MD #099: Ubi concordia ibi victoria

"Where there is unity, there is the victory." - Publius Syrus

MD #099: Ubi concordia ibi victoria
Summary: The Stone family gathers in Sam's office to discuss current conditions, the passage of time, and the reality of all those that have been left behind.
Date: Sun 16/Jul/2017 (OOC Date)
Related Logs: http://battlestarorion.wikidot.com/charlie-foxtrot-cic
Samtara Stone Latif 
CMO's Office - Deck 3 - Battlestar Orion
Deck plating of the same composite that spans the length of the ship is softened with a miniscule area rug placed between the desk and the door. The wall to the left holds a large screen that interfaces with the data and communication system. The wall to the right holds a large whiteboard that is retained as much for sentiment as practicality. Storage lockers are stacked side by side beneath each board, the tops of which serve as additional space along with room for a coffee maker. A pair of comfortably worn chairs take up the floor space to either side of the door and a sleek looking desk faces the door itself with a desk chair that looks as well worn as the two visitor chairs that flank the door.
Wed 31/Jan/2029 (IC Date)

One day and twenty years later, right? Sam is seated at her desk with a cup of coffee long since cold resting in a mug alongside a stack of paperwork that doesn't look either sorted or completed. The CMO has her head down on her folded forearms and, eyes closed, is catching a short cat-nap between rounds.

She doesn't get too much rest however, as the door is soon knocked upon. After a moment Stone can be seen glancing in. Stepping inside to see how she is doing. Himself keeping his usual composure. "Doc." He offers as he steps inside. Standing near the door until she responds. Arms behind his back for now.

Latif basically staggers into the CMO's office. He's not as physically exhausted as some folks, but there's a burden that shows on his face. He manages to set a folder and his replacement mug down before collapsing into a chair. It's been a /long/ day. "Hey, mom…"

Startling awake, Sam's head lifts from her arms and it's there - on her face - the visible signs of worry and grief, eyes red and the laughter lines so faintly - gently - traced on her face are more worry lines than not. "Colt," she's saying as she pushes back from her desk and rises to her feet, stepping into the safety of his arms even as Latif staggers in and drops into the nearest chair. "Twenty years," she says these two words in a careful voice that is only careful because screaming them like a madwoman would be a bad idea. She leans for a moment then turns slightly and curves one hand on Latif's shoulder, linking the three of them. "What do we know?"

Stone does wrap his arms around Sam. Glancing to Latif as he drops into a chair, nodding slowly to the words from Sam. Keeping a neutral face at the moment. Letting Latif offer more information, if he has any. "Don't overdo yourself." He offers to both of them, even if he might be as frustrated and overworked himself. At least attempting to offer something in this moment.

Latif sits back and picks up his coffee cup. "So, it seems that it was cleric-induced sabotage, not APF. Even if the two look similar." He sighs. "We didn't update procedures to deal with the projection issue so something slipped through." It's clear that it's not "just" overwork…he's suffering from 'I should have seen this' guilt.

"I'll stop when the wounded stop coming in," Sam replies but she is taking it one patient, one round, at a time. She leans against Colt still, knowing as always that they stand stronger together. She feels the expression on her face freeze then she exhales a sound. "How we were supposed to combat against something that can alter everything with something so simple as a touch?"

Stone nods, "Don't stop, just regulate." He offers to Sam. Furrowing his brows. "Was it a misstep in procedure? Is the updates always done at certain times and they were not handled? Else, there might not have been much to do about it." Perhaps noticing the guilt from how his son is speaking. Nodding again as Sam speaks as well.

Latif picks up the folder and starts flipping through to a copy of a letter he got. "The one survivor of the group…thank the gods we /got/ one…" He's silently cursing the fact that the guy in the CIC didn't at least get gut-shot so they'd have had a few hours to rake him over the coals before he died, or have his arm blown off. "I know I'm calling the Pyramid game after the fact, but…well, it /seems/ obvious to me that someone coming in reporting blackouts and lost time should've been under much more than 'bed rest' orders. That's…PTSD or something, I think. But it /makes sense/ that it would be connected with reprogramming, doesn't it? I mean, duh…but I don't think there was anything in the system to flag that so we missed it…" He's calling the Pyramid game late, but most Pyramid games don't have billions of lives on the line. And he's rambling, producing run-on sentences worthy of a literature major.

