MD #000: We All Wish We Could Go With You
We All Wish We Could Go With You
Summary: Captain al Yamoha appears again on Piraeus and speaks to a pair of Orion's crew. Emotions are had all round.
Date: 08/04/17
Related Logs: None
Knox Toby Palermo the-captain 
Veterans Memorial Park - Piraeus
A part a short walk outside of Sheridan. A low wall built out of local stone marks the boundary with trees and crushed pebble paths within. Given the nature of the war it’s mostly plaques and memorial markers rather than graves, but it’s all kept immaculately by a team of volunteers.
MD #000

Sometimes you get stuck with a detail. No big deal. After the strike he was pleased to hear they'd be jumping back to Piraeus. And with that news came the orders for him to escort someone to the surface and make sure they don't run off or cause problems. Seeing that its Toby gets a low smirk. The Raptor has a bunch of people on it so he doesn't pester the guy or anything. But once they touch down on P and people get off, he jumps down ahead of Toby and waves to a couple people lifting their own hands from the control tower. Looking back to Toby from his sunglasses, he puts his hat on and nods. "Shocked as hell to see you again, Tobes. I thought that when you got the boot, that was it." There's no judgment or seeming to angle it towards a snide remark. It is what it is.

Given how well his meeting with Lleu went Toby is a little surprised to see just who he has as his fleet mandated buddy for his first trip back down to Piraeus. Surprised, but not disappointed. Its awkward in the raptor, he's not sure who knows exactly why Knox is there and who doesn't, and he certainly doesn't want to be drawing too much attention to the whole thing, so he just sits quietly, if a little anxiously, until they land. Once down and he's out of the raptor it's about all he can manage not to sink to his knees and just kiss the tarmac there and then. He does pause though, not deliberately ignoring Knox, just taking a moment to breathe in the air again, and take in the view once more. It's probably no more than a few seconds, but it's something he wants to be able to hold onto, to savour later. No moment lasts forever though, and he does then start moving away from the bird, figuring Knox'll drop into step beside him. "Can't say I expected it either," he notes conversationally, "not since Major Grey vanished." He doesn't explain exactly what Elias has to do with it, opting instead to pause again, momentarily, as soon as they reach a patch of actual ground rather than man-made surface. Bending to grab a handful of dirt he lifts it up, kisses that, then opens his fingers to let it fall slowly back down. "You know Sergeant, after spending the best part of twenty years underground, I think I'd almost forgotten what a breeze feels like."

Knox doesn't seem offended at all by the silence. He knows very well that Toby is quite attached to this planet. he just waits casually, watching the guy. Coop doesn't seem terribly concerned about Toby running, though. "Yeah, there's a lot I wasn't expecting with the return." He falls in with Toby, walking easily. When he stoops for the dirt and kisses it, Coop holds the casual smile. Other people might look but Toby is just as much a veteran as Cooper. They've got their quirks. "Shame you've had to be away for so long, Toby. I never understood it, but I know you love this place. I think that's something that wasn't understood well about you not being allowed here." He watches the guy. "I tried to look you up here on P a few years ago. MP's told me you were on a blacklist but had applied. Godsdamned shame, bud." He glances back towards the Raptor, waiting for the other Marine he had invited, Palermo, a new Sergeant. "You need to meet Sergeant Palermo, too. She isn't an MP, but she'll be joining us. I wanted her to see P before we got too far into the action."

Palermo doesn't question how orders are assigned, let alone how volunteer straws are drawn, but she's as glad to get a few hours planet side as anyone else is at the moment. She takes a deep breath of the fresh air, promptly sneezes, then looks both embarrassed and a bit resigned as she sneezes again then gets a better lung full of air and steps forward at that point. "Sarge," she says before nodding at the crewman that is being escorted to the memorial on planet, the planet that she's as curious as anyone else is that hasn't actually been here before is curious about.

"Decisions were made by bureaucrats best I can tell," Toby replies as he turns to look back towards the raptor and the second marine, "if you didn't tick all the boxes you didn't get access." He shrugs, it's been a source of bitterness for decades, but now he's here again he just doesn't want to get bogged down in it too far. "I tried whenever I could afford the trip to do so, but it was always the same answer. Figured this recall was about my last hope." Any more he might have said is delayed once Palermo gets closer though. She’s is given a faint nod in greeting, and a congenial enough "Sergeant." Since the team is now complete he turns back towards Sheridan and tilts his head ever so slightly in the direction he thinks they need to walk, "shall we?"

