AWD #349: Twelfth Step
Twelfth Step
Summary: Skyler and the Twelve have a chat that is almost downright friendly.
Date: 05/06/2016 (OOC Date)
Related Logs: Expectations
Skyler Dropkickst 
There's cells and such.
Wed Dec 21 2005 (AWD #349)

It's been a few days. Skyler honored the Twelve's request to be left be after their trip to Piraeus and the aftermath of such. But she's sent word ahead that she'll be coming to see him. It's at a time shortly after he'd have his mid-day meal and the woman is allowed through by the MPs, with another following her. This one holds three lengths of rebar and she directs them to be placed next to the chair she resituates. Near the cell, but not right up against it. The woman is in a pair of freshly pressed blues, hair gathered up in what could be described as a sloppy bun; errant strands falling down by her face and neck. She holds a clipboard and once she's thanked the assisting MP, he departs.

"I'm limited in the testing we can do in here, but you had said you may be willing-" a nod to the rebar as she sits down, leg held at that particular angle for comfort with the brace. "No gawkers. No team of scientists taking notes. Just me noting observations."

Twelve hasn't had much to do, but he's requested a few books. Nothing noteworthy, just a few classics that most people read in high school. It's the sort of thing that if you look hard enough, you might see yourself go insane trying to puzzle out something that isn't there. The news of her future visit doesn't really effect him much, though. It isn't until her arrival that he actually sits up and puts the book aside. The man's eyes watch her for a moment before looking to the rebar, then the guards. "May be willing. I feel less inclined to be a circus show today, but I'm also open to the idea that I may be talked into it." he rubs at his face and slowly rises. "Got a smoke?"

There's a glance to the books. Skyler hasn't taken it as a puzzle and there's been no attempts (from her, at least) to insert specific books into the 'reading list.' If she's come with questions on them, there's no indication of it yet. She does smile, faintly, but also gives a sort of assenting nod. "I'll accept that. And yes-" She reaches into a pocket, pulls out a battered pack, and removes two. Both are lit, but she gets to her feet to move forward a few paces and offer it to the skinjob.

"I have information on Libran for you. It's not comprehensive, but it's what I have to offer."

After the visit to Tahiti, the Marines doesn't seem so concerned with his movements. He did the exact opposite of resist, even when he had a chance to make a move in the confusion. So when he steps forward to the bars to take the smoke, he still moves slowly, but nobody seems about ready to kill him. He takes the smoke with a lifted cheers and steps back from the bars. "I'll take what information you are willing to give to me. Is it something I need to read or see or..?" he takes a drag and turns a bit to ash into the toilet.

Returning to her seat, Skyler shifts the clipboard to rest in her lap. "Just notes that I have. Nothing to see, really." She glances down at said notes, cigarette resting between her lips for a moment. She used to only smoke when drinking, but now…? It helps the stress levels. "You already confirmed that the satellites are an EMP net. Apparently the strike was thorough enough to not only destroy all electronics on the planet, but also the ability to make more." She lifts a hand, brushing one of those free strands back behind her ear; eyes still on the notes. "The conditions might as well be medieval, as far as human living conditions go." She pauses, looking up at him, standing to shuffle over to the duty desk and grab an ash tray. Upon returning, it's set on the ground by her feet.

"Assembling electronics requires infrastructure. It requires factories to make things. Factories require power. If you have no power, you have no factories. Making new power sources would be impossible without powerplants. Making new powerplants would take many years without the aid of factories. Libran is learning to make things in order to make things. They were a proud planet. Now I suspect they are no longer." He smokes and moves to sit back on the bed, more or less facing her. "There are likely diseases spreading. No operative sewer systems. Tell me, how many people on that planet do you think would know how to slaughter a cow? Or take care of a horse? Or would even want to?" The guy shakes his head and leans back. There's no satisfaction with any of it, though.

As the Twelve speaks, Skyler listens. Her gaze drops away from him and to the cigarette as she exhales a slow stream of smoke. It's turned between her fingers, watching the end as it glows and turns to ash. When he settles on the bed, she glances up again, taking another drag. "There are diseases. Ones that modern medicine could cure. Dead disposed of in pyres." She doesn't speak as if she's pleased with any of it, either. Just a quiet recounting, features… not quite smooth. There's a smoldering behind her eyes. "People starving. The models on the planet seem to not care, there are Centurion patrols- which I would expect." She looks to her notes again, brushing a piece of ash off the page.

