Rules of Engagement
Rules of Engagement
Summary: The Air Wing Captains talk shop, and the conversation veers off into dangerous territory.
Date: PHD112 (Aug 8th, 2009)
Related Logs: Solon II Facility Recon, Undressed

Navy Offices

The navy offices, in lieu of the ready room, were chosen today by Kai. No particular reason was given; maybe he just wanted a change of pace. Or, more likely — given the direction he's just striding in from — he had a meeting to attend in the neighbouring ward room, and this was closer. The CAG's in his officer blues tonight, a file folder under one arm while his other hand busies itself unfastening the top flap on his uniform. He hasn't even sat down, yet.

And in she comes, directly off CAP, still in her flight suit. She has that smile she gets when the flying's been good, that exhileration that comes from being in the cockpit. Oh, Thea's professional enough tonight, but there's a bit of a sparkle there that's been missing for quite some time. "Evening Spider," she greets him, dipping her head. Yes, she's behaving.

Kai glances over as he hears that familiar stride, and the sight of Thea looking.. happy, puts a touch of warmth in his eyes. It's subtle, but there. "Black Cat," he returns pleasantly, thumbing off the button and folding the flap down as he comes to a halt by their desk. "Good run?" His folder's tossed atop it, and a pen fished out of one of his pockets.

Blue eyes drop to the flap briefly and linger for a heartbeat before she meets his gaze again. "Excellent run," she says quietly, dipping her head. "It feels good to be behind the stick again and in the sky. I'm going to pay for it in a couple hours, but it was worth it." Her head tilts to the side for a moment, then she settles the 'how formal is this' question by cocking her hip against the corner of the desk and settling her bottom half-on it. Casual enough to be friendly, professional enough to pass. "How was your day?"

Kai nods slightly to that, blue eyes holding blue as she meets his gaze again. His manner is quietly assessing, as it often is when observing his pilots. Thea included. "I'm glad," he offers sincerely, eschewing the chair himself in order to settle against the edge of the desk. "You look much better. The flying's good for you." Which translates to: I'm willing to cut you some slack on flying while not one hundred percent. As to his day, "I had a meeting with Sheridan just now. He wants to plan another mission down to Keros, so we'll have to discuss the details of that."

Her lips quirk to one side and she nods, settling herself in more comfortably. "I'm looking forward to it," she murmurs. "Hopefully Elder had the bullet magnet taken out of his damned chest. Do you want to do that planning now, or?" Yep, it's up to him.

"He does seem to attract more than his share of them, doesn't he?" Kai remarks somewhat drily. He twists around to sift through his papers, breaking eye contact for a few moments in order to do so. "Sure. We may as well knock that off quickly. I'd like to discuss Lieutenant Matto first, however." His tone of voice belies.. well, pretty much nothing.

Thea grins for a moment at the mention of Elder, but it fades at the mention of Matto. Nope, someone didn't know. "Lieutenant Matto," she asks, head cocking to the side. "What's going on?"

Kai returns with a folder. One of the pilot's personnel dockets. This one, unsurprisingly, has Kisseus' uniformed self pictured on the front page. He slides it over to Thea. "There was a small incident in the lounge last night. A conversation between a few of us that took, as conversations often do, a bit of a lewd turn. The S2 and I were discussing training strategies, and I'd mentioned preferring-" He has the good grace to smile slightly here. "-a balls to the wall approach. Lieutenant Matto came back with a clever, though rather ill-conceived retort involving my proclivity for frakking bulkheads." Yes, Kai does find this amusing. He's not lacking in a sense of humour. "If it had been said in the berthings, I probably would have left it at that. But it was somewhat more mixed company, and I found the Lieutenant's tone.. disrespectful in the extreme. We've both been in the navy long enough to understand, Thea, that there's a fine line between joshing around with your commanding officer, and disrespecting them."

Thea takes the folder, smile gone now. No, she doesn't even grin in amusement. Instead, her lips thin slightly and she dips her head, once, as her eyes study the folder. "Recommended course of action," she asks after a moment, glancing up at the CAG. Oh, someone's not happy - though it doesn't appear directed at him.

