despite his proclivity to nudity, he just sticks his flightsuit on right on top of his greys. Saving time, even if it's a little stuffier in here than usual.

Straight as an arrow, right up to the point of no return… just waiting for the cue now. And… wait, what's that? DRADIS contacts? This area's supposed to be clear for the demonstration! Raedawn cues her mic. "Sir, I read two unidentified DRADIS contacts incom…"

And just like that, they vanish! "Wait, they're gone. What were…"

That's about when the first explosion catches her eye. The second is only two planes away, just beginning the kickturn. Debris strikes Goddess's fighter, and the pilot squeaks in alarm. "HOLY FRAK!!!" Maneuvering thrusters flare as the fighter kickturns in a blink and angles off for the /Cerberus/.

There's disadvantages to being top heavy. Sofia nudges wine glasses out of the way with her chest. Gah! Flail! "Sorry sorry! Pardon me! Yes sir!" She nearly topples over but mercifully the only casualty is a few glasses knocked over. Somewhere, a bunch of grapes sheds a single tear. She nods at Marcion, "Do my best to follow though," She promises. She oofs getting nailed handily and scootches after Marcion.

Margaret grabs any of the NPC marines around her and starts to do her best to impose some form of order on things, making paths for pilots to get to their ships, and guiding panicky civilians to safety, doing her best to look calm and collected as she does.

Atreus nods to Tillman, then turns to motion to a few of his people. His gaze settles on Hellicon and he makes his way toward the man. "Sir. They're going to need you." He does not stop to talk, however, heading more quickly toward the exit.

[TAC3] Raedawn says, "Oh Lords oh Lords oh Lords oh Lords…"

[TAC3] Sitka says, "Lasher, Spanner, establish a patrol pattern, uh.. shit. Delta. Pattern delta. Lucky, sing out if you're still kicking in there. The rest of you, combat landings, sidearms at the ready."

Marines have a tendency to run pretty fast sometimes. King starts to run as fast as he can towards that raptor and get the kit Demos told him about. Especially the wireless.

Halo breaks formation and his Viper moves to break formation and to move to the fall back coordinates though when Goddess mentions two unknown contacts the pilot speaks on the coms.

Malone hurries out of the room now, frowning a bit as he moves with all the speed he can come up with. Which is quite fast.

[TAC3] Nostos says, "Halo to Shiv, do you want us to persue these unknowns that Goddess has found, please advise."

[TAC3] Laskaris says, "Halo, Lasher. You have your orders, land that frakking bird!"

[TAC3] Raedawn says, "They're… they're not there anymore, Halo. They vanished."

Laskaris turns his fighter over in a snap turn as he moves to find Shiv's ship. Then, his orders change, and he angles off towards the Cerb itself.

Cadmus charges after Demos, shouldering his way through some of the more delicate party-goers as he does so. Party's over - time to wrangle any and everyone he can to get to a safer place.

[TAC3] Laskaris says, "Spanner, Lasher. On me."

Hellicon hears the Chief talk to him and merely sighs… "Shit," is all he can say as he rushes out and makes a beeline to the ship.

And like that, Oberlin wastes no time getting his ass to the ship. When he can.

[TAC3] Fingering the comm button, Spanner's voice crackles. "Lasher, Spanner. With you. We're… uh, not exactly carrying an optimal combat load here."

[TAC3] "And what would we use anyway if we /did/ chase them? Harsh language?!" Beginning to overcome her moment of panic, Raedawn sounds furious. "We're not carrying ammunition!"

Demos pauses at the door and signals Cadmus to take the other side. She looks over the heads of the partiers, "Okay. We need to evacuate the civvies, Cadmus. First. See her?" She points to Meg, "Sergeant King went for the wireless. In the meantime, we need to assign two marines per group of civvies. Got it?"

Arkat can't help but notice he's suddenly very, very close to the window. That's not a good place to be. With a quickly snapped "Take your shoes off. Running may be needed." the Sgt. is outright gone, heading for… Well, Demos, really.

"An accident," murmurs a civilian; "It's got to be an accident," murmurs another; "No frakkin' way some dumb-as-the-rocks-he-shits-on Saggie planted some bomb on those Vipers," declares a third, much louder than the rest. "Frak," says the fourth. "I'm getting another drink. MUSIC!"

But their attempt at partying is soon abruptly ended as first one battlestar cruises into view, and then another, and then another, until at last Cerberus is entirely blanketed in shadow. In the meantime, escorts of all shapes and sizes emerge from the stations on and around the planet, forming up in their assigned groups as they move into position: twenty-seven battlestars in all, cannons bristling, hangar bays extending, launch tubes flaring —

And then the dimmed lights in the room turn on as the general alarm blares. "Set condition one throughout the ship!" comes the voice of Admiral Kulle, unruffled and defiant. "Multiple unidentified contacts have just jumped into Picon space and their weapons are hot, say again, their weapons are hot. All Cerberus and civilian personnel, return to your ship now."

