PWD #05: Can You Handle This?
Can You Handle This?
Summary: Iphigenia speaks to the Admiral about her dream.
Date: 31/2012/2012
Related Logs: A few hours after Boskirk is Burning
Iphigenia Jameson 
CO Stateroom
The largest solitary berthing on the ship, the quarters of the ship's Admiral is warm and plush in ways that the rest of the ship is not. Just inside the door is a large wooden table with seating for eight, the walls that flank it holding plexiglass display cases. The interior of the cases are filled with lovingly and carefully built models of Colonial fleet ships as well as classic Cylon examples from their own fleet and air defenses. Farther in it opens up with a small personal bar used as a room divider. On one side is a large, plush leather couch that is built into the curve of the wall, books lining the shelf behind it and a few stacked on the table in front of it. Most of the books seem to be geared towards the 'old west' genres of cowboys in rough situations. On the other side of the room is access to a personal bathroom as well as the desk, the latter being stacked with several reports and folders stamped 'Classified'. There is a model of a Predator sitting on the desk and a heavily worn and faded brown stetson is hung on the wall beside it. The bed, easily large enough for two, is built into the wall behind the desk with a blanket that very obviously is not fleet issue — thick felt running the length of it.
PWD #5

Knowing she's coming, Jameson's door is left cracked and the Marine outside just waves her in. Its a big hatch and it fits the room. Rooms. Stepping inside, it smells of old books and wood polish. Its kind of like stepping into an old library. But the man she's here to see is sitting on his couch with a clipboard. Jameson is in his blues, but the tunic is unbuttoned down the front and he looks fairly relaxed, reading whatever it is that's on the board.

Iphigenia has off course, put on her dress blues, and made sure all of her buttons and assorted shinies were in order before appearing before Jameson. Oddly enough, when she steps in and the scent of old books hits her, there's a subtle easing of the tension in her shoulders. It smells not unlike her father's study at home, and that puts her at ease. She doesn't salute - her station doesn't require her too, but she does settle into a respect sort of parade rest. "Sir," she says, her voice husky from having abused it badly only a few hours earlier. "Thank you for being willing to see me."

Jameson looks up as the woman comes to parade and he tilts his head with a sigh. Old eyes glace to the hatch to ensure its closed and then back to her. "Yeah!" he barks suddenly and tosses the clipboard to the side. "Why dontcha go ahead, ease off the official concern, and pop a squat." He fingerguns at a chair close by and crosses an ankle over a knee. "Heard you've had a rough night. CMES-" he pronounces it 'See-Mehz' "said you wanted to talk." He looks her over. "Gotta tell ya, when someone wakes up like that and wants to talk to an Admiral, makes ya wonder. So what's on your mind?" An arm slings up over the back of the couch.

It takes her a moment. Iphigenia is from a very formal, reserved family, and she's so used to there being a thin veneer between herself and the rest of the crew that his casual friendliness is a shock to her. She takes her seat slowly, using the time to acclimate. "I'm sorry to have made a fuss." she murmurs. "Despite what happened, if it had only been me, I wouldn't be asking to speak with you." She lifts her eyes. "Sir, I've had at least one crew member come to me with a troubling dream of similar theme to what I saw in my own, and I suspect there may be more who hae elected not to speak for whatever reason. Fear, doubt, dismissal."

Jameson just watches her. He might be an older guy, but he's perceptive. "Oh I'm pretty sure you made a fuss for a reason. That sorta stuff don't happen to but two kinds of people: Lunatics and the disturbed. I'm pretty sure you aren't a lunatic so what happened musta disturbed you well enough. Got your reasons. You don't need to apologize to me." He drums his fingers lightly on the couch. "A troubling dream of similar theme. Okay." The Admiral is a pretty simple guy so this is probably a stretch for him. But, "Alright, fair enough. What's got you waking up screaming, then?"

"Destruction." she says quietly. "Watching loved ones burn before my eyes. Not thousands, but millions, billions of souls waiting for the ferry to take them to the Fields of Elysium. Fire and ash. Something is very wrong, sir. I know it's one thing to hear someone speak of a dream and have one's subconscious decide it wants to make a mirror, but this was," she shakes her head, and can't finish. "Something is very wrong."

Destruction. Jameson looks at her with an unflinching expression. Even after she finishes talking, the silence hangs. The tick-tock of a clock, somewhere in the room, marches on steadily. Three seconds turns into sight. Ten. "You're telling me that you had a dream about billions of people dying in a fire? And that someone else had a similar dream?" He lofts his brow. "Is it possible that hearing about this other dream may have prompted the idea in your head?" he asks carefully.

