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Respect is earned, not simply given

Posted on Sun Feb 25th, 2018 @ 3:17pm by Ensign Marcus Kivicus [Cleric] & Commander Mitchell Hanson & Lieutenant Colonel Amaris Kendall & Captain Alethea Graystone [Astraea] & Lieutenant Leonidas Lochlan & Lieutenant JG Ayesha Myers [Echo] & Lieutenant JG Brent Rivers & Ensign Ryan Kelpor [SNACO] & Major Jonathan Kilmartin & Lieutenant Darius Kendall [Nightlight] & Lieutenant JG Symon Wilson [Shadowdancer] & Ensign Elijah Monroe [Sidekick] & Lieutenant Ariella Arnold [Bandit] & Lieutenant Naven Rhodes [Skyfire] & Lieutenant JG Gavin Hawkins [Falcon] & Ensign Ranulf Macloud [Scout]
Edited on on Sun Feb 25th, 2018 @ 9:51pm

Mission: Traitorous Endeavours
Location: Pilot's Briefing Room
Timeline: PCH-15 0930 Hours

Major Kilmartin stood just a few yards from the door to the Wardroom and watched as the Marines who had been on guard duty filed off after their respective objective as the command staff exited and went in different directions. There had been a lot of tension in that room and he was glad to be out of there as most of it had been his doing, although Kendall had a fair amount of responsibility to shoulder too, but still – it hadn’t been pleasant.

Alethea walked out with mixed feelings over the entire affair. On the one hand she remained unhappy with how things went down but on the other, she did gain the unique position to actively shape how things would go moving forward. At least that provided some comfort. As she turned she saw the man she was going to replace, “Major, mind if we discuss how to proceed in private?”

“Not at all,” Kilmartin shook his head as he gestured for her to follow him on their short trip. With no bodyguards and most people still likely in their racks, they were relatively alone in the corridor now. “I want you to know that none of what was suggested was personal, Captain,” he spoke, trying to assure his replacement.

Alethea nodded understandingly “I get that, it just felt rather dismissive of the Achilles’ interests and role in the fleet but that is a debate for a more peaceful time. I do believe we should discuss how to handle the transfer exactly, I’m sure not all pilots will accept the change as easily.”

“The burdens of command,” Kilmartin frowned as he walked with his hands tucked away in the pockets of his trousers. “We’ll call them all over here, minus the CAP. We could ask for volunteers maybe? The thing with VeePee’s is that they enjoy a challenge. Being the only Squadron on a ship is going to be one hell of a challenge,” he smirked, yet still sensitively enough that she hopefully wouldn’t think he was mocking her ship.

“Oh no, I’m sure those nuggets will love the chance to serve on a Battlestar. It’s more I’m not sure the pilots here will as easily let a Patrolstar CAG take over, and a Graystone at that” She replied.

“You heard the Commander. This is war. They go where they are sent and they suck it up,” he told more seriously now. He was not going to be dictated too by his pilots… her pilots. “You are the logical choice to take the role. If needs be,” he smiled as he threw his fists up and pretended to box. “We can always get the old boxing ring out and settle it the old fashioned way.

Alethea smiled. “Yeah, physical coercion would certainly work” She joked. “So how do you want to handle the handover, just a regular briefing?”

“I’ll fill them in on the plans for the Air Group and then I’ll introduce them to you. It’s not the VeePee’s that you should be worried about. It’s the Raptor Wranglers,” he trailed off as they turned a corner. “We have two. We have the craft but we are going to have to transfer some VeePee’s to the Raptors. Or at least, you’ll have to,” he smirked. He knew the viper pilots would not be impressed with having to fly Raptors on a long term basis so he was definitely passing the buck on that particular order.

Alethea considered the words for a moment “Hmm” She uttered. “They might not like it but unless we find bus drivers fast it needs to be done, we can’t even run reliable operations with just two”

“I’ll let you tell them about the lack of ECO’s too then,” the Major smirked.

“Now I get why you took a promotion to the CIC, all this stuff needed to be told” Alethea joked.

