PHD #296: This Cell of Mine
PHD #296: This Cell of Mine
Summary: Vandenberg seeks out Khloe to talk about some deep, defining things. Cora pops in near the end.
Date: 19 Dec 2041 AE
Related Logs: Mouth Shooting Range, Hands Up
Cora Khloe Vandenberg 
Observation Deck - Deck 3 - Battlestar Cerberus
With a quiet view to the stars, this tends to be one of the more popular 'quiet areas' of the Cerberus. Up front is a small-unseated area for ceremonies or other activities while the seating rises up behind it. Each level rises up behind the one before it, comfortable chairs and couches set up for crewmembers to relax, get some work done or even take a nap. A large armored plate is lowered during Condition One to protect the interior against a breach in the glass.
Post-Holocaust Day: #296

Khloe has parked herself in a usual spot for her when she's introspective or otherwise bogged down with too much noise in her brain, although this time she's lacking her usual venting tool of a sketch pad. Leaning up against the bulkhead with an old time-worn leather satchel by her side, the Knights SL sits cross-legged, staring out into the starry night. Dressed in her off-duty greens - another rarity.

A shirtish form appears in the lit hatchway and pauses. The silhouette etched with the shape of a helmet and combat gear. A rifle is slung over their shoulder. The pauses is momentary before the helmet dips and lazy steps take the woman down towards the front. She unzips the front of her vest to let it hang loose by her side. A thumb runs the length of the sling up and down as she comes to a stop by Khloe, her head dipping. "Sir? Heard from Sergeant Constin that you wanted to see me." She doesn't look like she knows if she should sit or not. It sounds as if she is expecting something official.

Khloe glances up, her eyes dragging slowly, like she were someplace not wholly here. "Oh. Lieutenant. Looks like you're loaded for bear." Now that Vandenberg has closed the distance, another oddity: Khloe has her flight helmet with her, on the other side of her, and bits of the thick rubbery flight suit can be seen poking out of the satchel. Seems she's on alert status as well, but not in the berths. "If you have the time. We're still at condition two and I don't want to keep you from your patrols."

"Aye, sir. Condition Two. I'm the lead operations officer for the Corps, Captain. I sleep in what you see. I'm sure you know the feeling, sir." Vandenberg tilts her head forward with the allowed admition. The woman seems keenly even about what this could be in reference to. "Just finished some patrols. I'm officially off-duty at the moment but its not something I believe either of us will get to really be again for quite a few days. What can I do for you, Cap'n? I've got some time." Her fingers wrap aorund the sling to rest her hand high on the strap.

"I've been thinking a lot about what we last talked about." Well, talked isn't quite the right word; more like 'antagonistic discussion.' "There's been a lot going on lately. Uh," Khloe reaches up to scratch at her jawline in thought. "I'm not good with this touchy-feely crap so I'll just say it: Maybe you were right."

Color Van surprised. Her brow lofts in a somewhat controlled manner but what is said is obviously not what she was expecting to hear. She doesn't smile, though. The Marine is silent for a few ticks of the second hand. When her voice finally picks up, its low and quiet. "Elf said something about four walls. I'm not expectin tears or gushy hugs, sir, so don't worry about touchy-feely. Ain't lookin' for a victory, either. Just looking for some clarification on what you mean."

Khloe resumes staring out at the stars. "You told me that either I had everything boxed up so tight that I didn't care, which meant I needed to re-evalute some things. You also said, if I can't help but care about my people, then I'm likely not as secure in this cell I've created for myself as I think I am." Going back to the firing range incident, she is. "I think it's more the latter, than the former." She adds, her voice a little low and with a hint of shakiness. "And it scares the hell out of me."

Vandenberg takes a sharp inhale, though the exhale comes a sort of deflation as she takes a knee. Its not next to Khloe. She just drops in place, unslinging the rifle and seeming to hang her posture on the weapon with its rear planted firmly on the deck. "Figured, sir." She glances up to Khloe before looking away. Its not expressed with the sort of snooty 'I win' inflection that it could have. Its almost like a resignation. "Any particular reason that scares you? Anything that pops to mind, Captain?"

There's a short pause as Khloe's brows knit slightly as she considers what to say. "I'm… not sure I can really articulate it, but it goes back to what you were telling me. About how you wish things turned out differently." She shrugs lightly, shaking her head. "No, never mind. This was a mistake." She's clearly having difficulty articulating her feelings. Bringing her legs underneath her, she moves to stand, taking up her flight helmet and the satchel - probably intending to flee.

Van watches the Captain move towards a stand, now keeping those sharp green eyes focused on the Viper squad leader. "You mean the idea that emotions cloud judgment. That when you dull the senses with feelings then the edge of the blade can't cut as sharp as it may have to. That when you let it in then sometimes its going to keep you from fighting at your peak." Van rises, lifting the rifle. This almost looks like a conversation she wants to have - and not for the sake of the argument. "Sir? Before you go? Can I give you something else to think on? Without throwing insults, Captain. Honest. Nothing gooey or folksy or crap advice from someone who has never lived a life on Canceron. Promise."