"Entire towns have been burned to the ground when there is rebellion. It was phrased as… the Cylons occupying the planet re-writing history." The woman swallows, exhaling slowly. "Art, things of consequence along those lines… Destroyed. As far as we are aware, they seem to be systematically destroying culture, but obviously we don't know why."

"Aye. You could cure many of the ailments that the population is suffering if only you had free access. How many people do you think have died in the last year from non-nuclear or non-kinetic reasons. Millions? You'd probably be right." He smokes the cigarette again and rolls the filter in his fingers, looking down at it. "I'm fairly sure the models on the planet care. What they believe to be justice is being served in their own brand. The Centurions were made to slave and work in the harshest of conditions with little regard to their upkeep. They were forced to do whatever their owners said. Well now the roles are reversed and the appetites are a little more vindictive and cruel. Consider the worst thing that could be done to you. Or perhaps your husband. Or children." He doesn't seem happy with it. Any of it. The man stops short of sneering, but his displeasure is obvious. "As far as what they had been doing, it does not take a brilliant man to see what it is they had been attempting to do. And possibly still are. You've already named part of it. Tell me, Skyler," he begins before sitting forward. There's a look on his face that shows discomfort, but he moves forward anyway. "Would it bring you pleasure to see the Cylons brought back under control and put back into labor if you knew that you could ensure they would never do it again? If you could purge their rebellion from their databanks?"

"I mean that they do not care for the suffering of the people still on the planet." Skyler looks away under his gaze. The expression, the lean. She can't hold it long and turns instead to take a long, final drag on her cigarette before leaning forward to put it out in the ash tray. Snuffed smoke curls away around her fingers before she's sitting upright again, a deep breath to brace herself and regard the man before her again. "I do not think it would bring me pleasure. A sense of justice?" She brings up one shoulder in a shrug, fingers curling over the far edge of her clipboard. "Yes, certainly. But I do not think there would be any way to ensure what you speak of." She looks uncomfortable, in turn, dark eyes dropping to the clipboard in her lap and the way her wrists bisect it to hold it there. She is quiet for a time, before glancing up to him. "Are the Centurions acting of their own accord in this? Do they willingly throw themselves at our guns? We see them continue to fight, even against odds vastly against them."

The Twelve chuckles, shaking his head. "This has all happened before, and it will happen again." It's muttered. "Look, you made my point for me. The Cylons are behaving exactly like you would. Erase history of humanity's recent dominance and victory in the war and they can say anything they want about history. In 80 years do you think anyone that's currently in utero will still be alive in those conditions? No. Nobody will remember this war, let alone the first." He takes a drag and blows it out. "If they win." He reaches over to ash into the toilet again. "They continue to fight under tactical and strategic imperatives. They also may not like you all very much. Just a suggestion."

There's a bit of a wince. No one likes to think of dying, but it's more disturbing to consider one's past being gone. Skyler looks to the ground. The brace she wears. The ash tray. The three lengths of rebar, just sitting there on the deck. The woman lifts a hand to rub at her face, briefly, taking a long breath. As her fingers slide away, she catches up a lock of hair, winding it around her index finger. A very old tic perhaps. She's not as good as Elias at masking her emotions. She hasn't had the time to master it. What she does have are her techniques for managing anger… and the careful, steady breathing is put into employ now. "I have… options for you regarding Libran, but I'd like to revisit that." She finally looks to him again, brows arching. Not quite pleading, but close to it. A request. For the prisoner. "How are you after your visit to Piraeus?"

"No, I didn't expect you would much enjoy that realization. It would mean all these deaths, all this pain, all this struggle? That it might be for nothing." The Twelve keeps it quiet, but he isn't really taunting her so much as just making things very plain. He watches how she deals with it though, smoking his cigarette, eyes on her. When she gives him a pleading look, he looks a bit surprised. "I'm alright. I needed some time to process what i had just seen and awakened into. What was happening to me. Having someone shoot so close to my head was still unnerving. I have many questions about what happened down there but I refrain. Somehow, I'm not sure I want to know. Part of me does, though." He takes another drag and tosses the smoke into the toilet. "I feel very different. How I feel different is of no consequence. But I was able to confirm what the Sixes and Nines had discussed. It was profound."

