BCH #009: Tillman Interview
Tillman Interview
Summary: Sawyer appropriates Captain Tillman for an interview, but digs deeper then the typical sound bite.
Date: 16 Feb 2041 AE
Related Logs: None.
Sawyer Tillman 

News Room

Sawyer has appropriated a desk in the news room, crammed into a corner with a single chair in front of it. On top of the flat surface is littered with tools of the trade, her laptop taking up the majority of the space. She's busy typing, concentrating on the screen while her fingers fly over the keyboard in an almost rhythmic clickity clack of keys.

Tillman shows up at the hatchway and raps his knuckles onto the door, creating a dull thunk that's highlighted by the 'tink' of his wedding band against steel. The man is in his Navy Blues but doesn't look like he's done anything special to prepare. "I'm looking for a Miss Sawyer Averies?" he offers, taking a few steps into the room and looking around at the equipment.

Sawyer pulls a poor abused pencil out of her mouth when she hears her name, offering the entering man a smile as she slips to her feet. "That would be me." She indicates the chair across from her with a little dip of her hand, "Please, have a seat, Captain Tillman?" The question, of course, is whether or not this man is her appointment, but she can read the pins on his shoulder easily enough to know she's at least got part of it correct.

"Yep. It sounds like we're both in the right place." The Captain nods and moves towards the chair, sitting down slowly. "So I take it you just need some quick blurbs from me on the launch, et cetera?" He leans back in the chair, already comfortable.

Sawyer pulls out a tape recorder, "Do you mind?" She asks, but she's already flipping it on. "That's right, sir, just a few quick questions for the readers back home." The way she says 'sir' is merely out of respect, not out of deference to his rank. Sawyer seems rather at ease conducting this interview, as if it's just purely routine. "Sorry, I'd offer you coffee but they haven't set up our machine yet. So, tell me about the launch." Conversation, not a list of questions she memorized for the man.

Tillman dismisses the recorder with a wave of the hand. "No, that's fine. Just be aware that nothing I say should be construed as official policy or commentary by the Colonial Fleet or government. I'll also ask for a complete copy of the recording when we finish." Maybe he's done this before? A leg lifts and rests an ankle over the other knee while has hands clasp. "The launch..was fairly routine from my end. Most of what you all saw on the Obs Deck was the official ceremony but I was stationed down in CIC. I guided the ship out from the drydock - which is standard stuff. Though I hear you all had quite a show up there. The operation in itself is sort of like having all your friends in the car guide a blindfolded mate in the driver's seat out of a parking spot." He's friendly and relaxed about all of it.

Despite the recording, Sawyer's still making little generalized notes on a pad of paper with the occasional scratch of her pencil. "Weren't there budgetary concerns that expedited the launch?" Someone has done her homework, it seems. Her brown eyes are inquisitive, but her expression remains friendly and open.

Tillman looks thoughtful at the question. "As you are aware of the delegation's mission, you are probably aware of some of the controversy surrounding the launch. Whether or not it was expedited is above my paygrade. That is something that would have to be taken up with the Colonel, Admiral, or potentially public affairs. All I can say is that the personnel in CIC were ready for the launch and everything was business as usual for us."

Sawyer grins a bit widely as she gets the comment about it being above his paygrade. She nods simply, then presses on to other matters. "So everything is running as well as can be expected and the ship is now underway to Picon to rendezvous with the Commander? Was the fire in the galley just a fluke then, or do you believe it might have had something to do with the pressure to get underway and full safety measures were not yet in place?"

"Sadly I can't comment on our specific orders or where we are heading. All I can confirm is that we have left drydock and that we are going to be conducting carrier qualifications for the air wing and the ship itself." Tillman seems a bit surprised at the mention of the galley fire. With a long breath, he exhales through his mouth and shrugs almost imperceptibly. "I can't honestly say. See, I do speak for command and issue orders in their absence, but I'm afraid that is more a question for Engineering. See, every ship in the fleet has had its share of accidents and minor incidents. Be it physical problems caused during production, human error, or any number of things. These are unavoidable and its part of the risks of living out here on deployments."

Sawyer bounces the eraser of the pencil against her pad of paper, carefully watching Tillman for any answer in his physicality that isn't being verbalized. "So you don't know what caused the fire. How do you explain that only one stretcher responded to what could have been a much more severe disaster? Is your medical department understaffed?" The question comes faster, being fired quickly before they can get off topic.

