AWD #085: What Is Dead May Never Die
What Is Dead May Never Die
Summary: Holtz and Sera come to an understanding on recent events… although in the process, he inadvertently makes an unwelcome revelation.
Date: 01/04/2013
Related Logs: Recent logs of strife between deckies, pilots
Holtz Sera 
Observation Deck
It's a deck, from which one observes.
April 1, 2005

Night time is when people usually look up at the stars. It's a bit different when you're out in the black, when they're always visible, right there, ready at a moment's notice. But some habits die hard, especially when it's late and the hive of activity that is the heart of a Mercury-class battlestar begins to wind down. It's quiet then. And lonely. That's when people, usually too busy or too dog-tired to think, finally have the opportunity for contemplation. So there's Sera, standing in the obs deck, one hand pressed against the glass. Her nose is practically pressed against it too, she stands so close to its cold transparent surface, her eyes on the planet below.

Holtz enters quietly, a soft metallic clang as he opens and closes the hatch behind him. He pauses briefly when seeing a human form silhouetted against space, but he makes no move to leave Sera alone. Instead, he approaches the window himself, glancing curiously at her until he's able to get a glimpse of her face pressed against the glass. "Rutlii," he greets her softly. A cigarette pack is removed from the pocket of his fatigues; he lights one, then hesitates a moment before offering her the pack. "Smoke?"

There's a pause. And a frown. "I was going to come talk to you," she says, quietly. And then, perhaps thoughtlessly, she adds on "Tomorrow." It's the sort of tone which suggests that yes, she was going to talk to him tomorrow, in order to avoid spoiling her mood tonight. In other words, she doesn't sound particularly happy at the prospect of whatever conversation she was planning. Her eyes stay focused on Piraeus for a moment longer, before she turns towards him and nods once, mutely.

The pilot raises an eyebrow at her words. He leans against the frame of the window, a few steps away from the deckhand as he takes out a second cigarette, lights it using his first, and hands it to Sera. There's a slight shrug as he glances out the window at the planet, and back to her a moment later. "No time like the present, yeah?"

Her fingertips are stained a near permanently grey from the years of working with oil and grease and fuel and soot. It doesn't matter how much effort she puts into caring for her hands, which ought to be cracked and thick-skinned. The damned stains never quite come out of her fingernails, no matter what she tries. She stakes the cigarette from him carefully, rolling it between two fingers before lifting it to her lips. "It seems some of your lieutenants have been overestimatin' the amount of armor provided by them shiny pins they way, thinkin' it'll do frak-all to protect them in the face of some pissed off deckhands they pushed into lettin' their Tauran tempers fly. Sooner or later, it's goin' to be in the form of a wrench aimed square at somebody's face. An' while I've been, for the most part, keepin' the dogs on a leash, I'm not sure how much longer I'm goin' to be inclined to do so if they keep runnin' their fat mouths." And then, with a bit of a lopsided smirk, she adds, "Sir." Yeah. Like that's going to cover her butt now.

Despite Sera's care, her fingers brush against his as she takes the cigarettes, a spot of soot changing hands in the opposite direction. He takes it in stride, though, not even bothering to wipe his hands off on his pants. Little spot of dirt never killed anyone, right. "Really." Holtz' tone is flat, his brows furrowing slightly as he ingests the information. He sighs, looking back out the window towards the planet as he exhales a lungful of smoke against the glass. "If one of my pilots is frakkin' stupid enough to piss off the people that keep 'im flyin'…" Another headshake. "I'd almost say let him have it," Holtz mutters. "Except then I'd be down a pilot. Last frakkin' thing I need."

"I've already warned my men that I'd best not catch them puttin' any pilots at risk for the sake of takin' a stab at that tin-can command is lettin' walk around on these decks," she says, exhaling through her nose. As the smoke rushes forward she looks, for all the world, like an enraged bull. "But some poncy little prick from a world where it's entirely possible his mama an' his daddy insists on wavin' his pins around so he can cram some Cylon-lovin' crap down the throats of people whose planets were total wipes?," she says, shrugging her shoulders. "I don't know how long they're goin' to listen. An' as far as I'm concerned, Raynor'll be plenty to blame himself for it, he keeps pokin' at the guys packin' his 'chute. I'd say somethin' to him, if I were you, before he says somethin' else."