"I don't know if you read the jacket of every person who boards your ship, sir. But I'm not just ordained, I'm licensed as a psychologist." Gen offers quietly. "Even with chamalla," and there's no reason for her to deny its use, "There are dreams that are buffeted by one's subconscious and then there are dreams that come from something, someplace else. I know the difference, sir. I think there are others who've had dreams. I think there will be more who have them in the coming days. If I'm wrong, and I've wasted your time, and I apologize." Gen rests her hands in her lap and tries to appear relaxed, bu her fingers are unable to resist a white knuckled curl.

Jameson grunts, the sound bringing most of his body to move. No contempt, not dismissal. Its just a sound as if he had burped. But those eyes don't leave her. He just looks at her. "Noooo I don't think you're wasting my time, Sister." He clicks his teeth. "So, you think this means something or you wouldn't be here. Alright, well, what's your head telling you about yours? Then, after, why don't you tell me what this other dream's tie is to your own and why you think its important."

"I'm not an oracle." Gen says immediately, and then pauses. "Funny. The person who came to me said the same thing. I'm hesitant to dive into conjecture or wild theory. And depending on how you feel about things as nebulous as dreaming, perspective may err on either side of science versus faith. I can tell you for certain that I believe profound change is coming. Even if I were to interpret my dream on the most superficial level, death is always tied to transformation and change." She shakes her head, relaxing a little in her seat and swallowing hard. "There was immolation and destruction in both dreams. The presence of a friend we each trust - not the same person, but someone important to each of us. Our families made appearances. And the river." She shakes her head. "Even the most inexperienced armchair psychologist and wide-eyed novice knows what dreaming of the river means. Regardless of faith in science, or faith in the gods."

"I hear ya. I was a Lieutenant once. Flew plenty of combat missions during the Cylon War. Heard about a lot of dreams." Finally, though, Jameson cuts her a break and looks away towards a monitor over his desk. DRADIS. "I gotta hand it to you, Sister, that's some heavy emotion invested in the idea. And this other person? That's considerable." His eyes finally slide back to her. "I'm going to assume you're not one to believe in coincidence, are you?"

Iphigenia shakes her head. "All of this has happened before, and all of this will happen again." she quotes. "If you really want to know my personal beliefs on the nature of free will versus predestination however, it will probably involve more time than you have." There's a pause, and she adds thoughtfully, "And possibly more alcohol than you have, too."

"I'm an Admiral, darlin," Jameson chuckles heavily. "For all this shit I deal with? I've got more alcohol than Caprica." He seems to be quite sure of that. "I got what you're sayin, though. No need for worrying about predestination discussions." He drums his fingers on the couch again, still watching her. "Look, lemme ask you something else: If there were billions of people about to die in a firestorm, is there anything you could do about it from here? /Billions/ are a lot and it doesn't much sound like people can do a lot of running from something like that."

"Let me ask you something, sir." she replies thoughtfully in counterpoint. "If billions of people were to die in a firestorm, should that keep me from trying to do whatever I could to save as many as I can?"

Jameson quirks a brow. "Sort of the same question. There ain't much you can do from here. Unless I'm missing something. We can't even send a Raptor back to the Colonies without permission from Loytrall at the top of Seventh or Delmarr, the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations. So I would ask you again what it is that you can do from here."

"If you're going to ask a priestess who leads her life based on trusting faith what she'd do…" she trails off. "Whatever it is, I'd find a way to do it off book."

Jameson stares at her, brow lofting. "Why don't you elaborate on exactly what that means, and I suggest you be extremely clear."

Iphigenia shakes her head. "I don't think that's wise, sir. I'm not trained to make such decisions, nor am I trained to elaborate how to enact them. You asked me a direct question and I answered it as best I could."

"Lieutenant, we are under a medical quarantine for biohazardous material. We are under strict orders to use any means, to include lethal, to enforce this. The only two people who come and go to this strike group are the Raptor crew that delivers our mail and if you've ever met Lieutenant Ulman, you'd know he's about as much fun as a colonoscopy." Jameson doesn't sound happy. "You play games with 'off the book' remarks about trusting your faith, you completely delegitimize anything you just told me about those dreams. Five minutes ago, I was listening. Exactly what do you think I should be doing right now?" The man looks like he's staring right through her.

"I don't know." she says to him, trying not to bark at the Admiral, of all people. "I know that people look down upon the certainty of faith in others. I know that we're on medical quarantine. I know that something is coming, but I don't know what, and I don't know when, but I know that the idea of throwing up my hands and saying that there's nothing I can do when something so profound and worlds-shattering can happen…could happen, I…" she furrows her brow, shaking her head. "Sir." She straightens her gaze to look at him. "I'm not playing games. I'm afraid to speak my mind to you, because the things I'd suggest would go against what we're trained to do. The military does not operate on the portents of the temple, nor should it."

