AWD #191: Tea and Perjury
Tea and Perjury
Summary: Atalanta invites Holtz to the DCAG's office, where they discuss exactly how much command does or doesn't need to know about what happened aboard the Persephone refueling station.
Date: 16/07/2013
Related Logs: Return to Persephone
Atalanta Holtz 
Except when the gun batteries are firing, the offices aboard the Orion tend to be a quiet area where clerks can get their work done as needed. However, there are several closed-door offices, with small windows, lining the walls in addition to unclaimed cubicles that run down the center of the long room. However, this is not just a place for clerks. Anyone who has paperwork that they need to do and would prefer to do it someplace quiet can come here at all hours of the day or night to accomplish what they require space and peace to complete.

Some people might find a summon to the DCAG's office to be a thing of dread. It is, after all, so awfully similiar in tone to a summons to the principal's office. Of course, given that it's Holtz, he's likely accustomed to both, though the principal's office may have been easier to find. Though Franklin shares in the CAG's duties, she has no right to a share of his office. As such, she's been forced into the offices on Deck 1 — the offices that are supposed to be shared, though that's done absolutely nothing to halt her invasion into the area she's selected for herself. It isn't a cubicle or a cubby. Ohh, no. She's gone and got herself something with a hatch. One that closes and everything. Apparently, she has no intention of sharing it, either. Judging by the way the local denizens direct him to which one is hers, she barely stopped herself short of painting her name right on the damned door.

Though some might indeed be nervous, Holtz enters the office section with nothing but aplomb. He's clad in his blues, an impassive expression on his face as he strides through the rows of cubicles. Between his major's pins and the wings on his chest, he sticks out like a sore thumb in here; more than a few curious glances go his way before he finally asks for directions from a passing ensign. He's directed to one of the heavy metal doors ringing the cubicle sections; a hand reaches up to announce his presence with a knock, his knuckles ringing dully against the metal. He's already opening the door even before he gets a response, though. After all, he's expected. And, well, because manners have never been his strong suit.

"Open!", cries the DCAG, resorting — for once — to the shortest and most efficient response possible. It's easy to see why the moment he opens the door. She's working, her attention focused on an octagonal file on her desk. Or, rather, the one on top of the pile, as there seems to be abundance of them. On the desk. In the draws. In meticulously labelled cardboard file boxes which she has stacked neatly along the back wall. Either being DCAG is a thousand times worse than being a squadron leader or Franklin is some sort of lunatic that's gone out of her way to request more paperwork than anyone in their right mind could possibly read if they were given a full month to do it — and that just seems to be for starters. She dredges her eyes up from the bottom of the swamp of papers and, on spotting Holtz's bulk lurking in her doorway, pushes herself to her feet. It's a courtesy — perhaps offered out of some enduring Caprican habit. It's certainly a privilege of his rank, but one usually only expected from officers and enlisted beneath him. "Major Holtz."

Holtz is already halfway through the door when the command to enter reaches his ears. He stops just long enough to pull the hatch closed behind him before stepping up to her desk, fists loosely clenched at his sides as is his usual habit. "Major," he rumbles in response with a curt nod as he looks down at her; even when the DCAG is standing he's got about eight inches on her. Cool grey eyes meet her gaze before sweeping around the small office, lingering a moment on the myriad papers on the desk in front of her and the stacks of boxes along the back wall. "Nice digs," he says laconically before turning his eyes back to Atia herself, his expression expectant.

A smile flickers across her face — a cursory thing, offered because it's expected, not because she's in a particularly welcoming mood. Not with the topic at hand. "Thank you for coming, Major." An airy gesture to the chair across from her. "Please, have a seat. Would you like something to drink? I have tea and water available. I'm afraid I haven't seen a coffee pot left unattended long enough to procure it, although I admittedly haven't made much of an effort to obtain one on behalf of my guests." Yes, that's right. She just said she'd walk off with someone else's coffee pot, the little thief. "I was hoping to have you review the AAR which I intend to submit for the Persephone evacuation."

Holtz's own lips twitch slightly in response, though it can't quite be called a smile. "Never got a taste for the stuff myself, anyway." Coffee, he means. Though there does seem to be a mild flash of amusement at the thought of the DCAG stealing a coffee pot. "Wouldn't say no to a cup of tea, though." He eases his large frame into the indicated chair, his fingers drumming on the armrest for a moment. The long scar marring his right hand from the skirmish during their last recon can still be seen, although it's faded considerably by now. An eyebrow peaks slightly at her last. "Why?" he inquires curiously. "I didn't see anythin' you didn't see." Despite his apparent surprise at her request, he leans forward, ready to take the paper if and when she gives it to him.