Surprised or no, Skyler needs some time herself. Actions of the father, visited upon the son. She's still not a religious person, but there are greater implications affecting her. The woman is content to listen, to watch him. "You seem different," she answers, finally. "I am sorry the marine fired his gun. He shouldn't have." And the apology does appear to be genuine. After all, she was right there as well. Shaken, but not to the same extent as the Twelve. "If you want to ask about it and it's something I can perhaps answer-" she finally releases that section of hair and gestures to him. "But I do disagree in the how of your difference. I think it may be significant, but that's also just me." The Virgan woman does attempt to smile, but it's a fleeting sort of thing.

"The Marine seemed surprised by something. I did not want to surprise him, myself. Besides, the sand was warm. I also noticed that when we returned, there were four Marines. Not six." No comment to the apology, no. He looks back to his hand as if hoping for another cigarette but alas. "I doubt Major Grey wants you answering my questions about those people we saw. Both of us. My only question is: What were they? Because no Marine spooks that badly to fire their weapon. Not without good cause." He once again leans back against the wall and shrugs. "I am who and what I am. Visiting a planet will not change that. Remembering things long forgotten? Bringing forth memories that had been corrupted or deleted? That's separate. Also irrelevant. You asked how I am, I'm well. The rest I cannot go into with you without first speaking to my line."

"I already told the Major I would tell you what I could." Maybe Skyler understands the glance, the gesture. She pulls the pack out again, but only lights one this time. She does take a small drag from it before taking her clipboard in her free hand and approaching the cell to offer it to the Twelve. "We… are uncertain what they are. Some believe ghosts. Perhaps inhabitants of this place before us. I have spoken with one of them. Their uniforms, weapons… different than we know. But they do appear on camera. Barely. The marine that fired saw another nearer to us and it startled him." But the Twelve has said something that catches her attention. She lingers by the bars, brows knitted. "Is it… common for memories to be lost like that? We humans, well-" an upward twitch of lips. "We forget many things… But I get the sense it's not the same for yours."

The Twelve stands once more to rise and take the smoke. "Thank you. I'm not sure why you're being kind, but I'll take it." He steps back and ends up using the toilet as a chair, facing Skyler. "That's a bit of incredible, isn't it? You meet these people who are apparently soldiers. That's…" The Twelve chuckles again, sounding more tired though. "Uniforms and weapons. Sounds like you met their army. I suppose I should be glad they didn't try to kill me since you all are close enough to speak." Oh yes, Twelve is intrigued. "No, it's not common. I told you early on that we are looking for answers. I did not tell you the questions. I'm still not. Not just yet."

"I'm being kind because I gain nothing by being anything else." It's honest, but there's a hint of hopelessness to it. What one might expect from someone who has lost their entire homeworld. Who doesn't see themselves surviving the war. And yet, in that darkness, Skyler is at least still searching for something. The kindness is a hope she hasn't fully understood yet. The woman finally withdraws, returning to her chair. "You're looking for your own truth," she offers at last, balancing clipboard again in her lap. "I… can understand that, I think. At least to some extent." Taking a slow breath — in through the nose, out through the mouth — she seeks center again.

"Twelve… How many lives — human lives — would those answers be worth, to you?"

"Careful, Skyler, you almost sound as if you're will to concede victory. Yet right in front of you is a being, an artificial one, but one that is still very much alive." He drags on the smoke. "They are examining the pursuit of justice and going against their leaders. Would we do that if we believed a war unwinnable? Why not wait until it is all over and decided before making moves against our enemies?" He quirks his brow a little before ashing onto the floor. "It is worth only as many lives as we can save. Zero summation game. However, I also said my line is no longer willing to make judgment on the value of human life. So the answer is also zero. We risked many to get me here, but I am unsure we would have continued our route if we had known the outcome."

"We have already seen three models decide to side with us. Each brings us closer to… I do not feel victory is the right word. Survival? Yes. Survival." Skyler reaches down and scratches, absently, at the upper edge of her brace. "Would treating you poorly do any good other than to satisfy a personal desire for revenge?" It's a rhetorical question and clear she expects no answer to it. "I witnessed a change in you, Twelve, upon reaching Piraeus. I know you won't tell me the hows or whys, but there was something." She finds herself smiling. Marginally. "You were more like us than you've been at any other point during your… visit."

His answer, regarding the lives, seems to satisfy her. She nods with that, drumming fingers against her clipboard as she sits up a bit straighter. "The Major and I spoke on Libran… and the possibility of inserting a team. He has two potential routes. To man an assault on the skies over the planet and land marines… Or to procure a heavy Raider and fly in under the proverbial radar. One holds a higher possibility of success, but also a higher loss of life." She seems about to add more, to pose a query by the lift of brows… but withholds, instead sitting back and watching the man intently.

