PHD #408: They Love Us
PHD #408: They Love Us
Summary: Bannik comes to finally fix some of Rose's equipment in Hydroponics. They talk about love and loneliness.
Date: 10 Apr 2042 AE
Related Logs: Of Gears And Balloons
Bannik Rose 
Hydroponics - MV Elpis
Encompassing most of the port cargo pod, this area has been reconfigured to host a massive hydroponics operation. A latticework of catwalks and narrow ladders, pipes and transparent plastic enclosures, and grow-lighting surrounds rows upon rows of vegetables at varying stages of growth. Evenly-distributed pump machinery rumbles and clatters along, pumping nutrition-enriched water throughout the quietly moving system. A small portion of the hydroponics area deals with the cultivation of seedlings, providing a plastic membrane for the young plants until they have larger root systems. Rows of tanks line the outside wall, apparently some sort of algae growing facility - greens, ambers, and reds all cast a colorful tint. And at the fore area of the pod, many bins and tables and several refrigeration and packaging stations have been set up to handle the processing of vegetables harvested from this constant process.
There are workers here at seemingly all hours, monitoring the machines and the flow of life-giving water to the thousands of plants, transplanting new seedlings, or harvesting and packaging vegetables that have grown to maturity. At all hours, the facility is guarded.
A small set of rooms at the fore of the hydroponics bay houses a triage and first aid treatment center. The freighter's sickbay is a minimal affair, containing a few beds and some basic equipment. A front desk is staffed by a corpsman at all times, and there's a small waiting area consisting of plastic chairs and some old magazines. A small office, shared by the doctors and nurses who work here, stands privately off to the side, where patient files are kept under lock and key.
Post-Holocaust Day: #408

Another day in hydroponics. One day sort of blurs into the next, and with the epidemic on the Cerberus coming to a close, traffic between ships is beginning to pick up again. Every so often, those looking to stroll through the vast gardens, eager to view the technological wonder of vegetation supported by nutrient-laden water through a brilliant array of pipework and machinery.

Sitting at her desk in the small cubicle farm at the rear of the cargo pod is Rose, a mug of something long-cold on her desk waiting neglected as she dutifully sifts through paperwork, reports, metrics, and everything else that a scientist in charge of the food supply for the fleet would go through. She looks tired; at one point she rests her chin in her hand as she's reading the pages in front of her, and leavy-lidded eyes just trail off into space, no doubt viewing anything other than the endless machinery and green in front of her.

Enter Tyr Bannik. He, too, looks tired. Probably because between his normal maintenance shifts and special projects, his eight hours "off" has been turned into eight hours of regular work, eight hours of special projects, and then whatever time is left to eat, socialize, and sleep. Nonetheless, he's stolen over to the Elpis and is now seeking out their hyroponicsist-in-charge. He has two things with hip. One is a sealed plastic bag, like a zip-loc. The other? A thermos. "Hey, Rose?" It's phrased as a question. Is he interrupting? "It's Tyr."

Rose snaps out of her reverie, eyes blearily focusing on Bannik. "Oh. Tyr! Hello! Sorry, I was just, erm, thinking." She wipes at her face with both hands - she's not one to wear a lot of make-up, and today it seems she's gone without, except for some lip color, so there's nothing to smudge. "Is there something I can do for you?"

"I was more wondering if there was something I could do for you. I came to check on you." Bannik holds up the thermos. "I brought some tea that should still be hot." And he holds up the other bag. "And I finally got that RAM board for your computer here. I'm sorry it took so long. I could make lots of excuses, but, really, at least it's here now, right?"

Rose blinks owlishly. "I had forgotten you had even taken the old board away," she admits, sheepishly. "The machine just… started working. Sure, slower, like you said, but it's not given me any trouble. Tea?" She offers a small, hopeful smile, the tiredness fleeing at the prospect of caffeine in tasty form. "You can shut down that box and replace the board, if you like, and I'll find us two clean mugs."

Bannik places the tea down next to whatever Rose was (formerly) drinking, and then makes his way over to the control console so he can shut down that box. "So how are things going over here?" he small-talks while she goes to hunt for the mugs. "You look exhausted. But I guess we all are these days, huh?"

Unceremoniously dumping her own mug out into what passes as a liquid waste drain (which also happens to be a run-off in case one of the pumps malfunctions) she rinses her mug out in a sink and manages to find a clean mug for Bannik. Hers has a cartoon picture of a green thumb on it, with the words, "World's Best Gardener" on it - likely nicked from whatever cache of supplies last came through the civilian population. Bannik's mug happens to be a Leonis Tigers mug, a triple-A Pyramid team. Who knows where that mug came from. Returning to her desk she unscrews the thermos and fills both. "I've been working long hours. Not much else to do," she admits.

