AWD #338: Ask Him Why
Ask Him Why
Summary: Elias has some… feedback on Skyler's interrogation techniques.
Date: 25/05/2016 (OOC Date)
Related Logs: Twelve's Night
Elias Skyler 
Map Room
You should know this place by now.
Sat Dec 10 2005 (AWD #338)

A meeting in the Map Room is no unusual thing for the two Intel officers, but Elias doesn't usually schedule them, given how frequently they're both there anyway. Today he has. And perhaps that's why the compartment is otherwise empty, the time corresponding to the middle of Colonel Petra's off-duty hours. Elias himself seems much the same as ever, though — sitting at the map table with a cigarette, clipboard and pen in hand, watching a video playback on the monitor. It's the surveillance feed from the brig, showing the Twelve. And oh look, there's Skyler on the monitor too. It's the feed from her interrogation session with the prisoner.

The scheduling is a bit early for Skyler. At least in the hours she's been on. So it's with a mug of coffee already in hand that the woman steps through the hatch. She's without crutches or a cane, though still wears the brace. It enables her to move a bit easier, if still slowly. Still, coffee in one hand and ever-present clipboard in the other? It's some sort of improvement. "Sir," she offers, before looking to the monitor. There's a twitch of lips, but she approaches further. She was expecting this at some point and there's a sort of bracing to her shoulders in the process.

Elias' eyes leave the monitor when Skyler enters, and he offers the woman a quick nod. "Lieutenant." There's a pause as he studies her for a second, then the young Major exhales smoke and ashes his cigarette into the tray on the table. "Have a seat? There are a few things I'd like to discuss." Playback of the video continues, though Elias isn't watching the screen now.

Another glance towards the monitor and Skyler starts her way for a chair. She sinks into it, adjusting leg at an outward angle. Easiest with that brace. Her clipboard is set on her other knee… which bounces a bit. Obvious display of nerves. "Before we begin, ah-" There's a sip of coffee taken and the Lieutenant clears her throat, looking to the monitor and swiftly away. "I would like to remind you that pilots tend not to be given any training in things like interrogation."

Elias doesn't so much as look at the monitor. He does take another long drag off his cigarette, however, delaying any response to Skyler for a few seconds. There may indeed be an air of vague displeasure about the Major, but his expression is closely guarded. "Mmm," he says in response. "You told him that we know about the satellite network over Libran." It's a statement. Cleary he's watched the tape at least once before. "Even though I asked you not to discuss it with him."

Ah. This. Skyler at least expected it. The woman's lips draw into a line and she leans back a bit, looking to the clipboard in her lap. "I did," she admits, finally. "He's at least figured we've done recon over Libran. He wouldn't be asking to investigate it if he didn't, I don't think. And he didn't seem to keen on sharing anything blindly. Not when he'd already given you all those names." Of people now arrested or killed. "I made the choice to show him in the hopes that it would find him willing to open up to me about what he knows. And it worked. At least a little."

Again a flat look from Elias as she explains, and then a long, contemplative pause once Skyler finishes speaking. No, he's definitely not happy, but he doesn't seem angry, per se. Frustrated perhaps. "Do you understand why I asked you not to discuss it with him?" he finally asks.

"I do, sir. However…" Skyler's left knee begins bouncing again. Nerves. In some ways, being a pilot was easier. Less scrutiny. More direct danger, though. Damned if you do, damned if you… "When he told me of being an arbiter, of that being his purpose here, I realized that… If he is telling us the truth, and so far it seems he is… We could be dealing with the possibility of a strong ally within their ranks or another enemy. He doesn't seem fond of One in the least, so why not give him more reason to defect?"

"I'm not certain that you do," Elias says, skeptical when Skyler answers his question with an affirmative. He takes a deep breath, then exhales from his nose, lips compressed in a tight line. "Yes, he's a potential ally. A /potential/ ally. He's also a potential enemy, who could be after the jump coordinates of Piraeus. Do you think the Cylons wouldn't sacrifice fifteen human agents to get those coordinates?"

"Of course, sir. I wholly understand those risks. But how is letting him know that we've seen Libran and what is in its airspace putting the Piraeus coordinates at risk?" Skyler seems very clearly confused, here, lifting her coffee for a long drink. "Nothing I said would give away those coordinates. He knows we can get to and from Libran. An image of a satellite shows nothing relating to how many jumps it was. With the number taken, you can't even perfectly ascertain the direction we came from."

