2017-02-21: A Soldier's Duty

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  • Log: A Soldier's Duty
  • Cast: Kahm Yugh, Elhaym van Houten
  • Where: Ramses's Cruiser
  • Date: February 21, 2017
  • Summary: Following up on Myyah's request, Kahm checks up on Elhaym and provides her some advice regarding the surface and those who live on it.

<Pose Tracker> Kahm Yugh has posed.

Thus far, it had been a quiet day aboard Commander Ramses's ship. Still stationed above the Arlian Woods in a convenient state of detente, the interior of the Solarian vessel thrummed with the activity of efficient military statecraft: Reports were filed, inventory was checked and verified, tactics discussed. All in all, it was a productive day for the busybodies in the Commander's retinue.

Captain Kahm Yugh himself was no exception, having spent most of his time reviewing more equipment turned up from the ongoing investigation into Lahan and getting his facts straight. He'd poured himself into the mundane details with an unusual fervor, and those who might be a little more familiar with the Captain might say he was a little annoyed-but such acquaintances number few among these parts.

Eventually such minutiae became intolerable, and so Kahm came to another item on his to-do list: A meeting with Liutenant van Houten. Elly would have received the missive around midday, with the request for an informal meeting in the ship's recreation room.

Informal, though the room was strangely empty save for Kahm whenever she entered. The Captain sat by himself at a table with a glass of a water and a dataslate he idly reviewed from sip to sip. There was a second, untouched glass of water across from him.

<Pose Tracker> Elhaym van Houten has posed.

Elly has done a lot better now that she's been in here. Medical treatment for her scrapes and injuries, including the extraction of a primitive arrowhead from her arm; six showers; a skin hydration treatment for excessive exposure...

It's been a great opportunity to recover. And worry. And wonder. But mostly the first thing.

But now! Here she comes. The door swishes open to admit Elly, who walks in, pausing to stand at attention. "Reporting as requested, Captain," she says. Then she smiles, faintly. "Thank you for your assistance."

Her eyes turn round the room for a moment, and if so instructed, she parks herself in the chair so marked with the glass of water.

<Pose Tracker> Kahm Yugh has posed.

Kahm, seated, returns the salute promptly, "Thank you for reporting, Lieutenant." He gestures to the seat, "I did what any soldier ought to do to help another, but you're welcome." He paused for another sip of water while the Lieutenant took her seat, then continued, "Don't feel the need to stand on any further formality for the rest of this meeting, by the way."

The man took a moment to close a few items on his dataslate, then turned it over. "If you don't mind my asking, Lieutenant..." Has hands clasped themselves neatly, "How long have you been deployed to the surface?"

<Pose Tracker> Elhaym van Houten has posed.

Butt, meet seat. "... I'll be sure to keep that in mind, sir!" Elly says, with a significant improvement in cheer. She even seems less like she shoved her combat rod up her - either way.

"... Not long," she answers then, reaching for the glass of water. "There were several short familiarization missions, but this was the first real operation I'd participated in." This also kind of kills that moment of good cheer, which Elly half-conceals with a sip of the water.

<Pose Tracker> Kahm Yugh has posed.

"I see." Kahm nodded. She had the look of a fresh deploy to him, age aside, "I reviewed your file some. You seemed to have performed quite well at Jugend, even considered for Element." His demeanor might suggest he's unaware of anything else surrounding that snippet of the Lieutenant's history, because he moves on seamlessly, "I'm glad to see you recovering well. Most fresh deploys don't hit the ground quite as fast as you had to."

<Pose Tracker> Elhaym van Houten has posed.

Good cheer seems to withdraw even further. Elly puts the glass of water down.

"Oh... Thank you," she says. "I should thank my field instructors. If they hadn't explained how to field-cook wildlife, I would have been unable to keep going after the third day."

Her hands fold on her knee as she shifts in her position. "I regret that the mission was a failure, however. Although, I suppose that it's likely the Gear is no longer in the hands of Kislev forces..."

<Pose Tracker> Kahm Yugh has posed.

"Not your fault." Kahm said matter-of-factly, "Granted, I don't have the full details, but it sounds as if you ran into some unexpected variable on the mission. You did the best you could with what you had. It was a risky mission in the first place, and your superiors are the ones ultimately responsible for approving it."

