MD #216: Neighbourly Chats
Neighbourly Chats
Summary: Ben comes to see Melissa, finds her and the Skath loyalist talking
Date: 10/11/2017
Related Logs: None
Melissa Atticus Ben 
Brig - Deck 3 - Battlestar Orion
The battlestar's brig is comprised of a line of four individual cells organized in separate walled-off bays. Each cell is six feet wide by eight feet long and possesses a bed and toilet. Whenever even one cell is occupied, so too is the metal desk and chair at the entrance hatch — and backup for the guard is never far away. Each cell has had their bars specifically reinforced to prevent a Line member from being able to gain access or escape. Brig rules are posted behind the desk on a white panel with blocked black lettering.

Whatever had upset Melissa, the woman had stayed quiet through the evening. With nothing to do but be kept counsel with her own thoughts, she stared at the wall and floor for hours until lights out. During the night Atticus could probably hear her crying very softly, trying to keep it down so she wouldn't wake him. He could swear there was someone else in the cell with her, soothing her, but the sound of the doors opening and closing is easily enough to wake someone and none had passed through the gates. Thankfully she wasn't going to keep anyone awake and he could get back to sleep rather quickly. After being led out to use the head and get a shower and cleaned up, she's returned with a small shower kit. No mirror, but there's some of her personal items that can't be used as a weapon - plastic hairbrush, skin cream, moisturizer, etc.

Atticus slept through most of it, that’s one thing Melissa might have noticed the night before, he seems to have no trouble getting to sleep, and staying down. He had woken briefly though, to use the facilities, so he's not entirely oblivious. Finishing his breakfast as she's lead back in he watches silently as her escort depart, trying to work out what to say that won't sound like he's gloating over her being upset. In the end he's forced to resort to sipping the cooling remains of his coffee and saying, "if they offer you the eggs, say no. I've seen chickens, I'm not sure those eggs ever have."

Melissa sits down on the bed with her toiletries and holds the brush in her hand, staring at it. There's the impression that she's not used to just one brush and is trying to figure out how to accomplish something with just one. Suicide is probably not the task to be attempted. She ends up just using it and looking over at Atticus with a flat expression. "They're powdered. We mix them up and serve them. Tastes close enough and has vitamins. Your Princess probably made those."

Atticus seems deeply sceptical at the idea of powered eggs, how the frak does that even work? Filling it in the growing pile of things that make Colonials weird he shakes his head a couple of times, to clear away the very idea, then starts again. "Good morning, by the way," he doesn't inquire as to how she slept, "do you know yet how long we are to be neighbours?" His tone is conversational, but he's struggling to find what to say that isn't just bluntly asking what's wrong. She might be a colonial, but he'd rather have conversation than a hard silence for the time they're in such forced proximity.

Melissa doesn't return the greeting. It doesn't feel like an effort to be rude or ignore him, she just isn't feeling the positivity. Few things 'Good' for her this morning. "I don't think I'll be in here much longer. They aren't charging me with anything I don't think. But I'm being demoted. The XO just needed to discuss it with the Admiral and CAG." She continues brushing her hair. "The CAG is the Commander, Air Group. I have all my pilots in my squadron report to me, as squadron commander. Then all the squadron commanders report to him." She looks to the small bag with her items in it. "At least I did in the past."

Atticus drains the last of his drink, then gets up and takes the tray back to the front of the cell where it can be collected by whichever MP has drawn the short straw of brig duty today. Instead of heading straight back to his bunk he turns and rests his back against the bars, looking over at Melissa again. He nods as she defines CAG for him, although he then has to ask, "XO?" He might know Petra, hell he even enjoys Petra's company, but the term is not one he's heard yet. Demotion is a concept he seems to get though, as he continues, "you said you were Captain now yes? What will you become?"

"XO is Executive Officer. Second in Command. That's Commander Marcus Petra. He's a good man." Melissa stops brushing her hair and stares at nothing between her and the bars. "He also knew my mother very well. Blames himself for a lot of how she ended up. A lot of people on this ship have ties going back to the Second War. I can't imagine it was easy for him to come down here, look me in the eye, and say what he did. I admire him." Her eyes drop and she puts the brush away. "I was a Captain until I took my pins off last night. I'm likely gonna be an Ensign - lowest rung of officer. Seems I must have beaten the guy much worse than I thought. And I accidentally gave a junior officer a black eye." Hands hold the moisturizer while she stares at the bottle. "They're taking my squadron from me for sure. I did so many things right. Got the deployments I needed. Qualifications. Leadership. I'm even a good pilot. Now? …Ten years of work, gone. My chances of making squadron leader again are minimal. CAG? Forget it. Admiral?" It hurts. Watching her face, Atticus knows this isn't about losing rank. Its far deeper, a personal mission. Lifelong goal. Gone.

