AWD #244: No Illusions
No Illusions
Summary: Phin and Holtz discuss the upcoming Caprica strike. They have differing feelings on the matter, though they're headed to the same place.
Date: 07/09/2013 (OOC Date)
Related Logs: The last air briefing; probably others
Holtz Phin 
Viper Squadron — Deck 2 — Battlestar Orion
The berthings for the Orion's Air Wing are the same as what one would find on any other Mercury-class Battlestar, though they are distinctly different from the rest of the bunks on the ship. These bunks are separated not into sections of sixty, but by squadron. That means that there is a little more room to move around with only twenty to twenty-five pilots in one bunkhouse. Some officers have brought a small rug to sit in front of their bunks, but the tables and chairs are standard military issue. At the rear is a small couch that was probably new when the ship left anchorage and seems to have been kept carefully clean. The crest of the Lucky Strikes has been painted onto the wall behind the couch, as well.
AWD #244

Holtz is finally out of sickbay and the recovery ward, having just been released earlier this morning. Save for the unusual stiffness of his gait, one would be hardpressed to know he'd been there at all. His uniform jacket is draped across the back of one of the chairs nestled up next to the table in the center of the room; he himself is on his feet, walking in the direction of his locker. He pulls out a sheet of paper from a stack of notebooks on the top shelf and a pen before returning to the chair, pulling it out and easing his large frame down. With a sigh, he leans over and begins writing, the pen scratching across the paper slowly and deliberately — a deviation from his usually quick and slashing style of writing.

Phin makes his way back into the berths from the outer corridor. Dressed in sweats from PT, though he's taken the time to shower before returning home. He heads direct to his locker, though he pauses while opening it, to look over his shoulder at Holtz. "Hey." There might be a touch of relief to see the squadron commander out of hospital. "When did they spring you?"

Phin's arrival doesn't break the older man's stride; his eyes remain on his writing, and he doesn't waver the other pilot greets him. "This mornin'," he murmurs distantly, pen continuing to scritch quietly against the paper. "Coulda been out last night, but they'd had me pumped so full of morpha…" He snorts. "Felt like I got run over by a Raptor when they took me off the stuff, yeah?" Finally, he puts the pen down and looks up at Phin while lighting a cigarette.

"I think getting run over by a Raptor wouldn't be so bad, compared to what the toasters did to your bird." Phin opens his locker to stow his swim gear. "I meant to come by while you were laid up but…" Shrug. He didn't, and he just trails off rather than make an excuse for why not. "When do you think they'll have you back on flight status?"

Holtz waves dismissedly. "Don't worry about it. Told 'em I didn't much want guests anyway." He takes a deep drag as Phin moves away. As for Dolly's question? "Right now," he says with a shrug. "Word came down when they let me out. Looks like I'm headin' up the strike tomorrow." As if remembering something, he turns back to the table, picks up his pen, and takes up where he'd left off, a halo of cigarette smoke slowly coalescing around his head.

"Yeah. I heard a bunch of guys put in for that," Phin says. "Pilots, at least. I think suicidal is technically part of the job description for this billet." It's said wryly. It's not like he wasn't among the volunteers. He sifts through some stuff in his locker, as if looking for something, rather than immediately closing it.

"DCAG — excuse me, the CAG — wanted to lead it," Holtz continues with a nod. "Brass don't want to chance losin' her so quick after what happened to Straton, though." He snorts at the younger man's comment. "And the frakkin' marines say we've got it easy because we go into battle wrapped in 30 tons of metal, yeah? Hnh. Jarheads." A shake of the head, and he takes another pull from his cigarette.

"It's rough all over," Phin murmurs, at mention of Straton. "Yeah. That was a hell of a thing. Mission accomplished, though, right? That's what counts. Maybe they'll stick his picture on a wall." There's a touch of bitterness in his tone he can't quite hold back. He spends a little more time rooting around his locker, though in the end he shuts it without removing anything.

Holtz snorts again. "Yeah. Maybe." There's a little bit of rancor in his words as well, but he doesn't say anything further on the subject of the former CAG. After a few moments more of writing, he leans back with a sigh, smoke shooting out of his nostrils. "So." Another pause. "As you said, you volunteered for this shindig. Well… there's a spot with your name on it, if you want it."

"I volunteered," Phin says, like that should answer it. There's neither eagerness nor any particular sign of nerves about him. He turns so he's facing Holtz, leaning against his closed locker door. "What do I need to know? That wasn't in the brief, I mean."

And it seems enough for Holtz to accept as an answer. He nods slowly, holding out a fist with two fingers upraised. "Two things." The cigarette bobs in his lips as he turns his entire body in Phin's direction. "One. 'Air defenses will be heavy' was a godsdamn understatement. I've seen the intel. There's a good chance some of us, maybe even all of us, won't be coming back from this mission. Let there be no illusions on that point, yeah?" His eyes narrow as he moves on. "Two. That jackoff jarhead Spree didn't mention this, but… succeed or fail, a lot of people are going to die when we bomb Avery Hall. A lot of them will be collaborators, yeah. But we're gonna kill innocents too, make no mistake. Are you prepared for that?" Cool grey eyes bore into Phin's.

