AWD #335: Developing Leaders
Developing Leaders
Summary: After the debriefing, Epiphany and Fairfax discuss the ruins and how their lives have changed.
Date: 24/05/2016 (OOC Date)
Related Logs: May Induce Disrobing
Epiphany Fairfax 
Various
They walk around the ship a bit, alright.
Wed Dec 07 2005 (AWD #337)

Once they exit the briefing, Fairfax lets them get a little distance before he actually addresses Epiphany. "Well…." He begins with a slow breath outward. "That was informative."

There were a number of looks directed towards the intel officer in the meeting. Ones that verged upon glare. Perhaps Epiphany knows the 'before your time' to be a falsehood. Or she's just very good at guessing. Either way, the woman isn't the most pleased in the wake of things. "Why do I get the feeling," she notes, with a sidelong glance to Fairfax, "that I was the only one in that meeting entirely blindsided by the whole of it?"

"Well, I imagine everyone else has gotten reports. And I actually went down there, when my people started coming back talking of strange things." Fairfax muses. Of course he did. Because that was sensible. "What do you think of it at all?"

"I had heard rumors, but none of my people have been there. I wasn't about to put stock in some rumors from deck." Toby. Epiphany folds her arms, looking back over her shoulder up the corridor. "You hear rumors all the time. Can't put stock in every one that comes through the barracks." She exhales slowly, giving a small shake of her head. "I don't know. This is outside my realm of expertise. We've never encountered any other humans outside of the Colonies, let alone other races." The CAG drums fingers against opposite bicep. "It's hard to imagine that we just happen to find a planet where some used to live."

Fairfax nods agreement. "No. But when you've got a Staff Sergeant in front of you, worried you'll think she's crazy…I had to see for myself." A shake of his head, and a thoughtful hrm. "Me neither. I don't understand any of it. I just know what happened to me."

The brunette exhales slowly, stopping to lean against a stack of crates near a junction. She lifts one hand away from her arm to rub across her features. "It's like the war wasn't complicated enough. Not we have either an immensely complicated trap laid by… some ancient civilization or another humanoid species reaching out to us. I remember ghost stories as a kid, but I always thought the dead were meant to pass to Elysium." Or Tartarus, but no one ever wants to think of their loved ones going there. "Is Piraeus Elysium? Is this a whole other… god or gods, outside of Kobol? And how do we handle the distraction this is undoubtably going to be for our people?"

The brunette exhales slowly, stopping to lean against a stack of crates near a junction. She lifts one hand away from her arm to rub across her features. "It's like the war wasn't complicated enough. Not we have either an immensely complicated trap laid by… some ancient civilization or another humanoid species reaching out to us. I remember ghost stories as a kid, but I always thought the dead were meant to pass to Elysium." Or Tartarus, but no one ever wants to think of their loved ones going there. "Is Piraeus Elysium? Is this a whole other… god or gods, outside of Kobol? And how do we handle the distraction this is undoubtably going to be for our people?"

"I don't think Piraeus is Elysium, Grey." Fairfax admits. "I think we're dealing with something else entirely." A frown for her latter question. "That's a good one. And I'm not sure. I think mostly we're just trying to minimize the distraction right now."

"I doubt it is. That would be…" Epiphany shakes her head a bit. "The odds of us somehow finding the planet that serves as Elysium is are astronomical and highly unlikely. It speaks to some sort of culture that they, as said, appeared in different clothing. And you mentioned something of… sounding like they're speaking the tongue of the person hearing them." Her hand goes into her hair, winding a loose section about her finger. She continues her lean, looking off and away in thought. "That… radioactive site the Admiral mentioned hints at some sort of technologically advanced culture, too." There's a long pause before the CAG gives off a small sigh. "I need to see this for myself."

"Yes. We all heard the same thing, yet each of us heard it in the tongue of their home." Fairfax agrees with a nod. "As though they were speaking directly into our heads." A consideration then. "Not that I don't recommend it, but know that you won't be the same afterwards."

"None of us are who we were a year ago, Alastor," Epiphany notes, quietly. "War changes us. Our positions change us. I never thought I would be in the role I am now and I doubt you foresaw your own." She shrugs, faintly. "I can't very well advise my people without understanding things and I have a feeling that intel isn't going to be so quick to give up any information, if they can help it. I'll need to grab it for myself."

