2238-01-29 - Even If They Hate Me

Charlie makes an executive decision, even if Cate isn't a fan. A loose plan is put into place for how Davion and Wagner will reach friendly lines.

Date: 2238-01-29

Location: Picon

Related Scenes: None

Plot: None

Scene Number: 1635

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It's evening, and things are winding down in the warehouse. The night watch is heading out, and the civilians are settling in to sleep. Cate, having finished checking on the injured, has wandered out in search of Charlie. She carries her SMG with her always, but usually leaves her armor back in the room that serves as their makeshift infirmary.

Someone finally convinced Charlie to get some rest. She's tucked into a corner of the warehouse, resting. Not sleeping at the moment, but not doing much else, either. The woman has kept her distance from the civilians, but that's not uncommon in these situations. Don't get bogged down, don't get distracted. She's propped up against a crate, picking at one of the bits of game she brought in that's been cleaned, roasted, but has gone cold. Still, meat is meat and at least she's eating. The sniper has a distant look on her features as she does; pulling off bits of meat before eating. She's taking it slow.

If Charlie's standard practice is to keep her distance, talking with the civilians - in particular the kids - has been Cate's way of keeping busy in-between patrols and chores. She's still been quiet and tense, but the other Picons have drawn her out of her shell a little. "You get any sleep?" she asks Charlie as she comes up on the other woman. It's very much the pot calling out the kettle - as Cate's own tired bearing attests.

Returning to where other friendlies are is certainly a good thing, as far as Aleksander is concerned. Even though he was able to keep mental focus while trekking carefully through enemy territory, seeing familiar faces is a relief to the rifleman. After resting up, the Tauran had no problems picking up a guard shift and is making his way back into the warehouse with the night shift heading out. That is when he spots Charlie and Cate, deciding to head in their direction. "Wagner, Rhodes." Simple greetings for now. Aleksander doesn't speak about Charlie's condition, despite what he saw when they were by the mineshaft and whlie they were making their way back. Cate's question is more than enough to bring out an answer to anything he would have asked.

There's a minor delay in Charlie before she looks up, glancing from Cate to Aleksander. There's a nod to the latter in greeting before she looks back to the former. "Some," she says. "Not much." Any who have served with her for a while know she can be prone to nightmares from time to time. Peril of many who have served in more severe warzones. She's no exception. The woman grabs up an open canteen by her hip, taking a swig. "How's everyone faring?" Likely she knows -- or assumes -- that Cate's been in their makeshift infirmary.

Cate offers a knowing nod to Charlie. "Yeah. Me either." She looks up when Aleksander approaches. "Aleks. Glad you made it here." She settles down gingerly on the floor a polite distance from Charlie. Her ribs have been a little better, but still clearly sore. "Well as can be expected," she says. "We've been lucky." She looks between them and cuts right to the issue that's been on her mind. "What are we going to do about the prisoners?"

"You're not the only one that is glad, I thought I was going to be stranded with that pilot until the end of the war on a planet I'm not familiar with." Aleksander says with a touch of amusement, mentioning Hunter who he found a day or two before running into Charlie. For now, he stands near the other two as they discuss the status of the camp and the subject of the prisoners that their recon sniper found when investigating the abandoned mine turned smuggler den turned prison camp.

"I don't know," Charlie admits when Cate mentions the prisoners. "There's regular raider patrols over the area. We know there's AA batteries in the region. They've got to have plenty of Cylons down there and of us- there's only me, Davion, and Arda uninjured and good for an assault." Hunter's not hurt, but you don't plan for a pilot for such an endeavor. "We'd need explosives for the rear entrance on the place and- there's no telling if it'd be a valid way through even then." She presses fingers against her scalp, sighing. The last bit of her meal is dropped onto whatever is serving as a plate. "Our only hope is getting help and coming back out with reinforcements. I don't plan to leave 'em forever, Cate. Know that. But we're gonna get caught or killed if we try to go in as-is."

Cate draws her knees up to her chest, nodding somberly to both Aleks and Charlie in turn. "I'm good for an assault," she insists. "And their fighters would join in." She makes a vague nod towards the Picon partisans. "That's what - ten people? Eleven if Aleks' pilot pal remembers how to shoot a gun. And we'd have surprise on our side. How many guards were there?"

"The biggest threat is the Raider that was hovering over the mine," Aleksander chimes in with what he was able to see from his vantage point and for groundpounders like him, the enemy having air superiority and air assets is a major disadvantage as they could be pummeled at will from above. "We may need to at least have command send a squad to either take out the air in this area," But with the SAM Sites in the area, he amends, "Or just pull those enemy air assets away for a period of time for us." The Tauran is silent about the guard composition as he stayed back with the pilot, looking towards Charlie to see if she has the answer.

There's a long look towards Cate as she insists and Charlie rubs at her face. "And what if that Raider- or more show up? And how much ammo do we have? I wasn't able to get an accurate count, but, frak. If there's even a full squad of Cylons there, we'd be lucky to take 'em all. We can't take down a Raider and one Raider would call in more. I'm not just thinking of our lives, Rhodes. I'm thinking what happens to these people and the prisoners out there if we die in the assault? I'm running damn low on rounds for my gun. I could only cover y'all for so long and that's even if I hit and take out a Centurion on every shot, which is... not likely. Do you really think with half of us already injured, a pilot, and low munitions that it's worth risking all these peoples' lives?"

