AWD #541: Intel and philosophy
AWD #541: Intel and Philosophy
Summary: Kapali & Gray share intel, philosophy and begin an open ended conversation that could lead to a much larger discussion that should be had. At some point.
Date: Wed 14 Dec 2016 (OOC Date)
Related Logs: None. Current events.
Gray Kapali 
Fitness Center - Deck 3 - Battlestar Orion
Smelling of sweat and grease, the Fitness Center is a place where individuals can come to work out or just work off stress. The area closest to the entrance is taken up by two very large sparring pads with a pathway down the center, each pad removable to reveal a Pyramid court beneath. The walls beside the pads hold lockers for everything from pugilist sticks to boxing gloves to rubber guns, though deadly weapons are strictly prohibited in here except by authorized personnel such as on-duty Military Police. Standing goalposts for Pyramid are also kept against the wall. Past the pads are a vast number of nautilus machines as well as free weights to lift. At the back of the room are workout bikes, rowing machines, treadmills, and stairclimbers. There is an entrance to the pool at the rear as well as a locker room to the side.
Sat 01 Jul 2006

For those on the walking wounded list, and those not on the list at all, it's been a grueling two days for those in Dog platoon. Taking over for a few days while both senior sergeants, and the Major, are in the rec ward meant that Kapali was doing the PT assignments. A two mile run was accomplished through a vicious series of switch backs through the ship that included serious stairs and other such obstacles. Full kit training for laps in the pool and anything else Kapali could think of to occupy their on duty time culminating in an advanced hand to hand class held in the gym on the sparring mats at the end of the day. Right now the fitness center is still crowded with marines who are not /officially/ on the 'clock' anymore, but enough are still on the mats or in various stages of one set or another that it looks like a marine fitness club.

Since he's nominally off of JTAC training, the "serious training" is actually not obscenely hard for Gray. Doing it with a bunch of sore wounds sucks royally, but the rough run of it really isn't /that/ far off of what Gray has been doing normally regardless. Outside of the training, though, he /has/ had extra time on his hands…and today it would seem that he's managing his training in spite of something of a hangover.

Wiping her forehead off with the edge of her t-shirt, Kapali moves through the room toward Gray, joining him as she sweeps a look around the room. The over all vibe of 'this sucks' paired with 'kicking ass/taking names' is somehow meshed with the marine-up attitude that just defines the majority of marines who will ultimately end up as lifers. She unhooks a water bottle from her side and offers it to Gray, "Maybe not as cool as the gig you normally run, but I still had 'em sweating and bitching."

Gray accepts the bottle quite gratefully, downing a swig or two before returning it. "Yeah…if nothing else, that gig makes this a bit easier to deal with. That gig just /sucks/." Even as he says this, Gray seems a little bit 'off'. He's doing his damnedest to carry on normally, but ever since returning from Leonis he hasn't exactly been himself. Today he's probably a bit closer to normal, but that's also not saying much.

Kapali takes a slug from the water bottle as well before returning it to her side, cap tightened down first. "I can't speak to the comparison, but I can compare this to EOD training. Which tends to draw in the heavy bruiser type. You know the ones? They're built like gorillas, even though they got the mad skills to defuse and rewire and hot wire and damn near anything wire, they still have that gorilla mentality. Big strong man," she drops her voice on purpose and lumbers around then back, grins. "The kind of shit giving and receiving is vital, you know? But it's easy to get sick, real fast, of hearing 'you aren't cut out for this cuz you're a girl' crap. Some things never go away," this paired with a shrug. "Small hands make for easier work in delicate rigs though," she wiggles both hands in demonstration before she rests both hands on her hips and eyes the room again. "Do you like it though, the JTAC stuff, even when you're not hating the training?"

Gray smirks at the 'even when you're not hating the training' line. "Yeah, I do." He shakes his head. "The suck has sort of fallen into a background noise…" And then Coop pulled the plug on his training for two weeks…something he rather bluntly didn't bring up last night. "…but I haven't had to deal with /that/. Why do you ask?"