Kai's own smile, however faint it was, is also vanished by this point. He flips the page, while she's holding it, to indicate a formal reprimand filed there. Ouch. At least it's not as bad as a trip to the brig. "I played along, and then warned him to dial it back a notch next time, or I wouldn't be so lenient. He continued to display an utter lack of manners, protocol or respect. So I've ordered him off the flight line for two days. He's to write up a report to both of us, on the subject of correct military protocol. He's also had his callsign temporarily revoked, though I'll let you handle that portion of things personally." He meets Thea's eyes for a moment. That, probably, is one of those things intended to make it harder on Legacy. To show her that she's responsible for her own pilots, and that some of the blame must by necessity be hers. There's no heat in his eyes, however. No anger. It's simple, detached judgement. "Beyond that, he's yours to deal with. Though I will say that I have serious concerns about his behaviour. Not his dedication, or his service to the wing. But he needs to understand that rules are there for a reason."

Oh, yeah. Thea's definitely not a happy camper. She studies the reprimand for a moment, then dips her head. "You were much more lenient than I would have been, I believe," she murmurs, eyes skimming the page. "I've never known him to go that far over the line before, but it will certainly be dealt with." Lips purse slightly and she looks up, head canting a little to the side. "Hmmm. I think Mouth fits him quite well at the moment. But it will be taken care of." The folder closes and is offered back to him.

"Like I said," Kai answers evenly, "it wouldn't have been much of an issue, in berthings. But I'm not his friend, his wingmate or his sibling." He's his commanding officer's.. commanding officer. One step away from the Commander of the ship. His point obviously made, the CAG nods firmly to Legacy, and reaches for the next file folder— the one he came back with from the ward room. "I trust you to handle it from here. I apologise for going over your head on that."

"No apology needed," she tells him quietly, shaking her head. "And it will be dealt with." Yep, he knows that look. Back in the old days, it signified simple determination. However Matto? Is probably in for a world of hurt when she gets her hands on him. She's a firm believer in military style justice. "I apologize that he was arsed enough to be that bloody stupid. That's four of my Riders now. Two of them, at least, have learned the lesson." She hopes.

"The end of the world is a lot to adjust to," Karim answers, evenly, simply. It isn't an excuse; he's the last one to be making excuses for anyone, including himself. But it's simply put out there quietly. Clearing his throat, he pulls the second folder onto his lap and opens it up. His pen's clicked on in anticipation. "Sheridan wants us to do a second recon of the planet. I'm thinking of doing an initial mosaic of the habitable side, and then a low atmo recon of the area including and surrounding the outpost. We'll want to be on the lookout for any AA batteries, radio towers, DRADIS transmitters, mobile transponders, anything. The Commander wants this place clean as a whistle before he'll even consider sending a team down there to take a look at the refinery."

Thea pulls a pen out as well as her ever-present pad of paper. She's all business now, perhaps a touch disturbed, but it doesn't show. "Wise move," she says quietly, nodding. "Depending on our company, I'd suggest a grid sweep with four Raptors. That should be enough to get the job done thoroughly. Do we have enough for two Vipers to escort each Raptor?"

Kai reaches for a clipboard set out on the desk, that apparently contains the flight roster. He scratches absently at the bridge of his nose with a thumbnail, while perusing it. "That puts us at ten vipers left. Six alert, two two run regular CAP. Yeah, I think we can manage it. All your raptors have the enhanced sensor package loaded, correct?"
Thea dips her head, making notes on her pad. "All of them," she affirms quietly. "I'm going to want Ivory and Thorn on this one, certainly. What about pulling Engineering in to take a look at what we're seeing, just in case something comes up? Have one or two riding shotgun on the Raptors? Poet might be good for this." Her eyes follow his finger for a moment, though she doesn't say anything - yet.

"Good idea," Kai murmurs, dropping his hand to make a few notes on the page. His blue eyes meet Thea's for a second, then lower. He continues writing without so much as a pause. "I'm sure he'll be chomping at the bit to go, anyway," he muses quietly, "in that noble way of his. I'll have a word with Eos. We want as much intel as we can possibly stuff into those computers, so don't think any detail is irrelevant." Like he has to tell her. But he does, anyway.

Legacy chuckles quietly and dips her head. "In other words, more information is better. And if we can get even more than that, the happier the Old Man will be." Yes, just a tiny bit…well, no. Not disrespectful, but slightly tart at Sheridan's expense. Someone's gotten used to the way the old man works. "Besides," she murmurs, glancing down at her pad to make a note. "Everyone knows that size really does matter."