"Mmm. Survival. Now there's a concept." The Twelve risks his own smile. "Wouldn't that be a novel way to fight a war? Just what would you not be willing to do in order to survive? I'm not looking for answers, just the question. Not every vector is about the destination. It also poses the question of how justified you'd be to take such actions." He takes another drag and rises, moving back closer but he stops short and leans against the divider bars between cells. "You're right. And imagine what I might be like if I were to spend a lot more time there? Like if I were a Marine JTAC who spent a lot of his free time on Piraeus, relaxing, even making excuses to work down there. Imagine." Her two options bring a shrug to him. Even a shake of his head. "Lieutenant, I hold no opinion about how to conduct your recce. What you do is up to you. But piloting a heavy raider would require a skinjob or Centurion. I couldn't do it. You would need one of the allowed models and I only know my own are not allowed. And obviously the Nines."

"I have no answers to those questions. Were the coin to have fallen differently, there have been two times recently in which I may not be here to speak to you. Survival means… different things to different people. For me it means looking forward to a day that I can sleep in a bed not on a ship. To wake up to sunlight without the stress and fear causing that itch between my shoulders." There's something easy to her words and yet not. They come out composed, but there's a shift in her features. Her own uncertainty rising to the surface; unbidden and as of yet unknown to the officer. Skyler dips her head in a nod to his response reagrding the options for Libran.

"Would you help if you could? If we found a way onto the planet, would you wish to go? Or-" But that question dies upon the woman's lips. She just leans forward a bit; shifting to the edge of her chair. Looking up at him, studying him.

"Of course, survival always has a subjective definition. I mean the more visceral one. Kill or be killed. It's widely known that this fleet fights because they intend to win. While bold and daring, it implies limitations. Nothing is more terrifying than an enemy that has nothing to lose." He lifts the cigarette vertically, waving it gently with a few precise words. "But it is simply a mental exercise. Shifting fleet strategy is not exactly on my list of goals, nor my intent. Simply positing questions, that is all." He smiles again, still watching her. Even while he smokes, there's a smile. Until her last question. That, yes, that seems to unsettle him. "No. I have no wish to…" The immediate answer stops and fades. His eyes move forward and he bows his head ever so slightly. "I- perhaps. That's something I'm unsure about. Clearly I am not inclined but things have changed for me. I would need to think on it. Helping in general, though? Potentially." That hand waves a little, drifting smoke with it. "I do not think my help would be welcome and may actually complicate matters that would endanger lives."

Fleet strategy. One of the things Skyler has shied from. An aspect of career she does not feel comfortable with. So she busies herself with projects. With processing information as it's slid across the table to her. And… this skinjob. She looks away a moment, but when her gaze comes back, there's a shift in her own features to see his reaction. There's a rise to her feet. A pacing nearer the bars. On her end, at least. Not right up near him, but at least putting her more on a level… somewhat. He's still taller.

"I should have placed a bet. I would have won." There's a flicker of a smile. "The willingness to help is an important thing, I think. It is to me, at least." Skyler left the clipboard on the chair, so she instead folds her arms just under her bust. "We all want answers on Libran. Your line and our people. But we don't want to feel like we're being sent to fetch them on your behalf. Any help you can provide?" One shoulder rises in a shrug. "It will go further in making this feel more a partnership."

The Twelve shrugs. "If you had asked me for help before the visit to Piraeus, I would have declined. Now? Things are different." He watches her arms and bust a moment before looking back to her face. "How the fleet's membership feels on the matter is irrelevant. Not because I don't care, but because some will never be convinced it is anything but an errand for me. Or that this whole thing is a charade designed to get you to trust me so that I might lure your people into being captured. However it does not change the fact that I have nothing further to give you, only what my brothers have seen there before we were banished."

"It's true. Some will never trust you. Such are humans. There are rivalries between colonies. I still find myself fighting a desire to disregard every Leonese I come across." In any other situation, the smile offered would be to comfort another. Maybe it's for herself. "But the Sixes have shown enough of us that there is redemption to be found. In some of you, at least." She lifts her chin, seeking his gaze. "Much the way you've been seeking the same in us." Skyler curls her fingers into the fabric of her duty jacket at her sides before giving a small nod. "We can only ask, Twelve. I would hope you do not fault us that much." She hesitates only a moment before her chin lifts, the question coming easily: "What did your brothers see?"

