AWD #338: Planning Ragnar
Planning Ragnar
Summary: Two recently promoted Department Heads put a team together. And discuss the weight of position.
Date: 26/05/2016 (OOC Date)
Related Logs: Performance Evaluations
Epiphany Fairfax 
CAG's Office
This nine by nine space is largely dominated by filing cabinets and a desk. A coffee maker is perched atop one cabinet, but the others are rather barren of decor or personal items. There are a pair of uncomfortable, molded plastic chairs facing the desk. The last vestige of open space is occupied by a lounge chair. It's one of those old, well-loved beasts that was likely pulled off of somewhere on Piraeus.
Sat Dec 10 2005 (AWD #338)

There is really no added weight to the Major pips versus Captain, but it certainly feels like it at times. Epiphany's been fussing with the collar of her duty jacket all morning. It is in effect even now as she sits at her desk. The hatch is slightly ajar and there's the scent of fresh-brewed coffee in the air. The woman holds a mug in one hand and leans over some files. Her free hand is propped up upon elbow and curved in, fingertips within the edge of the collar and thumb running over the metal of the rank pin. She's frowning, just a bit.

Fairfax, on the other hand, hasn't been fiddling with his at all. Indeed, he's avoided touching them since he put them on, as though he might tarnish them or the like. There's his knock at the door. Three quick raps in succession. It's a policeman's knock, softened a little.

There's no glance upward from the CAG. Just a lingering moment of quiet in which the brunette lifts her mug for a long drink. "Enter." The single word is spoken simply, quietly, but with that authoritative tone that all teachers seem to adopt after a time. Epiphany does not lift her gaze until she's done reading her page. It's then that she takes in Fairfax and a quick glance — pilot's eyes — catches those pins. "I see the Colonel cornered you as well."

Fairfax does indeed enter, securing the hatch behind him. "Indeed he did, Grey." There's a smile from the man, who has also noticed. Both her words, and his training in spotting things out of place. "Congratulations. Well deserved. You wanted to see me?" There's something a little different about him, as though putting on those pins changed him just a little. But then, the man's life is his existence as a marine. So in a sense, they really did.

For Epiphany, the pins are a strange thing. They represent a weight. They also represent a departure from the classic 'five year plan' one generally operates of in a time of peace. The timeframe may not be entirely off course, but it's an oddity nonetheless. She dips her head towards an opposite chair… though the gesture seems to encompass the more comfortable chair he'd helped her to the other night. No need to put a fellow department head in the seats made to make young Ensigns squirm with discomfort. Another sip of coffee and she sets the mug aside, leaning back in her seat. "We need to assemble a team to investigate the Ragnar Anchorage. I'm already considering options on my end. I was wondering who you had on yours? The last I spoke with the Colonel, he was recommending, for the marine contingent, a couple of marines, an engineer, and possibly a Corpsman."

Fairfax takes the comfortable chair with a grateful nod, looking back at Epiphany and considering. "Well, Corpsman…Ward is probably it. He's young, and crude…frankly I think he missed his calling by not enlisting with the Corps…but he's shown an ability to do well on difficult missions. Sergeant Flynn is an outstanding engineer, and I haven't had any complaints about her performance. Sergeant Dreyer, because I think an MP should go. Private Mallas…and maybe one other."

"Do remember that the Raptor will have a pilot, copilot, ECO, and all required gear." Which for an engineer on an abandoned station may be extensive. "That gear includes hazmat suits for everyone in the party, as we do not know exactly what will be found there." Epiphany reaches for a pen and starts jotting notes into the folder before her. Apparently she was already considering this puzzle. "Four should be enough. It's largely a recon mission, all told. Much as it pains me to do so, I may be sending Captain St. Clair on this, along with Wescott. The Lieutenant has ground experience, so we can trust her to keep her head. As for ECOs… That will largely depend on current operations at the time. Perhaps Bran." A slight smirk as she finishes jotting things down before there's a glance up to Fairfax again. "Honestly, times like this, I almost wish I'd been a Raptor pilot. I hate sending them into an unknown. But I'll have a SAR team flying overwatch just in case things go awry."

