PHD #363: The Slow Spiral
The Slow Spiral
Summary: The end of the world is a slow and steady thing.
Date: 24 Feb 2042 AE
Related Logs: Mainly Swarm 9 and Blow Ups.
Bannik Cidra Cilusia Leyla Marko Solstice 
The Hangar Decks Aboard Cerberus
There's planes and other stuff here. Watch your step.
Post-Holocaust Day: #363

Between cylon attacks, life on the Cerberus going on. An endless rotation of sitting on alert, flying CAP, doing repairs, if you're cleared, and sleeping, in the few minutes between each of those. For now, repairs, as Leyla works on the ship she takes out more often than not. Scorched wiring is being traded out for, well, if not new, as new as salvaged material can get, the woman sitting cross-legged on one of the raptor's winglets, dressed in the orange of the deck, rather than the flight suit she would normally be attired in.

Finally being fitted with her own deck gear, the bright orange is quite the change from the olive green she normally wears. Solstice gives a pluck at the collar as she joins the deck hands for the moment to be attached to a ship to do repairs. Handed off some tools, she is pointed at Harrier-307 and she lugs the small toolcase with her.

"The PIRCs array needs to be realigned." Leyla barely bothers to look up from her work, but she does, at least note that someone else is arriving at the raptor to work on it. There's no friendliness in her expression. But neither is there unfriendliness. AT the moment, she's more Poppy than Poppy, which is probably quite a bit like she was when she first arrived on the Cerberus. Now, all of Shortbus and Marko's hard work seems to have been for naught.

Bannik comes out of the Repair Bay, taking off his cranial for a moment to wipe his brow with the sleeve of his coveralls. "Frak," he murmurs. "I'm so frakking tired." But it's just one of those truisms of the Deck during the Swarm. Everyone's being pushed to the limits. "So many bent birds and we have to go over the Raptor with a fine-toothed comb."

"I can get to that." says Solstice. She draws the bag up and begins to move into the Raptor with Leyla. She sets down her gear and goes to a knee, beginning to rummage through the bag for what she needs. Drawing out the spanner first, she shifts over and unhooks the panel to get a better look at what might be causing the problem. Leyla was someone she had met only in passing. Shakes now goes to her work, keeping quiet and well to herself.

Whump, thump, clang, clang, clang, or you know, whatever sound boots make on ladders coming down to the deck proper from the walkways above. The hustle and overly-loud bustle comes from Cilusia, who's hurrying back down from the fabrication facility upstairs. Some new part that's needed - one of those things that's been repurposed and patched and jury rigged as much as possible - is clutched under her arm as she makes way down the deck toward one of the laid-up birds.

Cidra does not clang. Not that her steps are precisely quiet as she prowls the hangar deck, in heavy boots that she is. Like many pilots, if the CAG has taken off her flight suit in the last few days during the successive Swarm attacks, it's never for long. Her course also takes her toward the laid-up ships, which puts her en route to sort of fall in step with Cilusia. "Petty Officer. How are you and yours holding up this day?" The question is conversational enough, though there's an underlying gravity to it.

Seeing Cilusia come from the fabrication area, Tyr makes a beeline for her. As he does, he puts his cranial back on his head, taking a clipboard containing the day's 'to-do' list off a work bench. "Fasi. Is that 'Sweet Pea' over there? Wasn't she taken off flight status or something? Her locker cl —" He comes skittering to a halt upon seeing the CAG. "Sir."

"The ship," as if Bertha wasn't Bertha, which is weird enough, as Leyla always made it a habit of calling the big girl she and Solstice are working in, well, a girl, "probably won't be back on CAP for the next rotation, but it needs to be ready for the one after that." The last of the burnt wiring is pulled out, before Leyla switches to a clean shop rag and some solvent, to clean away the remains of soot and fire.

"Holding up pretty good…better than this hunk of junk. Sir," Cilusia replies to Cidra, giving the piece in her arm a little swing so the CAG can see. As for Bannik, Cilusia just gives him a raised brow and looks back at Leyla. "Oh…shit, is that who that is over there? Sounds like a question for the CAG." A thumb is jerked out and pointed sideways at Cidra.

