PHD #121: The Blood of Us All
The Blood of Us All
Summary: Constin, Cadmus and Tisiphone interrogate a prisoner, but resolve very little.
Date: 27 Jun 2041 AE
Related Logs: Baiting the Trap
Constin Cadmus Tisiphone Borenstein 
Interrogation Room: Security Hub - Battlestar Cerberus
This area is devoid of anything but a table, two chairs and a camera up in the corner. The table is bolted to the floor and there are also hooks in the floor to lock chains to the deck, if the person has been placed in custody and is considered dangerous to the crew.
Post-Holocaust Day: #121

Borenstein's interrogation has been long delayed- first by his neck wound, then by mutiny, and lastly by the resolution of the Leonis campaign. Throughout the intervening time, the prisoner has been kept on a strict suicide watch.

Constin keeps his feet in the room, reading off the clipboard in front of him the already remembered name. "Pee-Oh-Two John 'Forty-Five' Borenstein." Glancing up, the sergeant drawls, "Look like you've lost some weight since ah saw you last, boy." A derisive sniff follows the words. (re: for Tis)

Cadmus as forsworn his sidearm, cuffs, club, knife, backup gun, and other knife. Not only is it regulation, it's good frakking sense when in the presence of a man who didn't seem to care if he died, as long as he died on his own terms. Arms folded, Cadmus watches Constin begin the interrogation, content - for now - to lean against the bulkhead and watch.

The MP is met by stony silence from the dignified deckhand, who sits in that chair with eyes forward and back straight. There's no hint of the emotion he showed when his impromptu escape was foiled by the fellows in front of him — just a quick and dull "Uh-huh" when he's read his name and rank. Yet there's still magnificent strength in those rippling muscles, which he's kept in tip-top shape with his usual regimen of push-ups and squats, though try as he might he can't hide the haggardness in his eyes. "That's me. Forty-Five."

"Yeah, that's you. So how's about you start off by telling us exactly what it is you were trying to do. you might be a worthless piece of trash, but you ain't stupid. Why'd you do this like you did?" Constin wonders aloud, arms crossed as he eyes the prisoner.

Searching Borenstein's face of a trace of anything *but* his usual stony silence, Cadmus lifts a hand to his chin; he runs his index finger back and forth along the hollow beneath his lip - an almost stereotypically 'police' gesture. Still silent, however, his only contribution is a very slight "Hmmm."

"Same thing as you," says Borenstein, his deep voice resonating in the smallness of the room. Level brown eyes stare past Cadmus and Constin at the hatch beyond, though he still makes no move to bolt. Even the manacles don't jingle, so still is he keeping. "Saving lives."

"Right, so killing off pilots was doing us all a favor, that it?" Constin snorts back. "You think you were doing those girls a favor, offering one more frak before you sold them upriver?" His face twists in disgust. "Why'd you go for that last bit of ordnance? You *knew* it would get seen, didn't you?"

Cadmus is now smiling. It is not a pleasant smile, but neither is it threatening: it is a knowing smile, a slight upturning of lips which says, 'Oh, yes, please, tell me more.' He nods a few times at Borenstein, glancing between him and the buck Sergeant.

"One life," says Borenstein, still not responding to the verbal tirade, though his fingers begin rubbing against themselves behind his back as he speaks. "What's one life for so many?" His voice is as reasonable as it can be, informed by quiet and unflinching conviction. "So the Captain dies — but the ship can't launch, and if we can't launch, we can't fight, and if we can't fight, what can we do?" Steel taps lighty against steel as he shifts in his chair, brown eyes smiling with the rest of him. "We can only run. One life for salvation."

"Ah'm glad you feel that way, Johnny," Constin returns, hunching lower to bring his narrow stare closer to Borenstein's, placing himself squarely in the staring prisoner's line of sight. "The Jay-Ay-Gee's office has been REAL helpful about letting us take as long as we need in this investigation.. You see- this kinda sabotage? Gets people scared. Scared people let us do what we want when it comes to shitwads like you, Johnny. See, ah'm not gonna kill you. Not gonna let you get hung with the rope we've already got.. Until you tell us everything we want to know? Heh.. You're gonna stay alive, boy. gonna run one tube up your nose and down your throat into the guts so you get fed. run another tub up your ass so you don't burst from being so full of shit. Hell, we'll even bind you down to the bed so you just.. waste away. Won't be much of a life, but boy? You will be awake and aware through the whole frakking thing. You won't GET to die. So you tell me, Borenstein: how long do you want to suffer?"