"To know what your team is going through, you gotta actually /know/ what they're going through, by doing all the same things at least once," Kapali replies with a sidelong glance and a faint trace of a smile. "As a kid, I did every grunt job on the list. From hauling trash to cleaning up insulation to shoveling mud, leaning how to hang drywall, all of it. There were no short cuts. I had to know how to do every job on a job site, and do it to specs, before I could learn something else. My grandda's philosophy was that he couldn't expect any team to be on time, on budget, on specs and at cost without knowing what it took to get all of that done and done right in the first place." She rolls one shoulder subtly, then the other, "We're marines. We're all broken down then rebuilt the same way, so that at our core we're interchangeable components with specialized skills once we transition, yanno? So I'll never learn the JTAC stuff, but you are, so you'll know how it works and I figure someday you'll end up on the other side of the stick, training up someone else."

Gray nods. "So…what's involved in EOD?" he asks, returning the favor. If she wants to know about JTAC, he's curious in turn. If nothing else, it's a nice conversational distraction from…well, everything else.

Kapali laughs, startling herself a bit with the sound, as she tips her head slightly back. "First thing first is getting it hammered into our collective skulls that we don't know crap about anything. That we have to unlearn all the crap we think we know, because coming in with preconceived 'expertise' is one sure fire way to get yourself, and a lot of others, dead. Respect the bomb. Respect the bomb maker. Respect that people are crazy as shit, and will blow themselves and everyone else up, because they frakking can. Then learning how to make every damn type of bomb that's ever been seen, and then learning how to defuse every damn bomb that's ever been used. And having live bombs go off, at obviously lesser impact," there's a huff of a laugh there, "so that it's real not just theoretical. Having a bomb go off in a training scenario, and having everyone in your team painted as dead, then having to explain what the frak I did wrong that got all of us dead? Yeah." She moves her shoulders a little, "Yeah. So. That's it in a nut shell, to start with."

"Yeah, JTAC has involved learning how to build or rebuild every damn radio we've got…and I think I've read a few manuals on ones /we/ don't have but that we /might/ come across in the field." Gray manages a grin back. "But at least radios don't explode. Usually." If they do then either you've done something /very/ wrong or there's something else that's gone off the rails.

Kapali grins again, this time it's a quick flash of a grin before she nods subtly, "Anything can be rigged to explode, whether it 's supposed to do so or it does so by pure cross wired idiocy." She moves her shoulders again, "Knowing how to fix a radio that's broken in the field would be a serious asset. I mean, we all have basic monkey skills to use in the field. But that would be a nice upgrade to our collective skill sets."

"Yeah…I suspect even an MRE could be rigged with the right tools." If nothing else, flammable hydrogen is flammable. "And…there's a reason Knox offered the training. I mean, sometimes teams get split…" Or the trained individual can go down, as happened with Knox on Leonis. "…so spreading the skills out always helps."

Kapali turns subtly and casually slugs Gray in the shoulder, "Then you're on my team, from now on. I don't care how the teams get sorted out, you bring your skill set and I'll bring mine and we'll get it done."

Gray grins…and winces slightly…at the slug to his shoulder. "Sounds like a plan. I just hope we don't have to repair a radio that's booby trapped…" That would just be cruel to both of them. "…though we /could/ probably leave one as a present for some Cylons."

"Hey, if it's booby trapped, I'll defuse it, then we'll set it to go off where it'll harm the canners instead of us," Kapali retorts with a grin only to see the wince and makes a face. "Sorry. I forgot. Need a bandaid? Or ice pack?" she wonders, the hint of a grin turning into a bit of a toothy grin instead.

"I like this idea…way more than I should." Electronics plus EOD equals problems for /someone/. "Nah, I'm good." Gray shrug in response to the offer of medical aid. "I'm just a bit tender, not disabled. Or Air Wing." He throws back a grin. "Give it another day or two and I should be fine."

Kapali snickers this time, "Not air wing," because really that just says it all. "Remember, we're marines. It's all a flesh wound. And we DID get Miri to agree that, if necessary, we could use dirt!" she snickers, again, because that was a total triumph.

Gray grins at that idea as well. "'You're missing an arm!' 'It's only a flesh wound!'" He also manages to roll his eyes at the dirt. "Hey, it's less embarrassing than coming home with a few tampons sticking out of my chest!"

