MD #108: Dulce bellum inexpertis
MD #108: Dulce bellum inexpertis
Summary: Dulce bellum inexpertis - Pindaros "War is sweet for those who haven't experienced it." Dr's Jimenez & Stone have a talk about what they've all sacrificed to get this far and what may be required to keep things going.
Date: Tue 25/Jul/2017 (OOC Date)
Related Logs: http://battlestarorion.wikidot.com/this-has-all-happened-before
Jimenez Samtara 
CMO's Office - Deck 3 - Battlestar Orion
Deck plating of the same composite that spans the length of the ship is softened with a miniscule area rug placed between the desk and the door. The wall to the left holds a large screen that interfaces with the data and communication system. The wall to the right holds a large whiteboard that is retained as much for sentiment as practicality. Storage lockers are stacked side by side beneath each board, the tops of which serve as additional space along with room for a coffee maker. A pair of comfortably worn chairs take up the floor space to either side of the door and a sleek looking desk faces the door itself with a desk chair that looks as well worn as the two visitor chairs that flank the door.
Fri 09/Feb/2029 (IC Date)

Standing in front of the large screen that covers most of the wall left of the door (or right of the desk if one is behind the desk facing the hatch), Sam has files of all of her staff up on the board and is sorting them into columns after glancing at one specific page from each one. At first glance the order may look ad hoc, but closer inspection reveals that she's sorting them by colony, not profession or education. She balances the data pad in one hand, the stylus in the other, and is reaching for the cup of coffee resting on the edge of her desk, preferring to work while standing.

There's a gentle knock before the door opens. Its likely the Arpay Doctor. She simply came in to work the other day looking like a ghost. She'd floated through her day, looking distracted, not wanting to talk to people - wildly out of character. She eventually just left and didn't return until last night. When she steps inside she is still in the combat fatigues Arpay law still allows her to wear. That thigh holster never leaves. She's holding her tablet in her hand when she closes the door behind her. "Put the coffee down, Sam," she says quietly. "Please." There's heart there. Compassion. She knows what Sam is doing.

"I'm relatively convinced there are few ideas more awful than 'put the coffee down', Becks," Sam replies as she turns toward the door and shares a half curve of a smile to accompany her words. "It's in the same vein as 'stop breathing' and 'walk home from orbit', in fact." She does, however, pause the display after saving the pattern then swipes the screen on the datapad which sends both the screen on the datapad on the wall into screen saver mode. She does, however, set the tablet down, and the stylus, finishes the dregs of the coffee in the cup and -then- sets the empty container down. This done, and all attempts at levity exhausted, the grim look on her face forms fully again and she searches Becks face in return, hands tucking into her coat pockets as she does so.

Becks will wait until Sam looks at her. There's no rush to things. She just looks at Sam for a long few, silent moments. Her normally expressive face is flat. Sad. There's distress there. She finally walks forward and puts her arms out to hug her friend tightly. Its near a grip. Becks may be one of the last of her kind and she hasn't missed that. Her family and her culture. But, instead, "I'm so sorry about the Colonies, Sam. So sorry," she sighs.

Sam's breath hitches, there's no other word for it, that audible hitch and the careful quelling of emotions as she hugs Becks in return and just leans for a moment. "I'm sorry too," she says in turn, the grief in her voice is evident even with the careful attempts to moderate it so she can at least try to be reasonable. "You've been gone so much longer than we have," she leans back slightly and the grief, regret and sympathy are all visible in her expression, in every nuance. "I'm so sorry, this never - ever - should have affected you so. Every time you came to use you lose weeks or months, this should not have taken centuries from you."