The panel within the floor of the Raptor is dragged away and rested lightly against the wall as the ECO goes to her stomach and clicks on the light to get a better look at the wiring on the PIRC, "Right, not much sense in rushing things. If something doesn't work, best to no jury rig it." Solstice grunts a little as she shifts her wait and pushes herself forward slowly to lean over the opening and take the light into her teeth. She pulls a insulated glove on and reaches down to check over the wrapped wires to make sure connections are not loose.

"Specialist Bannik." Cidra's greeting to Bannik comes with the barest hint of a smile as he skitters nearby, and faint inclination of her head to him. She peers at the junk Cilusia shows her, wincing a touch. "In poor shape, that. Well, we do the best we can with the pieces we have, Petty Officer, as ever." As for Leyla, she focuses her cloudy blue eyes to watch the pilot across the hangar. Just watch. She's inscrutable on the matter. "Not at present," is her reply the pair of deckhands. She's headed that direction, however.

Bannik sort of follows after Cidra, not because he thinks he's being bidded to do so, but because he really doesn't have much else where to go. "Uh. We're trying to pull together the report on the Raptor from yesterday," he's chattering at her. "But. Uhm. We're stretched sort of thin, sir, and is this really a priority? I mean, it was just enemy fire. And we have a lot of bent birds —"

"Unfortunately, given how slowly fabrication is going, with what little metals we've been able to salvage that weren't used to repair the ship itself after the damage to decks ten and eleven, jury-rigging is pretty much all we have left." Meticulous as ever, Leyla continues through the panel, removing all traces of the damage that solvent and some elbow grease can manage. She seems completely oblivious to what is or isn't going on outside of the ship.

Solstice seems disappointed with the words from the pilot, her hands stuck down into the interior section of the PIRC with the light bit between her teeth to keep it there and highlight her work. She reaches up to remove the light from her lips to reply, "Seems a bit sketchy. When is it finally going to give and jury rigging isn't enough?" She states, her gaze narrowing as she pauses, tilting her head at something and scooting herself further into the small hatch to get a good look. "Hmmmmm…could you hand me a wire cap and some clippers..think this might be part of the problem." She asks fo Leyla.

"Priority is repairs, Specialist," Cidra replies to Bannik. "Get to this when you can, but I have reviewed the flight footage from the previous evening's engagement and…well. You cannot maintenance against that much concentrated Raider fire. Do not take time away from more pressing work on the birds for this matter."

"What exactly is the problem with that Raptor that's got pilots working on it, exactly?" Cilusia's tagging along with Bannik and the CAG for the moment. The replacement part is for a Viper, jacked up down the line, a pump of some type that they finally had to give up on manufacture fresh. It dangles from her hand by the leader hoses, like a strange kind of mechanical organ. "You know what they're attempting to fix, Bannik?"

"I — don't even know," says Bannik, waving his clipboard vaguely in a sense of exasperation. "But yes, sir. Focusing on repairs, sir." He seems relieved for the reprieve. "But I'm not sure, Fasi. Some of the pilots are allowed to work on the Deck. I think they are. But what they're doing …?" He shrugs. He's just a Specialist.

"I would say the last time any of us do anything while we're still alive. The Cylons won't hesitate to destroy us." Leyla sets aside the shop rag, wiping off her hands, as she reaches down to the small bit of supplies, rummaging for the cap and the appropriately sized clippers, before she moves to the back of the raptor, coming into view of the deck proper, before she squats down to hand in the necessary supplies. She finally does catch some of what's going on outside, and she comes back to her feet as soon as the required parts are handed off, moving to the doorway. "PO2, if you would prefer that the deck do all of the repairs themselves, rather than making use of those members of the crew who have the qualifications and the permission of the Chief of the Deck to assist your people so that you are not being obliged to work triple shifts then I would imagine the proper course of action would be to file your complain with Chief Damon." Clearly the irony of the fact that she's wearing deck coveralls Cilusia issued her herself, while defending the fact that she is both wearing them and using them for the purpose for which they were intended, is lost on the woman.

Lifting her head and then hand to take the clippers, Solstice thanks Leyla softly and reaches down back into the opening. Resting agains ther stomach, what Leyla says next is muffled as she clips a stripped wire, possibly made so by the shrapnel that had peppered the ship. She pulls the cap out and twists the wires together and begins to screw it into place. Wiretape. She pushes herself up and to her knees, reaching into her pocket of her deck uniform. She looks past and out, watching the small group outside. "Is there a problem?" Shakes ask.