At this point, they reached a literal crossroad in the corridor and Kilmartin came to a stop. “I’ll round up my people. If you want to contact the CIC, they can get your pilots over here sharpish. Meet in the briefing room in, say, thirty minutes?”

“Sounds good, I’ll make sure my nuggets are there,” Alethea replied.

Kilmartin nodded and then moved away in the opposite direction before stopping and turning back. “You do know where you are going, right? This beast is a lot bigger than your Patrolstar,” he smirked.

“I served on the Orion a lot longer than on the Achilles, old man,” Alethea jested in response before heading up to the CIC.

Kilmartin smiled and shook his head as he walked with purpose and made his getaway. He had pilots to summon.

[30 Minutes Later…]

Major Jonathan Kilmartin, or Captain as far as everyone else was aware for now, had arrived exactly thirty minutes after departing from his brief meeting with the Achilles CAG and had directed some Knuckle draggers in how he wanted the much larger briefing room set out for the meeting. He’d had them cram as many seats as possible into the room, but left plenty of standing room too. He then made his way outside to greet the various people as they made their way inside, pilots and ECO’s alike arriving on the dot.

Jogging down a few steps leading to the deck that the Pilot’s Briefing Room was on, Lieutenant Symon Wilson was slightly taken aback by the hustle and bustle of people on the deck. It was clear that something big was happening since there were so many new faces that had appeared, but even by recent standards, this had to be something major. He clocked his buddy, Captain Kilmartin, stood at the entrance to the briefing room and sidled up to the CAG. “Hey Chief, what’s with all the hullabaloo? We expecting a big Op?” he questioned, looking at the CAG with optimism.

“Get inside Shadowdancer and you’ll find out,” Kilmartin smirked, giving his friend a gentle shove into the large meeting room.

Symon let out a laugh as he almost tripped over his own feet, bumping in to his other pal, Naven Rhodes as he walked past. The two fired a mock salute at the CAG and walked inside. The room was already a buzz with people and loads of the Solaria bunch weren’t even in situ yet. “Look, the Achilles lot,” Wilson whispered with a little laugh at Rhodes. “Come to see what life’s like on a proper ship of the line?” he called out, mocking the poor Patrolstars much smaller stature compared to the Solaria.

Ranulf callsign *Scout* turned around to see what the commotion was about, as he always did he sat near the back of the room. He liked to be able to observe the other pilots. Besides meetings were not something he enjoyed and being near the back meant escaping quicker once dismissed. There were new faces and he had heard the deck techs talking about pilots coming over here from the Achilles. He hoped that meant they were going to see some action at last. All this running and hiding was getting to be bothersome.

Beyond coordinating with the CIC on how to get the pilots to the Solaria as soon as possible, Alethea also made some quick arrangements to have some of her basic stuff transferred to the Solaria so she could settle in as soon as possible. Only a minute or so after the agreed upon time she walked onto the deck and noticed the Solaria CAG, or well current CAG. “Nice turnout,” She commented as she stood next to Kilmartin.

“My people know better than to be late,” he smirked before whispering, “or should that be, your people?”

“Godsdammit Kilmartin, we became Viper pilots to avoid having to know phrasing and the like” Alethea joked.

Ensign Marcus “Cleric” Kivicus, followed the others in to the briefing room, he walked with a slight limp as the staples in his thigh were pulling a bit. He moved to a section of wall and leaned up against it. He scanned the room, and sighed only on the ship for 15 days and spent two in Sickbay. He wondered how he had gotten here, what happened to his mother. He sighed again and pulled out his prayer book out of the pocket of his flight suit.

Brent Rivers, callsign “Bargain’ entered the briefing room, around the same time as he always did. He was a creature of habit after all. He took his usual seat and looked around the room. “New pilots eh? Could use em.” he said to himself as he pulled out a couple sheets of paper, ready to jot stuff down if need be.

