Of Pride and Passion
Of Pride and Passion
Summary: In attempting to seek help, Isabeau inadvertantly brings out the Mama Bear in Pepper and the two send Reed running. Sort of.
Date: 136 ACH
Related Logs: Related Logs I do not think there are any, but could be wrong.

Situation Room Hera - Deck 2
135 ACH 24277 Souls

This area is an open room with circular stadium seating for 20, the middle of the room holds a large illuminated projection board with models of all known Colonial and Cylon ships, crafted by hand on Virgon, and a matched set. On one wall is a set of screens designed to display tactical information, internal ship cameras, computerized data and film footage. There are enough screens to do all at the same time.
----< Condition Three - Duty Area >----—-
Contents: Isabeau Reed Wireless 1914
Exits: [O] Out

Reed is sitting in a chair in the Gallery of seats as security brings Isa in. He's closing the laptop in front of him and rubbing the back of his neck.

Isabeau is ushered in by security. She carries a small bag in one hand. Turning to the security person, she smiles, "Thank you." Turning back, she walks across toward the seats where Reed is. "Good afternoon. Or is it evening? I have not checked a clock since this morning." Her manner is a little hesitant and the brief smile offered does not reach her eyes.

Reed looks over, nodding to the security member, who leaves. He then smiles to Isa, "I think technically, evening, but I'm not counting." He gestures to the chairs in the gallery. "Have a seat, relax. It's a bit quieter here, the only things outnumbering us in here are the ship miniatures."

Isabeau sets the bag down on the chair next to you, then curls onto one just a chair away. Leaning back, she crosses her legs and looks around, "It is rather nice in here. The miniatures are wonderful." Folding her hands in her lap, she lets her gaze flow over them for a few moments before returning, "I am sorry to bother you, Reed. I hope I have not interrupted you at a critical moment." Nibbling her lower lip slightly, she adds, "I do trust you to tell me to shove off if you are embroiled, though."

Reed shakes his head, "Not at all. I've been working on the same thing for a while now and need the break." He rubs his face briefly, "So, I'm rather glad of the distraction." He stretches out his legs, "what's been going on with you?"

Isabeau motions to the bag, "That is for you, Reed. I did promise to bring something to make the meeting worth your while." There are hints of laughter in her tone, though they fade quickly. Once more, her hands fall to her lap, "Oh, not much, to tell the truth. Work with the civilian government has filled my days for a while now. The next meeting will be tomorrow. It is open, if anyone wishes to attend."

Reed nods, "What's on the docket? And what kind of military input is welcome around there?" He reaches to the bag, picking it up with some interest, opening it and looking inside, "what have we here?"

As soon as the bag is opened, the distinctive scent of chocolate rises from within. "One of the chefs in the Starlight makes chocolate cookies from cocoa powder." Several cookies are wrapped in light tissue paper. Each are tied with a ribbon. Seems she took the time to make the offering attractive. "I hope you like them." Leaning back slightly, she speaks softly, "The prisoners on the Peerless. Food distribution. Oh, and a proposal that Councilman Luma sent to Salin regarding civilian jobs on the Peerless. As for military input? Hard to say. Unfortunately, there is a fair amount of resentment over there. Though Salin's work with the outreach program a while back helped a great deal."

Reed smiles, "Oh, these look good. Have to save them." He looks up from the bag, "Thank you." He says, then sits back, "I can understand the problems with the prisoners. If they were Military convicts, we'd have some authority over them, but as it stands, we don't." He looks at Isa, tilting his head slightly. "So, what's going on with you personally? You've been busy, that I get, everything okay on your end?"

Isabeau nods, "I spoke with Captain Oliveira about it. I am not entirely convinced that the Military does not have at least some jurisdiction, Reed. Their most recent crimes were against military personnel. So, it will depend on precedent. To some degree." The next question gives her pause and she lowers her head, eyes dropping to focus on the floor. "Personally?" She shrugs slightly, "I had dinner with Ensign Peters and one of the doctors. Roubani or Roubanis, or something. It was pleasant." Sort of. "Otherwise? Fine. Things are fine." Such a lovely word, isn't it? With so many meanings depending on context.

Reed nods, "I was thinking of suggesting that the ringleader.. whasisname Karime, Kartas.. Kakapootie or something, be charged with the list of crimes, and pushed for the maximum sentence that being carried out. that, pretty much leaving the rest of the prisoners to deal with." He tilts his head, "Hair is fine, and powders are fine, not people, Isa. There's a lot going on and I know it wears on you. It'd wear on anyone."

Isabeau inhales, "That is a possibility, certainly. If we can make a case for him being the one in charge with some sort of hold over the others. But, as I understand it, that may not be entirely the case. We shall see." Her gaze lifts for an instant, then lowers again, "I am not the woman I used to be, Reed. There are stresses that I must find a way to overcome. Not only for my own sake but for the sake of others."