Becks looks up to Sam and gives a wan smile. "I came to you all because you all are important, Sam. I knew what I was losing." She swipes a tear away and looks down. No, she never expected to lose everything. "But if I hadn't come back, then I couldn't be here." She takes a long breath to steady herself before looking back to Sam. The attempt to steel is real, but there's only so much she can do. It'll take time. "I took an oath, Sam. Before I took one to my patients. Before I had a family and made vows. Before I even really knew what it meant. I took an oath to uphold the Charter of the Rally Point. To protect and defend humanity as best I could. I may have lost.. a lot." She forces the smile. "But I'm not dead yet. As long as one Arpay still breathes, we carry the mission in our blood. If someone out there continues to fight because we showed them the way, we will never die." There's pride there, but this is heart-wrenching for her to even say. Something they all must know and breathe in some way. But to be forced to the brink and to have to voice it? "We all knew this day might come. We all just assumed it would never arrive in our lifetimes." She bravely swipes another tear and then looks down, forcing herself to breathe. Like most senior officers, she doesn't have people to talk to except for Sam.

Sam makes a quiet sound then hugs Becks, hard, and shakes her head. "No, you are damned well not dead yet, and you are absolutely not going to die alone OR away from all your family and friends, if I have anything to say about it. At the very least," and her voice is uneven but fierce all the same, "you have me. And everyone who knows you, here. We're the family you have, and we love you," she says as she gives another squeeze of a hug then eases back. "We all knew that the war was going to end up in our laps again, but no one thought it would spin out like this. We all.. we all volunteered, we all thought we were prepared for the sacrifices that we make, when we're in the military. We're part of the over all machine. There's the idea of being prepared and then facing a reality that is not at all what we thought could possibly happen," admitted with a short - tense - shake of her head.

Becks lets herself get taken up in the hug and she lets some of it out. It isn't waterworks. But she shakes a little as she listens to Sam. There's no more of it by the time Samtara lets go. The Doctor listens to the other, nodding. Sam is right and she knows it. This will take time. "Thank you." Looking to her friend, she taps her heart twice. ITs a very personal gesture with the way her hand moves. The sort of thing shown to a family member in hard times. Hearts beat as one. They're in it together. "I, uh," she reaches for a tissue and dries her cheeks, blotting. "I'm a mess. Sorry. I thought I was done with the stupid crying." There's a frustrated sound and she looks up to Samtara. "Why are you organizing people by Colony?" She needs to move on. "I don't suppose this is how you cope. I've got my own." Her hand shakes her tablet gently.

Echoing the gesture half a beat later, Sam reaches out that same hand to grip Becks shoulder, "The crying isn't stupid. It's necessity. It's real. And it'll give you a headache and make your eyes hurt and your nose run and it'll piss you off. The pissed off part is, in my opinion, the productive result of the first stage. I'm in the pissed-off phase myself," she admits, "and I think of it as good fuel to burn. Until someone gives me something to shoot at and stomp on, I'm going to organize the hell out of personnel files. See," she taps at the screen of her tablet again, waking up the larger wall screen as well, "every single person has to list a couple of in-common field. Colony, dependent's, emergency contacts, parental units if they know who they were. Those four factors create a sorting pattern," she highlights it as she speaks. "I added in the extra fields of city of birth and training location. These factors," and she pulls up the secondary list she has, "allows me to sort the crew into categories that will eventually make it easier to manage when we can get our hands on what will pass for census data." She stares at the screen then taps a button that lets the program start rolling out, pulling in one division after the next, taking the time it takes to cycle forward. "Someday I'll get linked into the data control center for one of the surviving colonies and I'll try to pull names. It's a start. It's.. time consuming and a way to keep from screaming and kicking things." She glances down at the tablet that Becks is holding, "What are you working on?" she wonders.

Becks smirks a little, without humor, at the mention of crying not being stupid. "I know. There's just- more productive things to do. And I feel sloppy when I cry. Maybe early onset senility." She does look back to the organizing, though. The emotion of the moment seems to slowly drain, replaced by something else. Chin lifting, she starts to look a little more like her old self. Like the uniform is her second skin. "That could get very important later if it comes to the idea of who could pair well for offspring. Make sure we can diversify the race. We'll need as much diversity as possible." When Sam glances to the tablet she steps back and drops into a seat. It could almost be described as a flop. "I took my time, cried for a couple hours. Then, like you, I got pissed. Really pissed. Last night Colonel Janik and I had a discussion in this office and I found an outlet for my rage." She places her palm to the tablet and unlocks it. "Its not the most direct route to stomping in steel skulls, but it, to use a Colonial expression, is two middle fingers to the Skath. The Skath hate it when we fight like humans." She turns the tablet to face Samtara. The screen shows the login screen for personal access to something particular. The Diplomatic Corps. "I've been reading."

