MD #215: New Neighbours
New Neighbours
Summary: Melissa is taken to the brig, where she meets and talks to Atticus, her new neighbour.
Date: 09/11/2017
Related Logs: Yes, but not yet posted
Melissa Atticus 
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.

Its late at night. Most of the ship has racked out and the lights are lower. Atticus can probably tell the difference now just by the sound of work on the ship. Maybe he's sleeping, maybe not. But the MP escorting in the woman in doesn't bother to be silent. The woman is in her mid twenties by his estimation and has brown hair and a youthful visage. Pretty. However, she has blood on her hands. Most of it is on her knuckles which have taken a beating. She also has some blood spattered on her face like it was coughed or misted there - the droplets even on her uniform top. Stepping into the cell next door, the woman glances to Atticus and walks to the rear of the cell, working on the buttons to her shirt.

Night shift is Atticus' gym time, and he's no long back and showered. He probably should be sleeping, but he's getting in just another chapter (or several) of one of the books Petra has lent him. The activity outside his cell gets his attention though and he sets the book down carefully, then watches. He knows the signs of a fight well enough but initially just watches as Melissa is introduced to her new home. Once the MP appears done he considers what to say for a few moments, then opens with, "good evening. Welcome to my home. Will yo be staying long?"

Melissa strips off the blue jacket and it leaves her in her tanks and dress pants. Reaching the rear of the cell, she turns and stalks a bit like a caged panther. Her blood is still up, yeah. "Hell if I know. Probably. You that guy that we picked up off the op on Picon? My pilots in my squad flew that. Said the prisoners were a surprise." She tosses the jacket onto the bed and finally looks over at Atticus.

Atticus nods once at the question, there’s not much point denying it. "I can say that the surprise was mutual," he offers, shifting slightly on his bunk so he doesn't have to crane his neck to see her. "You fly then?" Potentially useful information if she fancies busting out, but he's not going to jump straight to that point. "Sir Atticus" he offers as introduction instead, "Knight of House Benning."

The smirk on her face at the mutual surprise remark? It lingers with a laugh. She ends up flopping down onto the bunk and staring through the bars at him, back leaned against the wall. "That's right. I'm a strike and interdiction pilot and squadron commander. Raptors. Just like my mother and her grandmother. You could say it’s in the blood." There's a bit of dry in her words. They aren't intended as a joke or mocking, but she's in a shitty mood. "Captain Melissa Wescott. Black Watch, VAW-101. So why are we keeping you alive? If you don't mind me being blunt, I mean you're in here reading a book. There's a lot of people on this ship who would be jealous."

Atticus nods to Melissa's explanation of her job, some of the words make sense to him but the whole? Very little. Still, this isn't the time. The names apparently mean nothing to him but her question gets a slight dip of his head. "I'm not entirely sure. When I first woke here I was told I'd be interrogated and then sent home, but apparently that is not to be the case. Were I the sort to gamble though, I'd put money on it being a sense of loyalty to my father. This used to be his ship."

"If they haven't thrown you out an airlock by this point, then yeah. That's probably it." She looks down to her hands and starts wiping them off with the jacket. "Since there aren't two of you in here, I'm guessing the Princess isn't in as deep a shit as you are." So there's a rumour or two. She keeps her eyes down, getting blood off her hands. "Yeah? This was my mother's ship." A frown crosses her, then a low shake of her head. "Just more of the weirdness. How the hell does that keep happening?" A long sigh leaves her. "If you're the kid of a Marine or sailor, the fleet is going to try and get what it can. That's a connection. My mom was a Sixty member and they used me for recruiting because of it, along with another girl in my squadron."
"Though I'm guessing you probably don't know anything about the Sixty, do you?"

Atticus frowns in thought for a moment as Emily is mentioned, then can only shake his head. "I can't say for sure, I haven't seen her in over a fortnight, not since the ship was attacked. I think someone said she'd been put to work in the kitchens?" He doesn't dwell on the topic though. "From what I can tell so far they're till trying to convince me that for whatever reason I should abandon the peace and order the Machines have brought, and embrace the chaos and destruction of colonialism. Gunnery Sergeant Ynyr seems most insistent at times." As the sixty are mentioned he shakes his head, nothing clearly registering.

