PHD #373: The Hot Redhead
The Hot Redhead
Summary: Kincaid has fun with this interrogation.
Date: 06 Mar 2042 AE
Related Logs: All "Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics" logs.
Kincaid NPC Polaris 
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: #373

It took a while before Kincaid could get, at the same time, 1) a security team from Elpis to bring in his woman and 2) a Raptor to transport her over to Cerberus. While the Marines were told to be 'fair but firm,' — 'ma'am, you'll have to come with us' — it can't be a fun experience for any civilian to be dragged out of her quarters and over to a military ship for no apparent reason. Kincaid lets her stew in the interrogation room by herself for a few minutes before he enters, her files — her medical file in particular — in his hands. "So," he says. "I bet you're wondering why I had you brought over here. Especially with all the attacks that are going on."

"No kidding." The redhead doesn't look particularly pleased to be here, as she was rousted from her bed just a bit more firmly than fairly by a pair of enthusiastic MPs (in whose minds the memory of Van Sholty's implosion has not yet been dispelled). "Didn't we talk already? I told you everything I know."

"That's the problem." Kincaid slides into the seat across from her, placing his folders — with their octagonal pieces of paper in them — on the table with a satisfying THWAP. "I don't think you did. See, when I talked to you, you didn't mention that you were the one who pointed out Doctor Dekker to the men who attacked him."

Some people are good at deception. This girl is not one of them. Her eyes suddenly freeze on the pile of documents on the desk; her hands — which had been toying with the sleeves of her sweater — suddenly fall still. "I — " she begins, letting the lie form in her head. And then: "I have no idea what you're talking about. Can I go now?"

"Look. Let me tell you something." Kincaid leans forward, as if confiding in her, sharing a secret. "My boss? Gunnery Sargent Constin? The Master-at-Arms? He wants to just toss you in the brig as an accessory to aggravated assault. His boss? Major Willows-Cavanaugh? She doesn't really care what we do. But me?" He pauses. "I get it. I understand. You didn't want to raise a child alone, in this hellhole, on the Starboard Hangar Deck. Not after what happened to your family back on Aerilon. No one else understood; but I do. So let me help you." Friend-to-friend here.

"Then I think somewhere in your investigation, your wires got crossed. I don't have a child." The woman — barely old enough for that word to apply, really — spits out the word with something like disgust. "Can I go now?"

"I know you don't. At least not anymore." Kincaid pauses, leaning back. "Look. Let me tell you a story. Just let me talk for a moment." He flips open the folder, looking down at an octagonal medical chart. "You were two-months pregnant when you got picked up. You were scared. You didn't want to have a baby. You went to the sickbay, asking about an abortion. I have the record right in front of me." He glances up, as if to see if he's ringing any bells. "The triage nurse is a real religious woman. She turns you away. But you're still scared. You need help. You need someone who can get you what you need, even if it's not strictly on the up-and-up. You need Piers Rene-Marie."

Whatever the telltale signs of bell-ringing Kincaid learned in journalism school, she's displaying at least fifty percent of them. Licking her strangely dry lips, the woman glances down at the table despite herself, eyes looking at an interesting coffee stain on cold grey steel. But maintain her artificially combative facade she does, despite it all. "Why do nurses always have to be girls?" she asks. "Pop was a nurse. He was proud of it."

Kincaid presses on despite the attempt to deflect him. "He got you what you needed. Look. I'm not here to judge you. But you owed him a favor. I mean, it's not like he can get paid in cubits anymore. So he came up to you; he called in his favor. It was pretty easy. All you had to do was — at a certain time — just point out his Dekker guy, shout some stuff about how he researches A.I. You don't even have to get your hands dirty."

"You've got quite an imagination, mister," says the redhead, whose long and curly hair has settled over her eyes to shield them from Kincaid's gaze just so. "I don't suppose you've got any proof?" The last word sounds almost — rehearsed. And the same goes for the next line: "If you don't have proof, don't you have to release me? Unless martial law means we don't get rights."

Kincaid flips his folder closed with a satisfying THWAP sound. "It's all right. I've got proof that you're the one that incited the attack on Dekker. That's good enough to hold you on charges as an accessory. And I've got proof that you had a baby but you don't have one anymore, but with no record of a miscarriage. That ought to endear you to a jury. 'End of humanity, but Mom's a coward.' Do you think he's going to bail you out? He only cares about himself." He pushes his chair back. "Just don't say I didn't try to talk to you, okay?"

Wide-eyed and pale, the woman looks a lot like she expected her protest to be received in about the exact opposite manner in which it was received. "You can't do that," she says shrilly, trying to push herself to her feet — until she realizes that she's still handcuffed to the table. "You won't. I didn't do anything! I just asked him a simple little question about what he did for a living. Since when is that a crime? A waitress can't make small talk with her customers?"

