PHD #098: The Summons
The Summons
Summary: An invitation is delivered to those stranded on Leonis.
Date: 2041.06.05
Related Logs: All Leonis logs.
Bannik Kulko Tisiphone Tucana NPC 
Sagittaron House — Grounds — Leonis
Post-Holocaust Day: #98
This was a beautiful place, once upon a time. Grounds that were once expansive and lush with vegetation in the forms of planned gardens, walking paths, and sitting areas are now dead and barren; trees devoid of leaves, bark charred, grass dead and brown. A 10-foot tall wrought iron fence with spiked tops and thick brownstone joiners every 20 feet surrounds the consulate and the grounds. In several places the bars, normally 8-10 inches apart, have been separated enough for a person to slip through sideways.

Afternoon in Kythera, the air heavy and close despite the sun pushing through tattered clouds. The embassy grounds sit as still and dead as they have since the crew's arrival, dead leaves flickering dryly in the sporadic breeze.

Tisiphone is stretched out on what might have once been a lush patch of lawn, not far from the wrought-iron bench she's seemed fond of. Half-lidded eyes blocking out most of the sun, one arm folded behind her head, cigarette smoke drifting away on the humid air. Her rifle is nearby, though her armour is not.

Kulko meanders out from the Embassy, eyes up to the irradiated atmosphere. He's rocking Leonis' version of Ed Hardy, graciously provided by Her Scavenginess herself, instead of his nigh-on-unwearable uniform tank. A lazy stroll takes him along one ivy-covered wall to the patch of grass the pilot occupies; by way of greeting, he settles himself down beside her and plucks the cigarette from between her fingers.

"Lieutenant. Ensign." Perhaps Tisiphone has rubbed off on Bannik, because the 'Ensign' sticks in his throat slightly, like he has to consciously think about calling her by rank rather than just 'Tisiphone.' The deckhand is rubbing at his face and the stubble found there, taking off his glasses and then rubbing at his eyes. "Keeping the watch?"

Tisiphone has drawn water from the embassy pipes more than once, now, to do her laundry. Doing /other people's/ laundry, however? Hell. Naw. Her eyes move beneath the lids as a shadow falls across her, and one corner of her mouth twitches lazily upward. "It's good to see you too," she says with a snort. Her eyes open the rest of the way, and eventually slide past Kulko to Bannik. "Naw. Pulled my watch last night. Just- thinkin'." Just as well — can't keep much of a watch sprawled in the dead grass.

"Watchin' the grass grow's more like it," comes Kulko's reply after a languid drag. He ashes into the grass behind him, and passes the smoke back to its rightful owner. "Always good to see you, Tisi. Goes without sayin, by now." He leans backward, propping himself up on his hands.

"Well. Uh." Bannik shifts, perhaps a bit nervously, looking down at the two somewhat care free officers. "What is it — what are we doing about that prison out there, sirs? I mean — anything?"

Tisiphone's had a long string of Mostly Terrible Days. She still doesn't look like she's had a full night's sleep in weeks, but something's pulled her mood out from the doom and grimness. Maybe she's just finally thrown her hands up and declared it Frak-It-All Day. It's as good a reason as any. She drags on her rightfully-returned cigarette, eyes lolling shut again. "Depends who you ask, I think," she finally says. Evasive much?

"What prison, Crewman?" Kulko asks, looking up pointedly to the deckie. "The one we were told about by the hostile enemy agent? The one that's crawlin' with Centurions who know we're here and expect us to come a'runnin? The one that might not even exist apart from a yarn she spun to get us where she wants us? I don't expect we'll be doin' very much at all." There's no malice in his voice, but the string of rhetorical questions suggests he's been turning it over in his head.

Bannik takes a deep breath, as if he, too, is turning over his answer in his head, an answer that's complicated by the presence of the Mission CO laying down in front of him. "But what about the pilot friend Hal has?" Bannik elects to answer question with question. "Where is he? He wasn't at the club. Maybe the Cylons have 'em, and if we bust him loose, he's our ticket off this rock! To say nothing of the people that might be there! Can't we at least scout?"