Atticus ahhs silently as the answer to his initial question is given, then nods a couple fo times. "Yes, Commander Marcus, I know him. I'm sorry I missed him in fact, we have talked a few times, and he has leant me books. I think perhaps if we were not enemies we might be friends." War sucks sometimes. As she lists her losses he almost makes a black humoured joke about how at least she wasn't going to be thrown out of an airlock, but thinks better of it at the last moment, and covers the change of plan by returning to his bunk. "Pilots have to be officers yes?" It's perhaps an odd question, but he has a feeling he's heard that somewhere, most likely from before the machines came. Then, remembering something he had meant to ask a day ago he lifts his feet up so his legs are crossed then asks on a slight tangent, and hopefully one that won't upset her as much, "by the way, what is a raptor?"

"Commander Petra," she corrects. "We call by family name. Using first names in formality is considered to be really rude. Just FYI." Melissa finally opens the cap and puts a little of the white stuff on each arm. She's in tanks and shorts so this is easy enough. "They give you books, too. I hope you understand how lucky you are." She rubs the moisturizer in, sitting back. "Pilots must be officers, yes. What that normally means is that we go to school for ten years, then we do an additional four years of higher learning. Then we do another year or so learning to fly. I know you disagree with educatin' the womenfolk, but to us? A mind and spirit don't have a gender. That's why senior female officers are called Sir, not Ma'am. But all of us, men or women, we earn it." And some of them frak it up badly and end up losing what they worked so hard for. She puts some of the moisturizer onto her hand and rubs it over her legs, "A Raptor is a-" She stops, trying to reorganize how to word this. "It’s a spaceship. It can carry passengers or a very heavy bomb load. Not usually both. But its small so the number of passengers is pretty limited. An E-C-O sits in the back. They handle things like jamming enemy signals, communications, and missiles. We can also do things like combat search and rescue. Like if a pilot gets shot down by Skath behind enemy lines, if we know where they are, we go get them." She looks over to Atticus, "Even if we could get killed trying to save them. We go after them." She holds up the bottle, "Want some moisturizer?"

Atticus tilts his head at the correction. Apparently, in the month or so he has been here, she's the first person to mention that to him. He doesn't ask what FYI is, on the scale of things it seems unimportant. Seeming briefly bothered by the whole affair he holds up one of the books he's been leant, "they're the Commander's. It's a personal lone I think, not one from the ship." Ship's books he has to leave in the library, bar those they'll put electronically onto his tablet for him. Thankfully though, spaceship is a term he seems to understand, so not more questions are needed there. "So it's a.." he has to think back to find the word he wants, "bomber? then? Not a fighter?" He thinks the term is bomber anyway, something like that if not. "Do you fly fighters too, or just Raptors?" Her offer of moisturizer earns another tilt of the head, and this time a questioning expression that indicates that he has no idea what she just asked.

"Yeah, real lucky. They definitely like you. And it’s not like they've got anything important they need from you, either. If there was anything juicy, your Princess probably could have told them. Guess they're just bein' nice to you because they hold out hope. It’s like going after a downed pilot, Atticus." Melissa still holds her sadness, her voice coming across quiet. "They probably consider you lost and wounded, but they know you are out there. We don't quit on people if we have any hope of being able to reach them and bring them home. If you've never seen someone thank you with tears in their eyes? Had a family thank you for bringing home their loved one? …It’s about each other." Melissa looks back down at the bottle, not really reading the label. It’s just there. "Multi-mission combat support craft. As for fighters? No. But I am a qualified strike pilot. Those are different. I also fly Predators, which is what we call them. They are faster than fighters. You go in low, fast, and you dodge enemy fire all the way into the target. Once you're off target, then you have to fly back through it to get home." Melissa doesn't seem terribly concerned about what she says to him. What are they going to do? Demote her? She stands from the bed and walks over to the bars, offering him the bottle. "Just try a little dab on your wrist. Smells nice. It makes you skin soft and feel smooth."

"It's a fine sentiment," Atticus agrees with a slow nod, "but I was home." He's still bitter about it, more so as time draws on and it becomes less and less likely in his head that he'll ever return, but arguing the point would get them no where, and for all Melissa's sadness she doesn't seem to be at the point where she'd be receptive to the idea of helping him break out and flying him back. Most of the talk of craft is above his level, but he gets some of the general gist and nods along. As she approaches though he slips off the bunk and does the same, aware they're now being watched by an MP who's on alert just in case. Holding a hand out, either for the bottle, or a dab he uses the other to roll his sleeves up as he's still dressed in fleet issue PT gear. "Not the same as the shaving cream the Gunnery Sergeant gave me then?"

