PHD #241: Understanding That Which Is Unknown
Understanding That Which Is Unknown
Summary: Cidra is fervent to find answers about about the 'abominations' and their activities. Trask believes she is entirely missing the point.
Date: 25 Oct 2041 AE
Related Logs: It Will Come When It Will Come (bomb in Sitka's Viper); Have One for the Road (Nostos' death); The Hard Choices (Raptor 305); The Long Patrol & As Flies to Wanton Boys (Trimix incidents); Gravedigging (Ethan's death)
Cidra Trask 
CAG's Office - Deck 10 - Battlestar Cerberus
Post-Holocaust Day: #241
Though it's not much bigger than the average ship supply closet, the office of the commander of Cerberus' air group has as much luxury as one can hope for aboard a battlestar: a hatch that locks. It is dominated by a blocky gray metal desk straight out of standard Navy supply. Behind it is the room's single indulgence, a high-backed rolling chair of almost comfortable-looking brown leather. That one, the CAG probably had to import herself. A few other chairs are shoved against the wall, able to be rolled over should visitors to the lair require one, though those are of the standard not-terribly-comfortable Navy offices variety.

The aforementioned desk contains a computer that looks rarely touched and an ashtray of greenish glass that is obviously frequently used, as well as the standard office supplies. The surface is usually cluttered with files, squadron reports, flight schedules and other aerial bureaucratic sundry of the day. A metal carafe, filled with water or coffee or tea depending on the CAG's whim, is usually at hand on the desk's corner. The rest of the office is packed with filing cabinets and wall shelves, the latter of which hold various flight manuals and military and historical books.

Any decorations on the walls are limited to professional awards and mementos from Major Hahn's past tours of service. It is largely devoid of the personal, save for one item: upon the shelf just behind and above her desk, serving as one side of a bookend to a collection of Raptor manuals, is a wooden statue of a small brown owl with very large eyes. A person might get the feeling of those eyes following him around this confined space.
Condition Level: 3 - All Clear

Cidra is off-duty. Not that such distinctions ever had *much* meaning to the CAG and, for the past month solid, they've disappeared even moreso. The hatch to her office is closed, but she's in there, as any of the air officers on duty in the cubicles could attest.

Never having been one much for formality, Bootstrap doesn't even bother to rap-a-tap-tap against the hatch door. Sure, he could send a memo, requesting a meeting, blah blah blah, but with all but Canceron accounted for on the recon front, he actually has some breathing room, which means he needn't be so exacting about his schedule. So, instead, he tries the wheel. After all, if the CAG is indisposed, it'd be locked, right?

The hatch isn't locked and Cidra does not, immediately, notice it opening. She's seated at her desk, smoking a cigarette, cup of coffee she's obviously been sipping on liberally within her reach. There's a haze of smoke (all tobacco, the cheap Picon stuff she typically puffs) in the small space. Non-smokers beware. She's in her duty blues, albeit with the jacket undone.

Her desk is piled with papers. Stacks and stacks of octagonal bureaucracy of, at least at first glance, the most boring kind. Old maintenance reports and duty logs from the deck. Some of them months old, if one cares to look. They aren't just one her desk. She's affixed some to her walls with tape, so they create a wall-paper of aerial bureaucracy of sorts. Certain names, dates and plane designations highlighted, though there's no readily obvious pattern to what she deems important in them. She's *staring* at one pinned up on the wall to the right of her now, making some chicken-scratches notes on a loose piece of paper. What precisely she's doing is not immediately clear, but she's very intent upon it. "I *know* it is here… it does have to be…"

Busy CAG is busy, it would seem, and the 'interim' SL is courteous enough to not disturb her… insofar that he doesn't announce himself or make any loud noises that might draw attention. Nonchalantly, his free hand closes the hatch and, yes, spins the wheel to lock because he is claiming monopoly on all displays of impudence here and now. So it is, just like that, that Trask languidly leans against one of the walls not occupying Cidra's attention, and simply sips from his nigh ever-present thermos full of Deck coffee. "Maybe you should consider using more than just yellow," is idly quipped. All that highlighting in the same color, after all, is somewhat counterproductive.

Cidra blinks. Repeatedly. It takes her a second to pull her head out of glaring at duty sign-in logs from May the 10th. She half-tenses with surprise at the sound of the hatch being locked, though she's smoothed whatever startlement she might feel from her features as she swivels her chair around. "Boots. What do you want?" She has that vaguely edgy alertness about her that comes with high and steady intake of caffeine and nicotine. His quip earns a snort. "I am not attempting the artistic. I just… wanted to focus my attention on certain things."

What does he want? That's a dangerously open-ended question. "World peace is the Miss Congeniality answer, innit? I'd settle for a steady stream of phenomenal," so phenomenal that the word is further accented by a gesture of his head and widening of those expressive eyes, "blowjobs from a particular brunette I wish weren't dead. That's about as likely to happen as the canned pageant response, though." Kind enough to close those ends now that he's already opened his mouth, the ECO adds, "What I want — although let's say what I'd like 'cuz that sounds nicer — from you," because being specific matters, "is to discuss a few things Wing-related. Looks like you want somethin' in particular, though, that's got you somewhat riled. Would you like some help finding it? 'cuz, seriously, that's a lotta yellow."