"For what it’s worth, bud, I'm glad you're here. Not just on the recall, but on P. There's a lot of people here who don't always give it the respect it deserves. I kinda doubt that would ever be an issue with you." He looks over to Palermo and upnods. "Palermo, this is Toby Shackleton. He works on the Deck. He's had a rough experience with the Marines during the Second War. I'm trying to see if maybe a clean slate might be a better option with him. Thanks for coming, though. I wanted you to at least see Piraeus. We're heading to the Veterans Memorial Park. Tobes-" He gestures to the gates. "It’s outside town. A short walk."

Palermo starts to extend a hand toward Shackleton, putting names to faces is a genuine skill, in her opinion, but as the sergeant is already leading the way forward she aborts the gesture mid motion and instead clasps both hands behind her back and begins walking as well.

"I'd offer to teach 'em some respect," Toby jokes, "but I'm afraid I've got to be on best behaviour for the next two years. Thanks though." Given how much he used to hate the Six it's almost weird to now be almost like friends, but there you go. To clarify for Palermo he adds "and before the Second War, it's kinda interrelated." He doesn't seem inclined to expand on that though, not just now at least, and instead merely turns to follow Knox. "Lead the way.." he briefly unsure how to actually address the man, Sergeant seems oddly formal, but Knox doesn't sit comfortably either, not really, so he opts for a second “lead the way."

"Yeah that probably wouldn't help the situation if you need to be on your best." Coop walks casually, glancing to Palermo with a wink. The Gunnery Sergeant seems like a pretty chill guy. Toby can even tell something has changed about him. He's mellowed considerably for one thing. "If anyone in the Corps starts deliberately trying to get a rise out of you though? Let me know. I'll have a chat with them. Nobody wants to have Gunny hunting them down for a talk." He smirks and looks away. "If the wife is fine with it you can come on out to the house sometime. You can kick your feet up on the porch, relax in the sunlight, do it all day and nobody will bother you. I've got better things to do these days than worry about the past, bud." He glances over to Palermo, "This is your first time down here, right? There's a loooot of history to this place. Toby's our Piraeus expert in a lot of ways. Not sure how much he feels like saying, though." The Park is another hundred feet to the entrance. There's a very nice stone wall built around it that doesn't mar the view with something ugly. It looks to have been built from rocks from the river and granite from the mountains.

The look on Palermo's face is briefly, albeit politely, interested if somewhat confused. "Quite right, I'm sure," is all the marine replies to Shackleton's words, casting a searching glance at the crewman then at the Sergeant then apparently decides that this is a 'adult table' vs 'kids table' conversation and simply keeps her eyes open, ears tuned so to speak, but spends as much time looking around as she does keeping an eye on the crewman. Just in case the old man decides to make a break for it and leg it for the hills or something. "It is, yes," she confirms even while focusing forward on the park and then stone wall that surrounds it, and if anyone would know what goes into building a wall, it'd be here. "Nice use of local stone, hand quarried or was it field stone?" is wondered.

"Clean sheet for two years," Toby notes to Knox, "that’s the deal. I manage that, I get to settle here." He's not sure how that gels with the whole war that they've just kick started, but in two years he'll either be dead, or 60, so that's probably a reasonable retirement age. "Lot of history," Toby confirms with a slight nod, not looking in anyway like he's about to bolt. "Who agreed to take you on?" he asks of Knox, "and I guess you'd have to ask if she'd mind whomever gets stuck on escort detail hanging out too." He doesn't sound overly bothered about that arrangement, not at the moment, it's just something that is, and that he has to deal with. "I'm not sure I believe that I'm more of an expert than those who live here now though, I mean, this is my first time back in how long?" He slows his pace just a fraction as the park comes into view, he wants to be able to savour it as well, although he does have to ask, now he's with someone who might know, "Major Grey said, ten years ago now, that the Ghosts weren't interacting as much anymore. That still hold true?" He doesn't try to hide the level of interest he has in the answer, Knox knows he's got friends amongst the natives and can surely guess that he'd want to see them again if he could.