"Hey! They're sterile field dressings that both absorb the blood seeping from the bullet wounds AND apply pressure to the area around the wood itself," Kapali replies and mocks another slug at Gray's shoulder. "Don't mock what works." She rolls her eyes briefly, "I've used duct tape and napkins in place of field dressings before. Your idea worked better, and pulled less skin off, I'm sure. Lets just say that again. Duct tape. Skin. Ouch."

Gray winces at the idea of duct tape…though when she says 'ouch' he says "Quack." "Ah, field improvisation…what you get when you cross slapstick humor with a battle and take out all the humor." At least until afterwards, when you /can/ laugh at how absurd whatever you threw together looked or sounded…/but it worked/.

Kapali grins again, turning subtly to sweep a look around the fitness center and watches a pair of marines boxing, her eyes narrowing subtly before she wonders, sidelong. "Talk to me about those grenade launchers and the upped armor we were wearing. I know I missed a lot, but hot damn, Gray. That launcher." She lets out a soft whistle, "Sweeeeeeet."

"Yeah…I /would/ have probably gotten off to one of them if both of my hands hadn't been a wreck afterwards." Or if he hadn't been /totally/ out of the mood for unrelated reasons, but that's another repo…er…story. It's another story! Honest! "Tore through canners like they were /actual/ cans!"

"I know. Right? Sweet." Kapali gives a small, almost, VERY NEAR, jig but it's a very very near thing. "Like the skin of the grenades are made out of the same sort of alloy that the canners are made out of, which is why the slide through the canners like bacon grease!" She gives that small twitch that is almost a dance, again. "Ok ok. So. The grenades and armor are from the folk on P, right?"

Gray nods. "Yeah, they are." Now his brow furrows slightly. "Why? What's on your mind?"

"Two weeks, a lot of things happened in two weeks, Gray," Kapali says as she glances sidelong to Gray again. "And I don't have a bloody clue. And if I ask you questions, you won't give me an overly emotional response, right, while explaining stuff?"

Gray's body language tenses rather involuntarily, though he forces himself to relax a bit after about two seconds. He's got a feeling he knows where this is going. "I'll do my best." That's all he can really offer at the moment. "No promises, though I'll try to stop myself if I'm about to snap so we can at least deal with anything like that…somewhere else."

Kapali arches one eyebrow upward, it's a learned muscle skill, but she learned it! "Right. Ok. What are these arm bands that I've been hearing about and seeing?"

Gray thinks for a second on that. "Ok, they've got a symbol on them. It's some symbol of the Piraean military. Kind of like the Colonial phoenix…we've been wearing them to show solidarity with them and the Lines."

"Ok. So that makes sense," Kapali says after a moment, nodding slowly. "Where did they come from? No one was wearing them before I got sidelined with that damned appendix trying to explode from the inside out," she mutters.

"They showed up alongside all the new gear." Gray answers that truthfully and succinctly, before adding "It's in remarkably good condition for being 3000 years old. I might even trust them to give us a good MRE." Smirk.

Kapali exhales a laugh, "Dude. I don't even trust the MRE's that come fresh off the line. Though I gotta say, coffee pouches are still the only good thing that come out of MRE's." She rocks subtly forward and back, heel to toe then back again, clearly a 'thinking' motion. "Ok. So. We got gear. We got weaponry. And the arm bands came with the gear and weaponry. Did it all just show up or was there like a, you know, confab and talk about it process?"

"It sort-of showed up. When we were ramping up for the assault on the Twin Rocks, Captain al-Yamoha provided it alongside with the four Piraean special forces operators." Gray thinks back to that night and sighs. "As much as I like digging, I have no frakking clue where this stuff is coming from. However…it seems to be designed to deal with a line of Centurion more advanced than we're facing right now."

"And two of those four special forces operators died in the combat op," Kapali doesn't make it a question but a processing statement of data. "Alright. See. Accept it at face value and roll forward." She does that heel-toe-heel thing again. "Ok. So. Doesn't matter where it's coming from, as long as it works, keeps working, and we get more of it if we need more of it? That'd be cool. And why do you think it's designed to deal with a line of canners more advanced? You think there's a more advance line of canners out there?"