"I would hope the work of those air hands authorized to work on the Deck is properly supervised by your personnel," Cidra says to Bannik and Cilusia both. "You and yours are in charge down here, after all. As I am quite sure the Lieutenant respects, and shows the proper respect accordingly." That last to Leyla, who does seem to have been her quarry during her prowling down here. "Ah. Sweet Pea. As soon as you have a moment, walk with me, please. I have need to speak with you." A simpler "Shakes" is offered to Solstice in greeting.

"Hey, whoa, hold up now. I was just seeing what you're working on, not questioning why you're down here. Figuring maybe one of us has a little more, ah, practical experience fixing it? Could offer some pointers? Everyone gets done faster and we fix two for the price of one? Shit like that…Sir," Cilusia quips back to Leyla. "If you've got it covered though, I'll get on back to the Viper I'm patching up and we'll all be cool about it."

At this point, Tyr just hangs back, letting Cidra and Cilusia deal with this. He's just a Specialist! He doesn't have supervisory authority! He's just a Specialist! He studies his clipboard studiously. "I think there's plenty of work to go around," he says finally.

"Of course, Petty Officer." Leyla's tone hasn't changed. Not from the comment before Cilusia's answer or now, in the aftermath. It's like she's really just not there. No emotion, just pure logic. The lights are definitely on, but not all of someone's at home. Leyla steps out of the raptor, hopping down from the winglet. "All of the bad wiring in panel C-47-Forward has been removed and the residual damage cleaned. The replacement wires are set out on the floor. They just need to be placed and secured." Well, at least that covers what exactly she was working on. "Of course, Major." Leyla moves to bridge the distance between herself and the CAG, "I'm free now."

Remaining on her knees, Solstice nods her head to Cidra, "Toast." She says and looks past her to Cilusia and then Bannik. The clippers still in her hand get set to the side of the hatch in the floor. As Leyal explains her own repairs, the ECO listening in for the moment before she rests her hands to her thighs. Her eyes look back between the small group and she disappears with the tape in hand and ducks her head underneath - twisting for a moment so that she can begin to wrap the wires she recently connected with a fresh cap.

Marko makes his way into the hangar quietly, craning his neck this way and that as if searching for someone. Then his eyes find Sweet Pea…and Toast…"Ah, hell…..wonderful timing, Scaurus." he grumbles, immediately turning and acting very interested in one of the damaged Raptors.

"Very good. Walk with me, please," Cidra says with a slight nod of her chin to Leyla and motion to follow her, as she steps away from the work area around the Raptor. It's unclear from her tone precisely what the import of whatever she has to say to Leyla is. Mood formal but not overly stern. And inscrutable. Marko does get the barest hint of a smile from her in passing. Hello.

Leyla moves to follow into step with Cidra, not offering any questions as to where they're going or why. She's been given an order, she's simply following it. The repairs on the raptor will be picked up later if they're not finished now or not, if they are. A glance towards the back of her ECO, but there's no attempt to engage him either.

The purpose of the repairs laid clear, Cilusia sets down that replacement pump, and pulls herself up to look in the Raptor. "Hey…yo. Need any help finishing this up?" she asks Solstice. Her head pokes in through the hatch, and she looks at the wires all laid out on the floor of the Raptor interior.

As a very famous, and now very likely incinerated man once pointed out, 'A conscience can sometimes be a pest'. And that translates to not being able to let his pilot face the fire on his own. With a deep breath, Marko begins to head in Leyla and Cidra's direction. Not outright interrupting, but clearly wanting Cidra to know he's there and an interested party.

Cidra strolls toward the entry to the Starboard Hangar, for her part. Pace slow so Leyla can easily keep step with it, but she says nothing as she goes. She does not notice Marko following her, so he's not impeded, but there's a definite air of privacy she draws around herself as she goes.

Leyla continues to follow in the wake of the CAG, paying no mind to Marko and his following them. It's not quite as if she's not attentive, more that her focus has been winnowed down to a single thing. A passing glance to the ancient vessel, before her eyes return to Cidra. She'll stop or she won't, as the case may be. But whichever it is will happen after Cidra decides.

