AWD #575: Human to Human
AWD #575: Human to Human
Summary: Doctor's Jimenez & Nadir continue the conversation begun two days prior, this time meeting aboard the Apray ship 'Weller Hill'. Many topics are discussed, certain eureka moments are achieved and much more.
Date: Tue 17/Jan/2017 (OOC Date)
Related Logs: http://battlestarorion.wikidot.com/not-expendable http://battlestarorion.wikidot.com/brief-and-salient http://battlestarorion.wikidot.com/two-blunt-instruments
Dropkickst Samtara 
Weller Hill
It doesn't look quite like a Colonial ship, but its clearly a warship. There are sleek lines over top of the single flight pod, with the bottom structure of the pod containing much of the rest of the bulk. A true 'flat top' except for the armored sheath over the flight deck. There are guns on nearly every flat exterior surface, though. Its nearly the size of a Colonial Heavy Cruiser, dwarfing the pocket carriers that the fleet uses. But when they cross under the dome, there's an electrostatic charge that washes over the Raptor and Sam can look outside and see crew walking around without helmets - though in flightsuits worn much like the Colonial's - tied off at the waist. There are a dozen fighters lining both sides of the flight deck and even their armaments seem to put the Colonial's to shame. Everything has guns. Everything.
Fri 04/Aug/2006

Becks had sent the official invitation over and PS'd that Sam should wear a sidearm for the trip. Other than that, the ride over to their ship is uneventful.. except that its a, technically, alien ship. It doesn't look quite like a Colonial ship, but its clearly a warship. There are sleek lines over top of the single flight pod, with the bottom structure of the pod containing much of the rest of the bulk. A true 'flat top' except for the armored sheath over the flight deck. There are guns on nearly every flat exterior surface, though. Its nearly the size of a Colonial Heavy Cruiser, dwarfing the pocket carriers that the fleet uses. But when they cross under the dome, there's an electrostatic charge that washes over the Raptor and Sam can look outside and see crew walking around without helmets - though in flightsuits worn much like the Colonial's - tied off at the waist. There are a dozen fighters lining both sides of the flight deck and even their armaments seem to put the Colonial's to shame. Everything has guns. Everything.

When the Raptor lands, the hatch simply opens and Sam can smell what is too familiar to their own hangar deck. The sounds of people shouting in high spirits, laughing, people working. And Sam can look right down the flight deck to the empty stars as if there were nothing there at all to stop her from being sucked out. But its a comfortable temperature up here. And walking up towards the Raptor is Doctor Jimenez in her slate gray uniform, sidearm as always, and wearing a pleasd smile. "Doctor Nadir, welcome to the Escort Carrier 'Weller Hill'," she says happily, tapping her heart twice in greeting.

Mindful of the PS with regard to wearing a sidearm, Sam had checked one out from the armory and spent several solid hours down at the firing range re-familiarizing herself with the process. She is not, by any stretch of the imagination, a gun-totin' trigger happy weapons lover. She is, however, competent, if reluctant, but competent. Wearing at her side, instead of a field first aid kit is a bit of a swap up but she does it all the same. She is quiet, taking in everything that can be seen with just long sweeping glances, avoiding looking to intently out into the stars so as to avoid doing anything embarrassing, like gibbering incoherently about falling out, bouncing against the hull and drifting off into space and slowly freeze/dehydrating to death.

Stepping down into the hangar deck, Sam pauses for a moment to let the sheer change in decibel wash over her like a wave, the look on her face is something between awe and fascination and a bit back around to the awe as she offers a precise salute to Jimenez, Colonial style, before she feels a smile form on her face in return. "Thank you for inviting me to visit, Dr. Jimenez," she says as she pauses to withdraw the properly signed, initialed and completed permission slip completed by Major Gray and offers it forward. "The Major is aware that I'm visiting," she pauses to allow a breath of a laugh to slide free, "which feels very much like having asked a parent for permission to attend a field trip, and I'm quite certain that I'm at least of age if not older than he is. Odd. And mildly entertaining."

Becks smiles at the Colonial salute. "I've been practicing that. I'm fair sure its terrible. I think I'll just keep practicing in the mirror before venturing to embarrass myself." The paperwork is taken and she looks over both sheets and nods. "Perfect, thank you. Come, let me show you the ship. We can walk and talk." She folds the paper with practiced precision and turns to lead the way back towards a stairwell and hatch. "Things like this are important. Its positive affirmation that someone in command is aware of your location and that they approved it. In the past we made the mistake of goodwill gestures without protecting ourselves. No matter where you go, people are still animals. Fear of the unknown is a powerful idea." She looks over with a smile, then back as they enter the hatch, Becks holding it open. "If someone greets you with a doubletap to the chest, just return it. Its a friendly thing. When we do that, its a mirror of a heartbeat. It means that I, as in my soul, are greeting you. My heart beats, I see you. Its respect shown, but also something that reminds each other that we are never alone. Even when we are going through the worst and hardest of times personally? That can mean everything. Even in a dark place, a kind word can be the light."

"I will practice, as well, so that I do not make a insult in error while returning the gesture as it's intended in kind," Sam promises as she falls in step with Becks. "Having a paper trail means that there is no miscommuncation as to my whereabouts or why. It also means that command is fully apprised of the offer, that this is not some obscure abduction or that I've attempted to stow away on your ship or some other flight of fancy." She makes a thoughtful sound as she ponders over the meaning that is both spoken and intended with the salute. "Hope. That's there, too, in the gesture. I find myself pondering that rather a lot these days."

"Don't worry too much about practicing. It only really becomes a concern of precision if you are saluting military officers due to rank. There are subtle ways it can be done. For your concern, be casual. People will see your sidearm, your face, and salute. That's all that's required." The Doctor leads them down a stairwell. Two pilots round it, coming up, and see Jimenez. They both flatten against the wall at attention. She taps twice in passing with a smile. "Precisely. We protect ourselves and the people on our ship, and your own. If we never so much as throw a stone at each other in anger then we are doing our jobs and protecting our people. As much as our profession is war, it is also peace." She opens a hatch and leads Sam through to a hallway that looks like it could be on a Colonial ship. Similar load bearing structures and materials, though the metal looks much more sturdy - if that were possible. "Hope is good, but action is what's important. We are getting there. I hope you got my invitation I sent last night? The one in regards to extending your professional wings. Challenging yourself in new ways." Becks can't help smiling. She obviouly loves her job and work. It probably pleases her to no end to make those types of offers.

"I'm no military scholar," Sam admits as she stays in step with Becks, "and while I have the same basic military education as any naval officer, my focus we never on military history or tactics. What I have gleaned from all those hours and hours of lectures and summary chapters about modern and historical warfare is that every time we try to stop a war before it's begun by starting a war in a place and time of our choosing, it's still war, just on a different time table. So often the mentality when it comes to winning a war is to beat the opponent the first time, and make it a fight that can't ever be had again. To defeat the enemy so thoroughly that he, she, it, never gets up off the mat again. It's a cold blooded mentality, and it's one of those things that sounds like a really great idea, in abstract, but the thing is, your enemy is never an enemy in his eyes. He's a patriot. Or a freedom fighter. Or someone fighting for pay, because he has family at home to take care of. Or someone pressed into service, who doesn't get fed if he doesn't fight," Sam echoes the salute with careful precision, tapping twice and sharing a tip of her head as well and a small curve of a smile before she casts a sidelong glance at Becks. "For most of our history, war has been a matter of thuggery and theft writ large, spanning from one nation to the next. One has resources the other wants, or prominence, or access to water or land or minerals or just a better trade route from point A to point B. We've dressed it up and cloaked it with politics and religion and economic factors, but it's been thuggery and theft, bullying and avarice that fields troops and kills the men, women, and the land." She nods then, adjusting the strap of the slender case she's carrying, one that looks like an insulated courier bag precisely because that's what it is. "I did. I've spent rather a lot of time thinking about it, since reading it, and am no closer to a course of action than I was at first read," she admits with a shake of her head.

