Astraea and Kell review the footage from the Cylon assault on CAP City. Astraea struggles with her feelings some more. (Scene title entirely Kell's fault.)
Location: Argyros Base - Video Room
Related Scenes: None
Scene Number: 533
So much of the base is in disrepair, if no outright rubble. It’s not as bad as the city, thankfully. They haven’t found themselves relocated or stacking up in the bunks. They haven’t lost their belongings (again). The mood is, however, fairly dour.
Astraea has claimed one of the rooms in the Air Wing section of the base meant for reviewing footage. She’s got her guncam footage from the battle loaded in and she’s playing it through, taking notes. It’s at least a good deal more heartening than any prior battles she’s had on Caprica. At the moment, she has it paused on a capture of a couple of battlestars breaking through the atmosphere, pen caught between her teeth as she stares at the screen.
After all, it’s a sight few, if any, ever get to see.
The video room is a place that Kell has frequented ever since they were temporarily stationed on NAS Argyos. He hasn't gone out much with the others drinking in Caprican bars, or just lazed around in their temporary quarters. He's continued his focus on training, whether it be physical, firearms, or pilot since this isn't 'leave'. Razor was prepared to have another session in the usually quiet video room when he spots Astraea already there.
Looking at her screen as he approaches, Kell can't help but smile at where her saved footage is paused at, "That was quite the sight, wasn't it, Nova? When the cavalry arrived and started pounding those Cylons." The timing was certainly quite surprising, as was the firepower brought in, but Razor doesn't mention it again after accidentally letting it slip over comms while they were flying cover for the airbase. He is already moving to claim the desk next to Astraea.
“It was incredible,” Astraea admits, taking the pen out from between her teeth to cast a look at Kell. Seeing that smile, she cuts her eyes back to the screen and the view she’s paused her footage on. He wasn’t the only one who let something slip over comms that day, no. A number of them did; herself included. “I tried, last night, t’calculate the tyllium burned jes’ ta break ‘em outta atmo again,” she offers quietly as she reaches for the remote.
“I gave up after a couple of sheets of paper.”
She hits play again, reaching for a to-go style cup of coffee after setting down the remote. This is also when she had adjusted -- due to a Raider cutting through her line of sights -- at the last second to attack the Raider on Kell’s tail. Stirling and Eva had as well, but you can’t miss the Talon that tears through the body of the craft, even if the camera wasn’t situated to follow its path from under the Raptor wing.
When Nova mentions playing with the numbers on tyllium cost, Kell can only shake his head as it is a number he wouldn't want to try to imagine. "That was a good shot on that Raider, and it wasn't the only one. We cleared the skies over the airbase pretty well, our squadron shot them down fairly quickly if I remember correctly." He hasn't done his own full review of the flight footage yet, which is why he is here right now. He just wasn't expecting anyone else in the squadron to be here. "I wonder if there will be any backlash from the local Capricans about them being used to lure the Cylons in. With how quickly their military responded though... I have a feeling they were in on it as well."
“It wasn’t a good situation, but I was glad ta be back in action,” Astraea admits quietly, looking sidelong at Kell. “All this trainin’ had me feelin’...” she drums her pen against the desk lightly. “Stagnated. No wonder some of us were gettin’ in fights.” Some might be surprised she hadn’t been in any, considering her tendency towards a quick temper. But then, one might imagine the number of fights she has been in. Perhaps there was no appeal?
Perhaps she’s mellowing out.
“Hopefully th’ Capricans will be too busy cleanin’ up to start anythin’,” she murmurs, rolling back the footage a bit to catch a few things during the final cleanup, from when they joined the Caprican wing on the other side of the base. “Can’t believe we were right, though. ‘Bout them stagin’ an assault. I mean... in general. We never even got near considerin’ this- this scale of one. I wouldn’t’ve thought they’d bring two basestars down over th’ city like that. Would you?”
At the mention of the fights, Kell can only wince as he heard about the physical confrontations between the Colonial Forces personnel and native Capricans. "Yeah... that is unfortunate." A pause before he adds, "At least it dispels the conspiracy that the See-Eff is a puppet for the Capricans." Recalling the untimely ambush by a reporter that Calliope had to deal with.
"Or maybe they are more appreciative of the Colonial Forces now. Without the two Battlestars... the Basestars would have obliterated the city and most of the forces in the area. Plus the Cylons would have full control of this area right now." Kell says in a slightly more subdued tone, after painting such a bleak picture. As for the pair of them being right, Razor can only shake his head, "No, what happened was definitely on a completely different scale. This was an entire region on Caprica, not just Edson airbase. I don't think we can even come up with a gameplan to deal with one Basestar, nevermind two."