Holtz frowns. "Crater, huh?" Somehow, he doesn't sound entirely surprised by that revelation. "Yeah, I've heard his spiel already. Wasn't impressed much." He sighs. "Guessin' this has something to do with him bein' in the brig when I got off from CAP?" The cherry of his cigarette flares as he takes another drag. "How the frak anyone can make excuses for those…" He trails off, upper lip contorting into a slight sneer. "I'll talk to him, yeah. One thing to want to have a go at the skinjobs, but I ain't havin' this shit. Frak's sake."

"I was askin' our newest recruit about yesterday's brawl an' the pilot who pulled a loaded weapon. Asked why she wasn't in the brig yet. Turns out it was his ex-wife. So he took it upon himself to jump down the man's throat, then start insultin' his actions under fire in the mess, then insultin' my service record, an' he wouldn't frak off no matter how many times he was asked, or told, to back down." She turns her head back towards him, staring at him with a steady, level gaze. "Then when the MPs showed up, he told the lieutenant we were insultin' hordes of pilots. Y'know, by askin' why someone who drew a gun on crew members was walkin' around free. Big surprise half the deck thinks the space-jocks can run around doin' whatever the frak they want, with total impunity. Far as I can tell, he tryin' to keep Shackleton from tellin' anyone what his ex-wife did, 'cause the MPs are still collectin' depositions."

Holtz snorts. "If a man was insultin' my ex-wife, I'd probably join right in," he deadpans, before turning serious once more as Sera explains what happened in the mess hall. He leans against the window frame again, muffling a particularly pungent Tauran curse as he rolls his eyes. "I'll deal with it. You let me know if anyone else gets mouthy, yeah? Shit keeps up, an' I'll be makin' Lieutenant Vashti a new set of garters out of someone's guts." His words hang in the air a moment before he lolls his head to the side to look at her. "That said… keep your people in hand, yeah? I'm short on pilots already. I lose another one off the line because one of your knuckledraggers lost their damn mind, I'll have his guts for garters along with whichever ponce prick what pissed him off in the first place." He makes a disgusted sound, half sigh and half snort. "Turnin' into a bunch of jackals if we don't get back into the real fight soon," he mutters. "Frakkin' toasters."

"The old man isn't doin' anyone any favors, sittin' here on our asses, orbitin' over an empty planet on the edge of space. There's fights to be had, an' Colonies with people still on 'em, an' we're here babysittin' a pack of fat contractors buildin' a town for a dead president," she says with disgust, splaying her hand against the glass. She should be grateful for the glorious green planet down below. But she hates it. A part of her hates it with all her heart. "I'll tell the boys to keep their hands to themselves. But I'm pretty sure you don't need a full set of teeth to fly a bird, an' they know that, too. So we'll see how long I can keep the peace."

"Hnh," Holtz grunts, his mouth drawn tight. "Not what I hear. Heard Adar's alive… and he's collaboratin'." Storm mimes spitting on the deck to show what he thinks of the Colonial president. "Never more proud that I voted for the other guy." He turns back to regard Sera with a hooded expression. "See that they do. Gettin' sick of hearin' about this shit. If it gets to the point I have to get involved officially… souls ain't gonna be happy, I promise you that." Eyes turn back to the planet. Still doesn't seem right, that much green… but when he thinks of Tauron, all he can picture is black clouds and rivers of lava.

"It's the electromagnetic field, y'know," she says quietly, pointing. "That makes the aurora so bright. Like Prometheus bringin' fire to man, that thing sucks all the photons comin' off that star's solar wind an' funnels 'em right down towards the poles. It's stronger here than most of the colonies. That's why it's so bright. That's why the sky's almost as green at night as the woods are durin' the daytime." She shoves her tongue into her cheek, making it bulge outwards in a rather unattractively shaped lump.

Holtz follows her finger to look at a flicker of greenish light in the Piraean atmosphere. "Charged particles from the magnetosphere," he says tonelessly, as if reciting something from memory. Despite the apparent apathy in his tone, he can't help but press his face against the glass, trying to get a closer look "EM field shunts 'em into the thermosphere, they collide with the atoms there, and — " He finishes the sentence by simply waving at the aurora. For a moment or two longer, he simply watches the light show before smiling thinly over at Sera. "Had to get a bachelor's before they'd commission me. I picked astronomy." Eyes flick back to the planet. "You're right, though. Never saw it so bright back home." He pulls his head away from the glass just long enough to take a drag off his cigarette.

