ALT #388: The Depressing Section
The Depressing Section
Summary: Located between "Terrorist Attack" and "Skinjob." Thales meets Phin and Holtz after patching them up post-sim explosion.
Date: 01/29/2014 (OOC Date)
Related Logs: Burning Wings
Holtz Phin Thales 
Library — Deck 3 — Battlestar Orion
The metal stacks of books start near the door and run the entire length of the room, which is almost forty meters. The room is twice as wide and there are several corridors that lead down the rows. Near the door is a desk clerk manned by a Crewman from Supply, but farther back, in the quiet of the room, are generally several other people milling about. Towards the rear are several seating areas with tables and chairs. There are sections covering a broad topics and individuals can also look at maps, rent videos, and even games.
Sun Jan 29 2006

The library's one of the quieter spots on the ship, for logical reasons. It's pretty sedate right now, though there's the usual traffic of crew members browsing the stacks or taking advantage of one of the small meeting rooms. Phin is one of the browsers at present. He's back in the section devoted to military history. Which is decently-sized, as sections of anything in the Orion's library go, but still nothing on what you'd find in even a small town public library back on the colonies.

"I'd have thought any one of us would have had our fill of all things military," says Thales. He's browsing a few shelves down, squinting at the pitifully small section on stage magic. He looks a bit worn. He's got a day's worth of growth on his cheeks and faint dark circles under his eyes.

The comment makes Phin turn his head, and look up from the First War text he as idly flipping through. His mouth crooks in what's maybe close to amusement, but it's hard to tell. He looks more than a little tired himself, though he's taken the time to shave. "Kind of hard to get away from here, Doctor…umm…Doc." It's the sort of correction that indicates Phin is unsure of the guy's name but trying to cover. And sort of failing. The pause and flounder for it wasn't subtle.

"Exactly why it's not recommended reading in your spare time," says the Doc. "It's Thales, by the way. Julian Thales. Don't feel bad. I can't recall your name either." His Virgonian accent is not posh, and it's a bit watered down.

"I don't know. I think it's interesting. This is kind of for a project, though. Maybe." Phin puts the book down and extends his hand to Thales, for shaking purposes. He's a righty. "Lieutenant Phin McBride. I fly with the V-F Seven-Seven-Seven Viper squadron." His own accent has been sanded down to a kind of 'general Colonial,' but there are still traces of Scorpia drawl if one pays attention to those things.

Thales extends a hand to meet Phin's. He's got surgeon's hands, perhaps not surprisingly. But his shake is firm. "Pleasure, Lieutenant. What is it that you're looking up? I've got a lot of experience with research, as you might imagine." He motions to the books.

Phin's grip is firm as well but he doesn't try and pump too much. "Yeah, I'll bet. I was a history major back at the Academy, and the CAG wanted me to dig into Cylon strategy during the First War. See how they exploited certain colonies and if it might have any connection to what they're doing now. I'm not expecting to find much here, truth be told. I'm hoping some archives survived back on Picon what with all the…fire bombing, and stuff. But I figured it was easier to start checking here first."

"Hate to say, but the Cylons are smart enough to not use the same tactics they used in the first war," Thales frowns and tugs out another history book. He turns it over and reads the back. "But really, it can't hurt, right?" He glances towards Phin. "Have you heard anything else about what happened in the simulator? I don't like patching up people who weren't injured in a proper fight."

"Yeah, I mean, if it was a one-to-one thing somebody from Tactical would've noticed by now," Phin says. "That's not really what I'm figuring I'll hit on. But there might be patterns, or something that could be useful in figuring out what they're using certain spots for." As for the simulators, he frowns. "Yeah. I'm kind of not a fan of getting blown up, either. I heard they had Marines and some of the technicians investigating. I hope they'll find something soon. It had to be sabotage. One piece of equipment backfires, I mean, maybe. But two of them, during a major training exercise? Don't think so."

"I tend to agree," says Thales. His lips thin. "I'm rather glad I'm not investigating things. There would be a lot of pressure to at least figure out how, if not the why." He flips through the pages. "Have you get a head for tactics, then?"

Holtz arrives from the Recreation Hall.

