The //Vanguard's// pilots come down from a (mostly) successful mission. It's all relative.
Location: Hangar Deck
Related Scenes: 2237-07-19 - More Product....More Process
Scene Number: 289
Eva is one of the first of the flight to touch back down, and she waits in silence, as the viper is taxied back to the elevator and then up to the hangar deck. Thankfully, she doesn't need to be cut out of it this time, and she pops the canopy and stands enough to sit on the edge of the frame to watch as the rest of the flight is brought up. Helmet off, set on the seat she vacated, she's already unzipping the flight suit and getting out of the top at least.
Aubrey's landing is a bit loud and clunky, thanks to the bad shot to her ship's undercarriage early on in the fight. She manages it, however, and hands a tech her helmet before she climbs down the ladder. She looks really, really, really cranky. "I think those Heavies considered me about as dangerous as a toy dog nipping at their heels," she mutters.
Emrys will be at the tail end of the flight coming in, seeming reluctant to touch down until he's sure everyone else is in. Once he's out and on deck he begins making rounds, helmet tucked under one arm, visually checking the ships for damage. It'll all go in the AAR.
Van waits until it's down to Emrys and himself, but doesn't push the matter of who is going to be the last one down. The holes in his Viper's belly are more than superficial, but not much more, and he runs through his shutdown checklist before hopping out to inspect them. The deck crew doesn't seem concerned, so his helmet and neck collar come off, along with his gloves, and he looks around the group of deplaning pilots. Taking in a slow breath, he lets it out, then moves over in the direction of Cherry's ship.
Waiting for his turn to land, Kell does so rather quickly and efficiently due to his Viper being untouched on this mission. He knows that any delays is another second the chance a Cylon capital vessel jumping in on them. Gliding his bird into the landing bay, he sets it down so it can be taxi'd to the free elevator so it can be stowed away for the next pilot that has a mission. The flight helmet is unsealed and pulled off after Razor climbs out of his Viper, moving to join the others instead of just heading to the stairwell. There is still a bit of adrenaline pumping in the young pilot, as there was a trap set for them, one they didn't fall into.
There is absolutely no damage on Astraea's Raptor. It might be a first. Or at least a top five for the recent weeks. Not even a nick or some scratched paint. She lands easily and begins going through her post-flight checks as the ship is on the elevator. It means she can just hand things off to Pitbull once they're in the Hangar, seeing her fit to step off the wing and to the deck proper, pulling off her helmet. The woman looks mildly frustrated. Well... more than mildly. To her, letting the Heavies go was allowing them to do more damage out on Picon. She doesn't speak up, but she's largely just staring at her feet, gripping her helmet tight at the edge.
"You weren't alone in that. I was shooting like a rook. But you flew well, after you were hit and that matters." Eva, at least, as never been the sort not to admit when she's done poorly on a mission. Emrys, she catches sight of as he's wandering the deck, "Hawk." Her voice is pitched to reach him, just as he makes his way past, touched with humour, as if it were some old remembered joke, "You're still smoking." Finally, she steps, to grab her helmet and start making her way down to the deck herself, "Nice work out there, Razor." Eyes flash to Astraea, and her expression darkens into a frown, just as she hits the desk.
Aubrey holds out a hand to tap knuckles with Kell as he approaches. "Nice shooting out there, Razor. Surprised the frak out of the Raider that was dogging me." She nods to Eva. "Some days all we can do is fly straight."
"So I am." Emrys shoots a smile Eva's way for a moment. He seems about to say more, and then he catches site of Nova. "Excuse me." There's a deep breath, as he makes his way over to where the raptor pilot is staring at her feet. "You're gonna bend that helmet, you keep holding onto it like that. So, whatever you want to say, let's hear it. Out here on the deck, it's all fair game. Once we step off, the book's closed."
Van stops a little shy of the discussion, following Eva and Emrys's gaze over to Astraea and taking a step in that direction -- only to stop as Emrys makes his own move. He nods slightly, then looks back to Eva, "Do you have a moment, sir?" The words are quiet, perhaps a little tight, but he keeps his features composed.
Once Eva hits the desk, she heads over in Aubrey's direction, handing off her helmet to some hapless enlisted, because, well, she can, and she's tired. And he offered. She tips her head in Astraea's direction, silent indication that she'd like to head in that direction. But once she sees Van heading in her direction, she shifts, taking a step away, "Of course. What can I do for you, Milkman?"
"Thanks, Leftenant." Kell says with an appreciative nod to Aubrey when he hears her words, "You made it easy, lead that Raider right into my sights." He also gives Eva a brief smile as well for her words but falls silent when he sees Van heading in the Captain's direction. And then his gaze shifts to where Astraea is as she is also approached by Emrys at the same time. Looks like Razor will be staying on the deck for a little while longer, most likely to listen in on the post-mission discussion this time.