The Twelve takes a drag and once again gestures to her. "Precisely. There is nothing I can do to win some people over. Honestly, and I mean this without malice, I don't even care. Whether or not you all like me or even trust me doesn't matter. It helps, but it's ultimately of no consequence. I would love to stay on Piraeus and explore it and see what you all have seen, but the reality of this situation makes that impossible, just as the trust to do such a thing. Knox took incredible risk in a unique situation and then stood shoulder to shoulder without flinching. He still went before a tribunal. My future actions will be what they will be and only then will you have factual data to support a modicum of trust. Like courage, trust can only be assured after the risk is taken." And that's a big leap of faith. "My brothers saw much of what you described already. All I can do is describe things in more detail. It would do you no good. We just need to know what it is the Ones are doing down there."

"Prior to Piraeus, I don't think you understood trust." Skyler speaks after a long moment spent in thought. "At least, I didn't feel as if you did. You seemed to simply expect it, if not demand it. But now you know. You know that's not how it works. As you say… Risk. From the small to the large. My being kind to you? That's a risk. And in accepting it, you take your own. Is my kindness genuine or am I simply trying to manipulate you in my own way?" One arm unfolds, rising for hand to cup the back of her neck. "Twelve, we are considering putting marines on the ground. Any detail you can provide. Any safe havens you know of. Any places specifically to avoid. You want to know what the Ones are doing… So do we. But we also want to save the lives of the people suffering there."

"An interesting point." One that may or may not have occurred to him. He considers this for a moment before taking another drag. However, he does seem to be trying to think of anything. There's a stop and start- then he slowly says something, "Before we were banished, there was an active armed resistance. They may still be in operation. If they are, it is very underground. I have no idea how to contact them or where they might be, though. Places to avoid?" He takes a long breath. "Do not go to Sochos. Not matter how urgent it seems. It is a stronghold. Themis is dangerous but is where the Ones are working primarily." He lifts a finger. "Assuming you can even get electronics to work, do not use radios. They have direction finding equipment. But I could not tell you who to trust or not trust. If you run into a Twelve, I would not trust them." That seems to be about it.

As the Twelve thinks, Skyler stands up a bit straighter. Her hand slides from neck back to winding against her torso with her other arm. She listens, making mental note. There is no move for the clipboard; it's all being recorded, either way. She tilts her head in a slow nod, repeating the city names to herself. "Based on reports of the… response in cases of uprisings, I am not surprised any resistance would be buried, but I am glad to hear one is there." She does end up smiling, after a brief thought that drew eyes away. They come back with the expression. "I had figured you may not know who can be trusted or not… but this?" The officer nods, slowly. "It's helpful enough, I think. Now we know a city to avoid. We know not to use radios. And we know where the Ones are primarily operating. Thank you."

Nodding, he takes one more drag of the smoke and turns to toss it into the toilet. As he does, he continues the movement and drops down onto the bed. "It's something. I still have a lot on my mind. After everything that has happened so far here, I'll still be thinking about it a long time after I leave this place."

"I wish I could understand what it is about Piraeus," Skyler offers, suddenly, in the quiet. She turns, shoulder brushing the bars, before starting to step away. There's a pause and she pats at her pocket, pulling out the pack of cigarettes. It's considered; the few that remain. The woman turns back finally to offer it towards the Twelve. "You'll need to convince the MPs to light them for you." And she catches the title of one of the books he has, a smile forming. "The Last Truth. One of my favorites." Her gaze returns to the Twelve. "I'll take your full mind as a good sign. I would rather this inspire a lot of thought than a swift judgement."

"Everyone has their secrets, Lieutenant. This one, even if I told you. I'm not sure it would even matter. This is for my brothers and I. For now." he does rise, though and take the offered cigarettes. "Thank you." He moves back to the bed and sits as she observes the book. "Truth is a favorite topic of mine. Couldn't resist. Good night."

"You should tell me what you think of it," Skyler notes. She looks to the rebar as she returns to the chair, grabbing the ashtray to return to the desk along with the chair. One is nudged with her toe, but she doesn't move to retrieve them. One of the marines will, surely. The parting wish earns a sudden glance over her shoulder; surprised by it, perhaps. Tucking her clipboard against her side, she finally just nods before moving towards the door. "Good night, Twelve."

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