"I hope Command's at least got the skinjobs under lock-down. I mean, I'm not one of those guys who's going to try to…" Phin shakes his head. "…but they are Cylons, and they've just been allowed to walk the ship and the planet for all this time and…I can't think of anybody else on board who'd try and do a thing like that." As for the question about tactics, he shrugs. "I kind of like…taking a step back and trying to figure out how things work, y'know? Why people are doing what they do, try and figure out how they might react to stuff. I think it's interesting." He's not far from the military history section of the library, but he's put his book down to chat with Thales.

"The tactic is terrorism. Which is a word that gets applied to something specific, but it has a broader meaning than that. The Cylons attacked us in a place where we thought we were safe. Where we simulated battle. That's psychological warfare." He presses a finger to his temple. "It provokes terror. Sews distrust."

As it happens, Holtz is here as well. He emerges from the fiction section with a couple battered paperbacks in hand. From the images on the covers — painted images of starscapes and space battle scenes — they look like historical fiction novels from twenty or thirty years ago, with much heavier emphasis on 'fiction' than 'historical'. When he exits the row and sees Phin and Thales nearby, however, he slows his step and after a moment's consideration, changes course to make his way towards the other two officers.

"Yeah." Phin nods at Thales' assessment of the attack. "That's what the models who look like us are designed to do, right? They're spies. Get behind the lines, blow up schools and buses and…training rooms and stuff." He spots Holtz emerging from one of the rows, raising a hand to give the Major a small palm open-palm close wave.

"If they simply came at us from the front, we'd unite. We'd close ranks. Human beings are tenacious creatures. We survive all sorts of things, if we have unity. You have to tip your hat to the evil brilliance of emulating us. It makes us afraid of our own shadows." Thales looks down at the book in his hand, but looks up when Phin waves. "Welcome to the depressing section of the library, Major." He cracks a dry, tight smile.

"Hate to say it, but part of me's a little surprised it took them this long," Holtz tacks on to the end of Phin's statement as he draws close. He sighs, his expression solemn as he quietly enters the conversation. Thales gets a nod. "Evenin', Doctor." At Thales' last, he grunts in forced amusement, looking down at his own choices for a moment. "Yeah, my own tastes run a little lighter, personally." He looks back up at the doctor. "Wanted to thank you, by the way. For patchin'… patchin' up me and my people as quick as you did."

"Hey, Storm," Phin offers to Holtz, once the man's within earshot. He echoes that statement to Thales with, "Yeah, thanks. Things would've been a lot worse if you and Petty Officer Leightner and the other medics hadn't gotten there so fast."

"Just doing my part. You fight, I patch. I wouldn't trade places. Couldn't. I bet a Viper'd snap me like a twig with the g-forces. Much to my dear mum's dismay." His surname, Thales, might ring a faint bell. His mother was a celebrated Viper pilot who went on to be an instructor until her retirement.

Holtz shrugs and nods along with Phin. "Even so." His mouth twists into a slight, thoughtful frown. "Your mum was that Attica Thales?" It does indeed seem to ring a slight bell for Holtz, having been a former instructor himself. "Thought the name sounded a bit familiar. Remember seein' her name on a couple plaques back at the flight school on Caprica. Small galaxy, yeah?"

"Your mom flew Viper stick?" Phin grins another very slight grin. "Nice. But, yeah, the g-forces are a bitch. Doctor Nadir compared medicine to combat to me once. Except, she said, she was fighting against death when she went into surgery."

"At least amongst you lot," says Thales. "That is my mother. The only thing that swayed her disappointment in my lack of interest in flying was the fact that I did have an interest in medicine." He tucks the book in his hand back on to the shelf. He thinks about Phin's analogy with a tilted head. "Wee-eelll, I suppose so. The difference being, the doctor isn't usually the one in mortal danger."

"Maybe not. But when you get right down to it, it's still fightin' for the lives of the people around you. Just in a different way," Holtz says with another slight shrug. "My dad was a steelworker on Tauron, at least before he got drafted into service during the war. He tried to point me towards it too, but all I could think about was gettin' the frak out of there." His eyes go distant for a moment as old memories come drifting back to the surface. "You're better off for followin' your own path, you ask me."