"Mmhmm," murmurs the CAG while the both of them jot down their notes. "He wants to play this safe." Which seems to be a theme for the Commander, lately. Not like you can entirely blame him. "Is that so?" he queries mildly after Thea's last comment. He does not look up from his writing.

"No," she murmurs, shaking her head as she writes. "You never had an issue with that before." Said in that same sweet tone of 'would you like coffee or tea?' She half-lifts her eyes to look at him, lips twitching a little. "Sigh. Playing it safe is so passe'." No, it's clear that she doesn't believe that.

Kai gives Legacy a dubious look. At the first thing said, mind. He seems not entirely certain how to take that, and not quite bold enough — in this setting, at least — to press for clarification. A soft grunt suffices, and then silence as he briefly peruses what he's written. "I implore you to tell him that," he murmurs. Then, "Anything else I'm forgetting?"

She simply gives him an enigmatic little smile before going back to her pad. "We need a contingency for if we find something on the ground that we need or want badly. And no, I don't mean civilians." That, actually, seems to pain her a little and has the smile drifting away. Absently, she reaches up to rub her shoulder.

Kai spots the smile, and raises a brow slightly. His own lips purse a little, but his expression remains as austere as ever. "You look like the cat that ate the canary," he remarks quietly. "And this is strictly a recon mission. We make note of what we find down there, and report back to the Commander. I'm not sure yet, what he plans on doing with the civilians we picked up down there."

The idea of a smile crosses Thea's lips and she cants her head slightly to the side. "What we really need to do is solidify what we're going to be doing with the Resistance," she murmurs quietly. "Because if we enter a mutually beneficial agreement, we can drop the civvies off -there-. They have some resources we don't. We have some they don't."

Kai shakes his head, and sets the folder aside. "I hate to say it, but that isn't our decision. It's up to command. Our job's to get down there, and bring back pretty pictures. Though I don't disagree with you, Thea." His pen's flipped idly between his fingers. Oh, the useless things viper jocks can do with their hands.

Useless? Anything that gives those fingers practice is most definitely not useless. Thea's eyes are drawn to the pen for a moment and, for whatever reason, her cheeks go a lovely shade of crimson. "Mmmm. Yes, it's their decision, but they're counting on us to bring the ideas up to them," she murmurs. There's only a brief second of distraction before she hooks the pen into her pad and looks up at him again.

The pen flipping's stopped, and Kai's knuckles are touched to the raptor pilot's thigh briefly. "You all right?" He continues after a moment, with a small nod. "I'll mention it to Sheridan. This war will be fought in all corners, in a variety of ways. Each according to their means, and their ability." His voice is low, but temerous there.

Thea's quiet for a moment and she glances over at him, offering a crooked little smile. "Ahhhh," she murmurs. "It's a discussion for later," she says, glancing down at his hand. Then she looks to his face, one hand covering his, briefly. "We'll fight it. We'll win it." It's simple, quiet. And she IS a woman who gets what she wants.

That has yet to be proven definitively! "Sure," Karim murmurs softly, looking ever so slightly bemused. "Though I think you're holding out on me." There's a nod to her last words, perhaps a fraction less certain, but it's an attempt at optimism at least.

Thea studies him for a moment, then shifts so that she can lean in to murmur something quietly. She gets close, but she doesn't get -that- close. It's professional. Confidential information, after all. "I'm watching your fingers play with that pen and remembering how they felt when you would slide one over me to make sure I was ready for you." She pauses for a moment before adding, "And then those times when you wouldn't even bother with that much before you buried yourself inside me. I'm sorry, Karim, but ever since the Triad game, you can imagine where my mind has been going." Well, no. She doesn't -sound- sorry. "I've been trying to figure out something I can get pissed at you about so we can have a nice, screaming, flaming row in the storage area, then not feel guilty about screwing each other's brains out."

That first bit of imagery has Kai working his jaw a little, left then right, then subtly swallowing. He's never been one to blush, but damn if that isn't all kinds of enticing. "I couldn't let you think I wasn't up to the challenge," he answers, mostly even-voiced, with just a tiny hint of huskiness in his throat. "I'm also surprised you're having trouble coming up with something to get pissed at me about." His lips twitch a little, there.