The other Doctor listens without interrupting, thinking about what's being said. Everything is given time to process. Even if she agrees, or disagrees, its all worth considering in context - including the source. "Every people you meet out there are different, Sam." Her voice is quiet as she glances over. "All of them. But all of us fight each other. War, human to human, is competition for the right to live the way each side wants. I'd love to say my people have moved past it, but we still fight. This military you see? We don't get involved in our own planet's troubles. Borders get crossed, people get offended. Violence is ugly, but its part of humanity. The one thing that unifies us, though, are fighting the larger war. It always will. Not because we enjoy some sick spirit of competition, but because we know we are just. There are no questions to what we do. Its why the people you meet on this ship are here… Because they believe in this mission we came here to complete with you." Its very simple for Becks. She doesn't look like she has lost any sleep over her oathes or service in a long time. "Good. I wanted to give you some more food for thought with that note, as well." They continue walking down the long hall, a few passing with casual salutes. "Earning accreditation with our medical corps and potentially earning another Doctorate is a big step. Our process for earning a Doctorate is an advance in science. All other Doctorates after that can be done towards a new advance in science, or to prove field value to a recent thesis, or to find fault to the damage an advance may cause. We move carefully and the approaches mean more education and debate." She takes a breath. "The diplomatic corps is something else. I noticed you are a very clean person. I wanted to make the offer, but it may not be your cup of tea, Doctor. Though I did read the mission report for Santos Ridge, so I believe the offer may be fair."

"The thought of having even a day to spend doing research and expanding my education and knowledge base? It's a dream with very little in the way of real possibility in light of time constraints. I know that there's a time elapsed disparity, which is fascinating and a little daunting, to be fair. A week or a month or even just a day, it's not something to consider lightly." Sam is quiet for a rather pensive amount of time, listening intently to Becks and sorting through what she is saying and also considering the possibilities that could unfold if the right line is tugged. At the words 'very clean person' Sam makes a sound that is half laugh half chagrin. "I must admit, my parents were scientists who specialized in research into chemical warfare and pandemic diseases. Cleanliness was not a mere suggestion, it was an absolute mandate. A single miscalculation would have cost countless lives. It's as much ingrained as it is a bit compulsive at this point. Living close quarters with so many does not endear me to the casual relationship with adequate personal hygiene that some adopt." She casts a curious glance at Becks, "Pardon the use of the term I'm about to use; but Santos Ridge was a bloody mess," she says in a low voice. "It was.. no. It was a bloody mess. It was every worst case scenario for battlefield triage and surgical theatre rolled into one. I'm a surgeon. I know the odds when a patient is properly prepped and ready on a table in a sterile operating theatre with all the best medicine and tools and images at hand. I'm equally aware of the odds when none of those things are in place. The greater odds were slanted toward a patient dying in the field During any attempted medical procedure as to dying from result of the wounds they'd already absorbed." She lifts one hand to rub at the back of her neck, shaking her head. "That said, I'm thinking that your use of the words Diplomatic Corps is not the same as the use that I'm accustomed too."

Becks nods slowly. "Either option would have you away from your people for just over a month of time here. It would be roughly a year for you no matter the path you chose. You would, of course, hand select the individual we could provide to fill your role in the meantime. But, you are obviously needed so these are theoreticals just to educate about your education." Becks seems a little tickled at being able to say that. Its the little things in her life. The faint lines on her face show that she's spent a lot of her life smiling. It drifts with the mention of her parents and Jimenez nods slowly. "That makes a lot of sense, actually. But that's one of the reasons I do not attempt to touch you." The woman winks at Sam, everything in good nature. Listening to Sam's end of Santos Ridge has her look ahead and down a little. They stop outside the nearly warehouse-sized doubledoors for the entrance to Sickbay. The Arpayan woman crosses her arms and turns to look directly at Sam. "The diplomatic corps are not arrogant pricks advancing their own nation-state at the expense of what they can get from someone else. There are no cookie jars to reach into in this galaxy." Sam can see that intensity and suddenly it isn't just the gun that looks likes its seen some shit. "You speak of hope. That is our export, Sam. We manufacture it and dole it out at the cost of our own blood, sweat, and tears. Traditional diplomats fuck around smokey rooms swilling alcohol and telling jokes. Schmoozing. We promote information, education, and promote the idea of hope in the form of resistance to tyrrany and repression. To become a full member of the diplomatic corps, you spend a year on a planet behind enemy lines. You have very few tools. We put you in place with a small team and you do everything in your power to treat and help these people who are forbidden from even thinking about science or books. Where the infant mortality rates have been as high as thirty percent, we've been able to shift that to five percent. Where people would die of simple infections, we've treated these people and saved lives simply by teaching wound care and carrying antibiotics. It is hard, it is scary, and it is violent because there are people who will try to kill you for what you are doing. You would understand what it means to fight for your patients in every literal sense. You would leave one person and return another. Who you find yourself to be there will be the diplomat, the person who exports hope into the souls of those who need it more than you can possibly imagine. That is our diplomatic corps."

Sam shares another of those wry smiles with Becks, "Most people refrain from doing so, even if they don't understand why I prefer it that way. That makes you more observant that practically every other person that I've spent any amount of time with." She listens with that quiet intensity as Becks explains more, and in detail, giving Sam time to study the doors - very large doors - leading to the entrance to sickbay. It's easy to see that Sam's curiosity is engaged already, and again there's that touch of wonder, fo awe, of fascination on her face that edges into a sort of longing that only a scientist can recognize in another. She closes her eyes for a moment and exhales a slow breath, likely counting upward in prime numbers again for a few seconds before she opens her eyes and admits:

"It would be easy to think only of myself. How much this would be an opportunity to actually heal people, again. To affect real and lasting change. To hold a life steady in my hands and help. Not just do what I can, as fast as I can, and move on to the next and next like an obscene assembly line of bodies and blood and torn flesh and broken bones. The chance to help, not some vain glorious savior mission," she makes a bitter sound at her own words, "no god complex enabled. But real.. lasting.. change." She turns subtly to face Becks entirely, glancing away from the doors to do so. "I believe that if we're lucky to live long enough, that we become what we are, what we have always been. The soft edges, the fancy layers that society demands of us are pared away by use and age and experience, until the core of ourselves, that thing that we recognize when no one else is looking, that is what we have always been. For good or ill. It would change everything, and before I can say Yes, sign me up, I have to share some more information with you in return."

Becks nods slowly. "There are no fancy services, no state functions. We would spend a month preparing you here and then send you out. You would be taught extensive combatives in both body and tool." Fists and firearms. "You will need them in order to protect both your patients and your most formidable weapon." She taps her own temple once. Their minds. "Real change. That sidearm you carry won't be a rental. It will be your constant companion. You will spend a lot of time completely wrecked by what you see. You will understand how liberating and dangerous hope can be. You will learn to temper yourself. But the hardest thing you will ever, ever do on your year is not kill for your patients. The hardest thing you will ever do is leave them behind to come home." She holds that gaze. "I went back five times. Its too much for me to do anymore. I get too attached." This is a very, very personal thing for her. No God complexes, no delivery of magical pills to dazzle or wow. Raw medicine with low supplies tht tests her knowledge, determination, and person. "What is it you'd like me to know?"

The word 'rental' brings one of those somewhat surprised laughs from Sam as she glances down at the sidearm that is, indeed, more of a rental than a personal weapon, yet even as she gives that surprised laugh it fades just as fast for the look on her face that transcends somber and serious into a look that is deeply thoughtful and in a way grimly speculative. She studies Becks as she listens, not just to what is said, or how it's said, but to the depth of knowledge and the reality of the burden of the experience behind it. For a moment, Sam is both rendered speechless and equally slightly wary, but she forges ahead anyway. Because that's what must be done. "It would be somewhat easier to show you then explain. You have similar technology in your sickbay to what you brought to the Orion?"

