PHD #363: The Need for Time
The Need for Time
Summary: Cidra and Trask discuss matters of time, whether it is the making of, the giving of, or the productive use of. Plans are made.
Date: 24 Feb 2042 AE
Related Logs: Swarm logs and Blow Ups
Cidra Trask 
CAG's Office - Deck 10 - Battlestar Cerberus
Post-Holocaust Day: #363
Though it's not much bigger than the average ship supply closet, the office of the commander of Cerberus' air group has as much luxury as one can hope for aboard a battlestar: privacy. It is dominated by a blocky gray metal desk straight out of standard Navy supply with an equally standard-issue rolling chair behind it. A few other chairs are shoved against one wall, for those who drop by for whatever business they have with the CAG. The surface of the desk is covered by a computer and stacks of files and octagonal papers covering whatever bit of aerial bureaucracy she's mussing with that day. A few heavy books on air mechanics - mostly devoted to Raptors - occupy the shelves.

The room is largely devoid of decoration, save one item hanging on a hook on the shelf direct above her desk: a set of prayer beads, well-worn olive wood and strung with a single, crudely-carved owl charm.
Condition Level: 2 - Danger Close

Unceremoniously, Bootstrap arrives, clad in the bright orange of the Deck that he's been wearing since it became apparent that the Fleet was to be plagued by daily attacks. Sans fanfare, he closes the hatch and triggers the lock. Then, without any preamble, he gets straight to the point, as he often does when something is really chaffing him, "We need to regroup and Audumbla is the best bet. Elpis isn't designed to make so many jumps, and it's only a matter of time before the FTL totally craps out. And since I: (1) don't want to die as a matter of preventable tactical stupidity, and (2) don't ever want to give or follow an order that involves leaving behind any ship, that freighter needs to be taken outta the line of fire and given an overhaul A-SAP." Hello to you, too, Major. "Same idea as before. Pitch it directly to the COs and no one else. They're commanders; they bloody well should be able to make Command decisions amongst themselves when provided with ample data, which they have. I'll go out and do a preliminary scouting of the place myself, if need be, and wipe the systems after the fact so no one can determine the destination." Surely, he's not finished, but this suffices as his gambit.

"I have some of my best and brightest people making dangerous, boneheaded decisions because they're reaching a breaking a point. I can't have that. I /won't/ have that." Truly, Trask is upset. It's evident in the rather manic way he is conveying his thoughts. "And what the frak use am I if I can't provide for my people, if I can't help them when they are unable to help themselves? Frak the frying pan. Frak the fire. Frak the whole frakkin' kitchen. If our location is somehow being transmitted, Audumbla's radiation should snuff it. And if not, we have some experience flying in there. Should we still be attacked, we can rely on visuals. We'll also gather some important intelligence about what the enemy can and cannot do. It's a calculated risk, but we have more to gain from this stunt than we do hopping about in outer space." Saying pretty much all that he wanted to stay, he just stands there, looking as though he's waiting for Cidra to agree and swear that she'll somehow Make It Happen.

Cidra is in her flight suit, as she's been as 24-7 as she can help it since the continual state of Condition 2 began. She really only swings back to her office to collect whatever memos find their way to her desk. And have little conversations like this. "Boots." She's standing behind her desk, smoking, and does not even bother sitting. "The Harriers are taking the losses of Mouse and Launiere hard." It's not a question. As to the plan. "It is a sound notion. I can clear a Raptor from rotation this day for scouting of the Audumbla area for you. See it done. I grieve the loss of our people, Boots, and the potential loss of the humans on board that freighter if this continues. I certainly do not have it in me to face this same day after day after day. Any change in strategy is worth making. We Shakes and Priest have, at least, located another of their foundries, though the rest of the scouts have thus far come up empty on further installations. From the photographs it is spitting out the same type of Raiders that keep coming upon us. We know where they come from, at least in part."

