PHD #139: Toying With the Sawyer Cat
Toying With the Sawyer Cat
Summary: Kincaid dangles an investigation that Sawyer just can't refuse.
Date: 15 Jul 2041 AE
Related Logs: Keeping Donut Busy
Kincaid Sawyer 
News Room - Deck 4 - Battlestar Cerberus
This room isn't huge by any means, but it does have all the updated equipment and a small news staff that runs the area.
Post-Holocaust Day: #139

Sawyer's a work horse, or has been at least since they've come back from Leonis. She keeps long hours, and has gotten into some rather bad habits. One of which she's occupied with now, consisting of her head being down on her desk, arms splayed at odd angles, and her face stuck to a stack of papers. To complete the image, there's a faint snore rattling out of her nose, but no doubt this can't be good for her neck.

A snoring Sawyer? Comedy /gold/ for lurking Military Police. Danny creeps up behind her. Creep. Creep. Creep. And then he gets down into a squat, his lips right by her ear. "Oh, /Sawyer/," he calls softly. "Get /up/. Time to work on a story and possibly to do some good for the human /race/." His voice has the sing-songy intonation of a mother trying to get a kid up for school.

There's an indelicate snort from Sawyer at the words, an irritated thing as if she's about to ask for five more minutes of sleep. One hand raises to make an annoyed flap, as if she can shoo Kincaid away like a buzzing fly. Fortunately enough, she doesn't make contact with the MP, as slapping them is usually frowned down upon. Even if they were once a collegue. One eye cracks open, trying to focus on the face hovering near her, but she doesn't sit up just yet for fear of cracking her head against his in the close proximity. "Whaddya want?" Comes the bleary question, lips still half smooshed against the desk's top. "Haven't come to berate me s'more, have you?"

"As much fun as that is, Sawyer, no." Kincaid stands up once more and pulls up a chair next to the formerly snoozing investigative reporter. He slaps a pack of smokes down on the desk next to her. "Smoke?" he asks. "I'll get some coffee going. I've got a — I guess we call them cases now — I'm working on." It's now seen that he has tucked under his arm a folder bulging with what looks like carbon copies of paper or something.

Sawyer lifts her head from the desk, making a swipe at her lips with the back of her hand in case some spittle clings to it. Not that she drools when she sleeps, mind! She eyes the pack of cigarettes, then pulls it closer to her so she can select one of the sticks from the bunch. "Yeah? Lay it on me." Her chair squeaks as she throws herself into it heavily, flopping backwards as she tries to wake up properly.

Water is poured through the coffee maker and some crappy coffee is put in the basket. And so it gets started. Kincaid makes his way over to the desk and flops down the folder, but leaves his hand on top of it. "Two conditions. One, this is my case. You're working /with/ me on it. Two, this is a case. You don't go to press until /we/ agree it's tied off." He looks at her, meaningfully. "We clear?"

Sawyer's hand gets slapped down right next to his. "Yeah, yeah, yeah. Gimme." She mumbles around the filter of the cigarette she's already started toking on, but perhaps knowing that's not going to fly, the cancer stick gets yanked from her mouth. "Alright. It's your case, and nothing gets leaked out to the public. This something you're going to get in trouble for feeding me?"

"Of course it is. Do you think I care?" Kincaid shrugs his shoulders. And so he continues. "What do you know about Piers Rene-Marie? He's one of the QUODEL guys, from the Picon representative." He flips open the folder, a series of handscrawled notes attached to a mess of carbon copies. They look like manifests and requisition orders and the like.

There's a quick bark of laughter at his response, a coarse thing that's born out of sleep-scratchy throat and a smoke laden voice. "Always knew I liked you." Her toes flex, causing her to rock slightly in her chair, and she takes a strategic draw on her cigarette when he asks about Piers. It gives her time enough to form an answer that isn't driven by personal motives. See? She has self control. Sometimes. "He's an accountant from Virgon, like me. Rather polished. Thing for scarves. Other than that, I'm sure he's skulking around the corridors some where. Why?"

