AWD #314: A Pilot Interlude
A Pilot Interlude
Summary: While waiting for her Viper to be flight ready again, Epiphany has a moment with Kelsey on the deck.
Date: 01/05/2016 (OOC Date)
Related Logs: Airwing Aerilon - Into the Fire
Epiphany Kelsey 
Hangar Bay
Each hangar deck is divided into five one-hundred yard sections, each divided from the others by massive blast doors that close vertically from the floor and overhead. Each hangar section houses all of the Vipers, Raptors, and Predators that the wing operates as well as the vital work areas to support and maintain these fighting platforms. Each bay is large enough to accommodate one of these frames and still get heavy work done, though the fore- and aft-most sections are dedicated to overhauls and major work to be done. The bays along the center section are located across from launch tubes and elevators in order to provide scramble and Alert-Five capabilities. The second-to-aft bay provides major elevator and transport access to the starboard bay as well as the major manufacturing facility. Due to the nature of the work, the hangar decks are major hubs of activity at all hours of the day and all but four hours overnight.
Wed Nov 16 2005 (AWD #314)

The ship is busy turning over fighters and the first wave of strike. An hour ago the whole hangar deck was packed with aircraft, people running everywhere. Now? Nearly a third of the Wing's aircraft are left. Nearly. The rest are out on mission. Most of the deck team worked all night so they're catching an hour of rest while they wait. The few awake are responsible for recovering the Vipers too damaged to continue on. Sadly, there are no free craft just yet. Pip is going to have to wait while her Viper is fixed, the ship being towed down the line of bays.

While she does, she notes her Viper is being hauled into the bay at the 'end of the line'. Kelsey's Predator is parked on the elevator up to the flight deck. The ECO is in the backseat looking dead asleep. The young pilot is sitting on the floor, leaned against the forward landing strut, watching Pip's Viper get towed into the bay. No judgment, no excitement, no jumping up and down with 'pay attention to me!' bells going off. Kelsey looks calm and collected, helmet on the deck beside her, looking over the damage to the CAG's bird.

It's not a direct walk with her Viper, no. Epiphany isn't yet attached enough for that. She may never be. Too many cobbled-together planes on Picon to find herself with some sort of 'feelings' towards a particular vehicle. It did its job. She survived. There's points on her limbs and neck that she already knows will be sore, but Arrington lives on to fight another day. The woman is, however, moving at a slower pace behind. It makes her visible enough for anyone on the flight line needing the CAG. Out of the way of the deckies, but in evidence should anyone need. Her helmet is tucked under her arm and she's got a clipboard in hand. Likely the final series of sign-offs while repair begins.

With hair in a braid and coiled at the nape of her neck, there are strands here and there plastered to the sides of her face. The woman looks older than usual. Likely because of the names of those who didn't make it back. Ships either destroyed before ejection could be had or purely MIA. There's hope they may have made it planetside, but… There's a glance towards Kelsey and the Predator, but the woman initially doesn't say anything. No, there's just a nod and a glance back to the paperwork. Maybe some muttering about how nice a proper meal would be right now.

Kelsey just looks at the Viper without a word. She's probably seen much worse. Even crashed much worse. But it doesn't change the fact that enough holes make something worth looking at. As it turns away into the bay, the Ensign notices Pip walking behind. It isn't a duty area, but Kelsey slowly rolls up to her knees then to her feet. She stands at loose parade rest while the Viper is pushed in but her eyes go to Arrington. "Captain," she greets quietly. "Hope you gave as good as you got, sir." The ship shudders a bit as the ventral guns begin another volley - the booms felt as minute tremors rather than heard.

"Ensign." It's a tired greeting, but has a sort of gesture with it. That she cares not, at the moment, about propriety. Epiphany has dead and missing pilots to consider. As well as those who came back injured. It requires shuffling duty charts and squadron arrangements. "I'd like to think so," the woman responds, looking to her Viper as it's situated for repairs. It'd be easier if she could just hop in another and get back out there, but that's just not possible at the moment. There's a shift of pale eyes to the Predator proper. "How many times have you flown one in live combat?"