"I honestly couldn't tell you the difference, Palermo. Most of the granite came out from the mountains when the fleet was building the munitions bunkers back before the war. Due to the nature of the war it’s more of a memorial park than a cemetery. There's some graves in there, but mostly its memorial plaques." Cooper seems to know enough about the local area and clearly he lives here, too, so there's no surprise. The question of who took him on gets a chuckle, "Tabitha Angelis. We were seeing each other during the war. Married now, two kids. We've got a whole passel of kids we adopted that were war orphans. They mostly raised themselves, though. Needed guidance." Coop stops by the gated entrance to the place and takes off his sunglasses, hanging them from the uniform blouse. "Almost nobody sees them anymore except kids. You'll hear youngin's talk about how they see people in camo that appear and talk to them about things. Or they warn them. Couple kids every year report being saved by them." He looks stone sober with the words. "Kids don't die in accidents or from animal attacks on P, Toby. They just don't. Local theory and legend is that they protect the kids." He flashes a low smile. "Go on inside, I'll wait out here for you guys."

Palermo's attention is caught, equally, on the conversation between Shackleton and Knox, but also on the stone itself. Some things are just bred in the bone, and she isn't a Palermo for nothing, after all. She waits out the conversation between the veterans before casting a measuring look at Shackleton so that she can set her pace accordingly. A curious look is spared over the stone work that they ultimately pass, but the marine is rather quiet at the moment, leaving the crewman to his own thoughts perhaps and not filling the quiet with chatter.

Toby nods once as Knox names his better half, another marine, that's about all he can put beside the name. "I never seemed to manage any of that," he adds, holding up a hand which would be notably bereft of a wedding band were it not for the fact that he's wearing black gloves. He listens to the remarks regarding al Yamoha's people though, and smiles faintly. "That’s good, they've not gone then. You know, I remember Wescott's little'un talking about them in that kind of way too." Not that Wescott is on his mind right now, not in the slightest. As he passes through the entrance he briefly considers disguising why he's actually here, and making it seem like he's looking at all the graves and plaques, but the thought is gone as soon as it arrives. There's no need for secrecy now, she can't be done for frat when she's twenty years dead. So instead he just seeks out Kelsey's marker, then stands there, with his hands in his pockets, utterly unsure about what to do or say.

"There's a Captain Wescott on the Wing roster, actually. Doubt it’s any relation but figured I'd pass it on. I gotta look at that stuff, nature of the job and all." JTACs gotta JTAC. When they move off, he steps away and looks south towards the base. For the other two, the gate opens to a crushed pebble path. There are trees planted in here and despite the hard exterior the interior of the park looks immaculately maintained. There are likely volunteers out here weekly. Many of the markers are arranged in rows or along walls. Being that Kelsey was one of the first people placed here given how soon her vanishing was after the war, she's deeper near the back.

Kelsey Jean Wescott
Lieutenant
AKIA 20 NOV 2007

There are lists of her medals and achievements along the bottom of the memorial plaque.
They can both feel it, though. The change of the air. That subtle heaviness that becomes more obvious, drifting down on them. Toby knows exactly what this feeling is. She's here. Somewhere, The Captain is here.

Maintaining that measured bit of proximity that keeps her within several swift strides of the crewman, should - again - the need arise, Palermo wanders along the markers and pauses once she finds the one that she knew was here without actually having set eyes on it before. Getting selected for this little bit of escort duty had given her just enough of lead up time that she had just enough time to snag something from her locker and it's now that she tucks one hand into one pocket and retrieves a single rock and crouches for a moment to set it on top of the marker and dusts one hand lightly across the surface. A half smile forms on her face, fingertips resting against the marker before she adjusts the angle of the rock she's brought from Caprica, head angled slightly as she looks slowly around the park then sidelong at the crewman then back again. "Aunt Penny," she doesn't say the words so much as breathe them, and as much to herself as not as she straightens slowly to her feet. A deep breath is taken, her head angling again, this time angling so that the fresh breeze brushes against her face instead of sidelong.

