MD #190: The Saddest Story I Know
The Saddest Story I Know
Summary: Emily and Atticus butt heads after the attack on Orion
Date: 16/10/2017
Related Logs: Picon PoWs
Emily Atticus 
Brig - Deck 3 - Battlestar Orion
The battlestar's brig is comprised of a line of four individual cells organized in separate walled-off bays. Each cell is six feet wide by eight feet long and possesses a bed and toilet. Whenever even one cell is occupied, so too is the metal desk and chair at the entrance hatch — and backup for the guard is never far away. Each cell has had their bars specifically reinforced to prevent a Line member from being able to gain access or escape. Brig rules are posted behind the desk on a white panel with blocked black lettering.

It's roughly three hours after the explosions stopped and the ship went back to Condition Two. Emily is still wearing her firefighting gear. Seems someone got her dressed at Condition One. Everything below her hips is soaked through with water. Above it, the higher parts are singed and burned on the arms, blood and cooked-gore spatter across her from lower left chest to right shoulder. The nomex headpiece is around her neck and there's a bloody cut long through her hair, on the right side of her head, that's been sutured but not totally cleaned. The rounded, open section of the fire headgear has left her with soot and flash burns across her eyes and she's missing part of her left eyebrow. Hearing her approach is easy since the shoes are still soaked with water. Squick. Squick. Squick. She walks straight to his cell and stops, staring in at him.

Atticus had been reading when all hell broke loose. He's still largely in the dark about what has happened, but at least the world appears to have stopped lurching violently about. He's unsettled, but not so much now as he was then, and at least does not seem to have come to any great harm in the process. As Emily squelches up he sat on his bunk, reading from the tablet he was given, but he does look up at the odd noise. There's clear concern for a moment, but he remembers that she's a traitor to everything he holds dear and his expression hardens. Sliding off the bunk and onto his feet he looks past Emily to the duty MP and calls, "I seem to recall that I'm allowed to refuse visitors?"

Emily stares at him while he lays on his bunk, reading. There's a building fury in her eyes, even as he stands. "Are you quite frakking comfortable?" she breathes angrily. She then rips off the nomex headpiece around her neck and throws it at him through the bars. "You! You are a piece of shit!" She isn't quite shouting, but he's never seen a Royal lose their cool like this before. "You are sitting in here all comfortable, reading your tablet, and good people are dying!" She has real, tangible anger there. "You are a Knight! At least you were! You sit in here like some pompous romper room and spew your hate for everything!" Yep, she's pissed. "Do you know how many people have died tonight, just to protect you?! Do you?!"

It's fair to say that Atticus is surprised by Emily's outburst, and it takes him a moment to recentre himself before he frowns back at her. "Tell me," he replies, more than a hint of reproach in his tone, "tell me exactly what I am expected to do from within these four walls. They're not exactly about to just unlock the door. And no, I do not know what has happened, or why, or who has come to harm. Again, these things are kept from me, by them. Strangely, they don't want their sworn enemy running around while they are vulnerable. But no, I do not think your new friends died to protect me. I think I'm entirety coincidental to the matter. You perhaps? Maybe, but no one would launch a fleet action for me. So tell me, did you come here for a purpose, or just to rant so you could feel better?"

Emily listens to all of it like a good noble would and she walks right up to the bars and grips them in both hands. "Yes, I came here for a purpose." Her eyes go thin as she stares at him through the bars. "I came to tell you something very important." There's venom in her eyes. "I will not revoke anything about your status with the family. You can hold your Knighthood, but it is officially a frakking joke. You-" A finger lifts off her grip to point to him, "-think that your survival is incidental. What joy you must consider with that. How the Metal has smiled upon you. Meanwhile people that give no fraks to your survival have fought and died to ensure that you are still breathing. If you really don't care about any of that, then please, do ME a favor and request a frakking airlock." She stares him down. "I have watched these people die for each other. Rich and poor. Names never given. It was purely to save each other. Together. I am wearing a Petty Officer's blood on me. They did not ask me, I requested nothing. I heard cries for help and I walked forward today. Tell me, Atticus, where were you?"

"As a traitor to House Benning it is nit for you to revoke anything," Atticus replies sternly, "that judgement I await from the King and Queen. That your actions likely leave them no choice seems to concern you little I notice though." He's scowling now. "You know exactly where I was. I was here, and they were not about to do anything to alter that, even if I'd asked. It makes no sense when you're at your weakest to let loose a foe into your damaged keep with your wounded. Think with your head, not your heart, if you are capable of that."

