2237-05-21 - You Can Be My Wingman Anytime

Kell is still in mental limbo after the Friendly Fire incident, Van comes by to check on the rookie.

Date: 2237-05-21

Location: Vanguard - Hangar Deck

Related Scenes: None

Plot: None

Scene Number: 1037

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Today, Kell isn't slotted for Combat Air Patrol or is there another strike mission for him to take part of, which the young pilot is thankful for. Perhaps those that layout the schedule knows about the Ensign's plight with the friendly fire incident and isn't going to throw the man back into combat just yet. So the Viper jock is seated in his fighter, canopy still open and helmet off for the moment. One earbud is in his left ear while the other is off, just so he can hear any announcements or any of the deckies calling out to him. For now though, the enlisted are giving that Viper wide berth. Who knows what rumors have been floating around the ship about what actually happened.

Some of those rumors have brought Van in this very direction, his flight suit on, his helmet and neck-guard clasped in his left hand. He stops to talk to one of the deckies at the next ship, gesturing back to the Viper he just landed -- not the one with his name and kill markings on it -- and then breaks away after a moment. He looks up to the newer pilot in his cockpit for a long minute, then draws in a breath and heads for the ladder at the side of Kell's ship. Limping slightly as he ascends the ladder, he gives a rap on the top step, "Razor."

The tapping of the top step draws Kell back from whatever thoughts he was dwelling on, causing him to sit up straighter so he can peer over the side to see who is visiting. He seems surprised that someone is actually here visiting, though there is certainly a tightness in Razor's facial expression that can't be hidden. "Lieutenant." He greets, a bit more formally, "Are they calling me in?" Wondering if the brass has need to speak with him and is cutting his Alert-Five duty short.

"If they were, I'm certain they would send someone with a good deal more brass than I have." Especially considering the sheer number of Captains in the squadron. Van comes up one more step so that neither he nor Kell has to crane their necks to talk, "I just wanted to check in." That doesn't seem like enough, somehow, and Van is stymied for a moment before he adds, "I know that Alert Five isn't a great time to talk, but I heard what happened. Has Spider said anything?" There's another pause, "Has anyone?"

With Van climbing up one more step and not a messenger with a summons, Kell leans back in the seat of the Viper again, "Maybe." Sounds like the young pilot isn't sure what is going to happen or the process, at least they didn't strip his wings or he wouldn't be sitting in the fighter. "Thanks, and unless a call comes in for emergency relief, not much else to do on Alert Five besides stay awake." As for anyone visiting him or the CAG talking to him, Kell shakes his head, "Not yet, I think the Major spoke to Roller after the mission yesterday and is probably busy writing up a report or talking to the brass and Canceron people about what happened." There is a pause before he says, "I will probably go talk to the CAG though once he is free, just to see where I stand." A slow breath is released and Kell is looking down at the helmet resting on his lap, "Think they'll strip my wings?"

Van nods slightly at the thanks, locking his forearms around the ladder to take some weight off his right leg. He starts to comment on Kell's thought to talk to the CAG, but the words that follow the look downward cut him off, and he frowns, "I may be missing something, but from what I heard, you were following orders. Since they weren't illegal orders," there's a moment's pause, "or even bad ones," and then he's back onto more solid ground, "I think you're in the clear. After all, if Spider strips your wings, he'd pretty much have to strip his own, since he gave the order to engage, right?"

"If it were up to Spider, I'm sure my wings would remain in tact." Kell says with a shake of his head, apparently not concerned with how Webb would react. Roller was the one that was possibly chewed out, not him, "But the orders could come from higher up the chain of command, right? This wasn't just simple friendly fire... I killed someone. And what makes it more complicated, it wasn't even in the same Taskforce but Canceron Air Wing." Which no doubt would make headlines just like Calliope's ambush by the reporters did, he can just read it now, 'Caprican Colonial Forces shoot down Canceron Defenders.' Kell is certainly feeling like he is on uncertain ground right now. "Frak. I should've held my fire, they weren't even making any aggressive movements."

"Yes, you did kill someone." Van doesn't shy away from that, at least. "I never got dropped into the fire on Sagittaron, but do you think other ICJPK pilots and soldiers haven't shot other Colonials before?" It's clearly not the same, but Van seems willing to ignore that. The Picon shakes his head, "Look, this might not help in the slightest, but if I had just seen Cylon pilots pretending to be Colonial pilots, and the next day I ran into a flight of Vipers that weren't squawking Colonial IDs and weren't responding to hails? I would have attacked as well."

Kell's brows furrow into a frown though his gaze is still on the helmet on his lap, "They were Colonial IDs, the same as the ones that jumped us on that patrol mission. They just didn't respond to hails." Hails that were on the wrong frequency apparently which was the accusation being thrown around between the two flights after the friendly fire occurred. "I dunno... the others seem to be able to pull away in time where their shots didn't down a plane." Another long breath is released and Kell finally moves his gaze to where Van is at the side of the Viper, "Thanks though, trying to reason it out with me. Whole thing is a damn mess, wish there was a way to easily ID the damn Cypers from Vipers. Next thing you know, to frak with us, the Cylons will be using pre-recorded soundbites to respond over comms."

