ALT #379: History Repeating
History Repeating
Summary: Phin gets summoned to the CAG's office. He leaves intact. With work!
Date: 20/01/2014 (OOC Date)
Related Logs: None
Atalanta Phin 
CAG's Office — Deck 2 — Battlestar Orion
A nine foot by nine foot office. Most of the floorspace is taken up by a desk and filing cabinets.
AWD #379

Being summoned to the CAG's office often feels like having the louspeaker crackle in the middle of class, like being called down to the principal's office. Franklin has done nothing to alleviate it. With the hatch closed, there's simply no choice but to either knock or to interrupt. Does having an appointment really make it any better?

It's not often Phin is summoned to the CAG's office, either, so he looks extra…not jumpy, exactly, but his posture is extra-correct and he looks extra-alert. He stops outside the hatch to take a few deep breaths and stand up even straight (if he tries any harder at that, he might strain his spine) and knocks on the hatch. Three overly quick taps.

"Open!," comes the woman's reply. Even muffled by a heavy metal door, the tone is crisp, brisk… even bordering dangerously close to straying from "efficient" and into "brusque". When the door swings open, she's already on her feet, one hand at her collar to refasten the buttons on the jacket of her duty blues. Brown brows are arched expectantly.

Phin opens the hatch, at that crisp command, and goes directly from salute to attention. "Lieutenant Colonel, sir. Lieutenant McBride, reporting as requested." And he just stands there, ramrod straight, until given further instruction. He might try to glance down at her desk to see if he can discern anything she's working on that might give him a clue about this. Maybe.

McBride — always so reliably formal, always so parade-ground perfect. There's a brief smile at his demeanor, a quick, fleeting thing. She snaps to attention and returns the salute with perhaps a touch more gravitas than the situation really merits. It is, after all, only a meeting in her office… isn't it? "Lieutenant," she says, gesturing towards the empty chairs across from her desk. "Would you care for a drink? Our conversation may be a long one, depending on how much of pre-war history you remember."

Phin is nothing if not all about surface correctness. He probably still practices his salute in the mirror. Not that he isn't glad to relax and lower it when he can. "A drink? Uh…sure." He sits, not specifying what kind of drink. He'll likely sip whatever she puts in front of him. "Pre-War History? I mean, I was a military history major back at the Academy, sir." Which she very well knows. "Most of the stress was on Cylon War…err…First Cylon War studies and unification-era stuff, but…sure, I took classes farther back as well."

"Good," she says, as she turns towards the white kettle she has sitting on her shelf — an electric kettle, one that simply plugs into the wall rather than requiring a burner. So nothing so exciting as ambrosia or whiskey, but tea. Her callsign wasn't a total misnomer, then. "I've been talking with Captain Gray about what our next move should, because to be perfectly blunt, I think that we were lucky with Picon. I'll be sending recons out to Helios Delta and Helios Gamma, but the truth is that if we get into a shooting war with the Cylons, we're going to lose. We can't hold five star systems with thirty ships, when half of them weren't even meant for sustained combat."

"Picon was easier than I thought it'd be," Phin admits. Though he quickly adds, "I mean, it wasn't easy. That was the hottest combat I've been in since the attacks. But…they just up and left, y'know? I mean, you know, sir? I figured it wouldn't be so much a matter of retaking the planet as holding it. But they don't seem interested in taking it back from us. I mean, I've flown some patrols in Picon air space, but apart from a Raider now and then they aren't really sending in any big guns." He sips his tea, when he feels his throat getting dry.

"You aren't the only one that's been wondering about that, Lieutenant." She sinks slowly down into her own seat, with her fingers wrapped around her mug in order to keep them warm. "This war has been nothing like the first Cylon War. Forty years ago, they were willing to fight us tooth and nail for every Colony, and to do it for a dozen years. This war is entirely different. Their opening shot was to wipe half the Colonies out and smash out Fleet into scrap. It's certainly a more effective method of winning, but that also tells me they could've annihilated us entirely if they wanted to. But they didn't. So it begs the question — why?"

"I mean, the First Cylon war, you could at least kind of see what they wanted," Phin says. Which seems to have been more than he really meant to say, at least phrased that way. But, now that he's started down that path, he can't help but continue. "I mean, they were slaves. Basically. Now…I just don't understand why. I never have. Why now, after forty years? Why not wait another ten, or do it a decade ago or…y'know? And we've basically left them alone for all this time. So, either they felt threatened again, for some reason that's way above my pay grade, or they're after something…more."