Thea's lashes lower slightly, brushing her cheeks as her eyes get hidden from him. But it's only for a brief moment before she lifts her eyes to his again, voice low as she murmurs, "What can I say? Your charming personality has been shining through. Oh, and the dreams I've been having since that night." Lips just barely brush his ear before she pulls back, just a hint away from biting. "Let's just say that sense memory is a bitch." A brow quirks slightly as she seems to consider something. "You drink your coffee wrong."

"My.." Kai's mouth opens, then shuts again. He simply stares at Thea, quietly, eyes creased softly at their corners and he smells like soap and gunpowder from this proximity. An inhale is taken of the woman beside him, just as she's pulling away from that murmur. "My charming personality." It's deadpanned. There's a fleeting smile, and then he clears his throat and starts putting papers away, eyes kept down and away from Legacy's. "Care to explain what you mean by that?"

"Well," she murmurs, pushing to her feet and arching her back to pop it audibly. "It's just that since you made CAG, you've gotten…soft. You're very easy to get along with now. Almost…well." There's a pause as she cocks her head a little, as if trying to figure out just the perfect way to phrase something. "Soft, I guess. You've lost that hard-driving edge sitting behind a desk. But all's not lost, after all." Oh, look - the pad has to get put away. "I won't give up on you until you're reduced to making Viper noises while flying paper airplanes around the room."

Kai continues filing papers away while Legacy speaks, half leaning against the desk and half standing. The occasional glance is shot toward the redhead, though he doesn't quite meet her eyes. It's probably safer, that way. "I've gotten soft," he repeats, as if Thea hadn't already said it twice. His hand pauses on the clipboard he was putting away. "I've been trying to work on my managerial skills," he offers up in self-defence. It's kind of mumbled.

Well shit. That backfired. She's quiet for a moment, then turns slightly to poke at her inbox, back half to him. "Makes a woman wonder where else you've gotten soft," she replies quietly, just a hint of a challenge there.

Careful with that inbox. It's been known to poke back. The CAG's brows knit slightly at that observation, then smooth again. There's a flicker of amusement at the corners of his lips that doesn't quite become a smile. "I don't suppose you'd buy the old shrinkage excuse, hmm?" When all else fails, self deprecate!

"With the way you used to swing it around," she comments archly. "Most definitely not." Fingers slide through the papers, caressing them at the corners as she looks for something. "Because I sure as hell know you wouldn't buy that excuse from me." Eyes crinkle at the corner. "See? I can't even get you to fight with me."

Kai watches Legacy's fingers slide along the papers, seeming transfixed by the motion, and the way they play along the edges. After a time, he reaches out to touch her hand along the backs of the knuckles; the touch is barely there at all. "Thea, I have someone." And there it is. His voice is a bit hoarse, and his fingers move to her chin after he's spoken, and tip it up so he can meet her eyes. "I love you." The words are as sincere as the rocks, as the tides, as the ship that's borne them across the stars. "And I always, always will. You and I have something that nobody could hope to ever replace. I need you to know that."

The smile in her eyes fades as his words sink in. For a time she simply stares at him, humiliation staining her cheeks. He probably couldn't have hurt her more if he'd physically struck her. He's only allowed to see that for a moment, though, before she pulls her hand away and turns back to the papers. "Congratulations, Karim," she says quietly. "Now, if you'll excuse me?" When she looks back up at him, there's no trace of the earlier hurt. She simply meets his eyes, expectantly.

"Thea." He's not begging, but it's pretty damned close for a man with as much pride as Karim. His hand remains lifted for a few moments after she's turned away, before dropping. "I didn't mean to.." Oh, gods. He looks confused, bewildered, and more than a little frustrated with himself. Witness the social failure that is Captain Marek.

Her jaw works slightly as she watches him. It's clear she's not going to give him the satisfaction. "Don't worry," Thea tells him quietly, back to him as she walks away "I just knew you were an easy lay." With what's left of her pride curled around her, she simply continues out.

Kai opens his mouth. And shuts it again. Hard to tell whether he's angry, hurt, or just plain confused behind the steely mask that's slammed back into place again. He turns away, swallows, and resumes tucking his papers away again. There might be a bit more shoving and slamming of drawers going on, than is strictly necessary.

The only sound made as Thea leaves the office is the very quietly final snicking closed of the hatch door. A sound that likely barely even registers over the shoving and slamming.

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