AWD #006: Appliance Ethics
Appliance Ethocs
Summary: Civilians discuss the implications of war day, under the inspiring influence of Charlie's liquid philosophy.
Date: 11/01/2013
Related Logs: None
Fionnula Catriona 
Checkpoint Charlie's — Piraeus
The first structure completed on Piraeus was a 'recreation center' that was thinly veiled as such. Checkpoint Charlie's is in every other way a blue collar bar with an unsurprising bent towards the military establishment. Camouflage netting hangs from the ceiling with some kind of dried vine tangled throughout. On the walls are pictures and mementos of times past on the planet they currently reside on. There are a few billiards tables smuggled out to Piraeus specifically for this location, along with card tables and an fully functional line of taps and kegs mounted to, perhaps unsurprisingly, a beat-up but taken-care-of oak bar. The matching stools and wood tables seem to indicate that the construction workers may have disassembled someone else's bar back on the Colonies. The story even goes that the name is taken from a former bar on Aerilon that happened to resemble, very closely, this particular establishment.
11 January 2005

To say it's been a rough last week would be the understatement of all understatements…so far. With the dig site totally frakked, and the galaxy in general going to shit in the hand basket on the way to Hell, what else is there to do but drink? One of the perks of being stationed planet-side? Access to Charlie's. It's here, hunched over the bar, one would find Fionnula.

The door to Charlie's opens long enough to let through the chill, cold air. Yanking the parka hood down to her shoulders, Catriona shakes her ponytail free and takes inventory of the long faces and quiet drinkers in Charlie's tonight. With a slight limp that comes only from nursing a wounded left leg, she makes her way towards the bar and signals for the bartender. "Could I get a beer please?" She asks simply, motioning a finger to him to ensure that she means one beer only.

The usually chipper mood is a great bit more somber, given the circumstance, but the crowd is still healthy and the beer is still flowing. Fionnula gives the other woman only the barest nod of the head as she slides to the bar and orders. Though she wears a heavy coat, the front is unzipped. Her slouching posture makes the collar ride well up and makes it look as if she's got no neck at all. Whether or not her time spent in and around Caprica's academic circles makes her face recognizable is anyone's guess.

The beer is handed over, set on a paper coaster near the runner on the long, wooden bar top. She reaches out and wraps her slender fingers around the glass and brings it to her lips for a preliminary sip. The beer, always best at its coldest, cools her lips and after a few gulps she sets the pint glass back down with a sigh. She blinks her eyes slowly, speaking to the wind. "This week could have been better."

It would seem that, for the moment at least, the understatement of all understatements award has a new winner. Fionnula seems inclined to point that out. "That's an understatement," she adds, also speaking to the wind. "I know half my life - the part on Caprica - has gone to shit. I'm still waiting to hear any word at all about the state of affairs on Leonis. That's probably a low priority though, and maybe no bad news means there's still a reason to hope."

A half-turn of her head and a cock of her eyebrow signals a sarcastic agreement from Catriona. Understatement indeed. "Picon for me." She replies, eyes dipping down to the top of the bar so that she can trace the outline of the stained, lacquered top with her fingernail. She looks over to Fionnula, frowning softly. "I'm sorry about Caprica. I was there when it happened." She swallows and then turns back to her beer.

"I'm sorry you had to be there, from what I've heard about it. At least I didn't have to see what those can-openers did. And to think…I used to work for Graystone Industries." Fionnula just shakes her head a little, and takes a long sip of her beer. "It makes me wonder how long they've been hiding out, planning something like this. Was it after the First War? Was it from the second someone hit the 'on' switch on the very first damned one?"

"It's was, you know…" Catriona trails off, her green eyes getting lost in the bubbles in the beer. Eyes fluttering, she shakes her head, ponytail swaying. "…while I was still awake it was very hectic. To be honest, I missed most of it. I was apparently passed out on a pile waiting for pickup before one of their marines pulled me onto a ship. I'm lucky to be here." She takes up the glass and salutes it towards the ghost of whoever she's seeing before her. She takes another sip. "You used to work for Graystone? Did you work with the Cylons at all?"R

"Mostly I worked with a lot of their industrial stuff, the 'dumb' robots. I'm a geologist by trade, so I didn't play with the robots directly. I just helped them to better integrate crystals and what have you onto their circuit boards, mechanical components and the like." Fionnula pauses, taking another long swig of her beer. Before she finishes her reply, she leans back, looks up at the ceiling, and lets out her breath. "It's just the slightest relief to know that I didn't help to build any cylons. But then, maybe they saw how we were treating our microwaves and forklift trucks and took offense."