"That's exactly what've been thinking," she replies, tapping her nails against the plain white ceramic — a mug lifted from one of dozens of identical mugs in the mess hall and nothing more. "They've kept large numbers of our people alive, we know they're conducting some sort experiments on them, and frankly, I really don't know why myself — they've obviously found a way to progress beyond the Centurion models, both our last design and the more recent update. So what do they want? Why are they here? I think that, more than anything else, might give us a fighting chance." Franklin presses her lips together once, twice, before schooling her features into a more neutral expression. "Otherwise, we're operating on a basis of guesswork and luck and, if they're so inclined at the time, the favor of the gods. And only the last one has even a hope of getting us anywhere."

"Yeah. Umm, I mean, yes, sir. From what I heard, they're using Leonis as a farm to 'jack' humans now." There's a personal sort of distaste in Phin's tone as he notes that. He did do his Academy time on the planet, so he likely has some attachment to it. "It's like…it's like they don't really want to destroy us. I mean, they killed so many of us but…they're trying to get the ones who survived on their side. In a really perverse way. And the skinjobs…" He doesn't even seem to know where he wants to go with that, and takes a moment to drink more tea. "It's like…the Scriptures say the gods made humanity in their image. And we made the Cylons so…it's like they're trying to make themselves…more like us, in a way."

"And from what I understand, the models that we've had aboard the Orion claim that they have very little memory of or knowledge of their life among the Cylons, or what it is that the Cylons are hoping to acheive here." She takes a long, slow sip of her tea, wincing slightly at the feeling of the still-too-hot liquid on the sensitive skin of her pallate. "It's a believable story, but that doesn't necessarily mean that it's the truth. So." There's a beat, and then she lifts her eyes to his face. "I think the only way we're going to find the truth is if we hunt it down ourselves."

"Redux didn't," Phin mutters. Quickly adding, "I mean, she claimed not to. When I talked to her. Said said she was…a sleeper agent, I guess, and that Sergeant Knox…woke her up, somehow." This is a subject he is instantly very, very sorry he brought up, and he sips more tea more back-tracking. "Anyway, yes, sir. That sounds prudent. Do you have any idea where to start? Or…where you'd like me to start." Since he presumes there's Work coming his way in all this.

Franklin watches him quietly, her brows furrowed as he retreats away from the subject. She doesn't chase him, though, but rather follows the turn in the conversation. "I want to send another set of Raptors beyond the armstice line to explore Cylon space. But the unfortunate thing about space is that it's big, and cold, and frequently empty. We were awfully lucky the last time we went out there, finding the spots that we did, but I don't know how long that luck is going to hold." Leaning back in her chair, she drops her eyes to her lap for a moment, letting her brow furrow with concentration. "I want to narrow the search area down, so I've been thinking — thinking about the planets we lost last time around."

Phin's expression grows somber, when the lost planets are mentioned. "Tauron, Gemenon, Canceron, Saggittaron, Virgon." He makes himself name all of them. "Those are the one they took out this time, at least. Do you think there's a connection, sir? Between how they've dealt with the worlds this time, and how they did during the First Cylon War?" His eyes brighten when she mentions the territory beyond the Armistice Line. "Big and cold and pretty much unexplored, at least officially. Maybe even unofficially. I'm glad Command has wanted to press more back there. But, yeah, it's big, and gods only knows what they've been doing for the last forty years."

"That's what I want to find out — and it seems to me that if I were to come into possession of a chunk of largely unexplored and undeveloped space, and I had a newly freed population to settle," Franklin says, cautiously. Not people. No, she doesn't consider the Cylons people — not even the ones who look like them. "The easiest place to start would be the ones that had already been partially settled for me. So, I think the planets we lost beyond the Armstice Line would be somewhere we ought to look. The trouble is, no one has set foot on them for over forty years, and the most recent information we have on their condition is scattered across Fleet records from the last war. Historical records." She smiles thinly at Phin — almost sympathetically. He signed up to fly Vipers and, here she is, handing him an Academy research project.

