MD #223: Bad Night
Bad Night
Summary: Atticus is having trouble sleeping, and gets a visitor in his cell who gives him more questions than answers
Date: 17/11/2017
Related Logs: None
Atticus Kelsey 
Brig - Deck 3 - Battlestar Orion
The battlestar's brig is comprised of a line of four individual cells organized in separate walled-off bays. Each cell is six feet wide by eight feet long and possesses a bed and toilet. Whenever even one cell is occupied, so too is the metal desk and chair at the entrance hatch — and backup for the guard is never far away. Each cell has had their bars specifically reinforced to prevent a Line member from being able to gain access or escape. Brig rules are posted behind the desk on a white panel with blocked black lettering.

It's Atticus' first night back in the brig, having been released from medical earlier in the afternoon. The books, tablet, and music player he's been lent have all been transferred as well, and it's getting to the point where a small shelf would actually be quite useful but for now they're all just tucked under the bunk he's lying on. It's not the same cell as he'd been in before, and that's more unsettling than it should be. The pattern he's staring at on the ceiling isn't the same, the blanket has worn patches in different places, his view of the hatchway is from a different angle. Little things, but when he's already feeling off it's enough to keep him off kilter. If he had enough light to he'd read, but for now all he can do is stare at the ceiling, and hope sleep will come.

Atticus might slowly get the feeling that there's something else in the cell with him. There's a sense of it, nothing that he can readily see or hear, but a presence. Nothing foreboding, but just the idea that he is not alone. After a minute or so he notices a new shape in the deep shadows of the darkened brig cell, sitting indian style on the floor. It’s definitely a person and the shape of the body is distinctly feminine. As his eyes adjust he can see that the woman is a pilot and she's in her full combat gear with head leaned back against the wall, eyes on him. The most distinct thing about her is that her survival gear looks far more threatening, practiced, and abused than any other Atticus has seen so far around the ship. There's an Orion patch on one shoulder and VAQ-121 patch on the other. Lieutenant pins. And there might even be a doubletake to seeing that she has a loaded sidearm strapped to her vest - not her thigh like most pilots. In the brig?! And as his eyes begin to make out her face, he can see that not only does it she look a lot like Melissa, she is also distinctly not Melissa. This woman looks like a teenager, maybe 18 or 19? But the look in her eyes tells the long tales of heavy combat. She's seen some shit in her day. But the woman does not say anything just yet. Her flight gloves are removed slowly and she waggles her fingers at him in greeting.

The initial feeling is disconcerting, and he ends up rolling first onto one side, then the other as he tries to shake it off and get some rest. As it persists though he eventually sits up, and hauls his blanket around his shoulders. What he wouldn't give for a torch… Still, he doesn't have one, and the MP by the hatch seems to be entirely distracted by paperwork, so he's not about to disturb them because of a weird 'feeling'. Leaning back so he's resting against the wall with his legs tucked in front of him, it's likely obvious when he first spots the apparition, it's the moment he goes from slightly restless to absolutely stock still. His eyes go wide and he glances quickly to the cell door. Nope. Still locked. Fulling his feet up under him so he can react quicker if he needs to he swallows hard as the pistol comes into view in its holster, then puts two and two together and comes up with eleven. Keeping his voice low, and his back pressed to the wall he whispers almost resignedly, "have you come to kill me?" There's crew aboard who've suffered at the hands of the Skath after all, the how might be shrouded in mystery, but as far as he is concerned the why is now obvious.

She stares at him, but it isn't the look of some zombie or dead psychopath's glare. There's a real human there, eyes looking him over at little details. Lifting her eyes at the question, her head gives a slow shake side to side. "No, Atticus. I'm not here to serve a justice or judgment, nor bring you to a reckoning of any kind. I'm not going to hurt you. I just wanted to talk to you. I could do it without letting you see me, which would be a lot easier for me, but nobody likes hearing voices and not seein' a source." There's a wink for him and an itty bitty smile. "Do you know who I am? I know you've met my daughter. She was in the next cell." Melissa said her mother was dead, though.