"There /is/ a building. We /did/ see what looked to be people moving inside of it. That's as far as the verifiable facts go." Tisiphone pulls on her cigarette again, then flops her cigarette-bearing hand down on Kulko's stomach, giving the cancer stick a little wiggle. Take it. It eez delishus. Her eyes are nearly closed, only the scantest liquid glimmer visible beneath the lashes. "What part of 'crawlin' with Centurions'-" She mimicks the JTAC's cadence, there. "-wasn't clear? How well have we done in pitched fights against them so far?" Sarcastic, that.

"Our ticket off this rock is the Battlestar we came in on. If Mr. Morrow has a ship that'll fly, we ain't hurtin' for pilots." Kulko reaches out two fingers plucks back the tobacco once more. "I feel for those people, and I'm glad we were able to find as many as we could. But I damn sure ain't gonna throw this group - exhausted and runnin' low on supplies - up against a tower of polished chromedomes. Even /if/ I could convince Barron to go along with it."

"Have we had any contact with Cerberus?" asks Bannik, his voice coming more and more on edge, but the deckhand working to control it. "It's just. I mean. We should be doing something. We're not /doing/ anything." Seeing as he's been in the House since they arrived, this is all the more true for Tyr. He lets out a heavy sigh. "I'm sorry, sirs. I don't mean to be Lasher. I'm just." Worried? Scared? Stir-crazy? Some combination of the three?

"Last time we heard from Cerberus was before we left the bridge. Had to leave the VLF behind…" Kulko trails off, exhaling smoke towards the embassy before placing it back between the pilot's fingers. "Might be worth strippin' this place for some wire and tryin' to make another array. See if we can't check up on 'em."

"We /are/ doing something. Like I said. Depends who you ask." Tisiphone's sun-bleached brows furrow a bit, and she turns her face toward Kulko, half-buried against her folded and sunburned arm. "The way Lieutenant Oberlin sees it, we're waiting for that abomination to send word about how we can break into that tower she wants us to break into so badly. Maybe it's a trap, but can we afford /not/ to check it out? That's something he's turning over, too."

"Well. Uh. I mean. We have Marines. Maybe we can figure out some way to —" Bannik trails off. What is his deal? He has no tactical ability. It's just the very common E-2 rank speculation. "Maybe I'll actually do something I have experience with and see what I can scrounge up for a VLF. Or something."

Tisiphone is sprawled out in the dead grass not far from one of the garden's wrought-iron benches, head pillowed on folded arm. Her other arm rests across Kulko, who's had the fine manners and upbringing to return her cigarette to her fingers. Reeling her arm back in, she tucks the cigarette into the corner of her mouth and says around it, "Embassy's still got all its telephone lines." A smoky snort. She's still bemused at Evandreus managing to patch comms into a /telephone/.

"I'll be in in a bit, give you a hand. Gonna need about a klick's worth of wire, melted together." Kulko snorts, looking back to the Embassy. "Unless onea them diplomatic types kept a soldering iron handy." To Tisiphone, then, "Yeah, that was somethin' /else/. But it won't get off-planet. Be nice to hear back from home."

<Exit Bannik for RL.>

For all the careful and rather cold facts she just rattled off to the earnest Crewman, there's an awfully pensive look cast at his retreating back. Tisiphone's mouth purses, making her cigarette squirm in her mouth as a sharp drag's yanked down into her lungs. "It's- been a while since we've heard from them," she admits. Quieter, that. Again she rests her hand on Kulko, twitching the remainder of the cigarette at him. "And all this waiting." More honest responses, now.

"Ain't like it any better'n you," Stephen replies earnestly, claiming the nearly-exhausted smoke. "XO said 48 hours near two weeks ago. Somethin's wrong up there… can't figure what. Should have gotten that comm array started sooner."

Tisiphone rolls up onto her side, propping her bandana'd head in her hand, and starts scritching invisible patterns into the side of Kulko's shirt with one ragged fingernail. Her eyes are narrowed slightly as she works. Thoughtful. "It spoke like there was some sort of- civil war?- going on between them. Between its brothers and sisters. If it's not all bullshit, it's the Lords' own clusterfrak to think about, you know?"