Becks watches the expressions pass along Sam's face, but there doesn't seem to be a prerendered judgment for her. Jimenez knows exactly what she's asking and just how deep it goes. It's not just a physical trip but a personal journey. At the last question she nods slowly, "That and more. Follow me. We can run any test in anonymity." Still, no concern or judgment. The woman steps back and moves for the large doors. Swinging one open, the size seems like it should take considerably more strength but it must be some kind of lighter weight metal structure. When they step inside, Becks holds the door. Possibly as a relief, Sam sees a medical bay that looks to have been designed and built along similar lines. Reception, beds and exam areas for privacy, nurses and doctors chatting. People going about daily duties. It's about as clean as one would expect from a warship. But the big differences are that there are computer monitors and holographic imagers along the walls. Even some open doors to private exam and conference rooms. "Come, follow me. We should talk in private anyway." Becks holds that same pleased smile and heads towards a private room. She will close the door once inside, testing equipment aligned along one wall.

In Sam's opinion, limited as it may be for such things, there are moments when great beauty is suddenly glimpsed. A work of art, the intricacies of perfection in color and brush stroke. A sculpture that is breathtaking. A piece of music that leaves the listening audience moved to emotion that is memorable. The eloquence of mathematics, the pure perfection of equations. The sight of the sickbay is, to her, all of those things and more. She takes a moment, just a skinny slender handful of seconds to survey the sickbay and just can't help the smile that forms on her face or the absolute joy in her expression before she follows Becks, speaking even as she closes the door to afford the privacy to continue their talk. "Absolutely gorgeous in form and function. Not at all designed by a button pusher without any grasp of the work flow or the reality of the work being done. Just.. beautiful."

"Precisely. Our medical facilities are designed by medical professionals, not ship architects. Like your bay, it's designed for large scale triage and quick movement. Flow, as you indicated. But thank you. For what it's worth I certainly wouldn't mind working in your own bay. " Yep, Becks seems pleased and warm. It's hard to turn off her enthusiasm for the job and what they do. But she does step over to the counter top and put on some gloves, offering the box to Samtara as well. She turns back with a needle in one hand and a small ear thermometer in another. "Blood is faster. Or I can take skin samples from you ear with your temp. Preference, dear?"

Accepting the offered pair of gloves, Sam tugs them on with the ease that only years and years of doing so can afford. She shakes her head slightly then, "No. I mean. Rather, the test isn't for me." She sets the slim case down and opens the latches to the insulated carrier to reveal several labeled and air tight blood and tissue samples. "Much as I would love to know what your tests would discover, and I hope to see that at some point, that has to wait for a moment. You've met with Major Gray," she adds as she takes the first of the tissue samples and offers it and then a blood sample from the same pairing to Becks, "and with his permission I'm sharing information that you may already have been aware of. This is intended to accompany the data that you potentially already have, so that we have a solid ground of full disclosure between us. It's far easier to share the information that have to guard against the possibility that you don't already know."

Not for her? Becks seems surprised, but off put. "If you want to run your own blood at any point, let me know. Again, anonymous." She puts the needle aside and looks at the case. "I met with the Major very briefly. Strategy is not my forte and I left to meet with you as soon as I could get away. But this sounds like you have brought samples from someone or something in particular. The Lines?" she asks curiously as the needle is inserted. The blood is drawn to the tube and she moves over to one of the pieces of equipment. The tube is inserted into a pipe and she turns it on. "This will take a moment." Her eyes turn to the flat-screen over the gear.

"I'd really like that, to be honest," Sam says in a quiet voice. "I'm both fascinated and a bit afraid of what you might or might not find," she admits with a small shake of her head but she nods then. "This is the oldest sample that I've had in storage, back from the very beginning of the war, from before we - and I should say everyone in medical - had any idea what we were looking at. I'm not, honestly, sure I even know what I'm looking at even now when I do blood work. I know what it looks like, of course, the test results are still test results, it's always just a base for us to work forward from as far as treatment is concerned. I still just don't really know anything at all about what they are or aren't," she studies the equipment as Becks does the work, glancing at the flat-screen as well. "I'm a scientist, like you. I know what I don't know, and I wasn't sure how much the Major or any of our marines had already explained with regard to the lines."

"Mm." That's the only sound she makes for the moment while she listens. "Okay, this is what we don't have and I'll admit I was curious if we would get these. Major Gray gave us all the records pertaining to the Lines. I will admit that our debate about them has been spirited. I've still not made a decision on how or what I think of them. I watched the video of Six's tribunal last year, one you spoke at. This is all something I wanted to speak to you about. " She falls quiet as the results come up on the screen. Her brows loft quickly, " Oh. Wow. " The Doctor reaches to touch the screen, looking at the blood breakdown and a section under a flashing header for an alert to abnormalities. She glances to Sam, then back, "This is remarkable. Silica. The blood is nearly indistuighable for human but for some of the base blocks at the DNA build. Whomever assembled this was either a mad genius or utterly insane. They built humans." A pause. "Sort of. This.." She scrolls through a list of options and pull down menus, fingers flicking rapidly. "We had argued about this, about the model that has a child… They are compatible with humanity. More than we are." She's completely blown away.

"Who ever made the leap between idea and form and function then to flesh and blood? I agree. Madness or genius and so often it's the same or so close to the same that it's almost impossible to tell between the two," Sam speaks without taking her eyes off the screen, her tone soft and quietly troubled. "I don't use the word 'impossible' very often, I still believe that such words are null words with no real world meaning. But," and she watches intently as Becks' works with the screen and how she works the display specifically to learn the steps, "the Major would have told you that the lines have a version of a hive mind or cellular memory or pick a phrase that has the same comparison to work from. From what I understand, when the physical body of any line dies, if they are within reach of their download facility, the entire sum of their knowledge is uploaded into their data stream then, when they download into a new body, they have a massive data dump instead of just their individual user specific files being rebooted into their new body. It's genius. It's madness. It's so.. bloody brilliant. Nothing is lost, as long as the individual flesh and blood model is within reach of their data processing hub." She links her hands behind her back, one hand curled on the opposite wrist, "It also sounds like it's inefficient without any user specific keyable filters to access just their individual memory stores in their new body. Which begs so many questions, the least of which is whether or not that was a specific intent. They're not individuals, that way. They're foot soldiers, copies of copies of copies, with interchangeable data storage and experiences and training. No individuality. Until the start of the war," she casts a sidelong look and a nod at Becks.

"You'll have read how this all came to shape, the model that decided to try to warn us against what was happening, what could happen. The others that have come to their own unique individuality. And the model that has a child? In my opinion, the knowledge that they could bear children and not be merely carbon copies endlessly, but create life instead of having it flicked on like a switch? That has to either infuriate or terrify or something to the model that's been calling the shots on their war machine from the start of this all. That said, I'm just a mechanic, not a military adviser. What this all means in the long run or even the short run, I don't know. I do know that they're risking their lines, not just the ones that are already in flesh and blood bodies but the ones that are still in their vats awaiting the necessity of being awakened. That's a ferocious amount of courage, to make that decision, to take that risk, because they're betting it all on us, on their alliance, on the promise that we won't leave them to die in vain or live their lives as slaves."