There's a shrug at the discussion of Emily. Meh. Melissa doesn't seem terribly worried about a Princess. Other people can do their jobs and look after her. Hearing his theory gets a short laugh. "Wow, you're so adorable. You actually believe that garbage?" There's a continued laugh and shake of her head as she looks away. Atticus can probably pick out her Pican accent by now. She's definitely from that Colony, no question. "Okay, fast history lesson." Those eyes glance to the bloody jacket, then back to him. "During the Second War, we had fought long and damned hard. We needed a decisive action. We got it when we discovered two planets where the Cylons were basing their military operations off of. It was bold and it was dangerous as hell. They all knew it. A lot of people were going to die, but the long operation was rolled up with a final ambush. The fleet just kept slapping the Cylon ships down as they jumped in. But they kept coming. The Colonial fleet rocked their world. And they left us in a bad state." A leg lifts so she can rest her arm across her knee, heel on the edge of the bed. "When the smoke cleared, humanity had sixty members of the air wing left alive. That's it. They flew night and day, all day every day. They were the thin cord holding humanity's freedom in the balance. The Marines did their part but without the Wing, they couldn't deploy the Marines. They kept going out everyday. And every day fewer came home. You've probably not got a lot of ideas about just what it means to fly and fight like that, but it chills my spine and the idea scares me. Pilots ask themselves in quiet moments if they could do it. Some of them know they couldn't. They'd break. But those Sixty did it. None of them quit. We eventually got reinforced from the Lines and it helped a lot, but its a military legend among us. All their photos are hanging up in the rear of our Ready Room." Her head tilts slightly as if to gesture out.
<FS3 | Newbie | Public | Staff> Monkey has disconnected.
<Public | Scene> Randy has disconnected.

"I do not need to believe it," Atticus replies, tone still conversational, "I have lived it. I know it. I was twelve when the Machines came and liberated us, and have no desire to back to the black days before." He listens to the explanation given then says, "you sound proud. My father was a tyrant, he lead the marines in their missions of oppression. If I could sever all links with him I would, but before he died he gave me his face, and so I can't deny the connection."

"You've lived it and know it. You're absolutely sure about this. Yet the girl you were captured with would rather work in our frakking galley than try to go home to a life of privilege. Something is rotten in the state of Kenmore." Melissa is conversational about it as well. "Of course I'm proud. Most pilots are proud of them. We should be. They made a massive sacrifice and we owe it to them to keep their spirit alive." The last gets a slow smile. "I used to feel that way about my mom. I kept up appearances and outwardly told people that I forgave her for abandoning me. Inside, I was furious. I wanted her to suffer the way I suffered." She picks at the blood under her nails. "After the war was over, she never came home. I ended up being raised by my great grandma. My mom disappeared over Picon, the theory that she had been blown up by a friend of yours. Machine sympathizers. They took her out for being Sixty." Melissa looks back to Atticus. "Turns out we got her back. But that's not the important part. Here's the important stuff:" Melissa looks at him with the same sureness Atticus probably feels. "I hated my mom because I didn't understand my mom. I heard all my life that she was this frakking hero. Silver Clusters, Medal of Valour, one of the most decorated pilots of the war. She flew it start to finish. But I knew, knew a side of her that I was so sure that nobody else saw. She was evil. She abandoned her adorable daughter and left me. My GG died right after I turned 14. I had nobody." Melissa sniffs once and rubs at her eye. Its tugging a little at the heart. Moving forward with a sigh, "It wasn't until I saw war and some of the horror she saw that I started to understand it. What it does to you. How it changes you and molds you with the people around you. That realization? It changed my life. I felt like I had been lying to myself unwittingly. Mom wasn't evil, just very broken. It wasn't her fault. So you can sit there and call your father a tyrant. You want to cut him out of you like a rotting limb. I get it." Her hands are lifted to show him, knuckles beginning to swell a bit. "But I'm in here because someone said some ugly shit about my momma. I beat a man with my bare hands for it. I'm going to be in deep trouble. But I'd rather be in here, having made that stand, than snug in my bed thinking my mom an evil bitch. I'm glad I was wrong." Finger's subtly gesture towards him, "Do you have kids? Family? Wife? Husband?"