"You been going to prayer group?" Bannik asks it with a certain tone of concern, as if he's somehow scared her soul or faith might be in jeopardy. While the machine goes through its save-back-up-shutdown routine, the Specialist turns to take his mug. He glances down at it; his quizzical look suggests that he wasn't much of a Pyramid follower. He shakes it off — anyhow. "I. Uh." He transitions. "Have you read about that stuff down on Gemenon?"

"No, I haven't, and I feel ashamed because of it," Rose says, sinking back down into her chair. She produces a small bottle of what appears to be unrefined honey - likely one of the last bottles in the universe. With a small spoon she extracts a spoonful into her tea and then leaves it out for Bannik should he so choose, but she doesn't verbally offer it. "I've been working long hours," she repeats. "Just trying to keep my mind off of things. I should probably go to prayer, I know, it would help." A wistful sigh. "And if you mean the Scrolls of Pythia and the hard-line stuff, sure, who hasn't? I don't think I'm that devout, though."

Bannik shakes his head. He must be refuting both her guess at what he's talking about and the honey; he seems to be taking his tea black. "No. Oh, my gosh. You haven't heard?" It's said with a true tone of surprise. Then again, Tyr is a huge gossip, even with Tisiphone dead. "The classified after action report that got leaked. There's —" He pauses, as if it still blows his mind. "There are Cylons down there. But they're living with humans. Like, together. In harmony. We sent a recon party, and the Raptor was escorted by Raiders. It was like they were playful; they were skimming the surface of the water." Yes, it blows his mind indeed.

For a moment, Rose stares at Tyr, blinking in disbelief. It's as if her mind is having trouble processing what that means. "Are you certain? That doesn't sound right at all. I mean, why would they be trying to kill us and live with others? It doesn't make sense." She shakes her head. "It's got to be a trick," she rationalizes.

"That's what the report said. And it must be true; they wouldn't classify it if it wasn't true." Such is Bannik's enlisted-level intelligence analysis. "And — I don't know. The report said that they were mostly the 'Eleven' models. Those were the ones that — kind of helped us. I mean, on the first Foundry, for example. Maybe." His voice drops low, really low, as if he realizes the blasphemy in what he's about to say. "Maybe not all of them are bad. Maybe they're different. Like us. Not every Colonial is exactly the same way?" His voice goes up in the end, making it a question, even though it's not one.

Rose sips at her mug, face lighting up when she realizes the complexity of the brew with the honey added. But her delighted look fades at Tyr's exposition on the nature of Colonials and Cylons. "There's a difference between us and them, Tyr. We're flesh and blood. They're facsimiles. They're mechanized copies." She shakes her head. "They murdered my Aquaria, Tyr, and left her to burn and boil."

"I know. I know. And my Arielon." Bannik's voice is decisive, as if to say 'don't be mad at me.' "I — just. I don't know, Rose. How do you explain what's going on down on Gemenon, though? Maybe they're brainwashed. Maybe that's it. The humans." It would make sense, wouldn't it? It makes more sense than Cylons and Humans living together. And to stop himself before he says something else, he takes a big gulp of his tea, wincing a bit. It still is hot.

Rose wraps her hands around the mug, apparently not too hot to warm her hands. It can get chilly in hydroponics, away from the phosphoritic lighting. Her energy level begins to visibly deplete again. "I really don't have the time or the inclination to wax philosophic about the nature of our enemies, Tyr. I mean…" She sighs. "I've got more important concerns to worry about here, like production levels, and my lesson plan for science class tomorrow, and juggling the complaints of one self-important council body versus another. I don't care what's going on down on Gemenon, Tyr." That probably comes across far more nasty and snippish than she means. Realizing her mistake, her voice softens, and she changes topics. "Um, have you seen… how's the Chief doing?" Meaning Damon, of course.

Tyr's face falls. Clearly, he had been wrestling with this. Clearly, he wasn't expecting this response. He looks like a kicked puppy. But he buries his head in his tea and does his best to rally his expression. "I haven't seen him that much," confesses the Specialist. "You know. He's busy with a lot of high-level things, and I've just — I've been some other groups. But I need to brief him soon, so I'll be sure to tell him that you were asking after him." Smile? It's trying.

"It won't matter," Rose states, sounding already defeated. "You know, I thought, if I worked as hard as him, and if I gave as much of myself to the hydroponics effort, and the civilian programs that are going on here, as much as he did, I wouldn't mind that he is an insanely important individual over there and he doesn't have time for me. And I'm not upset about it. He's doing a lot of important work." Wow, where did that come from? Tyr was wrestling with a conundrum of cosmic importance, and it seems Rose is dealing with day-to-day insecurities. Both are as earth-shattering as the other's concern, and yet, quite far apart on the scales of life. Grimacing slightly, she whimpers, "I'm sorry, that's incredibly selfish of me."