Becks pulls her eyes from the screen and looks to Sam while she speaks. Clearly a student of science, and the larger questions, she listens with an ear for particulars. Even with all Sam says, she pulls it into something larger. The context of the bigger conversation. The one she is having with Chapman and Valloy behind closed doors. "I don't want you to think I'm tossing aside what you just said. I had planned to ask for your personal analysis regardless. But I do want to know: Do you believe them to be real, tangible life that happens to be artificial? Or are they still a slave to the download and computerized systems? "

"I think they have the potential for real, tangible, independent, unique life. I think that they are risking the only -certainty- of life by turning against the war machine that has ordered and allowed their lives thus far. I think that, should we find a way to determine what specific key was turned in the Three's genetic code, what ever abnormality it is that allowed her to successfully conceive, carry to term and bear a healthy child, that it will be the thing that could ultimately define them as a unique sentient species. It would be freedom. From their creators. From the design and the instructions built into their blueprints. From their dependence upon us to fight with them, to refrain from slaughtering them wholesale like we did back before we knew what we were really fight with, fighting against, fighting for. I believe that they're as real as they can be, right now, until they have the freedom to be more," Sam glances sidelong to Becks again. "If we don't win, and if they don't get their freedom, I can only imagine what will become of those waiting bodies, of the ones already up and walking around. Is there any slavery more absolute than reproductive control? Is there anything more crushing than being robbed of that right, of that hope, of the promise of the future?"

Becks takes time to think on this also. There's a lot coming in and she isn't saying a whole lot. Her face is difficult to read, too. She is deep into consideration. After a long pause she nods. "These are existential questions and considerations. That's a lot to think about. Thank you." She seems to genuinely mean that, too. "Let's work the problem of their reproductive systems." She turns to look back to the blood results. "There's only so much you can read from blood, obviously, but I'm not seeing any of the genetic markers of infertility in this female. And yes, for the sake of this discussion, I am actively choosing to treat them as human." Just so there are no questions. "Now, that said, I don't have access to organ and tissue samples. You have in the past. Have you ever found signs of physical malady that would short the process? Poor or substandard ovarian production? Sign of cysts, growths, anything you have seen at all that would cause you to even suspect a cause?… are the cycles of the females regular?" She turns to look at Sam with the question.

Unclasping her gloved hands, Sam turns to the case and hands over another set of blood and tissue samples, "To be honest, for the longest time the only living model line that we had in our company is a Six, so the line of query into the reproductive health of a female line wasn't actual a discussion that could even be had. Or explored. The model that you have the sample from, first? She was deceased by the time we had any idea who or what she might have been at the time of her life and untimely death. There is a great deal that can be gleaned, intel wise, from a cadaver. Save for a genuine conversation with regard to their cycles and any other secondary or tertiary issues she may have had during her life. If she had been alive, that is, long enough to have had a sampling of standard data to draw from." She can only shake her head then, "Studying their reproductive abilities or lack thereof hasn't really been something I have had time to do. At first, it was because the initial data suggested that they could not reproduce organically. Reports have indicated that this is being attempted, primarily against the will of the human women and possibly groups of human males who are being pressed into this effort. I haven't heard rumor, as of yet, that any of these forced attempts have netted a single positive result. Word also is that failure to reproduce results in summary execution of the females in these forced control groups." She makes a small sound as she eyes the screen again, "You would think that, given all the endless permutations of gestation available, that upgrading the internal method to something more timely and less taxing would have at least been considered."

"Forced reproduction." Wow. Becks looks limitlessly unimpressed with that effort. "For the sake of our Line considerations, I do hope that none of the awakened models were party to this." Really hope. "But the rest I can understand. Assuming the males are also infertile, we can likely infer some things - especially if this Three has nothing different about her." Becks looks back at the screen and takes a long breath. "It could be mental. If they believe they cannot or should not reproduce, that can have a huge impact on fertility. A long time ago we discovered the power of belief when it came to a lot of physiological issues. Do you think maybe they don't believe they can? Or should?" She pauses. "Or deserve to?"

Sam can only shake her head, "I can only hope so, as well. I'm not entirely sure what the far reaching results would be toward those who might have participated in such attempts. Both from within their brother and sister lines but, in a larger sense, from the men and women fighting alongside them. The civilian populations still under their crushing control, or even the ones who have escaped their grasp. It's a particular horror, and not one that can be shrugged away with the sentiment 'I was just following orders'." She eyes the screen again in turn, " 'Always listen to experts. Theyll tell you what cant be done and why. Then do it.' A quote I'm particularly fond of. Could it be as simple as that? Being told endlessly that it isn't possible, it can't be done, no one else has ever done it? And here the word 'simple' means, equally, endlessly complex," said with a sort of surprised, wry, laughter. "As to the latter.. I don't know. I think that's something that only the lines can answer. And I think it can't be a simple yes or no answer, as few things in life actually can be rendered down to a binary decision. If you're asking my opinion, then yes, I believe that they should be able to, and that they deserve to, if they want it bad enough. It's what I said about children, about how it shouldn't be easy, it shouldn't be casual, and it shouldn't be considered something to throw away on a whim. May they treat it as the treasure that it is, if this can be resolved for them."

"I can tell you right now, Sam, if we choose to accept the Lines, and any were awakened and actively participated in it? They will have to be dealt with. We draw lines and do not require we be executioners, but I think we understand each other." Part of her oath is law enforcement and the protection of people under her care. How far does she extend that oath? "But that is truth. Sam." Becks looks back with something of a sympathetic expression with that small smile. "I've been all over this galaxy. I've been practicing medicine for almost sixty years. There are things out there that defy scientific connections or explanations. It bothers me endlessly for the implications. But it could just be one of those things. If they don't deserve children, maybe it just isn't in the stars for them. They reproduce through endless rebirth in these shell bodies. Sam.. that's not life. That's pain. And if their brains are human, they are living the best and worst of their own lines. If you had to be reborn that way and know all the horrible secrets of your people, would you feel like you deserved that gift? "

"I would consider it a punishment of the sort that ought to be reserved for those who have done something, willfully, to deserve it in the first place," Sam replies in a quiet voice. Quiet not out of fear but out of how serious she is with regard to her opinion on this matter. "The human mind has both an endless capacity for knowledge while in the same vein having a capacity to dull the edges of memories so that they are bearable. Pain? the memory of and the actual experience of, it fades. The memory of breakfast this morning is more vivid than that of one a year ago, ten years ago, so on and so forth. Being forced to endure the sum of their entire experience at the point of resurrection, which is the term they're using and it's terribly apt, is a punishment. Why are they being punished, in the first place? Why did their creator fail to build in safe guards to ensure the psychological stability of the lines after endless recycling into a new body? That's pain, and punishment; and it could be the reflection of a madman or a bitter intent or deliberate design. I can't even begin to know. Unless their creator managed to data dump into a body as well and is out walking around still, which would be both brilliant and terrible, all we can do is speculate, and I don't tend to rely on that as a way to process anything."

Sam feels her expression harden, she can't help the look on her face or her own response to Becks words. "If any that are awakened that actively participated in it, both the forcing of the women and men to participate and then execution of them as well, they cannot be allowed to escape justice for such a thing. This is not something that gets a pass, Becks, it can't be. We have to have a meaningful moral center from which we can all reach and say: This is wrong. This cannot happen. This isn't allowed. There is no excuse. Rape isn't done by accident. It's not a matter of stubbing a toe, falling down on someone in the process and oops there's rape. Sorry, didn't mean to, just sorta happened," that fine controlled edge in her voice is genuine anger carefully moderated, as are most of any the emotions that Sam allows out, however briefly.

"Sam, the human mind isn't designed to handle all that information. All those lifetimes. Even with memory fade, more and more is being jammed in there." Becks sighs, expression sad. "If they really are becoming individuals, then they are all being shoved in there. Whomever designed them had to know this. I cannot even speculate on the long term neurological damage that downloading is going to cause them. Their brains are fresh because they are resurrected. But long term?" That sad look holds. "Schiphrenia, multiple personality disorders, psychotic breaks, these are real problems with too much over stimulus like we are seeing." Becks looks back to the blood results. "Someone is punishing them or using them in a manner for which they cannot possibly have been intended. This is abuse. Of them, by them, I cannot tell you. But they aren't healthy. They simply may not believe they deserve the gift of natural reproduction. I don't know how that Three could differ, though."