Lieutenant Junior Grade Kaylia “Angelus” Strenvale had an apple in hand as she walked in. Shifting to the side and lifted it to her mouth taking a huge bite, so it was heard. Yup, she happened to have it, stole it, or traded for it. She either was just hungry, or was showing off she had it. Hard to tell. Crossing her arms under her bust, the hand with the apple then coming between her breasts so she could continue to eat. At the same time more or less keep her arms crossed.

“Hey beautiful. Why don’t you come and share that apple with me?” Wilson chuckled as he looked across at the woman happily chomping away on her piece of fruit. He used his left hand to tap his lap. “Plenty of room for a little one of here.” Cocky, to say the least and sharing a mischievous chuckle with Naven again. The two were clearly trouble together.

Kaylia took another good bite of the apple and gave a glance. Raising an eyebrow a moment. Walking around to where Wilson was and leaning close. Her violet eyes looking down at his crotch, while her head position was still level facing his. “Mmm…fraid not, rookie. Its got to be bigger than the stem of this apple, and your boyfriend there,” referring to Naven, “Is probably more interested in you then he is me.” Lightly patting Wilson’s cheek, “You can have something.” Setting what was left of the apple into his lap. “Now you have a larger core.”

There was an eruption of laughter as Wilson, usually so self assured, suddenly went red in the face and picked up the apple core. He tossed it across at Naven and then subconsciously shifted in his seat so he lent away from his buddy.

Lieutenant Leonidas “Lupus” Lochlan walked in, The briefing was already pretty full. Finding a seat to the front right half of the room, he perched looking around at his fellow pilots “ Quite a few of us” he thought to himself as his tiny jotter pad was in hands ready to make notes, knowing he’d need to. The room was quite alive and he was only just settling in.

Still being leant down, Kaylia kissed Wilsons nose. “Truth hurts doesn’t it. You’ll get over it, sugar.” Leaning up and giving a glance. Hrm. Back in her original spot was fine with her. Heading to lean on the wall again.

Brayden “Hawkeye” Scott witnessed the scene as he walked past to take a seat. He glanced at Kaylia as he walked past her “Harsh.” He was smiling and looked at Wilson “Hey nothing ventured, nothing gained. Still you fly too close to the sun and you go down in flames.” Brayden walked on down and slipped into the row behind his Squadron leader. He had not really got to meet *Lupus* yet, then he really did not care anyway. He was good enough to hold his own, and help whoever was on his wing if need be. He leaned back and closed his eyes. He enjoyed acting like he just did not care, truth was closing his eyes helped him listen to the room. There were many conversations at any given time, some more interesting than others.

Chang “Jestor” WangXi walked over and took a seat behind Wilson. “I take it that apple was not to your liking? A little hard to swallow?” He looked at Kaylia “I guess she was a bit disappointed in you? What are you six foot plus with what? Four inches? I guess she is looking for something more expressive?” Jestor laughed, he was never one to know when to stop talking.

Kaylia bit her lower lip a little hearing that but did not give a comment back, to what she heard as apparently she didn’t need to say anything else.

“Keep laughing, jerkoff…” Wilson frowned as he tried to reach out and punch the retreating Jestor.

Duffy “Ghost” Brant sat down next to Jestor and squeezed his knee hard “time for the meeting to start. I think we need to be quiet and listen.”

Back in the last row Ranulf “Scout” MacCloud groaned. Jestor was at it again? The guy had short guy syndrome and the chance to pick on anyone over 5’6” was not something he could pass up. Ranulf should have kept the guy close, but he had come to the meeting from the flight deck and he had no idea where Jestor might have been. He just hoped Jestor did not cause any lasting bad feelings?

Ayesha entered a pile of papers in her right arm. She nodded at those she knew and slid into a seat in the middle of the room, next to Darius. She flashed him a smile. “Hey” She said softly. Her left arm was in a cast and sling. Her face was bruised as well but her uniform was neat and tidy.

Darius had been clowning around with the pilots around him when she walked in. He’d been chatting with the pilots around him, most of which were in his own squadron. They’d been laughing about the exchange between Wilson and the attractive pilot with the apple. When Ayesha showed up, he smiled and turned from the rest of them.

“You brought your paperwork like you’re running this meeting.” he said with a grin. “What are you up to?” his captivating eyes zeroed in on her.

