PHD #416: What He Saw
What He Saw
Summary: Cidra asked Pallas what he saw in the CIC during Kepner's mutiny.
Date: 18 Apr 2042 AE
Related Logs: One
Cidra Pallas 
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.

The room is largely devoid of decoration, save one item hanging on a hook on the shelf direct above her desk: a set of prayer beads, well-worn olive wood and strung with a single, crudely-carved owl charm.
Post-Holocaust Day: #416

The CAG is back. Albeit she has not returned to full duty. Cidra spent the first two days after her rescue from the clutches of the Areion recuperating but she's back to work now. Still on light duty, albeit, but it's giving her time to sort through the chaos of April 15. Which is what's led her to summon one LT Pallas Ellinon to her office. She's presently waiting, hatch slightly ajar, smoking. The only visible signs of her recent captivity a nasty black eye and a bandage over a cut above her right temple.

Pallas took some bad hits out there in space fighting against the Evocati. Although he isn't badly injured, a series of minor injuries all over his body make his condition look worse than it actually is. Some cuts here, some burns there; it's the slight limp and the cane that really tops it off. Since the cane's in his right hand, he doesn't bother stopping to salute at the hatch, electing instead to stop a few feet away from her desk. "…Cidra," he says flatly in greeting. His voice is hoarse and raspy.

"Lieutenant." That's the also flat response the pilot gets from Cidra. "Close the hatch, please. This is a somewhat sensitive matter in the current ship climate." Whatever 'this' is. She can certainly get better debriefs on the battle royale with the Evocati from her squadron leaders, and the subject of this little chat was left at a vague 'to receive an account of that which took place aboardship.' "Sit." She looks him up and down, pausing on the cane. "How are you getting on? Our clash with the 'Evocati' has left so many in the Wing worse for wear."

Pallas raises an eyebrow when she asks him to close the hatch. Things Happened the last time that request was made. But from the tone of her voice, fooling around in her office again doesn't seem to be what she has in mind. "I'm fine," he grunts, limping his way back over to a chair and sitting down. "Superficial frakking wounds. They'll be healed in a few days. Not like you didn't go through your own little Gods-be-damned adventure over there."

"You should see the other guy," is Cidra's deadpan response to that. "Though from the after-action reports - scattered as they are - Lieutenant Colonel Baer is not in any state to be seen at present." She does not sound precisely celebratory about that, but she's not mourning, either. "Yes, well. That is done now. There were many adventures in the hours we spent upon the Areion. I gather you witnessed a fair few yourself, and not just in a Viper cockpit."

"You want to know what I saw, Toast?" Pallas asks, his voice already starting to heat up just from thinking about that memory. "I stood in the frakking CIC and watched as that blonde bitch hooked up a confessed Cylon to this ship. And nobody stopped her, not a frakking one. Not that beef-curtained Marine cunt, not that self-important Deck nerd, not even the high-and-mighty Bootstrap batted a frakking eye. And I swear to whatever Gods you believe in that I was this close to getting my sidearm. If I hadn't frakking hesitated wondering if I should shoot the Cylon or that traitorous bitch first, I would've managed to get at least one of them before the Marines took me away."

"I did want an unvarnished account of the abomination's appearance in CIC, yes," Cidra says. There's a sneer in her voice as she utters the word 'abomination,' though most of the rest of that just earns a flat stare. "I have an initial report from *Captain Nikephoros*…" The rank is stressed. "…but I would get a better handle on the matter before I have to deal with whatever fallout may come from this after Command has sorted it. Tell me what happened, Spiral. Minus threats against your superior officers, if you please. How did that creature reach CIC and what did it do when it got there? And how did it reveal itself as a Cylon at all?"

"Superior officer?" Pallas echoes disbelievingly. "She committed a frakking act of treason against this ship and her crew. She collaborated with the enemy and betrayed us all - Godsdammit, she's guilty of everything Kepner started his frakking insane mutiny over!" That last point is emphasized by striking his cane hard against her desk. "It came into CIC, holding someone by the neck. Don't frakking know who she was, but she worked in there, apparently. It dropped her, the drunk frak, and said it could save us all. It said if she plugged it in, it'd give her back the nukes, and then said that it wasn't the Model Two - which is what Strap-on had accused him of being - but Model One. Then they plugged it in. And took me away."

"Model One." That part is repeated flatly by Cidra. She takes a drag on her cigarette, just using a moment to smoke. "Did you know much of Allan Rejn before…this madness?" That's the only way she can sum up the events of that day. "I did not. I thought him a useless drunkard." Pause. "The worst sort of civilian instigator, who did nothing to help our predicament. I never even thought for a moment…" But she shakes her head. That is beside the point. "What would you have had done, Spiral? What other choice was there?" The question is not rhetorical, she does seem to want some attempt at an answer. "Apart from leaving us to Kepner and placing the Fleet in his hands. And I hear tell there were some on this ship who wished to do just that."

