2238-02-24 - In The Underworld

After deliberately getting captured to warn the POWs, Aldrich finds a potential ally in the mine.

Date: 2238-02-24

Location: The Mine

Related Scenes: None

Plot: None

Scene Number: 1662

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So the whole 'getting captured' thing perhaps didn't go as smoothly as Aldrich might have hoped, but the good news is - he wakes up again afterwards. He's in a large cavern. The ground is rocky and uncomfortable beneath him. Dim lights dot the tunnel roof at irregular intervals, with pools of shadows everywhere. There are other people sitting or standing around the cave. Dirty. Haggard. Underfed but shy of 'emaciated'. Closest to him sits a mid-thirties woman with brown skin and unkempt curly hair.

Aldrich didn't exactly expect it to be a cakewalk, so that's saying something. As he drifts toward consciousness, he stirs a little, then gives a faint noise of pain. A hand goes to his head, exploring the source of the pain before he fully returns to reality enough to remember what happened. When he does, his eyes open and he glances around, tries to sit up, and grimaces deeply.

Hearing that noise, the woman stirs and places a hand on his shoulder. "Easy now. That's a bad knock to the head you took."

Aldrich allows himself to be pushed back down. He blinks slowly, still slightly disoriented. "I take it you don't have a twin, then?" he murmurs, and smiles tightly to take the edge off that dark humor. His gaze shifts past her, to the ceiling, then to the side, taking note of the haggard faces and dimly lit cavern walls. His attention returns to the woman, and he reaches for the forearm of the hand on his shoulder, squeezing it with a sudden look of urgency. "How long was I out? Are we watched here?"

The woman is confused for a moment, then smiles. "No, but I'm not surprised - double vision is common after a concussion." The sudden hand on her arm startles her, but she pats it lightly. "Relax. Give yourself a chance to get your bearings. They brought you in a few hours ago." Thinking he's like all the other new arrivals, she says, "They have us working the mine here."

Dazed eyes glance around, searching for signs of Cylon presence, but by the way he's blinking, his vision hasn't completely cleared, yet. "Hours? Right... Okay..." He keeps his hand on her arm, and uses it to pull her a little closer, gently. "I'm with the Colonial Forces," he says, in a tone barely above a whisper. "We need to be ready. There's a plan..." He trails off, still troubled by the possibility of being overheard.

The woman leans in, listening. Hearing his urgent whisper though, a deep furrow appears in her brow, and concerned eyes look him over. "I think you may have hit your head harder than we thought, dear. Just take it easy, all right?"

Aldrich grimaces and starts to sit up again, brushing her hand off his shoulder. "I didn't get hit /that/ hard," he grumbles. Although, it's pretty obvious that he /did/ get hit quite hard. "We need to spread the word. Organize so that we're ready when the time comes."

She squints at him, still skeptical but moved by his conviction. She doesn't stop him from sitting up, though she does frown as he does so. "The time for what?" She looks over his uniform. "You're not a Picon marine."

"To escape," Aldrich murmurs. He touches the back of his head, tenderly, then grimaces and decides maybe that was a bad idea. The observation throws him off a little and he just stares at her, momentarily off balance. "No..." he agrees. "I'm Colonial Forces. Through the Leonese Foreign Legion. Originally from Gemenon." He clears his throat and waves his hand as though to banish the confusion of all that. "I'm a chaplain. I came here to warn you. They're going to blow up a... something. A diversion, so we can get you out of here." Funny how he says 'we' as though he's not one of the people needing rescue. Silly man.

"Colonial Forces," the woman echoes, processing his words. Trying to decide if he's crazy or serious. Or both. She lowers her voice to match his conspiratorial tone. "So you're telling me... you came here on purpose. And there are other soldiers coming to rescue us?"

Aldrich nods cautiously, mindful of the head injury. "Yes. Exactly." He blinks hard again and finally just closes his eyes, even in the dim light. "I thought more people would die in the confusion if you didn't know we were coming. I'd expect them to act... um... I was out a few hours you said?" His brow furrows deeply, throwing the scar bisecting his eyebrow and nose into sharp relief. "So it's morning by now? They won't act during the day. So possibly by sundown tonight. But we'll know when it's time."

The woman looks at him for several more seconds, then shakes her head. "Preacher, you're either the bravest fella I've ever met, or the craziest." After a moment, she exhales sharply and then nods. "It's probably just before morning. They haven't come to get the next shift yet, which is just before first light." She frowns, and whispers. "How can we spread the word without tipping off the Toasters?"

"Probably the craziest," Aldrich admits, with a crooked half-grin. He scratches the bridge of his nose, and then props himself up with a hand on the ground. "Hmmm... Have you heard the tale of Orpheus and his descent to the underworld? How well do the captives here remember their religious studies?" he wonders.

She smiles a little. "I've heard it, but as for everyone here?" The smile fades. "I don't know. There are a lot of lost souls here for you, chaplain."

Aldrich nods a little. "Tell them the story, then. Have them spread it to others. We are Eurydice, but we are the ones who are lost if we look back. Tell them Orpheus's arrival will be heralded by the thunder of the gods." He swipes a hand over his face. "It's the best we can do. The Toasters may catch that something is happening, but they won't know what until it's too late." He leans toward her slightly, and lowers his voice to a whisper, to be safe. "It certainly won't tip them off that the explosion is only a diversion."

The woman makes a oh-boy face. "Well... perhaps a little divine intervention will help get the message across." Then it starts to sink in. Soldiers are coming to rescue them. She looks a little overwhelmed, and lets her gaze drift across the room. "Gods. It's too much to hope for." She covers her mouth with her hand.

It takes a moment for Aldrich to notice and process her reaction, but when he does, he reaches over to squeeze her arm. "We're not out of the underworld yet," he offers, gently. "But I trust these men and women without question. If there's a way to make this mission succeed, they'll make it happen."

Still overcome, the woman nods a few times. "I believe you. It's only... we've been here so long. To think..." She takes a few deep breaths and then seems to calm down enough to say, "I should go speak to a few of the others." She starts to get up, then looks back at him. "What's your name?"

Aldrich nods a little, starts to ask a question, but then presses his lips together instead. "I'm sorry we couldn't come sooner," he finally settles on, with a sad smile. He starts to sag when she goes to leave, satisfied that at least for the moment, his immediate goal has been achieved. Her question draws him back to alert, though, and he glances up again with a mildly bemused smile. "Aldrich Kavanagh. I'm sorry, I should have asked yours..."

"I'm sure it wasn't your fault," she says kindly, then pats his arm. When he asks her name, she smiles a little. "I'm Deb. I wish we were meeting under better circumstances," she says, a wry twist to her mouth. "Get some rest. I'll be back when I can."

Aldrich smiles, small but genuine. "Likewise, Deb. I hope when this is all over, we can get to know one another better." He sinks back, finally giving in to what his body wants. "I will take your advice, doc," he murmurs, letting his eyes slip closed. "But if you need me..."

Deb smiles faintly. "I'm a nurse actually," she says, and then she nods. "I hope so too." Then she's getting up to go speak to some of the other prisoners.


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