Finally, at long last, Cadmus pitches himself away from the wall. He runs one hand over his hair and takes a step or two forward, eyes remaining focused on Borenstein. "The easy answers, the ones we want to hear… Those are the ones I'm sure you'll give us," Cadmus says quietly, "It's *easy* to tell me what you think I want to hear. It's probably even easier to tell the Sergeant what you think he wants to hear. But you're going to have to work very hard convince me that you're being forthcoming with what I *need* to know, not what I want to know. Then we'll be making real progress."

Borenstein remains impassive, leaning back in the chair in the face of the combined assault. "I put the bomb in the Captain's Viper," he says altogether too pleasantly — as if this were afternoon tea and cucumber sandwiches were about to be served. "I put the bomb in the Captain's Viper because it was the only way I saw to get the Fleet to do the sensible thing and turn this ship around. And if I hadn't set the G-4 to go off on a timer, we might already be on our way out of the Cyrannus System — and those poor fools we sent down to die might still be alive. So for that failure, I apologize."

"Leaving aside your frakked up notions of what's 'sensible'," Constin scoffs, "That's bullshit. If all you wanted to do was cripple the boat's ability to fight, there was other ways that didn't involve murder. You're feeding us a LINE, Borenstein. Trying to slip that shit into the security feeds like you did? That wasn't about the boat's ability to fight or flee. This has shit to do with ending the fight- this is *espionage*. Espionage involves INSTRUCTIONS. So were you following, or defying instructions when you made that hostage play on the deck?"

Stepping to one side, Cadmus shakes his head; one thumb gets jerked at Constin. "El's right, John. You don't get to plant a clever bomb in a clever way - and then do it again, and again - and then say shit like that. You planted a bomb on Sitka's Viper so that we'd be crippled *in* a scramble, not before. You could have accessed the launch tubes, the catapult systems, any number of other ways to wreck our fighting prior. But you didn't. You wanted us dead in the water *when* the shooting started," he says. After a moment, he points toward the door and addresses Constin: "Sergeant, I'd like to bring in Apostolos now, if you think it's acceptable. I think she's got more ability to punch holes in this bullshit than either of us."

"It's hard to get into the tubes when you're not a certified engineer," Borenstein notes, still with that maddening calm. "The cats, too, those are rough. The Viper was just the easiest way. As for the other stuff? Really don't know anything about security feeds, truly. I do planes, not computers. Learning how to wire up that G-4? That was already enough of a bitch, pardon my language." The massive man shifts again in his chair, his chained ankles rattling as he draws them beneath the seat. "You do a good job of keeping me in the dark, really, you do. The Viper job, that was me — but I can't take the blame for any of this other business."

"Then who else has your access codes, boy? Who else can requisition gear in your name? Who TOLD you the cameras wouldn't pick you up?" Constin demands. The Sergeant looks aside to Cadmus with his next words, "Might need to let him wither another couple weeks. But you think Apostolos has more taste for shit than me, go ahead and bring her in, Corporal."

Cadmus moves to the hatch, unbolts it and reaches through to gesture the waiting pilot in - the whole time looking over his shoulder at Borenstein. "A word of warning, John. I don't care too much about what happens to you, or even much for your reasons. But I'm gonna get the whole story from you. It's just a question of how long it'll take."

Pilots /are/ a perverse breed, or so they say. The hole-puncher with the apparent love of bullshit stories is a slim, pale-eyed woman with stubby white-blonde hair. Young; she couldn't have had her wings for long before all of Hades broke loose. In her fatigues, hands slouched down deep into her pockets, she ducks in through the door when it's opened for her, fixing Borenstein with an odd, intent look.

"Come now, Corporal. I'm a big guy. I know when the cards aren't on my side." Borenstein actually smiles, his countenance altogether placid. "If there's some conspiracy out there, I know about as much as you do. Less, even. Between my push-ups and squats, I don't have much time for a daily security briefing." Ever the reasonable man. "You've got me good for the Viper, I don't deny it. But this other guy out there, or guys, or whatever? Looks like they're better than I am, and I really can't say I'm too torn up about it, all things considered. Maybe they'll make something work and knock some sense into the Admiral. I sure — " Borenstein pauses as he catches sight of the pilot who just now enters the room. "I sure couldn't," he finishes, smoothly as he can.

"You lying piece of shit," Constin drawls with a snort at Borenstein's words. "You can kiss your push ups and squats goodbye, boy- this little thing's gonna weigh more than you in a few weeks," he voices with a toss of his head toward Tisiphone as the pilot enters.