"True enough. Very true." Fairfax agrees, musing on their respective roles and how they ended up here. "Well, it's easy enough to go down there. I found the beings to be very welcoming. And you can definitely get a sense of the place."

Rubbing at the bridge of her nose, Epiphany nods slowly. "Frak. It's just never enough, is it? Just a rising tide of shit to deal with." She pushes away from the crates, smoothing her jacket. "I need a damned drink."

"It's never enough, no." Fairfax agrees, moving with her. "I could do with a drink too. Between this briefing and the recent operations…yeah, I need a drink. And a smoke."

"Unfortunately, I've got a bit too much to do to leave the ship just yet." And really, Epiphany tends to avoid Charlie's. No one wants a Department Head lurking about on their day off. She tucks her hands into her pockets, shifting to avoid others in the hall as they walk. "But I'm fairly certain I've got a bottle of something not too terrible stashed away in my office, if you'd like to join me? But if you've got time to head down to Sheridan, don't let me stop you. Beer would be better than whatever it is I've got, I'm sure."

"Certainly I'll join you." Fairfax agrees with a grateful smile. "I've still got fallout from all those arrests to deal with myself. And I…I dunno. Charlie's just isn't as fun as it used to be." It can be a lonely place, yes, when you're the old man upstairs to some three hundred marines or pilots.

There's a quiet sort of scoff from Epiphany at that. "I'd really prefer not to be thinking of myself as old already, thank you. Old pilots lurk in smoky bars and talk of the days that were. I still get behind the stick when I can." And often she does fly out with her wing during any operations done over Aerilon. If she's not a part of some mission, as the Rhino retrieval. Still, she leads the way through the corridors. "Can't really offer a cigarette, though. Rarely partake, myself. You'll need to find that elsewhere."

"Got some on me, fortunately." Fairfax grins, tapping his pocket. "And yeah, I like to go out when I can. Which isn't very often. Made it out on one of the latest batch, though." There's something in his tone that says it wasn't very simple at all.

It's just one flight of stairs and a short walk to the Air Wing corridors. Their own relatively vast section of the ship. Especially for the simulator bay and ready room. Epiphany's own office is just a bit off to the side, near the ready room. The space is crowded a bit, but that's only due to the easy chair that's been fit in there. At least most of the clutter from the previous occupants has been taken care of. "I suggest closing the hatch behind you," she notes, glancing over her shoulder. No need to have the wee impressionable Ensigns see their CAG drinking. From deep in a filing cabinet drawer comes out a bottle of a slightly clouded liquid. In lieu of proper glasses, she grabs a couple mugs from by the coffee pot. The woman sinks into the more comfortable chair, uncorking the bottle and pouring an ample amount to offer out to Fairfax. "And here I thought your type tried to never leave the ship."

The hatch is closed, and the mug taken with a grateful "Thank you." There's a cant of the head from Fairfax then, in confusion. "How do you mean my type?" He asks, apparently genuinely unsure what she meant.

And the second mug is poured for herself, the bottle re-corked, and set on the floor. Epiphany lounges back in the chair, sinking into it. For a moment, appearing more pilot and less command staff. Letting herself release the 'uptight composed' figure for a moment. She takes a drink, though carefully. It's strong stuff. Distilled aboard some ship or another, likely. The CAG would have Ways, if anyone did. "Most of the Department Heads and Command Staff do their best to stay put. Understandably. No easy to replace."

Fairfax takes a drink, with an appreciative sound as the strength hits him. "True. And I do get some -looks- from Amos when I go off into harms way. But…you can't lead marines from a position on safety. Not all the time. The team I was with almost got blown to shit. It'll mean something to them, that I was front and center with them. That my eye is still good and I still shoot straight. That I'm still a marine." Another drink. "Marines need to be led by marines, that's the thing."

"And if you had been blown to shit?" Epiphany's brow arches as she asks this, free hand lifting to undo the top button on her jacket. "Is Ommanney ready to take over what you're doing at a moment's notice? That's why most don't leave. You trust your people to finish the mission. It's why I generally only go out when we're all out there. When here's dozens of wings in the fray, someone has to be out there to give them direction. But the smaller missions, the recon? I trust my people to handle themselves."