"That wasn't my point," Elias clarifies, adding a small shake of his head. There's a pause to smoke and exhale, then he continues. "I said his true objective may be those coordinates. And if it is, he's come here with a plan. Several contingency plans, most likely." He frowns to himself. "One of those plans may have been to convince us to jump a raptor close to Libran, where it would be disabled by the satellite network and easily captured by the Cylons." He leaves that there for a second before continuing. "We /could/ have offered to do this ourselves — jump a raptor in close to the planet — and learned something based on what he told us in return. Does he warn us of the satellite network? Or does he keep quiet about it." And now Elias waves his cigarette before taking another pull. "We no longer have that opportunity."

There's another press of lips and Skyler lets out a bit of a sigh. She lifts a hand to rub at the hair growing back over the scars. "I… no, I didn't think of that angle, sir. I was more thinking along the lines of how long he'll sit patiently in a cell before he gets sick of waiting on us." There's a look towards the monitor, then back. "Since his intel on those names seems to have been accurate, do you plan to allow him to see Piraeus?"

"Mmm," Elias says once more, but this time he sounds somewhat mollified by Skyler's response. "Let me be clear, Lieutenant. When I ask you not to reveal something, I will have a good reason. If you think you need to know what that is, ask." He glances towrads the monitor himself when she does, then down at the remnant of his cigarette when she asks about Piraeus. He crushes out the butt in the ashtray, then looks up with a weary sigh. "That will be my recommendation. I don't expect the Colonel to object." Then with a frown he turns back to his original topic. "I need to know that I can trust you to follow my instructions, Lieutenant. If I can't, then I can't afford to have you talking to the skinjobs."

Fingers sweep back over short hair into longer, tucking the longer sections still extant back behind her ear. Skyler takes a slow breath, recovering from the initial anxiety of being under the proverbial gun. New roles. Not always fun. Especially without proper training and classroom study. She may be a reckless sort, but that doesn't mean all difficult situations are fun and games. So there's a slow nod from the pilot-turned-spook. "Yes, sir. I'll make sure, in the future, to inquire as to reasoning behind a decision and to keep to it."

Yet another moment of careful scrutiny, and then Elias gives a slow nod to acknowledge her answer. "Good." He shuts off the video playback, and the display screen goes black. And then the Major leans forward and lifts his hands, rubbing at his temples. A slow exhale, and he settles back in his chair, dropping his hands to his lap. "So. What was your assessment of the Twelve?"

It's easier to relax without the video playing. It's always disconcerting to see one's self on camera. Skyler takes a slow breath and looks to her coffee. She drains the last of it and pushes, carefully, to her feet. There's got to be coffee going and if not, she'll get some started. Small surprise for Petra when he comes in later, perhaps. "I think he's… well, they're already sentient in their way, yeah? But most of them just do as they're ordered. The whims of this One. I think his line has broken free of that. They want freedom. And they see us as a potential way to gain that freedom… But at the same time, we're also the enemy." She finds no coffee yet, so starts setting a fresh pot to brew. "I think he's trying to decide if our…" tilt of head, left to right, "overall intention in the Colonies to be free peoples is how we really operate, or if we'll just be another master he's forced to serve. It's really a shame Knox isn't around."

Was the background video an intentional stress point? Surely Elias would never do that! He listens attentively to Skyler's answer, and takes a second to consider his response. "Yes," he says with pursed lips. "Having Sergeant Knox … unexpectedly absent … is a problem. But there's nothing to be done about it now. We'll stall the Twelve and tell him the Sergeant is a Colonial Marine and is currently on assignment. Which is true." As far as it goes, anyway. "As for the relationship between the model lines, it's not entirely clear. My discussions with Dr. Tamsin and Sergeant Knox seem to indicate the Ones are more of a father figure. But they've also said the Ones are experts in manipulation and coercion, when paternal respect is not enough." There's a momentarily troubled look on Elias' face, but it passes. "Are you familiar with the Nine, Captain Ceres Delacroix?"