"True. Four probably will be enough." Fairfax agrees, at the reminder of what all everything carries. It's not that he thinks they're magical marine transport boxes…but often they function in such a role. "I don't believe in recon missions, anymore." He quirks his lips. "I mean, obviously they exist, but it seems like every time we've gone to look at something we've found something unexpected, you know?"

"I think perhaps you have a strange concept of recon, Major." There's a hint of amusement to Epiphany's tone. The woman leans a bit, tugging open a drawer. She rifles around a moment before surfacing with a small, foil-wrapped package. It's opened and revealed to be cookies. She holds one out to the man. "One of my SLs in the fleet gave them to me. Lovely things. Some old Aerilon recipe." And when something comes from a farming planet, well… "If we always found what we expected during recon, we'd do less of it. The initial recon showed the Anchorage dark. We don't know what's there. This is… less recon and more investigation."

"Alright, let me rephrase that." Fairfax grins, because she does have a point. And then he's distracted. By cookies. "Why thank you Grey." He'll definitely have a cookie. "Valid points. I more mean…something unexpected and problematic. I remember when we used to have routine recons." And they were much less fun. "Investigation, right. Mallas, I'll be honest, is mostly security. A warm body. But Dreyer's good for it.

Taking one for herself, Epiphany wraps up the couple that remain and tucks them away again. Sure, the Mess Hall provides fresh food with fresh ingredients (far better than the rations and MREs those who were on Picon as she was survived on for the better part of a year), but cookies? Less common. Especially of the 'homemade' type variety. There's just something special about small batch items. The CAG breaks off a small piece and nibbles at it as Fairfax speaks. She chuckles, faintly. "It's a war, Alastor. Nothing is routine anymore, except perhaps PT." Because if PT ever changes, they're all frakked. "Good. I'll make sure the pilots are briefed, properly, that it's an investigation and to let the marines lead the way on the ground in terms of safety."

"Well, that is true, yes." Fairfax smiles a little, which grows at the reference to PT. "I'm so bad at talking to you and the rest of Command, Grey." He admits. "I say things that make perfect sense to me, and then someone gently points out how redundent or silly what I'm saying is." That little admission seems to help. "Very good. I'll conduct a briefing on my end too."

"Well, I'm at a bit of an advantage. I taught at the Caprica Academy for a number of years before this all went down. Ground zero for the political side of the military." Doesn't hurt that her family was he sort of old and grounded that tried to make teir children seem more than 'just farmers.' Epiphany breaks off another bit of the cookie, eating as she looks over the file. "I'll pass this along to the Colonel and get the briefing done soon as I am able. I know he hopes to have them go very soon." She flips the folder closed and leans back, retrieving her coffee. "How are you otherwise?"

"I guess that does help, yeah." Fairfax agrees. "I've never really been near the political side of things. I'm the first one in my family to even go to college, let alone have a degree." The brief moment of pride fades. "And the last now, I suppose." A little cookie makes it all better. "Oh, not too bad. I've been spending a lot of time thinking lately. How about you?"

"I'd say you still have a chance to see your children go to college, but that'd require having one for them to attend. Funny how that works." There is a hint of darkness to Epiphany's words with it. She won't see that for her own, but the woman can at least try to uplift another. Her coffee is tilted, green eyes dropping to regard the liquid that remains within. She drains the rest before standing and moving to the pot to refill her mug. One is held out to Fairfax, eyebrow quirking in question. "Me? Just trying to keep the wings in order. The sheer amount of organization is almost madness. I wish I had a deputy, at times, but I have no one right now I'd trust in the role."

"It would also require having children, Grey." Fairfax points out, though he's not pushing the point. He knows her pain. "The real point, and you're right, is that we can ensure a future even if we're not going to see it ourselves. And yes, please," At the coffee offer. "Someone will come along. I have an XO in mind, but…I'm very worried he'll say no." Wait, an XO? Isn't he the XO?

A second mug is poured and offered to Fairfax before Epiphany takes a seat on the edge of the more comfortable chair. Sure, her desk chair is better than those facing it, but the other? Ahh, it's not perfect, but it still holds a measure of its cushioning. "Part of being a leader, as we are, is we can instill those ideals in those we lead. Even if we don't see the better future, perhaps those serving beneath us will. Or at least carry the torch after we're gone." There's a long sip of coffee and an arch of brow. "I thought you were the XO."