“My new job. Nugget training.” Ayesha said softly. “Nice being God though to them.” she leaned her shoulder into his with a smile. “I just have to remember I am not my old trainer.”

“Was he a guerrilla trainer?” he asked with interest, knowing that some trainers were so mean that they could break people’s spirits.” Or was he soft like ice cream?”

“Mean old bastard who probably ate hull plating for meals. I am going to be firm and fair.” Ayesha replied with a smile. “And They will hate the ground I walk on. Which is fair.”

“They should. If they don’t learn, they’ll be eating bullets and we’ll be at their funeral.” Nightlight responded honestly. “You know how to be strong; you can definitely handle nuggets.”

She gave him a bright smile. “Thank you, Nightlight”

Ensign Elijah “Sidekick” Monroe, ECO, entered the briefing room at the back end of the banter. He smiled instinctually when he heard the amusement. “some things never change” he thought to himself as he took a seat in the middle.

With what seemed like a full house, Kilmartin gestured for Captain Graystone to step inside the briefing room and followed her for a few steps until the two of them were stood at the podium at the front of the room. Whilst the majority of the pilots shut their traps, a few continued to natter away. He had hoped their mere presence at the front of the room would have been enough, but instead he stepped forward and raised his voice. “Alright, lock it up!” he called out, glaring at the usual suspects, including his ‘friend’.

Kaylia pushed off the bulkhead and while her physical demeanor showed respect, as did her tone of voice, that did not excuse that she was still defiant in some manner. “Excuse me sirs. Before the actual briefing gets started, I would like to know something. Particularly why are most of these pilots cringing like little girls. Either shut up because one wants to do their job or get out. As well as, where is Colonel Kendall? Whom rumor has it everyone is afraid of more than Admiral Cain. Almost.”

Kilmartin had been about to begin when the bright spark from the side of the room opted to chime in. Whilst her comment about the less mature members of the room was quite apt, the mention of Colonel Kendall riled him a little. “What? I’m not scary enough for you Lieutenant? I guess once you get to know me you’ll learn that I am more than capable of leading a meeting about the Air Group without the good Colonel being present. Last I saw, her name was not on the Air Group Roster as CAG,” the Captain remarked with a raised eyebrow and a smile.

“We’ll have to see, not much rhetoric scares me, it has to be proved,” Kaylia said. Giving a motion with her hand. “Please, continue. I’m happy for us to have a mission rather than standing around playing with ourselves.”

Jestor opened his mouth “I know a few guys who would be happy to help you ou.uch!”

Duffy squeezed his knee and glared at Jestor. Speaking in a soft quiet voice he asked the Jestor “have you ever been to a blanket party? I think I can find a few people who might just want invited to one. Now keep quiet we are in a meeting. In case you failed to notice we are in sort of a frakking shit storm here.”

Ranulf smiled as he like the Captain. Despite his first impression of “Sunbeam”, once he had gotten to know the Captain he changed his view He was sort of feeling vindicated to see the Sexy pilot told where she stood in the food chain here. He actually looked at her now and shrugged. The Scientist Arrius had better legs anyway.

Was this elementary school? Ayesha rolled her eyes and wished Sunbeam got going. She had nuggets to train.

Lupus sat there internally laughing, Keeping his thoughts to himself, he liked the captain already, he was a no nonsense sort of CAG and that he respected, bending forward he tapped Hawkeye on the shoulder “It always like this?” He said slightly laughing “Leonidas Lochlan or to my friends Lupus,” he said smiling as he watched the hustle and bustle around him, his eyes returning to the Captain.

Hawkeye did not open his eyes to reply “Sir I think anytime you put men and women in the same room it is like this. I am surprised that “Scout” let “Jestor” off the leash. MacCloud usually keeps track of the guy to keep him out of trouble.”

Alethea did her best not to visibly show displeasure at the attitude these adults were displaying. Pilots always had a playful streak but this was getting absurd, it seemed clear that one of her first measures was going to be the implementation of some much needed discipline.