"Yes." Gray says that flatly. "At least, based on what I've seen. The Hard Drive was very clear on this front, and the Piraeans mentioned a second generation model as well. So I'd say I have three sources on that. But…they're not the ones we're dealing with right now. They're the ones who took down Piraeus. And…probably Galactica, too." He then sighs. "Based on the Galactica report, I'm not even sure what they'd look like now."

"Huh." Succinct sound. "Ok. So if there's some second or third gen canner out there, that did the boot kick to P back in the day, and supposing that they're still out there - which suggests that no one built in any sort of mechanical redundancy or degradation of mechanics, which is one hell of a factory line, just to be clear - then who's holding their programming leash," she wonders. Then she moves her shoulders in a shrug. "Skip that question. So we're getting shared tech to use to get the job done, now."

"You're assuming it's the same physical models, Kappa, and that they haven't replaced their parts. I mean…our bodies last what? A century if we're lucky? But take resurrecton, give them new bodies…or just copy one model's memory into another…" Gray lets the thought trail off. "Correct."

"So you think canners recycle into new bodies?" Kapali wonders, giving Gray one of those startled looks. "I mean, it's an idea. Sure. But you think they actually do? Do you think the rest of their stuff all networks like that? recycle. Boom. New body. Die. Recycle. Boom. new body. And again. Frak all that's be one hell of a boot camp!"

Gray nods. "I do. I mean…presuming they actually think, it's a hell of a lot easier to get someone to lay down on a wire if the worst they'll suffer through is a bad headache and maybe some therapy. Not to mention avoiding loss of training…" He pauses for a moment. "As far as I know, Line tech and Cylon tech aren't the same. But…from what I've heard they're very similar."

"Well… frak," Kapali says in a quiet exhale of a voice. "Similar enough to get the job done. Alright." She rubs both hands against her face, "Alright. Insurmountable odds against indefatigable marines. My money is on us."

"Not exactly. We…have no evidence the other Cylons have made contact with 'ours'. Also…there's nothing saying they would help 'ours'. I mean, 3000-5000 years of evolution…"

"Whats a few thousand years in the face of relative immortality?" Kapali wonders in return. "What does one year mean, let alone a thousand? What does life even MEAN if you can't really die? Does life even have value? How does one even measure something like that. Why would anything matter, in the face of that sort of thing?" She moves her shoulders in another of those shrugs. "I don't know, and I don't ever want to know, what it'd be like to be up against that sort of options. We're born, we live, and we die. And if we don't die, then the living part . . it has no measure, you know?" She unhooks the water bottle again and passes it from hand to hand, shaking her head. "Maybe the skinjobs won't get what it means to be really alive until they can't recycle anymore."

Gray was shaking his head as Kapali went on about the meaning of life in the face of immortality…but he glares at the last bit. "So you're saying Coop doesn't get what it means to be alive? Or Clara? And if I'm not mistaken for what I've heard, those Cylons who bit it out in the Nebula are still quite dead." He gestures for the water bottle…his mouth is about to go dry. "Look, I know we're not going to agree on this, but there's a middle ground in there somewhere. I don't think humanity has been enriched by twenty or thirty billion premature deaths in the last two years, you know?" He shakes his head. "We're almost out of trained pilots out here, I can't count how many people I've seen die since the war started…" His voice trails off as he slides into thought for a moment. "And…look, the Piraeans forgot about their old Cylons sitting out there in the stars because probably a hundred generations eroded that memory." He stares wistfully for a moment before mumbling 'Break the cycle…' "Frak. That's what the general meant! I mean, I think."

