2237-10-20 - Hope For Change

Envoys from the CF meet with Chambers' after the incident with the VRM.

Date: 2237-10-20

Location: Sadah Province

Related Scenes: None

Plot: Operation: Watchtower

Scene Number: 1499

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When Ryan's people contacted Chambers' group on the radio, they were told to land just outside the village. They were also told to send only people that had met with the group before and to keep the numbers small. That's how Aldrich and Geoff ended up stepping off the Raptor at the appointed time - just after nightfall. Chambers isn't there to meet them - nor are any of the other faces they recognize from his group. Instead it's a teenage boy who comes out of the village once the Raptor starts to lift off. One of the ones who had seen them the first time they arrived. "You the preacher huh? Follow me." He leads them not into the village proper, but around the outskirts.

Aldrich carries a pack with him, and he's wearing his usual uniform with defensive gear, but he specifically refused to carry any firearms. Whether he has anything more subtle hidden on his person is anyone's guess! But in any case, he has intentionally shown up looking like the picture of a noncombatant. He nods solemnly to the boy who comes out to meet them. "That's me," he confirms, and follows along wherever the kid leads.

Geoff at least appears to be unarmed as well, though he is solemn and vigilant. He has his arms crossed over his chest, and once Aldrich takes off, he steps in behind, glancing back over one shoulder.

The kid leads them around the village. He doesn't seem inclined to chit-chat as he scampers over the rocky ground. They seem to be heading for the hills. The boy stops every so often and glances behind them, as if looking for signs of pursuit. He takes a needlessly circuitous route, presumably to foil tracking.

After a windy route into the hills, through some canyons that would make even aerial tracking difficult, the kid arrives at a cave. He makes a whistling sound, then gestures towards the cave entrance. "In there," he says simply. There were plenty of opportunities for ambush had that been their goal. He waits for the CF people to proceed in, and then follows.

The inside of the cafe is illuminated with soft lights on the walls. There are some sleeping bags and supply crates. It appears to be home to a half-dozen people. Three are here at this moment - all armed. All standing to meet the new arrivals. One of them is Chambers.

Geoff lets Aldrich go first, but he's close behind, and he looks pretty wary. Not physically aggressive, though.

Aldrich glances to the kid, gives a faint smile, and steps into the cave, glancing around to take in the surroundings as he goes, then focuses his attention squarely on the people he's come to meet. "Hello," he greets, quietly. "I want to say first that the Colonial Forces probably have their own reasons for sending me here, but I don't care about that. I asked to come so that I could apologize personally for what happened in your village, and for the people who were hurt." If no one interrupts, he takes a deep breath. "I truly believed the alliance I offered would make you safer, not put you in danger. I... didn't have all the information."

Chambers looks between the two, then shakes his head. "We were fools to think the Virgons would honor the ceasefire." The others give grunts of agreement, frowning with him. "Now you know what we've been up against. That's not on you, though. Your people bled alongside ours."

Chambers looks between the two, then shakes his head. "We were fools to think the Virgons would honor the ceasefire." The others give grunts of agreement, frowning with him. "Now you know what we've been up against. That's not on you, though. Your people bled alongside ours."

Aldrich looks down, unhappily. "I thought I was helping. If anyone was a fool, it was me." He takes a deep breath, and reaches for his pocket, cautiously, keeping an eye to make sure no one thinks he's reaching for a weapon. "I'm not sure what your beliefs are, but where I come from, we have a tradition..." He pulls out a couple of coins, and holds them out to Chambers. "Could you give these to the family of the man who died? And let them know that my prayers are with them." After a beat, he adds, "And I brought what medicine I could fit in my pack. It's not much, but perhaps it will help?"

Geoff stays quiet, looking from Aldrich to the insurgent.

Chambers holds out his hand. "I'll pass them along. And we'll take what medicine we can get. Thank you." He shakes his head again. "Chaplain, this war has been going on longer than either of us have been alive. There's only one kind of diplomacy those frakkers understand. We won't forget that again."

Aldrich drops the coins into Chambers's hand, then shrugs off the pack to hand the whole thing over. There's some candy in there for the children, in a side pocket, but he doesn't mention it. His expression hardens slightly at the last comment, "I understand. But... I just want to let you know that I am not letting this go. I'm going to keep questioning and try to make sure someone is held accountable. It's one thing to fight a war, but it's another thing to send soldiers to attack a village where children are present. There /must/ be boundaries, or else we're no better than the Cylons."

Geoff just looks like he doesn't disagree with anyone that the Virgon Royal Marines done frakked up.

Chambers snorts. "See that's the thing, Chaplain. Not so convinced they are much better than the Cylons." There's a pregnant pause, where he emphasizes, "Subjugation or genocide - it's a hell of a choice." He exchanges a glance with the other men and then looks back to the two marines. "We'll fight the Cylons, for now. But on our own terms, in our own way."

Aldrich looks more troubled by that than anything else Chambers has said. "They are humans," he stresses. "Fallible, god-forsaken, mistaken /humans/. They have a choice. They just have to see that they've made the wrong one." He takes a deep breath, then, and nods slightly. "Of course... that's... Well, I wouldn't expect anything different. I wish..." He glances to the side, thoughtfully. "Well, I'll try to help from my end. In any way that I can." He solemnly offers a hand for a handshake.

Geoff shrugs at Aldrich. /He's/ certainly not about to get involved in complex Virgon politics.

Chambers arches an eyebrow at Aldrich, then smirks. He glances to Geoff. "Optimism one of the required skills for your Colonial Forces?" Then back to Aldrich. "I think you need to take a look at Sagittaron's history, Chaplain. Hasn't anybody so far realized they've been making the wrong choice. So good luck with that." Skepticism aside, he does reach out to shake Aldrich's hand.

Aldrich can't help but give a wan smile. "Not so much for the Colonial Forces," he admits, squeezing the man's hand and releasing it. "But for my line of work? It's a necessity." He offers, tentatively, "There was a time when no one had ever realized they could walk upright, either. And then, one day someone did. Things always change, if the species survives long enough. I'll pray that perhaps one day, your children will see that change." He glance to Geoff then, with an eyebrow lifted as though to ask 'Ready to go?'

Geoff tries not to look skeptical of Aldrich's optimism. He certainly doesn't claim to have any in return to the question from Chambers. He nods at Aldrich. "Good luck," he mumbles to Chambers.

"Fair enough," Chambers says, smirking again. When they wish him luck, though, he sobers up. "You too." Then he falls quiet to watch them go. The rebels have already started packing up their gear before the marines are even out of the cave. Can never be too careful after all. The teen boy is waiting there to lead them back to the village, again via a circuitous route.


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