PHD #433: Waiting for the Signs
Waiting for Signs
Summary: Bannik tries to spread the Good News of a Human-Cylon alliance to Cidra.
Date: 5 May 2042 AE.
Related Logs: None.
Bannik Cidra 
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: privacy. It is dominated by a blocky gray metal desk straight out of standard Navy supply with an equally standard-issue rolling chair behind it. A few other chairs are shoved against one wall, for those who drop by for whatever business they have with the CAG. The surface of the desk is covered by a computer and stacks of files and octagonal papers covering whatever bit of aerial bureaucracy she's mussing with that day. A few heavy books on air mechanics - mostly devoted to Raptors - occupy the shelves.
Post-Holocaust Day: #433

The hatch to the CAG's office is closed, though any of the air ops officers mucking around the cubicles could tell one that the CAG is presently within. The offices themselves hum along with that vaguely-restless quality so many offices do when it's creeping up on 17:00 hours. This is about the only place on the ship that functions on anything resembling a 'normal' workday schedule.

There is a light tapping on the door outside; when he is bid to enter — as he assumes he will be — Bannik does so. He is off-duty now, as evidenced by the fact that he doesn't carry a clipboard with him. He does, however, wear his duty greens. The irregular hours kept on the deck mean that just because it's 1700 hours, it doesn't mean that Bannik is on-shift.

"Colonel?" asks the Specialist. "Do you have a little bit of time for me? It's not — official or anything, but." He just lets that hang.

"Specialist Bannik?" comes Cidra's voice from behind the hatch. Then a pause, and clicking of what must be the locking mechanism before she opens it. The CAG herself stands on the other side, burning cigarette held between the fingers of her right hand. The place, not unusually, has the heavy smell of cigarette smoke about it, and her desk is a mess of octagonal papers. "Come in, please. What is it I can do for you?" Brows arch at the 'nothing official' bit as she retakes her seat.

"It's more a question of what I can do for you, Colonel." Bannik steps through the threshhold and into her office, taking a moment to assess the state of organization it is; it's generally a good barometer for the State of the CAG. "We haven't, well, we haven't spoken since I got back from Gemenon. And I know Cairn — McQueen — sent a letter to you. So." A pause. "I thought I'd come check up with you." He lingers near one of the chairs in front of her desk, glancing at it in wordless question.

"The creature that styled itself as 'Trevor Cairn McQueen'…" Cidra's tone is measured in a way that bites off every syallable of that name. "…wrote me a pack of lies to attempt to worm its way into my mind, yes. You do not need to concern yourself, Specialist. McQueen is the enemy, and I am taking none of its evasions to heart." A pause. "I am most glad to see you out of the brig, and Sawyer Averies both. I have no reason to believe the pair of you were not taken by force, and I thank all gods you came back to us unharmed."

"Well, Colonel, I do concern myself with it. Because it is clearly bothering you, and I was wondering if you wanted to talk about it." Bannik presses his case, quietly, but earnestly in only the way a teenager can. "Queenie flew with you. He fought with you. With us. With this Fleet and with humanity. And what he is doesn't change any of that. But it seems to make a difference to you, and I was wondering why." He tries to phrase it as a question; it's less confrontational that way.

"The thing that called itself McQueen…" That is apparently his full name now. "…was a Cylon agent. It lived among us for months, gained our trust, and may have committed gods-knows-what acts of deceipt and espionage. And perhaps even sabotage. Did it reveal anything of its mission to you when you were with it on Gemenon, Specialist?" A pause and she has to ask, "What is the condition of the planet? What have the Cylons done upon it?"

"His mission?" Bannik pointedly refuses to refer to McQueen as an 'it.' "His mission on War Day was to deliver the coup de grace on ships that survived the first wave. He turned on that mission; he refused to carry it out. You say that he carried out deceit and sabotage. But I bet that Intel and the Air Wing and the MPs are all pouring over files and trying to find out if McQueen is behind any sabotage on the Fleet. So tell me; have they found anything? Because I don't think they will." A beat. "His mission now? To try to get a human-Cylon alliance. That's why he took me. That's why he told me what he told me."

