PHD #109: Warm Welcome
Warm Welcome
Summary: Cora formally meets the reporter.
Date: 17 June 2041 AE (backscened)
Related Logs: Hitchhiker.
Sawyer Cora 

The group has been understandably wary of Cora's sudden appearance near their hidey hole. When you're dealing with not only malicious pods of survivors but now Cylons that can look and act as humans, well…no doubt Cora's welcoming was a little colder than expected. With Kulko and Oberlin otherwise occupied with trying to get them off this rock, Sawyer's taken it upon herself to nettle Cora a bit and find out the ins and outs of woman before they have to flee the safety of the Embassy. As such, she's requested that Diesel bring the woman up so they can have a get-to-know-you chat.

Sawyer's made a home away from home in one of the offices on the third floor, the room cleaned up and arranged so it could almost pass as normal. There's a big mahogany desk with a leather chair set behind and a pair of mismatched client chairs in the front. If it weren't for the sleeping palate in the corner and the laundry line hung in front of the broken windows it might even be the office of a dignitary. If it weren't Sawyer sitting behind the desk.

Cora was initially pretty pissed off by that cold suspicion, and didn't take any pains to hide it, but some explanations were apparently delivered during her tour 'round Virgon House with Evandreus and snacktime with Tisiphone and Bannik, and since then the… prisoner? newcomer?… has mostly remained silent, out of the way as much as possible. At some point she washed her face, and her hair is damp around the edges as she's shown into Sawyer's office space, looking around before helping herself to a seat in one of those chairs opposite that big desk. "Hello," she says politely, "You're… Averies, is that right?"

Sawyer leans across the desk as Cora sits, offering her hand. "Sawyer Averies, that's right. You can just call me Sawyer, though I know it's difficult when you've had it ingrained in you by the military to call someone by their last name or rank. Do you mind if I call you Cora?" It's a rhetorical question by the way Sawyer just keeps on steamrolling with her words. "I appreciate you talking to me, Cora. I'm sort of the unofficial record keeper of our little journey down here. All the mission leaders will have their fancelittle reports, but I'm the one that gets to give all the raw details of humanity. My job is more personal, you know? Want a cigarette?"

Cora leans forward to shake Sawyer's hand and then sits back, weaving her fingers loosely together and resting them in her lap as she listens. One brow ticks upwards slightly, but her expression is otherwise neutral, maybe even faintly amused. It seems unlikely that she would prefer to be called by her first name, and there's a faint little twitch in her jaw when Sawyer does it anyways, but she doesn't attempt to correct the civilian. "Don't tell me," she guesses, "Journalist? Author? And yes, I'd love a cigarette. That marine confiscated mine just for fun."

Sawyer drops her gaze down to the left, pulling out a draw there and rummaging around like it were any other day at the office. A poorly battered blue pack is pulled out, cheap grade cigarettes tossed on the desk between them for Cora to help herself. There's a smile, genuine and full, "Journalist. Once upon a pre-holocaust, I worked for a magazine called Acropolis Monthly on Virgon." There's a pause as Sawyer fishes out a box of water proof matches from the chest pocket of her borrowed fatigue jacket, her heavy armor having been shucked and tossed on her bedroll some time ago. "The day we start treating each other like prisoners of war, is the day we might as well just surrender to the Cylons. You can understand our paranoia though, I'm sure you've heard there are…machines walking around that look us. Cigarettes, though, hardly seem like weapons of mass destruction."

Cora shifts again, leaning forward to collect that pack as it's tossed, tapping it reflexively against the heel of her hand before opening and drawing out a cigarette. She tosses the pack back and takes a match, listening as she strikes and lights and inhales deeply. Brows rise as she sits back, "Wait, they actually -are- cylons?" she asks, sounding surprised, "I was hearing they were people who had been brainwashed, or cloned or something. Not machines that look like humans. That's…" she shakes her head, "Different." Her head is tilted back so she can exhale at the ceiling before looking back to Sawyer, "So, how did you end up here?"