Bannik shifts gears. Whrr. Whrr. Whrr. Whatever Tyr was hurt at, it dissolves at the sign of a Rose in Distress. He's quiet, though, as if he's trying to think of just the thing to say. He opens his mouth. No. That's it. Once again. Nope. Then, slowly, hesitantly. "Well, Rose. I — I'm not one to give relationship advice. I had a high school sweet heart back home and haven't been on even a single date since. But." Here he pauses again. "But I think you deserve to be happy. Or if not happy, then not lonely. You give so much of yourself, Rose Ibbhanas, and I think the least you're entitled to demand in return is that you not have to make your sacrifice all by yourself." He says it with a certain deep certainty behind it, as if he just doesn't believe it; he feels it. "'The gods lift those who lift each other.' You need someone to lift you up."

Rose looks like she's about to protest halfway into Tyr's words, but slowly the smile returns to her features. "You know, Tyr, I've no idea why you don't have someone. You always know what to say. You're very sweet, you know." She sips at her mug again, looking thoughtful. "Andreas was just… there for me, when I was weakest. When I needed someone the most." Never mind that Tyr was there too; after all, there were snottings. "I kind of… lept into things. I was still blind, too. Feeling very alone, but that went away when Andreas was around." A beat. "I'm feeling very blind again, Tyr. Should I wait for him to lead me by the hand, or should I try to uncover my eyes and see things for what they really are? That a civilian like me just has no hope to compete for attention from an important man like the Chief?"

If being sweet got ladies, Tyr would have a harem. But the bad boys get the girls, and Tyr certainly is not bad. But he musters up a smile; it even touches his eyes behind his glasses. "I don't think that's true. It's not — it's not like that." He's struggling for the words again. "It's not civilians are unimportant and the Chief is important. In love — like before the gods — we're all equal. It's not about the Chief and the Hydroponics Lead. It's about Andreas and Rose. And if he can't see that, then maybe he's the one who's blind. Not you."

"But he's a busy person, and…" There she goes, rationalizing it the same way she was just moments before. A sigh. Rose eyes the depths of her tea mug, maybe looking for any sort of divine or augor's inspiration from whatever may be at the bottom. "I suppose you're right," she admits, meekly. "I'm not sure I'm ready to give up on him, though. I feel as if I admit weakness, the next day he might be… I don't know, ready. Really ready. So I hold on."

"You're a busy person." Tyr confronts the rationalization. "But if he came here right now and said, 'Come away with me. I want some time with you.' Would you find a way? Would you make the time? Get someone to cover? I bet you could. A lot of people work on the Deck. The Chief's an important guy, but we get along okay when he sleeps. Or eats. Or whatever." He lets out a sigh. "I don't want to push you to do anything you're heart's not ready to do." The computer is shut down so he puts down his mug and grabs a screw-driver so he can get down on his hands and knees and pop the case on the unit. "But you should come to my prayer group, Rose. When you're with the gods, you're never alone. Give yourself up to them for a bit."

Rose smiles again, this time a far more genuine gesture. "You're right. Every time I stray from prayer I end up in a terrible rut. You're right, Tyr. You're always right." As the conversation drops off and Bannik begins to work, Rose comes out from behind her desk and, in a rare gesture, kneels beside the working specialist and gives him a peck on the cheek. "I need to remember that They love me, too," she states, and squeezes his forearm lightly. Innocent, but warm, gestures.

Bannik closes his eyes and beams real wide at the best, chaste as it may be. But it's a rare show of delight from the usually earnest Specialist. "Lots of people love you, Rose. But They always will; you're right." And with that done, the case pops off easily and the RAM board is fished out of its carrying bag. He presses its end against the empty slot — with just a bit of brute strength, and then. CLICK! "Bingo. You should be good. To go. Let me get the case back on and then I'll be on my way. I ought to be getting back."

Rose nods slightly, and rises to her feet again. "What would I do without you," she states with smiles in her voice. Settling back behind her desk, she watches Bannik finish up his work with head propped up by both hands, fingers interlaced and acting as a hammock for her chin.

"Be stuck trying to get someone from engineering to get someone over here to help you in — oh, the next five years or so." Bannik slapsthe case back on and then hops to his feet. He gives her cheek a quick kiss, and then a bright grin. "Gods bless you, Rose. I'll try to be back sooner, okay? And if you ever need anything, just give me a call. I'll always make time for you."

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