PHD #120: Your Personal Mileage May Vary
Your Personal Mileage May Vary
Summary: Ethan and Trask discuss the pilot's past, present, and future.
Date: 26 Jun 2041 AE
Related Logs: n/a
Ethan Trask 
Ready Room - Deck 7 - Battlestar Cerberus
Post-Holocaust Day: #120
With the hatches at the rear of the room, the walkways on both sides slope down towards the dais at the front of the room. The stadium seating forms a partial semi-circle around the speaking podium and provides enough seats for all three hundred members of the Air Wing. The walls are adorned with the patches of each squadron aboard and their mottos stenciled in white lettering above each one. Behind the podium is a set of large LCD screens that can display any matter of material from reconnaissance to maps to gun camera footage.
Condition Level: 3 - All Clear

A lot of things have been going on since Leonis, people running around, people trying to go back to normal, people just going as usual with the day to day business. Ethan has been busy with both official duty and free-time activities, but now, he needs to meet up with the new Leader of the Harriers. The different scenarios that have been hitting Cerberus have managed that people in the same Squadron don't know each other very well. Ethan doesn't know Trask very well and he has, basically, just heard comments about the man, but now, it is time to have that first face to face meeting. Stepping inside the Ready Room, wearing his pilot uniform, the young Ensign looks around in silence.

Comments pertaining to Trask are, at best, those of grudging professional respect. True, the man is a facetious jerkass with an inclination of being unabashedly irreverent, but he also knows his shit, so to speak. One would hope so, at the very least, seeing that the CAG gave him a command position that is quietly rumored to be an interim one in name only. Despite being a Squadron Leader, the ECO still avoids wearing his duty blues as much as possible. That isn't to say that he's currently off-duty, merely that he's wearing his greens. Sitting at one of the 300 lecture hall desks — one square in the middle — he intently regards the center LCD screen, which is showing flight footage from one of many engagements with Heavy Raiders. Tap-tap-tap, notes are typed on his laptop without a single glance towards its screen.

Upon spotting Trask, Ethan gives another look-around and then makes his way to where the man is. "Lieutenant Trask, did you want to see me, sir?" asks Fresh as he reaches him. He looks up at the screen that is showing the footage and he remains in silence, just looking at the video sequence. His attention moves to the laptop but he doesn't peek to see what he's doing. The young Ensign stands straight and offers a salute to Trask. More often than not, Ethan is seen wearing the Pilot outfit. More often than not, he just looks for a secluded place when he's off duty and stays there, reading, studying.

Reviewing flight footage is a mandatory part of everyone's work week, including Trask's. All things considered, the Ready Room is rather empty. The few others present aren't near the seat occupied by the jerkass' ass, even though it's the best section in the house. They keep to the sidelines, watching different footage on different displays. "That I did, Weber," he replies, still typing away, intent eyes on the LCD. "I heard that you did some shit hot piloting on the way back from Leonis and that you had the balls to volunteer for the HALO drop." It's all relayed quite casually.

Ethan keeps looking at the video footage and his attention is only called away from that when Trask speaks to him. He opens his mouth to say something but closes it right away, just looking at the footage again. Now, he speaks. "Yes, sir, I volunteered for the HALO drop. I wanted to help get everything ready for extraction." He clears his throat and doesn't mention anything on 'shit hot piloting'. "I would have stayed back to get more people, but the situation of the Advance Team was pretty critical and they needed immediate medical assistance."

Minimally, Trask shifts in his seat to regard Ethan. "Good on ya on all accounts, Ensign. Tough call to make, that." Leaving people behind. Odds are that if it was the wrong decision, it would be rewarded with some snark. Instead, it's a gesturing tilt of the head. "You can park it if you feel like it." Evidently, the El-tee is somewhat lax in regard to matters of protocol. Picking up a small remote, he presses a button to pause the footage.

Ethan is still standing straight by the moment that Trask offers him to park it. He looks at the LT and nods. "Thank you, on both accounts," says Fresh and then takes a seat. The Ready Room is a place that, for him, is going to be haunted, forever. The memories of those lost in battle are stronger when he's in this room but there is no way to avoid it. The Ensign leans his back against the seat and aims to relax a little bit.

Bootstrap lets the silence linger, as well as his gaze upon Ethan. Eventually, he simply says, "Just in case someone failed to mention it to you, I'm a straight shooter. I call a spade a spade. Contrary to popular belief, that means I'm capable of giving positive reinforcement when it's warranted. What's earned is earned and not requiring thanks." That relayed, he asks, "How're you settling in?" Apart from evidently having a satisfactory enough job performance.

"Yes, it has been mentioned to me before," simply says Ethan, his expression is neutral and he nods to his own words. He clears his throat and then answers the question, "I think the process is going well. During my first days, I found my mind was elsewhere and I had problems to focus." He nods to this and continues, "But as the days moved forward, I started focusing again." The man runs his fingers over his chin and cheek. "Every Harrier I met so far is pretty skilled, and I'm glad that the group took me in."