Reed shakes his head, "It's discretionary from a Military standpoint. Like holding the ringleaders of a Mutiny to the fullest extent of the law. And the charges are enough to warrant a death penalty. Once that's done with the rest of the prisoners might not be so fast to follow in his legacy." He shakes his head, "Regardless, Isa. You have a lot of things in the fire right now and that's just one of them. what happened to you?"

Isabeau nods a quick smile touching her lips, though it vanishes in short order, "Oh, I am familiar with it, yes. It is worth looking into for this particular bunch. Also, as there are 300 of the others, I want to consider offering some of them the opportunity to convert a portion of their sentence to work credits. If they have skills that are useful to us. And, if we can confirm those with skills are not sociopathic and dangerous." A pause then and she presses her lips together, "That is a difficult question to answer, Reed. I cannot decide whether telling it helps or paints me as an idiot."

Reed tilts his head, letting the prisoner question drop for a moment, "Try me."

Isabeau watches the man for a moment, then looks away. Her smile dies entirely away and she focuses somewhere in the middle distance. The silence of the room grows until it is almost possible to imagine hearing the whirr of mechanisms in the miniature ships kick to life. Finally, she sighs, though she does not look back. "You knew that I was engaged." Not a question. "Well, we worked closely together and stresses were building. So, we decided to take some time off of the relationship. See if it was meant to be." Her hands twitch slightly and she clasps them together. "Within a few weeks, he was seeing someone else. I did not know this. I decided that I did not wish to live without him. That I love him with all my heart and soul. But, I wanted to make something of myself. So, I started work on three projects that the civilians needed. A housing plan, a monetary plan and an educational plan. I wanted to have something to show for my time." She half smiles, though it is grim. "When I had them outlined and had a good idea of how the civilian government should be, I asked to see him." Turning, she faces front, but does not look up. In this manner, she can hide the tell-tale glimmer that rises to her eyes. "He came. I told him that I had made a mistake. That I had only ever loved him. That I would love him until I die. I asked him to come back to me. He told me that, while he cares, he does not love me 'that way'. That he is getting married and his fiancée is pregnant." She draws in a breath and holds it. "I am sure you can imagine how that felt. So, I gave him the three project outlines and he gave me completed projects for the three that I had begun. They were brilliant. Far better than I could have managed." So, in one conversation, she was shown to be a complete and utter waste of air.

Reed nods, "A blow to your pride, for your loss of Salin to Peters and for the projects to be completed ahead of you." He nods, "So what did you do then?"

You say, "Pride?" She shakes her head slowly, "No… Not to my pride. Peters is a lovely woman. Young, talented, sweet. I can see why he loves her. I am sorry that you think that ill of me." Rising, she turns to walk a few steps away. "What did I do? Accepted the projects and worked on setting up the government. Now that it is in place, I hope to see it working well. I turned the projects over to the government for implementation."

Reed tsks, "Come on, Isa. Even if it's perfectly understandable, everything that happened, to have all that pulled out from under you, to have it yanked out of your hands, that's a severe blow to the ego. Professionally, and personally. You can rationalize the work done as better than what you would have been able to do, you can understand Peters and Salin, but that doesn't change the pain of it. And you know what?" He sits back, "It's perfectly natural to feel crushed in the self esteem department after something like that. It's neither anything wrong, nor is it anything to feel ashamed of. It also doesn't take a degree to see you have lost quite a bit of self image."

Isabeau does not turn back, for that would betray the tears that slip silently down her cheeks. One shoulder lifts in a half shrug and when she speaks her tone is soft, "You are right. Though it is an unflattering way to look at it. However… In a sense, it hardly matters. What is done, is done. I have to find a way to get past it. For all that it hurts, they are good together and I would not wish either of them anything but happiness." Judging by her tone, she truly means that. More softly, she begins, "Salin claims to want to keep me as a friend, but does not call or write or visit. On the one hand, I know that he is busy. On the other? I cannot help but wonder. I have told both of them that I will not impede their relationship. That I wish them well. But, I see more of his fiancée than I do of him." As for her self image? Yeah, that's trashed. She lowers her head once more, hands lifting as she realizes that she is… leaking. "I should go. I am sorry, Reed. I did not come here to… Behave foolishly."

Reed snorts, "Sit down, Isa." He rises, "Salin's barely got time to see Peters, himself, let alone you. I daresay that she sees more of you than of him. Foolish behavior is one of those things that I am good with. Just relax and let yourself face the facts that life will go on, and that Salin's lack of stopping by has nothing to do with you, and everything to do with the position he's in." He smiles, "And if you think I'm just mouthing these things, consider this. They're getting married. But they can't work it into the schedule." He pauses, "Salin can't make time for his own wedding." He lets that sink in. "don't feel bad that he hasn't contacted you."