The news that there's another Wescott seems largely lost on Toby, at least for now, maybe later it'll register properly. For now though he just stands, head bowed slightly as if he's reading the plaque. As he feels that faint shift in the air he freezes for a moment, as if trying to judge if he's just imaging it or not, but then he closes his eyes, and without looking up says quietly, "hello again old friend." He's crying now, not much, but there is definite dampness to his eyes in sorrow, in joy, in relief, in so many things all at once. Palermo's own offering is entirely lost to him, he barely even registers her presence as he gives up fighting against the moment.

Palermo can be pretty sure there was nobody within sight when she walked into this area. In fact the place seemed completely empty. "She's very proud to see you here, Renee," is the voice behind Palermo. Turning, Renee can see a Five dressed head to toe in the standard Marine camo that the CMC adopted just after the end of the war. But there's the bulletholes in her bodyarmor. The rifle looks like CMC issue also. But that helmet sure as heck is not. And when she speaks, her lips don't match. That voice is.. in her head. Head and heart. She can feel the words rather than hear them. "I wish you could see the look on her face. Welcome to Piraeus." She winks, motioning that she is welcome to join as the woman moves to Toby. The woman's boots crunch the gravel in a different sort of way, almost like the sound is too quiet and a with a slight delay to her movements. "Toby. Welcome home," she says quietly, more maternally. There's a glance to the name on the plaque, then back to Toby.

Palermo turns to the sound of the voice behind her, a startled look on her face as she does a quick check of the park and back, starting to voice the first of what are probably a dozen questions that leap immediately to mind. Until the actual words, not just the sound of a voice speaking, sink in. Her eyes widen, the stunned look forms on her face until it's replaced with a sudden shock of understanding that is, in turn, followed by an equally sudden glow of joy that makes the marines expression light up from within. "She is?" is asked before the rest of the words sink in and she feels the smile that's formed on her face become one that is absolute joy. She looks around, she can't help the instinct, and even as she's saying, "Thank you, ma'am, I wish I could see it too," in the same soft voice that is followed with a bit of a surprised laugh to hear her own admission. She falls in step with the Five as she leads the way toward Shackleton, casting as many glances sidelong at the Five as she does at the surrounding park.

Toby doesn't turn, not immediately, he can't bring himself to lest this all be some form of dream he has to wake up from, or she isn't there at all. He's dangerously close to being completely overwhelmed by everything coming at once, but after a few slow breaths he opens his eyes again and looks up to just above the horizon, as if the elevation will stop the tears. Oddly enough, it doesn't and he has to resort to lifting one gloved hand up to wipe at his eyes before he feels composed enough to make that all important turn. And there she is, stood there, just as he'd remembered all these years. He tries to say something, briefly, but can't, and so instead he just reaches out to embrace her in a hug that he can draw strength from.

The Five looks over to Palermo as they walk. "One day you will, if you have faith. Here." She doubletaps her heart. "Faith will take you so far, Renee. But if you can't, well that's okay too. It isn't for everyone." That smile is very clearly from someone who has found a stillness to their spirit. A soul without trouble. She gestures to Renee to request a moment while she waits for Toby. When she sees him cry it looks like part of her heart might break. When he comes in for a hug she gathers him up and holds him tightly. Resting her head on his shoulder, she sighs. "I'm sorry Toby. I wish we could have brought you here. We can see your soul the way they can't. But you're home now."

Palermo returns the salute, sharing a slow nod as she fixes the Five's words in her memories so that she may share them when she returns to the ship, moved past the ability or perhaps the need to lend voice to her thoughts. She doesn't intrude, retreating a few healthy paces as well as she begins to scan the ground with intent eyes until ultimately finding a loose bit of rock tucked into the grass and takes a knee long enough to retrieve the rock and hunts up a few more to take back, tucking each into the same pocket the rock from Caprica had been withdrawn from. She tucks her hands behind her back again, standing quietly just out of easy listening reach, respectfully offering what privacy - or the polite impression of - that she can.