Cadmus gestures to Borenstein while he speaks to Tisiphone: "Here's your man. He's already giving us a line of bullshit about his motives in bombing Sitka's bird. Maybe he expects we're too stupid to spot the logical holes in his story - about it being 'too hard' to do it any other way - or maybe just too stupid to notice his dodges on certain questions. But he's your man, all right."

"Hey," Tisiphone offers, simply, as she nears the table. She doesn't sit — it's harder to fidget that way, after all — and just pauses at the edge of the table, hands still dug into her pockets. Restless for something that's not there, at the moment, all her fripperies left in the other room as required. "En- Junior Lieutenant Apostolos," she introduces herself. The odd stare is still there, glimmery and brittle. "Why'd you bother with the timer? Why didn't you just wire it up to the engines? A lot of complication for nothing, you know?"

"I was thinking about that, you know." Borenstein sets his elbows on the edge of the table, letting the sharp metal dig into the soft skin protecting his bone. "That's hard, though. Engines are usually the first thing we check, and besides, it would have taken some really smart wiring to link one to the other. At least, that's as far as I know. This really was my first time with explosives. I'm surprised it went off as well as it did." A faint shrug as he looks at the pilot more closely. "How old are you, anyway? Twenty-three, twenty-four, is it?" Rhetorical question, that. "Shame."

"We got your prints on everything sensetive, Borenstein," Constin states with dripping disdain. "On the fiber optics, on the missile housing, on the cannisters.. So save this flimsy denial shit. Did you even KNOW you were dancing to the toasters' tune, or is that a 'surprise', too?"

Cadmus settles the palms of his hands on the table between the interrogators and Borenstein. Looking at his compatriots and taking in the moment with a slow breath, he looks back at the deckhand once again. And then he starts laughing. Shaking his head as he lets out the low, rolling chuckle, he says, "You are grade-A. Really grade A. You run a pro job of a bomb, planned ahead by weeks - you engineer it so inspections will bypass your bomb - you want it to blow when the viper's launched in a combat situation… And now you want me to accept that it was too much of a pain in the ass to wire a simple induction trigger from an actuator? You gotta think I'm a walking sap, Fourty-Five."

Tisiphone doesn't have any calculated menace or interrogational confidence to draw on — and doesn't look at /all/ like she's familiar with being in this sort of situation. Just a pilot, Sirs. Honest. "Twenty-four," she agrees, eyes moving over to Constin and Cadmus as they keep stacking the information up higher and heavier. "Did you know me?" she asks, oddly. "You looked at me funny." 'Funny'. So technical. "Salt tell you about me?"

The man looks blank. "You just remind me of another girl I know," he says, pursing his lips — and for half of a flash of a second, a wistful expression crosses his face. "But backing up to clear up another misconception: you said I wanted it to detonate in a combat situation, but that would merely defeat the purpose." Borenstein's tone is like a lecturer talking to a tremendously dull student. "If I wanted to blow up a Viper, I'd just futz with some wiring here, some wiring there, and the next time the pilot hits the maneuvering thrusters, that hypergolic reaction justgets out of control. No, the goal was always to shut down the tubes for a couple of months — but as I already explained, it's hard to get to the tubes if you don't have the expertise, or, for that matter, the clearance. This was the best way, even if it was imperfectly executed. As I'm saying, if you know enough about induction triggers — " His broad face widens into a bigger smile. "That's more than me. I'm a Viper expert, not a demolitions specialist. Maybe we should have gone into business together before the fact, but — " The big man shrugs. "Water under the proverbial bridge. And if you really want to know whether I've got a little chip in my head feeding me Cylon instructions, all you need to do is run me through a metal detector, though I think I'm a pretty piss-poor saboteur, all things considered." Good that he's still got a sense of humor.

Drawing back, Cadmus chuckles again; gesturing at Borenstein, he does no so much look *at* the deck hand as through him, as if Borenstein's physical presence was only incidental to his own train of thought. "Right, piss poor. Nah, that's not it, John. I just find it highly dubious that you'd have waited so frakkin' long after the Cylons boarded us to rig up that charge, unless you had a real good reason," he says. He steps back a pace, nodding a few times to himself. Eventually he snaps his fingers at Borenstein, bites his lower lip, and grins. "Hey now," he says, voice suddenly hushed, "Unless it had something to do with needing to have Snag in a particular place and time, or out of the way…"

"No point in getting her out of the way, if you get her out of the way with a poisoned breathing mix, though," Tisiphone says with a snort, looking back at Cadmus in (more-than-)mild puzzlement. Interrogation techniques, wot? Her arms come out of her disturbingly empty pockets and fold tight across her chest. She's been out on CAP a number of times since returning from Leonis. Worrying about her air supply was the last thing she planned to come home to.