"It'll slow down once some of the wounded stabilize," Sam replies even as she's listening intently to what Latif is saying and looking at the sheet of paper that he's holding. "What? Who was he report this to?" she demands, leaning forward to take a closer look at the page and gripping Latif's shoulder just a bit tighter to try to offer him some comfort; also to maybe help him slow his breathing a little.

Stone nods a bit at Latif's words. "Unless there was someone going around to do computer check-ups on everyone it would be hard to notice something like that." He suggests. Keeping his own voice steady and clear. Hearing Sam's question and following her gaze to the paper. One of his hands landing on Latif's other shoulder, the one that Sam isn't holding on to.

Latif slows his breathing down with some force of will, handing the sheet to Sam. To hell with classification, she was in the CIC when this all went down and if the CMO isn't cleared to know about this sort of thing that's a problem with classification. He'll own that one.

The memo reads: "The one of the four shooters who wasn't killed is in medical. She is PO3 Astrid Pillar, 22 and from Aerilon. She's a powerplant specialist for electrical routing systems. She admitted herself to Medical 2 weeks ago with concerns about blackouts and missing time. She was ordered to bedrest for three days and sent back to duty. Pillar is currently in critical condition and under MP guard. No one except her assigned medical team are allowed access to her without my permission.

Sam skims the content of the page then makes a small sound that would almost be called a gasp but really more of a sound of horror. "This is my fault," her tone of voice is shocked to the core. "One of MY people let this slip and didn't bring it to my attention? We've been looking for people with these symptoms since the attack that killed so many people on the hangar deck. This should have been reported immediately. I'll.. I'll make sure that.. It's my fault. I'm the CMO, everything that happens in medical is my responsibility."

Stone shakes his head, "Not if someone went against orders or similar. You can not double check everything, that would mean more lives lost. The only thing would be that they report on the symptoms, if they do not then the fault is not at you. You make a report on your people, and what you believe that they should do, and if you trust them. All else is beyond you." He suggest, looking to Latif as well. Giving his shoulder a squeeze. Not really much more he can offer. He does only glance to the paper but regardless he doesn't think there is much more he can do or say right now.

Latif looks up at his parents. "Yeah, but we didn't put it in the system, so that's on Intel. And you were doing enough with action on Calumet that if we don't flag stuff loudly enough…" Sigh. "We should have leaned hard to get more experience with this with the Lines we have. Found some volunteers and run tests so we'd know symptoms…" Stuff he knows at least tests the boundaries of ethics, but…well, with what happened, if he was offered the chance to sell his soul to protect home right now his only question would be what how to convey payment. "It's obvious now, but…" He smiles weakly at Stone as he squeezes his shoulder. "It's…complicated. You're right, Mom, but this wasn't /just/ on you." No, the failures that led to the loss of the Colonies are at /least/ a family affair.

Shaking her head, emphatically, "If I'd seen this report I'd have raised alarm, I'd have done something. And we had," she presses the heel of one hand against her forehead, "we had discussed having the lines begin working with projection to try to learn how to defend against it, but they hadn't taken the request to command as yet, as far as I know. It's… the soup is already on the floor, I know." She turns and takes a step to the side and pounds one hand against the desk, hard, making everything on the desk surface rattle. She does it again, furious, "We've lost twenty years! We have no idea where our children are, or whether they're alive, or safe, or anything else. They're going to think that we died, that we abandoned them," she pounds that fist against the desk once more, the surface of the desk creaking under the force of each pounded fist.

"Yes, we all lost two decades. And no, we don't have answers now. But we did abandon them. But not defenseless. We left knowing what could happen. But we knew that our children could handle it. We raised them all to be able to take care of themselves. They know how we feel even if we're not there. It's horrible that we've missed most of their lives, and perhaps any grandchildren, but it is too late for 'what if'." Stone offers. Sighing, as his voice kept it's tone, even if it was stronger than usual. A look to Latif as well. "We are all to blame. We are one ship and one team. As goes for our family as well. We all know well enough how the others are as well. Do you really think your siblings would think that your mother abandoned them on purpose? Or even that they would not be able to look out for themselves?" He asks before looking back to Sam. "It hurts that we missed twenty years, but we can't do anything now." He says as his jaws tighten. "Even if we would have been able to learn all this, then it might just have been a question of time before something else happened. Who knows how that would have gone. Perhaps worse." He tries to suggests. Doing his best to try and remain the pillar for the time being.

