Van has a suggestion for Webb, who sees things a different way.
Location: Ready Room, //Vanguard//
Related Scenes: None
Scene Number: 995
Van's had time to be on-alert for the rest of the watch, eat, shower, and catch a few hours of sleep. Somehow, he also had time for paperwork between all the more critical duties, for a sheet of paper is tucked under his left arm as he pokes his head into the ready room, spots the CAG, and steps more fully in. When he's acknowledged, he draws himself to attention and salutes in the palm-out Picon Academy manner.
Webb is standing at the whiteboard, updating the flight schedule. There are several blank spots still where Kazimir's name used to be, and Webb is currently writing someone else's name to fill one of them. Van's formal mode of reporting is given a sidelong glance. "Need something, Newton?"
Van releases the salute and relaxes from attention, transferring the sheet of paper to his right hand and holding it out as he steps forward, "I wanted to submit this for your approval, sir." His voice is tight, and the paper wavers ever-so-slightly. On the paper are a few brief lines of an awards recommendation, and a blank section for name and signature of the submitter.
Webb caps the whiteboard marker and turns to take the paper. "What's this then?" he asks. He surveys it with a frown, which only deepens as he reads.
"A recommendation for Captain Fairchild to get the Legion of Kobol, sir." Van's shoulders lift and fall in a faint shrug, "I can't submit it myself, and I didn't know if you were already working on a recommendation for him, but I thought..." His lips purse together for a moment, and he's stymied for words for a moment before he simply says, "I needed to write it, sir."
Webb makes a squinty sort of face, regarding Van over the top of the paper as if not sure what to make of it - or him. "And just why do you think Fairchild deserves an award for killing himself?"
Webb's reaction causes Van to blink sharply in surprise, "Sir?" Rallying, he gestures toward the paper, "The Legion of Kobol is given for extreme levels of 'bravery, self-sacrifice, and devotion to duty,' sir. I can't think of anything braver than sacrificing yourself to save thousands of people whose duty it is for you to protect." His voice quiets slightly, and he adds, "I don't know if I would have been able to do it, not with what we both had waiting for us on the flight deck."
Webb's lips draw together, considering his words. "Fairchild crashed his ship into a missile because he thought he had nothing to lose. He didn't trust his mates to get to him. He didn't think about the hundred-million cubit aircraft he was flying. He also apparently didn't think that the rest of you lot were competent enough to get that second missile, even though there were nine of you right frakking there. Though I suppose after the last few training missions maybe I can see where he was coming from there." He holds the paper back out to Van. "Sorry, but that doesn't really sound much like 'devotion to duty' to me." He says the last with a totally SorryNotSorry snark to the words.
Van draws himself up a little straighter, clasping his hands behind his back as he listens with growing disbelief, "Perhaps he thought more of the billions of cubits and thousands of lives in the shipyards, sir." But then he merely shakes his head, taking the paper and drawing it behind his back again. "But as Squadron Commander, of course it is your choice what awards recommendations to write for those under your command, sir, if any, and I do not dispute that." Blowing out a breath, he adds, "But the squadron is hurting, sir. Captain Fairchild may have been getting on my nerves lately, but he was respected by everyone in the squadron, and his death is hitting us hard."
"Then he thought wrong," Webb says flatly. "We had time to get that missile. Maybe he had a death wish. Maybe he just wanted to play hero. Maybe he just made a bad frakking decision. Either way, that's not the sort of thing we hand out medals for. You want to honor Fairchild? Do what good soldiers do - raise a pint at the shipyards tonight and go waste twice as many Toasters tomorrow."
"Sir, he had a new relationship that was going well, from what I saw." Still, Van nods sharply, "But you may be right about it being the wrong decision. And either way, I'll keep knocking them down as long as they come up to meet me, sir." Drawing himself up to attention again, he notes, "That was all I had for you, sir. Unless there's anything else?"
Webb nods briskly to Van. "I know you will. Still the top ace, good on you. Though you'll have to work to keep it with Cherry breathing down your neck." He inclines his head in the vague direction of the kill board. "Nothing else. Carry on."
"I'm proud to be the top Colonial ace, sir, but if a few more shared kills mean my element leads make it back in one piece, I'm fine with that too, sir." And then he snaps off another salute, whether or not it is returned, and then turns to depart.