Back in her old stomping ground
Truth Be Told
Timeline: Mission Day PCH 30 at 1600
Flanked by two of the Solaria’s finest marines, the commander of the fleet made his way onto the port flight deck and came to a halt just feet from the advancing Raptor that had landed and was now maneuvering into the landing bay to deliver the Achilles commander to the Solaria.
He was somewhat giddy as he stood waiting impatiently, tapping his feet on the deck plating with his hands clasped together behind his back. Was it possible that he was actually EXCITED to see his XO again? Mitchell Hanson EXCITED to see Amaris Kendall? Who would have guessed that just under a month ago when they had met in the most horrific of circumstances?
Amaris had managed to get to the Solaria in record time, and as the raptor landed in the bay, she felt a sudden sense of familiarity. She was quite glad to be away from the confines of the Achilles. As the door opened, she looked out and saw the welcome party with Hanson at the head. She had to admit, she was glad to be under the certainty he provided. Being in charge suited her, but there was something special about his leadership.
She offered a salute and waited for him to speak.
Mitchell returned the salute before taking a step forward and offering her a welcome hand. “It’s great to have you back Colonel,” he grinned.
She took his hand, but didn't use it as support to step down. She stepped down in her own strength, and when she was on the deck, she looked up at him confidently.
"It's good to be back, sir." She said with a nod. "I trust things went better for Solaria than they did for us?"
“Possibly,” the Commander nodded as he gestured towards the exit and began to walk, the two marines following a few steps behind. “We’ve dispatched all of our raptors to survey the planet,” he began, “one of our SAR birds detected colonial debris in orbit and signs of survivors on the planet. We’re looking for them now,” he told.
"Survivors?" She asked, a look of confusion crossing her face. "You mean...human survivors?"
“Yes indeed,” Hanson answered as they strolled down the corridor. “We were concerned that the debris may have been from the Achilles at first but it soon became apparent that it wasn’t.”
"We didn't detect any life signs." She said with a curious expression just as she was remembering some of the officers on-board Achilles had asked to explore the planet several times. She had said no, seeking to avoid possible detection by the Cylons. "How many do you think are there?"
“We’re not sure, but we have a chance to find out,” the Commander told as they approached the steps to the Deck the CIC was on. “If there are any we are obligated to retrieve them.”
"If you say so." Amaris said, adopting a skeptical expression. "I'm assuming I'm officially re-assigned to Solaria?"
“That depends,” Hanson grinned cheekily. “Do you want to stay aboard the Achilles?”
Amaris looked at him, her beautiful brown eyes reflecting a subtle hint at a playful smile, but her face didn't comply.
"We haven't know each other very long, sir, but you know me better than that."
“Then consider yourself XO again,” he advised before ascending several steps up the ladder towards the CIC.
Amaris followed him up the steps, looking left and right and the familiar surroundings. She eyed the side of the Commander’s head, but said nothing for a while. She wasn’t quite sure how she should say what she wanted to say.
“”I’m sure Colonel Wolf is thrilled about being able to return to Achilles…” she said, watching his expression carefully.
Hanson stopped in his tracks and turned to face the Lieutenant Colonel before waving away their marine escort. “Okay Colonel,” he frowned, “out with it.”
“What do you mean?”” she asked, furrowing her brow. She knew what he meant immediately, but there was very little chance of her admitting it. She feigned mild confusion and crossed her arms under her chest.
“Cut the crap,” he whispered frustratedly. “I thought we had got to a point where we could at least be honest with each other. Something got your back up, what is it?” he asked more forthright than before.
Amaris turned her head and narrowed her eyes slightly, her mind racing as she directed a wave of unintended resentment in the older man’s direction. Before she could speak from her feelings, her father’s words began to ring in her head. Where was her self control right now? Where was her strategy and objectivity? She was about to show her hand, and for what? Because she’d have a couple hard days on the Achilles. Slowly, she fixed her face and lowered her guard, physically.
“I just want to make sure she remembers her place, sir.” she said, colder and less self-conscious than before. “It’s difficult for me to do my job when it feels like someone’s gunning for it.”
“Her place, like yours, is at my side making sure we get this fleet to safety so that we can start to build some sort of life somewhere,” Hanson countered with a frustrated sigh. He had hoped this petty dislike between the two would have subsided by now given their predicament, but he was clearly wrong. “Fine. You think she’s gunning for your job. From now on, no more cross ship missions. Achilles will maintain her own staff and Squadron, as will we. Wolf will keep command of the Achilles and you will remain here as XO of the fleet,” he told in a calm, matter of fact manner before heading off for the CIC again.