“Well, yeh, once word of this gets out to th’ other colonies. How long ‘til that happens, though?” Astraea pushes her fingers into her hair, leaning out to pass Kell the remote, in case he wants to swap her footage for his. “Could take weeks or months. An’ that doesn’t help th’ fact that th’ Capricans think th’ Wolves are just a publicity stunt. Dunno iff’n this’ll help that. Considerin’ we had to save some of their asses in that fight, they might double-down outta embarrassment.”
Her eyes drift away from him back to the screen. “None of this is gettin’ easier, is it Razor?”
Working on the terminal at his desk, Kell is looking through the files of the different missions available for review from various cameras, "I am sure that this will definitely help, without us... they would be in bad shape. Who knows how long the Cylons have made plans to take Caprica, I'm sure it has certain significance to them since this is more or less their 'home'." As for the Capricans doubling down with their pride, Razor can only shake his head, "That would make no sense, they need us. This last battle was very telling."
The question from Astraea has Kell looking up, "Easier? No... it will only get harder. Cylons are adapting and copying our tactics, at least the ones that work like the two Vipers to a Heavy element. And until we find and eliminate their production factories, they will keep coming at us. So that's why we have to stay on the ball, keep our eyes and skills sharp, don't let down our guard." Which is why he is here in the first place, continuing with his routine of reviewing tapes, training, etc.
“They had a lotta production facilities on Picon, ya know,” Astraea points out, leaning back into her seat as she picks up her coffee again. It’s cooled, considerably, but she holds it in both hands nonetheless. “I wonder why we never did bombin’ runs on any of ‘em? I know they were former facilities of ours, but...” Her brow furrows and she lets out a sigh, worrying at her lower lip.
“Think th’ brass is still hopin’ to resolve it other ways, mebbe? Finish th’ war with minimal strategic losses? I’d... I mean, lookin’ at places like Delphi, what jes’ happened to Cap City, or... colonies harder hit, I’d be forgettin’ that an’ bombin’ th’ frak outta those facilities.”
At the mention of Picon, Kell can only wince as he comes up with a reasonable explanation, "Probably because we did not have the resources to spare to bomb those facilities. And like you said, they use to be ours, so the brass may have wished to recapture them instead of out-right destroy them. It would be a great benefit to our forces if they could be turned to our production." To at least counter the constanct stream of addition Centurions and crafts being produced. "And I get the feeling those sectors are just bristling with AA emplacements all over the place. Can't bring a Battlestar in to level the place since they will just jump in with additional Basestars."
"Frak, yeah, there was a lotta SAM to deal with on Picon." Astraea looks to the screen again with a sigh, chewing at her lip a moment more. "I'm glad it's shit I don't gotta decide on. So many lives hang in th' balance, no matter what ya choose. It ain't jes' money an' equipment." She squirms in her seat a bit, looking mildly uncomfortable. The woman falls quiet for a moment before looking down to her cup. She taps her finger, lightly, before her eyes return to the screen and she lapses into a thoughtful silence.
Kell can only nod his head in agreement with making these heavy decisions, "Yeah, lives is much harder to commit than equipment and material. I don't think I could ever order people into a mission that I know has a chance to fail." And there are probably plenty of missions where the success rate may have been as low as fifty or sixty percent. "I have a hard enough time keeping myself in the air half the time while watching out for my wingman and the Raptors." A slight shake of his head before he looks over at Astraea's terminal, "So what footage have you been reviewing? Anything in particular you were checking out?"
There's a deep breath from the Scorpian when Kell poses his question and Astraea looks back his way. "Oh, jes' my own so far. I've been tryin' a new... uh, breathin' technique," sure, you could call it that, "when flyin' an' it seemed to do th' trick. Didn't take a single hit an' came away a few slots higher on th' kill board. Thought I'd analyze it, y'know?" She looks down to her notebook, setting aside the coffee as she reaches for her pen again. "What 'bout you?"
When Astraea mentions a new breathing technique, Kell has a mixed expression of surprise and puzzlement, as if that was not what he was expecting when it comes to flying better. "You definitely downed a lot of them, almost aced it just on this flight alone, yeah?" A pause before he nods his head understandingly, "That is a good idea, to review your tapes after a mission, especially if you felt you did something extraordinary or memorable. I usually review the footage of different pilots after each one of my missions, just for extra vantage points. Or if there was a big enagement that I wasn't part of." Yes, Razor does spend quite a bit of time in the video room reviewing footage.