"All losses are hard," is the dour retort. "Some more than others, admittedly." And now that the fervor of his upset has been unleashed and successfully placated, the true extent of his exhaustion becomes apparent, largely in and around those oh so emotive eyes. Briefly, those lids close when he pinches the bridge of his nose, brow knitting with stress and vexation. The moment passes, capped with the raking of smudged fingers through his short tousle of dark hair that's in dire need of a good shampooing. "I've asked Flasher to watch over Sweet Pea. These aren't our first K-I-As, nor will they be the last, but I do believe they are the first ones she directly feels responsible for. It's not her fault. It's no one's fault, but she's either unwilling or unable to accept that. And although I've never been Mr. Popular or Mr. Sensitivity with anyone, she seems to think that I've somehow abandoned Smythe and Launiere because I gave her and Flasher a dressing down for not vacating the compromised Raptor even after DC and the corpsmen gave orders."

Frowning a little, sadness mingled with frustration, he insists, "I get it, Toast. I get that some people need to mourn, that… that some people need some time to lick their wounds before they can get back into the fight. I /get/ it. There's a time and place for it, though, and the inside of a Raptor that Damage Control needs to secure is never that time or place. She has too much pride to accept that coming from me." Self-deprecatingly, Bootstrap smirks, tacking on, "Black Country black never washes out." Even so, there is a hint of rue in that. "Maybe she'll listen to you."

The proposed mission is not commented upon, effectively being a done deal.

"Responsible?" Cidra shakes her head. "Mouse and Henry… gods, the poor fellow never even got a proper callsign." That fact seems to hit her just then as particularly hard. She sighs. "They died in the field doing their duty. Same as any of us might any of these days. As to the rest…" A quick puff on her cigarette. "…Aydin was grieving and lost her head when she refused to vacatate that Raptor. I am not unsympathetic to such. But you were in the right, Boots. Hard one to be in though it was." A pause. "I saw when I went back to shower this morn that she had cleared out her locker. Do you know where she might be going?" The CAG herself, of course, spent a good month and change wandering the ship's chapel and storage rooms and various other cubby holes as a semi-transient rather than sleeping in her bunk, so this does not perhaps alarm her as much as it might.

"No clue," is admitted about where oh where Sweet Pea may have gone. "She tore off her squadron patch and threw it to the ground. She hasn't quite pulled a Queenie, though." Resigning in a huff, that is. "For all I know, she might be lookin' to transfer back to the Elevens." Eyeing Cidra's cigarette with a certain longing, Trask is soon enough rummaging though one of his many pockets to fish out a cancer stick of his own, as well as his zippo-style lighter. Flint sparks and smoke follows. A savoring drag later, the lighter is re-pocketed and a steady stream of noxious fumes exhaled. Then more puffing. "We're on Condition Two, so no one should be leaving the ship. If that weren't the case, I'd say she might try crashing with Payback. As it stands, I'm not even sure she associates with anyone outside of the Wing."

"No paperwork on it has crossed my desk, so far as transfers go. Not that I would expect something formal just yet, given her state of mind," Cidra says. While he lights up, she smokes. "We still have a few Raptors running taxi duty for the MPs and technicians who pull shifts on the Elpis. She could have gone over with them without it seeming too odd. Well, even if that is the case. It need not become a disciplinary matter unless she starts missing her shifts. And Cerberus herself is a big ship, with many places one might try to find solitude." She speaks as an expert on the subject. "I shall summon her formally over the PA if I cannot find her directly. Though I shall look more quietly first. Perhaps she just needs time. Gods know I understand that."

A faint nod and another drag, this time exhaled through the nostrils. "I can have her removed from the flight line, if necessary. I'd sooner have that than see her brigged for Dereliction of Duty. And seein' how we're /all/ on Alert, leaving this three-headed bitch isn't permissible." Kal is merely stating facts. "If you wanna handle it, though, that'd probably be best. She /does/ need time, and part of that involves /me/ giving her the necessary space." This might be a Black Country thing, the way he conveys it.

Dismayed by the whole situation, he simply shifts gears to something wherein he can actually be of benefit. "Any word on the foundry strike? We get to Audumbla, we'll have a bit of breathing room to get back into fighting shape an' to plan a plan of attack. Some guy in Weps has been wantin' to speak with me. Delamont, I think is his name. Haven't had the time, but I'll certainly make it if it's pertaining to such a thing."