Khloe is scowling, but not because anything Van has said to her has upset her. No, she's perfectly upset by herself, and she's doing her damndest not to show it. But what the shorter woman says clearly resonates with her, because while she's standing, she hasn't taken one step away yet. "Shoot," is her terse assention.

"Captain? You described it as your cell. Those walls. If its a prison then something is keeping you there. I don't think its your desire to be the best." Van is not swooping towards an emotional appeal. Its a straight and factual statement by her tone. "You're rock hard, sir. Right off Canceron and its a prideful thing. You beat a lot of ass to be where you are and frak anyone who says you ain't got rights to who you are." The rifle is reslung over her shoulder, a hand tilting back the front of her helmet. "But think back to your mates. You probably ran with a gang, aye skipper? Before you cleaned up? Had to fight some tough fights, no doubt. I bet you cared about them in your own way - despite what kind of people they may or may not be in retrospect. A friend of mine in high school said that the reason people from out colony are such spiteful fraks is because we care so much because we're all we got. Nobody else is coming for us when shit gets tough. All we've got is each other so we gotta kick ass and not wait for the sucker punch. So when we got our backs to backs and are surrounded, we fight. And we do it for each other." Van clicks her teeth and looks away. "Don't have to be croc tears or some of that crap, Captain. Just who we are. Some of us impose harder burdens on ourselves - especially those who understand what its like to have your back literally against a wall." Natalie meets Khloe's eyes. "I don't know you. Don't claim to. Just think I understand what you mean and it ain't about opening up like a frakkin clam, sir. No matter what they say."

Khloe takes in all Natalie says, not shying away her gaze at all. There's a cleansing breath at the conclusion of Natalie's words of wisdom. "You know," she says, swallowing something down in favor of keeping her exterior hard. "Sergeant Constin said more or less the same thing. Except he's not nearly as poetic as you. A lot fewer words, too. It makes what I'm feeling seem a lot less selfish." Gray-blue eyes search Vandenberg's face for a moment, and then she says, "Thank you. I'm… thank you."

Cora arrives from Deck 3.
Cora has arrived.

Natalie chuckles, the sound a bit self-depreciating. "I've fond that Elf is a man of few words but some astounding wisdom. There's a good magic to that kind of brevity. And thanks." Van dips her head to the Captain. "You're welcome, too. We're a trio of north Cancerans, sir. Maybe some of the last of our kind. Gonna be tough to figure us out. Don't have to be friends but I think we can at least understand each other. Need to vent at someone, I'm game. Even go a few rounds if you like. Keep the tip of the spear to a knife point." It seems like an honest invitation. Probably as close as Vandenberg is going to get to 'You can always cry on my shoulder, etc.' to another of their own.

Khloe is standing with Vandenberg near the plate glass looking out into the starry night. The two are apparently finishing up something of a quiet and touching conversation… as far as 'touching' goes with Canceran miner folk, that is. Khloe is standing in her off-duty greens, an old leather satchel slung over her shoulder and her flight helmet in her other hand. "I'd like that. But, I better move on. I need to find a place to crash out tonight and the couches here are pretty bad. Don't know if the Sergeant mentioned but I'm self-imposed homeless right now, avoiding certain touchy-feely folks in the berths. At least until I straighten my head out."

Cora enters the observation deck with a laptop bag over one shoulder and a notebook tucked into the outside pocket. She's in off-duty greens like most around here, though given the computer and paperwork, it doesn't seem like she's likely to be here seeking relaxation, precisely. A large group aiming for the door blocks her path to the couches for a moment, forcing her to step aside towards the windows. This brings Khloe and Vandenberg into her line of sight, and she nods politely at the two women, who she seems to recognize. "Captain Vakos. Lieutenant Vandenberg. Good evening."

Vandenberg looks like she just came off rotation. She's still carrying her GMAR - which is slung over her shoulder. The only deviation from uniform is the combat vest being unzipped down the front. "He didn't say anything to that effect, sir." Natalie appears thoughtful and glances away to the stars. Fingers drum once against the starched sling. "I'd say the Marine Officer Berths are open, but some there might be prone to dig at you similarly. But its quiet most of the time so you might be able to avoid it - assuming the Mistress Major is kosher." Natalie cracks her jaw with a practiced motion of her hand. "Otherwise I'd suggest an open brig cell or maybe stringin' up a hammock down on the ordnance deck. Nobody should bother you in either places. There's enough workshops down on Ord to escape, I'd think. All depends on who you can get permission from, sir." There's a more or less friendly expression given to Khloe before Vandenberg hears the greeting and turns to see Cora. "Captain Nikephoros. Eschewing the paper side of paperwork, sir?"