Her anger doesn't abate. "You're so correct," she gives him snidely. "You're right. Why would they possibly let an honorable man out of his chains? Yes, now I recall, because he is too tied up in his own self-worth to question himself." She clenches her jaw, still holding to her anger. "My actions?" She smiles darkly. "My actions." Her bloody gloves unwrap and rewrap on the bars. "The King and Queen give lipservice to help. Do you honestly think they give a shit about you unless you are loyal? You are a frakking prostitute. You are a sell-sword to the bidder that you feel the least like a whore about. Would you ever run into a burning home to save a peasant? …No, I already know your answer. But I remember a man that would. Years ago. He was a good man before I watched a Cleric touch him and ensure his loyalty." She stands off the bars and takes off the bloody gloves and searches for a pocket to put them in. It’s an awkward search before them find a breast pocket. "Your excuses are so pathetic. 'I was here. Waaah. They wouldn't let me out.' Of course they wouldn't. You are a coward. You will not let them free your mind. Meanwhile your kept Lady, who you are sworn to protect, was in battle with fire. You may still hold title of Knight but you hold nothing to the meaning. You have forgotten your bravery and integrity and traded it for blind loyalty. You are disgusting."

"Free my mind?" Atticus replies incredulously, "I won't let them destroy it. Is that what you would have me do? Stand by and let our enemies kill me? Erase who I am and rebuild me in their own twisted image out of their adulation for my father?" He looks angry now, and his voice rises. "No. They are the enemy. My enemy, your enemy, the enemy of our very civilisation. If this ship were destroyed it would be a victory! It could no longer threaten our peace, threaten to return us to the dark days of war and tyranny. Would I run into a burning building? Maybe, if there was a chance at saving one of ours. Would I betray our people by aiding our enemy? No. These people are our greatest threat, and if they die, we prosper. If I die too, in the process… well so be it. Such is war. It is far better for them to die out here though, while our own are safe. You might have turned your back on the truth, but I will continue to hold to it. Their clerics will not alter me to their whim."

"I would say the irony brings humor, but it only brings contempt. You did not seem to view it as killing anyone when you were describing to me how it is my duty to undergo such an act for something as simple as marriage. But when it applies you, it is 'killing you' — based on the supposition that they would destroy you." Knuckles turn white as she grips the bars. "You have no idea what an enemy is. You have no idea what its like to fight for anything other than yourself. You fight for House Benning but only to fulfil your desire to please the King at any cost. Tell me, would you snap the neck of a child if the King ordered you to? An innocent child. How about five? How about twenty? …How about your own? At what point is that safety, or is that terror upon our people?" She narrows her eyes at him. "And if you don't think I could strip you of your Knighthood right now, then test me. I beg you, test me. The worst part for you will be knowing that you just cannot help but listen because you are a slave. The worst part for me will be the waste of breath."

"See what as killing you?" Atticus shoots back, "allowing a holy man to ready you for marriage? No, I don't see that as killing you, not like giving your enemies free run of your mind to alter as they like. All I've heard since I woke up on this ship is how much they all loved my father, how they wish I was like him. Is that what you want now too? To turn me into a tyrant, like he was?" It's hard not to advance on her, to close that gap and commit violence, but he's managing it for now. "I fight for House Benning because their cause is just, because the Machines have ordained them, and because they took me in despite my family. If you have truly turned you back on everything we hold dear, then you are nothing to me anymore, and I will report your treason to King Kendrick once I am returned." Looking away from Emily, towards the guard at the desk he calls over to them, "this visit is over, and I refuse any from this traitor in future."

"You're the saddest story I know, Atticus. All you had to do was reach out and take someone's hand. You're never going home. You're probably going to be dropped on a planet all alone. You'll die alone. And nobody in Benning will ever remember you. I don't know your father and frankly I don't care, but I've met no tyrants aboard this ship except you. Congratulations on family legacy." Lady Emily doesn't look like she's going anywhere. "Turned my back on them?" Her eye twitches in anger even as the MP approaches. "You realize that if I wanted to see you all I have to do is commit a crime and they will place me back in here. But a sense of DUTY to people I don't even know? Shall keep me from it. While your own, to people you do not even know, keeps you in here." The MP begins peeling her off the bars and pulling her back, though its slow. The MP is probably enjoying listening to Emily rage. "My birth name is Emily Romo, you bastard. My mother's name is Kelly Romo. Your Queen's real name is Kelly Romo. She is the daughter of a Colonial Marine. The Clerics killed her in front of me and made her Madilyn!" The MP is casually walking her away while Emily calls over her shoulder, "They turned her against her own child! Why? Who are the tyrants, Atticus?! You are your father!"

"I will be returned," Atticus throws back, harshly. The alternative? Well, it's is actually quite literally to horrific to consider. He is loyal, he will serve. End of. "And I will face the judgement of the King and Queen. I will not let those who would destroy us destroy me. I see now that you were weak, but I am strong. I will remain true, even if you have crumbled so soon." There's contempt in his voice, but then she brings up his father and the reply comes back rapidly, "my father was a tyrant! I am not him, and I have House Benning to thank for that. The Queen is not your birth mother, you were adopted. Do you think me fool enough to not even know that! Everyone knows that, same as everyone will know the extent of your gratitude when I return." Yep, definitely going back. Definitely. No other option. And he keeps telling himself that as he turns his back on her and walks the few short paces to his bunk once more.

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