“Are we done?!” the CAG asked as he glared at the woman and those around her again before continuing. “Right,” Kilmartin spoke firmly as he started to pace a little at the front of the briefing room. “For those of you who have been hiding under a rock the last fifteen days, I’m Captain Jonathan Kilmartin, callsign Sunbeam and I’m Solaria’s CAG. My compadre here is Captain Alethea Graystone, Astraea to her friends, the Achilles CAG. Between us, we decide who here lives and dies,” he told sternly before adding, “so watch your tongue, Wilson.” The CAG glared at his pal in warning, the pilot knowing the stupidity was not welcome anymore.

He caught a few confused glances from some of his jocks and felt the need to elaborate. “Earlier this morning, the Captain and I met with the fleet commanders and we have made some decisions regarding the makeup of the fleets Air Groups,” at this point, two enlisted men carried in and lent twp large whiteboards up against the wall behind the CAG, one tucked away behind the other, in a position where most could see them. “As of now, the Achilles and Solaria Air Groups will merge together under the authority of the Solaria CAG.” On the board was the Air Group Personnel Roster, split into their different squadrons with names and titles colour coded to differentiate men and women and those from the Achilles and those from the Solaria.

“Now, this is where my involvement here, ends,” the Captain spoke as he looked at Captain Graystone. “Commander Hanson, in his infinite wisdom, has seen fit to promote me to the CIC,” he revealed to the shock of some individuals around the room. “Whilst I swan around in the CIC as Officer of the Deck and second officer on this bucket, Captain Graystone here will be transferring to Solaria and assume the role of Solaria CAG.” With that, he stepped aside and gestured to the woman. “They are all yours, Captain,” he smiled.

“Thank you, Major” Alethea replied with a smile before stepping up and turning to the pilots. “Now, I realize I should be honoured to be on a proper ship” She jested, glaring at some pilots for earlier comments. “The past few weeks have been rough, we have seen our worlds destroyed and have to fight for our survival on a daily basis. For most of us here, we have never served together. We don’t know each other. We are strangers. Yet we are all joined by the need to protect what is left, we are the vanguard of humanity and the first and last line of defence. There will be some changes in the upcoming weeks and months, you will hate a lot of them. You will hate me. But once this is done we will get all of you into being proper pilots that can get through whatever the toasters throw at us. There no longer is a Solaria or Achilles where the Air Group is concerned, we are all one.” Alethea paused for a second to look over the pilots. “Now, I’m not one to keep on rambling, we need to work hard and we need to work fast. Your new squadron assignments have been posted behind me, most of the Achilles pilots will be transferring here, some of the Solaria personnel is moving there. Prepare for daily drills until we all work together as a team.”

In the background, a pair of new faces stood silently behind a group of pilots who were crouched slightly, listening in intently.

Major Kilmartin stepped up again to conclude the meeting but as he did so he caught a glimpse of the newcomer and his stance immediately stiffened. “Commander on deck!” he beckoned formally. Tradition and protocol demanded the Commander’s presence be recognised.

Alethea hadn’t noticed her new CO in the crowd at all, too focused on the pilots. Only when her predecessor spoke the words did she even notice. She saluted the man immediately.

Ayesha got to her feet with the rest. Commander Hanson was not a common sight down in pilot country. Nor was the woman walking before him.

Sitting at the rear of the room Ranulf spotted Hanson when Kilmartin stiffened his stance. When the ‘Major’ spoke he stood to attention in a fluid graceful motion. This was going to get interesting.

Leo noticed from the corner of his eye, the Solaria’s commanding officer, slightly stiffening his posture, He tilted his head in a show of respect to the commander. Having realized everyone was slowly getting to there feet he stood, arm raised in a salute.

‘Hawkeye’ felt the room become alert as ‘Sunbeam’ called out. He came up to his feet at attention swiftly. This was going to be more then just a changing of the CAG meeting?

‘Ghost’ stood so swiftly it did not even seem he moved, he was just on his feet! He grabbed Jestor by the shirt collar and pulled him to his feet. He said nothing but he was visibly angry.