Cate frowns at their words, picking at a thread hanging loose from a rip in the knee of her trousers. She shakes her head. "Y'know, I've heard that all before. A never-ending list of reasons why it was too risky to try to help those people at the arena." The Picon pyramid team arena in Hyperion, that is. "So we did nothing, and they all died. Thousands of people. And Triton fell anyway." Her tone is clipped with raw emotion. She rubs her face, letting out a long sigh.

Sensing that the atmosphere is getting tense, Aleksander quickly holds up a hand, "Whoa, let's pull it back a step you two. Being stuck behind enemy lines can wear down everyone's nerves." A pause before he looks to Charlie and says, "No one is asking you to do everything yourself, and don't try to shoulder everything yourself either. We all know the stakes and the risks." The Tauran then looks over to Cate, "And we're not leaving them behind, Rhodes. I don't know what happened at the Arena but sometimes the best we can do isn't enough, that's the hand we are dealt with. I'm sure that there were many who tried and thousands of people still died. But the effort was certainly made and if they had to make the choice again, they would've made the same choice and tried their damnest yet again." Words like this coming out of Aleksander is rare, and he certainly knows it, feeling a bit out of place.

"Right. Nothing. We did absolutely nothing." The words coming out of Charlie are completely flat. The woman waves a hand at Aleksander. "No, she's right. No one did anything. You know everything that happened at Hyperion, I see." It's not quite anger brewing, but something along those lines. "Fine. Go. But I'm not having a part of it. I'm going to find another solution."

Cate looks up sharply at Aleksander. "No, there weren't many who tried. Because the frakking powers-that-be decided that 'the math didn't add up'." The bitter air quotes are audible in her voice. "That those people weren't worth the risk. So instead of helping them, we just left them there and held our ground and prayed for a rescue that never came." Her jaw tightens at Charlie's response - a more obvious anger brewing than Charlie's. She pushes herself to her feet. "I hope you do make it through to get help. But if you don't, I'm not going to just sit back and leave those people to die." She starts to storm off.

It seems like Aleksander has nothing further to add on that subject, since he wasn't there and he knows that it is as possible convincing the other two as it is fighting off the Cylon force himself. He has tried being the peacemaker and even he knows that there is no compromise, at least right now when emotions are rather heated. The Tauran can only watch as Cate begins to storm off, obviously having the terrible memories of what happened on Picon in the past resurface.

As Cate storms off, Charlie leans back heavily against the crate she had been sitting against. She lifts her hands to rub at her face. "I don't care if they all hate me, you know," she mumbles around her fingers. "But I'm not gonna lead them all in there. I've gone over our supplies. I just... the odds aren't good, Alek. And watch her move sometime. She's still injured. Most of them are. I know why she wants to. I do, too. But I'd rather them hate me and we see everyone live than... be the reason they're all dead or captured." Her arms drop back to her sides. "Cate and Lyn already went through Cylon capture once." She bends to grab the canteen, taking a long drink of water. "I can't sit around here. Not if I'm gonna have that conversation every day. I'm gonna try to find the line or at least somewhere I can get a signal out. Would you be up for it?"

All Aleksander can do right now is release another sigh as he reaches up with his right hand to massage the bridge of his nose while closing his eyes for a brief moment. “They don’t all hate you Wagner, and no one is asking you to lead them all into some death trap.” It’s obvious that the Tauran is irritated right now, apparently being forced to take part in not just the fighting portion but possibly the planning, logistics, or mediating portion of this operation, if one could call it such. As most know, he prefers being out of the limelight and just relaxing off in the corner until it’s time to fight. Plus, he’s out of cigarettes.

“Yeah, I’ll be up for it Wagner, if we can get word back to the friendlies to give us support, especially since this is still the main objective of our original mission, we should be able to pull something off.” Aleksander finally says as he considers the options. “We certainly won’t make it back with everyone, especially with some already wounded. So it would only make sense if it’s just the two of us.” Another pause before he decides to add, “I’ll try to find and talk to Rhodes later, when she’s cooled off. You, however, will get food and water and sleep until morning. We can leave at first light but if you don’t eat and rest, this mission is off and I will find someone else to go with me. Even that pilot if I have to.” Now that sounds like a serious statement, especially if the pilot is involved.

“You know I didn’t want to go into the fight where we found the civilians?” Charlie kicks the heel of her boot against the pitted concrete of the warehouse floor. “I mean, the chaplain’s injured. Cate’s injured. Scott’s... frak, still dunno if he’ll make it.” The man who should be making the calls. “And we hear fighting. I wanted us to pack up and move to a safer location. But Rhodes and Kavanagh just went charging off anyway. It’s not so much, I guess, that they think I’ll get them killed... I’m afraid they’ll all get themselves killed.”