"With luck we'll get some kind of explanation, right? Why agree to an Armistice only to come back and cut the legs out from under the people who gave them the space that they asked for? It doesn't make sense." Catriona taps the bar top twice and slides onto one of the bar stools, wincing as she brings her left leg over the top of it. "They look different from the old pictures I grew up seeing in school. They were sleek, like upgraded. They've been working since the end of the war, no doubt. I just wonder what the logic would be. Why us?"

Fionnula takes a moment before she replies. She seems perfectly comfortable in sipping down the rest of her beer, and then sliding the glass across towards the bartender, assembling our thoughts. "I don't think that's the right question. Instead of asking why us, ask 'why not us?' Maybe in their twisted computer brains, it was the most logical thing to do. Or maybe, if they were upgraded, they did it for spite, or for revenge, and that's the truly frightening thing. To think that these machines, machines based on the ones we created from scratch, developed a taste for revenge. Then bided their time, waiting, planning…and then visiting upon us a vengeance so great that it exterminates entire colonies - all of them, perhaps - in just hours." She promptly waves for another beer.

"Well, then if we sought to create a perfect human, or at least one that thinks like one, we did one hell of a job." Catriona replies bitterly. "Inserting seething, methodical, spiteful revenge into an artificial intelligence sounds exactly like the kind of ethical oversight that we'd accidentally put into one of our own creations. I dunno…" She reaches for her beer, finger brushing over the condensation that creeps down the curve of the glass. "…I keep hearing people talking about how the lords warned us, or how the lords are punishing us for this and that. Personally? I think we frakked where we shouldn't have frakked. Just like when we created nukes."

"One thing I've learned, having been in and around the education community all my life: hindsight is always twenty-twenty. It's so easy to look back after-the-fact and say that we missed this sign or that hint. That we could've or should've changed this bit to avoid that result. Not to defend the actions taken, but at the time, it was the scientifically…well, not prudent so much as it was the logical course of things. Only now do we see our mistakes, awfully-godsdamned big as they are." As she talks, Fionnula cradles the chilled mug in both palms, staring at the fizzy head but not yet drinking from the fresh mug.

"Right, you're right. I mean, who at the time wouldn't have wanted something to do our work for us? Jobs and schedules and kids and crisis of midlife, the idea of having some kind of tireless intelligence to handle our menial tasks or war. War. Nobody wants anyone to die, and when it's code…" Catriona brings the pint glass again to her lips, taking a much longer series of sips this time. She brushes a spot of foam from the corner of her lip when she places the glass back down. She laughs bitterly. "This is…by far…the most depressing beer I've ever had. I just wish some of the guys from the service could be here to share it. You'll have to do."

"Misery loves company," Fionnula states matter-of-factly into her drink. Just the same way as the conversation started out of nowhere, she seems pretty content to just sip the rest of this beer in silence too. She hoists her drink and gives a quiet little toast. "To those who have gone before us, to those who have gone too soon, to those still fighting."

"Hear hear." Catriona whispers, lifting her own glass. Her long, dark lashes hood over her eyes while she answers the toast. "So say we all…" She adds, the typical yet ever-in-season response when it comes to toasts and bold speeches. She tilts her glass, tapping it against Fionnula's, and then pulls it back for another long, needy sip. When the pint comes back down, it's half-past empty. "Thank you. I'm Catriona."

"Fionnula," she replies at the clinking of the glasses. "Geologist down here on this…well, seems like it's either a perpetual mission, or a one-way mission now." With this beer, she seems more than content to just leave the last third…so that she can slide ungainly off the stool, wobble using the bar for support, and regain her balance. "I also seem to be a bit more on the buzzed side than I'd thought. For everyone's sake, I think it's time for me to bunk for the night."

"Nice to meet you." The words roll off of Catriona's lips in a whisper, like conversation at the end of a funeral. When Fionnula falters, she reaches out to steady her arm. Eyes unable to filter her concern, she glances back to the room at large, and then finally the door. "Do you need some help getting back?"

The geologist gives a casually-dismissive wave of her hand. "No, I'm alright. I just stood up too fast, I think. I'm not that drunk," she says with a bit of a guilty-grin. "It's nice to make your acquaintance as well. Perhaps we'll see each other around again, huh?" And with that, she holds her head up and takes confident steps in a mostly-straight line towards the door, even though the bar is doing all kinds of weird spins in her head.

"We will. This is where I live now, Fionnula." She replies, glancing back over her shoulder to the woman as she makes her exit. "Oh and be careful. It's a little slick outside. I about fell over trying to get in here, bad leg and all." Catriona, ever helpful, turns back to her beer and flags the bartender over. "Can I get something a little more stiff?"

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