Kapali squints, briefly, sidelong at Gray. "What the general meant about what?" she wonders before she moves one shoulder in a half shrug, "Belay that, briefly. Both yes. And no. I think the cylon model lines that those that died, died for a cause, and I respect those lives both spend and lost. What I feel," and she says that last word carefully, "is that those who know that they're going to recycle don't sweat their deaths the way that we do. If you knew you were going to lose this particular body," she waves a hand at Gray, passing the water bottle to him as she does so, "but reboot a few hours later with nothing more than a headache in a pool of goop, would you sweat your momentary death if you know it's just a transition point that will be just part of your cycle, part of the process?" She shakes her head, slowly, "When I die, I'm going to be dead, Gray. Just dead. I'm not going to leave anyone or anything behind. No children. No family. I'm just going to be dead. Completely and utterly dead. I'm not a cylon model. Everything I know, everything I've learned, all of it, will just be done. Gone. Finished. There's no link up, no download, no recycling of stored data and experiences. Just done. That's the difference, and it's a big difference. And I do believe that twenty or thirty billion premature deaths in the last two years DO means a hell of a lot, Gray. Enriched? No. Is it part of our cultural psyche? Yes. Does it mean something? Yes. Do any of those dead get to recycle? No. And that's the difference. Coop and Clara? Naomi? The nine, we knew her first as Ceres, you know, she still died. She still recycled. And doing so is changing their line, changing how they think." She shakes her head then, "There has to be a middle ground and what ever it is, it's above my pay grade. Now," she flicks a hand at him, "what are you rambling about, break the cycle?"

Gray sits back and lets Kapali give her spiel…she sat through his side of the debate so the least he can do is return the favor. When she's done, he actually manages to return to the initial topic. "The general in the video in the bunker. Uh, when we found the hard drive there was a video from a Piraean human general. He…he implored us to 'break the cycle' on researching AI. One they'd forgotten was an issue. And…I mean, let's say we punched a button and all cylons went bye-bye. War's over, we've won. We live, we die, so do our children. And so on. Who's to say that in a few thousand years this war isn't a bedtime story used to scare children?" He pauses to think over his phrasing carefully. "Data gets lost. History becomes legend becomes myth. I mean, sitting right here I cannot tell you where we came from precisely…" His bet is on Erfrik. "…or what path we used to get there. The Galactica hit an unknown enemy because they didn't have the data in that box…and frankly I'm just calling the fact that the box was intact a miracle. But it wasn't redundant and a stray meteor strike or a bad power surge and it would've been gone."

Gray thinks for another moment. "Kaps, this is a good debate." He raises a hand. "No, I mean that. We all need to have this debate. Actually…we should probably have it formally, somehow. Maybe reports, maybe drag a few podiums into the RecRoom or Charlie's or fix up Mitterrand House and record it. But I've got to ask you a question: If you had to choose between winning the war with resurrection or losing it without it, what would you choose? I know it isn't, but presume it's an either/or and presume that if we were to embrace it we wouldn't bin it when we won."

"The only all or nothing thing I believe in is that all life is precious," Kapali finally says in a soft voice. "All life has value, or none of it has value. If we don't actually understand the value of each breath. Each beat of our hearts. Each new life that's born, each life that expires, the whole of it has value. All of it. Because we don't have an unlimited quantity OF life to draw on. We don't get to just . ." she moves one hand in a subtle gesture, "we don't get to just opt for more. What do we win if we win without valuing the risk that we're taking every step of the way? IF we win only to lose the actual thing that we're fighting for. The Right To Live." She stresses those last words quietly, emphatically, the emphasis on each word. "The right to live. To be alive. To feel the weight of the years pressing on us as we get older. As we age. As we slow down. We die. Those that resurrect . . they don't die, Gray. They're not risking everything, all that they are, if they get to wake up in a few hours and clean up and go again. It's like . . a mock combat scenario. And endless one, at that." She moves one shoulder again, "Why would it be an either or proposition though? We win the war, with resurrection, and maybe the cylons make a choice for themselves about the value of the actual length of life that they're living. That this life is the life that they're living, this one. Not a hundred. Not a thousand. not a dozen. This. one. And find value in it." She exhales a sound that is part sigh, part exasperation, part internal frustration. "There's words, Gray, and I'm not always good at finding the right ones." She rubs both hands against her face, again. "AI is a good idea, Gray. Until it isn't. Until we stop . . thinking for ourselves. Feeling. We're not just meat sacks running around like ants scurrying from point A to point B. An AI without understanding that this," she reaches out and pinches Gray, "means something. That's a recipe for disaster."

Gray thinks for a moment before responding quietly. "So, would you extend that proposition to artificial life? How about machine life? Is that life or is it not? If it is, do you believe that One's life is precious; if not, is Coop's? And what of those who have been brainwashed by the Cylons? While I know there are shades of gray scattered through this, there /are/ still such things as either/or propositions. After all, you can't just be a little bit pregnant, can you? No offense.

