2238-02-18 - Snafu

Cate and Aldrich chat about their options after the failed hospital raid.

Date: 2238-02-18

Location: Picon Ranch

Related Scenes: 2238-02-17 - Desperately Seeking Antibiotics

Plot: None

Scene Number: 1656

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It's super late by the time Cate and Gage make it back to the ranch. Judging by their hangdog expressions, the mission wasn't a smashing success. Gage was sporting a fresh bandage on his arm. They went their own ways after reaching the ranch, with Cate ending up in the kitchen. Less likely to disturb the slumbering survivors. She's set her SMG on a countertop next to her medic backpack and is in the process of removing her tactical helmet.

Aldrich is still awake when Cate and Gage return, so it's not long before he wanders into the kitchen, wrapped in a blanket but looking a bit worried. "Hey..." he announces himself in a quiet voice, pitched low to avoid waking anyone. "How'd it go?"

Cate gets the helmet off, and there's a moment there where she looks like she's about to chuck it across the room. Whether it's an attack of conscience at the noise and alarm that would cause or Aldrich's timely arrival, something stops her. She just lets it drop to the counter with a quiet thunk. A grim headshake answers Aldrich's question. "Situation normal, all frakked up," she says bitterly, then sighs. "Clinic was picked over. We ran into those damn dogs and then Cylons and couldn't even get to the frakking hospital."

Aldrich grimaces at the answer, and comes over to lean against the counter, taking the weight off his bad leg. "Frak." The tone is flat, almost resigned, and he runs his fingers through his hair. "So what's the plan, then? Are we going to try again?"

Cate removes her flak vest, wincing as she does so. She shakes her head. "I don't know. Tomak wants to but..." She lets that thought trail off, jaw clenching.

Aldrich nods a little, "But it seems risky for an uncertain payoff?" he offers, quietly. "How are /you/? Were you hurt?"

Cate nods. "Yeah. And I hate myself for even thinking that. Especially after what happened after Hyperion." She adds the vest to her pile and then answers his other question with a sigh. "Got hit again. Didn't get through the vest." But it still hurts, clearly, and she pulls her battered uniform shirt down a bit to frown at the brewing bruises under her right collarbone.

Aldrich winces at the bruise, though he leans in just slightly, possibly checking for signs of anything worse. "Anything cracked, you think?" he asks, with obvious concern.

Cate shakes her head, sinking down on one of the kitchen chairs. "I dunno. Maybe," she admits with a sigh, then shakes her head. "Not that it matters. Frak-all we can do about it even if it is." She asks, "How's your leg?'

"Well, it's something we should know, you know?" Aldrich points out, then shrugs a little and glances down. "Eh, it's fine. Pretty much the same, really. Not much we can do if it's not, like you say."

"Yeah," is Cate's soft agreement. "Sorry." She probes the bruised area with her fingers, sucking back a wince, then moves her arm around a bit to test the range of motion. "Don't think the collarbone's cracked. Maybe the top rib - I'm not sure." She blows out a sigh, rubbing her temples. "Just when the other ones were almost healed too. Frak this damn war."

Aldrich's brow furrows. "Just hang on until we make it out of this corner," he advises, gently. "Because we will. And we'll get a chance to breath again. And heal. I know it's hard to keep sight of in times like these..."

Cate brings her hand up to the side of her face, the strain evident as she tries to hold back tears. "Do you really believe that? 'Cause sometimes it seems pretty frakking hopeless."

"I really do," Aldrich emphasizes, and reaches over to give her arm a comforting squeeze. "Listen..." He hesitates then, visibly torn, and then he forges on ahead. "No matter what happens... In the end, everything is going to be okay. Because it's all in the gods' hands. Okay?"

Cate sniffles and nods, pulling herself together with effort. "Okay," she murmurs. "I just wanted to help her, y'know? Like my friends helped me. It sucks, to have the knowledge, and the skills, and still not be able to do a damn thing." She rests her chin on her fist, a tense posture.

Aldrich nods, grimly. "I know exactly what you mean," he says, quietly. "But maybe we should focus on what we /can/ do? Focusing on what we don't have is only going to make us crazy."

Cate nods to his impeccable logic, but lets out a little snorting chuckle. "What, you don't think I'm crazy already?" she asks with weak humour. Then more seriously. "Tomak thinks that Hunter and Kes can hotwire one of the Raiders, like Cherry and Farmboy did back on Canceron. Maybe that's a better solution for her than trying to scrounge up the right kind of meds. I mean, if she gets worse - it'll take more than just some (space)penicillin. I'll need fluids, pressors..." She lets the list trail off with a bleak headshake.