"I don't know about that. I mean, we're all on a battlestar. Hard to avoid it, even if you're not right on the flight line or something," Phin says. "Anyway, again, thanks." He doesn't add anything about his own family, save, "Yeah, I'm not exactly a legacy, either. I try not to hold it against the ones that are but…I figure you're better off doing what you're actually good at, not what you're mommy and daddy planned out for you."

"And we should all know that it's better to look forward and back. You boys are going to drive me to drink." Thales chuckles, but it's a rough and slightly humourless sound. He claps his hands together. "Stay distracted. That's the key, aye?"

"No one'd blame you for havin' a tot here and there, Doc," Holtz says with a thin smile. He leans against the shelf, crossing his arms loosely over his chest. "Especially in your line of work. Hell, all of us've seen some serious shit by now. So long as it don't get you too distracted, yeah?"

Phin chuckles. "Pretty much." Which seems to remind him of something. "Uh, Storm, I was thinking of heading down to the Tent City on Piraeus to do some…uh…trading and stuff the next time I was down on Piraeus. What do you think they'd take? Far as bartering goes."

"If you can find the tot. And the problem with this military business during a war? I could be called to a medical emergency at any moment." Though something in Thales' tone suggests that doesn't really stop him. "Trading? How are things down there, anyway? I haven't been."

"It's a battlestar, Doc. You can always find a tot if you look hard enough." Holtz speaks with the air of a man who knows such things for a certainty. "Trading and stuff?" he echoes at Phin a moment later with a sly expression. His chin juts out as he considers the question. "Folks were a bit rowdy at first, but they're gettin' settled. We're working on gettin' proper shelters up, but it's been slow going so far, and I dunno if it'll get much quicker, what with the shit's been going on up here the last few days." As for Phin's question… "Wouldn't bother with money or anything like that, if you've even got any left. They got the stuff they need, but there's never enough to go around. Tools, blankets, the stuff they can't easily grow or put together on their own, even alcohol or smokes… that oughta get you somewhere. Or even just an offer of two hands and a strong back for somethin' that needs doin', but I'd be careful about throwin' offers like that around were I you. Just don't let 'em skin you." He jabs a finger in the younger man's direction with mock seriousness. "For one thing, you'll drive up the prices for everyone else."

"Smokes'll work. I win them sometimes at Triad, don't really use them for anything but trading." Phin nods, picking up his book again. "Cool. Anyway. I should get this checked out. Log some rack time while I read. Good to see you out of Sickbay, Storm. Later, Doc. And thanks, again."

"Sounds like a wise man, Lieutenant. I'd listen to him if I were you," Thales wags a finger in Holtz' direction. "Also sounds like a man I need to make friends with. I haven't had a good tot in a long while. I barely count a half shot of batthub gin. And I am woefully unprepared for bartering." He nods towards Phin. "Stay out of my sickbay, all right?"

Holtz nods. "Good to be seen," he replies as the younger pilot moves off. Another cagey look crosses his features, this time aimed at the doctor. "Bathtub gin, huh? Now that brings back memories." Some of them not entirely pleasant, it seems. "Unofficially… I know there's at least one or two stills operating on the ship. Not strictly on the up and up, but I know one of the deckhands is an amateur chemist. His stuff burns like somethin' else on the way down, but at least it won't make you go blind." A short chuckle at that. "And of course there's the bar in Sheridan down on planet, but be damned if their stock's gonna last much longer. Pilots and marines drink like fish." Somehow, he doesn't seem surprised at all.

"Do my best," Phin says, as for staying out of Sickbay. And off he goes.

"Doctors do, too. We just don't tend to exist in great gaggles outside of hospitals," says Thales. "In the camp on Picon, we did something terribly sacreligious," he drawls. "We made gin with packets of sacred tea herbs. It actually wasn't bad, once you got used to it stripping a layer of mucus out of your throat."