"It's what we do," Phin mutters simply, when Holtz speaks of the chances of them not coming back. As for the last, he swallows. His expression is somber, and still with that trace of bitterness to it. "Yeah. They didn't say that straight out in the briefing, but it was pretty damn hard to miss if you thought about it for ten seconds. That's why I didn't up right away. Not sure I could live with that. But that's what we do, too. We're the servants of Ares, Storm. We're killers. The way Picon's going to go, I'm going to end up taking a human life at some point who doesn't deserve it. Can't really have any illusions about that."

Holtz's expression hardens slightly when Phin mutters, but he says nothing. Finally, he nods when the younger man finishes. "So long as we're clear," he says simply. If he himself has any qualms in the slightest about the amount of blood he's about to shed, he's doing a very good job of it. Or perhaps he's just that hard-hearted. "I know you, Dolly. I only ask because I wanted to make sure you face that hesitation now and deal with it here instead of in the cockpit with your finger on the trigger, yeah?" A sour grimace crosses his face. "I only wish I'd been able to choose the entire team myself."

"I understand what I am, Storm. I'll do what I need to do," Phin says. He sounds both resolved and a little angry about it. But the anger doesn't seem aimed at Holtz in particular. "You watched the video that's going around? Of the Marines ganking President Adar?"

"Yeah. Bastard got half his face blown off. Thus ever for tyrants, yeah?" Holtz shakes his head. "You know, I never liked that weaselly-lookin' motherfrakker, but I never thought even he would jump into bed with the godsdamn toasters. Hope the worms eat his godscursed bones." His head tilts to one side. "Why? Somethin' on your mind about it? Ain't like the bastard didn't have it coming." A dark chuckle. "Turns out the Marines are good for something after all."

"I didn't vote for the guy," Phin says with a shrug, though without any ire in his tone. "But…" But he doesn't expand on that 'But.' He trails off as Holtz continues, and just shrugs. "Never mind. It doesn't matter. It's done. And this is just an extension of that."

Holtz moves to put out his cigarette, but there isn't an ashtray nearby. With a muttered curse, he stamps it out against the metal floor of the deck. Can always get one of the ensigns to clean it up later. "But what, Lieutenant?" He scowls impatiently, his arms folding over his chest. "Not sure I follow you."

"What we're doing to the…Quorum or the People's Council, or whatever the frak the Cylons are calling it. We're going to kill the toaster-friendly government and then help install something that'll help us fight them. That's what we're doing, right?" Phin doesn't seem to disapprove of this, exactly, but he's not all fired up about it, either.

"I'm not sure I see the problem, Lieutenant," Holtz replies mildly. "They're collaborators. Traitors, who — for whatever reason — chose to help the toasters instead of their own people in a war for the survival of our society, our homes. So, yes, Dolly, we're going to kill them and then we're going to do the damndest to pick up the pieces." He tilts his head. "If you're havin' an issue with this, perhaps you should reconsider volunteerin'." His tone is flat, even grim. No illusions on his part about what they're doing, or whether it has to be done.

"This is a coup, and we're closing it up." Phin's blue eyes meet Holtz's. "Command and Spree have obviously decided this is the only way to do this, and once we decided to kill Adar, those people became as much our enemies as the Cylons. Even if they are human, even if some of them might have those brain-washing implants in them and not know what they're doing. Even if some more of them might just be human shields. I wish there was another way, but…" Shrug. "…I get what I have to do, Storm. But, like you said, I don't have any illusions about it."

"A sayin' about wishes and horses comes to mind," Holtz says bluntly. "There isn't any other way. They'll be watchin' for snipers this time." He exhales heavily. "And it's as much about makin' a statement as it is about the objective itself, really."

"Yeah. I get that, too." Whatever misgivings Phin has about this mission - and he probably has a lot more than Holtz - he seems to have ground them down into embittered determination. He's quiet for a beat. And then, he starts reciting from memory, as easily as if the scripture were etched into his brain, "And all the grove and the altar were lighted up by the dread god, Ares, himself and his armour, and the shining from his eyes was like fire…manslaughtering Ares screaming aloud, courses all over the sacred grove." He doesn't speak the passage with any particular reverence, or like he takes any comfort in it.

"Ares, to gory strife he speeds, wroth with foes, when maddens his heart, and grim his frown is, and his eyes flash levin-flame around him, and his face is clothed with glory of beauty terror-blent, as on he rushes: quail the very gods." Holtz echoes Phin's line of scripture with one of his own, his flinty eyes retaining their grim cast. After a moment's silence, he looks down to the paper in front of him before picking it up and returning it to his locker. "You should get some rack time, Dollyman. Long day tomorrow."

"It's His world, we're just living in it," Phin says, to sew up the Ares stuff. Another shrug. "I've got some to take care of first, actually." He pushes himself upright, away from the wall, and starts heading back out of the berths. "Don't sweat it. I'll be ready."

"Good." Holtz claps Phin roughly on the shoulder as he passes, eyes following the other pilot on his way out. With a throaty exhale, he turns away a moment later, lighting up another cigarette as he slowly begins to pace around the now-empty berth.

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