Rothschild seeks out Mercer to get something off her mind.
Location: CQB Arena
Related Scenes: None
Scene Number: 1129
Rothschild had heard word that Mercer was running drills down in the Arena, drawing her from sickbay and down to the lower deck. She raps her knuckles on the interior of the hatch as she steps in. Her dark eyes sweep the area, as if trying to make a mental guess on what course they were running beforehand. When she spots Mercer cleaning up, she offers a casual nod. "Gunny, want some help?"
"Just about done, thanks," Mercer says. He puts the last laser tag vest into a box and carries it over to the shelf where they're kept. "Looking to run some drills?" He assumes, because why else hang out in the arena.
Rothschild watches him, not intervening since he said he was good to go. His question draws a shrug. "Regularly. I prefer the drills to just shooting at targets in the range... but not this time." She upnods. "Actually heard that I could find you here." She starts forward, righting a chair out of habit. "If you don't mind, of course." She flashes him a ghostly grin. "I could always make an appointment if you rather."
"Appointment? Shiiiit," Mercer says, drawing out the word to betray the disbelief, and he smirks briefly. "What's on your mind, Staff Sergeant."
"You never know, Gunny... you never know." She turns slightly, leaning back against the table as she does. Her arms cross. "The botched supply delivery." She manages to keep her demeanor easy, though there is a certain weight in her voice. "I assume you got my AAR, but... something has been keeping my mind going." Which means a lot of sleepless nights for Rothschild. She hesitates a moment, and then asks, "How would you have done that delivery... if we had been on Sagittaron?"
Mercer doesn't answer right away. He gets the box settled and then turns back to face her. "More important question is -- what you'd do different if you had a do-over." He folds his arms, awaiting her answer.
Rothschild has already thought this one through, though she does let the question linger for a moment. "I would have asked a Picon. Then I would have asked recon." Then she shrugs a shoulder. "Which means, I would have asked Wagner." She shifts slightly against the table. "Gunny, I made the call I made because I was thinking like a Leonese... specifically, a Leonese who has served exclusively in urban centers. But, that's what's been bothering me... I got an Aquarian reading me the riot act because I went with what has always been SOP in Luminere. And to be honest, the Aquarian is only pissed off because he thinks that the Aquarian SOP is the way everything should be done."
Mercer shakes his head. "This is the marines, Rothschild. We don't run things by committee. Now, you legit don't know something, speak the frak up. Someone in your squad has a better suggestion, they can speak the frak up. But at the end of the day, when you're the squad leader, it's on you. Tactics ain't that different whether you're on a road on Picon or a road on Leonis."
"And people in my unit should speak up, because that's the whole point of a squad that can work together, isn't it?" Then she shrugs slightly. "But, I know it's on me. That's something no one needs to remind me." She taps her fingers. "Gunny, I've been out of this for a year, but I'm not here for show. I want to get back on the path I was supposed to be on."
Mercer gives her a brisk nod. "Damn straight you're not. I don't give a shit how many posters that pretty face of yours is on. Here you're a marine, plain and simple." He still hasn't unfolded his arms. "You never answered my question." Well, she did. But not to his liking. "What would you have done differently?"
The Leonese woman doesn't seem at all affronted by this, nodding almost agreeably. Then she gestures a bit, when he offers his question. Then she breathes out a slow exhale. "When Ingvar asked me if I was sure I wanted to be Wagner and Arda in the trucks, I would have asked him why he thought I shouldn't. If his reasoning was sound, I would have obliged to it... but do I think it would have changed the outcome? No, Gunny. I don't. Those Cylons were nestled behind a hill, waiting. All Wagner saw was the glint of the rocket launcher being lifted up. Had I sent Wagner and Arda to stay ahead of the trucks... they might not have seen anything, and we would have still walked right into that ambush. The Cylons were after the trucks. They disabled the trucks, killed the drivers, and retreated." Her mouth thins slightly.
"Never gonna know if that would've made a difference," Mercer agrees gruffly, showing no sign of judgment one way or the other. "But you're right about one thing - they were after the trucks. And you were guarding the trucks. What'd you gain by having so many of your people in the trucks versus what did you risk?"
Rothschild shifts her jaw slightly, working through that question before she answers. Her answer is an honest one, not one sugar-coated by the PR Department, or even by her own censor while being in front of a superior officer. "Nothing." The bluntness carries no excuses, just honesty. "I gained nothing, Gunny."
Mercer makes a motion with his hand. "Thought your AAR said you put some of them up in the trucks to get a better vantage point. Not a bad idea. But you asked me what I'd have done? I'd have only put a couple eyes up in the trucks and spread the rest out. If it was a ground attack, Toasters weren't gonna get to those trucks without going through your perimeter. And maybe eyes out front would've given you time to get that rocket before it hit the trucks. Then again, maybe all you'd have is a couple dead recon guys who got a rocket up the ass. We'll never know." He folds his arms again, saying sternly. "Learn. Don't dwell."
Rothschild finds herself crossing her own arms, though her fingertips work lazily at a new scar that is building over her bicep. She flicks a glance up at him when he mentions her AAR. "And I stand by that reasoning, even if it didn't gain me anything. We were working within the constraints of terrain. Get your best eyes high enough up, and they can see things better than low to the ground." Though when he mentions a perimeter, now Rothschild is more thoughtful. She gets perimeters. "No, Gunny. We won't. Probability says that anything could have happened." The stern statement as her straightening up again as if he's gotten to the crux of it all. She nods in understanding. "So say we all," she says, just a touch of blasphemy there.
Mercer nods. "So say we all. Anything else on your mind, Staff Sergeant?"
"No, Gunny. I can handle everything else on my mind." Rothschild straightens up. "I trust if I frak up too badly, you won't hesitate letting me know." She smirks slightly.
"Oh you can be damn sure of that." the Gunny says with a brief little smirk.
Rothschild gives a little salute as she goes, but it lacks all the proper sharpness as this was, in her mind, just a casual chat. She starts for the Arena exit.