AWD #026: Chewing
Summary: Livers. Out. Sausages. And other various things one can chew. Also, the D-CAG hands out some assignments.
Date: 01/02/2013 (OOC Date)
Related Logs: Air Attack Aerilon
Holtz Phin Zachary 
Mess Hall — Deck 3 — Battlestar Orion
Food and such.
Fri Feb 01

Holtz is in the mess hall, sitting alone with a plate in front of him. It seems he's still working through his slate of victory meals from the paintball battle; unlike the various mystery foods the mess hall usually serves, on his plate sits a sizable slab of steak, ringed by broiled shrimp and with what looks like some kind of spiced rice pilaf on the side. Despite the bounty of food before him, however, he doesn't seem much interested in it; usually a fast eater, he seems to be spending as much time poking at his food as he does actually eating it.

Phin is working his way through the line at the moment, and also getting one of his remaining specialty meals. Today, apparently, pancakes, sausage and eggs. Regardless of the hour. And canned peaches. And a sizeable cup of coffee, though that's probably not part of the special culinary package. He also doesn't look terribly enthused about it, but it beats whatever's passing for the mystery meat of the day.

Storm picks up one of his shrimps by the tail, holding it in place as he pulls the meat out with his teeth. His expression is about as sour as it can get, considering he's enjoying a gourmet meal on a battlestar to the obvious jealousy of everyone sitting at the tables around his. Flinty eyes mark Phin's presence, and Holtz offers the younger man a silent jerk of his chin that passes for a greeting.

Phin replies to Holtz's chin jerk with a low "Hey." He heads over to the table where the older pilot's sitting. "You mind if I sit?" he asks, nodding vaguely toward the seat across from Holtz.

Holtz takes a long moment to answer, even after he chews and swallows his mouthful of food. Finally, he nods again. "Knock yourself out." His normally booming voice is more subdued than usual. He attacks the steak with his fork and knife, staring briefly at the chunk he hacks off before eating it. Finally, he musters up a singularly grim, humorless smile. "Hell of a time lately, yeah?"

Phin slouches down at the table with a mutter, "Thanks." He's never precisely booming, but he's also decidedly more subdued than normal. He spreads on some butter and syrup that came with his pancakes more like he's going through the motions than like he's really looking forward to it. Holtz's comment is met with an equally humorless chuckle. "Yeah. Real Hades wrap party." Pause. "I heard they got some of our people back from Aerilon. The Marines and stuff who dropped in. Not Janitor, though."

"Yeah, heard the same." Holtz nods. "Imagine they looked for 'im. But good luck findin' a man in the brush in the middle of the night." He snorts derisively. "If he survived the drop, he'd have been damn smart to just crawl under a rock and not come out." There's a slight headshake as Storm recalls the Cylon presence in the area that night.

"Yeah. Maybe. Maybe if we'd stuck around for another minute or two, we could've gotten a better track on where he came down." Phin stabs at his food. "It's messed up." Exactly what he means, he doesn't say. Could just be a general statement.

Holtz' head snaps up, and he glowers at Phin. "You know what would have happened if we'd stayed any longer? That cruiser'd've jumped out anyway, and we'd be down two or three pilots instead of just one. And what the frak kinda good would that've done anybody? Use your head, kid." Storm shakes his head as he viciously impales another bit of meat on his fork. "Yeah, it sucks. But it wouldn't have mattered worth a damn. His chute was burning, he was probably hurt. Another minute or two… would've just been another minute or two to get shot down in." That, if anything, seems to be the part that bothers him the most — the assessment they couldn't have helped Cole even if they'd stayed.

Zachary arrives from the Fore Corridor.

Phin clearly wants to argue with that. But he can't, really. Not on any logical level. He stabs at his pancakes again, staring at those awhile before finally ticking his blue eyes up at Holtz. "Yeah. That's what Yggs said and…yeah. Just keep going over it in my head, y'know, trying to think of what we could've done different to get him back. And…I don't know. It just sucks, I guess."

Phin is sitting with Holtz at a table. They are eating, in generally dour fashion.

Holtz chews on another bit of steak with a somewhat-mollified grunt. "You don't get do-overs. Now, you can think of maybes and what-might-have-beens all you like, I don't care. But at the end of the day it matters exactly frak." Judging from Holtz' mood and expression, however, he's probably had some of the same thoughts as Phin. A classic example of 'do as I say, not as I do'.

