Friendly fire investigations, Cylon creature manipulations, and kind of nice things said about CAG Webb.
Location: Mess Hall - Vanguard
Related Scenes: None
Scene Number: 1047
Calliope is sitting at a table in the corner, picking over and salad and sandwich combination. She looks more pressed than she generally bothers with while on duty. Her dress blues have clearly recently received a cleaning and ironing, and her generally stringy blonde hair has been tied back and sprayed into a neat bun. She also looks exhausted as she stabs at a tiny tomato with her fork.
Looking rather tired as well these past few days despite trying to hide it, Kell enters the Mess Hall to grab some chow, having just finished another Alert Five segment. After that last combat air patrol where three Vipers came back in very bad shape, it appears that Command is easing the rookie back into the active schedule. His clothes isn't as presentable as Calliope's, his duty greens a bit rumpled but clean, so he isn't exactly doing his best with the ironing like he usually is. Kell's trip to the chow line is quick, he grabs a sandwich as well, a bowl of soup, and some fruit slices. Then it's off to find a table, Soundbite's table. "Seat free?" He asks first instead of just inviting himself as he stands across the table from Calliope.
"Hi, Razor." Calliope looks up from her tomato-skewering to offer Kell a quick smile. "Oh. Yeah. Please. I was just kind of zoning." She finally stabs, and eats, that cherry tomato. "Spent my shift today reviewing flight footage. Which kind of fried my brain, but I guess we all need to do it sometime."
Kell was about to ask why Calliope look so spent as he lowers his tray onto the table across from her before taking a seat. When she mentions the flight footage, he doesn't even have to ask for clarification and already knows what she is talking about. His first response is a quiet, "Oh." The footage is not something he has reviewed yet, perhaps not steeling himself enough to go through what happened again visually despite having a pretty clear picture in his head. Then again, what he has in his memories could also be a bit skewed from self-bias, and not in a good way. After unwrapping his sandwich and then twisting open the bottle of water, the Ensign looks up, "How bad was it? /Really/ bad?" What goes unspoke is 'Like I'm frakked bad?%'R
This is what a zombie looks like: about a meter and two thirds in height, weighing in at a cute sixty-ish kilos with a slumped gait, bags under the eyes, a mess of brown hair in a ponytail, and a definite sense of being hungry but completely unable to choose between what must be some kind of noodle casserole and something that closely resembles a chicken breast swimming in a sauce trying to pass for something creamy. This decision-making process is greatly stymied by the fact her tray is tucked under one arm, while her knuckles hold up her cheek and she rocks back and forth slightly. Isolde Asa, everyone, presumably asleep in the chowline.
"Yeah." Calliope just admits it with a little shrug, about what she was watching. "Couldn't really tell much I didn't already know, though. I mean, it wasn't worse than being there. Everything happened realy fast. Are you...?" But the question trails off, when she spots Isolde in the chow line. And, as a zombie. "PI!?" It's yelled at high-pitched, Caprican Woo Girl volume, to penetrate the peace of chowline slumber.
When the question trails off, Kell was leaning in as if expecting more from Calliope, not noticing the napping ECO in the chow line. So when the Raptor pilot decides to call out Isolde's callsign, the unfortuante Ensign suddenly leans back as he is blasted by the Caprican Woo Girl assault, wincing slightly at the sudden increase in volume. He does turn his head to look at where the Leftenant was yelling at while drinking from his bottle of water.
Clatter-clatter, whoom-whoom-whoom. Isolde drops her tray, jumping back as if surprised to be carrying the thing at all. She blinks around her, particularly at the Marine who is eyeing her with the look some give the crazy pilots. She grasps hastily for the tray, holding it to her chest like an armored plate. She looks around, finally spying Calliope and Kell. Helps that there's probably someone pointing in their direction. Foodless, but probably for the best, the sleep-deprived Pi waywardly makes her way toward the pair. She doesn't ask to sit, just putting down her tray and slumping next to Calliope. "Hi." She's still hugging the tray. "Am I supposed to be here?"
Calliope winces, as Kell gets caught in her sonic blast of yelling. "Sorry." She gives Isolde a little wave toward the table, shrugging. "Are any of us supposed to be here? That's pretty philosophical for lunch, Pi. Or dinner or...whatever. I kind of lost track of time today. You OK? You look wiped." Not that Calliope doesn't also look kind of worn, but she hasn't reached the 'falling asleep in mess' level yet.
Waving off Calliope's concern, Kell watches as the zombie-like ECO joins them and her question causes him to arch a brow. His own state of weariness doesn't compare to what Soundbite is suffering and nowhere near the almost catatonic state that poor Isolde is afflicted with. Plus his weariness isn't from exhaustion, more from his mental state than anything else. The Viper jock does move his small plate of pre-sliced fruit onto Pi's tray, "Should eat some of that, may help." Sugary fruit, healthy! Kell appears to be glad that the conversation has shifted, even if momentarily, from the discussion about what Calliope saw on the recordings of that tragic strike mission. Isolde's tale may be more entertaining, it has to be.