‘Jestor was not really paying attention to anyone except the lady with Violet eyes. But when he was pulled to his feet he was about to say something till he saw the expression on ’Ghost’s’ face and his stiff stance? There he was, the ship’s commander and faced front at attention. He wished he could disappear at the moment, even he knew his big mouth was going to be the death of him. Even if he would never admit it to anyone else.

‘Cleric’ quickly went to the position of attention his now closed prayer book hit the floor. He stood stiffly at attention the staples in his thigh pulling a little causing a slight grimace on his face.

Kaylia saw the look from Jestor and let him know she did by doing so back. Even though Hanson had walked by, they were suppose to stay there till told otherwise, she didn’t. She heard the book hit the deck and moved around to where Cleric was and leaned to pick the ‘bible’ up. Brushing it off with a hand and offering it to him.

Jestor noticed Kaylia was looking back at him and smiled. He winked and threw her a kiss.

Jestor got the finger and not meaning in a good way, while Kaylia held the book in her other hand.

‘Cleric’ took the book quickly and nodded to her as he slipped it in the thigh pocket of the flight suit.

Ghost slipped a hand behind his head and forced him to face front. Only his arm moved and it appeared to anyone not close as if he had never moved.

Jestor once he was free tilted his head and pouted, making puppy eyes at Kaylia. Then he silently mouthed the words ~call me.~

Kaylia raised an eyebrow. Puppy dog eyes didn’t work on her.

All the while, Kilmartin was watching and taking note with a raised eyebrow. He leant in, sharing a whispered word with Graystone, never taking his eyes of his target for a second.

Colonel Kendall proceeded to the front of the room behind Hanson, her arms placed solidly behind her back. Her brown eyes darted around the room in appraising fashion, falling on the faces of the pilots gathered here. There was no doubt about it; she didn’t like groups of viper pilots. They were so full of jokes, ruggedness, and laughter that she found it a miracle they weren’t all killed in battle against such a disciplined and capable foe as the Cylons. Her eyes found her brother in the crowd. He offered her a smile but she didn’t return it. She had a feeling this group needed to be reminded what side their toast was buttered on.

So this was Darius’ sister, Ayesha mused watching the interaction curiously. It was interesting to watch their dynamic. More so because of where she was with Darius. Still, the woman was a Lt. Colonel. That had to be respected.

Commander Hanson came to a halt at the front of the briefing room and placed a hand briefly on Kilmartin’s shoulder as they exchanged glances. He then looked at Alethea with a knowing smile and a nod. She was his CAG now, a member of his crew and he was glad to have her aboard. After a few minutes of looking around the room at the assembled pilots and ECO’s, the Commander gave a single gesture that indicated they were to sit once again.

Amaris greeted Kilmartin and Graystone with simple nods. She wasn’t the center of attention at this moment, so she could afford to simple stand by and be a united voice with the Commander. When she entered a room, there was great difference to her, but very little in a room where he was also. Some people might find this annoying; she did not. Her worth wasn’t in attention, but in effectiveness.

“Today marks a new day for all of you,” Hanson began as he stood front and centre, and unusually for him, still. “Today, the Colonial Military spread across our remaining forces comes together as one. No longer will it be Achilles or Solaria. It will, now and forever, be Achilles AND Solaria. Together. Whether it is supplying a civilian ship or blowing Cylons out of the sky; we’ll do it together,” he declared, a sideward glance to the new CAG beside him. “In this room, Graystone is God. What she says, goes. She says jump, you say how high. She says give me your apple, you better believe you hand that apple over,” yes, he’d overheard the apple story almost instantly after arriving at the back of the room. “Major Kilmartin did a fantastic job coming up with the proposal for re-organising this Air Group and he has nailed it, perfectly. Whether your Raptor or your Viper is on the Achilles or Solaria, it doesn’t matter. What matters from here on in is that you are the last hope for this fleet. Achilles has teeth. Solaria has nukes. None of that compares to the power of a fully functioning Air Group. You have the ability to overwhelm and destroy any target. You are human. You have instincts, you have gut feelings. These are things no machine can ever have and it is this that keeps you alive,” he dictated intensely, before adding finally, “and you better be alive because I’m sick to the back teeth of funeral services.”