Sawyer leans back in her chair, cushioning her head back on the overstuffed, if split, leather. "Any way you slice it, they are conspirators of the enemy. I'm not sure what I believe yet, beyond they are bad guys. They claim to be kin, that's good enough for me." Sawyer's voice falls a little flat with that, eyes narrowing just a hint at Cora as if she's trying to see past the woman's exterior. The moment is broken when she once more sways forward to take her own cigarette from the pack that remains neutral between them. "How did I get here? I either made some very powerful friends or some very powerful enemies. Either way, I was sent by the CO and XO of the BS Cerberus, tasked with coming down here and recording things for posterity. The term is 'War Correspondent', but that's a bit laughable, considering."

"You've actually spoken with them?" Cora's brows rise again, "We didn't see any, on our ventures out. Didn't see many centurions until recently either, though. 'Kin' is… interesting." She smokes contemplatively, ignoring that moment of scrutiny with a glance at the laundry-line that ends in a faint grimace, and a shifting in her chair. The collar of her too-large white shirt gets a tug, the inside visibly yellowed, and then she refocuses on Sawyer and asks, "Given that it's not really a war? That's what they were saying downstairs. I don't really understand how it's possible that that's true."

"I guess War implies the sides are some what even. We're fighting for survival, not to win." There's a moment when Sawyer's silent, her lips occupied with the pinch of a cigarette, and soon the acrid smell of her own match is added to the air. She draws until she has a good cherry going, then shakes out the stick and adds it to a collection that's growing on the brass bass of a table lap that's servicing as an ashtray. "So who is 'we'?"

Cora just shakes her head, not commenting further on what must still be very recent news, to her. The end of her cigarette gets a flick, but she doesn't seem inclined to put it down, rolling it between her fingers instead between lungfuls of smoke. "There were other people in the bar where I was when the bombs hit," she tells the journalist, "Most tried to run home during or immediately after. About a dozen stayed, myself included. Sixteen. Four just took off during the last couple months. Two killed themselves outright. Another four were killed when Centurions finally moved into our neighborhood a week or two ago. The last five last week when we ran into another patrol on our way here. So 'we' is just me, I guess."

The chair squeaks as Sawyer swivels slightly, her gaze momentarily drawn to a jagged edge of glass in the window and beyond. She's quiet as she absorbs the woman's story, her expression thoughtful if not sympathetic. "How did you manage to survive?" Her tone is one of curiosity, not accusation, though surely talking to a journalist isn't completely without the Great Inquisition aspect.

Cora shrugs a little. "I ran," she says simply, quiet for a moment before going on, explaining, "They were all civilians. Bankers, businessmen, their secretaries… I mean, they just weren't prepared for this sort of thing. Not that anybody is, not that I was, but… they were out of shape, their instincts were wrong, they got scared and froze up…." She shakes her head again, saying, "I did what I could, for as long as I could, but our bullets did nothing against centurions, and they wouldn't run anymore and I wasn't going to die not saving them anyways."

Sawyer's cheeks hollow out as she takes a long drag of her cigarette, like most she's lost weight down on this Gods-forsaken planet, where survival has to overcome hunger. She has a rounded face to begin with, so you can't quite cut glass on her cheek bones, but perhaps after another month… "You know the old saying: you don't have to outrun the lion, you just have to outrun the other guy." The reporter's hand lulls to the side, ashing her cigarette on the expensive hand-knotted rug at their feet. "So you were a …lieutenant? Which ship? Which department?" If Sawyer's heard these details before, she's quite adept at acting as if she hasn't.

You could probably cut glass on Cora's cheekbones at this point. Definitely her jaw, but that may have been true before, from the looks of it. At any rate… she looks how Sawyer would look in two more months, and she smokes like she's used to doing it in place of eating rather than as relaxation. She doesn't comment on out-running the other guy, or looks like she won't for a moment but then just says, "They were dead whether I stayed or not." Her cigarette is nearly a butt already and she gives it another flick as her chin jerks in a nod. "Battlestar Atlas, 7th Fleet. I was the Intelligence Officer under Admiral Guido Muscilli."