Sam's expression alters subtly from the anger to one of regret and sympathy, "I know. Or, at the very least, I suspected as much. The damage that's being done. I don't know how they've been stable this long. There are so many questions that there is no answer to. Is it just the lines that have this data cycling? Do their ships, their raiders, their centurions, do they all have the same data stream recycling ability? What sort of mind creates this sort of thing?" she is baffled and frustrated in turns. "And there is no magic pill to fix this for them. Save to stop. No more recycling. No more data dump. No more .." she stops, lips pressing together in a flat line as she exhales a slow count of a breath. "Which isn't something that can be decided for them on an external outside basis. Their rights as individuals must be respected. Forcing it on them, or denying it to them in turn, is as much slavery as it is ultimate extinction. The offer of freedom as individuals away from the recycling and data dump is also the offer of true death. We're accustomed to it, it's the reality of our existence. We're born, we live, and we die. That our life is a finite thing with real limits is what makes our lives actually life and not just an endless recycling of receptacles to walk around in. But that's exactly an example right there, because I'm free to have that opinion. But equally the restraint to not enforce that opinion on anyone else. If we win this war, then they'll have the option to make that decision for themselves. Not in groups, a majority vote along lines, but as individuals. That's freedom too. I wouldn't want to live forever, I can't stand the notion of watching people die endlessly and standing apart from it."

"I only do biology. Mechanical is not my specialty. But if they all download that may imply cross species influence. Who helped whom in that situation?" Purely speculative, she obviously couldn't know that answer. She nds up backing away from the screen and sits on an examiners stool by the exam table. "That's why we outlawed it Sam. The universe must balance. Energy taken must be restored to that from which it came." She crosses her legs, looking up at Nadir. "As sentient life, I would agree that it is their choice. They would actively have to choose to give this up. But there is danger if they don't, Sam. They are timeless. They will live forever. What is the measure of a single life if you are not apart of the cycle? As you said, hon, all life matters or no life matters. Can there be guarantees they won't decide their model One may have been right to find some sick kinship with like beings? "

"Isn't that what they're doing, though? Sentient decisions. When the first of their models decided to disobey orders? That was the first spark of rebellion. The first gleam of original thought. Of independent decision making. That one decision, the actions of that one, could have doomed his entire line. Punitive execution and deletion of their entire memory cache could have been as easily as flipping a switch, pushing a few buttons, for all we know. One whisper, added to that of a thousand others, becomes a roar of sound that cannot be ignored, Becks. The model lines that rebelled against the orders of their command structure? They are as much executed by their command structure as they are penalized, punished and still lied to and enslaved."

Sam shakes her head as she continues, "I don't think a single one of the model lines has ever been a child. Which, as logical as it is to skip all the years invested in physical, mental, social and emotional maturation, is still a void that cannot be retrieved. They've never known childhood. Maybe they've never been loved as a child either, which is something that is theft as well, denied to them, at large. I don't know, and I can't really know, how deeply this all goes, what they were or weren't programmed for. But if you didn't have your childhood memories to shape yourself along the way into the person that you are, wouldn't you be missing something vital from your own perspective?" She sighs then, "It's the nature versus nurture argument with a spin, isn't it?" She studies the screen once more then turns back to Becks again. "No matter how we cut it, it's still asking them to accept death. Mortality. On not just an individual basis but all of them. Otherwise all of this, this fighting and dying, all of it is just one skinny chapter in the larger story, and a hundred generations from now could be repeated again."

Sam feels that bitter twist of an almost smile on her face. "The Major made it clear that I am to avoid making speculative remarks or summary reports or in any way offer, provide or suggest inaccurate data. So this is where I say again that I don't know anything about what they're doing, how they all came about in the first place, or their ultimate decisions or speculations etcetera etcetera. I'm not a military adviser. Nothing I say has any binding or actionable authority in any way, shape, or form. I honestly wanted to make sure that you knew everything that medical knows, so that you have a solid base to speculate from."

"Sure they are making sentient decisions, but with their own interests at heart. If you all parted ways and went to war again, what would be your chances of success? Again, speculative but also pointed for the purposes of consideration." Even despite it, Becks doesn't sound like she hates the Lines. It seems her proposition of questions is more rhetorical to her own concerns. Or those of others. "If someone wiped them before, couldn't it be done again?" she posits. "All I really know for sure is that this existence they have? As protectors and warriors for the preservation of life, we have to assume they were not made to do this. Reading the reports, seeing those results? The sheer amount of effort that would go into making biologically compatible synthetic beings would be monumental. To force this existence like this on them would be.. I cannot fathom a reason why. "

"It still reads like a punishment of some sort," Sam replies after another of those quiet moments wherein she spent time simply thinking, considering, weighing angles and theories and juggling it all to be shuffled again and still find no real logical central point to stand on and defend. She finally has to sigh. "This isn't something that only two people can riddle their way through. It should, rightly, be a group decision that is made with all access points weighing in. They aren't children, to have their futures decided for them. Options have to be outlined, clearly delineated, then made available then a decision struck and held to. That's the only way that any free society functions. By group accord and consent." She angles a nod toward the case she carried, "I have samples from every model line we've treated for your records. The Lines are just one facet of the larger picture that we're all part of at this point." She draws a steadying breath before forcing the gears to shift, thought wise, "I've spoken with the marines who have expressed a clear preference for the modifications that you've offered. I'll be presenting a .. summary argument to our command structure in support of their stated preferences. I say 'summary' because I know from experience, and I'm sure you do as well, that if you try to explain everything to any sitting committee of any kind their eyes tend to glaze over and there's a very real possibility that they stop listening within the first five minute mark."

Becks gives a conciliatory nod to Samtara. "Once again, you blunt point is welcome. Yes, this is larger than we can puzzle out. I need to be honest, I've been wrestling with the ethics of asking for exploratory surgery on one of them. Any of them. A live Line." She pinches the bridge of her nose and looks down. "At this point I think I'm going to have to say it's unethical. I couldn't explain a good reason why to the model and look them in the eye." Her hand falls away. "I feel stupid for even thinking it now. Blood tells so many stories." She looks up and back to Sam. Seeming to understand committee, she groans a bit. "Before you go I'll give you all my relevant files on how the operations are performed and what's involved. Knowledge is power." She looks at Sam for a very quiet few seconds before her eyes go down to her knees. "Sam, I need to ask something. I'm asking as a friend, but also unofficially in my capacity as diplomat. What would happen if we decided we couldn't work with the Lines?"

"I think you would find that you'd have numerous volunteers for exploratory surgery if you simply asked for them," Sam replies in an oddly gentle, if reassuring, tone of voice. "They're ferociously brave, even if that isn't the trait that they're designed to embody." She peels the gloves off so that she can tuck her hands into her pockets and paces around, just a little, needing to move while thinking. "We gave them our word, Becks. We gave them our word, we made a promise. What are we if our word means nothing? What are we if we can't be trusted? What are we if we do not give, in good faith, in return to that which has been extended in good faith after being asked? We made a promise. And if we go back on that promise, then we don't deserve to be saved. We deserve to reap the reward of being faithless, feckless and fickle. We deserve to be exterminated if we can't stand together and value life. If we can lie to each other, and turn on each other, when it matters the most? Then we deserve what happens as result of being without honor, without respect, without love or mercy or the bonds of friendship and community. We have to earn this, we have to be worthy of it. And so do they."

Becks does eventually shake her head. "No, ethically I can't perform surgery simply to satisfy my own curiosity. External tests would be acceptable but I can't cut someone like that. Especially if I couldn't explain why. That's a me thing." She takes a long breath before addressing the rest. "So all this, the hope we can offer, the evacuation option. Your word to the Lines is more important?" Nothing sad or upset, merely curious. The eyes then lift to Samtara. "You, personally, you care about them. Maybe some you consider family."