Hanson finally stepped aside and looked towards the XO, yielding the floor. “Colonel, do you have anything to add?”

Upon being acknowledged, Amaris walked forward and paused for several seconds, looking over the sea of faces. She looked at several of them in the eyes, taking note of what she saw there. Many of them had been on the Solaria before the Fall; many of them knew her. “The Cylons have taken everything from us.” she said strongly, pausing then. “So we’re going to pay them back with bullets, steel, and fury. What’s left of your race requires something of you, pilot’s: survival and the destruction of frakking Cylon scum. You are expected to deliver on that requirement with your last dying breath. Don’t confuse this for a joy ride. Don’t you dare treat this like it’s a game.”

She stopped there for a second. The room was utterly silent and the air was thick with the tension only a speech like this could bring. After several moments of tense silence, she continued. “This is the Colonial Fleet. You will follow orders and show respect to those who are empowered to give them..” she paused, her eyes scanning the room evenly. “..or you’ll have to answer to me. You will show up for your shifts on time, you will follow the orders of your CAG, you will conduct yourself like an officer in the Colonial Fleet, AND….you will kill as many Cylons as you can. If that schedule doesn’t work for you, let us know now.” With that, Amaris stepped back into her original position and looked to the Commander.

Hanson acknowledged the Colonel and then turned to Major Kilmartin, who again stepped forward. “Lieutenant Myers,” he called out, gesturing for her to move to the front of the room.

Ayesha frowned, handed Darius the papers she held and moved to the front of the room. She stopped before the group of senior officers and came to attention smartly and saluted. “Sirs” She said briskly, parade ground straight.

“Lieutenant Myers here will be leading our Viper Training Programme whilst she is grounded. She may call on one or two of you for help if she needs it, but rest assured; her nuggets are not ready, so don’t go getting yourselves killed anytime soon,” Kilmartin remarked, a smile on his face but the sincerity of seriousness lingering. “Now, that’s all from me. Captain?” he asked as he glanced back to Alethea.

Kaylia clearly had something to say and it showed on her face. She wanted it to be said in front of everyone there, but was waiting. “Excuse me, sirs. Other than what is on the boards. What is going to be our flight assignments? Or is it to be simply as what we’ve been doing.”

At this point, Hanson silently bid farewell and vacated out of the port side hatch, leaving the CAG to do her job. She didn’t need him looking over her shoulder. Hopefully, she would chastise the junior Lieutenant for butting in when Kilmartin had yielded the floor, but for now he simply departed for his next task of the day. Amaris remained standing with Kilmartin and Greystone at the front of the assembly.

“Order of the day will be simple. Two standard 8 ship CAPs on point at any one time. One at the fleets lead with a Raptor and Doctor Persephone Arrius’ ship the Athena’s Grace. They’ll be plotting our way through the sector whilst we continue travelling at sublight speeds,” Kilmartin directed as answered the woman’s question. “The other CAP will patrol around the fleet as per usual. The fleet will remain a safe distance behind the forward recon line. There will be a brief lull in activity from us for the time being whilst you pilots get to your assigned Squadrons. Achilles has, for the time being, taken up protective duty at the front of the fleet alongside the Athena’s Grace. CAP assignments will be Squadrons two and nine. Nine will take point with Lieutenant Arnold and her Raptor. Squadron two will be on CAP with the fleet. Standard six hour pattern. Questions?” Kilmartin called out having delivered what would be his final mission brief.

Kaylia simply nodded. Even if it looked like she has more to say.

Ayesha stepped back now as the attention was moved to others,and she wanted out of the spotlight.

“Beyond those assignments I want to run regular training flights within the fleet for each squadron. You will need to learn working as a team more than ever now, there is no space for ego or attitude” Alethea stated, quite clearly having certain individuals in mind. “Dismissed.”

At dismissal, Darius stood up , handing Ayesha’s papers back to her. “Congratulations.” he said, with a smile. “You’ll do great.”