"Well, if you put it in light of a family…" And the models do call each other 'Brother' and 'Sister.' "I think Twelve may be the son that's fallen out of favor. The way he said how One will find out what he did on the Pulse High and that he's always found out. Sounds like a teenager who's done wrong, but knows he'll be found out eventually." Skyler hovers by the coffee, waiting impatiently for it to brew. "Somewhat, yes. I wasn't yet cleared for active duty before she died, but I knew of her in the Air Wing."

"It does seem to be an analogy they fall back on," Elias agrees about the family framing. "I suspect they may be numbered in order of creation. That would make Twelve the youngest, if so. But they're extremely evasive about any questions along those lines." Which clearly annoys the Intel officer. On the subject of Ceres, he gives a nod. "Since her download on Picon, the Nines seem to have been on a crusade, of sorts. Their ultimate objective isn't clear, but they have been willing to assist us. And the Twelve said he's spoken with Ceres herself. It seems she may have influenced the Twelves' … current course of action. My hope is that we can influence the whole line to further undermine the Cylon war effort. To do that, we need to make certain he returns to the collective consciousness. Without anything knowledge that could compromise us."

"I could try asking him… About the order of creation. I have a feeling he might like me." It could have been the way he obviously checked her out when she went in, but hey. Skyler's never been above using wiles, as it were, to achieve things when needed. "Maybe he'll be willing to share a bit more in that regard. And… well, yes. If Ceres got him to at least give us a chance, that should be an eventual goal. He's implied his line is already keen to it, so if we can fully sway him…" The coffee finally finishes and she's able to return to her seat with a fresh mug. "But if he's truly designed as an arbiter, we have to be absolutely certain."

There's a momentary pause at Skyler's suggestion, and then Elias slowly raises a brow. "I see." This idea requires some careful consideration. "Possibly. But I'd prefer not to deceive him, if we can avoid it." It is while he's thinking on it further that the 'arbiter' bit is mentioned, and Elias gives a quick nod. "Yes. That is an … interesting title. But I think we need to be careful about assuming what it means." And then he seems to have reached a decision of sorts. "Regardless, I believe you're right that about time being a factor. We'll both go and meet with him next time. I'll discuss the current situation, Sergeant Knox, and his trip to Piraeus. Then I'll be 'called away' and you can continue to speak with him, informally. Agreed?"

"Considering the danger he could represent if he decides not to work with us? I have no intention on lying to him." She just needs to get better at withholding the truth, like Elias does. Skyler nods slowly, to the plan. "Better we tell him that Knox is unavailable now than to wait too long. He may very well take it as an insult if we did. I… I can do this, yessir."

"If we're not convinced he will work with us," Elias says unequivocally, "He won't be allowed to download." It is what it is. "So let's do everything we can to make sure that doesn't happen." Then he picks up his pen and tucks it into his jacket pocket. "You can assume he is reliably informed about the our situation as of the invasion of Picon." About two months ago. "And you can discuss personal issue with him all you like. If you want to know what I would do? Tell him about your life. About what you've done in the war. About the people you've lost. Ask him why they had to die." The Major doesn't bat an eye at this suggestion.

"I think we have a good chance. He put a fair bit of effort into getting to us. He put the first foot forward. Bodes well." Skyler makes a bit of a face, looking down into the mug. Talking about the people lost, well. Virgon. It's an especially fun subject. "I'll see what I can do, sir. Maybe talk more about that misjump in the Raptor. That seemed to interest him a fair bit."

"Assuming he's not lying about why he's here," Elias notes. Then he nods to accept her unwillingness to discuss painful subjects. "I know it won't be easy, Lieutenant. But I think it is something he's hasn't experienced much — one person's individual perspective." On the subject of the misjump, he's less certain. "Mmm. He seemed interested to learn of it, but unwilling to say anything himself. Which is par for the course, I'm afraid." He now picks up his clipboard and flips the top page over, looking at his schedule. "I'll set up the interrogation and send a message for you when everything is ready. Any questions for now?"

A look down into her coffee and Skyler frowns to it. "You know, I might have though that moving to Intel would mean fewer situations in which to discuss the past. Go figure." She reaches for her own clipboard, giving a shake of her head. "No, sir. I'll just be sure not to get too deeply involved in anything that I can't step away once you're ready."

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