Kahm waited a moment, considering what he might have done in the Lieutenant's place. Ditched the gear, certainly. Pursue on foot? Unlikely. Field survival conditions and awaiting friendly contact was a sound choice, "But it is unfortunate. The gear is no longer in Kislev's hands, certainly, but neither is it in ours. As of right now it's a wild card in the hands of someone with questionable ability to use it. It's not a loose end we can afford, considering what happened in Lahan."

The Captain propped his chin on fist, idly gazing out a nearby viewport to the forest below, suddenly switching subjects, "What are your thoughts about the surface, about the lambs?"

<Pose Tracker> Elhaym van Houten has posed.

Is he right? Elly thinks. ... Is it really not my fault...?

Do I deserve that kind of absolution? Elly looks at the table. She saw none of the deaths - the people of Lahan, or at least Dan, having been able to put the majority of the actual corpses in the actual ground before she was on the scene once more - but the mental image of an anguished, wolf-bitten Fei Fong Wong sits in her memory.

Externally of course she just looks sad for a few moments, probably understandable given the ongoing recovery process.

"... They are certainly more clever and able than I had thought," Elly says. "Of course, I'm sure it's the pressure of the situation forcing most of them to act, and I can't take a small cadre as representative. I don't understand how they can bear the situation, but they also don't have anything better to compare it to..."

<Pose Tracker> Kahm Yugh has posed.

"They simply don't know any better." Kahm nodded his head, eyes still askance, and clasped his hands together, "Nonetheless, you're right to assess that they possess a certain cunning about them, and should not be underestimated." After all, who would've expected a 'lamb' to pilot that gear to such a damaging extent? At least, that's what the Captain believed to be the case.

"However..." His eyes turned back to the Lieutenant's, blue on blue, "Allow me to give you some advice, as one soldier to soldier." His gaze was likely the steelier of the two, "However much the 'lambs' may seem like you and I, they are not. The way they think, the things they value are...utterly different." He stared down, mind drifting back towards Elru's reddest day, "I've been on the surface for several years now. Violence and hatred are second nature to these people. They make war on one another senselessly, thinking nothing of the damage they do to the planet. What limited technology they can find and claim for themselves from ruins will be swiftly turned to lethal ends if we fail to stand vigilant. And we must."

Silence. The Captain had another drink of water, "I know that you're a Gazel, Lieutenant." Her name, if nothing else, gave that away, "And this can be a difficult lesson to learn. But doing so will make your time on the surface far less...challenging."

<Pose Tracker> Elhaym van Houten has posed.

Elly listens, and makes herself look at Kahm as he speaks. Respectful. Upright. Like she's back in school. Maybe you never really leave school, Elly thinks, alongside another thought: am I being tested? They must wonder... Whether or not I'm actually suited for field duty, after that.

I could just go home, Elly thinks. Back to Etrenank.

But...

... I can't live with myself if I do, she decides inwardly. Outwardly, she says, a little gingerly, "I... understand. Anyone who developed in a situation as grim as this would end up coarsened by it, even if they were good people at heart..."

Her stomach squirms. Maybe I just failed, Elly thinks, though she keeps her face under control.

<Pose Tracker> Kahm Yugh has posed.

Whatever internal conflict Elly roils with, Kahm watches on with an expression that could best be summed up as...well, professional. Kindness, warmth, and empathy weren't exactly the Captain's 'things' as far as bedside manner goes, but he does seem like he is watching for something, waiting for something.

Whether he sees it or not, he nods his head slowly, "The more time you spend down here, the more you will get accustomed to it. It just takes a bit longer than the gravity." He stomped his boot lightly on the floor for emphasis.

Again, Kahm takes a breath, his fingers clutched and straight-laced, "So, what i'm about tell you is not official yet, and it may not be immediate." His eyes and ears peered around the room, just to make sure no one else had quietly entered while they spoke, "..but the Adjunct has requested that I pursue the black gear and take it into custody. Along with it's pilot, if possible." He allowed a moment for the Lieutenant to process this, then added, "If that goes as expected, I would like you to accompany me in the pursuit, Lieutenant." He leaned back in his chair, "As of right now, you know the gear's capabilities better than anyone else, and were the last to have contact with it."

If she's still feeling guilt, he thinks, then let her have a chance at redemption.

<Pose Tracker> Elhaym van Houten has posed.

Elly jumps, just a tiny bit, when Kahm stamps his foot.