"Do you take sugar or cream, or are you a purist?," she presses, slipping around from behind the desk and past him, to where she's set herself up with a hot plate, a trio of mugs, and a small stash of neatly organized sugar packets and powdered cream — a makeshift setup, cobbled together from whatever supplies she could horde from the mess or confiscate from the barracks, most likely. Impressive, though, considering the apocalyptic circumstances. "I'm afraid the cream is powedered; the real thing won't keep." She's rather neatly dodging the question, for the moment.

"Heavy on both," Holtz answers. He shrugs at the disclaimer about the powdered cream. "Wouldn't be the first time." His eyes follow her closely as she moves over to her improvised setup, her evasion clearly noticed. For the moment, though, he doesn't press her further, simply leaning back and sitting in silence as she starts preparing their drinks. After all, neither of them is going anywhere.

There's no tap for the water. It comes from the room-temperature bottles she keeps stocked, poured into both mugs with a soft glug-glug before she gets a good stream going. "It takes an unfortunately long time with only the hot plate; some delay in supply and logistics has kept them from transferring the last of my belongings over from the Rubaul. Or, rather, the bulk of them, being as it's my trunk that still hasn't surfaced anywhere." She could throw her weight around, of course, but it'd be an awful waste of it on a so small a thing. So while the plate heats up their drinks, one cup at a time, she fusses with sugar packets. It seems that even now, with such meager means, tea remains an important ritual — one that must be conducted properly. Only once his cup is on does she resume her seat, rifling through her top drawer — the center one, one of the ones that locks — to produce her report. She slides it silently across the desk.

"During the Pacification, the first major battle was fought in the air over my hometown. The local power grid that fed our little corner of the outskirts got fried and the local authorities had bigger worries at the time, yeah?" Holtz's thin smile is abjectly devoid of humor. "Most of the time we didn't even have gas for the generator, and it was months before we got power back, so anything that wasn't room temperature was a luxury. So believe me, I don't mind waitin'." He straightens as the paper is slid in his direction; with a last look at Atia, he picks it up and begins to read. When he gets to the part about the transfer of command, he utters a quiet snort. "Well, that's one way to put it," he mutters softly, almost inaudibly.

And, really, that's the crux of the issue. Both of her brows arch upwards in a steady march towards her blonde curls, which have been tamed in the form of one of her preferred updos. "I intend to file the report as written, Major. However, given the fact that you were privy to all of the events aboard the station that I was," particularly Pertwii's direct confession of what may have only been guessed at on the radio, "I wanted to inform you of my intentions and give you the opportunity to file your own amendmants or corrections with command." In short, the opportunity to clear himself of any perjury charges which she may face as a direct result of the… wordsmithing of her report. Her expression is expectant. Well, mostly. Not her eyes. No, not her eyes. Fire normally doesn't burn green, but there's no mistaking it. Those are the flames of defiance.

Holtz finishes reading and slowly raises his head, the green fire in her eyes met with stony grey resolve of his own. "Major, back when I was on the enlisted side, a very wise senior chief told me somethin' that I've kept with me to this day: just tell the officers what they need t' know, and no more. It's simpler that way, yeah?" He shrugs as he deposits the report back onto the desk in front of her. "I don't see anythin' inaccurate there. Aldridge was a clear and present danger to us and to those under his command, and he was relieved accordingly." He doesn't flinch from the intensity of her stare, and in fact meets it with a certain defiance of his own. "I see no reason to get into the specifics. Besides… the sonuvabitch had it comin', and both you and I know it." His head cants slightly to the side. "And if the brass does hear differently… what the frak're they gonna do, charge us? Cashier us? Let 'em try. If they're stupid enough to shoot themselves in the foot like that, maybe we really don't deserve t' survive as a species, and takin' two top Viper jocks off the line sure ain't gonna help the cause."

