PWD #31: The Hard Choices
The Hard Choices
Summary: Admiral Jameson summons Richard Duke for a quick discussion on recent events.
Date: 05/Dec/2012 (OOC Date)
Related Logs: All logs related to the Reese
Duke Jameson 
Jameson's Office
To be added
December 05, 2004 (PWD #31)

When the hatch opens, Jameson is visible back at his desk. He's reading over some kind of report with his head lifted slightly while he peers low at it. The guy will probably need glasses here before long — the bane of any pilot. He's in his blues withthe jacket unbuttoned down the front and the man looks rather relaxed. For all the reasons to be called here, at least this one was expected and he doesn't seem to be angry or anything. "Cap'n. Haul your ass on over here," he calls, gesturing high with his hand as he looks to the man, "-and plunk it down in a chair. Don't," it turns to a dismissive wave, "-bother with saluting or reporting. You're cleared to land." He glances back to the paper to finish reading while Duke covers the distance.

Duke's hand was already lifting to complete a salute but he stops himself and nods in silence. The Viper Pilot turns around, closing the door and then walking towards the desk where the Admiral is. He is also wearing his Duty Blue's, however, no buttons are undone. "Admiral" offers the man as a way of greeting before he takes a seat on one of the chairs in front Jameson's desk, immediately shifting to make himself comfortable. Now, and for brief seconds, he lets his gaze wonder around the place, or at least in the vicinity that his peripheral can cover "You wanted to see me, sir?" asks the Captain, asking pretty much the obvious at this point in time. He was called here after all.

"Yeaaah," Jameson breathes as he sets the paper down. A fountain pen is taken up and he brisks a signature across the bottom before tossing the memo up into an Out box. He settles back in the chair and pinches the bridge of his nose for a moment and then looks back to Duke as the hand falls away. "Alright son, I wanted to talk over that shoot-down with you. I'm not going to talk to Cole about this because Cole isn't a Captain and he wasn't the flight lead. I'll leave it up to you what you want to say to him." Boots cross below the desk as he narrows his gaze back at the Viper Captain. "That paper I showed you wasn't bullshit. You know as much as I do, but at no time did it give me specific orders to sink or destroy the Reese. As you climb the ladder, you need to cover your ass and look for this. There's a lot of people in the fleet who want political careers who will pass the buck so something unsightly doesn't fall at their feet. Don't hitch your horse to those people, Captain. They're afraid of making the hard calls and probably have gelatin for guts. Shoot 'em and they wiggle and sweat everywhere." He's not laughing. "I'm taking full responsibility for the shoot-down and will be making a note of it in the file. I'll be including a copy of your AAR to Admiral Loytrall and he will read it personally so make sure its perfect." He sits forward then, scooting closer to the desk. Hands clasp on the table in front of him. "Don't bullshit me, son. Don't make things up or try and tell me what you think I or someone else might want to hear." A pause. "How do you feel about the shoot-down?"

The Captain remains in complete silence as he listens to Jameson speak those words, and his eyes are completely focused on him. It is only when Jameson speaks those last words that he starts formulating his answer in the back of his mind, not because he is going to lie about things, but because the content is important. "Sir, the shoot-down of a Colonial ship…" he stops himself for a second and rearranges his words "…This is the first time I have to do something like this, I think it is safe to assume that shooting down a Colonial ship can form a knot in anyone's stomach right before doing it." He takes a deep breath and says "I believe it would have been incredibly harder to do if the ship's crew was there…but then it turns into a matter of survival. If that ship crossed the line, then the loss of lives would have been far greater" He licks his lips and nods his head "Crossing the line would have, potentially, caused a war with the Cylons…and we lost too much already in the last one."

Jameson might be old but those eyes still have the power of diamond-tipped drillbits. He stares back at Duke and doesn't even seem to breathe until the Captain finishes. "Uh huh." The Admiral lets the silence linger for a couple heartbeats as he continues to look right at (and potentially through) the Viper pilot. "That's what I'm looking for. Son, you've got promise and the capability to go high in the Navy. If you want it. This incident will either marr your record to those up high or it will make your career. How you handle it and how its interpreted will be dependent upon your mindset. Using your head like that will get you places. You've got enough experience and time in the seat to stop thinking tactically and start thinking strategically. Hitting the Reese like that absolutely was the correct thing to do, but we destroyed evidence in the process. Its a shame would couldn't scare up more than shrugged shoulders. So, here's what's likely to happen." He taps a finger lightly to the desktop twice. "You destroyed evidence that could have been proof for a declaration of war. But you did it in order to prevent a war. Son, I'm proud of you. That's why I'm taking the fallout for this. Its likely I'll have to appear in front of a board of inquiry. I mighteven be dismissed for issuing that order. However, they will probably want you to appear as a witness. Should that be the case, you will cooperate fully with any investigation. How you answer is your own choice, but you've got my orders to stand tall and prove the uniform. I've seen incidents like this before. You'll be free of any concern, son. Just be aware of what /may/ come down the pipeline. Understood?"

