2236-11-06 - Why

Cate demands answers from Jacob about what happened on Hibernia a few years ago.

Date: 2236-11-06

Location: Rec Room

Related Scenes: None

Plot: None

Scene Number: 860

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No lie that Jacob likes to be left alone when he drinks. Maybe that's just a priviledge he gets as King of the Gym. Unofficially anyways. Wouldn't even call him an instructor or trainer, but he seems to be the one people go to if they want a lesson. Or just better tips on how to work out better, that whole thing being a physical trainer never really seemed to go away. But just as his role in the gym is what it is, people have also learned to leave the man alone when he drinks. It's his off-duty hours, so he doesn't want to be bothered, considering how there's little to no privacy in the bunkrooms. Days like these he misses his apartment. Had room.

So tucked away in a corner of a rec room he sits at one of the smaller tables, sketch pad infront of him, a bottle next to that. At least he wasn't lying about the whole loving drawing thing. Because that's about one of the few hobbies he keeps for himself. Since nobody but him considers drinking a hobby. Seems like he's done away with a glass these days, deciding drinking from the bottle leaves out adding the step of pouring. But he's here, sketching, taking inspiration from an art book of some kind that's been set open infront of the sketch pad.

It's late. Most sensible people are either on watch or asleep. But Cate still suffers from occasional bouts of insomnia, and the confrontation with Jacob in the gym hasn't done much for her sleeping habits. Listening to the snores in the barracks area got real old real fast, so she wandered down to the rec room. At least here there's a TV. The door opens and she steps in. She takes about five steps before she realizes who's hunched over the table there. Then she stops still.

For being apart of recon teams, Jacob sure does display a certain sort of obliviousness when it comes to stuff happening around him. Maybe because he's on ship, and he simply doesn't really care about who comes and goes, or what their affairs might be. They leave him alone when he's off-duty, and he content to leave people do whatever they happen to be doing. He's just drawing, lost in what might be a better world for him. One where he hadn't frakked his life up. A pause to change different pencil leads, exchanging one thickness for another. Sean said many years ago that depending on the thickness of led usually helped with shading, while lighter leads were more used for fine details. A thicker one is picked up, while his other hands takes a long pull from the bottle.

The motion is mechanical, like this what's always done. Like he's always been in this spot, having never moved. The only difference this time is the snort of frustration, enough that he tears the sheet of paper out of the spiral, crumples it up into a ball and lazily throws it near the trash bin. Which, it misses, tumbling on the deck. Starts all over again.

Cate just stands there, watching him. It feels like an eternity, but probably wasn't more than a minute. So familiar, and yet so different. The same man, but not. There's a moment where she considers just doing an about-face and walking right out that door. But no, she can't live her life running away. That's then followed by a moment where she considers marching over and punching him in the face. But no, she had her chance to do that in the gym. So instead she just walks straight over to the table and sits down in the chair opposite him. No words. No invitation. She just sits. Frowning.

The book he taking inspiration from was some kind of fantasy role-play game. Some kind of thief? Rogue? Something like that, so that whole thing about him being a huge nerd wasn't a lie either. Nor about the fact that he loves to draw. But that does beg the question, just how much he told was the truth and how much of it was a lie. He doesn't look up right away. "I said I didn't want any frakking-" he starts, looking away from his paper to stop dead in his tracks. He looks more confused, as if he has no idea why she's sitting down across from him. Recoving after another moment, this requires another drink. The wrapper on the bottle looks as if it was new, and already a third of it is gone. The expression on his face is somewhat unreadable, as if he's trying to make up his mind how he should feel about her just sitting down at his table. "So," he finally starts. "I'm not exactly sure what you want, so I guess I'll just ask. What brings you here."

Cate lets her eyes drift to the paper briefly, taking note of the drawing. It causes a brief crease to her brow, but then he's asking her why she's here, and she has no good answer. There's a look of consternation, and then a tiny headshake. "I don't know," she admits, her voice tight. Seconds tick by, and then she asks, "Can I have a drink?"