"That would have been unfortunate." Fairfax, relaxing somewhat himself. Understatement much? "This particular mission…it was probably best to have me along. I wasn't quite expecting the blown to shit part, but it was very important." A nod then, "Ommanney was doing my job before I got here. He could do so again, if necessary."

"Is this relating to all the arrests I'd heard word of?" Epiphany tilts her mug before taking another drink. Her shoulders sag slightly in the wake of it, breath released slowly. "Why did you need to go on that particular one and not one of the others? Will your other marines be upset that you didn't go along with them?"

"It is indeed." Fairfax confirms with a drink of his own. "That one, the target was on board the Mallfut. Our munitions ship. Full of nuclear weapons, things that go boom, the lot. And no, they won't. There are fifteen simultaneous teams…I could only go with one. Many of them will probably even be relieved." A wry smile.

"That's the issue you risk, I think. The team you go with may feel that you don't have enough faith in them. The others may feel that those you went with are getting special treatment." Epiphany tilts her mug this way and that. "It's something I learned when teaching. It's a hard thing to balance. It's also why you have to keep your distance from them. Not just the risk of frat itself," in favoritism, "but the simple illusion that you might be favoring one person or squad over another could lead to morale loss throughout the ranks."

Fairfax nods thoughtfully. "All valid concerns." He agrees. "Fortunately in this case the team I went with seemed glad to have me along, and I think the others will be alright. I believe, at least, that I do a good job of making it clear I favor them all equally highly." He glares down into his mug, at that. "Still, I won't be able to keep this up forever. Captain's about the last rank, at least on our side, where you can really do any kind of field duty outside of really big offensives."

"Soon enough they'll just want to sit me in the back of a Raptor to watch DRADIS," Epiphany agrees, a bit amused by it. "You'd think I'd be happier about that. Higher chance of survival or whatever you want to call it. But a pilot doesn't go into that career just to sit behind a desk." Well, most. And some change their mind later. But rarely the Viper sticks. She lifts her drink, draining a bit more, before leaning for the bottle and offering a refill across to the marine. "But we also have fresh blood coming from Picon. They need someone stable running the show."

"Thanks." Fairfax will happily take the refill. "Yeah. Still, as long as we're 'developing junior leaders' we'll have ready replacements. At least that's what they told me at officer school." A wry smile, as if it were that easy.

Pouring her own, Epiphany snorts. The woman sets the bottle back down, twisting to prop one leg up and over the arm of the chair. "Is that what they told you? Was that for a war setting or just average, day-to-day peacetime in the colonies, when one's superiors more often died of old age or boredom? I wouldn't trust any of my squadron leaders with the Wing at the moment. To be honest, I barely feel I'm capable of the role, but if something happens to me… they may be well and truly frakked."

Fairfax moves around in his own chair, becoming less and less formal as Epiphany does. It seems to suit the man much more than formality. "I think it works /better/ in the latter situation. But it's doctrine even in war." A sympathetic look then. "I've got it slightly better in that regard. Lots of capable men and women under me."

There's a viper jock beneath Epiphany's outer layer. The pilot she was prior to becoming an instructor. And in one-on-one, more casual environments, it has a chance to surface. The lackadasical attitude, of a sort. She takes a sip and offers a quiet noise. "Lot of pilots lost in the initial waves. And more every time we reclaim a new colony. I've got a lot of El-Tees and jigs who are still getting the hang of what they're doing. Most of them aren't remotely ready for leadership. Some might jump at it… but the ones that could claw their way into a leadership role are generally, in my experience, the ones least suited for it."

"I would agree with you there. Seems like there's a correlation between how hard someone wants it and how much of an ass they'll be when they get it." Fairfax sips at his drink. "Still, hopefully you're not going anywhere Grey. So it may be a moot point."

"If only because these poor souls have had a shitshow of CAGs before me. That Shepherd…" Epiphany shakes her head, taking a long drink and leaning back to savor the burn for a moment. Her hair falls back and over the chair, dangling in the empty space. "He was a piece of work. Didn't bother to do much of anything. He'd been ordered to have recon done of the various systems and just never bothered. I'd be hard-pressed to find anything he actually did get done. There's a reason a lot of people want to find him and make sure he's dead. Man's as much a traitor as any."