Phin regards Holtz a long beat, but all he can do is shrug and nod. Again, it's nothing he can honestly disagree with. Much as he might want to try. "Yeah. Right. Frak. So say we all." He settles into eating in silence after that. Punctuating bites of breakfast-for-whatever-time-of-day meal with gulps of mess hall coffee.

Holtz watches Phin for a long moment of silence as he chews his food. "That doesn't mean we're going to just give the frak up, you know," he continues, his throaty voice deceptively mild. The bite is washed down with a drink from his own steaming-hot beverage, a cup of tea from the mess hall stores. "Shit. I'll fly the godsdamn Raptor myself if none of these bloody bus drivers have the balls to." Well, he has been training on the larger craft in the sims, so it's not an entirely idle boast. Not that he's likely to be given the chance, of course.

The remark still mostly holds the tenor of a frustrated man venting his spleen, though.

"Noone's giving up on anything." The voice from behind Holtz is firm, and resolute. "I took Milkshake there last night to pick up an exfil team, and we did a scan for Cole. We found his wreckage, but not much else." Zachary says simply as he heads for the chowline. "If you wish to question my decisions in the future, I ask you do so to my face and in my office."

"We owe it to him to at least try and retrieve his body," Phin says. "I mean, if he did buy it down there." He's still talking about Cole in the present tense, but his optimism plainly isn't high. Brows arch a little when Holtz talks about Raptor driving. "Umm…maybe there's something else we can do. Like, helping calculate coordinates or something." His eyes flick up to Zachary. Blink. Oh. Boss. "Storm wasn't knocking you, sir. We just want to assist in finding him." Or, y'know, his corpse. Not that Phin goes there again once he actually notices the D-CAG.

"I'm not questioning anything, Major." Holtz calls out, brow furrowed slightly. "Didn't mean nothin' by it." For an ever so brief moment, he actually looks abashed. "I just… yeah." He nods in Phin's direction. "I just wish there was somethin' I could frakkin' do about it, is all. You know what it's like, feelin' helpless like that." A measuring look is sent in the DCAG's direction.

"No. No I don't. Do you want to know why?" Zachary says, pausing in his push to the chowline. "Because while you are worrying about Janitor? I am too. And extracting a team of Marines I left behind. And how we're going to replace Cole if he is lost. Then the request for a flight of Raptors to check an asteroid belt. And my wife's request that I still need to handle tomorrow on the ruins of Virgon. I am not feeling helpless. Aerilon is full on war. Cole got out, he wasn't in his wreckage, so he's alive. He'll find his way and we'll go back in a few days to see if we can find him. There's nothing helpless about it. You want to help? Find something to do instead of sitting around bitching about what is not being done. Because the sausage factory is full, but you're more than welcome to take the tour."

All of that is just sort of listened to in silence from Phin. He absorbs it, but it's hard to tell what he makes of it. The rook isn't bad at keeping his expression carefully neutral when he wants to. "Sir, is there anything we can do in an official capacity to aid the search for Captain Cole?" Might as well ask it again, with clearer enunciation. "If there's a plan of action, I'd like to lend a hand in carrying it out. If there's not at present, please let me know what the most useful course of action would be at this time to aid the Wing and my squadron, sir."

Holtz' expression tightens. "Forgive my presumption. Sir." He folds his arms over each other. "You think I don't want to help, you can — " He cuts himself off just in the nick of time, instead continuing with a "Godsdamn right I do. So if you've got any ideas, sir, my ears are wide the frak open."

Zachary taps the side of his nose as Phin finally asks the right question. "Good. Because there is something. Seems the marines have the nifty idea of checking to see if there's a Tylium tanker at an asteroid facility in the Erebos Asteroid belt. Holtz, take the memo to Colonel Petra, see if you can either hitch a ride or get the use of one of the jump capables. Raptors aren't much use in an asteroid belt, and I'd perfer a pair of Vipers there if it goes to hell. Does that tickle either of your fancies?"

Holtz looks at the DCAG, his hard expression slowly melting before he finally inclines his head. "Uh. Does a bear shit in the brush?" The ends of his mouth twitch slightly following that stirring reply. He blinks, composing his thoughts before continuing. "I mean, yes sir, as a matter of fact it does." The offer of a mission seems to have gotten his attention, and he's sitting up straighter in his seat, the acrimony gone from his tone.