"Understandable. Getting shot up and left for dead only to be in a coma for a few months would cause problems. If it didn't, there'd be something seriously wrong." Tact, thy antithesis is named Kal Trask. "And, yeah. We have some really good people. Sorry I haven't been 'round to welcome you into the fold sooner, but my 48-hour shore leave turned into a seven-week stint. You know how it goes." Not even the horrors of Leonis are spared the man's blitheness. "Anyway, we can't afford to airlock people willy-nilly." That likely is a joke and not the real reason Ethan is now a Harrier.

Ethan shakes his head. "Yeah, that kinda sucked a little bit," offers Ethan, just to kinda follow the same mood and line of thought. The man does show a faint smile after the air-lock has been mentioned and he says, "Well, I've heard it's nice out there, specially if you don't have a flight suit…" He nods and adds, "Nice at least for the first 0.14 seconds." Some images of Warday come to mind and he says, "Waking up more than fifty days after Warday and not entirely understanding what happened? Yeah, it's not something I recommend… it took me to a very odd place."

"That /is/ the nature of crappy stuff." Sucking, that is. "You lucked out, though. Whether it's good luck or bad luck, well, that's a matter of opinion. Or, yanno, being a masochist." A pep talk from Bootstrap is like being kicked in the face. "At the very least, your being here is good luck for the squadron. Your personal mileage may vary." With that out of the way, the SL gets to one of the points on his meeting agenda. "So, I hear you have a background in aerospace engineering. You licensed, or is it just school stuff?"

"I guess you are right…" quietly says the Ensign and then keeps listening to Trask. He nods in acceptance after Trask finishes with the first part, no 'thank you' now, lesson learned. About his Academics, "Yes, I got my degree in Aerospace Engineering. A couple of my designs were scheduled for deployment in Leonis' Shipyard but that kinda went to hell." He stops, presses his lips together and then says, "I never got to 'work' for a company or anything like that. Those designs were made right before graduation. After that, I joined Flight School and was designated to Raptors."

The ECO faintly nods. "I'd tell you to take the exam, but odds are that no one's gonna get licensed for anything any time soon." That's what happens when the Colonial Society of <Insert Type Here> Engineers goes kablooey. Ever one to get to the point, Trask explains, "We're going to be starting inner-squadron cross-training. Pilots are going to learn the basics of counter-measures and, in some cases, manning the guns," which traditionally is the ECO's job, "and the ECOs are gonna work on their piloting. As it stands, we're ill-prepared for worst-case scenarios. Everyone also needs to get up to snuff when it comes to repairs. Shit breaks in-flight and there's no excuse to not know the basics of on-the-fly fix-its." Here's where it comes back to Ethan's schooling. "So, you've been taught to design and modify aerocraft, but do you actually know how to repair 'em?"

Ethan listens quietly and nods at the idea of cross-training. "That sounds good," is the only thing he says about it, but then the comment on repairs comes along and he presses his lips together for a few seconds. "Um, no, actually. I mean, the theory is of course there but…" He nods and takes a deep breath before offering, "My father was a worker in the Leonis shipyard. In order to encourage me to get my degree and my Pilot wings, he kept me away from the 'repairs' side of things." He runs his fingers overs his hair and finishes with, "I never really agreed with that, but I could understand his reasons so, I decided to just dedicate myself to school and piloting." In other words, he sucks at repairs.

That answer seals the Ensign's fate. "Theory helps, but it's no substitute for actual hands-on experience. I need to make arrangements with the Chief, but every single Harrier is going to learn the basics of in-flight repairs. A lot of it is jury rigging but that shit can save your life." No joke. "If and when your skills match your schooling, we'll see about putting you into a teaching role." That's right: responsibility. Trask's way of developing talent is something of a sink or swim approach. Might be a Taurian thing.

Ethan nods. "Sounds good." Yeah, that's pretty much his answer but he does continue, "I can't say that I don't find the idea to be interesting so, learning shall be something enjoyable." Another nod and then he adds, "Ummm… I think you should know. I mean, I don't know if you know already. Back when Captain Quinn and you were down in Leonis. I spoke with Major Hanh and requested her to allow me to receive Viper Training." He rubs his cheeks, "She allowed me to get that training with, of course, certain conditions. The first condition was to not let go of my duties with the Harriers and, I just wanted to tell you that I'm not planning on doing that. I'm using my off-duty time for that. I already spoke with Captain Sitka about this matter." Which means that he's not going to have a lot of free time, yay. "I informed Captain Quinn about this when she got out of the Recovery Room."

These days, everyone is working 10-12 hour shifts. Four of those hours are CAP, and the rest are divided into the requisite training quotas and flight footage reviews. With that in mind, the SL impassively admits, "Yeah, I heard. What you do on your downtime is your business, as long as it's not something that'd keep you off the flight line. Don't cut into your rack time, and don't skimp on your PT. Otherwise, if Shiv and the CAG don't mind, neither do I."