"That's a pet project of mine, from the last time around," Sam admits in a quiet voice even as she's glancing at the tablet that Becks angles toward her then glances up, "My log in or yours?" she wonders. "We have to have a minimum threshold for unique genetic patterns or else we run the risks that would make the entire genetic inheritance nothing short of a nightmare. But I'll keep at it until I have the entire crew sorted, then I'll play with that old pet project again and see if I can do anything useful with it." She glances up again, a sudden gleam of a fierce look in her eyes. "Stomping in steel skulls sounds like something worthy of putting on a new pair of boots with steel toes to get the job done. I happen to know where we can get those boots."

"My login." Becks turns the tablet around and starts plugging away at it while she listens. "We never found the minimum theshold for that, from what little I read into it. Some people insisted you only needed fifty people. Others insisted it was more like five thousand. The problem is that you can only run so many simulations under so many circumstances. the variables that come into play are outside factors such as accidents, sickness, that sort of set that will thin the gene pool. I like to think that its somewhere between." She glances up long enough to see that gaze and a similar look crosses her eyes before she looks back down. "Then let us put on our mental steel toes." Becks crosses her legs and looks to Sam. "The DC archives are obviously gone. But I've got emails, memos, reports, and about five hundred pages of documents." That smile creeps across her face. "The Skath can't have taken the whole galaxy. We've been evacuating and meeting people for a long time, Sam. There's planets out there that the Arpay probably never even got to. I don't have exact positions, but I've got a small list of locations to start looking. I don't mean for permanent settlement, I mean to recharge and potentially get people off the ships. …Maybe even some allies." Two middle fingers to the Skath.

Sam draws in a short, startled sound of, breath as she wonders, "No, they can't have taken the whole galaxy as we know it. Not even the Skath have that kind of military power, or maybe I should say they don't have that many assets to field all at once and fight the fight on hundreds of battle lines. Even a starting place, Becks, no matter how far fetched, is a starting place," a careful measure of hope colors her tone of voice. "Is there a way to get you into Arpay space long enough to try to pick up a data dump?" she wonders, dropping down into the char beside Becks as she reaches for the empty cup of coffee and turns it slowly around and around in her hands.

Becks nods slowly. Sam knows first hand that Jimenez is not someone that anyone wants to fight. But this is a different level. No blood and sinew. But she seems to enjoy watching it settle on Samtara's face. "The Skath condense power because they can focus huge amounts of firepower to overwhelm any enemy. That's why they move slowly. Once they own a sector, then they slowly move forward." Because time is meaningless to them. There's no rush to glory for one man or woman. But there's a slow shake of her head. The tablet is shaken a little. "The only access to the archives was at DC headquarters. Messages, individual files, those are given out carefully to individual people so that if the Skath get them, they don't get everything. Now its possible they also invaded and took the DC and everything there. Maybe not. They don't generally.. ruin.. a planet like that after spending resources to invade it. This tablet is what we have to work with. Here's the problem…" She looks down to it, then back to the Colonel. "Sam, we never interrupted a group of humanity on their own planets unless they were at immediate risk. There was no sense to it. There was too much work to do with planets directly under threat or those already taken. Bominaire. Calumet. I would love to go kidnap any remaining DC personnel off planets, but the fact is that I have no idea where any of them would be anymore. Twenty years at the colonies could be a century elsewhere. It may be down to the three DC members on this ship. That means monumental tasking. Going places the DC was never meant to go."