"…I'd still rather be under the glass domes of a dusty little desert world where everybody's poor an' hungry. Piraeus may be pretty, but it ain't home, " she mumbles. "It won't ever be home." It won't ever be Troy. Her accent makes it obvious. It's thick and unyielding and has barely faded at all in the last ten years. Seem the whole planet combined doesn't have a damned 'G' to spare, either. Unconciously, she reaches up under her left sleeve to rub at a fresh, half-hidden tattoo. It itches. She's not supposed to scratch it. But rubbing it doesn't count, right? "Sorry. I didn't realize. Or I would've just kept my mouth shut."

Holtz just shrugs in response to her apology. "No, it ain't home." He sighs and turns around, leaning his back against the window. "'S all we got left, though. Troy's a ruin, Tauron's an inferno, and everythin' what ain't bombed to shit is crawlin' with toasters." Yeah, it's not hard to place her accent. Neither is his hard to place, even if he hadn't just identified it. The muttered string of curses that follows definitely isn't Standard, but rather the guttural-sounding Tauran dialect. He catches her slight movement, and looks at her with understanding; Storm's been inked enough in his life to recognize the look of a brand-new tattoo when he sees it. "You keep doin' that, only gonna make it worse," he warns her.

"At least they burned Tauron," Sera says so softly, it's easier to see the faint fog she leaves on the window than to hear her. It's an odd thing to say, especially to a man so obviously from there. "The Trojans don't bury their dead. They burn them. On a minin' colony? The worst thing you could do to somebody you love is to stick 'em way down deep in the earth. Most frightenin' thing imaginable, an' the people there got to live with the thought of it every day. So we build pyres. But the Cylons, they didn't nuke Troy. They just cracked it open. Let every last person on the planet suffocate, chokin' for air, gaspin' for it desperately, just like they were underground. An' then they left them to rot." A pause. "Burnin' 'em would've been better, but then they wouldn't be able to use the planet's fuel. That much tylium underground? The whole thing would just burn an' burn an' burn. For years." She sucks up the smoke from her borrowed cigarette, holding it into her lungs for as long as she can. Her words are choked from lack of breath as she says, "Half my men are from Tauron. I won't ask them not to hate those monsters. I won't."

At first Holtz bristles at her mention of Tauron being burned, but her subsequent explanation serves to calm him back down, and the look he gives her even has something close to sympathy in it by the time she finishes. "I can't imagine," he murmurs, exhaling a lungful of smoke as he speaks. There's a shake of his head as he continues. "Anyone who does ask that, doesn't know us," he says in response to her last. "There's blood between Tauron and Cylon, enough blood to last from now until the end of time… and blood cries out for blood." He raises a hand to chest level to show her; the black mourning gloves on each hand haven't left them since the day of the Fall.

"Alexios wears them, too," she says quietly. "Except he tattooed his right onto his skin." Sera hadn't even turned her head to look. It's easy to see their reflections in the glass, with so much empty black space on the other side of it. "He won't ever be able to take them off. Ever." Finally exhaling her smoke, she blows her bangs back out of her eyes. It's a useless gesture. They fall right back into place. "I made sure I had somethin' I couldn't take off, either. He put it on for me. Offered to do it the traditional Tauran way. I know he wanted to. But I'm not Tauran. It didn't seem right somehow, to let him." The fresh ink. That must be it. "I can tell him an' the others how to act, what regs they've got to obey, what they can say it public. I'll tell 'em to shut their mouths an' keep their fists to themselves. Maybe they'll even listen. But I ain't goin' to tell them what they can think, an' can feel, an' can say among their own kind. I don't care who issues those orders; they can wrap 'em around Ares' spear an' shove 'em straight back down their throats, if they're goin' to try to cram that down mine. Or my crew's. Deal?"

There's another long silence from Holtz, almost as if he hadn't even heard Sera speak. His foot kicks against the deck, clearing his throat before pulling in more smoke from the dwindling remains of his cigarette. "Last time I saw Knox, I told him I'd sooner kill him than trust him. Wasn't exactly the truth. I'd sooner kill him than so much as look at him." He turns to look at Sera, sadness warring with anger in his eyes. "But the brass says we need them, so I stay my hand." His chin juts out defiantly. "But I won't forget, I won't forgive. I can't ask that of myself… I won't." He inclines his head deeply in Sera's direction. "So it'd be wrong to ask it of them, or you, either."