Sam shares a somewhat wry smile with Becks while saying, "Just because we can do something doesn't mean that we should. That's always been the sticking point for the apex between science, medicine and morality. Because we can does not mean that we should." She paces around again, moving quietly, a slow pace but one of constant movement. "Not more important. As important. How does one weigh the importance of one thing over the importance of another? There is no grain to gram to metric system nor scale upon which to lay these things and render an easy answer. It has to matter," said with a sigh before she stops pacing and this time it's she that looks down.

"I don't think people understand why I don't allow physical interaction. When you touch someone else, let them touch you, even in passing, even if it's just a casual measure of physical reinforcement of emotional reassurance, it creates a bond. Tenuous, at the start, but it's a bond. The more interaction that is done the more the bond builds, from tenuous to genuine to real emotion. The bond leads to camaraderie, to friendship, to more, if that is the path that evolves organically. Friendships, relationships, interconnecting networks of people. We are all the village, we are all the child. Then the people that we're supposed to support, defend, care for, treat? They die. And the emotional bond is severed, to only a memory. The emotional impact can make a mechanic hesitate, can make us second guess, can make us doubt. Hesitation, second guessing, doubt, all those things can get the next patient killed. Our job as a physician is to care for the one in front of us. This one person has to be the whole world, the whole universe, has to be everything and everyone on it. Has to be all. Because to do anything else, is to risk missing something that can destroy the fragile bond of tissue and tendon, of nerve and organ and the flow of blood and fluids. Worse, can cause lasting harm even when the patient before us is NOT killed by our indecision, but is rendered harmed in a lasting manner all the same. It's a single step, a single note, a single thread in the larger tapestry. I've made the mistake before, and it nearly cost the life of one of the few friends I've ever made. I won't allow that to happen again. So yes," she says as she lifts her eyes again, "I care for them. I consider them the only family I have ever had. All of them. From first to last, every single soldier every single crew member, every single patient that ever cycles through my sickbay. They are my family. And I love them. And the only way I can serve them, all, is to remain centered, focused, precise, accurate and timely. It is my oath, my responsibility, my life. And I think you understand it, more than anyone else, because I think you love your people the same way that I love mine."

Becks nods slowly in agreement. "That logic is exactly why we use our Doctoral processes, in some respects, to debate discoveries. When a society reaches a critical point of technological leaps and bounds, it behooves them to consider the ramifications of development. This is how we have Machines. And Cylons, I suspect." Solid logic to her mind. With the rest of it, Jimenez watches, hnds folded in her lap. The smile on her face slides into sympathy and understanding. A sad reality she shares and understands. "I was asking more about the Lines, but I also suspect you were answering that way, too. You don't distinguish." The words are quiet. "This job, in wartime, can make anyone cold. Far be it for me to judge why you are the way you are, Sam. I think the Doctor in front of me is who she needs to be. She is someone I admire greatly. I'm far from perfect. I've made mistakes. PEople have died under my care because I missed something. But in sixty years I've realized that perfection may be the only thing to actually be considered impossible in the true meaning of the word. All we can do is our best. You do you, Sam. And yes, I love my people the same way. I used to try and fight it." Becks knows. "It isolated me. I lost touch with who I was to them and how to best treat them in my own way. It was a hard several years. I eventually relented, though. I just let it all flow, now. Every person under my care is my family. Physician to physician, I think I understand why you care so much for the Lines. They weren't given a choice. And those that did chose to step away from their own."

Drawing a slow, if steadying, breath before she sighs it out again and shares a nod with Becks, Sam takes a seat as well finally and rests her hands in her lap, fingers slightly curled together. "It's easy to say that we just won't do what we shouldn't do. Except it happens all the time. The best of intentions, certainly. But that way lies madness, and it's a terribly slippery slope between good ideas, the ends justifying the means, and the means becoming madness. Mankind created murder, Becks. We also created art and music and the most wonderful of sonnets and beautiful cities and life. But we also created murder. Because we can, does not mean that we should. The burden is ours, the responsibility is ours. That which we create, we are responsible for and beholder to. The Lines, the flesh and blood models, the centurions, the machinery and everything spun from it? Those that ultimately created them, appear to have abandoned them to be usurped in this manner and turned into a war machine instead of something else, perhaps something better. If we think of it as the relationship between a parent and a child, then the Lines are an extreme example of neglect. They should have been loved, Becks, they should have been cared for, they should have been given a chance to evolve on their own and live out a meaningful life with a time span to learn and live and love within. So that they could die, and have had a life that had a beginning, middle and end. Being forced into this endless cycle? This isn't love, and it isn't kindness, it isn't respect, it isn't fair. And 'Fair' is not a word that we get to use, reasonably, as an adult, as a general rule." She sighs quietly, "And I know that's stretching the analogy, but somehow it feels right. That doesn't mean that it is, and I'm often wrong. It does break up the monotony of being right from time to time," there's a trace of a smile there, as she cites a joke that she's made for so many years.

"Perfection is a static thing," Sam adds, giving that slight shake of her head again, "it doesn't bend or adjust or embrace change, it has to exist in a single form in a single moment. That's a sort of punishment, wouldn't you think? And honestly, you inspire me, I think you're one of the bravest people I've ever met. Sixty years and counting, and you haven't surrendered, you haven't given up, and you keep doing what must be done? That's bravery. And it's inspiring, and admirable, and I'll bet that you don't do it for any of those reasons. You do what you do because you must, and it's your life, as well, it is part and parcel of what makes you the person, the who, and why, of what you are."

Becks watches and listens. Sam likes to speak and the 'older' woman lets her continue. Her smile grows more warm at the end. "You're right, I don't." Eyes drift away, still happy, then back. "I do it because I just can't help it. I don't define myself as a Doctor. I'm a humanist. I love to help. If I didn't do this, I'd be a teacher. Kids, elementary age. Younger the better. Or probably some kind of abuse counselor. I've done both with this job. …I love seeing people enter on the worst day of their life and leaving with a smile. It fuels me." She shrugs impishly. "And one day I'll probably be teaching pre-med when I retire from the military." There's a long sigh and she looks back at Sam. "I won't get you going about the Lines anymore or who your family is. I don't mean to get your emotions going. I was mostly looking for raw opinions and you gave them to me. It helps me make my decision. The answer you gave me sort of tells me hat I need to know about the fleet and its own intentions. How we are viewed. How you all view them. Its a lot to think about."

"Can you tell me how you view them? And our fleet, so far?" Sam wonders in return, curiosity evident in her tone of voice. "Even just a little, and I won't ask you to pinpoint any sort of decisive thing. What did you think, when our people first brought the Lines to your attention? Or the state of the war, any of it really. You're no stranger to war, and you said that you're already dealing with a larger model of the centurions than we're fighting. Where did yours come from?"

"Your fleet is a simple matter. I view you all as imperfect beings doing the best you can with a bad situation. Same as us. You don't hold the same world view and charter, but you hold your heads up and fight not because its all you can do, but because its the right thing to do. Your ancestors would be so, so incredibly proud of you. You personally and your whole fleet. We moved them to Erfrik because they wanted to stay and fight alongside us. You remind me of them in the things I have read." She lifts an arm to lean a little on the exam table, propping her head up as she looks at Sam. "The Lines are more complex. Our definition of intelligent, sentient life is fairly wide, but it includes the ability to procreate naturally and have its own culture." Her eyes look back to the blood sample on the screen. "I'm undecided. I think they are fascinating and an example of the fact that the Arpay need to remain humble in the face of the galaxy and universe. We are not the end-all, be-all. We do not know everything. We must adapt and grow and learn. Not all of my people feel that way. Some of our civilian leadership is very arrogant." Seconds pass while she looks at the slowly rotating DNA strand. "When you told us, we thought you all were being duped and tricked. We've seen brainwashed people come back before. Sentient, artificial life? Nothing like this before. We intended to come out there and see for ourselves if we should launch a full strike on the area or give it a chance. We've already been gone almost two months from our home. So far they are respecting my request to see how this develops naturally." She looks back to Sam and there's a tired smile. "Our came from humanity. We have a saying, 'This has all happened before, and it will all happen again.' Colonials are proof. There's no guilt with it. Chapman gets pissed and so does Valloy, but they deal with tactics and stratagems. People like you and I are the long-term caretakers, Sam. I hate the war for what it does and the atrocities that are committed. But I couldn't imagine myself without it. And I don't think humanity would survive without it. It would just keep killing itself without something else to engage."

