Cherry Meets !Cherry. The new CAG arrives at her desk.
Location: Ready Room, //Vanguard//
Related Scenes: None
Scene Number: 1119
With Webb having pulled a runner, of sorts, departing the ship without so much as a fare thee well for most of the crew, it's been up to Eva to do most of the cleanup and reset for the ready room and the CAG's desk. Always nice for the new Major to come in to a place that isn't filled with the detritus of all of the people who have come before. Of course, that's accepting the memorial markers on the wall for the wolves who have fallen from the time of the Galactica till now. No, that's sacred. Squirreled away as she's been, she wasn't around to see the new CAG arriving aboard, and so has missed all of the is she or isn't she Cherry shenanigans on the deck. It wouldn't have helped, of course, that Eva, if she had been there, would have been in her flight suit, also with her hair braided.
Stirling comes into the ready room to check on the flight schedule and other duty stuff that's up on the walls. She's not in her flight suit, just her navy greens, but her hair is also braided. She smiles at seeing the other pilot. "So you must be the 'Cherry' that everyone keeps mistaking me for," she says by way of amused introduction.
Eva turns, looking up from that most glorious of senior pilot's duties - pencil sharpening - though, given the constraints of the war, she should be happy it's an electric one, eyebrows lifting slightly, seeing the woman approaching. Yes, she can see it in the face, that similarity in skin tone, something around the eyes. It's not exact, certainly it wouldn't be to the two women, each knowing their own features so well. Ad it's mostly just in the face, as the difference in height and body shape is a dead give away. Stirling being shorter and more lithe, Eva taller and plumper. Even the hair colour isn't quite the same. But at a distance, on a busy flight deck, well. Eva sets the pencil down in its holder, moving to offer a salute, "Major Stirling. We heard you were coming aboard." A beat, "Have they?" A flash of a grin, "I'll hope the mistaken identity didn't result in any pranking."
Stirling returns the salute then offers her hand. "No, nothing like that. And it was only a quick double-take once they got closer. I suppose there's some resemblance, but..." Apparently Stirling has noted the differences as much as Eva has. "Even so, it's nice to meet you. I understand you're one of the most senior Captains in the squad."
Eva drops her hand, once the salute is offered, the handshake warm and genuine, before she steps out of the way of Stirling's new desk. "Yeah, if it's, "Oh, two redheads with fair skin and a spot of freckles. I would hate to see them on Hibernia." Redheads for days, in some parts. The accent gives her away, more than anything else. She has learned to get rid of the patois that is nearly endemic near where she grew up. "Yes, sir. I think the only one who has almost as much active duty time in combat, not in reserve, is Finn O'Day, Farmboy. Of the vipers. As for the raptors, Whyck would be your best bet. I think he was flying long before you and I were even born."
Stirling nods as Eva starts listing names. "Good to know. I'm sure it'll take a little time to get to know everyone. I've only had time to review the duty roster. O'Day - he was the one that flew that Raider out with you on Canceron, wasn't he?" Stirling moves over to lean against the edge of the recently-cleared desk.
"I don't know how much of a dossier Webb would have put together for the pilots, and you can see their service jacket, but between the two of us, Farmboy and I probably know the wing best of all of the senior pilots, as we've been with the wing the longest, from when we were on Galactica, so whatever you might need to help you get up to speed, we're happy to help." She doesn't seem bothered to be making the offer without Finn being there to give his consent. They have worked together long enough, "Yes, Sir. We were fortunate that the Colonel was willing to back our play, and his team were willing to take a risk to give us the opportunity. That, coupled with the right engineering skillset, made it possible."
"From what I've gathered, Major Webb wasn't big on paperwork." Hardly a surprise there to those who knew him. Also possibly part of the reason he's no longer CAG. "So thank you. Is there anything in particular you think I should know right off the bat?" Stirling wonders. "I understand Webb left under less than ideal circumstances. Are there any issues, or issues brewing? The Colonel has shared his insights -" which implies she's not coming in completely blind. "But I'd like to hear yours."
A snort, at the mention of Webb, "Well, if it helps, he arrived under less than ideal circumstances. We had just lost our CAG to a ship fire, and I was filling in until his replacement could arrive. He came in and demanded I hand over wing. Refused to show me his orders." Which would have been the polite thing to do, but alas. Eva considers, finding her own spot to lean again, as she considers the question, and you can almost see her mentally scanning, as she goes through the current roster of pilots, "Most of the pilots and backseaters we have are solid. Although, I'm surprised at the number of rooks or near rooks we've been assigned. Not that I don't feel that they have the ability or the potential to be fantastic members of the squadron, but they do need extra work and training. We just had quals a few days ago, and I know some of them have been struggling with failing to pass. And it's hard, sometimes, to ask for help in a situation like this." When you're already expected to be the best. "A lot of egos. As you can imagine, but I can think of a few who will probably give you some pushback, when your orders don't coincide with how they think things should be done." Such is the problem with trying to get twelve colonies working together.