Aldrich nods a little, brow furrowing. "Maybe we should try to get the POWs out, and then make a break for it. It's been a long time since they went for help... It's not just Ines who needs medical attention."

Cate chews on her lip a bit as she considers that. "Thing is - I don't see any way we can get all these people out together. And I'm not sure what their chances are trying to make it in small groups. If we can't get them out of here, they might be safer continuing to move and hide - shitty as that is."

"Safer for the ones who aren't injured," Aldrich points out, but then sighs. "You're probably right." He smiles tightly, and glances to the side. "Cate... If something were to happen to me out here, would you make sure that Lyn is okay? I mean... Even if it means having to drag her out to keep her alive." After an awkward pause he adds, "I mean, in the unlikely event..."

Cate rubs her temple again. "It all comes down to a frakking numbers game again. How much do we risk. Who do we save." She sighs. "Triage sucks ass." His somber request causes her brow to crease. "'Course I would. But... don't?" Now she looks all teary-eyed again, the plea soft and timid.

Aldrich rolls his lips in, but before it can turn into a guilty look, he pulls Cate in for a hug. You know, unless she resists or punches him or something. It's not typical for him to initiate such physical affection, but the situation is not exactly typical. "Just in case," he promises. "I just want to know she'll be okay."

Cate leans in and returns the hug, mindful of her sore shoulder. "She won't be. She loves you. I won't be either. But I'll take care of her, much as I can." She lingers in the hug, the weariness practically palpable. After finally releasing him, she settles back in her chair again. "I don't have anyone for you to look after. 'cept yourself," she admits with a wistful half-smile. "Chance'll be okay. We weren't even that serious." She snorts softly. "I told him I didn't want any strings." Even her own voice is dubious at that.

Aldrich leans back against the counter when Cate pulls away, and looks toward the ground. "I'm just afraid if it came to that, she'd do something... self-destructive," he admits. Her comment about not wanting strings causes him to give a little unamused snort, and he glances toward her, with a sad but fond look. "Cate," he says, gently, "You want roots so badly you're growing them in the air for lack of soil. Why not be honest about it?"

"I know," Cate agrees somberly about Lyn. "I'll be there for her. For what it's worth." His rather spot-on assessment about her character causes her to rub her temple again, a hint of embarrassment creeping into her features. She lets out a sad chuckle that's almost half-laughing, half-teary. "Because I was scared?" she finally admits. "It wasn't long after Tucker, and I frakked that up so badly... and then I lost him." The hand falls, flipping over in a helpless gesture. "I didn't want to get too close. Didn't want him to get disappointed."

Aldrich nods a little, his expression full of sympathy. "Well... Do you think maybe Chance wants more, but isn't saying anything because you've told him you don't want it?" he wonders, tentatively. "I have a hard time imagining anyone knowing you that wouldn't be terribly upset if you went out and didn't come back. Much less dating you..."

Cate offers a tiny shrug, lips pressed into a frown. "Maybe," she grants, then sighs and shifts uncomfortably before admitting. "Probably. He's such a gentleman, he wouldn't push me for more." Unlike a certain pilot she dated. She sniffs a little. "Did I tell you I hung out with him and his mom when I was on Caprica last time?" The wistful fondness in her voice is obvious.

Aldrich raises an eyebrow slightly. "He took you to visit his mother?" he echoes, with just the slightest glimmer of amusement. "Yes, that /does/ sound like a man who is keeping things casual..."

Cate hehs softly, and rubs her eyebrow. "Well... it wasn't really his fault. I went to check on her - when we were on Caprica and the city got bombed. He'd said she lived alone and I wanted to make sure she was okay. She's a sweet lady, and she's kinda lonely, so we started emailing each other. I actually went to visit her when Kyle and I had shore leave... I didn't know he was going to be there." Hearing how all that sounds, she makes a face and admits. "I don't think I'm very good at the whole 'casual' thing."

Aldrich rubs at one eye still wearing a slightly amused expression. "Yeah... I think you're probably right about that. But that's not necessarily a bad thing." He reaches over to squeeze her arm. "Maybe when this is all over, you should have a talk with him about that?"