"Well, we're constantly working on finding him and arresting him." Fairfax assures Epiphany with a nod, even as he shakes his head and sighs. "Wow. I'd heard he was a piece of work but I didn't know he was /that/ much of a shitshow."

"Mmhmm. He never bothered to do recon. I don't even like to think of the estimated numbers of lives lost because of him. Tauron alone…" Which is a large source of Toby's utter loathing of the former CAG. "One of those who… wanted the power, but shouldn't have had it." Epiphany looks to her mug, sitting up only marginally, before draining the rest. She closes her eyes for a time. Likely calculating how hard it's hitting her. It's strong stuff. More pure alcohol than whatever hint of flavor it tries to have. "Doubt you'll find him. Been this long already. He either found a way off Piraeus or he's dead somewhere. Hopefully the latter."

Fairfax empties the rest of his mug in a sudden swift motion. Probably ill-advised. "You're telling me that /Shepherd/ is the reason we lost Tauron?" His tone is level, and very quiet. "We'll find him. We'll find his corpse if that's all that's left. We'll find whatever tiny little piece is left of that bastard."

"Very possible. Not… known for certain, but it's possible that if he'd done his recon as ordered, in a timely fashion… A lot of things could have been prevented, yes. The information I've been able to dig up is sparse, because, well-" Epiphany gestures at the filing cabinets before reaching for the bottle. The refills she offers to Fairfax and then for herself finish it off. "Not like someone like that kept any sort of records."

"Thanks." Fairfax murmurs at the refill, shaking his head. "If I find that bastard…" He may fall down the stairs to the brig. Several times. "Well, I'm glad they've got you now, Grey."

"You and about eighty percent of this ship, Alastor. I'll leave it to those who had to suffer serving beneath him, myself." Because Epiphany's not sure even the Admiral will care if Shepherd is found dead under 'mysterious circumstances' before he's able to stand trial. She looks to her mug, studying the almost-clear liquid. "Such a frakkin' mess. You'd think after almost everyone we all knew was killed, people would get their shit together. Instead we've got subpar leaders. Rumors of people turning on their own kind. Not even Jacks, just… humans, willing to work with the enemy. It feels like an uphill battle on a good day."

"I'm afraid they're not rumors anymore, Grey. The man I shot had a detonator in his hand, and was willing to blow up the entire Mallfut." Fairfax swishes his drink around. "Like you say, you'd figure we'd have our shit together. But nope. I guess people never stop being people."

"Well… Least they haven't gotten ahold of the coordinates. I'll be damned if any of my ECOs turn on us." Epiphany shudders, a bit, at the thought of it. "That happens, it's over. We can kiss any hope we have of even just eking out survival away." The woman shifts, then, sitting up. Somewhat. She remains slouched forward a bit, elbow on thigh to keep herself propped upright. "Guess not. You'd think genocide would open some eyes, though."

"We'd be done for." Fairfax agrees, shuddering with Epiphany. It's a horrible thought. "And yes, you would. I suppose some eyes will just never open."

"I just-" Epiphany shakes her head and lifts a hand to rub at her face. "It was bad enough to hear of the Jacks on Caprica, but then the humans on their side as well?" She looks down into the mug before lifting it for a long drink. "I used to have hope that maybe my husband made it, but I've lost that. Not in Caprica City. Between the Cylons themselves, the Jacks, and now these traitors… I don't see any resistance surviving long."

Fairfax is caught between surprise and sympathy, and both display on his face at once. "I'm sorry, Grey." is all he says. It's in the tone of someone who knows what it's like to lose close family.

There's just a sort of gesture. A wave of hands that comes out more as a flicker of fingers. "I think a part of me," Epiphany murmurs, "has known all along. I've just been too stubborn to let them go." Another drink of the alochol and she exhales slowly. "It'd have almost been easier if Caprica had been declared completely lost. Then I'd know for sure, yeah? Instead I've been holding onto this hope and I need to… learn to let it go, I think." She mumbles the last, staring down at the mug. She finally shrugs, draining the rest.