"Anyhow, we're fighting for a whole lot more than the right to be alive. I'm sure if we simply wanted that then the Cylons would happily let us sign up for reprogramming. We're fighting for our homes and our families and our worlds. Our way of life. And even that? It won't be the same after the war as it was before even if we win. Even if we won right now. I have /no/

"You've also made a presumption that they would choose…uh, call it mortality, limited-period." Yay military nomenclature formatting! "Why would they do that? I'm not saying they wouldn't, but why? More to the point, why would /all/ of them choose that? Who is to say that they wouldn't lose but, if given the choice, still choose either immortality or at least a greatly-extended life. I don't think the decision would be the same for every one, either. So, what if we win and we come to an actually workable peace deal of some sort but they decide they don't want to live one artificially-limited life? I don't mind sending them to a scrapyard for Warday, but for choosing something you wouldn't?"

Gray pauses for a moment; he's lost his place in what has gone from a train of thought to a horridly backed-up sorting yard, nevermind the fact that the stationmaster has a hangover. He closes his eyes for a moment before finding it again. "Ah, right. Thinking for ourselves. I agree, but if we all think for ourselves, we're going to come to a slew of different conclusions, aren't we? You'll say resurrection is an abomination. I'll say it's a tactical resource. If we hauled a prewar Piraean in here who the frak knows, they might say it's something to shoot for. Their hard drive said they were trying to make it work, after all."

"I don't, actually. Say that resurrection is an abomination. I think it diminishes life. There's a difference. I think it cheats the life and death experience into an endless loop of recycling. You know Coop doesn't want to recycle, right? If, when, he dies, he wants to die. He doesn't want to wake up in a tank of goop with a whopper of a headache. That's his choice, at least, that's the choice he'd said last time this was a topic of conversation. I think that they should have the right to decide, for themselves, what they want to do, Gray. Not be bound in a lump sum by the majority vote or something of their model line. I think that they should be individuals, not cogs, not interchangeable parts that can be swapped out. And for all the downsides of individuality and all the loneliness that comes with it at times, we're still individuals for a reason. That's what I think should be something to make sure is part of the larger discussion. I don't decide, for you, how you're going to live or die or what your choices are in between. Just like you don't get to make mine. Or the guy that makes the lunch or the woman who navs the ship or the pilot that jumps us into combat next time we're on a run. We're individuals who make countless decisions every moment of every day that get us to where we are, right here, right now. And the right to live, and the right to die, has to be on that same table. The right of recycle, or not, has to be a discussion that someone has to have so that these cylons who aren't cylons and I don't know what fancy word ya'll are usin' these days, by the way, but they ought to have a voice in the process."

Kapali does that thing again, where she scrubs her hands over her face then extends the move to run her hand through her hair, since it's already standing on end. "The right to life or death isn't a choice that any one person should get to make for anyone else, Gray. I just feel, I believe, that life has value. All of it. Unless it's not 'life', if it's just time spent in program in a meat sack before recycling back into chips and network and ones and zeros then back out again then back in again, is that life? What's the line, something about when do the individual notes of programming become a soul? When does AI become life, does it attain a point where it is some measure of a soul? Then argue it out, Gray, how do we define life? or death? Why bother with death at all, if it's just a failing of the flesh and blood versions. The," she huffs out a breath, "base human models? I don't think it's an abomination. I don't know that it's a tactical resource, either. What value one life is there is no actual . . risk? If you could just airlock yourself because, damn, you broke your leg and you don't want to waste time in rehab and waiting for the bone to heal? Why sweat the down time, bam, recycle, detank, hose off, back to work. Except there isn't a filtration system to get just /your/ memories back. You can't pick or choose, you get the whole data dump. Are you still you, only you, when you sort through the data dump? So many questions, Gray. And it's not just.. about the right to be alive. When i say the right to live, I mean the right to live, as free individuals, not . . a tended herd of humans. Base model humans, at that. Not as brain washed herdlings. Or under some sort of cylon overlord or occupying force."