She might have said that she's not there to kill him, but Atticus is keeping his eyes on her hands for the moment. Not that he could do much if she went for the gun mind, but oddly enough, not thinking too deeply about that is helping a bit. He's about to ask who she is when she handily answers for him, although it only takes a second or two before his brain catches up with what she said and he tenses all over again. "Captain Wecott's mum is dead," he says slowly, trying to decide if this is a dream, some elaborate interrogation technique, or if whatever was done to his head has made him go mad. He pinches himself, but when they don’t cause him to wake up in an empty cell he eers towards option two. Perhaps that’s why they put him in a different cell? "What do you want to talk about?" he asks, still whispering, "La.. " he stops and corrects himself, "Emily could probably tell you more about whatever it is you want to know."

"You're right. Sort of. Melissa's been demoted to Lieutenant, JG, though. She had a court martial two days ago. She'll be back to check on you soon, though. She worries about people." The eyes look down, fondness there. "She's got such a big heart. I wish I could've been more like her… I know you don't have kids but there's just this-" Her hands gesture up in front of her, "this upwelling of pride. When you have a kid, you want the best for them. You want them to have it better than you do. The last thing you want is to fail them because you're supposed to.." and she lets the line of thought drift away, the half-smile on her lips before she looks back. "Sorry." Just judging by appearances, Melissa would either be this pilot's much older sister or.. no, mother is very unlikely. But he is talking about Melissa as a daughter. "But you are correct. I am dead. To your version of time, I died about five years ago. I was hung as a rebel and traitor to the Metal. Melissa still doesn't know the details, though. As for Emily? I'm not interested in finding out information. You don't have to wonder about me being here to interrogate you, either. I already know everything about you, Atticus. I am here to discuss something else."

Atticus isn't sure how big a demotion that is, but it sounds like it's better than Ensign which she'd been expecting. The bit about kids and such weirds him out a bit, although in part because it gives the opportunity for thoughts on what his family might have wanted for his future to surface, and family is a painful subject right now. Talking to someone who’s' dead, and freely admits that, is even weirder though. If he could pull back further he would, but the cell wall stops that and he's forced to remain in proximity. "How are you talking to me, if you're dead?" he asks. It's an obvious question, but that doesn't detract from the core importance of it. "The dead don't do that."

"How?" Kelsey smirks. "That's not something I'm going to tell you. Even if I did, you wouldn't understand. Nobody here would understand. You have to cross over to do that." She stretches her legs out of the shadows and Atticus can see the scuffs in her boots. For a dead person she looks very solid and real. "And the dead definitely do that. You should visit Piraeus sometime. That's a planet that died fighting. The whole planet had pretty much been wiped out and the last organized fighting unit took all the survivors they could find to an ancient chapel on a hilltop. They hid the families in the cellar underneath the main hall. When the end came, those soldiers fought to their last dying breath. They followed their Captain, a woman named al Yamoha, to their last living moments. They believed so strongly in who she was, that it didn't matter that she was a Line. Nothing mattered except making the statement that they refused to quit or surrender." Kelsey stares at him, the smile long faded away. "The Skath did that. The Skath hated and feared these people so much that even though they had essentially killed every living person on the planet, they then wiped the whole surface of the planet with fire." She gestures a finger to Atticus. "These people I'm talking about? They are our long lost brothers and sisters, Atticus. They were your people, too."

A quick check towards the MP as the apparition stretches her legs reveals that they're just as engrossed in their papers as they were before. Atticus does consider calling out to them, but something stops him. Morbid curiosity perhaps? He listens, in silence, trying to make sense of what he's been told, but he's only getting the basics of it. Pulling his knees up to his chest he wraps his arms around his shins as if that'll protect him from whatever it is that's talking to him. "Why are you telling me this?" he asks slowly, still quite clearly deeply unsettled by the whole adventure, "what is it that you want from me?"

"I'm telling you this because of what is coming, Atticus. We can see time ahead and the potentials. But we cannot know for sure what will happen until the moment passes. Many of the paths this crew takes bring you all towards a question you must ask yourselves." Kelsey pulls her legs back and lifts her knees, resting her elbows there. Her expression looks up at him, over her arms. "I want you to understand who you are and where you come from because it is important that you remember this. You and Emily have been deprived of so much truth. Especially for her, the urge to leap to this new life is so strong. I'm not saying that the people on this ship or their cause is wrong or unjust. Quite the opposite. But know who you are. Know where you came from. Understand that there is a balance. You cannot gain without loss." Her eyes have a mother's softness to them. "When your sister died? Emily watched your face. To see you react the way you did broke her heart into pieces. She cried for you, not for your sister, because she knew what you had lost. Meanwhile you had gained an artificial, unjust hatred. It wasn't your fault. But it will be important for you to remember what that felt like. Keep it close. Never forget who you are now and where you came from."