And then he presents her with the new plan. The plan to hunt down Fei Fong Wong, his Gear, and oh yeah -- that other guy too probably. Elly reaches for her glass of water, draining it to perhaps conceal that momentary pang of-- something.

"... I understand, Captain. I'll support your search however I can. Though... It's possible they disposed of the Gear already..."

Yes, Elly thinks, that makes sense. Though she doesn't immediately amplify. At least she looks marginally less like her budget was just cut; sitting upright fully again, looking directly at Kahm instead of her knees.

<Pose Tracker> Kahm Yugh has posed.

Kahm found the idea of them ditching the gear a rather wishful thought, but it certainly would be convenient, "Even if that's the case, following their trail should hopefully lead us to the gear." Nonetheless, he nods his approval, "Thanks for your willingness to cooperate. I realize you're still new to the surface, so try and stick close when we're out in the field. If we're separated, fall back on your training; its already served you well once before."

That don't, Kahm rose and smoothed out the creases his uniform, "That was all I had to say in particular Lieutenant, thanks for your time." He pauses, "Though, if you have any other questions, feel free to ask them now."

<Pose Tracker> Elhaym van Houten has posed.

Elly straightens up, and in fact rises, which at least makes her squirming less apparent. "Of course, sir. I'll support you as best I can." Then, Q&A time??

A question occurs to her instantly.

She hides it! Because that's what you do in life. "I understand this may still be need-to-know, but - in case it's neccessary to negotiate in a situation - what do you believe would become of the assets involved, once the Gear is recovered?"

<Pose Tracker> Kahm Yugh has posed.

Kahm pauses for a moment and knits his brows, as if the question was one he had not particularly prepared an answer for, "The child hasn't done anything. We are holding him, at this time, for lack of any other option. I imagine in time the Commander will find a place for him." His fingers flexed slightly, "As for the the two men described in your debriefing, it depends on them."

The Captain counted on two fingers, "If they turn themselves in willingly, they'll be taken custody. What happens to them afterwards is up to Commander Ramses, I presume." To the next point, his eyes grew steely again, "If they resist, however, I can't make any guarantee they won't be pacified on-site according to the rules of engagement."

Remember: 'pacify' means kill!

<Pose Tracker> Elhaym van Houten has posed.

"... Understood," Elly says, doing her best to hold her face sternly.

Her stomach tightens again. Fortunately this is not visible from outside. Fumbling with that feeling, she says, "The most dangerous one is that agent, the one called 'Doc'... He may seem kind and reasonable at first, however, Captain."

See, she's already giving good advice. "Beyond that, my only question would be, 'What time do you intend to depart?' I'm prepared on five minutes' notice, at your convenience." This number may have come directly from her behind, but, Elly thinks to herself, it sounds eager. If he's going to report on me...

<Pose Tracker> Kahm Yugh has posed.

"Noted." Kahm mentally checked off this 'Doc' individual in his head, though he still wasn't sure he would know to tell the two apart if he encountered them in the field-that would be the Lieutenant's department, he supposed.

As for 'when', he tilted his head, "I have informed that Adjunct that I am ready to begin pursuit at a moment's notice, so you should be prepared to do the same." A nod, "It's good that you're already thinking in that direction."

<Pose Tracker> Elhaym van Houten has posed.

"It's my duty as a soldier," Elly says, with extra loyalty. "... Although if you don't anticipate deployment in the next hour, I'll compose a note to my squad."

Was that minor humor? Maybe. See, she's fine. It's all fine. "If that's all, Captain, I'll get on that immediately."

<Pose Tracker> Kahm Yugh has posed.

Kahm lets out a small-small!-laugh, "You're fine, Lieutenant. I imagine we have a few days until we set out, though I could always be wrong. Pursure whatever leisure time you have as you wish-it's the last we might have for a while."

With that, he nods and begins to turn about, "Go ahead then. If you have any further questions, feel free to contact me."

<Pose Tracker> Elhaym van Houten has posed.

"Understood!" Elly says. Yes, with a real ! at the end. With that, sensing the power of Dismissal, she turns to leave.

This leaves her with only herself for company with the formless worries and half-suppressed feelings of pathetic sympathy for that tan young man who's being jerked around by that doctor, by an unfortunate accident of location, by fate itself...

... "Ugh," she tells herself quietly once she's in the hallway. "This must be one of those isolation symptoms..." At least it's about an actual human being and not a fried hobgob with a handprint on it.