“I understand.” she said, falling into step beside him. Most assuredly, she had gotten what she wanted. She expected he knew that as well. There was no further need for drama at this point.
Soon enough, the two officers entered through the massive bulkhead door and left their marine escorts at the threshold. Taking a few steps down towards the main level of the command center, those there present noticed the woman beside the Commander and began to clap. A slow ripple of applause at first until a loud crescendo filled the room, including from the two officers stood at the command table awaiting their arrival.
Amaris gave a grateful nod, but otherwise gave no response to those who were clapping. Once it had died down, she parted her lips to speak.
“Alone and separated, the cylon’s couldn’t destroy us. Now, we’re together again. That means the search is back on. That means the fight is back on.” she said, looking from eye to eye at those in the CIC. “Get back to work. The vacation’s over.”
As the team got back to work, Colonel Wolf looked across the table at her nemesis and after what appeared to be an age, she offered a hand in greeting. “Good to have you back Colonel,” she nodded to the woman.
Amaris accepted the hand and gave it a firm shake, even going as far as to offer a smile that was dripping with fakeness.
“Thank you, Colonel. Congratulations on your promotion by the way.” she said, releasing the hand unceremoniously. “I brought your ship back. I’m sure we can buff those scratches out.”
“Thaddeus,” Hanson called out before there could be any awkwardness between the two women, “enter in the ships log that both Colonel Kendall and Captain Graystone are resuming their roles as XO and CAG of the Solaria effective immediately, and that Colonel Wolf will be returning to command of the Achilles and will be joined by Lieutenant Hanson as CAG,” the senior most officer ordered with a nod to Major Scott who swiftly departed to follow his orders. Hanson turned his attention back to the two women. “I have decided, now that Achilles has returned, that my previous orders to combine our resources very nearly backfired. We need two ships, with clear structures and personnel assigned so that we do not risk the safety of the fleet again,” he told. “Colonel Wolf. I need you back on Achilles and reunited with the fleet. Once there, consult with Major Kovak on the Achilles and submit a list to Colonel Kendall of personnel you require to bolster your command. We’ll do our best to accommodate. The Achilles CAG will work with Captain Graystone to ensure that her squadron is sufficient to support her future operations. Solaria will wait here until the SAR teams report back.”
Amaris nodded as orders were given, taking her position on the other side of the command table. She understood his rationale and believed this course of action to be the best option for the fleet, or at least the best option for her own power. She looked over to Westbrooks, who towered at the entrance to CIC, and gave him a knowing nod. He responded back to her with his typical loyal humility, offering a salute and returning to his position.
“If you’d permit, sir, I’ll coordinate with our teams on the surface and organize the ongoing search for human life.” she said, looking across the lighted surface.
“I’ll see you soon,” Wolf told, looking rather pissed as she stomped off.
Major Scott watched the two roles of the women change hands yet again and shook his head ever so slightly. When were things ever going to stabilize?
“The teams are not yet on the surface,” Hanson spoke up as he pulled across the transparent map on the table and started pointing out locations to the XO. “This is where the debris was located that drew us to the system and, ultimately, to you. We have Raptor’s conducting aerial sweeps looking for signs of survivors.”
“Well, it seems we're doing all that we can at this point." She said, looking down at the map. "Have you had time to visit Skyport? That remains a huge unknown in the fleet, especially if we're preparing to add more people to our numbers.”
“No,” Hanson shook his head slowly with a smirk, “I have had other priorities. Why?”
"The owner keeps a rather large security detail on-board and, according to Catherine's report, he hasn't agreed to follow our lead and has a standing request to meet with you." She said with a somewhat concerned expression. "Only you can offer the carrot, sir...but if you wish to offer the stick, I could fly over for a chat."
Hanson pondered her statement for a minute before nodding. “As soon as we are reunited with the fleet, we’ll both pay the ship a visit. In the meantime, let me know when the Achilles is ready to jump back to the fleet,” the Commander ordered before letting out a sigh. “I’ll be in my quarters filling out my report. You have the CIC Colonel.”
"Sir." She said as a closing expressing as she rounded the table and replaced him on his side. Looking around the vast room, her hands pulling the map close to her and letting out a deep sigh. Being back in wide open spaces was a relief after her time away. "Home sweet home."