"What question?" Atticus asks. Part of his brain tell him she won't say, but he has to ask anyway. Just in case. Then another part kicks in and chastises himself for start to believe that there's actually a dead woman in his cell, talking to him. Frak. Frak, frak, frak. The mention of his sister brings an involutary shudder and he drops his head most of the way to his knees. There are tears, and he turns his head away, but he's still not calling for the guard. Instead, when he's got himself together again he glances back and asks, "but who am I? Where am I from? I'm two different people who are irreconcilable."

"The question will not be asked, just witnessed. It is not a conversation, Atticus." Kelsey keeps her eyes on him, knowing how he would react. It was likely not her intent, but the illustration was important even if how it all plays together isn't the most cohesive. "You are a Colonial, Atticus. You were born at an airbase called Crandall, on Picon. But because you were born a Colonial, you are also Erfriki. The Machines hate the term 'Skath' because it is an ancient name the Erfriki used for them and the Machines fear the Erfriki." There's a bit of wickedness in her smile, but it drifts away. "You are not two different people. I can look at your soul and see you're in pain, hon. It’s going to hurt for a while. You are someone who has lived a very tough set of experiences. Your desire to serve comes from your family line. Your sister felt it, too. To fight and resist. But that doesn't mean that all your years as a Knight were wasted, dear. Not even close. Who you decide to be from now on? That's you. But never forget where you came from. Be proud. You do not have to honour the Skath or the things they forced you to do, but you can honour the people you protected. At the end of the day.. as yourself.. were you simply serving the family? Or were you looking out for people?" She tilts her head. "If you truly were awful and unworthy of pride, why would that girl Emily care about you so much? Other people see it. We've just been waiting for you to see it, too." There's a bit more fondness to her eyes.

Atticus from the expression on his face Atticus doesn't understand the reply to his question. He'd say something to that effect but the conversation has already moved on. "Erfriki?" that's a new term to him, and if she's saying he should know who he is then he feels asking about it is entirely legitimate. "I'm not proud of who I became," he says in about the firmest tone he's managed so far, although that's not saying much, "moments perhaps," he'll give that concession, "but how can I be proud when I was part of that?" It's clearly going to take time, and probably some convincing that this isn't all just some weird as frak dream. As she draws to a close he finds another couple of questions he has to ask, "we?" Then, perhaps equally predictable, "so what do I do now?"

"Service with honour is still service, Atticus. What you were forced to do was not you, even if you had to bear witness to all of it. Your choices were no more your own than a slave's. If you refused, you would be beaten. Refuse again, the Clerics would simply ensure you would not be able to resist again. Why do you think that you couldn't ignore Emily's commands once she was titled?" Kelsey smiles for juuust a moment. "Think about the man away from the royals. Swimming. Hunting. The lover, not just the fighter. Pride in the service of honour and those your cared about, not in the service of the Skath. In time, I hope you come to see what I mean. I can see a future where you do." Her eyes stay on him and she doesn't seem intent on moving out of the shadows. "'We' is a lot of things. As for what you do now? That's up to you. I'm not here to interfere with your life. But you're a fighting man, Atticus. We need people like you. All of us." He can see her starting to fade away, almost like the colours of her body are starting to match the wall behind her.

Well, there's a whole bunch of things Atticus doesn't want to have to think about, that he's now thinking about. There's an involuntary shudder at one point, and another where he hugs himself and the blanket around him closer. As he notices her start to disappear he makes a move forwards, then stops a fraction of a second later, as he just watches in shocked silence. This cannot be real. It's a dream. A delayed side effect of the painkillers. Something. He isn't able to bring himself to move until she's gone, but once those last vestiges are gone he cautiously gets up from his bunk and steps towards that corner of the cell. He can't see anything though, or feel, or smell, or anything else, and so he returns just as cautiously to his bunk where he sits once more, and pulls the blanket around him like a shield. Sleep will be sorely lacking tonight.

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