It might first be attributed to the breeze, but there is a sound out there. The sound of feet scuffling against the pavement. /Not/ CLANK. CLANK. CLANK. Just shoes.

"Darlin', I'm still tryna wrap my head round the fact that the damn things speak Standard and bleed. If they're fightin' each other same time as they're after us, we better hope they never reconcile, cause we will be well and truly frakked." Stephen twists to flick the spent butt over the fence, narrowing his eyes at the seeming interruption. "You hear somethin?"

So much for her act of sun-lazed relaxation. A gust of wind rattles the dead leaves and brittle branches, then the sound doesn't die away quite /right/ to her ears. Tisiphone props up further onto her elbow, sleety eyes suddenly sharp on Kulko's. "Yeah." Barely a whisper. Pushing up to a crouch, she reaches for her rifle before straightening the rest of the way. Maybe it's just a wild animal. A cat. Please let it be just a cat. She points with her chin toward one corner of the fence. "Heard it that way."

The rustling gets a little more pronounced, clearly the sound of someone walking at a brisk pace. The identity is obscured by what little dying foliage there is, and the bars. It's getting /vaguely/ closer. Stops, and then restarts somewhere near the gate.

Kulko scrambles up from his slouch as well, keeping low behind the wall and drawing his sidearm. Stupid, stupid Kulko, leaving his rifle inside. With his back to the brick, head barely peeking out from behind the wrought iron fence, Stephen calls out in his best Authority Voice. "Colonial Fleet! Identify yourself. Drop any weapons and interlace your fingers behind your head."

Advantage: Tisiphone. She isn't wearing her armour, either, but she /did/ lug her rifle out with her. It's not quite the same as staying on someone's six, but the concept of covering someone still comes easily to her — safety OFF, burst-fire ON, before she shoulders her rifle. "Nothing there," she whispers, the muzzle twitching restlessly over the empty gate, waiting for the source of the noise to make itself known.

The rustling and footsteps come to a dead stop. For the moment. And then there's a throat-clearing and a high-pitched voice of what sounds like a child or adolescent rings out in the air, just beginning with the crackings of puberty. "Gods, uh, all right all right. Just no more guns, kay?" He says in a voice which is quite a bit short of a yell. "Let me come to the gate. And I'm Bob. Bob Erickson."

Kulko's brows draw together at the voice, and he pauses a moment before he responds. "Alright, son, come on." Tisiphone gets an unmistakable gesture - eyes, then gate. As if she needed it. Stephen's up, then, at a trot, moving to unlatch the gate, sidearm still held at the ready.

Tisiphone's not the one who lowers her rifle before it's time, that's for damned sure. Her eyes flick to Kulko's for only a moment. A quick nod, and then she's taking a few steps over. Mindful of her line of sight, and trying to ignore the tension crawling back in to roost between her unarmoured shoulders.

Those footsteps make it to the wrought-iron gate and are still, and reveal a scrawny figure of a dirty-faced teenage boy in a filthy, stained hoodie, jeans, and sneakers. He's done what he's asked, hands up. "Oh. So, uh, hey. You're really soldiers, right?" He doesn't quite smile but his voice cracks a bit, hopefully.

"That's right. I'm Stephen, this here's Tisiphone. Where you comin' from, you ain't got shot or eaten yet?" Given the CFAS landing party's experiences planetside, it's a wonder Kulko didn't lead with the latter. He opens the gate just long enough to permit the boy entry, before closing and locking it again.

Yeah. That's Tisiphone over yonder, the Nice Lady who still has her rifle trained on the grubby teenager's chest. "Colonial Fleet," she affirms, the words clipped though not openly hostile. Well. Not as openly hostile as the gun trained on him, at least.

"Uh. Look, I'm unarmed." The kid has the typical petulance of any teenager, combined with a lazy, weary, shell-shocked glaze over his eyes and speech. Continuing to hold his hands up, he draws in a deep breath. He's maybe 14. Maybe.

"Made it out of Ocean Heights. I got trapped up there, was at this place that, um, yeah, it was full of hot girls. Got out of the rubble and made it back there and it was deserted. I was sent here. With a message. Um, It's in my pocket, and I'm gonna reach for it if you want? So you don't /frakkin'/ shoot me? It's not a gun. I don't have one."