The hangar bay is a large area, and Cidra is silent as she walks the length of it, to the less-busy starboard area. There are MPs guarding the ancient ship, and a few of the crew do mill around it. Some techs and Support personnel actually engaged in duties near it, but others seem to be just…milling around its entry. She steers clear of anyone else, pausing in a reasonably quiet spot. "I saw that you cleaned out your locker." That's the only observation she makes as an opener.

Leyla comes to a standstill as soon as Cidra does, settling into parade rest. Certainly not the easy stance the pilot would have taken. But then, nothing seems quite so easy anymore with Sweet Pea. The observation is met with an answer, truthful, but nothing more. "Yes."

"As you were, Sweet Pea," Cidra says, a little tiredly, when Leyla goes into parade rest. "No need for that. Boots tells me you tore off your squadron patch as well. What is your meaning by all of that?" Her tone isn't chiding. Just quizzical, and more than a bit concerned.

Leyla settles, but she looks no more relaxed than she did before. "A squadron is something you belong to. In its own way a family unit, in lieu of the ones we leave behind. Captain Trask has made it quite clear precisely how he views the people who serve on this ship with him, the people who fly under his command. He does not lead by example, despite the fact that he likes to pretend that he does, because he spends so many hours working. That is not an example. That is simply doing what he agreed to do when he accepted his commission. He does nothing to improve the morale of his squadron, with the exception of the people he considers his 'family': Captain Quinn, Lieutenant Doe and Lieutenant Ulixes. For them, he would go to any lengths? For the rest of us, we get nothing but his abuse. People like to turn a blind eye to it, make allowances for it because he's just 'such a good officer' so useful to the ship. He's allowed to do and say what he pleases, whenever he pleases and no one steps up to say 'enough'. Six months I've spent under his command, and I made allowances for him to. I made excuses. I let him abuse me, emotionally and psychologically. And that is a much more insidious form of abuse than if he simply laid his hand on me, or on any other member of the crew. Last night was a perfect example. I believe, in the space of less than five minutes, I was told by your squadron leader, that not only was I stupid, I have poor judgment, I am apparently incompetent at my job, reckless and self-absorbed." A shrug, "I fly with the Harriers because I have been ordered to fly with them. But I no longer have any desire to be a part of them. Nor of any air wing that condones his treatment of his fellow officers and crewmates."

"Ah." The sound carries not particular note of agreement, or disagreement, with any of that. It is merely exhaled shortly from Cidra as she listens to it all. "I did not witness what took place upon the hangar deck last night, so I shall not speak for it one way or another. I received Poppy's report and that from the damage control crew and I know emotions were running very high. That is not an excuse for anyone." From her tone, that 'anyone' includes more than Trask, though that does not seem to be a tangent she's apt to take a present. "First and foremost. You are wise enough to realize you cannot quit. None of us can. This is a time of war, and we fight and fly and die as needed. Not always with those we love best but, we do the best we can with the pieces we have. This, I trust you know. As for the Harriers. I will speak to your flightmates, and Captain Trask, about his conduct. And see what they have to say. If you feel it necessary, I can schedule you to fly on the rotations with the Elevens for the coming days. Not a proper transfer back to your old squadron. I do not care to shuffle problems out of the way. But it is clear you need some…distance from Boots to continue to perform your duties at your fullest."

"I would prefer to fly with the Providers, if Pony will have me. He I respect as a squadron leader." The Elevens, despite the fact that everyone is sort of doing everyone else's job these days, is not a combat squadron. The Harriers and the Providers have that as their primary function, now, "But I will fly whatever rotation you send me on." Leyla still hasn't moved from her position, "As well, Shortbus flies with the providers, and if Piper would not mind sharing him, he was my first ECO aboard the Cerberus." The implication of that is clear. And if it were not, she continues, "Flasher should be reassigned to a new pilot. I have no intention of forcing him out of the Harriers along with me." And then, after a moment, "My ability to perform my duties were compromised by my emotions last night. That will not be the case again." Another slight pause, "All I asked from him was some respect for the dead. It is not often that we get to mourn more than the memory of those we lost." Mostly, if you die in space, you're little pieces of used to be a person. "I asked him to show respect for Mouse's sacrifice and Henry's. She should have been carried out of that ship by those who loved her. A minute or two of his time. That is all it would have taken to show his care and respect for those who gave their lives for the fleet. Instead, he used those two minutes to show that he cares for nothing and no one except himself and his own ego."