"We didn't even abandon them…" Latif says, half mumbling. "We went off to do a frakking job. Someone higher up can fall on their sword for picking that job if they need to." He sighs and picks up his coffee mug, taking a sip. "Things went wrong and we got…stuck in traffic." Or in time, as it were. "It probably /was/ a matter of time before /something/ happened but that doesn't excuse all of us slipping up."

In their family, Colt is usually the solid pillar of strength, Sam is the analytical one and everyone else is sorted according to personality and strengths. This time, Colt has to be both the pillar of strength and the logic while Sam is fighting the need to rage around the room and scream the ship down around their ears. She presses one hand against her forehead as she breathes, "I know that you're right. I know that our children know that we love them. From first breath to last, and beyond, they know that. I know that you're right. But my heart just breaks thinking of how much time we've lost. Birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, grand children," her voice catches on a half-sob as she turns back and leans against Colt again, her face wet with tears. "We always knew that someday this fight would come back to haunt us. I.. I always imagined that we would be standing here, between our family and the enemy, and fighting to win." She reaches out and takes hold of Latif's shoulder again. "I'm so… so damned glad you took this assignment. I could not bear to have lost you as well," she says to their youngest son. "Things went wrong, yes. But we were supposed to protect them, to protect you. To stand between you and the -things- that want to harm you, to destroy us. We're your parents. It's what we do," she makes no effort to stop the tears from falling or to hide them. "Yes, it was only a matter of time, but now.." her voice hitches again, "now it's all a matter of time. Both to much, and to little."

Stone nods, "You're right. It isn't an excuse. But if we now can use this to become better, than we limit the risk for other things. Believe me, it could be worse." With how much war and destruction he has seen he probably knows what he is talking about. "Make sure to get better." He tells Latif before looking to Sam. "Be harder on the staff." He suggests with a tiny hint of a smile. Trying to offer some form of critizism. He suggest. Closing his eyes as he listen to Sam as well. "We wanted to protect them. We don't know if we are or not. But we still fight. Losing time at least we got time to fight again, rather than losing our lives. And think it from a positive sight, if we see our children, at least we got to see them grow old. All but Latif, I suppose." He offers in a form of dark humor.

Latif winces and groans at the humor somewhat awkwardly, having taken a chance to get a bit teared-up while Sam was going on. "I'm…I'm glad I'm here, too." The other kids were all older, so… He smiles and reaches for mom and dad's hands to squeeze them. "I'm…it's selfish but I'm glad you're both here, too."

Settled somewhat as Colt slides one arm around her, Sam leans against his side and tries to get ahold of her composure again. "Believe me, I will. Mistakes … mistakes get people killed. And that's why we don't make mistakes. Perfection isn't an idea, it's a requirement. I'll speak with the Gunnery Sergeant and Marcus all the same, and the member of my staff who let this slide. There's already one, so there may be others," simple logic, and cold blooded at the same time, along with terribly linear. She exhales an uneven breath that's almost a sigh, "Not if. When. I refuse, absolutely refuse, to believe that our children are not out there, still. I refuse. I won't allow them to be dead, I won't." She leans forward slightly and takes Latif's hand in hers, the three of them linked now by hands. "You're the kid in the family now. Don't think that Miriam will let you live it down," she quips as those tears start falling again. "Just you wait. She's 38 now and when she finds out that we're alive and that she gets to pull rank and age on you, you're going to regret every prank you played on her when you were kids."

Stone does hold onto Sam and Latif. His hand still squeezing the kid's shoulder some. "Who knows, you might have a niece or nephew in almost your age." He teases him some. "Perfection is a requirement, but also a pipe dream." He offers, a bit realistically. "Try making the reports quicker in how they act. Such as soon as a report comes in if keywords show up it is instantly sent to your computer from theirs." He suggests, at least he assumes something like that should work. Can they tell who takes out which weapon among marines then surely they can do this. "You're allowed to be selfish at times." Colt suggests to Latif.

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