PHD #233: Vices
Summary: On the professional, Major Hahn and Captain Vakos discuss matters Viper. On the personal, Cidra alludes to why she's been avoiding sleeping in the berths of late, and Khloe gives her some friendly advice.
Date: 17 Oct 2041 AE
Related Logs: The Importance of Syllables
Cidra Khloe 
CAG's Office - Deck 10 - Battlestar Cerberus
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.
Post-Holocaust Day: #233

It's only a few hours into first shift, just past 0-600. Cidra, once again, did not spend last night in her bunk. Wherever she crashed (chapel or her office are the usual places, though sometimes she isn't in those either), she's up early, freshly showered and puttering around her office as the day begins. Going over CAP rotation schedules and, as also is usual these days, with her nose buried in very old Deck paperwork. Whatever the stuff is, it never really leaves her desk. Though it's just piled to the side right now as she reviews the roster. Tin cup of coffee sits within reach, cigarette burns in her ashtray. All of business, she is. The hatch to her office is slightly ajar, as it generally is when she's there and available.

And, characteristic of the arrival of a Poppy, there's her familiar *bang bang* on the bulkhead door. Always polite, this one, even when she's not being polite. Khloe steps inside, pulling the door back to its ajar state. "Major," she says in her quick, clipped speech. "I hope it's not too early." Naturally Poppy has already gotten up, done some laps, showered, and gotten dressed in her blues.

Cidra is in her blues as well and look as if she's been up for awhile. "Poppy. A good morn. Would you like some coffee? It should still be warm." Her cigarette is, very gently, put out in the ashtray. The small space isn't particularly comfortable if one is a non-smoker when she's puffing away. Though she's careful to make sure she can relight that particular ciggie later. "And not at all. I was just trying to get some bureaucratic odds and ends in order before CAP. I do not mind putting it off." Faintest of smiles. While she can manage the desk work with less obvious complaint than many pilots, she's happiest in the cockpit of a Raptor.

"Normally I wouldn't, sir, but since you're offering… half a cup," comes Khloe's response to an offer for coffee. "I steer clear of any sort of vice that would lend me an edge, or steer me towards dependency. Caffeine is more towards the latter." She takes a few more steps inside, coming to rest behind one of the chairs by the CAG's desk; she doesn't sit, quite yet. "Actually I was looking for some wing advice. I know Vipers, but I don't know the pilots so much, yet."

Cidra flits a somewhat wry look between her well-used ashtray and coffee decanter. The CAG is a woman of more vices than most would likely guess on first impression of her. Or that she'd freely admit to. She stands fluidly, reaching for the decanter on the shelf above her desk and another tin cup. "Very wise of you," she says simply, filling a cup half-full with hot, quite dark coffee. "Of course. I did figure that would be the more difficult part for you. Is for most when they are charged with any sort of authority. Flight is the easy part. Managing people…it is like herding cats. And the Knights are a unique grouping of cats. Sit, please."

Khloe slips into the chair as ordered, or rather, once the offer is made is when she allows herself to sit. "They're the best cats in the universe, sir," she says, perhaps the first genuine praise she's had for the Knights since taking the position of SL. "Non-regulation sheets and non-regulation underwear be damned, and gods' know what other non-regulation shenanigans are going on when I'm not around." She scowls lightly at the mention of regs being broken. "Feh."

Cidra sips at her own coffee, just listening to Khloe first off. "Bubbles bunk is a rather blindingly colorful thing, yes," she says wryly. "Well. I have, perhaps, let some matters slide that many commanders would not. I am quite sure Ibrahim did. He was a Reservist before…well, everything. So he took a rather loose hand with them when it came to certain strictures. Are these causing problems? In their duties, I do mean."

"As I said to Bubbles, 'don't let it become a distraction'," Khloe explains. "In other words, I'm letting it slide for now, but my rationale behind exceptions is, with one exception comes two. With two, come four. Regulations exist because we're naval officers that need structure in our daily lives so we do our job in the most efficient way possible. Distractions muddle that up a bit." She glances over at the CAG's shelves, not looking at anything in particular. "I asked myself if I was being a hardass for discipline's sake, or if I was projecting my own impossible standards for myself onto the squad. I'm not sure I have an answer, yet."

Cidra speaks not to any of that specifically. She just sips her coffee before saying, "Here is my rationale for letting Bubbles have her sheets. And Lieutenant Bell his goatee, which does not pass the Regulars' grooming standard. And Apostolos her T-shirts, and Sophronia her Picon Panthers jersey, and a thousand other little things. I ask myself, do these hinder my officers in their primary duty. Which is risking their lives each and every day in defense of this ship. And I say…likely not. I ran matters tighter on details in my Raptor squadron on the Aegean, and even back with the Open Arms. I shall admit to that. And I paid more attention to such things when I began this assignment. But now…Poppy, we cannot pretend nothing has changed. Everything has changed. We are not just the Knights and the Harriers that were shipped out from Picon. We are a patchwork of ex-Reservists, rooks, 'orphans' from installations on Picon and Leonis and Sagittaron and Aerilon, former civilians who barely flew freighters before we asked them to become combat pilots…and each day they go to war. And I do figure these little things bring them some comfort. We have all lost so much…Make it somehow easier for them to do their duties. So I pick the battles I think matter to the heart of it, and give a bit of leeway on the ones that matter less." Barest hint of a smirk. "And at times I have let matters slide that I should not have. This I know."