Jacob nods at the answer. Perhaps there isn't any good answer. Either that or she doesn't want to share. Either way, he doesn't press it. But perhaps in offer of...hospitality? He pushes the bottle across the table towards her. "Figured that we'd be sitting on opposite ends of the ship." he eventually says, setting the pencil down.

Cate picks up the bottle and takes a drink. She was never a big whiskey drinker. Occasionally, of course, since Jacob kept it around, but she preferred the fruity girly drinks. But he's not the only one who's changed in the last three years. There's barely any reaction to the burn of the alcohol going down. She sets the bottle back down near the middle of the table, holding onto it for a second before letting go. The outer edge of that hand (her left) bears a scar. Not really new any more, but new to him - a groove left by a bullet. She leans back in her chair. Still quiet. Still staring. "Yeah," is her only response - a clipped agreement to his words.

A finger raps lightly on the tabletop, as if Jacob is thinking something through as she drinks. "The only reason you'd show up, I think, is if you're looking for answers to questions you go on your mind. Otherwise, you would've just walked right out and I wouldn't of been any the wiser." The sketchpad is set aside, apparently he had taken the picture in the book and was making his own version. Heavily altered, but his own creation. Got a thing for drawing out highly detailed fantasy swords. "So. Go ahead and ask. I figure I owe that much."

Cate's mouth twists downward when he asks that. Is he right? Is that what really drew her over here, against her better judgement? That calls for another drink, which she takes without asking again. As the bottle thunks down on the table once more, she lets out a little sigh, still glowering. But then a pinched look takes hold around her eyes, softening the glare and letting the pain beneath seep out. "Why?" she asks. One simple, plaintive question.

Why. That is the question, isn't it. Once she's done with the bottle, he takes it back. "Hope you enjoy stories." he says after taking another pull, setting in the on the ground. "Everything about New Castor, my parents, Jena, boxing, working for Two-Shakes I don't need to rehash, because you already know it. And yes, that's the truth." He sighs, running a hand over his face, like this is the last thing he really wants to talk about, but Cate of all people deserve to know.

"I enlisted to get out of the projects. 'Get rich or die trying' is phrase there. You only got out if you got a free ride to college on a sports scholarship or you joined the military. Or you're stuck there, with some mild affiliation to either the mob, the gangs, or somewhere in-between, just to get by. When dad died of cancer, I didn't really have anything left there and I didn't want to...end up like another statistic that we all hear about on the news, bemoan how horrible it is and then go about our lives. Because it doesn't effect you, why should you care? A mentality that a lot of people have about the projects. 'Well, I don't live there, it can't be that bad'. Nobody who lives in the projects ever says that, for good reason. So, considering my options, I joined the military."

"At the time, I didn't pay attention to Hibernia politics. So I suppose the opposite it true. Nobody cared, too hard scarping out your own lives and not getting shot to really care or listen to greater events going on. I didn't know how few Hibernians enlisted at the time, to me, it was a means to an end. I got out of that cesspit. I didn't really care how or why, I just needed to get away. Figure, do my four years, get out, go to tech school or something, get a business degree, and open an ink parlor in some smaller town or city, away from New Castor. That was the plan. But then, after finishing tech training and graduation, I was pulled in by my battalions CO. Said, he had a 'special assignment' for me. Said it would 'make me look good' when it came to duty assignments and I'd only only need to, at most, spend a year of my term doing. That, 'not a lot of recruits get this opportunity'. Oh, they used all kinds of frakking sweettalk on me. And me, eager to help out, agreed. They said it was undercover work, more like keeping tabs on people, sending in reports. That kind of thing. I had no idea, at the time, that I'd be put into the rebellion as a plant. And that's when they introduced me to Tommy."