Stirling squints a little at the description of Webb's arrival. "Seems like an odd hill to choose to die on, but I didn't know him at all, so..." Stirling lets that drop. She nods to the description of the squad. "I was a little puzzled too when I saw how many rookies were in the squadron. But the Colonel seems to give potential more weight than experience. Mold them before they get too many bad habits, that sort of thing." She smiles a little. "I've yet to find a squadron without a bunch of egos, so that shouldn't be a problem. I can imagine everyone being from different worlds makes it interesting."
"He was a battlefield promotion, from what he told me during one of our faceoffs. All the ranking officers above him died, so he was next in line. Not everyone manages to rise to the occasion under those circumstances. You know how it is." Most of the time, officers gain maturity over years, not through circumstance, "I don't think it helped that Smackdown, the former CAG, was so well loved and respected by the squadron. Awfully big shoes to fill." She nods, at the return comment on rookies, "Well, I'm always happy to help however I can there. Spent more than a few years as a flight instructor. And I think the only real concern, for me, is managing the Picans in the squadron. A lot of emotions running high in there. I'd hate for any more of them to think being nearly suicidal in the air would be a benefit to the operation. I'd hate a repeat of the near friendly fire incident with Milkman."
Stirling nods, spending more time listening than speaking. "I noticed there were a few from Picon. Though from my experience on Caprica, most pilots seem to understand that they're not much use dead, even if they are defending their homes." She wonders idly. "Milkman have a history of pulling that kind of stunt?"
"Well, my hope is that most of the Picans in this squadron will remember that. I don't think any of them, as far as I've heard, really realized how badly the colony was doing. I imagine most of them feel as you would imagine...as if they abandoned their home in its time of greatest need and now they want to make up for it. Even though they were need by the Colonial Forces." As for Van, Eva pauses, considering how to answer, "Milkman has a history of thinking highly of himself, and of his ability to pull off risky maneuvers that aren't always warranted, and to stay on combat longer than is strictly safe in order to get a kill, even when the rest of the flight has things under control. He survived the fall of Hyperion, and I think that's left a bit of a chip on his shoulder. I think he feels that most of the squadron - read the older pilots - don't give him the respect he's due for that fact, and he feels, keenly, that any way other than the Picon way of flying and managing a squadron is wrong. He struggles to take direction well." A lift of her shoulders, "He's also young, only just got pinned to full Lieutenant a few weeks ago."
Stirling offers a somber nod. "It's never easy to prioritize someone else's home above your own. But in a way, that's what the Colonial Forces is all about. Going where we can make the most difference." As for Milkman, she smiles a little. "I don't know that I've met too many pilots who take direction well. That whole ego thing. I'll keep an eye out, though. I've been meaning to talk to him anyway." Though she doesn't elaborate on why. "What about you? You're from Hibernia? I've heard there weren't many Hibernian officers in the Royal Navy. How did that work out?"
"Yes, I agree. We all wants to save the people we know and love. But we're being asked to fight for people who might not necessarily be able to fight for themselves. And those people are in all of the Colonies." A thoughtful expression, as the conversation turns personal, choose not to push the question of Van. It's not really Eva's business, "Well, they practically threw me a party as I was walking out the door to go here, if that gives you some perspective. I think I just got good at playing the game. And I never turned down a mission, even when it was supporting our forces on Hibernia. I think that helped to....well, not build their trust, but to see me as a valuable asset."
"Indeed," Stirling offers a soft agreement to Eva's assessment of the CF's job. She smirks a little when Eva mentions her 'going away' party, but then sobers up at the last bit. "Well. That must have been difficult. Still, their loss is our gain, I'd say. No one would doubt your contributions here."
"No more difficult than spending almost two decades in the Navy. It's what I agreed to when I put on the uniform. I knew it wasn't going to be easy. But if I managed to make a contribution towards the safety of the moon, of the people that I care about, then I think of it as time well spent, same, I think, as anyone who puts on the uniform to protect their home. And I've been happy to be here as well." Well, happy is a relative term, when you're a combat pilot, but then, Stirling knows how it is. "I hope that I've pulled my weight, and I'm ready to do whatever else might be required of me."
"I've no doubt you will," Stirling says with an agreeable nod to the latter point. She gestures toward the flight rotation on the board. "I was just going to go through the rotation, if you cared to run through it with me." She stands from the desk.
Eva nods, as she rises to approach the board, settling into work mode, "As I'm sure you know, we've gotten rid of assigned wingmen. But the pilots have been working together a long time, relatively speaking, and we have a number of flying pairs that we try to put together, because their styles and temperaments work well together."
And so it goes, as the two pilots go over the business of the day.