The Ensign nods to this and says, "I'll try not to disappoint." With that said, he gives the room another look-around and then focuses on Trask again. "It's a personal goal that got, during the days after I woke up, tinted with a desire for revenge." He presses his lips and nods again. "I wanted to go out and shoot every frakking Cylon for what they've done. I wanted to bring them down to honor the memories of the Green Gulls." He's showing a bit more of emotion now when he speaks, there's anger buried deep beneath his calmness. "When the days went by and my mind started to clear up, I understood that my main drive wasn't that. It was what I always wanted, my own dream, and my father's dream. But I can't lie and say that, deep inside, I don't have a desire for revenge." He looks down at the floor and back to Trask. "I think we all do, some way or another."

"Some people say that the best revenge is living a good life. Dunno if that's true, or if it's even possible." Faintly, Bootstrap shrugs. "I do know that anger addles the senses, and that you're honoring no one getting yourself maimed or killed. The rest, though, that's your thing. For all I care, you could wanna fly Vipers because you wanna up your odds of tapping some ass, or maybe you have a small dick, or whatever. Whether or not it's your dream or your dad's dream doesn't make much of a difference to me. Like I said, what you do on your downtime is your business, as long as it's not something that'd keep you off the flight line, and doesn't cut into your rack time or PT." Unabashedly blunt, as is his wont. Black Country people aren't known for being sensitive sorts.

"It won't," simply says the Ensign after listening to the whole speech. Now there's a bit of a moment of silence and then, he asks, "Is there something else in the agenda?" Yeah, maybe it's time to change subjects. He knows he wants to talk about the schematics of the new bird, but Harrier business comes first, so he listens.

"Something you want addressed?" is the conversational reply. "This is your forum." Apart from the part where Trask dictates the direction of the VAQ-141.

"As a matter of fact…" says the man, searching for something in his pocket. A piece of paper that has been folded many times over appears in his hand, he unfolds it and hands it over to Trask. "Sorry about it's state; the originals are in my bunk." The paper holds the schematics on the project Ethan has been working on with Crewman Coll. "The CAG asked me to show you this, since you have good experience in Aerospace Engineering. Crewman Coll came to me with the idea of getting something to carry the missiles that we are keeping on the deposits. Since neither the Raptors or the Vipers can carry anything like that, I came up with this." From the nose to the end, it looks like a Viper type of build, cockpit of course larger to fit two crew members. The wings star to open at about 2 feet from the nose and the form an arc, bending downwards, finishing on an angle of 75 degrees. So basically, the ship could be resting on its engine if it weren't for the set of two 'legs' attached to each engine block. "It's designed for speed but with combat capabilities. It is of course, not as good as a Viper when it comes to dogfighting but it can fight it's way out of complicated situations. Its main goals are speed and delivery. And when I say delivery, I mean big frakking missiles that could blow up a whole basestar with absolutely no problem."

Taking the paper, the senior officer gives it a looking over. "This all you have, or is there actually more to it?" he finally asks, still retaining the sheet.

Ethan shakes his head. "No, there's more to it. The actual schematics hold details on pretty much every single aspect of the ship. Weapons systems, FTL Drive capabilities, Engine tweaking needs, ECO Control systems, Missile systems…" He nods to his own words and says, "That piece of paper, I carry it around to add details as they come. Whenever I get an idea, I note it down, and if I later see it fit to add it to the schematics, I do."

Trask nods, glances at the sheet, then hands it back. "Bring a copy of the schematics by, an' I'll review 'em when I have the chance." Granted, with how busy his duties as the Squadron Leader keep him, it likely will be quite a while before he'll be offering any feedback. "Anything else, Ensign?"

Ethan nods. "Will do." Now he takes the offered sheet, folds it again, and saves it in his pocket. The man shakes his head and says, "No, that would be all, sir." He clears his throat and pats his chest. "Do you require anything else?" Worth to check before he stands. While he has heard many stories about Trask from Prince that would catalogue the man as 'cool', he doesn't know him that much so better be safe than sorry.

Prince was also a notorious perv, so his claims that the ECO is 'cool' might have a lot to do with said ECO tolerating aforementioned perversion enough to become a buddy of sorts. "Nope," is the simple reply about needing anything else. "If there is, you'll be sure to know." That probably goes without saying. "And if you need somethin'…" That is left to hang, although it sounds more like a 'just holla' than a 'frak off'. "Right, then. I'll see y'around, Fresh." That would be Trask's way of saying 'dismissed' if his going right back to reviewing the flight footage is any indication.

Ethan nods again and, this time, he does stand up. "Alright, then," he offers a salute but this one is a bit more 'easygoing'. "Will do. See you around, Bootstrap." Now the Ensign turns around and walks towards the exit, finally leaving the room and letting Trask do his job. It is possible that, since he was wearing his pilot suit, that he has to go on a CAP.

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