"Home is where your heart is." Melissa can't touch him but she dabs a little onto his wrist. "It’s not like shaving cream, no. You don't wipe it off. Just rub it in on your arms. Anything extra you can put on your legs. Don't put it on your face or neck. It'll clog your pores." For all the sadness, Mels seems to know what she is talking about. Moving back, she sits on her bunk and stares at the floor, pulling the blanket over her lap as she sits cross legged. "I asked you about family and you ignored my question. You ignore a lot of my questions. Is there a reason you won't talk about your family? Do you have friends back on Picon? A house? Dog?"

Ben does the security protocols to gain access to the brig. A place he doesn't want to be or ever have to be, but he feels the need to check on the Captain. He steps to the entry hatch, lingering there a moment to get a look inside before moving in to find the right cell. Noting another there, he pauses to see if he is interrupting or not.

Atticus stays by the bars as he follows her instructions, mostly so she can watch and let him know if he's doing it right, he has no idea what pores are, but takes her at her word and only covers his arms. Once he's done, he waits a moment just in case, then heads back to his bunk and resumes his previous position, pausing only briefly to experimentally sniff the exposed skin of his arms. Then, as she's talking family, he looks back to her. "I don't have a family," he answers simply, "I am usually too busy with my duties for such things. I have a few trusted servants though, who run my lands for me when I can not be there. A handful of horses. Dogs to hunt with. There's a lake nearby too, it gets cold in winter, but I swim there when I can."

Melissa is sitting on her own bunk in the cell. She's in tanks and has a blanket over her legs, the woman sitting indian style. Her voice is quiet and low. There's a feeling of sadness from her that Ben can pick up on. "Too busy for family?" Melissa keeps her eyes on the floor. "I mention family and you talk about servants. Dogs I can get behind, though. I love dogs. Not so much hunting with them." She finally looks back at the other prisoner, "So you've got nobody or nothing that you really care about, but that place is your home? Why? Just because you've lived there for awhile? Do you worry about anyone that also worries about you? Does anyone miss you right now?" She hears the hatch move behind her and glances over her shoulder and can just make out a shape by the hatch. "Colonel Janik?" she calls, curious.

Ben steps into sight, "No Ma'am. It's Ben. Ben Cross. We meet on that Mother ship the night all this happened that got you put here." He steps up to the bars so he can be seen fully. He's in strict military greens, his Lt. JG insignia visible. He hesitates, "I came … I came to see how you where doing and if there was anything I could do for you." He says in a fairly clear tone.

Atticus is sat in a similar style to Melissa, only on his bunk not her's. He's wearing standard fleet issue PT kit, but has the arms of the sweatshirt rolled up to his elbows for now. There's clearly some careful consideration before he replies to Melissa and he says almost cautiously. "I said I had no family, not that there was no one I cared for." He doesn't answer as to if there's likely anyone warrying about him, just looks down at his arms and sniffs them again, saying nothing until he too clocks the new arrival and looks over towards the hatch. He doesn't recognise Ben, but as he and Melissa clearly know each other he's happy to keep quiet and merely observe.

Melissa looks over to see Ben and checks him over. "I recall. You don't need to 'sir' me, though. I'm not wearing rank pins and my rank is currently under debate." Which is a bad sign. Ben knows right away she's probably going to lose her squadron. "I don't think there's anything that can be done. I trust you're alright and nobody has asked about who did all the hitting? I'll be pretty pissed if someone tries to steal my thunder." Which is one way to say that she isn't going to talk about anything Ben might've done. Solidarity. It may be the last thing she does as a leader for a long time. Looking back to Atticus, she quirks a brow. "Uh huh. So you won't talk about it. You're okay to listen to me talk about personal stuff but you're too good to talk about yourself? I'll keep that in mind."

Ben places a hand on his jaw and smiles, "I made my report and you got all the glory. Although all the strikes where against that stupid drunk bozo. I made no mention of the strong right cross you have." His jaw goes side to side before he lowers his hand. "No, my report was filed and only spoke of the incident." He looks to Atticus with a nod, he's not sure if he knows that person but remains friendly. "You sure there isn't anything I can get you or do for you Si…I mean Ma'am."