"We went out there t'protect that city." Astraea's voice is quiet, but she's Scorpian. Even quiet isn't very. And anger is obvious in that accent. She hasn't let go of her helmet yet. It might be all that's keeping her grounded right now. "Yer own words were ta focus on th'bombers 'cause it weren't gonna go well fer th' city if we didn't." Nor does she look up. There's a tension in her shoulders. "Fer all we know, they've already destroyed that city an' those people right now. Look at us. All of us." She does finally look up, but at their wing. "Every one of us is unscathed. Still flyin'. Still operational. We coulda flown them down without issue. We abandoned those people."
Aubrey doesn't interfere in either conversation. "If it's all right with you, Cherry, I'll leave you guys to talk and go hit the showers. I have a duty rotation in 30."
Eva glances at Aubrey, offering the other woman a subdued smile, and a nod, "Of course. Go do what you need. And if you need a cover, let me know. I'll work something out." Once Aubrey moves away, she'll turn her attention back to Van.
Van nods slightly at the permission, drawing in another breath and then getting right into it, "I want to apologize for my conduct the other day, sir. It was out of line. I directed anger and frustration at you that should have been directed elsewhere. I'm sorry."
Emrys takes another of those deep breaths, as he listens. Voice doesn't raise. Indeed, his face remains unreadable. "Valid points." He begins. "Now, consider this. We've got spotters on the ground. That's how we knew they were going for the city in the first place. If they had gone back, we'd have heard about it and could have responded." A pause. "Look, I would have loved to have gone after them. And if I'd been given more raptors, maybe I would have made a different call. But I had to play the hand I was dealt. And we've got all our birds ready to scramble, instead of wrecked in a trap to where we really wouldn't be able to protect anyone." Another pause. "If you feel that my actions amount to abandoning those people in the face of the enemy, I advise filing a report with Whisper." It's not an agressive suggestion, but an apparently genuine one.
Eva's expression is mild enough, at Van's apology, but then, she's had years to learn how to mask her responses. Or, perhaps she simply has no ire to respond with, "Thank you for the apology, Milkman. I meant what I said about being able to understand how difficult it can be to separate the job you have to do, from the job you want to do. And I'm sorry too. I probably should not have come at you with an ultimatum. But the concern was a valid one." She pauses, considering, "But that ultimatum, ill-chosen or not, was no reflection on your skills or abilities as a pilot, Milkman. You are, and have always been one of the best pilots in this squadron, as you were on the Galactica. That has never been in question. Not for this mission or in any mission before."
Van shakes his head slightly at Eva's comment about the different sorts of jobs, but doesn't protest her description verbally. He nods at the compliments, responding crisply, "Thank you, sir. I do appreciate you saying that. Both the compliments and the apology. You won't have to worry about wondering what I'll be doing on the recon, Whisper benched me for it." He struggles to keep the bitterness out of his voice, and comes ever-so-very-close to purging it entirely, "I'll be waiting back on-ship to help run over the footage and plan likely SAR locations based on the location of their Raptor." Because it clearly can't be destroyed. Just damaged. Forced down.
"We saw the trap. We weren't caught in it!" Astraea's voice rises, then, in frustration. She catches herself, however, before she continues. Closing her eyes, she lifts the arm with the helmet to press her wrist to her brow as she takes a slow breath and leans back on her heels. "Fine. Yeh. I'll talk t'Whisper." Apparently, yes, she's taking it as a suggestion. Her arm drops, the helmet bumping into her leg as she turns to start heading for the corridor, grabbing at the neck of her flight suit so she can start working it away. Probably intent on the showers, at this point. Not even waiting for any official dismissal; just needing to get away.
Emrys opens his mouth to respond to that frustrated voice, and then Astraea announces she's taking his suggestion and begins to stalk off. "Good." is all he says, letting her go. He doesn't move, for the moment, giving her time to get completely clear of the situation.
With Van and Eva talking a bit quieter off to the side, Kell isn't going to intrude and since they aren't yelling at each other, he assumes that it is a rather cordial conversation. Instead, the young Ensign is focusing his attention between Emrys and Astraea, wincing slightly at the exchange of words going on there. Before he can pipe up though, Nova is already heading off to the corridor and stairwell, so he begins walking afte rher. He does say rather quickly to Emrys, "Sorry sir, I'll speak to her." Then he tries to catch up. "Nova..."
Van shakes his head slightly at Eva's comment about the different sorts of jobs, but doesn't protest her description verbally. He nods at the compliments, responding crisply, "Thank you, sir. I do appreciate you saying that. Both the compliments and the apology." That certainly seems honest enough, "At some point, I would like to follow up on your comments about my refusing an order, but if you'll excuse me, now I would like to get back to running over the footage and plan likely SAR locations based on the location of their Raptor." Because it clearly can't be destroyed. Just damaged. Forced down.