"I have no intention of transferring Flasher anywhere. Or you, formally, at this juncture. But I think a week of flying with with Pony and his people would do neither you nor Boots any harm. You shall begin doing thus tomorrow, and we shall revisit the issue when all heads are cooler." As to the rest, Cidra does not answer to the incident in the Raptor. Her blue eyed gaze softens and leaves Leyla, going rather faraway. "Cast to the oblivion…" She clears her throat. "You are not a woman of the Faiths, I know. But it is taught in the fundamental Scriptures that when the body dies, its vessel must be given final rites before the soul can pass to the Heavens or Hells. Otherwise it drifts, to the oblivion…lost." There is a great sadness in her tone. This is clearly a thing she believes. "My husband died thus. Flying in a training exercise, Viper just…gone, in the blink of an eye. And it is now my duty to send men and women whom I love - and I do love you all, Aydin - to this fate as well. Well. I would go to it, too. For such is our higher duty as pilots. I know not if Mouse or Henry worshipped the Lords and Ladies but…" And then her eyes find Leyla's again. "…I thank all gods that you and Flasher brought them home."

"I will let Marko know, so he won't be surprised when he sees the new rotation in the morning." As much as the ship has such a thing as a morning, out in the dead of space. She's not about to argue. She made a recommendation, Cidra vetoed it. Duty is as duty must. "I do not believe in the Gods, no, but I believe in humanity. In the soul, and the journey it takes through life before we find the body, while we are in it and after, when we leave it to take the last voyage to what lies beyond. I do not know how faith affected Mara and Henry, but I give them what I can, of the rites that I know. I have sat with them whenever I have been free, to give them the three days their soul needs to say farewell to the life they knew, before they can begin the journey. One of the Marine Lieutenants was kind enough to offer the more traditional last rites. With earth and silver coins." There is a softening, just slightly, at the mention of Cidra's husband. And a nod, "We couldn't leave them out there alone. Dead and drifting. It would not be right."

"The coins are for the ferryman, Charon. Passage down the last rivers. To whatever end your service in life has earned you. I wonder often what the ferryman will make of me. And what oblivion is like. I would fly with many I loved in life if my soul was scattered. Sometimes I do not think it would be such a cruel fate. But, we still fly in the mortal worlds yet, you and I." Cidra's eyes go to the ancient ship now. "As for your locker, and where you lay your head for rack time. I consider that your business. Show up for your shifts regularly and you can sleep in the corridors for all it matters to me. There was…a little after Sagittaron I could not find rest in them myself. Too many memories, perhaps. I could not find peace there…" She's not quite wandering the ship like a transient anymore, but there are still the odd nights she doesn't crash in her bunk. Sometimes her office, the chapel, or even the ancient ship.

"I think he would make of you no more or less than what we make of you now among the living. A woman who has been asked to make the most difficult choices a person can make in this world. More often than sanity would allow for it. In that way, it is easier to be a foot soldier in a war than the general who commands them. And if he would not understand, then certainly your Ares would. If your faith is to be believed, war comes from the gods as much as peace." A nod, as Cidra doesn't tell her she has to go back to the berthings. "Thank you for that. I have no desire to remain in the berthings. Though I have no doubt that I will have to explain that to Bunny." Who's been staying with Leyla more often than not. "For me, it is not the memories that bother me, but the lies that the berthings perpetuates."

"I am very poorly made for the age of Ares," Cidra says, quite ruefully. "Before Warday I flew Raptors and pretended I played the owl. Served Athena through my service. I am not sure whose creature I was now. I serve the ship and I serve my pilots as best I can. Oft imperfectly, but such is the nature of being human. We all of us have to make the least of terrible choices too often in these times." Brows arch a notch. "Lies, Sweet Pea?"

"We are all being forged into more than we were before. You have acquitted yourself with honour and with compassion as a handmaiden of your god of war." A nod, at the final question. "The lie that we love and respect and care for each other. For some, perhaps that is not a lie, but for others, like Captain Trask, it is. I will not willingly be a part of that. Even if I have to end up moving to the officer berthings."