Cate listens, stoically, when he talks about wanting to get out. Echoes of a conversation they had once bounce around her mind. Her denouncing the soldiers who joined the Virgon military, and him defending them. Traitors, she'd called them, not realizing at the time that he was talking about himself. It's the mention of Tommy that really gets her though, causing her face to twist in remembered sadness. Her throat bobs, a painful lump there. And it's that pain that seeps into her voice when she shakes her head and says. "That's not what I meant." Another painful swallow. "Why? Why me? Why us?" Her voice breaks a little when she says that.

"I'm getting to that. Just...let me get this all out, because I don't know if when I'll be able to say it again." Jacob says, almost a desperate plea. As if this is something he's been wanting to say for a long time. "Tommy had turned agent for military. I don't know if you knew or if anyone knew, but he was the one that got me into the cell I was apart of. And before you ask, he never told me why he was doing what he was doing. I even asked him once. Why. He said that 'he had his reasons'. What those reasons were, he never said. And..." he shakes his head, remembering. "He knew it would play out like this. Wish I had just listened to myself during that conversation."

"I didn't know shit about the rebels. And more to the point, I didn't honestly care. Like I said, I never paid attention to Hibernian politics. It was never priority where I was from. Maybe it should've been, I don't know. But I was put in that town. I thought 'make some friends, get in good with people, send reports, and get pulled back out'. I expected to just befriend you, maybe a casual acquaintance, someone you wouldn't think twice about if you didn't hear from them again. Turns out, you're really damn likable. And generally a good person. I shouldn't stopped myself I realized I feelings for you. I didn't, because I enjoyed what I had going on. At the same, I felt some sense of...obligation. I can't really explain it. You just...had this effect about you."

"They wanted reports on people, I wrote them, they were very...bland, to be honest. I made it point to leave your name out of them, especially after the truth about your affiliation really was. I didn't want to see you end up in prison. Or dead. The turning point, for me anyways, was Jana’s wedding."

"I listened to your venom about the military and I...never really understood why. But after the wedding, there was no illusion about it anymore. I wasn't what you'd call some kind of patriot, I just wanted the free college money out of it. But, I had a duty I agreed to, so I did it. But...the wedding. I was so angry, I couldn't believe how angry I was. That wasn't me taking out two soldiers because I was trying to keep my cover, I did it because I was so angry at their self-righteousness. 'Collateral damage'. 'Acceptable losses'. Frak, it sickened me. And when I went into the interrogation room, there was my CO, asking me what happened, showing me pictures of people they thought were affiliated with the rebels. They shoved a picture of you in front of me." He pauses, reaching for the bottle again. "I said you had nothing to do with them, that you were too focused on your work as a doctor. And they bought it. I told myself, 'you're gong to fuck all this up, the least you can do is save one person before it all goes to shit'. And I knew it was, but damnit, love makes you do stuff like that. Realizing how good your life could've been. And that's why I sent you to that other safehouse, because I knew what was gong to happen before it did. So I sent you away, keep you out of it. I tried to do the same to Tommy, tell him to get out, but he wouldn't listen. Said he wanted to see things through. Still don't know what he meant by that."

"So...why. That's what you want to know. Fact is, I don't. I never meant for it to happen the way that it did. And there wasn't a day that passed that I didn't feel torn in two directions. Especially after the wedding. The people I worked for were not the people I thought they were. I hated them, I still hate them. The things they were will or capable of doing. But...why you. Because you were kind to me. Because you were nice. Because you loved Herman. Because you like frily girly drinks and rom-coms. Because you were the kind of woman most men would kill to have a decent chance with. You were only supposed to be a friend, a drinking buddy, someone to just play off the cover. But I ended up telling you everything about me and I ended up being nuts for you."