“They just don’t seem to get that if we survive to fight another day, we can save more people.” The sniper brings her focus to bear on the Tauran, however, when he gives her order to rest. She looks surprised and fairly confused. “I just ate. And I’ve tried to sleep. What the frak is any more gonna do for me?”

Absent leadership, emotions can end up manning the helm, which Aleksander seems to understand as well after hearing Charlie’s words. “We’re trained to fight, sometimes that is just the way some people react without someone clearly in charge.” That is why they are all drilled to following orders from the chain of command. He does glance off in the direction where Cate stormed off earlier before looking back to the recon sniper. “Wagner, I saw your condition out there at the mine, it won’t do you and me any good. Just like you are saying with Rhodes and the others, I want you in your best condition you can get yourself to before we head out. Staying alive is just as important as getting word to the friendlies.”

“Yeah, well, I’m putting my foot down now. We don’t have enough ammo to make an assault on that mine. We’d end up dead or captured. Finding friendly lines and getting aid is our best option for everyone.” Charlie leans back against her arms on the crate, looking up at the warehouse ceiling. She lets out a long breath. “Brass picked a hell of a time to promote me,” she mutters lowly. In the end, she shifts and looks back to Aleksander, shaking her head slowly. “Sleeping’s half the issue. Being back here. It’s... I hate this place now. I close my eyes and I might as well be back in Hyperion, yeah? There’s no telling if I’ll wake up worse or not.”

At the mention of a promotion, Aleksander can’t help but smirk in amusement there, “That’s what happens when you perform too well, Wagner.” Luckily for him, he was only promoted to Corporal and he has no plans for further promotions. “Hate it, love it, dark memories resurfacing, whatever comes up you have to do what you need to do gain your strength back. Maybe Rhodes or another medic has something that can put you to sleep for a little bit. Who knows how far we have to trek to get to friendly lines and what we will have to run from. If our side lost ground these past two weeks, we’re in for a long frakking walk. And if I’m walking that far, I might as well walk all the way back to Leonis.”

“Maybe. I’d rather a few stiff drinks.” Or Evan around. The Scorpian’s been best at managing her nightmares and not knowing his status is probably contributing to them at this point. Charlie’s not said a word about him aloud. She snorts when Aleksander brings up Leonis, rolling her eyes. “You need to brush up on your geography, Davion, if you think a few days walk can get you to another frakkin’ colony.”

And Aleksander is definitely not one to pry into other people’s affairs. At best he would just observe from afar, usually in amusement or otherwise not at all. As for the geography lesson, the Tauran can only shrug his shoulders. “Does anyone have a map of the area? I would like to take a look before we move out, just to see what we are working with.” In case they do get separated on the way back to friendly lines.

“No map,” Charlie says with a small shake of her head. “I’m the best you’ve got on that front. But if we find some pen and paper, I can draw out what I remember and where I’ve been the past couple weeks. It’s part of what I’ve been doing is getting a working map of the region.” She leans away from the crate again to start heading off into the warehouse, tilting her head at him. “C’mon, someone’s gotta have something. At the very least, we’ll be able to bring it with us to make notes as we go.” Having something to do seems to help keep her focused more than anything else.

When there is no map to peruse over, Aleksander can’t help but frown as he is one that favors having solid intel he can rely on or call upon when he needs it. Sketching out some sort of map with landmarks will have to do as the Tauran nods his head, somewhat in resignation, “I’ll see about getting us something so we can draft a makeshift one. You can mark down any Cylon patrols that you spied upon when you were out doing recon.”

The joys of being in the middle of practically nowhere and on low supplies. They may have had maps of their particular zones, but they’re off those areas now. Or maybe they’ll get lucky and someone will have a map; it’s hard to say. Charlie nods, considering the Tauran. She lets out a long breath, rubbing at her face. “You still want me to sleep,” she surmises. “Fine. I’ll go see if anyone has anything for that. I’ll be with the other Wolves. Go see what you can find. I’ll get some supplies for us and see if I can rest. We’ll leave first thing.” It won’t be much by way of supplies, but they can at least get a few basics.

The joys of being in the middle of practically nowhere and on low supplies. They may have had maps of their particular zones, but they’re off those areas now. Or maybe they’ll get lucky and someone will have a map; it’s hard to say. Charlie nods, considering the Tauran. She lets out a long breath, rubbing at her face. “You still want me to sleep,” she surmises. “Fine. I’ll go see if anyone has anything for that. I’ll be with the other Wolves. Go see what you can find. I’ll get some supplies for us and see if I can rest. We’ll leave first thing.” It won’t be much by way of supplies, but they can at least get a few basics.

With Charlie agreeing to that much, Aleksander considers it a victory and seems agreeable with the plan. “Time for me to find some grub, and I’m going to grab some shuteye as well.” He was about to turn to leave before he looks back and asks, “Any chance someone has a pack of smokes? Mine... ran out.”

“If I happen to be asleep... I’ll grab you in the morning.” Or vice versa. But Charlie clearly doesn’t expect to sleep that long by the looks of things. At Alek’s question, she takes on a considering expression for a few seconds. “One of the civilians, maybe. There’s enough of ‘em about that someone’s gotta have a few on hand. Worth asking around, I’d say...”


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