Perhaps now Palermo can see why there are elements of the fleet who don't trust Toby not to just disappear into the wilderness of Piraeus, why her and Knox have been given this detail. Toby though, he doesn't care, not right now, this is a reunion he'd all but given up hope on, and despite having had so long to work out what to say, his mind is empty of words. Resting his head against her's he just stays there for a while, eyes closed again, until he can eventually bring himself to break the hold. Not that he really steps back mind, only half a pace or so, so he's still well within what would usually be reserved as someone's personal space. "I wish I could stay," he says quietly, although there's no deliberate attempt to stop Palermo from hearing should she be listening, "soon though, if all goes well." Or possibly sooner if things go poorly, but that's not the kind of reunion he's aiming for. Lifting a hand again to dry his eyes he half turns back towards Kelsey's marker. "She was worried you know, when I was last here, worried that she might have her faith in the wrong thing, that whatever it is you do, what you are, might not work for her. I tried to explain what you'd said, but I don't know how well I did. Still, she knows now. Doesn't she? She understands?" He looks back to Lilah, a hint of pleading in his eyes, for her to tell him that yes, Kelsey found her rest.

al Yamoha doesn't seem concerned about touching or how long she should be holding someone. It’s clear to everyone involved that al Yamoha isn't some kind of hologram. She's a warm heart and soul. If she isn't alive now, she certainly was at some point. When Toby points out that he can't stay, she nods. "We know. You must be going. You have the Machines to fight. The Skath are a beast you cannot tame, only slay piece by piece. We all wish we could go with you. All of us. I don't just mean my soldiers." There's a glance to Renee and she holds the other woman's eyes. All of them. Back to Toby, she seems him looking down and her smile fades to a sad, solemn expression. A low sigh and the most subtle shake of her head accompanies a low shrug. "Toby.. we… She isn't with us. We have looked." There's a look to Renee, then back to Toby. "Tobias," her voice is very quiet, "we don't know where she is. I'm sorry."

The glance that she receives from the Five has Palermo straightening subtly, a hint of stunned joy again flickers across her face and she, again, glances around before she simply nods again in return. As much as she'd like to have given Shackleton real privacy for his conversation, she really couldn't, not and maintain security protocol, but she doesn't consciously intrude, glancing down again, observant enough to recognize an emotional conversation taking place without having to stomp through it like a bull in a china shop.

Toby had so much he wanted to talk to her about, so many long conversations on faith, belief, theories of the universe, but right now that’s all lost, and in its place is the gapping chasm left by those simple words. Not that he entirely understands exactly what that means, and he has to ask, even though he's not sure the answer will help. "Does that mean she's alive?" It's a hesitant question, as if he doesn't want to let himself believe that's an option in case it gets snatched away again, "or her faith wasn't strong enough?" one he'd happily be disproved on. "Or she went somewhere else?" metaphysics of life after death, really not his specialist subject, but even though al Yamoha as said she doesn’t know, he has to ask. Remaining close, as if he can take strength from mere physical proximity, he does now slowly drop down to his knees, and reach out a hand to touch the marker. "I was going to ask you if she'd forgiven me for being a hot-headed fool, if she was proud of what I'd done." His voice starts to wobble again at that point and he shuts up, letting tears fall once more.

Renee seems to understand what The Captain has been getting at but she seems like she may leave Toby here for a bit to deal with this. "It could mean many things Tobias. You know we don't choose beliefs over general faith. She could be alive. She could have gone somewhere else. Those of us who were with her in her last moments before her jump know that she was very scared. That’s all that we can say. Then she was gone." The woman watches him cry a bit and reaches down to rest a gloved hand to his shoulder, squeezing gently. "There will be time for us to talk. Take time to grieve, old friend." She stands back and takes a few steps back, reaching gently to take Palermo's arm and guide her off. Giving Toby some privacy.

Palermo is casting a quiet look at Shackleton, observing from where she's standing, but as the captain walks to where she's standing and guides her away to give the crewman a moment of privacy, the look on her face is again that look of quiet awe that edges into a look that - on the usually rather ebullient and animated marine - conveys a measure of the peace that she's feeling at this moment. "Thank you, ma'am, for.." and she flounders a little before she smiles, "well, for letting me know, about aunt Penny, I mean. We have a marker for her, at home I mean, on Caprica. Some friends of hers brought her ashes home, about a year after the war. But this," and she looks slowly around then back, "it's .. really very beautiful. I think I understand a little more, just being here."