"Yeah, I guess that's true. I guess it is easier in some ways, knowing for sure rather than wondering." Fairfax murmurs, half talking to her and half to his mug. He drains his as she does, the two of them finished. "Though I think when you're talking about this stuff…well, when none of its easy words like easier almost are…they don;t work."

Reaching out for Fairfax's mug, Epiphany gets to her feet… albeit unsteadily. There's a moment where it seems like she might just topple over. "I'm not sure I follow," she says of his last, blinking a few times in an effort to focus on the marine officer.

Fairfax stands also, making sure Epiphany gets the mug and isn't going to go over. He's handling it better than she is, though it's obviously starting to hit him. "I'm not sure I know what I mean. Other than when two things are so dreadful…one being easier than the other…they're both still so dreadful that easier just seems meaningless."

The pilot of the two is meant for dogfighting, not ground combat. If she's in a gunfight, something's going terribly awry. It means Epiphany gets drunk faster. She stares at a point on Fairfax's shoulder when he stands before her… likely in the hopes that it will stabilize a world suddenly trying to tilt. "Most of it's dreadful, these days. I try to find the things that aren't, but it's difficult. Like I see all these great pilots serving beneath me and all I can think some days is how most of them won't survive."

Fairfax is ready to catch her if need be. "You look like you could use a rest, Grey." He murmurs, before nodding. "Aye. It's mostly dreadful. I don't have much to say that can alleviate that. Other than to live in the here and now, while we fight for the future. We'll have plenty of time to think of the dead when they are dead. Let's try not to think of them in that state before they even get there."

There is a hand, suddenly, to his arm, in the wake of setting the mugs on the edge of her desk. Just that amount of bending over was enough to set off some vertigo. Epiphany closes her eyes, drawing a careful breath. Trying to brace herself. Pilots drink, yes, but beer is a slower thing than 'shine. There's no telling what she's eaten (or not) recently, either. "I try, but I can't. I see them and I just… I see more students I may lose. Pilots that may die on their next outing. I want them to be as… well-equipped as possible out there, but I have to stay away. I don't want more loss."

Fairfax puts his own hand over hers. He's got her. "We can't avoid loss, Grey. We can't, not in a war like this. We're both going to lose men and women we care deeply about. All we can do is…try and figure out how to deal with it." A pause. "Come on. You need to lie down."

"I know we can't avoid it. But I can keep my distance from them. They'll have the leader they've all needed and I won't… lose so many again, so quick." They all have their horrors from the day the Cylons returned and began dropping the bombs. He mentions lying down and Epiphany shakes her head. "Can't go to the barracks like this." She starts to turn towards the chair, but likely needs to be caught lest she just fall to it. "I'll stay in here."

"They won't, Grey. They won't have the leader they've all needed if you keep your distance. Because they won't trust you. They won't…build that bond with you." Fairfax murmurs, catching her rather than letting her fall. "Alright. Let's get you laying down, then. I'll get you some water and come back on check on you later."

"Won't do that anyway. Frak, had them 'bout ready to attack me last mission I was on. Yer lucky, marines know people cycle in and out. I was told… coming aboard." There's more of a farmer to her Leonese accent when she's drunk. Less of the refinement. Shows that it was something taught, not something Epiphany was born to. "…that the wing is close-knit and doesn't tend to accept outsiders. Damned if I do, damned if I don't." She'll accept the help in settling into the chair; not trusting her own legs at this point.

"Guess I am lucky in that regard. We know how it is and accept it as a fact of life." Fairfax agrees. The talk of attacking her raises an eyebrow, but he doesn't dig in further for now. "Come on…got anything pillow like or blanket like in this office?"

"No. Don't need 'em." The chair is big enough that she's able o sort of curl into it. There's a reason Epiphany took up the precious floor space with the chair. She's already starting to drift off. "Go. Sure you've got better things to do than babysit the CAG."

"And I'm sure the CAG doesn't need babysitting." Fairfax returns. "But you're my friend, Grey. Which means I'll be coming back to check on you in a few hours." He'll wait till she drifts off. True to his word, he'll be back in a few hours to see how she's getting on.

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