AWD #086: When Is A Pilot Not A Pilot?
When is a Pilot not a Pilot?
Summary: Knox and Petra have a conversation about Ceres' expected survivability and what can be done about it.
Date: 02/04/2013 (OOC Date)
Related Logs: The Cylons of Task Force NOMAD
Knox Petra 
Battlestar Orion - Deck 2 - Ward Room
The Ward Room's centerpiece is a finely crafted oak table built into a rectangle with sweeping curves towards each corner, matching chairs lining it like a ring. The far end of the room are the flags of each of the Twelve Colonies, the Colonial flag at the left end and the Fleet's flag at the right to flank. At the other end is a countertop built into the wall that has fresh coffee brewed in a pot, and another for ice water, when Command Staff is present.
4/2/2005

So it came to pass that on the eighty sixth day since….well, no, lets face it. A lot of really really deplorable crap has gone down since Marcus made his little announcement to the fleet, and the Chaplain making her voice and the scriptures known today has just been enough for Petra to send a call over to one specific Marine and ask him to come up to his 'office' on Deck 2. By the time he gets there? The LTC has several papers and some surface maps of Piraeus scattered around, and a notebook out, jotting away.

Coop comes inside in his off-duties, but still wearing that pistol belt. He nods to the Colonel, shutting the hatch behind him and lifting a salute. "Reporting as ordered, Colonel." Always the Marine. He tries to look straight ahead but can't help glancing to the table a few times.

Petra glances up when the hatch opens, and with Knox' faster reflexes, will probably note how the colonel reaches for his sidearm until he sees who it is. Relaxing again, he guestures to the other seats at the table, "Cooper. Have a seat. There's some of my coffee in the pot over there if you want." His coffee meaning three times as strong and will probably devour the spoon if you leave it in the mug, "It's been a while since we had a talk that wasn't in a crowded room."

Coop drops the salute and moves for the coffee. "Jumpy, sir?" he asks easily, moving for the urn. He glugs out a mug and pours a glass of water. then some water into his mug to dillute it. "It has. But I was thinking of coming up here anyway. I just wanted to wait for the right time." Coop turns and sets the glass of water down in front of Petra. "Skip the coffee, sir. Hydrate yourself." He stands by the table and sips the mug. "I just didn't want to get up here and cause more problems for you, sir. You've got enough from us."

Petra rumbles and shakes his head, "I'm already a Cylon-lover, Coop, If you need to talk to me, then just come talk to me. Its not like we need to worry what someone is thinking about a Sergeant constantly coming to talk to a naval Lieutenant Colonel for anymore, right?" He fingers the glass of water, staring at the liquid for a few moments before he continues, "This is getting a little uglier than I was hoping it would…or well, wouldn't. Ceres has already been involved in what, three incidents now? I'm vaguely concerned that the next time she climbs into a cockpit, I'm going to see an incident report about her plane suffering a mechanical failure and imploding. If you two think it's gotten too dangerous, I'm not going to force you to stay here." He pauses, drawing his arms back and linking his fingers across his chest, "I want you to stay here. I think we have to have you here if we are going to have a glimmer of a hope at finding whatever it is that will let us stop this war, so don't get me wrong with the offer. But I dont force soldiers under my command to withstand poor odds, without them saying they are okay with it."

Knox listens to all this, nodding. His eyes are down towards the table, but he isn't looking at anything down there in particular. Just thinking. Eventually, after a sip of coffee, he speaks up. "Ceres and I have already discussed it, sir." He looks to the TACCO. "We've talked it over. We did after the mob assault outside sickbay. My last orders to her including never killing a human and to protect the fleet at all costs. Right now? We're not doing that. Our mission here, since that day, has been to fight with you all and protect. To be ambassadors. To be people you could talk to and see that we aren't just towing a barge of bull, but put our money where our mouths are." He lets off a long breath. "It may be time, Colonel. I understand you think we might need to stay to help, but there is absolutely nothing worth the integrity of this fleet. We can't stay if people are going to kill each other over this. There… may be a way to hold it off, though. If, sir, you're willing to hear the option." He lifts his brow.