"She hasn't lived both," Atticus replies, not quite as level as before. Emily is a bit of a touchy subject that he's largely dealing with by not thinking about. He listens as she talks of her mother, or he's quiet at least, it's hard to tell. As she keeps going though, there's a nod at the bit about the rotting limb. It's not perhaps exactly how he'd phrase it, but it's close enough that she earns a nod of agreement, but that seems to be the limit of the connection. "I call my father a tyrant because he was one. He spent years hunting down those who wished for freedom, for peace, and putting them to the sword." Figuratively, not literally of course. "His death saved hundreds, thousands probably in the long run. I am just glad that King Kendrick was able to see past my heritage and give me a chance." As she starts rattling off various relations he doesn't have he sarts to shake his head, but then stops at the last one, expression reading somewhere between surprise and disgruntled confusion. "Husband?" he asks, tone sharpening slightly in the manner that suggests he's feeling insulted, or hurt someway, by that, "what do you take me for? A woman?"

"Sure about that? Working the galley is a pretty shit gig. She might as well be cleaning toilets. She's still here, too. Oh well." Melissa shrugs it off. The part about his father doesn't get any argument, just watching him. Melissa might be in here awhile so being stuck with him is going to require a little bit of diplomacy. "How you feel about guys and that whole thing is up to you. I assume the Skath let you be a grown adult and make your own decisions at least in some small ways." A little dig at the walkers. "So let me just lay this out here to make sure I have this right: A race of Machines with machineguns in their arms and nuclear anti-ship missiles, these things land and kill billions in the process — and that's just on the Colonies, forget other planets we've seen. They brought with them the ability to alter and change minds, change memories, screw with your head, and do anything they want." Melissa looks skeptical. "And the Machines are the ones telling the truth. Despite killing billions, your dad was the tyrant? And the Machines, they're the cool ones?"

"Why does everyone here automatically assume that my experience of the last seventeen years can only be explained away by saying my mind must have been altered?" Atticus starts, clearly fed up with that line of reasoning. "You have Clerics, how do you know they're not altering you?" It's not a serious accusation, but he is trying to make the point that he can throw that one right back at them any time they insist on bring it up to him. "I lived through chaos and death, I lived through peace and stability. I choose the latter. Is it really that much of a surprise? My mind is my own, even if you can't bring yourself to believe that. I am a knight of House Benning, and I am proud to serve the King and Queen."

Melissa shakes her head. "Look, Atticus? I said they arrived with the ability to mess with minds. I didn't say they messed with yours. You're the one implying it." A little point made. Melissa has her bloody jacket on the bunk beside her and she's sitting on the bed, one leg propped up, looking at Atticus. For all the rage earlier, she seems fine now. "We don't have Clerics. We have Lines. How do we know they aren't altering us? We don't. But I've never run into someone whose memories appear to have been messed with and things like that aren't common in our culture. Not sure how you all deal with it." the rest of his words get a lofted brow. "My my, you are defensive about that. Almost like a sore point. I'm not here to poke with a stick but dang. Do whatever you want, doesn't bother me to see you swim out an airlock or get dumped on a planet."

"You have Clerics," Atticus replies, entirely missing he point Melissa was making, "I've seen them. Your marines had one with them on planet, and I've seen them aboard since." Still, the fact that she's conceded that they might be having their heads messed with does mollify him a little. He's still in a bit of a huff though, and scoffs slightly as she calls him defensive. "Given the number of attempts your crew has made to try and make me let your Clerics into my head on the grounds that I could only possibly believe what I do if I'd been altered, yes, it's a sore point and will be until they drop it." Or he's thrown out of an airlock, either way.

"If we have Clerics then you also have Lines. I mean if we are using the terms interchangeably, the logic's gotta fly. I can't be wrong unless you're wrong. But yeah, we have them aboard. Some are jerks. Some are nice, good people. From what I've heard they're all kinda assholes on Picon. Humming around, preaching, telling you what to do, and if you don't do it they'll punish you badly. Maybe your family. But that's the price of peace." Sigh. "Gosh it sounds so liberating, especially for women. I wish I could try that." There's a bit of a verbal eyeroll with that. "I think not wanting to let the Clerics in your head to poke around just means you're afraid of what they might find. Just a theory. Sorta like my theory that killing hundreds of billions of people over thousands of years? That makes someone or something a tyrant. Do you understand a number like that? Hundreds of billions?"