"Hold on, there." As soon as the gate is locked, Kulko gives the kid a quick patdown - probably inefficient and maybe missing something, cause he's no MP. "Stand down, Tis. He's clean." The JTAC folds his arms and scrutinizes the new arrival. "What's this place? Who had a message for us, and how the frak'd they know we're here?"

Mmn. There's a long moment of studying Kulko before Tisiphone takes a step back and warily lowers her rifle. Safety's still off, and her hand remains on the grip. "Yeah," she agrees with Kulko's questions, narrowed eyes back on the teenager. "Yeah. Start talking." At least she's not so wound up she's pacing. Yet.

"Heh. It was a, uh," and the ruddy, malnourished face of the kid flushes a little bit after a sidelong glance at Tisiphone. "A titty bar. All the people hiding there were gone. Cylons are /crawling/ that zone. I was trapped in a convenient store after part of it caved in, and they were like — digging. I waited and hid til they were gone. He doesn't venture inside without prompting as he pulls out a plain, battered white envelope, handing it forth.

"They didn't come in. When I came out, I saw this crazy lady with her leg in a splint, hobbling on a crutch. She talked to me. Like she wasn't afraid of the Cylons. Gave me this and told me to come here. And to not talk to /anyone/."

Kulko claims the envelope and tears it open. "Can't offer much but a meal and a roof that ain't collapsed quite yet, but you might as well come on in, son." He's not looking at the boy as he says it, instead falling silent to read over the missive.

"Aquarian Pete's? Across from the massive billboard? The- crazy lady, what did she say to you?" Tisiphone's fingers drum against her rifle grip, but she doesn't lift it again. "Did you talk to anyone, or not?"

"Uh, that's the one. You know it?" The kid says, clearly awkward after Tisiphone names the place. Funny thing. The world ends, and he's still worried about talking about Adult Entertainment Establishments such as the fine Pete's to a woman. His mouth opens a bit and then snaps shut, shaking his head. "I didn't see anyone, let alone talk to them. She was kinda freaky. But nice. Gave me some food. Seemed sure that the Cylons wouldn't come after me. I dunno why but I sorta bought it. She told me to come here, I'd find people who would, y'know, not be crazy or shoot at me like the guys who got my dad. I should just make sure to give you all this letter."

"We cleared the survivors out of there five days ago." Or six? Or seven? It's all starting to bleed together for Tisiphone. "They're inside. Hope you like protein bars, we ran out of steak last week." Her fingers drum on the rifle grip again; she glances down, flicking the safety on, then releasing it to swing free at her side. "She give you her name?" she asks the kid, pointing her chin in the direction of the double doors as she starts escorting him that-a-way.

Kulko folds up the letter, ensures that the gate is closed, and follows along in their wake, leaving the babysitting duties to the pilot-ensign. His face is a mask of frustration.

"No. She was maybe," he holds up a hand to his forehead. He's about 5'7-5'8", "Dark haired, green eyed. Or maybe brown, I sorta forgot" Bob says helplessly. However, he stops a moment. "Wait, you've been there? Then you know Marcia, right? And the cops?" The mention of protein bars could have been caviar to him, the way his eyes light up, following them in, as he marches towards the doors. FYI, 'Marcia' is one of the now-ex-dancers. "I didn't ask her name. Dunno why. 'Crazy Crutch lady just works." He shrugs his slumping shoulders.

"Hal and the sour frakker with the wolfhound? Yeah. They're here. Your- friend?- is probably around too. I didn't catch all of their names." Tisiphone holds the door open for the teenager, then Kulko — after making a grab for that missive he's just folded away — before heading inside as well.

Kulko, for his part, heads off in search of Oberlin. Age before beauty, after all.

There's a date at the top left corner. The letter is dated today.

It reads, in fairly frilly handwriting on a blank white sheet, "It is happening tomorrow at 1500 hours. We are shutting the place down. I am not lying to you, expect — unforseen complications. Doing what is right is never easy. You will know when it is time to close in — once I am gone. Should you choose to do this, be swift, and may God's mercy shine on you."
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