"Give him the time. This Delamont, that is. My guess is he is attempting to extrapolate information from the last attack on the foundry that might be useful to go at this one," Cidra says. "I know from Colonel Pewter when he ordered these scouting jaunts that the goal was to find targets to attack. We have the data from Priest and Shakes, should just be a matter of planning now. That first foundry strike was as 'easy' as I would call any mission we have undertaken since Warday." A pause. "Though now we have their attention." She does not bother to voice that she assumes the second won't be such a cake walk.

"Done," is all that Trask says about giving Delamont the time. "It'd also be beneficial to send a recon team to the asteroid belt to get a better lay of the land. See what's there that we can use to our benefit. Sounds like there's a certain amount of interference, so dead drift approaches may not be necessary. And it'd be good to test at what proximity level our DRADIS sweeps will ping. Also, we can try to determine whether or not there'd be a suitable entry point in range for the Areion to make itself useful." What good is a gun that can't be fired, after all.

"It is tight flying in the Belt. Likely too tight for a battlestar, but a ship the Areion's size might be able to find a door. It is a mere escort carrier, after all," Cidra says. "We should review our maps of the region with Tango and Lieutenant Colonel Baer, layer the flight paths and data Priest gathered from his more recent trip atop it." Oh-so-formal where Baer is concerned, these days.

For the first time, Trask makes his way to the CAG's desk, if only so he can tap some ash into her tray. "Cerberus can remain at Audumbla with the Elpis, or it can stand sentinel outside of the belt. 'Course, we opt for the latter, I can't imagine the civilians will accept being left behind unguarded, and we have enough problems with unrest, as is. That's above /my/ paygrade, though. Besides, Tactical should be doing the risk assessment for that." Which means that's all he has to say about that matter.

"What about the frigates?" the ECO asks. They are roughly half the size of the battlestar. "It might be a job that requires some lube, but they might be able to squeeze in. Corsair might have the power to pierce through the interference and give us a better map of the terrain, and Praetorian can likely flak a pathway." Even more smoking. "The report makes it seem this foundry maintains patrols, so we really need to determine our approach. Let's collect more data, first, and then we can figure out if stealth is the best bet, or if we should just plough ahead with brute force."

The formality about Baer doesn't even warrant a batting of a single lash. After all, Bootstrap can always bust chops about that later, if he feels so inclined.

Cidra speaks not more on Baer beyond coordination of any mission. Perhaps she's just focused on the professional as well. Who knows with her at times. "Very good. To Audumbla first, to see if it is even an option. The Cylons may be wary of it but they caught us there once before when we made to leave, nearly to the end of this ship. Then to the rest."

Having given the matter further thought, Trask adds, "Actually, we should attempt a test run with the Areion. Bring 'em into the field to determine whether or not The Gun will /actually/ work in there. Last thing we need is a dead duck. Since we'll be striking first, they should have plenty of time to put a bullet in the chamber, so to speak." To the rest, he notes somewhat sourly, "They were tipped off, last time." That's a burden of blame he is unlikely to ever shrug off.

Cidra clearly doesn't agree, but she doesn't argue either. She's got a whole world of self-recrimination wrapped up in Audumbla, and there's likely end to that conversation but a commiseration spiral that's no good for anyone. "As much preparation as we can make, the better. If there is nothing further Captain, you are dismissed. Clear eyes and steady hands." A pause. "And good hunting."

"Aye, sir," is all that said Captain has to add, having said all he intended to say. The salute he offers is less jaunty than par but certainly not the crispness he has demonstrated himself capable of. Perhaps it's a side-effect of being overworked, or mayhap it's just his general laxity when it comes to protocol outside of Important Occasions. Not that this isn't Serious Business, but it also is very much Business As Usual, as far as Kal is concerned. Even so, this lack of cavalier display demonstrates a certain gratitude and gravitas that echoes in his departing call of, "Thanks, Cid."

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