"Good. And as if I haven't heaped enough on you, Lieutenant?" Zachary says, studying Holtz carefully. "Until Cole returns and with Ceres in medical with an injury, you're the Viper lead. Welcome to the sausage factory."

"The missions sounds like something I could do, sir," Phin says. Though he half-opens his mouth to ask another question. In the end, however, he doesn't.

If the situation wasn't what it was, Holtz' reaction to Zachary's last would almost be comical. He just stares at the DCAG for a moment, his jaw flexing as he searches for a response but can't seem to find one. Finally, though, he manages a jerky nod and a resolute, "Copy that, Major."

"Good. And despite Ceres being grounded, use her as a resource. She can take over if she's cleared for duty and we still don't have Cole." Zachary says to Holtz and looks to Phin. "Did you have something else, Ensign?"

Phin cracks a faint smile at Holtz. Very faint, but it's the first he's managed since sitting down. Though his expression quickly moderates. He shakes his head. "No, sir. At least, not about that specifically, but about Captain Cole's search-and-rescue. Do you know if Command has managed to make contact with whoever's in charge down on Aerilon? Or at least, whoever was in charge of the group that asked for our air support."

"I think I can handle it, sir, but I'll keep her in mind," Holtz replies with a look at Zachary. "Surprised whoever it was didn't have some idea of what we'd be running into down there," he opines after a short pause, that hard edge returning to his voice as he adds to what Phin said. "The intel we got was pretty frakked, from where I was sitting."

"Not yet, but, Phin, that gives you something to do. Sgt Knox says he got some good intel from his raid. When he's lucid next, interview him, see what you can learn and prepare me a report that can be used to brief the Squadrons on what it was we went up against." Zachary says simply. "He had a team with him, try to touch base with them too."

Phin's mouth settles back into a pensive frown at Holtz's words, but he doesn't add anything about the quality of Aerilon intelligence. "Will do, sir. Anything to give us better info for future strike planning. I was more wondering if Captain Cole's personal information, like physical description and anything people on the ground might find useful, had been relayed to them. Since they might be in a better position to look for him." Or whatever is left of him. He adds, "If not, I can run it up to somebody in Tactical for you."

Holtz turns back to his forgotten meal, his appetite somewhat returns. He chokes down a few bites of steak and shrimp, eyes flicking between the other two as he eats. For the moment, he stays silent as Zachary's attention is focused on Phin.

Even from tactical, it would take years for the info to get to Aerilon. I'll ask around the next time I send a team there in a week to share what we learned about their new AA." Zachary offers. "Thanks, however. What I just asked you should be more than enough to help." a weak smile is offered, and he sighs. "I think I'll go have dinner planetside tonight. Enjoy your evening." he says as he turns to head for the exit.

Phin's eyebrows arch some, but he nods. "Sounds good, sir. I'll get on that direct." And apparently he means now, because he stands. And offers Zachary a parting salute. One of those Academy-fresh ones you could set protractor angles by. Well, he was technically receiving orders, if in a place where it's not strictly necessary for such formalities.

Zachary waves off the saute as he steps out. "See you tomorrow." he offers as he heads off.

Zachary leaves, heading toward the Fore Corridor [FC].

Holtz offers a curt nod to the DCAG as the other man exits, but he neither stands nor salutes. "I'll see if I can't rustle up Colonel Petra after dinner, sir," he does offer in Zachary's direction, however. But the other man's already gone, and Holtz simply grunts. "Well. That was fun," he mutters with an eyeroll.

"That was something," Phin mutters, relaxing out of his salute. "At least we've got some direction to make ourselves useful now." He picks up his coffee cup, which apparently he intends to take with him. But before he goes he says, "Hey, Storm…just me, I'm glad you were the one the D-CAG put over us while Janitor's MIA. You've always seemed like you've got our backs. Just holler if there's anything you need from me."

"Not like I want the frakkin' job," Holtz mutters into his food before looking up at Phin. "But… yeah, thanks." He musters up a grateful nod to the younger man, offering a salute of sorts with his still-steaming mug of tea.

Phin touches two fingers to his brow, nothing so formal as he gave the D-CAG, but this one's accompanied by a slight smile. "Later, sir," he says simply. And off he goes.

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