If Tillman looks like he's feeling the pressure, it doesn't register outwardly. He takes his time to think over the question. He looks to the ceiling as if it provides a clean slate for him to compose his response. But he finally looks back to her. "No. The cause of the fire, as far as I know, is still under investigation. The military has to do its paperwork so sometimes official statements take time." He shrugs, the gesture almost apologetic. "If medical is understaffed, that would be a question for the Chief Medical Officer. However, my gut reaction tells me that it is not. See, the fire may have been potentially deadly. But every single member of the fleet is trained in minimal firefighting duties because everyone's lives depend on it. Nobody should be running from a fire like that. As for the single stretcher team? One of the reasons we do that is a principle of warfare called 'Economy of Force' which means that you dedicate the amount of force or supply needed to complete a task and nothing more. The idea is that you don't misdirect needed personnel or forces into an area when they could be called upon to be used for something else later or in the meantime. If there was only one stretch team dispatch then I would venture to guess that they only required one."

Sawyer politely listens to his entire explanation, but no doubt her mind is whirring in a million other directions. Hence the use of an audio recorder, it catches everything that she can not, in the moment, so she can play it back later. The fire seems to be a dead end, so she switches topics like flipping a page in the book. "Prior to the launch it was my understanding that there was an alcohol ban on-board. Why was it instated?"

"Ah, yes. The Alcohol Ban." Tillman nods a few times, looking to the floor this time. "As I recall, that was instated by the Executive Officer when he stepped off the Raptor. It could be for a variety of reasons. Either he is not a fan of drunk sailors, or he felt there was some reason. Like anyone else, I don't have the luxury of questioning orders. Though it may be to prevent sailors from getting drunk and commenting things to the press. I can't say for sure, though. My standing orders dictate that the ban is to be lifted after the delegation is off the ship."

Sawyer grins broadly at his answer, "If that was the case, then they really ought not have rolled out the drink cart at the launch party. A night of celebration is far more disastrous then the occasional sailor taking the occasional nip. So there is no official statement as to the reason for the ban?" Same question, asked again, perhaps hoping for a different answer or just asking for clarification.

Tillman offers a light chuckle, giving the woman a lopsided smirk. "If that happened, then its Command's prerogative. Though now I'm a little jealous I couldn't be there." He's conversational and genuine about the answer. "An official statement? No, I'm sorry I don't have one. Just my speculation which-" he reaches out and taps the desktop next to the voice recorder "-you already have recorded forever and ever."

Leaning back in her chair, Sawyer seems to relax a bit, that hungry gleam dulling in her eyes. Perhaps she's out of questions to hound the TACCO with. "Beer and ambrosia. It was quite the celebration. I was a little disappointed they didn't break a bottle of champagne over the console in CIC or something of the like, but I didn't quite know what to expect. This was my first time to attend a launch."

"Ah, the breakfast of champions." Tillman's smile holds fast. "Oh I would have enjoyed that, myself. Grab some Petty Officer at random and give them the honors. It would have been a neat moment for them." Or at least that's how Tillman probably would have done it. "So was the launch what you expected? And I am curious - what have you been told or heard about the upcoming cruise? Other than what I've said, obviously."

Sawyer tucks her pencil between her forefinger and middle, toying with it while she talks to Tillman. It's the physicality of a reformed smoker, as if she's sorely tempted to spark up the eraser and toke on the lead. "Besides it being a dog and pony show to appease the Quorum that their dollars are well spent? Not much. A series of war games. Why don't you enlighten me? I feel a bit like a fish out of water, I've never dealt strictly with the military before. You'd be doing me a helluva favor by not making me look incompetent to my editor back at home." Her features soften and perhaps that's the first honest thing she's said in quite a bit.

Tillman recognizes the gesture. He looks to the pencil and back to her but doesn't say anything. Sawyer might spot the outline of a pack of cigarettes in his pants pocket. "Well I can tell you that we do feel differently. From my perspective? A ship like this coming out to deployment is a big deal. While the press may see a dog and pony show, we see it as rendering honors to all the hard work put in by crews to get this class to where it is. Life in the fleet is quite unique, see? I started out my career in the Marines and even then, the transition was huge. Its a lot of time away from your family. The pay isn't competitive with what most of our job offers are outside the fleet. Most career sailors stay in for the honor and prestige. It sounds hokie to some people but there you have it." Tillman's voice has taken on a more honest tone than the 'official interview' inflection he had been exercising. "But sure, I can help you out. Unfortunately I can't give you anything juicy right now." Its not in his voice but in his eyes. There's something he isn't saying and its on purpose.