"Uh, yeah, one away from. Did hit my trip-ace on this one, actually. I'm only a few away from passn' Jigger, y'know? Almost feel like I oughta bet him that I will." Astraea does suddenly smile, more broadly at Kell before she quickly looks away. Her fingers close more tightly around her pen as she closes her eyes. There's a long moment before she looks back at the Viper pilot; smile gone and a somewhat more subdued air around her. "Never thought of lookin' at someone else's tapes, I s'ppose. Mostly my own, to figure out where I frakked up. Whose were ya gonna watch?"
It appears that Astraea hitting triple ace is news to Kell, which shows how much attention he pays to the killboard. He does look pleasantly surprised at the news though, "Congrats on triple ace, Nova! And that sounds like it could be a fun challenge, though make sure you just keep your head straight. Sometimes those kind of bets lead to... unnecessary aggression on missions." When the subject returns to reviewing footage though, Razor inclines his head, "I did a lot of that when I first transferred to the Timerwolves. I had no actual combat experience under my belt, just a lot of flight hours which amount to nothing against the Cylons. It definitely helps reviewing other people's footage, so not only can you see how you fly from a third person perspective, but you can watch how others fly and maybe pick up a thing or two." As for whoes, he says with a sheepish grin, "I usually review each Viper pilot's tapes, and sometimes Raptors for different angles."
"Jigger's a good goal. No way I could ever even imagine catchin' up to you. I remember when ya first hit ace, Razor," and she made sure he got his party, "an' now look at ya. Second on th' kill board." Astraea listens as he explains his own methods when it comes to reviewing tapes, but then comes that particular grin. She swallows and there's a bloom of color across her nose. The woman reaches for her coffee and looks down into it intently, drumming fingers along the sides. "Uh-huh," is all she manages to say. She hasn't had enough lessons yet for this.
When it is mentioned that he is second on the list now, Kell also looks surprised but not as much since he knew he was getting up there. "It wasn't that long ago, was it... though it is proof that kills aren't everything. There are many pilots that are better at flying than me in the unit, I just get lucky when they officially review the mission tapes I guess." There is a quick shrug to his shoulders as he looks down at his own terminal again to flick through the list of footage available for the recent defense of Argyros Airbase, missing the blush across Astraea's nose, "Won't change the way I fly though. Will still focus on keeping the Raiders off of the Raptors and my wingman first.""
"I wouldn't say ya jes' get lucky. Jes' bein' a better plot ain't everythin'. Most of th' older pilots, all they knew for years was bein' able to fly. You've had to really learn how to shoot well, too, an' not just for gallery effect, either." Astraea takes a deep breath, steeling herself some. "There's a lot to be said for learnin' in th'field like ya have. It's done well for ya. Mebbe some of 'em... ain't as meant for live combat as they think, y'know?" At his final comments, however, she watches Kell in profile as he goes through the list of footage. Finally, she ventures quietly. "Someone... told me recently that when I, ah- when I took that hit back over Delphi that knocked me out, that ya broke away from your wingman an' zone to cover my Raptor." They had the Raptors separate, that flight. "Is-" She takes a deeper breath. "Is that true?"
Kell certainly can't argue with the results and Astraea's explanation makes perfect sense, "True enough, I guess I had the unique experience of not having the chance to pick up any bad habits, and just learn through actual combat experience against the Cylons." Apparently specialized in toaster frying, not human toasting. "My parents certainly are proud, especially my mother." After a brief glance in Astraea's direction, Kell goes back to the footage file list and finally finds his own. That is when Nova asks her question about him covering her, "Delphi..." He says, as if recalling that mission from the so many he has flown and reviewed. "Oh right, you took a nasty shot at your cockpit section, I think your canopy shattered when I got a closer look. Yeah, I was flying with Milkman and we had our Cylons more or less dealt with. I told him I was heading over to assist your side."
"Yeah," Astraea agrees quietly, once Kell recalls. She lifts a hand, to rub absently at that side of her head. Her hair's generally a curly enough mass to hide it, but a close enough look (or when it's braided down for helmet-wearing) shows where they had to cut enough away to treat the wound. "Some of th' glass hit me hard 'nough to knock me out. Weathergirl had to fly us in." She forces herself to watch Kell, for a moment. "I jes'... I mean, usually you'd've... I dunno, waited for Whisper to give you th' order to do that. Hawk said you- well, sorta broke SOP."