"True enough." Fairfax agrees. He doesn't seem entirely troubled at the thought of not seeing the better future, for whatever reason. There's a sip of his coffee. "Ah, yeah. I am. But…The Colonel said more than likely that will be changing shortly. He wanted to make me aware. I think that's part of why they put Major on me."

Nor does the pilot. Then again, even in times of peace, pilots have a higher mortality rate than most. One must be at least a bit crazy to get behind the stick of a Viper. One must have a bit of a deathwish to keep doing it for over a decade. Epiphany didn't shift to a desk job. She may not have been actively flying, but she was teaching. It kept her on the edge of things, at the very least. "Ah-ha. So Rand is shifting elsewhere, then, I take it?" Her mug is lofted, just a bit. "Congratulations, Major."

"The word is that he's being looked at for a position with Spree and the resistance." Fairfax explains. "Just between us at the moment. but it should be official in a few weeks. And thank you." He sips at his coffee. "I

"The word is that he's being looked at for a position with Spree and the resistance." Fairfax explains. "Just between us at the moment. but it should be official in a few weeks. And thank you." He sips at his coffee. "I'm hoping Spree's operation will be able to help me solve the problem that, long term, vexes me the most."

Mug is tilted and Epiphany considers the contents before taking a long drink. She leans further back into her chair, studying the man in her office. "And what problem is that? The one of manpower? I know Spree is doing what she can, in that regard. I've had a few FNGs sent my way already."

"Manpower, yes. Or more accurately…where do I get more marines?" Fairfax explains with a nod. "There's no boot camp, anymore. No AIT. But I'm hoping with some time, Spree's lot will be running one. They seem to be slowly trying to rebuild all the infrastructure we need. Hence your FNGs."

"It's fairly roughshod down there. People teaching what they can, how they can. I got a fledgling flight program started before I was called up here." Epiphany leans forward to set her mug down at the edge of her desk. Hand freed, she's able to lift both into her hair and begin undoing the braid it's in. "I'm sure they're working on boot, as well. They may just need the men down there. We had a specific request in to send pilots our way. You have full right to put a request for similar, I'm sure."

"I'm sure I do." Fairfax agrees, sipping at his coffee as he watches the braid slowly come undone. "And I'll have to follow up on that." He falls silent then, considering what to say next.

It's a slow process, but has the sign of something she'd prefer. Having her hair down. There's a professionalism to keeping it in a braid, but as an instructor; she likely got to have it how she wanted most of the time. Perks of the grade. Epiphany has to lean forward to draw the rest over her shoulder and shake it out. "Just be prepared to get kids who don't really understand what they signed up for, Alastor. It's not the easiest thing to stomach, that your orders may be what sends them to die and they're not even old enough to drink."

"Oh, I know, Grey. I've got some already. Not from Spree, just from happenstance." Fairfax agrees with a solemn nod. "And you're right. It's rough as hell. But it's what has to be done."

There's a slow nod from Epiphany as she draws her hair back over her shoulder. A lean and her coffee is retrieved again. She takes a long drink before settling back into the chair. "Sometimes I find myself wondering when I'll get a break. A proper night off, if not full leave. Think either of us will see that again?"

Fairfax laughs at that, shaking his head. "Goodness no, Grey. I don't think there'll be any leave to be had for us, not while there is over. A proper night off could be accomplished, though, once you have someone you trust to be your XO. But leave…what would we even do with it?"

"I was on Aerilon for a few days and the fleet survived," Epiphany points out, voice wry. She smirks a bit at him, over the edge of her mug. There's another sip and then a light shrug. "I don't know, I-" A pause, brow quirked. "We, is it, Alastor? Are you planning to join me on my night off?"

"Well, you said if either of us would see leave again. So I was thinking in terms of we." Fairfax points out. He may be a little flustered right now. Sip the coffee to cover it up. "I mean, we're friends. I enjoy drinking and talking with you and the like. But your night off is completely your own, of course." Sip more coffee.

Pilots miss nothing. Or shouldn't. Epiphany rarely does. She spots how flustered Fairfax is and there's an upward twitch of her lips. Not quite a smirk, but damn near. "Mmhmm. So how much more will you squirm if I ask you to expand on that 'and the like' bit?" Now she's just outright teasing him.