Van nods at the correction, "Right. That makes it even harder then, you can't trust your instruments or your eyes." A frown starts to furrow into the Picon pilot's brow at the suggestion of the Cylons' next tactic, "That... would actually be an incredibly good tactic. It might be time to start using passcodes of some sort. Pop culture references, to see if the person on the other end is a human or a machine." And then he shrugs, "And did anyone else fire? If so, you have no reason to blame yourself for being a better shot. If not, then perhaps you were a little quick on the trigger, but you were still following legal orders to the best of your ability."

"Yeah, gun footage showed that I wasn't the only one that fired, Raptors were focusing on suppression with their ECM modules since there were so many of them." Kell says with a nod of his head, his eyes closing for a moment as he recalls the engagement, brief as it was, "Should've thought of it but there were eight of them, if they were actual Cypers, they outnumbered us so there would have been no need for deception." Though the flipside that he doesn't consider that if it was actual deception, the Colonial Forces would have had zero chance. As for what he said being a good tactic, Kell arches a brow as if he doesn't follow for a second before he realizes that the idle comment may have merit, "Gods. If they started doing that?" Yet another layer of complexity added.

"Then you're fine. You did everything you could." Logic, perhaps, is not necessarily the right tactic to use, but it's the one that Van falls back on. "If they had been Cypers, and you hadn't bounced them before they showed themselves, how dead would the flight have been? If you'd just flown right past them, assuming they were Canceron? Maybe one or two of you escape." He nods at the dire suggestion, "If they started doing that, then it would be up to the CAGs and Commanders to ensure that we aren't assigned to the same areas as local forces, to limit the possibility of exposure, and it will be up to us to come up with things the Toasters don't know -- can't know -- to use as our passcodes."

Though it does make sense that he was following orders, and given the circumstances, his actions made logical sense, the frown that Kell still has on shows that it is hard for the young pilot to shake the ill feeling with the whole situation. "I guess you're right, Lieutenant. Will just have to wait for the official report to come out." Razor does seem to be taking his actions to heart, perhaps too much, as opposed to shrugging responsibility and blaming it on everyone else or everything else, like bad intel, bad orders, etc. He does look back up from his helmet, "What have the others been saying?" He asks, a bit quieter, perhaps afraid of the answer.

"I honestly haven't heard a great deal of talk." Van grimaces a little apologetically, perhaps at not being able to provide more heartening information. "I would assume that people are thinking a little too hard about how they might feel if they were in your seat right now." He hesitates a moment, and then admits, "That's what I was doing. And I realized that I might want to talk things through with someone but that I certainly wouldn't bring the topic up myself. So..." and he gestures down to his feet on the rungs of the ladder.

Kell takes that as neither bad news or good, as the conclusion that is drawn from the others haven't been finalized yet. "It is a bit too soon, I guess." As for Van's point of view and consideration, a weak and thin smile appears, "Thanks, Lieutenant. You are right in that aspect, I can tell people are giving me space, probably working out their own thoughts like you said. And I doubt I would talk to someone else about it." Especially before the official report comes out, before he is able to get himself sorted mentally. "I do appreciate it though, reassuring me that I'm not some horrible monster in control of some deadly machinery."

It's likely too soon, but Van tries humor next, "Well, you are certainly in control of deadly machinery, but the Libran military and Colonial Fleet alike have warranted that you are licensed to do so. I think that they outrank you, so you have to accept their judgment." Sobering a touch, he shrugs helplessly, "I can't tell you what anyone else is thinking, Razor, I can only tell you what I'm thinking. And until I see guncam footage and comms logs that says otherwise, you're fine by me."

There is no laugh at the attempt at humor but not sarcastic response either from Kell, only a slight smirk at the words that attempt to lighten up the gloominess. But it is the words that follow that seem to mean more than anything else right now as the Ensign's gaze returns to Van, "Thanks Lieutenant, that means a lot. I hope that I can continue performing at my best, and to maintain the trust you have with me on your wing." Though Kell might want to feel that he can just have others trust him to be on their wing with no worries, he's realistic enough to figure out that until the next actual engagement comes against the Cylons, it would be hard to tell how things will actually pan out.

"You can be my wingman any day, Razor." Unhooking one arm from the ladder, he extends his hand, "And call me Van. Just remember, fly within your capabilities, and I don't have any doubts you'll stay at the top of the curve."

Instead of a handshake like before, Kell does respond with a more comradery grasp of gloved hands, the thenar area of the palm against palm with thumbs hooked and fingers curled around, "I'll do my best on that, Van." At least the conversation with the Lieutenant does bring back a little bit of confidence to the shaken, younger pilot. It is still probably some ways to go before he returns to full capacity, if ever, but the road to progress and recovery is now there.

Van looks a little surprised by the clasp -- evidently it's not the sort of thing that his own Academy training prepared him for -- but he adapts quickly, squeezing and pulling a little, and then releasing, "I don't doubt it. Now look sharp, there are pilots out there counting on you." And then he's limping his way back down the ladder, shifting his helmet and neck-clasp into his other hand once he's at the base.


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