"Yeah, well, Dionysus might have approved, at least." Holtz muses dryly. "When I was a specialist on the Triton, me and a few others built a still in an equipment closet just off the flight deck. Biggest mess of copper tubing and steel drums you ever saw, but it put out five gallons of firewater a day if the filters were clean, and on the plus side, it had only the faintest taste of tylium fuel." He smirks slightly. "Gotta use what you got, I guess."

"You've inspired me to look in to setting up one of my own. Or does the management of this boat look down on that?" Thales looks amused. His expressive eyebrows arch up high. "I never would have signed up if I knew it was going to be a dry cruise. Cruel and unusual, that."

Holtz's smirk widens minutely. "Officially, yeah, it ain't gonna get you in good odor with the brass, if they find out. But… they don't really look all that hard, either." He shrugs. "The admiral was a pilot himself, and the XO don't seem to care about much else besides fryin' toasters. They know how things go on a ship like this. So long as it doesn't turn into something they have to notice, they tend not to notice, know what I mean?"

"And if we were still in happier times, there would be a way to obtain spirits in a sanctioned manner," says Thales. He strokes his chin in an exaggeratedly thoughtful manner. "And who better to create siad spirits safely than someone with a solid grounding in chemistry?" He keeps the overly serious expression, but then winks and cracks a grin.

"You ain't kidding, Doc." Holtz matches Thales' grin with a thin smile, but his tone is entirely serious. "Some damnfool kids I knew back on Triton tried their hands at it — these four wet-behind-the-ears knuckledraggers straight out of A-school — and their first batch put 'em all in sickbay for three days. Had to get their stomachs pumped. One of 'em almost died." He allows himself a short, barking laugh. "They didn't try that again. Not on their own, anyway."

Thales pulls in air through his teeth. It creates a low whistling sound. "See, if I frakked up on making the hooch, I'd be the one who'd have to treat it. And I'm not much in the mood for overtime. Or I'd have another doctor treating me. And what they say about doctors being the worst patients is entirely, a hundred percent true."

"I dunno, Doc. I know a pilot or three on this ship what might give you a run for your money." From the slightly abashed look on his face, Holtz might just be referring to himself. He's always been a stubborn one. "But I guess you've seen all the tricks, huh? Probably know how to fake it better'n most, I'd wager. Course, so do all the other docs, too."

"We also diagnose ourselves and second-guess our colleagues' diagnosis and methods. We also do not sit still. Something my kind and yours have in common. I've always got a little knockout juice handy when treating pilots." Thales mimes a syringe.

"Yeah, well, pilots make awful backseat drivers," Holtz replies wryly. At the mention of sedatives, Holtz snorts in amusement. "Not the worst idea I've ever heard. But maybe you shouldn't have told me. I'm a bad enough patient already without knowing your secret ace in the hole. Or, so I've been told."

"Oh don't worry. I have tactics for dealing with your kind. Don't forget, I grew up with a pilot. I know how to lead the dance." Thales looks like he's amused, but it's hard for anyone to /truly/ be happy these days. It's a veil, bedside manner in a crisis. A mask that never quite comes down.

"Well, good. Sometimes we don't know what's good for us." He snorts again, but the amusement in the sound is hollow. His features haven't quite lost the solemn, almost grim cast they had when he'd joined Phin and the doctor. There's a slight sigh as he looks down, rapping his knuckles against the cover of one of the books he's picked out. "Well, Doc, I should probably be movin' along. See you around?" A pause. "And yeah, I'll try to stay out of your sickbay." It's a hollow promise made in jest more than anything else, though, and from the dry tone of his voice and the slight arch of his eyebrows, one he likely knows he won't be able to keep forever.

"I should, as well. I've got an early shift in the morning. I hate a full sickbay." Thales runs fingers back through his hair. "If you didn't see me around, I'd be worried. For meals and physicals if nothing else." Again, there's a forced smile that has everything to do with the circumstances and not current company. "Rest properly, aye? Don't make me come after you with a mallet."

"Won't argue. Don't think anyone on this boat likes a full sickbay." Holtz nods. "Don't worry. Sleep, at least, is somethin' I try not to argue with anymore." A final nod in the other man's direction. "Thanks again, Doc." He randomly thumps the book again as he turns away and heads for the exit.

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