Cate gives a wan smile when he squeezes her arm. "Maybe I should. Thing is... I'm still scared." Her face clouds with sadness. "He still doesn't know the truth about me. About my family. And he used to be a cop, so..." She rubs the bridge of her nose with a weary sigh. "Gods, listen to me. Afraid of getting too close, afraid of him not wanting to get close. Frak."

Aldrich lifts a shoulder. "I can relate," he offers. "I've been much the same way. If it weren't for Lyn being so patient and... insistent..." He shrugs one shoulder, with a self-mocking smile. "And I still feel that way sometimes, even now. But it's worth the fear... Even if those fears are realized someday, it's worth it."

Cate bobs her head slightly. "I'm glad you have Lyn. I think you guys are good for each other." She leans her head on her chin. "Can I ask you something? It's okay if you don't want to tell me, but... whatever happened with the whole kids thing? I thought that was kinda a dealbreaker?"

Aldrich winces at that question and glances to the side. "She decided that it probably won't matter since we might not both live through the war, and she didn't want to fight about it. I... didn't want to, either."

Cate makes a face that's equal parts wincing and perplexed, then just shakes her head a little. "Well, I suppose that's one way to sort it out. Kinda bleak way to look at it though." After a beat, she points to herself. "I know. Pot. Kettle."

Aldrich shrugs, ruefully. "I'm weak," he admits. "I don't want to lose her. If that helps her cope with it for now... Well, I'll take what I can get. I just hope she doesn't come to hate me for it." He fidgets a little with his blanket, and clears his throat. "I'm learning that with Lyn, sometimes it's better not to voice my worries too strongly."

Cate shakes her head. "I don't think that's weak. Just human. Not so different from me dragging my feet telling Chance about my tractor trailer of baggage and maybe scaring him off." She toys with a loose thread on the cuff of her jacket, frowning. "It's hard to imagine an end to this war. Harder to imagine living long enough to see it."

Aldrich sighs his agreement. "Sometimes," he agrees. "But the truth is, life ends for everyone, sooner or later. Everyone has to learn to deal with that knowledge. It's just more... obvious and immediate for us, I think."

Cate offers a solemn nod. "Yeah. Suppose I got a head start on that one, but it doesn't get any easier." She lets her gaze drift over to one of the cabinets. "Really wish they had something to drink here." Exhaling softly, she asks, "Do you think we're doing the right thing? Trying to rescue those prisoners? Even if it means we get killed and can't protect these people here?"

Aldrich takes the question quite seriously. He stands in silence for a long moment, staring at the floor, before he finally says, "I think that by some sorts of utilitarian logic, perhaps not. But I think it's the only human thing we can possibly do. I don't know about any of you, but I can't live with myself if we just leave them there."

A relieved look flits across Cate's face, and she bobs her head. "I know. I can't either. I'd feel like I was no better than the guys that turned their backs on those people in the pyramid stadium. Logically, maybe it was the better numbers game, but..."

"Maybe it's easier to think that way when you're dealing with stadiums full of people..." Aldrich theorizes, tentatively. "I don't think I can bring myself to judge someone when I never had to deal with that situation. But here and now? I'm the one who has to live with it. And I think this is the only decision I could live with afterwards."

"You don't have to judge. I do though," Cate says, lips pressed together. "We can do better. Maybe it's not much of a shot. I mean, I know we can't save them all. We can't snap our fingers and get them all to safety. But we can get them out of there."

Aldrich nods a little. "There's death and then there's... that," he agrees, quietly. "We'll do the best we can for them." He gives her arm a bit of a squeeze, and stands up a bit straighter. "You should try to get some rest," he advises. "We're going to need it if we're going to help those people."

Cate bobs her head a little. "Yeah," she says, though it's not entirely clear which part she's agreeing to. She doesn't make any move to leave the table, though. "Take care."

Aldrich watches Cate with a look of skepticism. "Are you going to rest, or are you going to sit here and stew over it?" he wonders.

"What?" The blank look Cate shifts up to him suggests that her brain was already off in stewing mode. But then she gives a tiny headshake once her brain catches up. "I won't be able to sleep. It's almost dawn anyway."

Aldrich nods a little. "Don't know if I will be able to, either. I'll probably find a corner and meditate for awhile." He watches her a moment, then adds, "You're welcome to join me, if you decide you'd like to. In any case, if you can't rest your mind, at least rest your body." With that, he limps off to find that corner he mentioned.

"Okay," Cate agrees somberly. She rises somewhat reluctantly and starts collecting her stuff. She might not be able to sleep for long, but she can at least lie down and they can stare off into space together.


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