There's a small logical connection made in Atticus' head as Melissa talks about interchangeable terminology, and his expression registers that he hadn't clocked that the terms were both for the same people. He puts that aside for now, not feeling particularly like a fight over linguistic semantics with his new neighbour. "Or perhaps not wanting your Clerics in my head is a sign of not wanting to be molded into a remake of my father. To become what those of your crew who idolised him wish I was, rather than being my own man. From what you said earlier you have to understand that at least a little…" As for the numbers quoted he almost admits that he doesn't, but then changes his mind and offers simply, "I don't know how many, but of course, your colonialism never killed anyone did it? We have peace now though, stability, law, order… what do you have? Death, chaos, uncertainty?"

"You're assuming that if a Line gets into your head, that they are going to change you into your father. If that were the case and we did that sort of thing, why didn't the Lines come mess with my head and make me into the same insane pilot that my mother was? I'm a pilot, sure, and a good one. But I hated my mother. I changed my mind in that regardless because I grew as a person and spoke to her, not because a Line touched my arm and pooted new thoughts into my brain." Melissa shrugs one shoulder again. "You're the one making assumptions here, though. Not me." His last gets a shake of her head. "That's a logical fallacy, buddy. One side doing something wrong does not make it evil. One side consistently behaving in a manner that is contrary to life? That's not good. Sure, Colonials have done their part of being horrible to each other. But humanity has compassion for others. You think a machine feels compassion? Do you think the machines actually care about you?" Her eyes move to the side, then back with a 'wtf' look. "Atticus, they're machines. They're not benevolent. What care could they possibly have as to whether or not humanity kills itself? Its always been said that if you want power over someone, build a religion. Well they did. And can you explain to me what the Skath get out of this whole thing? Why they spend their resources and nuke planets and kill billions? You think it’s to protect humanity from itself? Seriously?"

"Yes I am," Atticus agrees with a single, firm nod, "from where I'm sat it seems a fairly safe assumption to make." There's a touch of defiance in his tone, almost as if he's challenging her to tell him it isn't. He moves on though, noting simply, "Your mother was on the same side as you, where as I am diametrically opposed to my father. The comparison becomes flawed." Shifting on his bunk so he's more comfortable he lets her finish the rest about the Skath before shaking his head slowly. "Does it matter why? I've considered it I'll admit, but in the end it boils down to the fact that they created a society for us where we don't go about killing each other. Where we have stability not chaos, and I'm thankful for that. Would I like to know why? Yes, does it matter in the grand scheme of things that I don't? No, it doesn't. Maybe one day I'll figure it out, maybe I won't, but I'll still be thankful for the peace we have."

"You can make the assumption. You can even disagree with me. You can even argue with your captors here. That's part of our Freedom. I'm positive that the Skath would absolutely give you that freedom too, right? Surely you wouldn't take advantage of additional freedoms here since the Skath have the superior way of doing things, right?" Melissa's half smile lingers. She just lets that sit for a moment. "The comparison is only flawed if you actually want to detail in human empathy. Machines don't feel that. The comparison stands, as does the question." An upturned palm from Melissa gestures to him. The rest gets an actually laugh from her and she can't reply because she is laughing that hard. No, she's just going to roll onto her side and let it peter out naturally. "Oh.. Oh my Gods, that's adorable. You don't kill each other. Oh.. Oh.." She has to wipe a tear as she rolls onto her back. "The occupation is twenty years old and you are claiming- Ohhhh Atticus. That's so funny." Melissa tosses teh coat onto the deck plating and yawns. "Every other place we've seen with Skath control? They get humanity to fight each other. That's why there's little kingdoms all over the planet, not just one big one. They distract humanity with little local wars, keeping populations down and manageable. Colonies will be the same. Ohhhh man, that was good. Thanks for the laugh."

"I've made no secret of my desire to return home," Atticus replies gruffly, "take from that what you will about your so called additional freedoms." Needless to say, her rolling about laughing doesn't help, but before he can get really grumpy the duty MP appears, scowls briefly at the pair of them and notes that it's lights out o'clock. With the additional annoyance of not now being able to finish the chapter he was reading before she arrived Atticus shoots Melissa a dirty look, then stows the book carefully before settling down for the night.

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