Continuing to slowly turn the coffee cup around and around in her hands, Sam listens intently to what Becks is saying and is silent for a long minute afterward, a pensive frown on her face. "Leapfrog," she finally says. "That's what Colt would say you just described. They don't advance out like a tidal wave in endless numbers. They advance, pacify, occupy, bulk up, advance. Repeat. Each wave rippling outward. Tell me something? In all your dealing with the Skath before we waded in, is there a central hub a hive command a brain nexus and command central?" she wonders. She stares down at one hand as she speaks, flexing her hand before she glances up. "If the central command is destroyed will the arms go into disarray and chaos?" She then uses that same hand to rub at her temples. "Compartmentalized data is smart. You can't be forced to give up that which you don't know or have access too. And what if those DC personnel are to old, literally, to help? What if they're to embedded to be called up? And every first time for any undertaking is a monumental tasking. It always begs the questions: Should we? Do we have the right? Is this the right thing? The phrase 'meant to go' and the word 'never' ," Sam pauses, lets out a 'hmmph' of sound. "Semantically null words. Never. Always. Meant to," she takes off her reading glasses, folding the arms in and tucking the frames into the front pocket of her coat. "Screw never. Screw meant to. Screw supposed to. We're twenty years and or something like two hundred years outside of any time line that was on the board before we went tripping through space and time. We're off the chart, and that means blazing a new path forward. What was, was. What is, is. What will be, may be. Words like 'Never' only get in the way."

Jimenez shakes her head. "If we could identify it, we would have hit it. A lot of people theorized about it. Ensigns would boast about wishing to drop a bomb on it. Admirals spent their top end careers leading research teams, trying to hunt it down. The problem is that time moves so slow at the core, which is where they came from, that tracking activity takes millenia. I heard a theory at a conference once that the Skath might still be fighting their first war in the Core." She shrugs. She listens to the rest and there's something darker on her face. Immediately Sam recognizes that face. The last time she saw it, Becks was standing over with a pistol aimed at her head. "I was only being careful because I wasn't sure how you feel. I guess that makes two of us. I'm holding to my principles of high order effort at combat. But I think at this point, with having lost everything we have, that the gloves come off in every way. Unless we find the Arpay Fleet out there, massively organized at a new home, we're beyond reproach. We do what we have to do and I'm sort of at the point where I feel like anyone left is either with us or against us." Becks looks dangerously calm. So this is what she looks like when she's raging at a target. "Put our best foot forward. Aim for cooperation. But this is the last Erfriki fighting force left." And Gods help anyone who gets in the way.

"Did I ever tell you about Thomas?" Sam wonders in a soft voice. "His family died at the very start of the war, or at least we think they did. They never came home and he ended up surviving almost by blind luck and sheer.." she exhales a breath through her nose, a small smile curving her lips, "I want to say stubborn but clever is more like it. When we adopted him, he was thirteen, angry at everything and everyone, and he hadn't had a family in so long he didn't know how to be part of one anymore. He didn't trust us, or that food would be there when and as he needed it, that there would be rules and requirements and love, love first and foremost that was his without him having to earn it. You know I didn't have much of a childhood of my own, and I had very little to go with. Colt had younger siblings and a big family, so he had the learning curve more or less figured out while I was still floundering in the shallows."

That almost smile tugs at her lips, "Becks, I will raze the galaxy to the bedrock then take a sledge hammer to the bedrock itself to get my children back. I don't care that they're in their thirties and fifties now. I - don't - care. No matter how long it takes. No matter what we have to do. No matter what ant hills we have to kick over. What doors we have to smash down. Who we have to grab by the nose and drag along. I don't care. I am getting my children back. And I am damned certain that every single person on this ship feels the same way about the family that they left behind. And damn it all, I feel the same way toward the family -you- left behind. We can aim for cooperation. We can aim for team playing. We can aim for diplomacy along the way. But push, shove, or clobber over the bloody head, we are not going to abide by the old rules. Do not be careful because you think I might have a fit of diplomatic conscience," there's a short and terribly mirthless laugh. "And may the god or gods or great mechanic in the sky or what ever the frak the Skath worship help them if I ever get allowed out in the field again. I have a great and powerful need to set them on fire and stomp on their remains. Fire, Becks, great heaping flames of fire."

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