"Out of the — way?" Borenstein pauses before he finishes that statement, his sonorous voice hesitating. "No." Vehemence — the first hint of fire, threading its way through his otherwise-calm expression as his wrists whiten under pressure from his restraints. "No, I picked the Mark Two — " Viper Mark II, for the uninitiated. "I picked it because there was no way she'd ever be allowed near one, not when she was barely qualified on the Seven. Nothing against the Captain, either: he's always treated me right, and the explosion — the explosion would have been a clean one. He wouldn't have felt a — " Only now does he look over at Tisiphone, ponderous brow furrowing at her words. "What?"

"See, Fourty-Five, I *know* you're telling some of the truth. I *know* you have fingerprints all over shit you deny ever touching, and I *know* you accessed the shit out of some lockers you say you didn't. But I also know you're not the only problem on my frakkin' beat, because your ass has been in this hole for a dog's age. So you couldn't have been the saboteur that fed Snag her own exhaust," Cadmus says, jabbing a finger at Borenstein with every accusation. He doesn't even seem to notice, however calculated it is, that mention of Villon's death has gotten Borenstein's attention. He pauses a moment, cracks one finger, and adds, "I just don't know what you wanted with Snag, because I figure you have an angle for everything you do."

"Uh," is all Tisiphone replies to Borenstein's question. She looks between him and Cadmus — not evasively so much as 'oops, I think I done messed up' — and folds her arms in a little tighter, shoulders hunched. Uncertain whether to speak again or not, she errs on the side of incaution, as she is wont to do. "He's got it- my timeline's wrong. I figured you must be in here for fra- messing with her breathing mix, too."

Borenstein tenses — and then, hands slowly forming into fists, he drops both to the table, sudden tightness flooding his posture. "Gods," he murmurs, voice trembling. "What a waste. What a gods — damned — waste." He doesn't look up. "Breathing mix. Yeah. Yeah, that's how — " And suddenly he's so very close to breaking those bonds, as steel links creak from the pressure he's exerting. "Every time she'd go out there, it'd be the same story." His voice has lost its usual rich timber, transformed into a bare whisper. "A prayer to Poseidon, a prayer for home, and then the fifth can from the left. It never changed." Slowly, ponderously, the massive man shakes his head. "She said it'd keep her safe."

Cadmus screws his face up, and he barks out a harsh laugh. His lips curl away from his teeth, his breath hisses, and his furrowed brow mates with to bared teeth to form a mask of utter contempt. "Harsh, isn't it?" he spits. "It's hard when someone blameless dies because somebody else figures they don't matter. Sometimes they catch bullet in the mouth. Sometimes they go down in a fireball, and you have to shoot a copy of them on Leonis. Sometimes they leave your bunkmate gasping vacuum, because you were lucky enough to be working late." He balls his hands up, white-knuckled fists places on the edge of the metal table with a heavy clang. Through bared teeth, Cadmus leans over toward Borenstein, and in a soft tone, hisses, "When one of us dies, we all bleed. You're the same as the scum what killed Villon, you son of a bitch. The blood on your hands is the blood of us all."

No words at all from the shiny new Junior Lieutenant over yonder — she errs on the side of caution, this time, and keeps her mouth shut. Tisiphone takes a too-casual-to-be-casual step off to the side, clearing the line between Cadmus and Borenstein, sleety eyes flickering from one of them to the other.

For a long time, Borenstein is silent, his fingers twitching, his shoulders hunched — taking everything Cadmus has to give (and more!) with hardly a hint at protest. And then, with a roar of fury, the massive man springs to life, chair flying backwards as table flies forward, nearly tripping forward on his manacles — but not before he takes a swing at the smug MP before him, spittle flying from a face contorted in blind rage, arms extended to loop around the man's neck —

<FS3> Opposed Roll — Borenstein:7-20 vs Cadmus:Melee
< Borenstein: Success Cadmus: Success
< Net Result: DRAW

To say that Borenstein's attack was expected would be doing a disservice: it was not only expected, but deliberately provoked. As Borenstein's arms reach out to encircle Cadmus's neck, the MP is already moving his own arms. His left arm drifts high, so that the elbow can dig into Borenstein's forearm; as he pivots to the left, he delivers an open-hand shove to the deck crewman's ear, sending him off-balance, and hopefully toppling over in a heap. "Come on, then!" he roars, "You think you're so frakking helpful, and you're killing us all!"