"The worst thing you can bring into this room is certainty, Lieutenant, unless you are willing to put down very, very large wagers." Jameson leans forward, forearms on his knees. "Don't assume I look down on religion, because I don't. Used to have a bobble-head Ares in my cockpit. But do not mistake your belief that something is coming with your full knowledge that it is. You are correct that things could happen. But I could also become a tea in thirty seconds. Chances are low." The Admiral keeps his voice flat. "You were good to speak your mind to me until you mentioned going off the book. Now, I think you're probably a good kid with a head full of enthusiasm so I'll explain this to you and I want you to consider the implications of it." The man is focusing on a point just about six feet behind her face. "This entire mission was done and signed for and authorized in pen. No computers. No printers. Backroom deals and personal meetings between people with clearances that Zeus himself wishes he had. Those construction crews are building a Presidential bunker. After that, they're going to be working on expanding the naval weapons depot. This planet is a refuge. Its not a garden world for the rich and famous, or military elite. We are here to set up a fallback position for all of humanity in case something catastrophic happens to the colonies on a system-wide scale. To include war," he counts off fingers, "plague, demolition, or celestial event." The Rear Admiral doesn't blink much. "The location of this place is so important and so secretive that Adar doesn't even know where it is. If you were me and someone told you that there was going to be a massive holocaust of humanity and you had one small battlegroup, what would be your priority? Trying to wave a flag or protecting the vital interests of an entire race?"

Iphigenia stares at Jameson, her eyes wide and dark. There is silence for a long, long time. Then, very quietly, "I never said we should wave a flag, sir." It's coming. It's coming. But she can't prove it, and she can't say anything, and she can't do anything about it, and what's worse - neither can he.

"No, but you said you were do whatever is necessary by your faith. I'd consider that some flag-waving." The Admiral lets the silence linger. Is it stuffy in here? "As it stands, I've had letters back and forth with Admiral Loytrall about some of the recent events. They think it stinks back there at Naval Headquarters, too. I hope you won't consider it a personal slight if I say that my weight and rank carry more clout than yours. So understand that anything that can be done, already is. Just what exactly they are doing about it, I won't get into. But I'll answer my question to you, about what it is that you can do." He tilts a finger towards her and let's it drop away. "Don't lose your shit. You keep a cool head, go about your duties, and you stand frakking strong. If this dream of yours turns out to be real, you will have a lot of eyes on you. People will need your help and they will be on their knees in your chapel. I doubt you've ever seen war on a Battlestar, but I have. Your job is going to get difficult but you cannot quit or dissolve. It sucks, but that's the lot in life." A pause. "If this turns out to be nothing? You kept your head in a crazy situation and didn't spread panic. It'll be noted. Can you handle this?" he asks carefully.

When he asks her that, there's a subtle shifting of her soldiers. Who knew that one day the much maligned pride and reserve of the Virgon aristocracy would serve her so well? She could not control how she reacted to the dream, but this is the waking world, and that cool sense of restraint settles on her like a veil. "My grandfather had a saying." she say. "My mother and I thought it was particularly ugly and never liked it, but I must confess that it seems apropos." Her gaze lifts to his. "If you didn't come here to win, then get the hell off Tauron." She can handle this.

Jameson nods slowly. "That's the short and skinny of it." He isn't so much looking through her anymore as at her. "You just remember something, Lieutenant: If fires go up and billions die, that's the eyes of a race upon us. Do you think your family and friends back there would rather you survive and defy an enemy? Or join them to pay the ferryman?" Its an easy set of options for him. "Be strong for the faithful. You need to break down and lose it and crumble? Let me know. I'll set you up someplace or we can talk it over with a shitload of booze." He sighs. "Or in eighteen months this will be a bad memory of lost sleep. Gods willing, I'll take a bad memory."

"So would I, sir." Iphigenia is calm now, calm as a swan on a pond. No one sees how fast their little feet are paddling. "And I'll keep that in mind." She's not made of ice, and even the strongest soul has a breaking point. Knowing there's a safe outlet is a relief.

Jameson nods a few times. "Alright, unless there's anything else, I'm going to hit the rack. Been a long day and I'm not getting any younger." He slooowly rises from the couch and stretches his back. "You hold up your end, Lieutenant, and nobody said anything tonight about going anywhere on any books. Deal?"

"Quite." She rises to her feet. "Good evening, Admiral." All's forgiven, if she keeps her mouth shut. She can do that. With a final nod, she excuses herself and makes her way out the door.

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