Having the hook into her, Kincaid pauses. He doesn't sit back down on his chair. Instead, he perches himself on the interrogation room table, looking down at her, almost with a sort of pity. "Of course she can. But you kept looking at him, as if making sure that this was the guy you were supposed to point out." A beat. "Tell me about your Pop. He sounds like a pretty good guy." Non sequitur. Keep her on her toes.

"Wh — what?" She'd be rocking back on her heels right now if she weren't forced to sit down. "He — he worked as a nurse in some hospital for veterans. Marines, mostly."

"Yeah?" Kincaid nods once. "Me? I worked as a reporter before I enlisted. I worked for a fancy paper; the Libran Post. I've got a college degree and everything. I could have become a Naval officer or something, maybe in Intelligence. But I wanted to be a Marine because I figured they're the ones who actually did the work, who dug around and solved crimes and took bullets for folks." A beat. "I would've been real proud to have your Pop take care of me."

"You didn't even know him." Despite herself, the woman allows a faint smile to slip through the cracks in her facade. "He was always kind of mean to his patients. Always joking and laughing and cracking wise about how he wouldn't have been so stupid as to step on that bomb or jump on that grenade or whatever Marines do." It's a lot easier for her to talk about this stuff than the other stuff, and talk she does. "Mum said it was because he hated being a 'rear-echelon motherfrakker.'"

Kincaid nods once at that. "It's about what the Marines are all about. Being all tough on the people you actually care about. Just ask any Drill Instructor." He glances down at the folder on the table, then back at the redhead across from him. "What'd your Mum do?"

"Other than Pop?" The little joke is delivered with a wan, nervous smile. Evidently there's a personality hiding behind the curly red hair and manufactured hostility. "She was a sub. A substitute teacher, I mean. The hours were good because they let her do it part-time."

Kincaid lets out a soft, sympathetic chuckle at that. "And did you have a boyfriend? Bet you did. A hot redhead like you must have gotten all sorts of attention from the boys, thought I doubt your Pop would like it."

"He didn't. Every time I brought a boy home he'd make a point of mentioning how much he loved hunting with his six rifles." At that, the woman flushes a deep, pleasing red as her smile vanishes. Realizing, perhaps, that she's still chained to a table in an interrogation room aboard a military vessel. "You think that line's going to get me to give you what you want?"

"Point." Kincaid fishes a keyring out of his pocket and reaches down with it so that he can unlock her manacles, releasing her from the bonds of — whatever it is there. "So you're not going to try to kick my ass, right? I'm a reporter, not much of a bruiser like the guys who brought you over here."

"What would you do if I tried?" she wonders, turning her wrists round and round to see where steel's chafed skin. Green eyes — because they have to be green — glance toward the (very) locked hatch. Scoping out possible escape routes.

"Really?" The Marine looks over at the hatch. And then back at the girl. And then at the hatch. "Even assuming that isn't locked, I mean, that's the Security Hub out there. You saw it on the way in, right? It's full of Marines. Marines that did a better job in close-quarters-combat in Basic than I did." Kincaid sounds wry.

You'll have to give her a moment, Kincaid, for the true futility of her situation to make itself evident. Her desperate gaze flicks up at the camera, skitters across the port bulkhead, and ends up somewhere above the MP's head. And then — softly: "What do you want?"

Kincaid gets off the table and slides into the chair across from her. Now they're talking. "I need two things. First, I need to know if the story I told you is right. I think it is. But I want to hear it from you. Second," he takes out a pad from his pocket and a pen, pushing it across to her. "I need a name. The person in Sickbay that took care of things for you. Give me that and you go home. You can tell him that you didn't tell me a thing; that I had to let you go because I didn't have any proof. I won't contradict you."

The woman scoots backwards in her chair as the man comes closer, looking at the pen as if at any moment it might grow fangs and bite her in the face. "How — do I know you won't just — 'toss me in the brig as an accessory to' — whatever?" she asks, her thin soprano softer than it's been in a while.

A pause. "I guess you don't. But you didn't kick the crap out of anyone. You seem like a good kid. And you've got my word. So I hope that counts for something." Kincaid glances down at the pen and paper. "It's up to you if you want to take that leap."

Kincaid's pause is met with a much longer one on the part of Hot Redhead. She chews the bottom of her lip as she looks at her ragged fingernails. She flicks back a bit of stringy hair — she'd been so tired when she went to bed that she didn't bother with a shower, after all. She looks at the MP's face before tearing her gaze away.

Then, with a helpless shrug, she brings her chair forward with an audible screech, picks up the pen, and starts to write.

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