"Well, like I confessed to Elf earlier, I should've been a Marine. But I'll find someplace, Lieutenant. This is a big ship. I just need to be able to get down to the tubes quickly in case of a scramble." Khloe turns to the sound of the greeting, and spots Nikephoros. The Captain gets a curt nod. "Excuse me, I was just leaving." She meets eyes again with Vandenberg and hints at a small smile for the Marine before turning to head towards the exit.

Cora nods to Khloe as she exits, and then turns back to Vandenberg, ignoring or at least pretending not to notice the interplay between the two women as she replies, "Well, Lieutenant, my office is currently more irradiated than the surface of Tauron, so I have to make do with what I have. And I don't think command would care for people sleeping on the ordnance deck, just as a note. We prefer that area remain as secure as possible, for reasons I expect will be obvious."

"Would've done us proud, sir," Vandenberg comments to the departing squad leader. "Semper fi, Captain, and good luck." There's a terse nod to the Viper Driver before her attention falls back to Cora. "Probably not, sir. The topic was more to get the brain jogging about potential ideas rather than promoting literal ones." Van lifts a single shoulder in shrug, lifting a hand to run along the sling. "Shame about the office, sir. I'd say an S-Three office is better than nothing but then I realized the fallicy of the statement - only part of which is due to my not having an office." She seems completely serious.

"I should think so," Cora replies of theoretical versus literal suggestions, her tone bland. She does not continue on the subject. Instead she turns to the matter of offices, and nods, "Unfortunately I am hardly the only one left without a workspace, given that the entirety of the Naval Offices are currently closed off. It sounds as though with luck we may have them back in a week or two, though I don't expect much to be salvageable after the blast. It was lucky I had not left my computer there." She touches the strap of the bag where it sits across her shoulder, and then asks, "Is it standard to carry around a rifle, or are you on-duty in some fashion?"

Vandenberg shrugs. "Didn't think I'd ever hear about the voice of Command looking for a place to settle a desk at. I guess that makes sense, though. Everyone needs a place to put ideas to paper." She lifts a hand to unclip the strap to her helmet and swings it off. "I'm just coming off duty, sir. Like Captain Vakos, and probably yourself, Captain? You're looking at what I sleep in. Condition Two, as I am learning, requires a little more effort from me." There's a wry smile on her face that fades erratically. "I haven't heard anything so far, Captain. Just the rumors and such." Her voice drops and she looks around before settling back on Cora. "Sir? What's goin on?" There's some frustration with that confusion.

"Perhaps because the voice of Command's office desk has never before been destroyed by a bomb," Cora replies dryly, "Or so I would imagine, unless you've frequented far more interesting duty stations than I was aware existed prior to February." As for the helmet and the rifle and the explanation behind them, she nods, "I see." The question draws an arch to one pale brow. "What's going on with what, lieutenant?" she asks.

Vandenberg returns the dry remark with a similar gaze. "Yeah, I have, actually. Just trying to be conversational, sir." The last, though, gets more frustration than confusion this time as she swings the helmet up to grasp it by the edge. "With the attacks, sir. This is my first time being posted to a ship, Captain. I'm trying to figure out my duties. So far I haven't heard much of anything as far as details of the attack, how it happened, or what it means in terms of everything else. Trying to get an idea of our plans, sir."

Cora lifts a brow once more as Vandenberg clarifies her question. "Details ought to have been disseminated from your commanding officer," she replies, "As much as they are available. A Cylon fleet attacked, and debris from one raider crashed into the hull and happened to contain a low-yield nuclear device. It detonated, causing significant structural damage and, obviously, radiation. Engineering crews are still assessing the precise extent of the damage. I can't at this time speak to how the attack 'happened' or what Command's plan is for the immediate future other than to figure out what the problem is and how to fix it as quickly as we can."

At the very least the part about a nuclear weapon seems to surprise the Lieutenant. "Oh. ..Shit." Ahem. "Apologies, sir." The S-Three looks to her helmet nodding. "Right, okay." She takes a breath and looks around before settling back on Cora - looking a bit uncomfortable. "Alright sir, I won't waste your time. I was just up here to see Captain Vakos. Don't wish to keep you from the work, Captain." Natalie gestures to the laptop bag with her helmet before turning to move away.

"Indeed, Lieutenant," Cora replies to that 'shit'. As for the apology and the discomfort, she does not seem bothered, just nodding. "I would check with Lieutenant O'Hare or Major Willows-Cavanagh for further updates as information becomes available," she suggests, "At the moment I believe damage control is still underway, so it will be some time before we're able to begin repairs. Until structural integrity can be assured, we will not be executing any FTL jumps." That info dispensed, she nods to Vandenberg. "Evening, Lieutenant," and moves away as well.

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