Sawyer's eyebrows shoot up, "Intelligence officer. Swanky. But you know, the military wasn't my section of the magazine. I ended up on the Cerberus by fluke. What /exactly/ does an Intelligence Officer do? Besides…ya know. Sound swanky." Cigarette trapped between the first knuckles of her fore and middle finger, she raises that hand to use the gnawed nail of her thumb to trace a line across her forehead and move aside some of the short blonde hairs from her eyes.

Cora snorts softly and says dryly, "Yes, I feel very swanky." That shirt collar gets another flick, sarcastically showing off, and then she flicks her cigarette for real and shrugs, "Basically, we're given all the different intelligence a ship picks up — surveillance, recon photo and video, signals picked up, tips from agents… really anything and everything. We analyze it, synthesize it, and relay it to tactical and command, and then work with them as required to turn that intelligence into a comprehensive plan of action."

Sawyer gives a low whistle, "That'd be a hell of a liability…were the Cylons to get their hands on you." She thinks on that for a moment while she draws from her cigarette, smoke streaming out of her nose on the exhale. "Would also be a perfect place to plant one of their own meat puppets." A hand gets held up, palm towards Cora in mock-capitulation. "Just saying. When we make it back to the ship, you probably won't be placed so quickly back into your own position."

"A liability? When I've been so totally out of touch for four months? Not likely," Cora disagrees with a grimace, shaking her head, "I don't know anything of use to anyone, at this point." She flicks her cigarette onto the floor, grinding it out with a toe without concern for that poor rug, though her head is bent to watch it. When she picks it up again her expression is once again neutral, but somehow slightly more brittle, a little bit tighter about the eyes and lips. The latter curve, a twist of a half-smile as she says, "I thought you said the military wasn't your department."

"Oh, it's not." Sawyer waves a hand airily, disturbing the cloud of smoke that's clinging around her form from their combined cigarettes. "But humanity, ultimately, is. I was in the crime division. In the end, it's six of one and a half dozen of the other. I know how they'll react. We'll /all/ be under suspicion when we return. No matter how long we've been down here." The reporter pulls her lips into her mouth, re-wetting them with a pass of her tongue.

"And why's that?" Cora asks, sitting back in her chair and linking her fingers in her lap once again now that there's no cigarette to occupy them. Her head tilts slightly with the question, "Why would those of you who came down from the Cerberus be under suspicion when you get back? Did something happen down here where some of you could have been… replaced? Otherwise it would imply that everyone on the ship could be subject to equal suspicion, wouldn't it?"

There's a faint shrug from the reporter. "It's not as if we were prisoners of war, but I'm sure the mentality will be similar. Frankly, we don't know /what/ they are capable of. And if it is something along the lines of mind control, they would have had ample time to brain wash any of those thirty-some-odd we retrieved from the Tower, or…well. You, for example. So I imagine we'll all be looked at with a microscope before we're cleared to go back to life as normal on the Battleship. As…normal as that is."

"If they were capable of both looking like humans and mind control, I can't imagine there would be any of us left alive at all," Cora points out, "But yes, I've gathered that I'm under suspicion. It also seems to me that at this point, given our absence of knowledge about what they're really capable of, and the fact that apparently every person I have ever met in my life is dead, there really isn't any way for me to prove that I'm not a cylon or a traitor."

"Then what it boils down to is…faith. And trial and error, I suppose, though I don't really recommend the error part." Sawyer finally smiles a bit again before leaning forward to grind out her cigarette on the lamp base to add it's butt to the graveyard. "Twitchy trigger fingers and all. So where are you from originally, Cora?" She tries to remain conversational, but it's likely hard to think this isn't an interview of some sort. Cora Nikephoros, are you the right person for this position?