"You ever wonder if the entirety of command has lost their gods damned minds? Askin' that, I mean," Sera says as she turns to look at his face, her eyes following the defiant jut of his jaw, taking in the look in his eyes. It's the first time, really, that she's looked at him for more than a few fleeting seconds since he came up here. Maybe ever. "There's enough people who feel the same way as you an' me that I think we're goin' to rip ourselves apart, they stay on-board much longer. An' I don't see why they'd let them. Even if you buy into their bit about bein' people? All that means is they betrayed their own kind, to a race that wants to wipe them out to the last man. They're still liars. They're still traitors. No one in their right minds should trust them."

Holtz snorts. "On the record, I shouldn't answer that question," he says quietly. "Off? I don't have to frakkin' wonder. The fact that they've got a skinjob in the wing and still want to let her fly says all I need to know. Command says they're intelligence assets. Fine, give 'em to the intel types, let them handle the skinjobs. But don't try stickin' 'em in a cockpit like nothin' happened." His eyes meet hers. "Dunno how the frak that's supposed to even work… them supposedly bein' people, I mean. I never knew anybody with a million identical clones. And don't get me started on this transference shit, or however the hell they do that body-swappin' trick when they die." Snort. "You're preachin' to the temple chorus, girl."

It would seem a good deal of this is news to Sera, as both of her brows jump so high its entirely possible they've migrated somewhere into her hairline and won't be coming back until the winter of her discontent has long past. "…..What?," she breathes, harshly. Her voice is little more than a hiss of a whisper. "You mean these things can't die?" Blink. Blink. Blink. Her stunned expression slowly turns into one of abject horror, as her mouth drops open and her eyes well with a deep, primitive panic — the sort that ought to fill her eys if, say, she were facing a rabid wolf alone in the woods.

"That's what I heard," Holtz says with a nod. He grimaces at her reaction, but doesn't attempt to comfort her or temper what he'd said. "The Six said somethin' about it, apparently. Kill one, their… consciousness transfers into a new body of their model, or what-the-frak-ever." A sneer follows his words. "What kinda person can do that, I tell ya?"

"But then… how can… Lord Plouton…," she begins, stuttering. It's not something she mentions often. It's something she hardly mentions, ever. Lord Plouton. Lord Hades — one of the Lords of Kobol. The one most people only ever invoke at funerals. She rests her hand flat against her chest, as though someone had punched her there and she just couldn't breathe. "The souls of Tauron… I… I…". I need to sit down. Yeah. Sera definitely needs to sit down. She doesn't. Instead, she rests her head against the cold glass, using it to prop up her weight. "They can't die. Ohhhhh, gods." It's a whisper.

At the mention of Hades, Holtz' eyes widen slightly; he sketches a sign in the air with his finger and mutters something under his breath. A short prayer, it sounds like. "I'm sorry," he says finally, after her whisper. "Didn't mean to disturb you. Figured you'd heard." He snorts. "Besides, it came from a skinjob. For all I know it's all another godsdamned lie, Ares take them."

Sera's breath is slow, labored, catching in her throat on every inhale and shaking on every exhale. Good Lords, is the woman crying? No. No, she can't be. For one thing, it's Sera. For another, there's no hitching of her shoulders, no shaking sob, no sniffling of her nose. "Have they resumed flights yet?," she demands, her voice suddenly hoarse. And harsh. And filled with the kind of burning hate that brings everyone within a certain radius down — including the person bearing it. "I need to get to the surface. Now."

Holtz has probably seen Sera on the deck fairly often, considering she fixes the birds he flies — and he's never seen her like this. "I…" He nods jerkily. "Yeah. Order came down earlier today, in fact." He tilts his head to the side; while he certainly understands her hate, he seems slightly taken aback by her sudden loss of composure. Which is saying something, considering he's an Ares-worshipping Tauron. "I'll fly you down myself, if you want."

"…Then get me back to the surface. An' back to my work." She peels herself away from the window, slowly. Her hands fall to her sides, where she flexes them slowly several times before balling them up into fists. When she looks up at him, her jaw is set, and her eyes are hard, and her lips have pressed into a line so tight and thin, they're nothing more than a white slash in her otherwise tan face. "I'm goin' to find a way to kill them. I swear to Hades himself, I'm goin' to find a way to kill them all."

Holtz looks at Sera for a long moment before finally nodding. "Right, then. Let's go." He drops his cigarette to the deck, crushing it beneath his boot; it's almost been smoked down to the filter, anyway. "Gotta grab my shit. Meet you on the deck, yeah?" And then, with a last look into her eyes, he crosses the room towards the hatch, throwing it open before making his way out of the room.

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