Petra nods very slightly as he listens (for what its worth, it looks like he's been marking out locations and places to actually start construction - apparently the conversation with Kelsey lit a fire under his ass). He licks his own lips and nods once, then offers, "If it has anything to do with the vision you gave Centerfold, I'll say this right now. I ought to headthump you for that. Are you frakking kidding me, Cooper? If anyone on this crew hears you did that, that //will/ be the incident that sets this powder keg off. Cylons able to make us see/feel/hear something? Ho-ly-SHIT."

Coop sighs and shakes his head. "I warned her against telling anyone about that." He wets his lips and looks to the floor. "I'm sorry. She wanted to know something. There wasn't any good way to explain it. Its something Ceres and I have mostly kept to ourselves because we didn't want to freak anyone out. I know it doesn't make any difference to the larger crew, but it was harmless to her. I just showed her a memory of a discussion I'd had with the federal judge the night before." He looks back to Petra, then. "And no. There's no feasible way I could think of to do that on a larger scale. The idea is to transfer Ceres out of the Air Wing." Coop takes a seat uninvited and settles his mug on the table. "Sir, the Marine Corps, I think, judges me on my performance. I think they simply ask themselves whether or not I am upholding the Corps' code of honor. Am I a Marine, or am I not? Its not roses and rainbows by any stretch, but they are not attacking me or going after me. I asked Major Beckett about whether or not the Corps would be willing to take in Ceres and let her prove her loyalty there, in an environment where she has a higher risk and less chance of fratricide. He said he would be perfectly willing to give her a shot."

Petra flashes the hint of a wry smile, "I don't blame you for wanting her to understand, and it certainly sounds like it opened her eyes, but damn…" He shakes his head slowly and quiets down to listen to the rest of what he has to say. A vague look of distaste flickers across his face, "I don't like the idea of dividing the ship up that way, but we're already getting divided as it is. That's not even addressing a primary issue there…can a pilot function as a marine? I know you said you're faster, stronger, tougher, we can build it, we have the technology, but that doesn't make up for everything. Or are you able to just…" he guestures with his hands, "…poof, she knows Marine combat tactics?"

"As you said sir, the ship is already dividing. Her squad leader is batshit insane. The Deck has actively gone after her. Unless they are brought under control, you may be reading that report. I'm not saying you need to clamp down, either, sir. This is not my ship, nor do I ever want it. But…" Coop listens to the rest and finally chuckles. "Uh, no, sir. That sort of goes along with the 'reprogramming' fallacy I've heard. Once we wake up in these bodies, that's it. We can only be changed or given knowledge or whatever by learning or conditioning just like you. Ceres would need to complete Marine Basic and become a rifleman. Ground-up, we'd have to build her into a Marine like you'd have to with any other pilot. Physically? She can do it. But whether or not she's a Marine will depend on how she conducts herself. And you and I both know that being surrounded by trained killers may be the best way to head off any violence. Of anyone on this ship I would trust to pull the triggers on one of my people, I would absolutely put the Corps out front to do it every time." A pause. "The problem is her, sir. She's a pilot. She wants, more than anything, to fly. And you can't force a Marine, sir. Part of it is wanting and believing in it."

Petra shakes his head, "Zachary has already pushed that too far with how he handled Dolly. Me trying to force anything at this point is just going to backfire. I've never been around a mutiny before, but I've studied enough of them to recognize when one is brewing." He finally does pick up the glass of water and drains a good portion of it before setting it down, "I wish I could tell her she can, but you and I at least see the same outcome of that choice. If she agrees to the move, and your COs have already signed off on it, I'm fine with it. I ought to insist her kill total remain on the Wing's kill board just so they are reminded of it, but that wont be very constructive of me. Its her choice. I dont want to lose a good pilot, and she IS a good pilot."