Khloe listens to her superior officer, friend, and mentor as she explains her point of view. Stone-faced, she makes no indication one way or another if she agrees or disagrees, until it's time for her to speak. "I think that if we were to fly into Hell tomorrow, that it would make a difference if my bunk was properly made and dressed, my boots were polished, and my uniforms were hanging up, pressed and immaculate. At least, I'd die knowing that I did everything by the book. That's more important to me than anything else. It's… compensation, I think." She scratches at the crook of her left arm idly, likely without realizing she's doing it. "I find that any little distraction ends up being a mountain to overcome. Regulations exist so I don't have to climb mountains every day. At least, that's why I follow them so closely."

"Each pilot in this Wing would die for this ship if I ordered them to," Cidra says. Spoken soft, more to herself than Khloe. It's a thought that chills some deep part of her, but she believes it absolutely. "This I have proven true. The Harriers, much as he often aggravates them, would drive straight into a fire from which they would not emerge on word from Bootstrap. And I firmly believe the Knights shall do the same for you. Ultimately, they are your pilots and you may enforce the existing regulations as you see fit. I let Ibrahim run them as he would. And, apart from one matter…" Rueful twist of her lips. "…I was generally pleased with how they did under him. You shall be a very different model of leadership, I do think, but I believe they shall do well by you as well. Though I do advise you allow them some time to get to know you, and your expectations, before being too harsh them with. Respect is a given, owed to the rank and the wings. Trust…trust is earned. I try to earn it each day with the lot of you. Some days I do better than others."

"Cidra…" Khloe begins, voice uncharacteristcally soft. She then frowns at herself, forgetting her place. Clearing her throat, she says, "I mean, er, Major. Everyone trusts you, implicitly. I've never heard anyone say otherwise." She rolls her shoulders, though, nodding. "Yes, trust, that's something I'm going to have to work on. I trust them. They, likely, don't trust me as of yet. Shiv was well-loved."

No correction from Cidra on the use of her first name. If anything there's a flicker of, perhaps, regret when Khloe quickly reverts to 'Major.' Though there's no comment on that either. "They do not know you yet. That comes with time. No other way to build it. As for Ibrahim…" And it's always the given name from her for that one now. "…he had to earn it hard, too. I had one officer in here screaming at me about my disrespect for the Navy and lack of care for the lives of my officers when I appointed him to the Es-El spot, because he had not flown as a Regular in years before the bombs fell." She shrugs. "Well. Ibrahim was no saint, and we had some very…spirited discussions at times. But he was good on a stick and he cared for the lives of those under him. Those are the heart of it. Those, I do think you can manage. Not that it shall be easy at first." Her smirk curves another notch. "I had no right clue what I was doing when the CAG gave me lead of the Open Arms back on the Marsyas. And circumstances there were far more ideal than what we face now. Just fake it until you learn it and try to do right by those under you. All any of us can do, really."

Khloe dips her head down, eyes downcast. "Yes, sir. I'll work at it. And, if you don't mind, sir, if I could drop by, on occasion?" She glances up at Cidra, then straightening up in her seat. It's as if she's unwilling to let her guard down, even for a moment. "So I can ensure the CAG is satisfied with my work, of course."

"Most certainly," Cidra says, to that last. "My hatch is always open to you." Unless it isn't and she's locked herself away in here, which is actually becoming more and more common lately. Her own personal guard is a funny thing. Her manner is carefully schooled to easy composure. It's a less hard thing than Khloe's, but she's just as guarded about letting it down and revealing much of herself. Her fingers idly toy with a pen as she speaks to the SL. A replacement, perhaps, for that fixation to her digits a cigarette usually acts as an outlet for. "Now. To business. You did wish to speak of wing assignments? There is much to sort of them, with the recent promotions and Ensign Davis permanently off flight status. Not to mention the new ensigns we need to sort out."

Khloe nods, her tone of voice suggesting she's back to business. "I was considering who to pair Ensign Devlin with. Despite having earned his wings, I think his attitude could use some hardening. I was thinking, a more experienced, less-casual Viper pilot might be better for his wingmate."

"I'd recommend you keep him with yourself, or Lieutenant Sophronia, Bell or McQueen, to start with," Cidra says with a nod, as to Devlin. "Simulators and CAPs in clear space are one thing, but he has not seen combat before and he shall need a steady lead when he does for the first time." When, not 'if'. The apparent abandonment of Aerilon by the Cylons has, if anything, made her leerier of what they'll face in the future rather than calmer. "Bubbles is a solid combat pilot but, of course, is not an option for his section lead." She seems to think the reason for that obvious enough that she doesn't have to state it.

"I was thinking of keeping him as my wingman, mainly because we've flown CAP before and I think I've put the fear of the gods in him, so it'll keep him on edge," Khloe explains. "The downside to that particular assignment is that the Knights, particularly Bubbles, might see that as me riding him hard."