"Didn't even know what its frakking name was," Pallas grumbles. He gestures toward Cidra's cigarette, requesting to bum one from her. "I seen it around, drinking. Never talked to it. Don't know why the Cylons would make an ugly, fat sack of shit like that." He readjusts himself in his chair, the cane coming to rest up against his shoulder where he taps it restlessly. "I don't give a frak if there were no other choices," he answers. "I'd rather die a human than live having frakking collaborated with the enemy. Frak only knows what it learned from being linked to our Gods-be-damned ship. What it planted in our systems. It killed more of our people than Kepner ever did."

The gesture for a cig is recognized, and Cidra reaches for her pack to offer him one. Along with her lighter. "Intelligence is presently sweeping our computer systems for any sign of tampering or sabotage, from my reports from CIC. Not that this means we shall find any traps that may have been left behind. Perhaps we only put off dying by Kepner's hand that day to die in a week from whatever the abomination did to us. But we are alive today, Spiral. This is not the first abomination to offer its help to us. There was the Eleven held upon this ship, which assisted us in destroying the Cylon facility over Sagittaron, and if that was any trap it has gone months without springing. And…" A pause, before she broaches this, but after some hesitation she does. "…there is the matter of Salt. Lieutenant Ryan Shaker. The skinjob that flew us with during the Cylon attacks. Died with us. That, I have never been able to bring myself to understand."

Pallas listens in silence and lights up the offered cigarette. "You don't need to understand," he says quietly, his words trailed by a stream of smoke. "And I don't give a good frakking damn if those skinjobs did nothing but help us. They're still the enemy. They nuked our planets, Toast, they destroyed our frakking Fleet. So don't tell me how one, two, or even three Cylons did a service to humanity. Because, assuming that they're not doing what they do best and completely frakking with us and our heads, I concede that even machines may have exceptions to the rule. But it doesn't matter. We're at war. You kill the Gods-be-damned enemy. There's no time to reason on a battlefield. You pull the frakking trigger and sort the bodies later."

"But *why* did they help us, Spiral!?" And again this does not seem the least bit rhetorical. Cidra is in search of an answer, and most intently. "Did the abomination say anything as to its motives before they dragged you out of CIC? Because I do keep asking myself the *why* of it, and I feel I am…missing something important. Some vital thing, and it has come close to driving me mad at times." She admits it with a long sigh, and rather deflates in her chair. "Either they are playing some longer trick upon us, or we are embroiled in some way in some strange plot they are working against themselves and I just…I do not know. They *are* the enemy. They murdered us by the billions, attempted to destroy us utterly. And yet…that abomination in CIC did not murder us that day, and they have had other opportunities where they let us live when they could have killed us all. And that continues to happen, and I feel I am hanging my life on the *why* of it. What games are they playing with us now?"

"Who frakking cares why!" Pallas suddenly shouts. "Because I frakking don't. I don't frakking care if these Gods-be-damned machines suddenly programmed themselves consciences and decided to sacrifice themselves for the good of mankind. They're still machines, they're still murderers, and they still killed my frakking son!" His face is twisted in rage and hate, an ugly contortion of passionate emotion. "So what if some Cylon let the, what, couple thousand of us live for now? What's that compared to what they've already done? What they've continued to frakking do since this war began? You can wonder why all you want. All I frakking care about is how. How will they attack us next, how will they destroy us from within, and how do I find them and kill them all?"

Cidra is silent throughout all of that. The shouting does not seem to unnerve her, but it definitely deflates her intensity. She exhales long. "Perhaps it does not matter, Spiral." It's admitted in a small voice. "Perhaps it does not help us fly better or kill those which come against this ship any faster. I just…we are still alive. And I feel most days I should be, and I wonder when the end shall come for me, and why it has not come yet." She waves a hand. "Perhaps it does not matter at all. Certainly nothing you can tell me." It's unclear if that was meant to be a dismissal or not. But she pays more attention now to her cigarette than Pallas.

"Well, we've lost a quarter of the Fleet now," Pallas says flippantly, voice calmer as he returns his attention to his cigarette as well. And yes, he's discounting the Elpis as really being part of the Fleet. "And I'll say this. Kepner wasn't wrong. Our plan and priority has been wrong from day frakking one. We won't win this war by shitting our pants and running all the time. So something needs to be frakking done. Captain Nikephoros needs to be tried for treason and Command needs to draw up a plan of attack if they want to regain any sort of frakking confidence from this ship."

"Kepner's 'plan' was suicide, Pallas. We cannot keep scattering like sheep, but we cannot just throw ourselves uselessly on Cylon guns, either. There *has* to be a better way…" But Cidra shakes her head. "It does not matter." And whether she means that or not, she has decided to neatly close off the conversation. "Dismissed." For her part, she lights another cigarette.

Pallas stands up, leaning heavily on his cane, and tosses Cidra's lighter on her desk. "Kepner's plan was suicide because he was frakked in the head. You think I don't know that? I ain't saying we should do what he was trying to do. But we need to frakking do something." But she doesn't seem to be listening anymore, so he hobbles on over out of her office. Before he leaves, though, he stops in the hatchway for a moment and looks back over his shoulder at her. Then he's gone, shaking his head.

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