"I never pegged you for a Miss Congeniality winner, Boots," Cidra says, tone dry as dust. Quick puff taken on her cigarette. She frowns at his mention of blowjobs from the dead. And it's not in offense so much as a different sort of discomfort. More smoking. "All right. Sit down. This is nothing official it is just… some matters have been bothering me of late. I am trying to sort them in my own head. I am not even sure what I am looking for but I *know* it is there…" Sort them by papering her walls with aging Deck paperwork and making near-illegible notes and highlights on them during her off-duty time, apparently. She makes a few idle notes on a duty log from May the 2nd, lingering as she underlines certain names.

"Yeah, the moment it becomes about more than tits and ass, I ain't winnin' no tiara." Dry as toast — and Toast — that. Glancing at some of the papers scattered across the CAG's desk, Kal attempts to deduce what it is that is possibly being sought, completely disregarding Cidra's momentary discomfort. "I'm gonna wager it involves the Deck, somehow." Still dry. Also, still standing. "This about skinjobs?" That's actually not a joke. Certain names are popping up across all those sheets.

"Just looking into some old business based on some things I have learned recently…" Cidra loses herself in staring at the paperwork for a second, making some idle highlights around a Viper designation. A look up. And a blink. "This is not an official investigation. Such matters are not my purview. But I was wondering how certain incidents look now, given what was about Crewman Coll. That she may have been one of the abominations…"

It is a simple look leveled at Cidra. One so pointedly blank that it is all kinds of sardonic. Trask care about Official vs Unofficial? Seriously? Come on, now. "You mean there actually /is/ an official investigation?" Call him incredulous. Sarcastically so. As for what the CAG may have recently learned, he remarks, "So, that asinine project was called off for reasons other than it being asinine?" Strike Viper is something he long ago scratched off his list of sensible things.

"All such matters Crewman Coll was involved in are, as I do understand it, frozen while Intelligence and Security… investigate," Cidra says. "The Strike Viper I was never comfortable with in the first place. And I do not think I shall ever be. Whatever she was. It is not a thing one can 'prove' definitively. And yet… there were so many oddities surrounding the Deck after the attacks. Tampering with our air supply, the bomb in Raptor Three-Oh-Five, the death of Ensign Weber on a mission *for* the Strike Viper, the bombing of Lieutenant Nostos' craft, and Ibrahim's Viper…" Pause there. Smoke. Intense stare at old papers on her wall. She clears her throat. "Perhaps it was all Morgenfield… but perhaps not…"

The wryness curls into a smirk at the mention of Weber but no words are actually forthcoming. When Morgenfield is recollected, it is so casually that causticity is conjured. "Regardless, that," whatever he calls her is in Taurian and sounds like the kind of curt yet elaborately descriptive invective other languages lack, "is stained with death and blood. No less so should Coll's hands prove to be dirty." Oh, Morgenfield. Ever pragmatic, Trask asks, "What's the point, though? I mean, should it be both of 'em, what's it answer other than a niggling doubt?"

"It matters," Cidra says. More to herself than Trask, but tone low and fervent. "You know, I never much liked the woman, Boots. Coll, that is. She did not like me, either. I always found her to be reckless, arrogant, so desperate to prove herself… I thought I understood her, though. Enough to trust her to try and requal for an ECO, at least. Would have, had it not been for her injury. I nearly let her get so close, to my people, to my Raptors… I let her take Fresh under her Wing, and gods only know how that might have meant to his end. Let Lucky near worship her, take so much heat as a 'Cylon lover' after her death defending her… let her put her hands on my planes… to think that one of those abominations was so close with a knife at our hearts for so long… I must *know*."

"I never met 'er and /I/ didn't like 'er." It is not something he elaborates upon, although past the sarcasm is sincerity. Whatever his reasons, he keeps them to himself. For those curious members of the audience, it definitely has to do with the drunken violence that got her kicked out of the Air Wing and reprimanded into enlisted status. "Fresh… well…" No, he's not going to go down that road, either. Young and dumb and dead sums it up enough that he feels no need to state what he feels should be obvious. "And Lucky?" One corner of his mouth twitches with a derisive kind of mirth. Humor is oft cruel, after all. Nothing verbally needs to be said about Alessandra. The way Trask simply looks at Toast more than suffices in conveying any and all scathing sentiments. "You wanna go diggin', though, fine. I'll even pitch in, but it still isn't gonna solve anything. Whether or not she was… is some abomination doesn't eradicate any of the idiocy of one Lauren Coll."