"The berthings are room with bunks, Sweet Pea. They mean no more than a convenient place to sleep. Or so I tell myself, at least. I see the ones once occupied by those I loved more than the full ones. The bird helps a bit." Random comment, that. Cidra adds, because indeed it was entirely random, "The canary from Tauron. He sings very prettily." Another look toward the ship. "Have you spent the eve in that? In the fore-room, with the murals upon the wall. I have slept some nights there recent. At first I thought dreams would come to me more easily there. Visions. But they do not. I have never been touched by the gods in that fashion. But it feels…I feel like a child there. In the arms of something greater than myself. A feeling I do not even get in chapel much these days, hard as I pray."

"If the berthings were no more than rooms with bunks, then we would not all be separated as we are. The Marines from the Navy Officers, from the enlisted, from the pilots. The bunks are a tool to create a sense of community and belonging. No different than fraternity or sorority houses on most university campuses. He is a sweet thing. Most of the wing have taken to him quite well. Bunny, however, doesn't seem to care for him." A tilt of her head, as Leyla looks back towards the ancient ship. "I spent an evening there with the ChEng. But we did not sleep." And Leyla being Leyla, they didn't do any 'not sleeping' either, if you know what I mean. "I do not know if the ability to have a vision is anything like the agility to visualize anything, but perhaps you have to stop thinking, 'never' and 'not' and 'soon' and 'now.' If you imagine you will fail, you will. Go there as a child goes, exbrace the feeling it gives you and let what may come come."

"I was always very poor at meditation," Cidra admits. "When I was in training for the Sisterhood, when I thought my path would lead to the priesthood of Athena, my Sister Superior said I was too…literal of mind. That I tried to *make* it happen, rather than embracing it." She shrugs. "I cannot call her wrong." She doesn't sound sure whether she's sorry about that or not. "Community? We are a patchwork, and one that never really wanted each other or was supposed to fly together. Sewn together from the remains of proud squadrons torn to shreds on Warday, Reservists who were only supposed to be aboard for a month, survivors and foundlings from whatever we could grasp from the remains of the colonies. Civilians who had barely flown shuttles before desperation made them Nuggets. I am surprised we do not hate each other more often. And yet when we fly together, Aydin, we fly surpassing well, and there is none I would rather serve with. Well. Keep flying, I can ask no more. The rest…give it a week, and we shall see how it sorts. All is very raw after a loss like the one taken in the last Swarm." A pause and she adds, "It is no fault of yours, you know. Or Flasher. It would be easier, in a way, if one could find firm fault with one of you. Or faulty wiring, or poor maintenance. Some days we fly well enough to get them. Some days…we do not. And honors to their service, for you and I are alive because of sacrifices such as those."

"The Gemenese way was and is not the only way. Perhaps something different would serve you better." She's not sure of course, but it stands to reason. "That is because flying and caring do not necessarily have to be one in te same, though we often allow ourselves to believe that they have to go hand in hand, which they do not." She does not, at the injunction to continue flying, "I will fly until I go the same way as Mara and Henry and all of the others we have lost in the battle." There's a snort, the first hint of emotion she's shown, and it is not a pleasant one, "You might want to speak to your squadron leader about that. he inferred that if I had been able to do my job, then they would both be alive now." Leyla steps back, "I should try to finish up what needs to be done for the 307, tonight. It should be flight ready by the afternoon."

Cidra's brows arch sharp at that. "Well. He was wrong about that, and I shall tell him so. That is good, about the Raptor. You *do* do good works, Sweet Pea. In the air and with the birds. I ask no more than that. If I do not say it often, it is because your service is a thing I never have to question, and so it comes never as a surprise." She lingers in the hangar, for her part. "I shall go to the Ship tonight, I think. I know not what will serve me but…it is a fascinating place. Whatever it was in times old. I wish to know it better."

"I wouldn't bother. he will just turn it around and claim that I misunderstood him. He will never find fault in himself, anymore than is strictly necessary for getting others to do what he pleases. And I will see you tomorrow, Cidra. Do not sleep too far into the ship. Souls live in that place." A salute, before she waits to be dismissed.

The salute is acknowledged, and Cidra lets Leyla go without another word. Her path takes her to the ancient ship now. To mill around it, seeking some intangible.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License