Sawyer tilts her head slightly, watching his expression with a slight touch of a smile at the corners of her lips again. "I would consider it a privilege to be brought around to your way of thinking. More citizens should know what it is the men and women of the Fleet have to endure, just to ensure our safety on a daily basis." Sugar coating? Perhaps, but she delivers it so smoothly it just may be the truth. Teach me - she says. Change my mind - she challenges. At the last, her eyebrow is quirking up. "/Right now/ you say. Does this have anything to do with the Baker squad sweeping engineering?"

The man seems surprised she knows about that last bit. He opens his mouth but stops himself. He keeps his quiet for another moment before restarting. "Baker squad had a mission assigned by the Master at Arms. I'm not privy to the details of it." He clams up right there. What he may have been implying seems to have gone with the wind as his eyes wander back around the room. To the rest, the man seems to be considering it. When his eyes finally come back to her, the TACCO's words have a certain weight to them that would probably still be obvious in the recording. Its not just his body language as the man sits forward. "Bringing yourself around to my way of thinking isn't required. All that is required to do is for you to get back to your roots. When you were in college, I bet you spent a lot of time discussing the idea that there were two sides to every story, eh? That you had to find out who was snowing you and who was giving you the real deal?" Tillman looks into her eyes. "See the problem here is politics. You know how dirty it is. The military is trying its best to do its job. The politicians aren't bad people, but they have their own agenda - just like the military. But these men and women believe in what they are doing in the same way that a police officer does their job. Sure it has perks and the experience can't be gained anywhere else, but when you have to leave your kids for a year-long cruise and your wife is crying? Your youngest doesn't understand?" Tillman shakes his head.

Sawyer's whole demeanor quiets down, including her words. Gone is the self-assured reporter, in its place just a woman. Just a woman with a tapping pencil. "I can't even imagine. It must be hard." Nevermind the fact that she's just signed on for this rather long assignment, herself. There's a long pause in the conversation, as the weight of his words just sits between them. Then that slow smile is reforming on her lips. "You honestly expect me to believe, though, that the TACCO has no clue why a security team was dispatched with orders to use necessary force?"

Tillman doesn't say anything to the first as if the silence might lend weight to what he's saying. But Sawyer decides to push harder so he sits back, that more honest demeanor brushed aside. "I have the logs of radio traffic that night as I was standing watch. If a security detail was sent out, that was under the orders of the Master at Arms. I work with the Marines, but I would prefer they handle their issues and give myself or command a brief when all the details are available. It would be similar to someone giving you half a story and a lot of speculation. You can't do anything with it because you can't confirm anything else. Sure, you can dig. But when your digging would only slow things down? Why would you?"

Sawyer holds up her hands in capitulation, "Sorry, sorry. It's by definition my job to dig. I understand if you can't give any official details." She reaches out and clicks off the recorder, indicating that the interview is over. "Is there anything you'd like to add off the record, Captain?" When a door closes, you open a window.

"I don't blame you for doing your job any more than you blame me for doing mine. Nobody is the enemy. We're just doing what we think are the correct actions in the situation. You need a story and quite often people have a right to know." Tillman's easy smile returns. "There's no crime in that. just realize that if you ask me questions like that, you will get a line." At some point the recorder has already clicked off. "Sure. If you genuinely want to understand what life is like on a Battlestar, I can probably help you out. Maybe. Beyond that, we'll see what develops. If I can help you out other ways, I'll do what I can. But it takes trust, would you not agree?"

Sawyer tosses her pencil on the desk, taking the time to slip to her feet respectfully again. Her hand is offered across the table for an amicable shake. "It was a pleasure meeting you, Captain Tillman. No doubt you haven't heard the last of me. Get this ban lifted so we can have a drink together sometime." No mention of trust, perhaps it's just assumed.

Tillman rises with her and nods his head. he reaches to take her hand, clasping it easily. "It was a pleasure, Miss Averies. Contact me anytime but realize my position sometimes requires a delay in response. Perhaps after the ban." There's an almost official movement to him as he bows ever so slightly at the waist out of respect before he starts moving off for the hatch.

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