She pauses to exhale. "I'm a marine, Gray. I will go, wherever. I will do, what ever. I will sweat. I will bleed. I will break. Ultimately, I will die, because I'm base model human. And because of that, when I'm out there," she makes a vague gesture with one hand, "and getting shot at, and sweating, and hungry, and thirsty, and wishing that I'd packed at least one more coffee pouch, I know that what I'm doing matters. And that the men and women with me, who are all feeling their own version of the same things, matter. That their lives, their deaths, matter. And that none of them are going to treat it with a casual what the frak I'll just recycle and come back and try

She pauses to exhale. "I'm a marine, Gray. I will go, wherever. I will do, what ever. I will sweat. I will bleed. I will break. Ultimately, I will die, because I'm base model human. And because of that, when I'm out there," she makes a vague gesture with one hand, "and getting shot at, and sweating, and hungry, and thirsty, and wishing that I'd packed at least one more coffee pouch, I know that what I'm doing matters. And that the men and women with me, who are all feeling their own version of the same things, matter. That their lives, their deaths, matter. And that none of them are going to treat it with a casual what the frak I'll just recycle and come back and try this run again mentality. Being scared? Matters. Anyone who isn't scared, in combat, is a freaking disaster waiting to happen. I'd rather go in, side by side, with someone scared enough to be sweating bullets than some asshat who has a macho I'm not scared of anything mentality. I think it matters."

"But there's always a risk. If you don't think so, ask a Three." Gray fires back, vigorously but not angrily, and managing a smile. "Boxing is a risk. Data can be deleted…from the baseline versions as well, if the APF are any indication. And battles can happen in places that aren't resurrection-friendly. And again, you're presuming that it's a painless process or that the supply of replacement bodies is infinite and readily available. Nothing is infinite.

"Anyhow, back to my point: Does Coop matter less? Is his life less worthwhile? Whether he has a soul…frak, whether /we/ have souls and what the definition of a soul is…it matters, but you could get a room full of philosophers and have them all answer those questions differently. How about the two Piraeans we lost at the Twin Rocks? Is their sacrifice lessened because they came back and fought and died a second time? And what of someone who willingly endures the pains of death a dozen times and always chooses to come back not for the love of his own life but to protect his brothers? His choice is different, but it is painful all the same. A different pain, maybe, but pain all the same."

As he realizes he's going off rather poetically, like he's back in a high school debate room, Gray sits back and thinks. "Sergeant Kapali, I'd like to make a proposal. A serious one. Can you get your hands on a tape recorder or find someone who can transcribe fast enough if we talked slowly?" He pauses to let what he's about to toss out sink in. "If you can, I'd like to challenge you to a debate. I'll help you prepare my godsdamnedest because you're making me think through a lot of perspectives on this. It's not a competition. But…let's come up with a question. Let's do this right. And if you'd rather not take a side on it, then please help me find someone who you think can do it better."

Kapali draws a slow breath, makes a thoughtful hum of sound before she gives a slow nod. "I'll ask around until I find someone who can transcribe. And there has to be a take recorder somewhere that still works. Or we can monkey one together and test it," she moves one shoulder again in that shrug. "These are questions that need to be asked. Stuff that's kept in the dark, that isn't talked about, stuff that stays hidden, in the dark? It becomes twisted. Secrets become . . a sort of diseased thing. The only way to cure something like that, or avoid it, is to haul it all into the light until there's no shadows. No . . room for bullshit. We're marines, we're sort of accustomed to dealing with bullshit when it comes down the pipeline, and we know how to detect it when it's served on a plate. Yeah. Lets do this. And it's not taking a side, Gray. It's asking questions. The purpose of a dialog, of a genuine philosophical discussion, is not to be right, or to win, but to ask the question."

"Same idea, different words. Present a view in the dialog if you prefer that. We're on the same page with what we want to do." Gray smiles. "And I'm sure we can find a tape recorder somewhere. Worse comes to worse, I can try to fix a broken one as a side-project until Coop lets me back at the radios. Uh…" Another smile. "Why don't we /not/ combine skill sets on this one unless we're also planning to try and sneak in to interview a One?"

Kapali grins and reaches out and lightly shoulder slugs Gray, "Oh sure. NOW . . you don't want to debate prep together. I see how it is." She rolls one shoulder again, testing the healing muscle group. "We will work on this. I'm going to go get some grub then do some laundry. Never get either of those things ever completely done."

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