"Roger, Sarge," Cadmus says simply, eyes snapping around the room as he attempts to identify any and all present functionaries, hanger-ons, and nonessential persons. And then he starts shouting: "You, stop gawking, start running! Move, people, this is not a secure location!" Shove, shove, shout. Shove, shove, shout.

A combination of calm presence, pretty uniform and unspoken menace seems to help Meg keep the civilians under some form of control. Then the order comes to return to ship and makes her way quickly to the hanger deck and her cart back to Cerberus.

"My Engines," Marcion growls. "Must get to engines." He watches as Pilots scramble and glares at Marines keeping order. "Why the frak am I at a party!?"

Nikias takes a look at his half-empty glass of wine, and thinks better of downing it. He puts it down on a nearby table, and tries to make his way closer to the door, though the mass of confused and frightened people makes that difficult. "We're… under attack." he murmurs in realization. "Oh frak me, not now, not here, not… not this job. Not with… FRAK!" he murmurs at first, but the last curse coming out with a lot more passion.

And thus the pilots go flurrying out. Stavrian keeps the hell out of the way of the rush, following his own advice not to get underfoot when the whole air wing is running out the door back to the ship. "Son of a bitch," he mutters sharply at the call of the Admiral. He backs up, pulling on the arm of some jewellery-bedecked QUODEL member and steering them forward.

Michael doesn't bat an eye as the general alarm sounds, this is something that they've trained for. There's a look in the direction of Admiral Kulle, to whom he gives a singular nod before he's looking back out over the room, "You heard the Admiral. All Civilians and Cerberus personal are to report to action stations. Marines and MP's, take station in the boarding tubes and ensure that all military personal get to their stations before escorting the civilians to their designated areas." With that said, the Admiral begins to set off towards one of the boarding tubes, no doubt to make his way to CIC.

Santiago has two options. Panic or be calm. Both of them start with wine. Santi makes her way through the crowd, grabs a bottle from a waiter re-filling glasses, and sweeps her sheer wrap off of the back of the chair where she left it earlier. "Gods save us. I will make it through this without chipping a nail." Everybody has to have a mission.

"You heard the woman, we're getting to Cerberus. Now." King announces as he makes a triumphant return with the wireless in hand. Now he feels powerful. "Doc!" He shouts to Stavrian, "You get to the Raptor and tend with anyone who got trampled in the panic." Now he's moving towards Admiral Kulle, "Sir, Staff Sergeant King." He announces himself, "We have to get you to the Raptor, I'll get you there myself."

Admist the chaos, Sofia attempts to keep near her fellow engineer. Sofia's eyes are wide as saucers. "Well, this was a Christening to celebrate the ship and its um, engines," Sofia replies quietly. "We'll get there sir," Sofia will help nudge any civvies in passing towards marines, but for her part - Marcion is her concern. Sort of like her wiser, nerdier older brother. "Let's do our best to part the crowd." One goes to war with the tools one HAS, not with the tools one /wants/. Sofia seems to be remarkably efficient at parting crowds (Sumo chest slam!) for Marcion and herself. Efficient rather. Duck an elbow here, weave there. "Almost- out." TO ENGINEERING! Hooooooooooo!

Demos nods to Cadmus, but tries to stop Meg, "Woah, there." She gestures to a cluster of civilians near the buffet table. "Escort duty, Marine. Take those folk with you, please. All of them." With that said, she turns to listen to the Admiral, "Sir." Then, she snags another Marine, "Those. Take that group with you. Move." She is not blocking the door, but is poised to catch any marine she can and send them back for civvies. "You! Escort duty. Take that group of civvies by the podium. Move." She glares at King, but accepts the wireless, "There frakin' better not be panic allowed, Sarge." Her tone is quiet, but insistant.

Callista is doing her best to help calmly get people out of the ballroom while making her own way to the Raptors. For the most part, her intoxication fades and she seems to have her hands full trying to wrap her head around what has happened.

"I got it," Stavrian shouts back to King. His voice is already hoarse as he has to push the volume of the yelling up five more notches to account. Nearby, two people trip over panicking feet and go sprawling, glass crashing to the floor and half the table collapsing. He grabs for a fallen arm, hefting one back up to their feet and shoving them forward. "Come on, let's go."

Through the window can be seen the distinctive flash of FTL drives snapping into Picon space, as bright as they are distant — far too many to count. And from those tiny silver stars come flooding waves of missiles and flak, into the thick of which are flying thousands of Vipers and Raptors, locked in mortal struggle against those same silver blurs that had so rudely interrupted the ceremony proper. Behind them begin roaring the guns of the Colonial Fleet, their crews scrambling to find the range. It's as the old ballad goes:

Honour the brave and bold!
Long shall the tale be told,
Yea, when our babes are old —
How they rode onward.

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