Phin doesn't actually look unenthusiastic at the prospect of academic research. He did sign up to fly Vipers, but he's never been exactly afraid of paper pushing. He does look a little daunted. "There might be libraries and stuff at Fleet H-Q left intact on Picon." He sounds moderately hopeful. If it exists it might be in a state of bombed, but. "I doubt the library on board will have much, but I can definitely check. I might have to catch a Raptor back and forth to Picon a couple of times during my non-CAP duty hours. It shouldn't cut into my flight time, but I might need to shuffle some sim hours around."

"I'd say the library here would be somewhere to start, at least. Fleet Headquarters?," she grimaces. Dropping a warhead on Fleet Headquarters was the opening shot of the war. "I'm not expecting a miracle, Lieutenant. I'm only looking for somewhere to start. I've also been discussing methods of narrowing down the number of stars that might host planets capable of supporting life with Major Holtz, and I'm hoping I can hand off a few of his suggestions to labs down below. Who knows? We've been lucky before, and it's entirely possible we'll be lucky again. But I'd like to nudge the odds into our favor in any way I can, if I can." For once, there's the tinge of hope in her tone. It's somehow crept in under the crips notes of her uppercrust accent.

The hope is noted by Phin, and it seems to relax him a little. Beyond surface spit-and-polish, at least. "Whatever they want, sir, we did retake Picon, which I didn't think we even possible a year ago. It is something. The First Cylon War was over a decade long so…not expecting miracles, but they won it eventually. Yeah, I'll start in the stacks here, work my way out. I hope I can bring you something useful."

"So do I — because I don't think they're going to give up Libran or Aerilon as easily, and that's what we're looking at next. They seem to have their own reason for wanting the former and the latter, they're going to need as a food source, so long as they want to keep us alive. And that — that is the one reason I think the Colonies are still worth fighting for. But if they weren't? It still wouldn't stop me," she says, the spark of hope turning into a somewhat grim smile. It's an earnest one, but, well, how cheerful can someone be when discussing the near-extinction of their species?

"Libran and Aerilon?" Phin visibly perks at this. For a moment it seems like he very much wants to ask more. But he doesn't. Not just now. "Yes, sir. I'll be ready for the next offensive, when it's launched." From the look in his eyes, he wouldn't complain about being pitched out of a tube right then and there. "They're home, sir." That's all he has to say, about the colonies. It seems to agree with the 'worth fighting for' sentiment, though.

She rubs her thumb along the rim of her mug, rubbing, rubbing, rubbing until the skin makes a soft squeaking sound against the warm surface. "I swore an oath," Franklin explains quietly. "The same oath my family has been swearing for two hundred years. Whatever else happens, Lieutenant, I will not abandon Caprica to her fate. They'll have to kill me first." There's no anger in this sentiment, no defiance, no belief in her own invincibility. It's simply a fact — she's a Franklin, and giving whatever is necessary to defend Caprica and her people is what the Franklin's do. "I hope it doesn't come to that, for any of us. I think we've all seen enough death for a dozen lifetimes." A beat. "But Libran and Aerilon first — depending on what the recons say."

"Caprica and the other worlds, sir," Phin says. Mildly, but he seems feel the need to say it. He's largely sanded the Scorpian drawl out of his voice, but there are traces of the same planet that's so heavy in Jameson's comm messages, if one listens for it. He nods about the recons. Again looking tempted to ask more, but again deferring. "Yes, sir. I've heard a little about those from the Raptor crews. Well, that they're prepping for something with all the additional P-T and everything. Not exactly what. I'll wait for word. And hit library. Is there anything further you need from me?"

"I haven't forgotten," she says, smiling more genuinely now — sympathetically, even. It's not an expression she often lets slip, because it softens her face too much. For a few seconds, only a few, she isn't a Lieutenant Colonel at all. Not really. She's just another survivor, lost without her home to go back to, uncertain of what to do next. Scared, even. No wonder she doesn't wear that look in public. "But it's a promise we've kept long before the Colonies were the Colonies, and I can't forget that, either." And then Franklin sighs, and her features slip back into their usual place. "No, Lieutenant. That will be all, thank you. If there's anything you need as pertains to your research, let me know and I'll make the arrangements."

Phin watches the CAG a moment, when her mask falls away like that. He also, for a beat, relaxes enough look very much a very young man of 25, far away from a home that's presently overrun by Cylons. He clears his throat, and offers a soft, "Yes, sir." Before straightening into a crisp parting salute. Once released from that, he'll scram.

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