Cidra's eyes narrow at the pointed quality of Bannik's use of the pronoun. But it's not commented upon. "Its action while aboardship are presently being evaluated. Lieutenant McQueen was heavily involved with the development of the IFF transponder before our mission to Leonis. The transponder that was supposed to disguise our Raptor signals as Cylon." A pause. "The transponder that failed quite supremely to do its job, as our forces were unmasked promptly. And it wormed its way into the code-breaking of the Gemenon data, gods knows how it may have manipulated that 'message' for enemy purposes. Those two projects I think need to be looked at *very* closely." An arched brow at Bannik at that last. "To me, Mister Bannik? Why? Did I strike the thing that called itself McQueen as a toaster collaborator?"

"I bet we will look closely at it. And I think, once we do, we'll find that he didn't do anything to sell us out." Bannik sounds supremely confident of this; it might be the triumph of faith over actual facts. "To you? I don't know why he wrote to you. I don't know what was in his letter and he didn't ask me to come speak to you. I decided to come speak with you. Because, well, because I know how you feel about Cylons." 'Abominations.' "Tell me something, Colonel. I believe that our going to the Falls, allying with the Twos and the Elevens, has been foretold by the gods. Do you?"

Cidra's eyes narrow yet another notch at Bannik. "What did the abominations do to you on Gemenon, Mister Bannik?" Not that she waits for an answer before replying. "What I believe about Lampridis Falls is this. Something larger than ourselves, larger than the Cylons, is calling us to that place. It is important. And I do believe it might hold a key to finding something more than wrecked husks of worlds. But I also believe the Cylons are playing their own game on Gemenon, and with Lampridis Falls, and that they may be twisting whatever is important and holy there to their own devices. I believe our going to the Falls is part of our Path." The word is capitalized, the way she says it. "But whether it means our road to future, or our doom, that I do not know. Nor do I know why the creatures that slaughtered our family and friends by the billions are now so eager to call us friends, or enlist our aid to their strange purposes on my homeworld."

Bannik considers for a moment, taking all of that in. And then he replies with what is, perhaps, a non sequitur.

"I remember a story that people used to tell about the gods. A devout believer heard a news report on his wireless that there was a flood coming and said that residents had to evacuate the area where he lived. But he didn't leave because, as he said, he had the Lords' protection.

"And then the waters started to come and a rescue Raptor flew above his house and the pilot asked over the loud speaker if they could lift him off. But he said he didn't need any evacuation because he had the Lords' protection.

"The waters continued to rise. The believer retreated to the second floor of his house to escape the water. Soon after, a police boat came by and offered to rescue him. But the man said, 'I don't need rescuing. I have the Lords' protection.'

"The water continued to rise and the man drowned and died. And when he got across the River Styx, he came face-to-face with Hades. He said to Hades, 'I have always believed in the Gods. Why didn't You answer my prayers for protection?' And Hades said to him, 'We sent you a wireless report. We sent you a Raptor. We sent you a police boat. What more sign did you need?'

"Colonel, the gods have sent you dreams of the Falls. They have sent you Salt, who could not turn on this Fleet. The have sent you McQueen, who loved you as much as any human could. They have sent you Yazdah, who sacrificed herself twice for the Fleet. They have sent you Allan Rejn, who scarified himself to battle Areion. They sent you Rudy Kepner, who showed the fallacy of hate and revenge.

"So let me ask you, Cidra Hahn." He uses her first name, not her rank. "What more sign are you waiting for?"

Cidra's jaw tightens, particular at those mentions of Salt and McQueen. She listens in silence of the increasingly stone-faced sort. For a long beat after it she's silent. She just looks at Bannik, blue eyes as carefully difficult to read as ever, still holding her cigarette between her fingers. It's dropping ash on her office floor, but she does not seem to notice. Finally, tone very quiet and terse she says, "You are dismissed, Mister Bannik."

Bannik rises to his feet. There's not much he can do to stay in the room after that. "Just — think about it, Colonel. The gods are everywhere. The gods are in everything. They're not just in golden chariots or brass trumpets. They're everywhere. And if we don't see that, then we lose a part of ourselves." But with that, he makes his way for the hatch. "I'm sorry for bothering you, sir. But if you ever want to talk, I'm here for you."

"I will give you this piece of advice, Mister Bannik. Get to Medical. Promptly. I know not what the Cylons did to you on Gemenon, but it has clearly affected you deeply, and you should seek help before this talk puts you in serious jeopardy." That said, Cidra lets him go. Finally noticing she's wasted a cigarette, she curses softly. And lights up another.

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