"A wing pair is about creating a combat team more than anything else. Someone who shall follow your lead when things get hot, and in turn shall risk their life to keep Raiders off your six," Cidra says. "Decoy is green as they come, he needs a veteran section lead. That is the only consideration that matters. But, you have good pilots you can pair him with if you are not comfortable in it."

Khloe scowls slightly. "Oh, I'm perfectly comfortable with it," she explains. "Normally, I wouldn't give a flying frak if they thought I was being too tough on him. But, in the interest of 'trust', I'm not sure they'd recognize it for what it was: training the green Ensign to be as good and disciplined a stick that he can be." She shrugs again. "I'll have to mull it over. The other assignments, I think, are easy enough. I may review Shiv's old logs and see what worked, and what didn't."

"If they ask, simply explain to them the logic behind it," Cidra says with a shrug. "I have never feared explaining myself to those under me. Even when they did call me a dumbass." Smirk. That does not sound like a random example. "Very good." A pause, another sip of coffee. It seems she's on point of dismissing the captain. But she does not. "How are…how are things with the pilots these days? I mean, during their down-time. I have not spent as…much among them as I do normally." An oblique reference to her non-sleeping in the berthings, though she does not come right out and cop to that.

Khloe scratches her fingernails on her thigh lightly, considering her words before speaking. "Things are… as they are, I suppose. There's the usual downtime activities. And then there's me, who spends very little of her time in the berths when she's not sleeping or dressing," she admits. "The only person who spends less time in the berths than me, is the CAG. Sir." She appends that little bit to make it an official response to her inquiry and not a personal one, although her eyes betray a hint of concern for the woman sitting across from her.

Cidra's fingers continue to toy, slowly but idly, with that pen of hers. Tap, tap, tap against her desk. For a moment here eye contact, which is generally constant, with Khloe breaks. Focusing on the wall behind the captain. And beyond it, gaze growing somewhat distant. "Yes. Well. You have noticed that, have you?" She actually sounds surprised, though the increasingly regular absence of the CO from her bunk has been both obvious and odd. "I have been…having difficulty sleeping there for some time." The past month, particularly, though she started spending less and less time there upon their flight from Sagittaron.

There's another long pause, as Poppy struggles with what she's going to say next. Her fingernails scratch again, but then she balls up her hand into a fist and just rests it on her thigh instead. "Dropping rank, Major, if you're comfortable with that," Khloe offers. "You can confide in me, if anything's bothering you."

"Dropping rank, 'Major'?" It is repeated with a sort of wryness by Cidra. "That is what we call a contradiction in terms, Khloe." Barest hint of a smile, though it does not touch her cloudy blue eyes. Which still remain on the wall beyond the Viper pilot. "It is nothing. It will pass. Chapel and…clearing my head helps some. I just…cannot do it in the berthings." There's a pause, where it appears she might just leave it at that. But she does eventually add, "It is just a dream. Recurring dream, I suppose. Ever had one of those, Poppy? That you just…cannot shake?"

Khloe exhales slowly, nodding. "Yes. Memories taken form in a dream, or nightmare, about my past. About giving in," she explains, her voice quieter. And then she grows quiet, eyes dropping down, as she no doubt recalls some of her worst.

"No, it is not a memory," Cidra says, very firm on that point. "It is not even…it is not something that ever entered my mind while waking. It is no memory. No nightmare, either. It is…" She is *very* reluctant to put a precise finger on it. A hint of color creeping into her cheeks. "…I would prefer not to go into detail. It is of a rather…intimate nature." She clears her throat, finger fiddling a bit more intently with that pen.

Khloe cracks a thin smile, actually showing teeth. "Cidra," she says, no longer faltering with her friend's name. "You don't have to explain. Whatever it is, you'll find a way around it. Or, you'll confront it. But, how I handle those kinds of dreams is, well, I draw. I'm not very good, but it was a skill I picked up at the rehab center. It was described to me as an outlet for feelings that I'd normally chase away with morpha. Some sort of creative, constructive outlet." She glances at a nearby chronometer. "I have to attend to my duties. Talk again soon?" She hasn't adopted her usual authoritative voice just yet. Perhaps the longest she's let her guard down since the Marsyas.

"I…do not think any good can come of drawing this," Cidra says, blushing a bit deeper at the idea. She clears her throat, blue eyes focusing back on Khloe. She's never made an issue of the woman's past, though with her full access to all the personnel files she's aware of it in as full detail as the Navy provides. "But an outlet. Constructive. Yes. I do need to find someone to…Good idea." A short nod, and she clears her throat again. Dropping her pen and plucking up her cigarette. Though she will wait to light it until Khloe's gone from the office. Faintest of smiles at the other woman, though this one does touch faintly upon her eyes. Still guarded though they are. "I…I thank you, Khloe. For your time. But I shall not keep you further. Clear eyes and steady hands out there."

Khloe stands up, and she's back to business. "Thank you for your time, Major. Have a good morning," she intones formally. Another slight smile for her friend, and then she's out the door.

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