Richard Duke doesn't falter as he feels Jameson's gaze on himself and remains in silence, taking in the words of the Admiral. At the end, he takes a deep breath, nodding his head slowly. "I believe what was done to be the right thing to do, Sir. Evidence means shit…" he stops "…pardon me. Evidence means nothing if it comes at a very high price, and that would have been a very, very high price." He remembers the tales from his father, how Aerilon was hit by the war, how so many lives where lost. "Sir, if I may." adds the man, nodding his head "I know I will probably stand witness, but I would like to share the fallout with you, sir. As it stands, I did pull the trigger on top of the most vulnerable spot, and I ordered my wingman to do the same" Yes, of course they were following the Admiral's orders but still. "And how I will answer the questions during their investigation? Just like I did, sir. I do not regret my actions."

Jameson doesn't even blink at the curse. He just listens and at the end he shakes his head. "Sorry, son. This one is on me. You executed the mission with precision and without hesitation. There's nothing more that could have been asked of you. Besides, this is my last cruise. I'm retiring at the end of this eighteen months and heading back to my ranch. They can't do much to me except hasten the pace for me to get back to ridin my horses." He smirks a little, but the expression is dry. "But good. Stand tall. You did the right thing. They might try to put some doubt in your mind about it, but that's a load of manure. For now we are going to proceed as normal. They'll probably ask you if we discussed the case beforehand. The answer, /always/, is 'No, sir'. As it stands, as far as we know, there is no case at the moment and this is purely a debrief. Postulating hypotheticals is just a mental exercise and review." He leans back in the chair. "Before anything else happens, I'm placing a letter of commendation in your file. I'll get the CAG to sign it as well. That'll help secure your standing with the incident. Future CAGs and ship commanders know how to read between the lines with inquiry boards. It'll keep you clear, son." Another small pause. "Any questions?"

Duke knows when not to push on a specific topic, so he will leave it at that. Eventually, he just shakes his head and offers "They can try to plant doubt as much as they want, sir." They are not going to be finding any success in that area. When Jameson covers the part of 'The answer is /always/ 'No, sir.' Duke just nods his head in understanding, signalling that this is pretty much what he is going to be saying. When the Admiral mentions the letter of commendation, Duke nods his head and offers "Thank you, sir." And that's about it on that matter. As for having other questions? "No, Sir. No questions on this matter." He licks his lips and offers "I do however…I find something odd, about that ship, well, about what was reported of course. Nobody there, only clothes laying around, covered in…something" He doesn't know what that something is "But I understand that there was someone dead by gunshot? Isn't that, odd?"

Jameson looks right back at Duke at the last question and nods once, verrrry slowly. "That's the truth. Never found out anything more about that individual. Just looked like a dead body slumped over a rifle. One person believes it was a suicide. There was also apparently someone on the deck who was still with it long enough to fire off several hundred rounds from a Raptor loaded down with miniguns. We've got little else. Medical is still chewing on the results, I guess. That's about all I can confirm at this time." The man slowly rises from his seat. "Don't think too hard on it. We're at armistice. That just means we aren't officially fighting. Doesn't mean the war is over, Captain."

Now, it's Duke's turn to stand up, and so, he does. Truth be told, it is a pretty odd situation, at least from his point of view. Why suicide? Why not try to find a way to escape? He just nods his head and offers "It never is, sir…that is why the saying 'The calm before the storm' can be a bitch" With that said and with both men now standing, Duke asks "Would that be all, Admiral?" And now, he takes a brief moment to scan a little bit more of the area, call him curious if you will.

The Admiral nods slowly. "Remember that. We aren't done fighting, Captain. One day it'll come to blows again. I was flying the day the treaty was signed. They just stopped firing and ran off. Took all their gear. What will make all the difference is how hard and well you've trained. Be prepared. One day when you've got your own Command you'll understand better, but for now just remember it. We both are pretty sure what happened out there. Like in the cockpit, trust your gut, Cap." He gestures to the door. "That'll be all, son." Dismissed.

As scary as it sounds, the truth remains clear; nothing prevents the Cylons from coming back, just like nothing prevents humans from trying to engage in war again. When he is dismissed, Duke throws a salute and says "Will do, Sir" That is, remember that it is never over. He takes a step back and then turns around, finally making his way towards the exit. It could be said that the sense of alarm is growing in people's minds, and the uneasy feeling will crowd them for the days to come.

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