Atticus blinks at the change in attitude from Melissa, as if he's trying to work out what social faux-pax he's managed to embody now. "What?" he asks bluntly, but not harshly, "I.." He briefly glances to Ben for aid, but then realises he only just arrived, so probably can't offer immediate assistance. Unsure what the etiquette is now he gives up briefly and turns back to Ben once more, offering a confused sounding "good morning."

"Thank you, Lieutenant Cross. I appreciate it. There's no hiding Lieutenant Sawyer's black eye, though. Commander Petra already knows about that. I'm going to need to apologize to her. Note to the other pilots out there: Don't lose your shit at a couple of disgusting examples of humanity." She lifts a finger slightly. "Unless they are APF. In that case, burn them all. Lead deposits, frag donations, and good old fashion heat cleansing." Captain Wescott is trying to keep it light but it doesn't really work. She just seems a little more awkward with false bravado. Ben can tell that the Captain isn't saying everything she knows. Her eyes then turn to Atticus. And for all the awkward she might feel, there's an admonishing look for him, a genuine rather than false look to her.

Ben notes the undertone. He takes a step back and clicks his heels coming to attention. "Aye Cap'm." He relaxes and gives her a nod. He says in a slightly sorrowful tone, "I just feel bad that I had to make a report at all, but we do what we're told." He turns to the exit hatch, taking in the full scope of the brig on this ship as if fore shadowing. One more look at the Captain and company and he offers a lax salute before turning to walk out. He thought this would help clear his conscience, but it only made it worse for him. Buck up and fly strait runs through his mind to help hide this fact as he walks away.
Randy pages Atticus and Miri: Miri's going to run a quick errand and I'm going to try and get some tasks out of the way.

While it seems Atticus has been happy to passively partake in the talk of the fight, there's something Melissa says that does get an odd look from him. The kind that suggests the term APF means something to him, but he can't place it. A fragment of a memory perhaps. Hunching his shoulders a little he returns her look with a confused look of his own. He's missed something here, and he knows it, just not what. Watching as Ben turns he watches the Lieutenant for a few moments, then shuffles slightly so he can lean against the wall of his cell.

"Lieutenant Cross?" Melissa calls after him, just before he goes. "You did the right thing. This is my problem, not yours. Thanks for trying to.. you know." She doesn't really need to finish that, but she leaves it there for him. There's no grudge from her, at least. She then looks back to Atticus and then moves to lay down on her pillow. "Still nothing to say?"

Ben stops at the hatchway and straitens up to listen. He nods his understanding, not knowing if she can see him or not. For him, it's something he hopes others will do for him when he ends up here. On his last assignment, he knew the brig inside and out. Perhaps he's learned, perhaps not, only time will tell. He steps through the hatch and goes to his do his duties.

With Ben gone, Atticus turns back to Melissa again. "About the people I care about? What is it you want to know?" It's not an open invitation to ask anything, that much is clear by his tone, but he'll take a couple of questions. Perhaps. "I mean, what is there to say? There are people back home I miss, that I hope to see again some day. Do you want names? Occupations? What?"

"I asked if there was anyone you worried about and that also worried about you? What makes it home, Atticus? You can answer technicalities and specifics if you want, but I was trying to ask about you." She gets comfortable and closes her eyes, pulling the blanket around her. Seems Melissa is losing the will to sty awake. Fitful and broken sleep overnight.

"There are people I care about there," Atticus starts, "and those who care about me. Family is not something I have much of a yearning for though. My father was a tyrant, and I might become the same. It is better, I think, not to risk being a bad father. Others though. Friends, fellow knights. We look out for each other." Occasionally shag each other's brains out in some cases, but there's no way Melissa is getting that detail.

"Blah blah, daddy was a bad man. Tyrant. You use that word over and over. I'm not asking about your dad. Its pretty clear you're in love with that word and idea though, which is weird." Melissa turns over with her back to him. "You don't have to be like your parents, but you don't even know your parents it sounds like. Won't even mention your mother, just how bad dad was. "You don't want to talk about what matters to you? Okay then. I'm going to take a nap."

"I'm not like him, that’s the point," Atticus counters, "I understand the natural order of things, instead of fighting against it, and causing untold destruction." If she was still looking at him she'd see surprise register at the mention of his mother, why would she be important? It takes him a moment, it genuinely does, then the penny drops and he calls over, "I haven't seen my mother in seventeen winters, not since she sent me away. She doesn't matter to me." Frak, he doesn't even know if she's alive, or survived the invasion. Still, since it seems to matter to Melissa somewhat he adds a hopefully consolatory, "her name was Sarah."

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