"By the data to date, there is only one animal in the Galaxy dangerous to man - - man himself. So he must supply his own indispensable competition. He has no enemy to help him." Sam says this quietly, then shakes her head slowly. "And that's exactly what we did, isn't it? And I think that your saying is entirely spot on. If nothing else? this war has given us the reason to stop finding reasons to fight and hate each other. We're pretty good at that, I think." Sam glances at the DNA again then back, studying Becks for a moment. "We aren't really all that different. Chapman and Valloy, they are the other two members of the team that has been speaking with our command staff and military personnel?" she wonders. "What pisses off Chapman and Valloy, about having to wait?"

Becks nods slowly. "The war has unified humanity on hundreds of worlds. People who had been killing each other for thousands of years suddenly had a bigger problem than their belief in a deity, economic disparities, or political ideals. The Sheens do not care. If they can save resources by simply smashing a society back to sticks and stones, rather than waste bullets and fuel by obliterating it, that's what they do. I hate them but they bring us all together in this galaxy." She looks at the case on the table, blood samples and all. "Humanity still goes to war with itself beyond evac. But they can do it there without the machines. Our biggest export to that galaxy is peacekeeping. It keeps our economy going and funds the war we fight here." War isn't just a war of life, its a business for them. She looks back to Sam and nods. "Commander Julius Chapman, Major Taya Valloy, and myself. We're the three to make the determination on this whole sector, and mostly on the Lines. The other two are mad that humanity made more machines to fight. Well, Chapman is getting over it. Valloy is still unhappy. But the Commander knows it isn't your fault. Something happened on Kobol and for some reason your histories were not preserved. This is why military command on Piraeus knew our general location. …I think Valloy is just spoiling for a fight. She used to be infantry."

"You've been fighting them for a long longer than we have, and they're still bent on this destructive task. There's no option to negotiate with them, exchange ambassadors, something? It's just point, shoot, destroy, and around again, in an endless bloody destructive cycle?" Sam wonders, sounding appalled and equally, reasonably, logically, frightened by this reality. "It's . . it's one thing to think of the Centurions we've been fighting. They're big. They're scary. They're tough as hell to take down, but our marines can do it, it just takes such a serious investment of weapons fire and personnel. They could bleed us to death through a war of adoration of they keep churning out new centurion models to go stomping through our lines. But to think that the ones you are fighting are bigger, and have been at it for longer?" She has to shake her head and admit, "I suppose I can understand why they're spoiling for a fight. How foolish is it to have multiple battle lines and conflict fronts to have to coordinate, when it would be logistically easier to evacuate a planet that cannot be held or properly sustained and provisioned, supply lines defended and fresh personnel cycled endlessly through. Far better to pull back, consolidate resources, and pick the battleground to fight and defend, if possible. The other side of that coin, is that these are our homes that we're thinking about. And it's an emotional investment, as it's supposed to be. The ties that bind, after all."

"There is no negotiating with the Sheens. We think someone attempted to a long time ago and it went badly sideways. They really hate us. If they could find Arpay, they would hit it with every single ship they have. They don't bother capturing my people. They just kill us." Its simple for Becks. So simple. She's had nearly ninety years with this reality, too. "With the weapons we have we will never defeat them by ourselves. There are talks of something being developed beyond evac, but I'm not party to the information. It isn't my interest in the war, either. This is why we evacuate people. If they want to go someplace then there is almost nothing we can do to stop them except fight a delaying battle, or try to distract them. They're nearly nine feet tall and well armored." She reprops her head up as she watches Sam. "In my society, women have the choice to live their lives as we see fit. But we are encouraged to have large families. I have five, which is maybe just shy of normal. Many couple will have one family and raise them their their earlier lives and careers then retire to start another family after their other children are grown. I've quite a few friends who have raised nine or more children. But we do this under the expectation that they will serve in some regard. If they aren't selected to fight in this galaxy, they support the war by peacekeeping beyond evac." And this seems completely okay with her. "There's a light stigma to women who are homosexual and/or have no desire to have children. But the people who hold those views are often the hardliners who believe it is the duty of a woman to have many children." And send them off to war. Fresh replacements. "Five was enough for me. Besides, I had career ambitions. Hard to do things like this if I've got swollen feet and carting around a passel of screaming little ones."

"That's a level of animosity that is unprecedented in . . in any history that I've ever read. Even the most vengeful of armed fighting force eventually becomes sick of the wholesale slaughter. These Sheen don't sound like they have any emotional capacity beyond search and destroy and destroy and search. That's just.." Sam ends up doing the slow, appalled, head shake again. "Nine feet tall and well armored, yeah. If they were to link up with the Centurions that we're already fighting against? We'd fall like domino tiles and the board would be swept clean." She rubs one hand against the back of her neck as she tries to wrap her mind around the concepts that Becks is explaining. "Nine?" she says it in a rather breathless voice. "Or more." She realizes that she's resting one hand in a sort of protective gesture against her own abdomen, stops doing so immediately, and curls her hands together, neatly, in her lap again. No Freudian wardrobe moments at this time thank you. "Many in our culture strive to have families of two or three children, some have just the one, which is considered population conscious and and socially acceptable to either maintain or reduce from the current population numbers. Certainly, some families still have multiple children, but it is rare and often considered socially irresponsible to have that many children. The issue arising from the economic factors that making providing for and ultimately educating such numbers extremely difficult and ultimately many such families rely upon the assistance of the state and local support to render aid in tangible ways. Some professionals delay or decline to procreate at all, especially if the profession they have selected almost entirely negates the ability to have sufficient time to dedicate to a family and children. All the financial support in the best possible ways when paired with emotional neglect nets, almost without fail, a child or children who are devoid of genuine social consciousness and a null or negative work ethic. Exactly the sort of utopian disaster that we spoke of, previously. Bread and circuses endless does not create a sustainable society or population point."

"The Machines we've looked at the code of doesn't indicate any sort of emotion. They are programmed to move through an area and eliminate resistance. The code is such that it feels vengeful and hate-filled, though. Its just very cold and methodical. Going after us specifically with no prisoners is a subroutine." She holds the prop of her head. "Mm, Chapman says that if your Cylons run into the Sheens, likely the Sheens would see them as a threat and destroy them. They see resistance or the potential for trouble as something to be destroyed. If your Cylons pose a risk to their dominance, they will likely wipe them out - then come hunting for whomever made them." She listen to the points about economic, plus welfare of the child, and seems to understand. "Each culture has their own views. Many of the less developed cultures have more children simply due to the need for help around farms and the number of children who die before maturity. Our needs are similar. The population of our planet is kept in check with several factors. For instance, those who have second families are encouraged to join colony ships. They leave Arpay every five to ten years or so and head for evac to join a world already set up or they will leave in fleets to settle a whole new one. Couple that with the fact that military service is very dangerous, it becomes what it is. Plus we have hundreds of scout ships out in the galaxy searching for unknown and populated worlds. A space-faring race of humanity, not confined to local travel, has different needs. Especially one as war-like as we are." She glances to the hands and the gesture, then back with a low smile. "Look around you, Sam. With all this medical advancement, do you think it would be what you're picturing?"