Unable to help himself, Kell winces when Astraea describes being knocked out during the mission, "Yeah... I assumed that is what happened when Weathergirl was the one that took over flying. Glad that our ECOs have flight training as well, for emergencies like that." As for not following SOP, Razor apparently doesn't see it that way, which is probably how he convinced himself what he did was all right, "Sometimes the decisions we make in combat is a snap call, if we delay and wait for the mission lead's approval, it may be too late. And I didn't... exactly break SOP, the Raptors in your section were getting swarmed." Including Nova's.
"Still... doesn't seem entirely like you, I guess," Astraea says, studying Kell as he explains. "I mean- don't get me wrong. I'm grateful. Especially since it was you. I always feel safe with ya on my wing." She can't really help herself; there's a smile for him. She's only had one lesson so far! The emotions, they aren't totally under control! And damn that sheepish smile of his. It was like undoing every single knot she might have made all at once. "But usually yer very... I mean... extremely by th' book."
Finding her description of him amusing, not wrong, but amusing, Kell's grin returns and he shrugs, "It isn't out of the book to not protect our Raptors when they're in trouble. And I trust my wingman to tell me if things get hairy, Milkman is certainly capable of doing so without overextending. As long as it doesn't compromise our flight's integrity and leave a weakness or opening for the enemy, I'm willing to... be a little bit more flexible on maneuvers."
"Uh-huh." Astraea doesn't seem wholly convinced. Or at least a bit uncertain about something. Either way, Kell is grinning at her and she can't seem to find her way back to that place Emrys has only so recently introduced her to. She's leaning on her own part of the desk now, chin in hand and pen tangled through her fingers as she watches the other pilot. "You, flexible. I feel like th' rest of us might be rubbin' off on ya, Razor. Who knows, mebbe you'll go out drinkin' with us on a day off someday."
Kell won't deny that it is possible the rest of the squadron is affecting him, "Possible, I know I'm not the same as I was back when I was in the Libran Air Force, nor am I the same when I first transferred to the 'Wolves." As for drinking with the others on a day off, there is a shrug there, "Maybe... if we don't have duty the next day. Certainly not here on Caprica though, too much tension with the locals. No need to unnecessarily put yourself in the way of trouble." Best way to avoid confrontation is to not be there at all!
"I know some folks're gettin' passes to go off-base still. I ain't asked. I don't wanna... see th' city after that battle or see what th' locals might think of us now." In case her theory that they've doubled down on their pride is correct. Astraea takes a deep breath, finally looking away briefly. She doesn't move much; just cuts her eyes away to look off to the screen again. "But, uh, I still, y'know, am lookin' for things ta do wit' my free time. So if you wanna rest yer eyes after starin' at footage one day an' wanna hang out, lemme know?"
Nodding his head, Kell seems to be in agreement, "They are limiting passes and I won't be taking one up, someone else can have it. Like you said, it seems more sensible to stay on the base. I'm sure the locals are busy enough with rebuilding or searching for missing loved ones." As for her offer of free time, Razor nods his head though it appears to be more absentminded than anything else, "Will do, Nova. Though with us shipping out soon, I have a feeling we're going to be busy and we will probably be back on the Dauntless again in short order." Kell is already calling up the footage he wants to his terminal screen and fast forwarding to when the simulated SAR is beginning. Pulling out his notepad and pencil, along with a bottle of water, it appears he may be in for a good session. "For now, we have plenty of tapes to look over. We had a large squadr in the air for the well timed training. Lots of videos to comb through."
And... she's lost him. Astraea would be more frustrated if this wasn't part of what she liked about Kell. Instead, she gives a small, tolerant sort of sigh. The woman ducks her chin, staring down at her own notes for a moment. She looks back to him finally, offering a brief, fleeting smile before she turns back to the screen and a fresh page in her notebook. "Yeah. Why don't ya show me how you tend to go through footage, yeh? Mebbe you can point some things out..."
At the least, it means getting to spend some more time with him for a while.
"Sure, we can do that. Though if you need a break or want to call it early, let me know." Kell says with a nod of his head as he hits a few commands on this terminal so that he can share his screen with Astraea's. Looks like this isn't the first time he's reviewed flight footage with someone else and he already has a process in place. "Here is where we will start, we'll be looking for..." And Razor will go on for a bit about what he looks for, the notes he takes, etc. Not exactly the most fun of times but it is certainly helpful for pilots.