"There doesn't seem to be much room for error in any regard, here," Cora remarks in reply. At the question her brows rise faintly, as if in momentary surprise, and then she replies, "Caprica." There's a pause, almost expectant, and then she continues, supplying, "Yes, -that- Nikephoros family. Nikephoros Consolidated, etc." You know, the ones that own Ark Shipping and any number of other companies. The ones that number a Caprican delegate to the quorum of twelve and an admiral and several war heroes, just in the last couple generations. The ones who only a few months ago married off a son to the daughter of the Canceron delegate in THE society wedding of the year. The ones, Cora clearly expects, that -everybody- knows.

Sawyer might not recognize that name, but clearly Cora expects her to. Maybe Sawyer's just rolling with the punches when she follows up with yet another question. "So then how did you end up in the military?" The reporter isn't taking notes, but it stands to reason that she's filing all this away mentally.

Cora seems skeptical, but doesn't press the issue further, just shrugging at the question. "I decided I wanted to, so I went to the academy. How did you end up a journalist?" It's not asked defensively, her tone conversational, but there's a sense that the question is in some part a response to the one asked of her.

"Escaping the pressures of family by hiding in the ranks. Not the first time I've heard that story, Cora." Again, with the first name. It seems rank and file isn't exactly Sawyer's forte, or she's doing it on purpose to prickle the uniforms around her. "As for me? I have this annoying need to find out the truth. I'm nosy, plain and simple, and when I found out it's something I can get paid for? I'd be foolish to have not taken that path."

Cora lifts a brow. "Are you calling the colonial military and escape?" she asks, "You clearly know neither my family nor the navy. My uncle is an admiral. He and my father -and- my oldest brother were both decorated in the First Cylon War. I joined the military to excel, not to hide, Averies." Her tone is calm, if dry, but that use of her last name… well, it -could- be force of habit.

Sawyer gives another little shrug, as if that absolves her of any sins in this conversation. "As I've said. My department was criminal, not the military or the socialite section. So unless your family was particularly corrupt…" Her voice drifts off, allowing Cora to step in here if she'd particularly like to flame her family name.

"And here I thought you said all of human nature was your department," Cora returns with a smile, "Surely you can conceive of other motivations for joining the navy than a desire to escape into the rank and file. Especially for an officer. And no, my family and its businesses are not corrupt." Again with the present tense, indication enough all on its own that the news of the apocalypse (outside of Kythera) has not sunk in yet.

There's a twitch of a smile, as if Sawyer's been caught in some lie. "Well, you have to admit, trying to /avoid/ family makes for a far juicier story then just making mommy and daddy proud. Your motivation is more pure then most, so I'll give you that. So…do you mind if I ask you a personal question?" Like they've been completely impersonal up until now.

Cora smirks faintly, and just gives her head a little shake, pointing out to Sawyer, "You jump to conclusions far too easily. All that journalism training, I suppose." At the request to ask a personal question, she looks like she might laugh, but just shrugs, saying, "You can ask me a personal question if I can have another cigarette."

Sawyer reaches out to shake another from the pack until it's filter is hanging out and then offering it over. "…Do you want to change your shirt?" That's it. That's the big personal question. And as Sawyer asks it, her grin blooms more fully on her features, as pure and genuine as it gets.

Cora reaches forward to take that cigarette, and then pauses at the question, still leaning forward, and looks up at Sawyer. She's surprised, caught off guard, but there's a sudden laugh and she nods, replying, "Gods yes. Please."

Sawyer repays that laugh with one of her own, eyes crinkling at the corner with mirth. "I raided the gift shop of a wine bar. I'm afraid you'll have to live with wearing 'My Favorite Color is Wine' shirt, but it should fit and it's clean. I think you need it more than I do." Sawyer, after all, has had the luxury of doing some laundry, even if it means hand-washing in a basin of rain water with a schmoozed bar of soap.

"I've never minded wine, the drink or the color," Cora replies, "So I think I'll take it. Thank you." She's still not the most expressive, but there's a flash of a bright smile, and she sounds genuinely grateful. "We stole clothes and gear from the security office of a big bank downtown," she explains, "Sadly, none of their guards seem to've been women. And even if they had been I'd be very done with this shirt after so many weeks." She smiles again, repeating, "Thanks."

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