Sam gives a mild shudder all the same, "It is still a horror to think of the mind that programmed them in the first place, though. Endlessly repeating the same cycle of violence and hatred and death then creation and around again. There has to be a way to break the cycle, I have to believe that there is. Even if it isn't logical or reasonable, I prefer the bit of hope to the absolute lack of same." She then gives a slow smile, "Frankly, no, it's not what I'd pictured at all, really. To be honest, once you remove the limiting factors such as arable land, finite resources, economic factors and over crowding, then there's no genuine reason for population concerns. You aren't having to sustain a large population on just one planet or just one continent. The more children the better your odds are of surviving even the most disastrous of extinction level events that the universe - not the Sheens or man made event - could pitch at you. Plus, with your extended life times in comparison to ours, you have the chance to have both the family and the career and the time to focus on both. That's a facet or bit of grace that we don't have."

"There is likely a way, just one we don't know. As you said, 'impossible' is a word that is overused. But something of the cycle has already been broken." Becks looks at Sam with something of a more confident but strange expression. "Sam, we've been doing this for thousnds of years. Thousands. Many of them. The Colonials are the only race to have not just stood their ground in the fight, but also managed to beat them back. Granted, your own machines are not as strong as ours, but I suspect the disparity of force is similar." Her hand moves to prop under her chin. "You've done something unique. We don't know how you did it. That's why they sent an Admiral from the diplomatic and medical corps, Sam. My job is to figure out how and see if there really is something different about you all. And see if maybe the Lines are that difference."

"You're saying.. you mean.." Sam pauses and takes a slow breath. "Let me test my understanding. You're saying you've been fighting this particular war for thousands of years and we're the only ones you've encountered who have successfully fought back and not been exterminated entirely in the attempt?" She leans slightly forward, hands gripped together in her lap, "The only ones. At all. In thousands of years. What in the name of logic did we do that's different?" she wonders, as much to herself as to Becks, as much to the universe in general. "You know the scope of your history and I certainly don't," the admission of ignorance as the first step to knowledge, as always. "Could it be that simple? I know. The simplest answer is often the most accurate one," she frees a hand to wave in a vague gesture then stops. "You're the senior member of the three of you?" she eases toward that realization however belatedly. "That's why Chapman and Valloy didn't just cast a vote and move on, end of dialog."

The woman nods slowly, chin still cupped as she watches Sam. "That's right. Most of the worlds out there don't see it coming. They know better than to create AI and thus aren't prepared when it comes to their home with a battering ram. Or when we arrive and try to evacuate them. That and most of humanity's colony worlds out there are so isolated that they have no need for spaceflight beyond their own satellites and mining operations. Why does a single world need a fleet of combat vessels when there is nothing to fight? Why spend the fortunes of the world on such a thing?" A logical point to her. "You invented your AI. Some of your people saw it coming. Your twelve worlds were justified in having a fleet already in place as well. The Piraeans came from the same world you did and apparently created a race of synthetic lifeforms who are extremely effective at combat. Your lineage speaks well." There's a low smile. "It could be just that simple. We have been the only race to have any success against them that we are aware of, let alone take the fight to the AI and assault their fleet headquarters worlds." The question of who she is brings another slow nod and blink. "Commander Chapman is the mission commander because this is a military and strategic mission. He enforces my decisions. We don't really vote on this so much as discuss it. But I refuse to let something like this be decided by fear and haste. And I would appreciate it if you would not tell the others of my position. I mention it only because I adore and trust you, Sam. A lie of omission is still a lie and I don't wish to deceive you of my rank and true position here." She holds that smile. "So please, continue calling me Becks or Doctor or whatever. This is casual and the way I prefer it. You just be yourself."

Sam makes a small sound that is quite akin to a snort of amusement, "This is probably why Major Gray was having a bit of a conniption fit when he was asking for a summary of our first conversation. That man needs to stop smoking and work on some stress relieving exercises, and probably some breathing exercises while he's at it. But certainly the smoking, untidy personal habit as well," she adds in a low voice before she laughs again, shaking her head slowly. "I believe I owe him an apology. Or some more packets of the smoking cessation gum," her eyes narrow subtly before she shakes it off and smiles at Becks again. "I won't speak of this to anyone, I think that you're finding the information that you need by doing exactly what you're doing, and you do know exactly what you're doing, because this IS what you do. Tell me, what do you do when the worlds that you're trying to help or evacuate, if they won't believe what's coming? We wouldn't have believed that it were possible to destroy our civilization, such as it is, in the way that it has been. Until it was already accomplished."

"Likely. Chapman is a good guy but isn't afraid to tilt the hand when he knows people will find out eventually. Its what makes him a good combat commander - controling information flow. Not my thing but I can respect it." Becks seems more the type to just plod along. It would be so simple to dismiss her as some big happy puppydog, smiling at everyone. Meanwhile in her head she knows what she is doing. And why. Misdirection works well for her. "On the worlds that refuse to comply? We leave them to their fate, naturally. If we take them elsewhere and they don't want to go, then we are kidnapping their people. Transplanting people who do not wish to be moved invites their own destruction. We also refuse to waste our precious resource of manpower on people who refuse to believe us. Once the Sheen invasion has started, its too late. There is no evacuation. We need people in place and actively building defenses months before the attack begins. They need to be already evacuating. If you choose to do the diplomatic corps mission, you will be going to a world that did not believe us. You will see first hand what happens. Others will be able to see in your eyes the pain you've witnessed. There are no excuses or lies to be had there."

"Resources are not endless, nor does time or tide wait for anyone, and I don't imagine that the Sheen offer a cordial advance warning then bide their time," there's a fine trace of grim humor there but Sam nods as she says this. "I don't know how I'm going to arrange it, or how I'm going to convince command that this is something that I'm going to do, or that I need to do, but I will find the words. I want to. No. I need to do the diplomatic corps mission. I need to see it. I can't even explain why. I just know that I do. And that if I don't, that I'll regret it for the rest of my life. I can live with many things, but I don't want this regret weighing on me until my last day."

"The Sheen give no warnings except a small recon. If the recon spots interstellar travel or the presence of a fighting force in space, they will assault with everything local. Otherwise they will simply EMP the world into nothing and land. Brainwashing some of the leaders is easy. Others tend to fall in line quickly. Famine wipes out most of the population. Disease. Natural heel to the populations. Keeps things sustainable." Her voice is impassive but in her eyes Sam can see that the woman knows how it looks. How it smells. The sonds that kept her awake at night. She then looks over to Sam, "You don't have to go right away. Give it time. You would need to select a replacement. I have files on a lot of worthwhile replacements for you. Plus we have to train you. But.." She gives a knowing smile to Sam. "That is the calling. When you know that if you don't try you will never forgive yourself. Who comes back from that mission will be a different woman, but someone who will never question resolve again. You will understand the Arpay better than those who wish to have the surgeries. Those are changes affected by tissue. Yours will be fundamental to your soul and understanding of the galaxy. Command needs to be aware you will not be coming back, but someone like you will be."

"I couldn't just leave right now anyway, I have to explain this to command, which isn't going to be an easy conversation. That said, anything worth doing is worth the effort to get it done. Anything easy is typically a lie of some sort." Sam rubs her hands lightly against the legs of her uniform trousers, nodding slowly. "I'll need to work with any replacement to bring them in step with the way that we do things, to follow the flow of our medical procedures and what will be a limiting medical procedure compared to what you're accustomed too. There are times when we don't have enough medical corpsmen to accompany our units in the field, they're an extremely vital resources to keep our men and women alive and increase their odds of survival in the middle of a combat situation. Who ever takes my place will also pick up the thread of their continuing training." She gives a mild shake of her head, "That's what it should be. That the experience should change me. If it doesn't then it isn't real, if that makes sense? i support the decision of those of our crew who want to have the surgeries, I understand why, and I'll do everything I can to make the procedure as successful as possible. But those aren't the kind of change that I strive for. Change made from the outside in is one thing, change that comes from the inside out? That's a lasting change that spans a life time."

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