"If there is a mutiny, sir, we're out of here. We will get on a Raptor any way we have to and we will get the hell off this ship. You know the plan of action in regards to the information her and I have. If we're both lost out here? Everything her and I have worked for is gone and humanity is in deep shit. In that case, sir, I will fight my way to the Deck and I won't say please. And neither will the rest of the Marines." Coop keeps his focus on Petra, letting that hang. "Just needed to be said, sir. But I agree about her kill count. We both know she will fight and serve and do this crew proud in the Marines. It would be my personal pleasure to watch her prove it time and again while the Wing sits and stews that it lost one of its best and most senior pilots because they were too wrapped up in their hate. And sir? Nines are loyal. If she goes Corps, and she see's that they will judge her fairly? I don't know that she would go back."

"And it will be their loss if she goes. I've already shot myself in the foot with the crew and the trust I had with most of them has vaporized over this." He stops for a moment, pursing his lips before continuing, "I'm sorry I don't have a better solution for this. And tell Ceres that too. Convince her to take the transfer, if you can. As for what you plan on doing if there's a mutiny, well, if there's a mutiny, I can say with pretty good certainty that I wont be in any kind of a position to either help or hinder you, so…"

"Bullshit, sir," Coop tells him with some force. "The people who are going after Ceres are the malcontents who would be pissed no matter what happened. Don't you give yourself shit about this like that, sir. Don't do that to yourself or this command. You made decisions. You wanna thump my head? I should hit yours for that." The Marine looks pretty serious. "You did the best you could with the information you had." He points to the door. "The godsdamned Marines have taken me in. We are talking about the Devil Dogs that humanity relies on to take out the trash and kick down the doors of some of the nastiest filth out there. You see them revolting against what you said or did? No, sir. Or how about the majority of this ship?" His hand drops and he shakes his head. "Besides, when this comes down through the ranks of my own line about what the truth is? These people are going to feel pretty damned stupid when you have platoons of highly motivated and pissed off Cooper Knoxs calling in airstrikes on Centurions to protect populations or Ceres Garridos setting off nuclear weapons on basestars. You'll have your day, sir. Just hold out for it. You've got my word on that."

Petra opens his mouth to say something to that, then apparently thinks the better of it and closes it again, letting him finish uninterrupted. The last comment does earn a small shake of his head, "They ought to feel pretty damned stupid, Cooper, but if we aren't careful, none of us are going to live long enough to see it, and then its sort of a moot point, isn't it? Let me know what Ceres says. Jameson greenlighed Zachary's request to resume flight status, so if she's going to move, lets do it before she gets assigned to a mission and that just happens to be the time someone tries something. Alright?"

"I'll be straight with you, sir. If the mobs and punks win out, then humanity hasn't got a chance. Ceres and I? We can start a war. Whether or not humanity will be left afterwards? That's up to the people in this fleet. You all have the keys." Coop rises from the chair. "I'll talk to Ceres, though. Is there anything else, Colonel?"

Petra smirks faintly, "Coop, that's what I've been saying to just about anyone that will listen. The moment mob rule takes over on this ship? Its over, and they might as well kill all of Command, because I sure as frak don't intend to stick around and watch humanity die." He shakes his head at the last, "No. I guess there isn't. Good luck. I know I don't have to tell you to be careful, but be careful anyway."

Cop is about to go and he stops himself. He taps a few fingers on the table before he turns and looks back to Petra. "Colonel, if something happens on the ship and you can get back to the colonies? I'll meet you at Spree's place. I'll either get there undercover or get myself captured and holdout until I can be delivered there. Twenty-seven twenty-four, sir." He flashes a quick thumbs up to the man and heads for the hatch.

He listens to the offer and slowly nods his head, "The number that started all of this. Dont worry. I don't think there's any chance of me ever forgetting that number for the rest of my life." A soft chuckle escapes him, but he doesn't say anything else to stop the Marine from making his exit.

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