Toby doesn't want Lilah to step back, to give him space, he wants the physical comfort of proximity of a friend. He doesn't plead though, doesn't turn and grab for her hand as she retreats away, he just closes his eyes and lowers his head as the emotions wash through him.

al Yamoha looks to Palermo and nods slowly to the thanks. "Ours is not to hide from who and what we are. There are many battles and many levels of plane. Not everything is clear, nor should it be, but that does not mean we cannot bring comfort to those who carry the torch of honor and the spirit of the warrior. We are quite proud to be of the same people that you all are." Erfriki. Yep. She rests the gloved hands on the butt of her rifle, holding an easy smile. "Thank you. Your people don't come down here much but its popular for my own. We gather here and provide comfort for those who visit. Sometimes people run the ragged edge of depression because of things that happened during the war. They come here. We don't show ourselves much anymore but sometimes you just need to know there's something else. That you aren't alone. And sometimes in the big moments, we can't help being seen."

Palermo's eyes widen subtly as the captain talks, and again there's that intense look on her face as she's committing the Five's words to memory as precisely as possible. She finds herself nodding slowly along before she draws in a slow breath and exhales while admitting, "Sometimes we forget that it's not as much about how the people we love died, ma'am, but about how they lived that is as important. The last words, the last actions, the last thoughts even, the last bit of effort becomes so important. As though all the other moments weren't enough. As though one more word or one more action, one more something, would have made just that much more.. more, I guess." She tucks one hand into the pocket where the rocks are carried now, "We bring rocks, to the graves of our loved ones. Flowers are good, but they fade, and the wind carries them away. But a rock? It says 'we will not forget, we will not fail you', we build cairns. And I'm glad, ma'am, that your people gather here, too, knowing that there's more, that there's something else? Maybe it's that last chance to bring someone back from the edge of grief when it's to dark to keep on, on their own. Thank you for that as well."

"Mm. The strongest and most hard warrior can still be felled by something they did not deserve. How many good lives were ended in nuclear fire?" Yamoha shakes her head. "Its rarely about how one dies, but yes, it is about how they lived. Sometimes how they live puts them at odds with how they died and that changes things. And sometimes people just.. disappear. That woman's daughter is here, right now, on Piraeus. She has been to P many times, but never to see her mother's marker." The Five shakes her head. "People smile and laugh while feeling ripped apart inside. We see it all the time. There are no lies or hidden agendas with us." The dead APF. Its probably as close as she will come to saying that they are the ones killing the APF that arrive on Piraeus. "Which is why we respect the stones. We're very attached to things like that. Symbols of strength and endurance. Life is fleeting but there is o much more that is not. Life is precious and some people assign their value at higher levels than others. Sometimes it is short, violent, and conflicted." She looks back to the marker Toby is at, then back. "Sometimes it is long and shines brightly. But we protect them all, like you, Renee."

Palermo is silent for a moment, her hands tucked into the pockets of her uniform trousers, had lowered slightly as she listens intently to Yamoha's words and only nods her head slowly, again, as she glances at Shackleton then back to the captain. "There's this moment, at the end of the interment ceremony, when we have to stand up and leave our loved one behind. Whether it's in a box or a urn or in a handful of ashes that are scattered, we still have to leave. And it's that act that can be the most painful, ma'am; visiting that spot is a heavy act. One that hurts in ways that don't show up as scars on the outside, but collect within in ways that don't heal easy. They're not meant to, either, I don't think. Aunt Penny? I remember her as this burst of laughter and being swooped around the room, of giggling like mad while she tickled my toes. I don't suppose that the daughter that you speak of, Wescott? maybe she doesn't have those sort of memories. Maybe she'll come here, in her own time. It's not as much, maybe, about when she comes here, IF she comes here, but about here still being here, and knowing that it's here, that can make the difference." She glances sidelong again at the captain then back to Toby and once more back to the captain, "Knowing that we aren't alone in the dark, when we think we are at our lowest, and the darkness is as much inside our heads as not? That's a lot, ma'am. That means a lot."

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