"Not much. Probably. I mean, there's not much more to do so I can only expand so much." Fairfax, though easily flustered, is recovering well at least. There's a grin for the teasing, so at least he's taking it well.

"So all you can think to do is drink and talk?" Epiphany's brow arches and the woman leans back in her chair. Had she an ottoman, she'd be putting up her feet right now.

"So all you can think to do is drink and talk?" Epiphany's brow arches and the woman leans back in her chair. Had she an ottoman, she'd be putting up her feet right now. "No wonder you're not as keen as I am for a night off. That can be easily done in one's office, the rec hall, or even a bunk. Mmm. Tell me, Alastor. Ever flown in a Predator?"

Fairfax shakes his head. "No, there's also cards and various other games and amusement." He points out, before canting his head. "No, I haven't. Merely enjoyed the view from below when they come thundering in." Like so many marines, it's clear he thinks predators are incredibly cool.

"I admit, I'm fairly rubbish at Triad. I tend to avoid it lest my pilots lose faith in me." It being such a popular game in the wings. Epiphany finishes her coffee and lowers the mug to rest against her lap, both hands around it. "How would you like to fly in one? Just the flight, nothing else. I could arrange for you to fly passenger rather than an ECO, since it'd be just a ride-along." No bombs, then. She taps a finger against the side of the mug, brow arching. "What do you say? Mine keeping an old pilot company on a brief flight?"

"That'd be fantastic." Fairfax beams, nodding a definite agreement. "Mind? I'd love to." There's a sip of his coffee, because it doesn't do to let good coffee get cold. "Any particular plans for when?"

The woman gives a small shake of her head. "Not at the moment, no. Most of the training setup is being moved to Picon, so we'll need to go there." No need to cause a fuss by flying over Piraeus, even sans-munitions. Epiphany taps finger against her mug a few more times. "But I'll see what I can stir up and let you know. Give you a chance to see what it's like from the air."

"Well, I appreciate it. It sounds fascinating." Fairfax finishes the last of his coffee, and sets the mug down. "I think that's a great idea."

There's a glance to the mug the marine has set down and Epiphany nods. She shifts forward and to her feet, leaning to grab it. Likely to place with the other things some poor ensign has to deal with as part of Gamma shift duties. "I'll let you know once I can schedule the time."

"Outstanding." Fairfax grins for a moment, unable to help it. "I'd offer to show you some of my side of the house, but I can't think what we do that would be too fun or interesting to a pilot."

"You'll just have to figure out something else to show me, Alastor." Epiphany leans a hip against her desk, tilting her head to watch the man. "I figure we ought to find some way to unwind that won't drink Piraeus out of liquor or drive us insane."

"I suppose I will, yes, Grey." Fairfax muses. He looks like he might have an idea, at least briefly. "That's not a bad idea, really. We can't just hide in our offices and drink forever, you're right." Watching her watching him.

There is a slight furrow of brow. She caught that. She's trying to puzzle it out, but nothing comes. Epiphany opts for something lighthearted, instead. She ends up smirking, reaching a hand out to just marginally adjust his rank pin. If it needed it at all. "And no, drinking at Charlie's does not count."

Fairfax looks down at her hand as his rank pin is straightened. "I suppose it doesn't, no." Her touching the pin seems to have given him just the opening he needed. He reaches out towards hers, as though to reciprocate the gesture. But when he pulls back, there's the lid of a pen in his hand. "Odd place to keep a pen lid, Grey." He observes with a grin.

The pen cap in hand throws Epiphany for a bit of a loop and her hand, momentarily, falls to his shoulder. She withdraws it quick enough and leans back towards the desk just a bit more. "I… don't-" Something that did pass beneath the pilot's radar. "How?"

"A lot of practice growing up." Fairfax answers, tossing the pen lid in the air and catching it. "It was a survival skill as much as anything else." He doesn't elaborate on that. "It's cooler when you do it with something like candy, but you gotta work with what you have."

The CAG just shakes her head a bit, watching the act of tossing and catching the small item. "And here, my only skills growing up pertain to farming. Nothing I can show off so easily." Epiphany is smiling, however, watching him. "You are full of surprises, Alastor."