"Well. I got from Allan Rejn a copy of the budgets that QUODEL was analyzing, to see if there were cost-overruns and the like, right? Figured I could show there was no way that Cerebus could possibly fight this out." Kincaid shuffles through his papers, passing one over to her, a copy of some report. "Person working on this side of things for QUODEL was this Rene-Marie guy. And I ran the numbers and weird thing happened. There weren't cost overruns. There were cost /underruns/." Danny pauses at this, as if the utter shockingness of the Admiralty getting anything done under budget should be readily apparent to all.

Sawyer leans into the common space between them, getting a good look at the report even while it's being slid her way. Woman has no patience, some times, and curiosity gets the better of her. "When we first undocked, there were all those ridiculous fires, remember? I 'came across'…" And the way she says that means it probably wasn't happenstance she 'found' something, "…an invoice about insulated wires. It looked like they were quickly trying to fix what was done by the lowest bidder before hand to cover up their mistakes. But…under budget? We were here to find ways to /cut/ their funding. If the Cerberus was under budget all along…" Sawyer tilts her head. "Thing Piers was cooking the books?"

Kincaid shakes his head. "No. Well. Maybe. But not in the way you're thinking." Kincaid gestures at the sheet that shows the report. "See. According to this, Cerberus was right on target for its budget. So how did it run under, you ask?" He flips the page. "Cerberus had /more/ supplies onboard than it was supposed to at its budget. It's random stuff; medical supplies, small arms, ammo, that sort of thing. But more than was budgeted. So the only way to have more but spend the same is if someone was deflating the costs." He snags a smoke from the pack that sits between the two of them.

Sawyer raises her hand and rubs at her eyes. "I'm clearly not awake. I'm not following you." In an effort to remedy this, she drags herself out of her chair and goes to grab a cup of that coffee that he brewed, the acrid smell of it already filling the air. "So. We're stocked. More fully than we should be. Which means someone was fudging the numbers in the ship's favor? So Piers was…what…helping the fleet instead of the Quorum?"

"Someone was moving additional supplies onboard. Like I said, I don't really know what to make of it. But it seemed weird, so I kept digging." Kincaid flips over some pages. These are the requisition order, the yellow carbon copies of octagonal papers he's been pulling. "Now, I focused in on the MP supplies, because those were the records I most easily had access to." He glances at Sawyer. "And some of them were genuine mistakes; wrong amounts got moved on, that sort of thing. But not all of them. So I isolated the ones that seemed the weirdest. And I got one name on them: Petty Officer, Second Class Marissa Langer of Support." He's just connecting dots here; his tone suggests he's not done.

Cigarette crooked in one hand, coffee cup in the other, Sawyer meanders the few steps back to her chair and is more careful about how she sets herself down this time so as to not get burned by either. "Okay, so we're following a paper trail…" She doesn't seem precisely excited by this blooming story just yet, but she's cautiously holding out opinion until he hits her with the full of it, so she's urging him to continue.

"Now, I would talk to Langer. But there's one problem: She died when the Centurions busted through the walls and attacked the ship." Kincaid flips a page. "So end of the line, right? But then there's something weird. Guess who she left all of her personal belongings to?" And here we come full circle.

"Piers?" Comes Sawyer's leap to a conclusion, looking for confirmation over the rim of her coffee cup with a pair of raised eyebrows as she takes a noisy sip. She really should have offered him a cup too, but perhaps like Sawyer herself, her manners haven't quite woken up yet.

"Bingo." Kincaid gets to his feet and lights his cigarette, going to get himself a cup of coffee as well. Now he walks and talks. "So it's still all very strange. But I did some asking around on the Deck when I was down there doing a background check. It turns out that if you want something down there, something that's not standard issue? Piers is your guy. He's something of a 'finder.'"

Sawyer settles her coffee cup on her trousered knee, paying no mind to the wrinkles that have formed in the fabric from spending too many hours at her desk. "And finding things is easy to do, when you know it won't be missed. Afterall, if these overages are off the books, no one's going to notice the dip in inventory because it's not supposed to be there in the first place. Seems you have it pretty cut and dry, why don't you just nail the guy?" Somehow her own verbage seems to amuse her, a glint sparking in her eyes.