Eva's lips compress, at the shake of Van's head. But she clearly isn't going to argue the point. Too well she knows how often if she says left, the lieutenant will say right. And that is simply what it is. And, really, it isn't what's important right now. "Of course, Milkman. And if you need any resources that are not already available to you, let me know, and I will do whatever I have to to make sure you have it." She doesn't make any move to stop him from heading off to his work.
Hearing Kell's voice behind her, Astraea does slow her steps a bit to allow him to catch up. Her grip, at least, has loosened a bit on her helmet. The tension is still there in the way she carries herself, but she'll fall into stride with the Libran pilot so she can talk to him.
Van even gives a slightly apologetic shrug when Eva's lips compress, but lets that matter fall by the wayside. At her words, he nods sharply, "Thank you, Cherry." Apparently, that marks the end of the 'official business' in his mind, "I think I have what I need, short of someone who has run SAR in the area. I haven't asked Mace, but none of the Air Wing, as far as I can tell." He shifts his gear into his left hand, drawing himself up, and provides a picture-perfect Picon Naval Academy salute to Eva, waiting for it to be returned as formal dismissal, then heads on toward the door. He frowns a little as he spots Astraea storming out ahead of him, but Kell's following, and he just nods, heading for the Ready Room without even a courtesy-rinse for those already working inside.
"Let her go, Razor. She's handling it through the proper channels." Emrys advises. He's not going to push the point, though, when Kell falls into step with Astraea. Once the blast area is clear, his shoulders sag and there's a slow exhale like a tire deflating.
Eva does returns the salute, though it is the standard Virgon one, and not an attempt to replicate the Picon one. Once Van has departed, she drops her head, fingers rising to rub at the bridge of her nose, before she looks up, catching sight of the last remaining member of the flight, turning towards him, hands rising again, but this time to busy themselves with unbraiding her hair. "Hey...Emrys." Her tone is sympathetic, concerned.
Emrys turns and gives Eva a lopsided smile. "Well, that went a lot better than it could have done." It's hard to tell whether he means the flight itself or the discussion with Astraea. "I hope she doesn't think it was an easy decision. Trust me, I love going balls deep as much as anyone." A pause. "Sorry, bad choice of words."
Eva doesn't pay much attention to the routine, it's just part of coming down from a mission, and the sooner done, the less likely to spike a tension headache. "I was betting she'd use her helmet as a cudgel and do her best to knock you out." Which, given the difference in their height would have been a sight to see, "I can't say whether she did or not. But she's young. And a junior officer. They have the luxury of only having to exist on the surface of things." A snort, at the phrase, but there's merriment there, "Well, apropos, if nothing else." A momentary pause, to twist her hair into a knot at the base of her neck. "You finished with your inspection?"
"It wouldn't have entirely surprised me." Emrys admits at the talk of being attacked by helmets. "Wouldn't have entirely held it against her, either. She was extremely upset, clearly." There's a nod then, as he looks around and realizes everyone else has left. "All done. Just need to file the report."
"I should start a tally, see how many various and sundry ways the pilots can vent their frustrations out on you. Give you a prize if you break a dozen in three months." A more serious note, in her voice after, "Yes. She goes hard. And she wants to win every battle. It's hard, in instances like that, to see that sometimes that winning the battle isn't as important as winning the war." And just as easily, "The report will be there waiting for you in an hour, after you've had a chance to clean up and eat." She turns, tipping her head in the direction of the stairs, before she heads that way.
Emrys shakes his head at that. "She won't be the last, I'm sure." He sees the wisdom in what Eva says, and so follows after her. "Well, we did win the battle. We just didn't enter the next one." A pause. "She's damn good, though. I saw her bring in that raptor that was more scrap than bird. Brilliant pilot, never wants to back down no matter what? Reminds me of someone I used to know."
"Because there's always a next one. Because we're losing the war, Emrys." And that's the truth. "We're trying to put bandaids on gaping wounds." Eva shakes her head, as if she could clear those thoughts from her mind, "She is. She's one of the best that I've seen come through the line, since we moved to the Vanguard." A glance over, as Emrys catches up with her. With only a few spare inches separating them in height, it's easy to set a comfortable pace, as they head down the stairs, "Yeah. Whatever happened to that guy?"
"I don't know, I kind of miss him." Emrys answers with a shrug, and a little bit of humor. "You think so? You think we're losing?" It's perhaps a reality he hasn't entirely let himself confront. "Hopefully Whisper sees her frustrations for what they are and gives her lead on a mission."