"And yeah, why would I stay in a mlitary I hated after the fact. After I got pulled out. Fact is, I had no where else to go. I bounced around bases an ships, drinking more, thinking more about what I did, hating the fact that I had never been as happy as I was than those six months and I was the one who shattered everything. Not you, me. It was all me. I knew what I was getting into, and I did it anyways. I didn't care. And it all blew up in my face. I didn't realize how just how fucked up the military was, it really didn't become clear to me until after everything happened the way they did. But I couldn't of gone AWOL, even before. I would've been dead, by one side or the other. And the military would've just put a bigger microscope under you. Couldn't risk that. Even if, there were times, I really wanted to."

He looks away, finally. "It doesn't matter. I made my bed, I gotta sleep with it. I have to live with people that are dead because of me. The people I hurt because of me. Nothing is going to make that go away. The penance that I can maybe give is hoping that some Cylon gives everyone I've wronged the justice they deserve. Because I don't have shit left. Just a name, and that ain't worth much these days."

Again, Cate listens. Again, there's a ripple of sadness on her face when he mentions Tommy, her beloved cousin. Sorrow, but not surprise. Maybe someday she'll share what they all figured his reasons were for turning traitor. Not today though. Today she just sits in an increasingly-painful silence, letting him have his say. She doesn't look surprised when he talks about protecting her, either, though her brow does crease when he talks about love, frown deepening. Once he's finished talking, she takes another drink from his bottle. Two, in fact. But the whiskey can't deaden the raw ache inside. "You knew how it'd end," she echoes tautly. "You promised you'd be different than the others. You promised you weren't going anywhere. And it was all bullshit," she all but spits out the word at him. "You ripped my frakking heart out." Fury wars with a gut-wrenching heartache, and it's written all over her. No poker face here tonight, no sir. She wipes angrily at her eyes, lest they betray her. "And now, what? I'm supposed to thank you, because you didn't rat me out? I'm supposed to feel sorry for you, because you hated what you were doing?" She just shakes her head, unable to process it.

"You're not telling me anything I haven't already told myself for the last three years." Jacob replies. "I'm not asking you for anything. You don't need to do anything. You don't have to talk to me, you don't have to associate with me. You can hate me, feel nothing toward me, whatever you feel like feeling. Fact is, the only reason I haven't eaten my own gun yet is because of the Cylons. Fact is, I just wanted one chance for you to hear my side. And that's it, I have nothing left to offer. You know everything now." He slumps against his chair. "It's not my job to tell you how to feel. I know what I did. I accept it, and I'll take accountability for it. So. Yeah. Hate. Apathy. Vengeance. I expect it. Because I deserve it. But there's nothing left for you to kill, Cate. Just a body. Everything else died a long time ago."

Cate listens to those matter-of-fact words. He talks of accountability and acceptance, but what Cate hears is indifference. Maybe at some point she'll be able to realize that it's indifference towards his own fate, but to her in that moment, it feels like indifference to her feelings. "You don't even give a shit, do you?" It's a rhetorical question, accompanied by a disbelieving headshake. "What I think. What I feel. What I felt. You're not even sorry." She stands up, then, sniffing. "This was a mistake."

The moment he hears that, something flickers in Jacob's face. "...what?" he stares at her, before without another word, hands grip the table, all but throwing it aside, the clattering sound of metal table being all but thrown a few feet to the side like it was a cardboard box. He's standing. "The frak did you just say? No, say it again. Say it the frak again." Something she may of said may of sudden pissed him off, and it's never actually happened where he looked at her in anger. "You have no clue how I frakking feel. You don't get to live with the guilt. You don't get to live with regret and the pain and fear and the self-loathing that I've lived with three years." He stands right there in front of her, and if she takes a step back, he takes one forward, clearly not letting her go this time until she gets to realize that she may of just said the wrong thing to him.