Kincaid shakes his head. "Do I? What have I got on him? He's linked, in some really vague way, to someone who was linked somehow to some sketchy requisition orders." He wrinkles his nose. "Besides. I don't go that way, Sawyer. I like girls." Yeah, he went there. "Hardly enough. But I'm going to keep asking around the Deck. See if people down there know more about him. Try to figure out what Langer was. A lover? Someone in debt to him?"

Sawyer's fingernails drum on the porcelain of her coffee cup, "My guess? The former. The man has quite a way with the ladies, if I recall correctly. He's a looker and he's smart. A dangerous combination when a woman's panties are involved. They could have been in cahoots together, but my guess is she was malleable and he was just using her as she had access. The real question is, what was the purpose of these overages to begin with? QUODEL wasn't meant to be on the ship this long, just a matter of weeks really. Hardly enough time for Piers to burn through all that extra inventory to make it worth his while."

"But if he got the materials onboard /before/ Cerberus launched, he knew Langer before they were on the ship together. So take from that what you will." Kincaid smiles and perches himself on the edge of the desk with his cig in hand. "But a curious little situation, huh? I think it's worth looking into."

Sawyer mms quitely, thoughtfully. "The real question is, what were they planning on doing with all the excess inventory. Unloading it discreetly at the next port for a quick and tidy profit? Surely /that/ would have been noticed. I dunno. You going to pull Piers in and lean on him, or are you going about this in a quieter mode?" There's a pause, and a narrowing of her eyes. "This isn't Command cooking up something to keep me out of the way of the Cylon investigation, is it?"

Kincaid shakes his head. "Nah. He's the target here. If I pull him in now, he'll know I'm on to something and can back off and cover his tracks." He takes a sip of his coffee, perching the cup perilously close to the edge. "I'm hoping this'll go more like a good investigative story. 'Mister Secretary, we're going to publish a story tomorrow that says you've been skimming off defense department funds to pay for hookers and two summer houses on Caprica. Do you have any comment?'" His eyes then narrow. "Sawyer. I enlisted. I didn't get brainwashed. Would I do that do you? But hey. If you don't want in, just say so. I'll keep it to myself and you can find out when we make our move together with the rest of the ship."

There's a not too subtle grind of her teeth, the classic indication that Sawyer's inquisitive nature is getting the better of her and she's not about to be out-scooped. "Fine." She takes another sharp drag off her cigarette, the smoke expelled in a tight stream towards the ceiling. "I have some what of a history with Piers, I can sniff around him and see what stinks, if that suits you. I /do/ have other work to do, though, so you'll have to settle for half my attention on this."

"Ah, Sawyer." Kincaid pats her on the shoulder. "I knew you'd be in. And hey, put in any time you think you can. We've got a new Nugget that was just on the Hangar Deck. He should be new enough to be impressed by an MP coming to talk to him. Maybe he'll have some insight on what Piers's MO is down there."

Sawyer sighs overdramatically, as if she knows she's been had but can't do a damn thing about it. You can't dangle something like that and not expect the kitty to swat at it. "Yeah yeah. I'm a sucker. This better turn out to be something other than just a pretty boy lining his pockets because that's /so/ fifth page news beneath the ad for the local plumber. I'm a front page headliner kinda gal."

Kincaid smirks at that. "Snob. But to be a front page headliner kinda gal, you gotta be willing to chase the stories that look like page fivers. Nothing good was ever easy, huh?" He winks at her and picks up his folder, grinding out his cig on a nearby ash tray. "I'll be seeing you, Sawyer. I'll look into that MolGen stuff for you."

Sawyer scoots up closer to her desk, as if Kincaid's exit means she's got to get back to work. Or back to her nap. "Get me a copy of those inventory manifests, will you? I like having something concrete to refer back to when I'm chasing ghosts. See you around, Daniel."

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