The table goes flying as Borenstein surges over and past it, and Tisiphone scrambles out and back, perpendicular to the direction of the tumbling furniture. Distancing angles — she has them in spades. She doesn't go for the door, instead edging to the side. Not confident she can do /much/ in this situation, but staying in Cadmus's line of sight while /out/ of Borenstein's is a good plan nonetheless.

Not that he's trying to mess with Tisiphone, anyway. Down goes the big man in a remarkably-coordinated explosion of limbs, his tremendous fists slamming into the deck — instead of into their intended target (that target being Cadmus' face). But while Borenstein falls, his chained legs lash out like a serpent's tail, slamming into the smaller man's thighs to send him into the ground. Gentle no longer are those intense brown eyes, lit with a simmering fury that now at last has boiled over — as his elbows move to crush the other man's chest.

<FS3> Opposed Roll — Borenstein:7-20 vs Cadmus:Melee
< Borenstein: Success Cadmus: Good Success
< Net Result: Cadmus wins.

As he falls, Cadmus is already turning so that he will not be helpless upon impact with the deck; sure, it's unpleasant to slam your knee into plating, but that's minor compared to being killed by an angry deckhand. And likewise, there are many unspoken rules to fights between soldiers - or even fights between men. Things one must not do, things that are unfair, or unsportsmanlike, or generally frowned upon. Cadmus seems happy - perhaps even *eager* to break some of these rules. The first is an elbow to Borenstein's ear as the larger man attempts to crush him. The second is grabbing him by the trachea. The third is sliding around behind him to choke him into a more submissive state by said trachea. Rude. Very rude.

And just like that, the massive man relaxes, gasping for what breath he can muster from beneath Cadmus' impossibly-strong forearm — recognizing, perhaps, that further struggle might not end terribly well for him, especially now that a pair of MPs have rushed into the cell just in case more backup is necessary. Wheezing, coughing, and bleeding from a cut on his lip, Borenstein's eyes roll up toward the blinding light installed in the ceiling of his cell — until they land on Tisiphone, who up until now has stayed safely out of the way of his attention. "Find the bitch," he rasps, saliva mixing with thick, salty blood. "Find the bitch who did it and I'll break her myself. Because if you don't — if you're still stupid enough to think all of this was me — " A wad of foamy white-red spit flies forth from his lips, glistening in the air before splattering on the ground. "The Three Judges have mercy on your eternal soul."

"Honestly?" Cadmus says, before pushing Borenstein forward so that he falls away toward the deck, "I hope to the gods it wasn't all you." Standing once again, he sniffs, wipes his nose with the back of a wrist, and spits into the corner of the room. "I hope it wasn't. I got a lotta hurt to deal out, and you're just not big enough to contain it all. Nobody is," he says, moving toward Tisiphone. "But I'm gods-damned well gonna try, unless you think long and hard about telling me everything I wanna know about the humans who're working with the cylons, other people that might be saboteurs, crazy dreams you've been having, or anything else I might happen to think of."

"I-" Tisiphone begins, head canted to look at Borenstein while the MPs render the loving treatment known as Making Secure. "-figured we met a bunch of your brothers and sisters down on Leonis. Heard a bunch of their squabbling. You the traitor they were talking about, up here? That why they killed your girl?" A glance over to Cadmus, as he steps near. Uncertain.

"I have no frakking clue what you're babbling about," snarls Borenstein as the MPs drag him to his feet — none too gently, too, though he doesn't seem to feel it. The fact that he's in for more of this kind treatment doesn't seem to register either. "My sister got shot seven years ago — you could have read that in my file. So get out and stop wasting your godsdamned time with your crackpot theories, because the more you beat on me, the more the guy you want is laughing all the way to the motherfrakking bank."

"You think your ass is the only one on this Battlestar that's got a rendezvous with my boot, you are sadly mistaken, my friend. Whoever got Snag is gonna get theirs, but they're gonna get it because I owe it to them, not because of you," Cadmus says. He's already moving to the hatch. He glances back toward Constin and Tisiphone, turns halfway, and addresses them separately: "Listen, you wanna talk to him about the skinjobs, be my guest. You have my permission to question the subject, but I don't know if I wanna hang around here for any more of this shit."

"No," says Tisiphone, promptly, pulling that odd stare of hers away from Borenstein, lifting it to Cadmus, instead. It's quite a conflicted look — strangely disappointed, most of all. "No, I'm done. He's not talking. I'm no interrogator." Hands slouched back down deep into her pockets, she hurries after the MP, not giving Borenstein another glance.

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