Kelsey notes the lack of concern about propriety but doesn't move from her stance. Her backseater is awake for the moment and watching. The Raptor crew she's probably set up to escort is parked to the side and the pilot and ECO are both sitting up front, watching. She does step a bit forward, though. The Ensign does seem reluctant to go very far from her ship, though. "I've got about 150 combat hours in the Predators, sir. It's a little over half my combat time. Missions are short on Picon and from orbit." Duh. But at 2 or 3 hours a mission, that's not something to sneeze at. "Right tool for the right job, sir. I love the speed and roll rate. It keeps me excited to fly low, sir." Just a hint of a smile. "Ever flown one while people are throwing the kitchen sink at you?"

"Good." Because after what they just dealt with? Epiphany isn't too happy to consider what the Cylons have laid in place over the past ten months on the planet itself. They've had a lot of time to dig in tight. "We didn't have Predators on Picon." It's said simply. Which means beyond simulators and live exercises? The woman has used Vipers and whatever they could get into the air during her months on Picon. There's a glance back down to the clipboard and a page flipped up. She just frowns at the list of names she's already jotted down. There's a definite distraction and distance to her, but none of it seems done intentionally. She just has a lot on her mind and shoulders.

Kelsey seems to take the comment as intended. There's a glance to the Raptor crew, then back to the CAG. She isn't sure what else to say. She can see names on the list. Her own hair is done in a tight bun and a gloved hand ends up hanging from the back of her neck. "If you ever want to learn, sir, and you don't want people to know…" It's said quietly, back to the Raptor and her backseater. A throat cleared right after it. "I should probably tell you, Captain. I'm not in a position to do it, but I ordered that new kid Niko to stand down. He's been shadowing me, barely flying much. I just couldn't bear the idea of him getting out there and getting cut apart. He's too excited to fly. So I've got him working as assistant crew on one of the SAR Raptors today. He's already out. I told him his mission today is to make a difference in someone's life. Not sure how he intends to fulfill that. Figure it's his problem, not mine." Kelsey looks over to the CAG. "Just want you to know that it wasn't his choice. It was my call, sir."

"I've flown them," Epiphany notes, looking up to Kelsey again. There's a slight furrow of brow. "I'm fully qualified for Predators, Squire. I've just never flown one in combat." The page is dropped. She can't stare at those names any longer. The sheet on top details damage and control issues for her Viper. Not too extensive, but it shows she took at least a couple rather hard hits. "I had a number of our new kids flying close support on the Orion. Next time, leave me a note, but it was a good call."

Kelsey nods slowly. "Aye, sir. They can- Well, I fig-" Kelsey seems like she might start sputtering but she just stops trying to talk right then. Sometimes its easier to let people just go with their own place for the moment. The last comment has her breathe a little easier. "Thank Gods. It just felt wrong to put him out there so soon. Kid is barely old enough to buy smokes. Let alone drink." Kelsey understands, though. "Note on the desk next time, aye sir. Sounds like things were a bit hectic, sir?"

There's a glance up to Kelsey as the younger woman stammers. There's a muddied quality to Epiphany's eyes. There's always been hints of brown to the green, but it's more apparent today. Stress and weariness weighing upon her. She seems to be waiting for the Ensign to continue, but instead she changes tracks. There's just a sort of nod. "Any feedback you have on his progress should also go to his squadron commander, Hobo." Lieutenant Salazar. At the last question, her lips twist into a sort of wry smirk. "It was a literal Raider infestation."

Kelsey seems a little surprised. "I didn't know he had a squadron commander, sir. That's why I've mostly just been giving him orders and stuff." Moments like this its easy to tell the gap between formal training and the slap-dash BS Kelsey was put through to pump out another pilot. The girl has also always had close monitoring. So what the hell has she been doing with this nugget? "He's a good kid with decent judgment, sir. He thinks his experience on Picon is enough to handle dogfights like what you saw today." Kels didn't have to fly into it direct to know what it looks like. "He gets easily confused around the ship and with basic principles. He is polite, he is eager, but he is not a leader. He is every single Marine Private ever, except he has a very high tech gun system. We've had some frank discussions, though, sir. We're established friends but I'm also who he looks to for a queue." Her lips twitch almost like a smile might appear and her gaze goes down. "Pretty sure you did this on purpose sir, but it's very strange looking at him and knowing that's how I was - except I was worse. I'm not sure I like what think about with it, but thank you for the opportunity to see it. I needed to, Captain."