She gave him back a grateful smile. “Thank you Nightlight.”

“Jestor. Shadowdancer. Angelus. Remain,” Kilmartin instructed loudly as the sea of pilots began to disperse.

“I’m going to have to, considering what I’m fixing to say. Or be escorted to the brig.” Shoulders rolled as Kaylia glanced to see if Colonel Kendall remained there.

Wilson had been hastily heading for the door and dropped his head instantly at the sound of his name being called. He knew exactly what that meant.

Jestor was following Wilson out of the room when he heard his name. By the slump in the big guys shoulders he knew Wilson was Shadowdancer and he figured he was going to be doing something unpleasant for a long time.

MacCloud was almost out the door when he heard Jestor get called out. Hawkeye was walking toward him and shook his head. Scout dropped his head shaking it and walked on out with Hawkeye.

With the majority of the pilots gone, Jestor, Strenvale and Wilson were left behind with Kilmartin, Kendall and Graystone. Kilmartin stepped up to the three officers and bellowed. “ATTENTION!”

The three officers, sensing it wise not to disobey, quickly snapped to attention.

“What the HELL were you three idiots doing? That was a gods damn briefing given by the Commander of this ship and I have three pilots acting like complete… morons!” the Major fumed.

Jestor made eye contact but his body language was meek. “Ahh, Sir.. I am sure you have heard that levity is a boon to the soul? Since ahh, well Sir, I just thought making fun of a bad situation was the best way to like break the ice.” Jestor glanced at Wilson “sorry fella, I meant no harm.” Jestor was hoping an apology might in some way make amends. The Major’s eyes made him know without a doubt it was not going to work.

Wilson refused to make eye contact and, like Strenvale, opted to remain steadfast in his stance.

“The Commander of the entire gods damn human race was giving us one of his fabulously motivational speeches and you decided to break the gods damn ice?!” Kilmartin fumed. “I am this close, he gestured with his fingers, “to putting the three of you on report and grounding you all!” he yelled.

Wilson remained absolutely silent for the first time in his life, even more so than when he was sleeping, and stood bolt upright. He had never seen Kilmartin like this in all the years they had flown together.

Strenvale looked decidingly nervous but did her best to remain still and at attention.

Jestor hated this, standing beside Wilson and in front of Kilmartin made his short stature even more evident. He hated feeling small, but he was not a fool either, despite what most people thought. “Yes Sir, I at least know I deserve whatever punishment you deem fitting.” Even so it was all he could do to stop talking, his mind was racing with anecdotes. Still he knew the pressure here was on, the entire remains of the race might just be here on these few ships. That thought did not help though, it was just too large a scope for Jestor to contemplate! Still thinking kept his mouth shut so it helped.

“Lucky for you, Captain Graystone and I cannot afford to ground pilots right now. But rest assured, we’ll BOTH be watching you all. If I get so much as one bad report, you will be grounded and you’ll be allowed to rot. Understood?” Kilmartin growled at the three pilots.

The Colonel watched the exchange occur without interfering. She was deeply concerned about ship discipline going forward, not that anything in particular had given her a reason for concern until this moment. These pilots spent more time than many on the ship joking around and they clearly lacked the discipline she was accustomed to. She was pleased, however, to see that Major Kilmartin seemed to have a good hold on them. His new role wouldn’t involve managing viper jocks but, instead, managing CIC. He was, however, demonstrating his ability with people.

Jestor tried to stand taller but it just made him feel smaller. “Understood Sir.” He could not even complain about this, he had brought it all on himself.

Wilson, erect and still, echoed his colleague. “Understood, sir!”

Strenvale likewise responded. “Understood, sir!”

“Get… out,” the Major spoke, very sternly and very clearly.

As the pilots walked away, Amaris stood, arms under her chest, hands against her arms. She looked to Kilmartin. “Very good, Major.” was all she said, expressionlessly. From her, however, that was as much as receiving a standing ovation.

For Kilmartin, it was just the second stressful event of their fifteenth day in exile. What else could possibly go wrong?


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