"Well, one or two anyway, Grey." Fairfax agrees with an answering smile. "Potentially more useful though. Farming, I mean." He points out. "Who knows. Maybe one day I'll make something important disappear at just the right moment. But mostly it's a party trick."

"I don't see the scientists down on Piraeus wanting someone from command poking about their greenhouses anytime soon," Epiphany points out. Still, there is at least the lighter air to her. "Well, party trick or not, it is something. Here I was beginning to think you knew nothing outside of being a marine officer."

Fairfax can't resist adding "I also know how to be a Marine NCO!" Joking aside, he muses "Well, I did exist for 17 years before I joined the Corps. I still retain a few things I picked up then. But since then…well, you're right. And as far as adult life goes…I've never known anything outside the Corps."

"Mmm. Try telling that to the NCOs you have now." Oh, Epiphany knows. Air Wing and CMF have their rivalry, but she knows there's one between enlistees and officers as well. Easy to see from the outside. The naval contingent has it, too. Her expression, however, softens a measure. "You never found a wife? Or even a woman at this base or another? That's a shame, Alastor. Everyone should have known what it feels like to go home to someone at least once."

"Oh, I wouldn't. But it helps me talk to them sometimes, when I remind them I've been in their shoes." Fairfax notes. He's been on both sides of that rivalry, and knows it well. A shake of his head, then. "Married to the Corps, they call it. I've found the odd woman along the way, yes. But…not someone I was ever going home to." A mild discomfort perhaps, at what he's alluding to. Far less temporary relationships.

"I always wondered why it was," Epiphany muses, leaning back against the desk; hands falling to curl over the edge of it to either side of her hips. "We pilots end up away for just as long as you marines, yet we tend to more frequently find ourselves with families. Do we have less a sense of family in our ranks, perhaps?"

"I think there's maybe more competition." Fairfax muses. "And I think…" He watches her, pondering how to explain it. "When we go into combat, we go side by side. Physically I mean. You go into combat together, but you're distanced by the necessity of your work. Sometimes we sleep in holes in the ground, two or three men to a hole. For warmth as much as firing positions. When you're done you return to hotbunking it. I'm not saying you in an way have it easier, just different challenges. But I can see where our challenges are more likely to produce that sense of family."

There's a tilt of the woman's head as she listens. Hair, loosened earlier, falls over her shoulder. She watches Fairfax as he speaks, but finally gives a small nod in the wake of it. "A sad thing, perhaps," Epiphany decides, voice quiet. "This war may end and we'll need them to find families. There must be new generations to carry our torches."

"Oh, I'm sure they will. When it's all over. I've known a decent amount of marines that had families." Fairfax notes. "It's just, as you say, way more common among pilots." A nod at that. "Yes. Future generations. Very important, to have people to carry on and enjoy what we brought about."

"I'm not sure about enjoy… Even if we win, it will be a long road. But to make sure we aren't all lost or forgotten." Epiphany glances past Fairfax towards the door, expression pensive. "I've seen the school on Sheridan. Have you? Kids rescued from Picon, finally with a safe place to grow and learn. It's as if the war didn't exist when you see them."

"I don't mind being forgotten, as long as civilization keeps going." It's Fairfax's turn to be pensive. "No, I haven't seen it." Fairfax shakes his head, though he's listening intently to what she's saying about it. "Sounds like perhaps I should, though. Sounds like a very good thing."

"I don't mean forgetting any one of us in particular. I mean our whole culture. If we win the war and just slowly die off in pockets, with no one to carry on the Colonies? Was it all even worth it?" Epiphany sinks against the desk slightly. There's a glance to the chair, but a hesitation. Like perhaps she's content to be in close proximity to the marine. "You should. Go at the right time of day and you can see them playing. It's… a good sight. It shows that Sheridan is becoming more than a base. It's becoming a home."

"That is far too weighty a question for me to be sure what to say." Fairfax admits. "Although my instinct is to say of course it's worth it." He seems comfortable having her in that close proximity. "I'll have to find the time, then. And, as you say, go at the right time of day. It would be good for me."