"Yes, it does…" Cidra repeats. Low and stubborn, though she does not even seem quite sure what she's arguing with. "I must know, Boots. I just… they are among us. Does it not eat at you? The uncertainty over Coll, over Abbot… over what ever other of those abominations may still walk this ship? They serve with us, worm their way into our trust, fly beside us…?" 'Fly?' Neither Coll nor Abbot were doing that, certainly. "…and seek to destroy us from within. They are the enemy. They are worse than the enemy, worse than any Raider or Centurion. They are abominations against the gods, they are *foulness* made form…" She shudders. Taking a long drag off her cigarette. "…and I would know them for what they are…"

It is one of those rare moments of seriousness that now surfaces. Stoic. Impassive yet acute. Pensive. Assessing. Weighted. Finally, when he deigns to reply, it is with a deceptively simple, "No." Sincerely. "No, it doesn't." And it is now that his brow starts to furrow and those damnably emotive eyes offer glimpses of the great depths just beyond a usually blithe, flippant surface. "I don't make such a distinction, Cid. Monstrous is monstrous."

"There are monsters and there are monsters. And we still know so little about these abominations…" Cidra's cigarette is worn down to the filter by now. She drops it into her ashtray, staring at the walls some more. "I wonder sometimes if they cannot plant… thoughts in our heads? You know, Boots? Ideas. Dreams…" Another slight shudder. "They are biological machines, after all, perhaps they can manipulate us like that…" She's quite serious.

It's subtle; sardonic and self-deprecating, disappointed but unsurprised. It's there, though, this sentiment that infuses him. This is not a conversation he is going to have, having concluded that what he means is not understood. Unfair, perhaps, but that's his prerogative. Even so, to his credit, he does not derail everything. No, Bootstrap makes an attempt to be quasi-constructive. Setting down his thermos to retrieve his own pack of smokes — also pre-packaged but full of quality Allegheny tobacco — he idly shrugs, "Dunno. I'm no biologist, geneticist, headshrink, whatever. S'pose it's possible. Could also be your own inner-workings. Or the Gods, if that's your thing. Frakked if I know. I'm just a Black Country boy. Know what I know, an' all I know about what I don't know is that I don't know." Betwixt his lips goes the cigarette, zippo plucked from a different pocket.

"You ever Dream, Boots?" Cidra turns to look him in the face now. Her attention's been wandering to the walls, to her highlighted taped papers, throughout their conversation. Her tone capitalizes the words. "I cannot sleep some nights without Dreaming of late. When I sleep in the berthings especially." Which has not been all too common of late. The chapel, perhaps this office, other undisclosed locations. She's crashed in them rather than her bunk. "It started… well… it is something I have Dreamt of before but after… not longer after we left Sagittaron… and I do not know what it means…"

Lighting up, there are the requisite puffs that keep the slow incineration going. *Clack* goes the zippo, which is returned to its standard pocket. A long drag ensues, the rich, non-chemically laden tobacco deeply inhaled and appreciatively held within Kal's lungs before slowly being exhaled. "Sometimes." Concise but honest… and also not elaborated upon. "Any idea /why/, even if you don't yet understand the what?" is all he asks, for now. "Somethin' had to prompt it. I suspect you know the catalyst, even if you're not consciously aware."

"I do not know…" Cidra says. Sounds true enough, though she sounds unsure whether she *wants* to particularly know. "There are… so much happened. Coll's murder. Ibrahim's murder…" She pauses to light another cigarette. Long drag, slow exhale. "The footage of Picon, seeing it burned like that, those pictures of the Cylons on Gemenon… why do they hold those places, Boots, and leave others abandoned? How do those abominations choose who does live and who does die…? There is no sense to it. Any of it. If I could just understand it…"

Once more, the conversation is turning towards esoteric matters, which means Trask is inclined to steer it elsewhere. Even so, he can't refrain from sardonically noting, "There's as much sense to it as there ever was, Cid. It's all there in the history books. It's even in your sacred scrolls." For he most certainly does not number himself among the Faithful. "The names change. That's it. The dynamic is always the same. It might well be a fundamental aspect of the very nature of existence. It doesn't matter. It is what it is. That's. It."

"It matters," Cidra insists. Again, very soft, but fervent. She shakes her head, not arguing the point, but it's obviously one that's fixed in her mind. Another puff, focus back on Trask rather than whatever ephemeral her thoughts are really on. "Would you mind letting me alone for awhile, Boots? I am off duty." Despite all appearances to the contrary. "I have… matters to attend to." They probably involve more intense sprees of highlighting.

That it matters or not is not a point that Bootstrap is going to belabor. In his estimation, it would be futile and he is not the sort to waste time or energy on what he deems to be futile. "Yeah. Sure," he says, somewhat dispassionately. Chalk it up to fundamentally different systems of belief. "I'll see if I can scrounge you some pink or baby blue, or somethin'." Too. Much. Yellow. Reclaiming his thermos after putting the cancer stick back in his mouth, the Taurian turns to depart. "Happy huntin', Toast." The wheel turns to click into an unlocked position, and then pressure is applied by shoulder and body lean to push the hatch open.

Cidra mutters something that's probably a farewell of some kind, lights another cigarette, and buries her nose in her papers again.

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