Isolde yawns wide -- the kind of wide where you can see the uvula. Then she stretches, starting with her toes. Her eyes flicker between Calliope and Kell, and she nods slightly. "Just been overworking myself." Which suggests some of this is self-mandated, but who knows. She looks over to Kell, and then at the plate of fruit. She smiles at it, and starts only eating the fruit with red skin because she's just too tired to actually sort it into its respective piles. She looks at Calliope again. "Don't worry. I'll sleep before we fly together next."
"Oh, yeah. Want half a sandwich?" Calliope offers to Isolde. "It's chicken. Or, that stuff they call chicken here. Totally not bad." She gives the ECO a quick smile. "I mean, I'll keep us from crashing. And I doubt Webb would let anybody fly in less than peak form after what happened with Roller..." Another look at Kell. "Sorry. I mean, we don't know what happened with him, really, I guess."
While Isolde starts in on a random piece of food, Kell begins unwrapping his own sandwich, which he is keeping for himself. As for Calliope's apology, he shakes his head slightly after taking a large bite into the sandwich. Only after chewing and swallowing does he answer, "I hope he's okay, I am sure the logs will be able to tell what happened onboard. If he made a mistake..." There is a pause before the Ensign looks down at his sandwich, "It would just be a very unfortunate accident. Blame goes on the damned Cylons." Of course, the press nor the brass will easily be swayed by that suggestion.
The offer for a sandwich isn't turned down, and she continues to eat at a slow, zombie-like place. She chews through as she listens to Calliope and Kell, and the mention of Roller and the accident earns a slight nod of her head. "When you have Cylons utilizing our own Raptors and Vipers..." She shrugs helplessly. "Anyone figure out why they didn't respond when commed?" She glances between the two while she chews on grape.
Calliope shakes her head. "Maybe the logs they pull from Iris' bird will tell them more. I couldn't tell much from our comm traffic. Mince was backseating for me and he didn't seem to know what the frak had happened." Kell gets a firm little nod. "That's why they're using our planes. To mind-frak with us. Try to turn us against each other. Blame totally on the toasters, not anybody else."
"After we fired on them, the Canceron flight told us to break off right as Vanguard finally updated us that there are friendly forces in the area." Kell says as his eyes narrow slightly while he looks at his sandwich some more, "I think I caught the... exchange between our CAG and the Canceron flight leader. They claimed that we never hailed them, but we heard Roller try several times." With the answer given, the Ensign takes another bite from his sandwich, then another, actually hungry.
"I don't think that's actually it," Isolde replies after she chews through a bite of sandwich. "You're thinking too much like a human. Cylons are still machines, and their minds still birthed from code. They use our ships because it is smart from a resource perspective. They don't have to manipulate us to get what they want." Beat pause. "Not yet at least." Then she frowns. "Though, if they saw us shoot down our own... they may have figured out something to use against us."
"I hope so. The stories you hear from the Marines are freaky, though. The toaster snipers, and whatever those robot snake things are...eww!" Calliope shudders. "Makes you wonder what else they're adapting. But it's also easy to get paranoid. I don't know." She munches her sandwich. Dark, thoughtful munching.
Hearing that, Kell can't help but frown as he swallows his food and takes a long drink from his bottle of water, "Great... so not only did I accidentally kill a friendly, I may have sparked Cylon special tactics in their algorithms." Now if he could only construct a hot tub time machine, then he can fix things. Unfortunately, his engineering skills are subpar. "I just hope the inquiry doesn't get my wings clipped." He then looks at the other two officers and frowns, "Do I need to get a JAG lawyer to represent me or something? I shouldn't need to, right?" It's obvious that the Ensign had never considered such a thing but when he received notice about the inquiry that is supposed to happen sometime early next week, different thoughts were racing through his head.
Isolde also sinks into thoughtful munching, and she casts dubious glances at the pilots. She doesn't say anything through several more bites, then she breathes out a heavy exhale. "You know what bothers me more?" She rests her cheek heavily on her knuckles, frowning. "What made them think of the organic-Cylon hybrids. Snipers -- okay, not really that surprising when you really think about it. It's a logical leap for a soldier to make, and I wouldn't be surprised if there isn't something in their base code that allows for that kind of battlefield adaptation. I wouldn't even be really surprised if they started finding new ways to ambush... but that cy-python? That required engineering, trial and error, and perseverance." Then her eyes flicker to Kell, and she starts to shake her head. "No, Raze... I really don't think so. You thought they were Cylon pilots. And you guys did everything you were supposed to do. The Cancerons didn't respond. What were you supposed to think?"
"Razor, we all engaged," Calliope says firmly, blue eyes wide and earnest at Kell. "You were just the best shot out of any of us in that volley. That's the only thing you did more 'wrong' than any of us. Just tell the truth, and I'm sure everything will be fine. Webb wouldn't..." Pause. Amendment. "...Ryan wouldn't hang us out to dry." Another little shiver, as Isolde describes the cy-snakes. "It so creepy. I mean, snakes!?" The simple 'snakes' part may bother her more than the horrific engineering, but she's no programmer. "What's next? Cylon spiders?" She pales. "Oh gods."