"He didn't have a squadron commander until about two days ago," Epiphany notes, almost amused. "It would seem with an operation running, the powers that be decided there should be some proper chains of command." As Kelsey goes into the state of things for Niko, Epiphany leans back on her heels and shifts the way she carries her helmet and the clipboard. Someone will come by soon enough for that top sheet. Oh, here they are now- there's just a brief few seconds of exchange and the deckie is off to take the checklist off to the primary technician. "He has proper pilot training, but not a bit of true military experience. Crandall may be a proper base at its core, but they don't have the time nor personnel for things like officer training. It's possible that Niko's never even been off-planet prior to his transfer here. I never asked. But I'm sure there's marines aboard who never served on a ship." So many planetside postings prior to the war. She's quiet for a moment, taking a deep breath. "I did it for a few reasons. One, yes, for you to better understand yourself. Two, so he has someone who can understand him. And three, I expect my pilots to be able to prove what they preach. You insisted you want to help others like yourself. So I gave you that opportunity."

Two days ago? "Well I'm glad I wasn't just lacking information. The last two days have been a bit hectic." Kelsey finally lifts her eyes from the deck to look at the back end of the viper in her direct line of sight. The girl waits in silence while Pip finishes all that and hands off what needs doing. "He's never said he's been off planet, sir. I don't think the has. He's just some kid who found himself have to be a lot more." Kelsey keeps the words quiet. She doesn't want them to apply to herself but she can't help it. "Said he was into some guerrilla fighting before getting picked up for flight training." Nothing easy. She does look over and up to Arrington while the woman explains her reasons. "Mission still in progress. If anything, its made me more sure I want to help people. There's only going to be more of him, sir. They aren't going to get better quality, either. It sobered him hard when I told him that in one year he would probably be teaching a sixteen year old how to walk and talk like an officer." Kelsey doesn't smile, no, her eyes just hold for a moment before she looks back to the Viper. "He'll be a good pilot eventually. I won't let him fail." Not like the others who died today.

"They have, yes. Butch is still your squadron commander. Hobo is the new Strikes commander." Epiphany is the CAG, but she skates by that. "No DCAG yet, however." The woman tucks her clipboard under her arm, tilting her head in a nod. "There's a lot of folks on Picon like him. We'll likely have more yet after Aerilon. People who found it in themselves to fight for humanity. They need all the help they can get and we should be more than willing to give it to them. Whoever you or I show that care to is more likely to pass it on, themselves." There is, then, a hint of a smile. "Good work, Squire."

"I hope so. Seems Butch has grown fond of me. I'd hate to think she couldn't arbitrarily tell me to clean toilets anymore." Not that she does, but she could. It gets a hint of amusement from Kelsey. Not all problem children stay children. She looks back to the Viper, though, letting her head fill with visions and ideas, her imagination painting the canvas for her future and the young faces coming into the squadron. Its exciting, terrifying, and sad. "Six months ago I would have told you I don't have the emotional investment to care. Three months ago, much the same. It was all about me. All Kelsey, all the time. But I got my daughter back. And last week when you assigned me to him, I was laying in bed, thinking about my daughter when it occurred to me." She stares at the damaged Viper as if it were a long way off. "If I was gone and my daughter was in his place, I'd sell my soul to the Styx to get them to someone who cared. I'm no angel, no arm of the Gods, but I'd like to think we can pass on a lot more than just that, sir. Even if it's just me thinking that." She glances over and her smile cracks as it shows, just a smidge. There's the sense she's going ot head back to her Pred, tho.

"You also do this so your daughter has a future. So that maybe she doesn't end up in his shoes someday." Epiphany seems about to say more, but stops herself. "Keep it up, Wescott. You want to help people, just keep doing what you're doing." And the clipboard is tapped against a thigh a few times before Arrington nods, quickly, and turns to head to her Viper to check on its status and how long her downtime will be. There's a sense of antsiness to her. Her wing is out there without her.

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