It's not the most comfortable of places. Leaning on a desk. Almost feeling as if you're hovering over the person sitting in the chair. But Epiphany remains, shifting her feet slightly. Her fingertips drum against the wood of the surface she rests on and she looks to Fairfax, then away. To some point on the floor. "I saw it recently. It helped me remember what we're doing this for. It's easy to get caught up in the routine of fighting and forget why we're fighting."

"Well, we're fighting to win, of course." Fairfax says without even thinking about it, watching Epiphany as she watches the point on the floor. "Which sort of makes your point for you, I think. And also helps explain, perhaps, why we tend to have families less than pilots. We're creatures of war. Fighting's what we exist to do. Pilots…have other dimensions to them, I feel. Of course these are all stereotypes and generalizations."

"Maybe that's not the right reason to fight. Just to win. That works in Pyramid, sure. Break someone's nose if it ensures the win. But if we forget who and what we are… just so that we win? What good does that do everyone else?" Epiphany looks up to Fairfax, tilting her head. "Would you give up your Tauron roots if it meant winning? Would you let your past and your culture be forgotten… if it meant you won?"

Fairfax winces at the question, the moment he hears it. He can't help it. "That…that's an awfully tough question. But if winning means the survival of humanity? Yes. Not for lower stakes. But if it's some of us or none of us? Let it be some of us. Let humanity survive."

"Or if we win and few or none are left to appreciate the victory?" Epiphany shakes her head slightly, making to push upright from the desk. Standing before him, at least for the moment. "Wanting to win is all well and good, but think about the other reasons, too. What they took from us. What they didn't. Because it may come to it someday that you're out of bullets, out of energy, out of time, but whatever drives your soul is all that remains."

Fairfax looks up at Epiphany, listening intently. Perhaps he's surprised by what the pilot is saying. Perhaps not. Either way he's taking it seriously. Finally, he asks the question that seems most pertinent "So what drives your soul, Grey?"

The question leads to a long moment of silence and the woman finally steps away fully. The mugs are taken up and moved to a small tray nearer the hatch. Epiphany looks out through the small gap that remains before pushing it closed more firmly. Her path to the more comfortable chair is a slow one. "I honestly don't know," she answers. Quiet, but honest. "I'm hoping I figure it out soon."

"Me neither." Fairfax admits. "I mean, I thought I did. Victory. The will to win. Vengeance. But…if those things are not enough…" A half-shrug. "Sounds like we both have some figuring out to do."

"I think there is so much more to all of this than just us. We may win battles, but each one leads to another. Each one is surrounded by death and loss… On our side." Epiphany settles to sit on the edge of the chair, elbows upon knees, palms upturned to support her chin as she regards Fairfax. "But I've gone from a family to walking alone. In an instant. I've been devoting my time to my pilots, in the hope that it gives me that sense of purpose again."

"I think they will. I know I get a great deal from devoting my life to my Corps, and to the Marines under me." Fairfax offers reassuringly. "I know how you feel, although a different set of relationships. And I didn't see my family very often." Something he almost certainly regrets, now. "But we wrote a lot, and I sent money home every month until it all happened."

"I was fortunate enough. I knew him before I took the position, but we weren't married until after. I may talk of pilots and their families, but I didn't give it a go until I was settled firmly at the Academy on Caprica." Epiphany shifts, fingers adjusting to intertwine and curl under her chin instead; head balanced atop knuckles. She watches a point past Fairfax. "I think for a time, I fought for them. But I realize now that I can't let myself wither away."

"Seems a good place for it." Fairfax agrees, of the Academy position. "And no. Probably not a good idea to let yourself become…" He trails off. "I'm very happy in my lot. But I do wonder, sometimes, what would happen if for some reason I couldn't be a Marine anymore. I don't even know who I would be."

"It happens to pilots sometimes. Come out of a combat injury to find they can't fly anymore." Epiphany shakes her head a bit. She's seen some already in her time on the Orion. "It's… I can't think about it. None of them are ever the same. They're even more hollow than the rest of us. I'm sure some will, given time, find a new place, but this early on? There's nothing I can do for them, not that I've found yet."

"Right. So yes, probably best not to let yourself wither away, Grey." Fairfax agrees. "Not that I can give you much advice in that area, but…I think you know what you're about."

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