"Don't you dare say that I'm not sorry. Don't you even frakking think it. All because of you, Cate Rhodes. I not only have blood on my hands, but I have to live with the fact of what I did with you. I betrayed you. I broke your heart. And I did it all the while knowing exactly what would happen, but I didn't have the courage to do something about it before I was too late. I mourn your loss, I mourn our loss. I mourn what I did to Tommy, to the others that died, that went to prison. Every. Single. Day." He bites those last words out. "But more than that, more than anything, I hate myself for what I did to you. Do you dare think that I'm not sorry. You don't get look in the mirror every day and hate the reflection. You don't sit in temple once a day and beg the Lords for forgiveness. You don't drink to forget so the next day you can somehow manage to make it through your duty shift without wanting to put your fist through the first person that looks at you the wrong way. You don't know what sorry is. Betray everyone you love and care about for shitty people and their shitty orders and then come back to me. Might have a good idea then. But don't even ponder if I'm sorry or not. Because it is the only thing I have left." And that said, he just stares daggers at her. Waiting.

It's not so much anger in his eyes, at a second look. It's anguish, guilt, and particular self-loathing for someone's own actions? The anger? Maybe just for the fact that someone so intimately involved with what happened would think he wasn't sorry at all. No, not the best thing to say.

Cate does take a step back, clenched fists coming up ready to defend herself. Fear flashes briefly in her eyes. She may be pretty decent in the ring, but he's a semi-pro boxer twice her size. There's little doubt that he could frak her up if he tried to. But when he doesn't attack, the anger flares back up. "No, you don't get to play the victim with me, Sean." The slip of the name is a cold stab to her heart. "Jacob. Whatever the frak your name is. You don't get to lay all that shit on me." She may have misunderstood the whole 'because of you' bit he was trying to say. "You're the one who asked me out, remember? You're the one who asked me to move in with you. You're the one who was getting frakking wedding ring brochures delivered to the apartment. What the frakking hell was that? Some kind of twisted game? See how far you can string the mark along?" She gives him an incredulous headshake at that, but can't hold back the tears, which spill over her cheeks. "You have no idea what I went through, because you're the one who left. So don't you frakking stand there and tell me that I don't know what sorry is, when you don't even have the gods-damn decency to apologize!" To be fair, one might have taken all the self-loathing and talk of guilt to be a sort of implied apology. But it doesn't have the same impact to her.

"Because you don't want me to tell you I'm sorry. Because all of this? We're way past sorry at this point. I didn't want to insult you by thinking two words would make up everything I did. Because it won't. It won't make you feel any better." But she mentions the brochures and that anger flares again. "Because I don't know! The hell do you want from me! Tell me! THE HELL DO YOU WANT?" he shouts at her. He doesn't even acknowledge the tears trickling down his face. And yeah, he looks like he's been slapped. "If that's what you think. But you're wrong. You were never some mark or some game. But whatever I say doesn't matter. You made up your mind a long time ago, so there's no point." He holds his hands up, backing away. "Forget it. I'm not going to stand here and shout about who's life sucked more." he walks away at that.

"Stop telling me what I want and what I think and feel!" Cate roars at his retreating back. He's apparently not the only one with buttons to be pushed. "If I wanted you dead, I would've helped them track you down three years ago. I would've sent a message to my uncle the minute I saw you on this ship. Which is what I frakking should do. But I couldn't. I can't. And I don't know why." Or if she does, she can't admit it to herself. Voice utterly broken, she presses on, "I want you to say you're sorry. To me, not some kind of frakking abstract guilt. I want..." But she can't get the words out to finish that sentence, instead bringing a hand up to her face as if that might somehow hold her back from breaking down into tears.

Jacob stops walking away. "You should. That would be the best thing for both of us. Maybe for your peace of mind and so my personal hell will end." He could keep walking, but he stays where he is for a moment to really let the sound of her breaking voice tear at him. Maybe again remembering that this is all his fault. "I'm sorry." he finally says, though the doesn't turn completely back to face her. "You will never know how sorry I am." And then he keeps walking out of the rec room, leaving the bottle, the sketch pad, and the book behind.

Cate says nothing more, but the tears flow freely as she watches him walk out the door. The sketch pad and book are tucked away neatly and left on the table if and when he returns for them. The bottle, on the other hand, isn't.


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