The reassurance from the other two officers does have Kell nodding his head, "That sounds like a good plan, maybe hiding behind a JAG lawyer will just make me look more guilty, you know? Like, the brass on that panel may be thinking, what does that young kid have to hide?" Releasing a sigh, the young pilot resolves himself, "I'll just review the tapes a couple of times and then when my turn comes up, give my statement." There is a pause before he looks at Calliope, "I already spoke to our CAG, he reassures me that he's definitely not letting us take the fall for the Canceron pilots not responding to our hails." With that matter settled, Kell now has to think about a potentially more freaky and dangerous subject, Cylon pythons and Cylon spiders. Great. "Cylon bees?"
Isolde nods in agreement with Calliope, looking a bit more conscious in the face of this conversation. "There would be no point of it. The Cancerons are, understandably, upset by this whole thing, but we can't waste time on trials and judgment when Cylon spiders want to eat us." She casts Calliope a look which would be a far better look over the rim of glasses, but alas. She then takes another bite, chewing a bit. "No... I think... I think that they are going for something else. Something bigger." Her mouth tightens, and then she looks at the pair. "Cy-bears?"
"Oh my goooooooods." Calliope lets it out in a long exhale of abject terror. Blink at Isolde. "Could you build a robotic bear?" A second later, she shakes her head. "No. Don't answer that. I don't want to know. If we run into them we'll just...bomb them. With nukes. We'll nuke the Cylon bears from orbit. Totally proportional response." Maybe she's joking? It's not clear. There's a blink of surprise at Kell, when he mentions Webb. "He talked to you? Oh. Good. Glad he's in your corner. I mean, he should be but...good." She adjusts to this grudgingly positive tidbit about Webb. And, also, images of cy-bears. Her mind is a strange place in that moment.
That is the limit that Kell is willing to let his mind venture towards, from Cybees to Cyursas, anymore and he will be looking like Isolde tomorrow, in the zombie way, not the pretty way. As for Calliope's comment about Webb, the Viper pilot does seem somewhat surprised, though it appears to be the attitude a number of pilots seem to hold about their CAG. "I sort of sought him out, I wanted to talk to him about what happened. He wasn't just in my corner, he was in our corner, said no one did anything wrong." There is a pause before he adds, a little quieter, "I guess I just haven't seen enough of the Major or worked long enough with him to find out why... he doesn't instill the greatest confidence in some people."
"I like Webb." Ah, to be young and naive. Then Isolde thinks back a bit. "I mean, I could probably make a robot bear, but there's no way I could make it worth the effort. And knowing me, it would be basically a teddy bear." She sighs a bit as she scoots around a bit of pear on her fruit plate. "It's because he's too casual." Isolde looks up to Kell. "Or that's what bugs the shit out of Newton. Good ol' Milkman likes the regulations and the rules and the expectations. I think it's a Picon thing." She flashes a grin at the pair.
"I mean...Major Kallas was really popular," Calliope admits. "And we lost him really fast, when he got wounded and had to stop flying, the first time we were stationed over Canceron. None of us were happy about it. I guess it'd be hard to come into that. Maybe." So grudging. "But. Anyway. I guess what matters is that he's sticking with us for this." A little chuckle to Isolde, at the image of the robot teddy bear. "If only we'd engineered intelligent stuffed animals instead of killing machines, right? All this could've been avoided."
When Van is mentioned, Kell is working on his soup and in between spoonfuls of the now warm stew, he pipes in about the other pilot, "Lieuteuant Newton is a solid pilot too, really good wingman and he helped give me advice on a couple of things. Talked to me when I went evac that time, and then after this whole fiasco, was the first one to come within stick poking distance. Helped me clear my head a little too." There is a pause boefre the Ensign adds, "I don't mind the regulations and stuff, helps keep things in organized." Looks like another pilot that prefers order and structure! As for Major Kallas, Kell can only nod his head, "Sounds like a good leader, a shame that I didn't get a chance to meet him."
"Van is good people." Isolde actually blushes slightly as if she may have confessed something. She then clears her throat and shakes her head, dragging herself up to her feet in a tired kind of weight. "I should get to the berthings. I think I have about 3 hours of sleep if I manage it." She rubs at her jaw, yawning again. Thinking back on Kallas, Isolde actually smiles. "If it wasn't for Kallas, I wouldn't have gotten my ECO training. So, yeah. Kallas is good people." She gives Calliope's shoulder a light squeeze before she smiles to Kell. "Keep your head up, Razor. You made the right call based on the circumstances."
"He was a good guy," Calliope agrees softly, of Kallas. "But he's gone now. And Webb's sometimes not bad." She finishes off her sandwich half, and cleans up the rest of her greens. "Yeah. I should get changed into my flight suit. I'm supposed to do transport runs down to Canceron in a few hours. Later, Razor. We're all with you. See you guys later."