"I'm glad you see it that way," Franklin says quietly. Tersely. There's a faint tic that appears at the corner of her mouth. There's no question about it. Hebe left her angry and that was simply neglect. Persephone? Her reaction to Persephone is barely buried at all — a fine layer of dust, easily brushed aside, and her fury would be on full display. (But a lady does not lose her temper. A lady never loses her temper.) "As far as I'm concerned, all that girl did was spare me a few bullets and the trouble of writing a report explaining the discharge of my weapon." She exhales, slowly — a carefully controlled breath, one he might even feel, there on the other side of her desk. "But JAG may not see it that way. Given what's commonly said about lawyers, which my own experiences with them have generally proven to be true, I'd rather not find out."

"Eh, frak 'em," Holtz mutters dismissively with a jerk of the hand. "Right now we need good pilots a hell of a lot more'n we need lawyers, and if brass is stupid enough not to get that, well, like I said…" He trails off with a shrug that silently echoes his earlier words. "If they do hear any differently, Major, I assure you it won't be from me." The big Tauran pilot doesn't quite have Atia's Caprican levels of reserve; his words have taken on a slightly caustic edge, and his lips curl reflexively in an angry snarl as the memories of Hebe and Persephone are dredged back up to the surface.

The expression ought to make her flinch. It ought to make anyone flinch, coming from a man his size. Franklin pushes herself up from her chair instead, removing herself from the direct path of his furious stare, and slips around him to check the tea. One finger brushes against the ceramic to check the temperature. Satisfied, she turns to load it down with sugar and powdered cream, as he requested. Real spoons. She has real spoons, at least. The cup is offered to him from behind his left shoulder. (She no doubt will clear from his right, too.) It leaves her right hand free to rest on his shoulder, albeit fleetingly. Like lightning, it's there — small, perhaps laughably so by comparison, and warm. Then it's gone. "Save it for the cockpit, Major. It will serve you, serve all of us, much better there."

There was a time when there was very little that could have forced Holtz's volcanic temper to subside, but he's got at least a bit more self-control these days. The furious expression lingers for a few moments, even after her hand flits across his shoulder; but then, with a slow blink and an exhale, it slowly begins to fade, replaced with his earlier impassivity before he looks up at her and accepts the cup of tea with a murmured thanks. There's a distant look in his eyes as he raises the cup to his lips, taking first an experimental sip to gauge the temperature, and then a longer, deeper drink.

He raises the cup in a wry salute at her words. "Don't worry, Major. Shit's a mindfrak these days, but I haven't forgotten who t' point myself at."

"Are you sure of that?," she asks, pursing her lips ever so slightly as she sets to fixing a second cup of tea. "As I recall, you were rather determined to aim yourself at me when I first arrived on board. Though you did have the decency to leave my bunk alone, a fact for which I'm grateful." Judging by the humorless tone of her voice, she's been the victim of supposed "pranks" by unhappy pilots more than once before — a good reason, possibly the reason, she still hasn't unpacked her duffel bag and put out anything more personal than her issued uniforms and a few toiletries. "It's the one thing holding you back, you realize? Your temper."

Holtz's thin smile fades. "When you came aboard, I didn't know you from a hole in the wall," he points out. "For all I knew, you could've been another clueless colossal frak-up. Wouldn't've been the first we got saddled with, yeah?" He rises to his feet and begins to pace in a back-and-forth line behind the chair he'd been occupying. "I don't do childish pranks, Major. My style's a bit more… direct than that." Coming to a stop as abrupt as his start, he leans against the wall next to the hatch and turns to face her, arms crossed defiantly. "And I think I've done quite all right for myself, thank you kindly." A slight pause. "There anythin' else?"

As his thin smile fades, hers takes up residence. It isn't meant to be mocking, but given the hard time she's having trying to hide it, it may be taken as more of a smirk than a good-humored grin. "I was going to follow that comment with a compliment - one that was frank, but honest. However, since you seem to be quite intent on proving my point for me, no, there's nothing else that we need to discuss." The smile twitches. Ohh, gods. Is the woman repressing a laugh? Is she teasing him? Or just asking for a shot to the jaw? "You may go, if you like. Although if you intend to take your tea with you, I would like my cup back afterwards, if you please."

"Hnh." Holtz grunts in annoyance. His half-empty teacup is still clutched in one hand; it's a wonder he managed not to spill it on himself when he crossed his arms. He looks down at it in surprise when she reminds him, as if he'd forgotten he was holding it; he hastily downs the rest, and places the empty cup on the edge of the desk closest to him. A hasty salute is thrown in her direction. "Well, then. Thanks for the tea, Major. Have t' do it again sometime." His tone is desert-dry, but he says nothing else before finally turning and exiting, closing the hatch quietly behind him.

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