It is funny, isn't it? The way military and ex-military folk react to 'orders'? Even though she fully intended leaving, Isabeau does as directed and curls into a chair. Even with her current personal view, she manages to move with more than a modicum of grace. While she tries to master her tears, she does not reply. Some women look blotchy and strained when crying. Isabeau is not one of them. She looks pale and tragic, but otherwise the same. Slowly, the tears slow and she lifts a wide-eyed, shimmering look. Conflicting emotions pass through her eyes, but she does not give them voice. Finally, she nods, "Fine. Then we'll schedule it for him. I will set up a meeting on the Carina. When he gets there, I will hand him his tuxedo and bring him here. I assume that you are performing the ceremony?" She swallows and refuses to hiccup though it is a near thing. "Actually? I have a meeting set with him for next Saturday. If you can be ready then, I'll bring the groom."

Reed nods, "I am performing the ceremony, so it has to be here, that's all the requirements for me doing the ceremony. But you should speak with Peters about roping him into the wedding. If you want to do it right, then that's how to go. I'll be able to be ready whenever to get it done, but you should speak with her and get it all squared away, then let me know the timetable. Next Saturday should be fine."

Isabeau nods, "Oh, I intend to speak with her. It would be awful if I managed to get him here and she could not make it. Sort of… embarrassing and humiliating." And might be misread very very badly by someone. Drawing a breath, she holds it for a moment, then releases it. "She is supposed to see me on her next trip to the Carina. I can ask her then." Folding her hands together, she nods, "My meeting with Salin is not as important as his wedding… Gods." One hand lifts and pushes a lock of hair back behind one ear as she closes her eyes. Maybe it just hit her that she is now working actively to see the love of her life married off to someone else. But… she did mean it when she said she wanted to see them happy. "Anyway. Yes. That is what I will do."

Reed nods, turning, "fine, don't mess around then." He turns, moving to the wireless.

[Intercom] Ensign Peters to the Situation Room.

You say, "Mess around?" She frowns at Reed, clearly wondering what the frak that was supposed to mean? She is perched on the edge of a chair in the Gallery area. Her hands are folded in her lap, and her expression is caught between confusion and irritation. When Reed calls for Pepper to join them, Isabeau blanches but does not falter. "Oh, good idea. I did not realize she was aboard."

Reed clicks off the wireless, and turns, moving to the seat he was occupying to collect the laptop he was working on. "Yep, she is."

The indomitable Pepper Peters was likely very close by. No sooner does Reed click off the wireless before she's entering the room, a pile of file folders in one hand, back straight. She's clearly settled into professional mode. As soon as she clears the hatch, her hand snaps to her forehead in a salute. "Good evening, Colonel, Ms. Aragon y Castile de Vargas."

Isabeau eyes Reed still, for the comment before is either accusatory, insulting or… She sighs and lets it go. As the hatch opens, she straightens and pretends that she has not been crying. No, her eyes are always like that. "Ensign." She does not usurp Reed's right to release the salute, but does motion for the other woman to come join them. "Thank you for coming. Reed has explained your difficulty in setting a time for your wedding. Now, I have a meeting with Salin next Saturday. This is what I would like to do… Have him come to the meeting. I will give him his Tux and let him borrow my office to change. Then, I will escort him to the Hera where security personnel will bring him here. Or, wherever you want the wedding. My meeting with him is nowhere near as important as his wedding. But, I fear that if the meeting is canceled, he will just fill that slot with something else."

Reed nods, "At ease, Ensign." He says, picking up his laptop. He turns and nods, "Okay, you two work out the details of getting Salin here, for the ceremony at the time that Isa can provide." He tucks his laptop under his arm, "Plot it out here, finalize the details, and set things into motion. Issue Isa a frakking hand taser from the armory if you think that'll help." He nods and starts off to the door. "Playing Wedding Tag has gone on long enough."

Pepper drops the salute, then simply looks between Reed and Isabeau for a long moment, head canted ever so slightly to the side, eyes a touch wider than normal. To say she's surprised is putting it mildly. "Thank you," she says quietly, addressing both of them. "Thank you both very much for the lovely offer. But I believe Salin and I will be alright in making the arrangements ourselves, when things settle a bit." She offers Isabeau a small smile. "Your offer is incredibly kind, but I will not make use of necessary Fleet resources for personal use. Salin's time is considered a Fleet resource." One can practically see her claws digging into the carpet.

Isabeau glances over as the man makes his escape, "Good evening, Reed." What with that final comment prior to Peters' arrival and the abrupt way he leaves, Isa figures she understands. Regret surfaces in her gaze, though it vanishes as quickly as every other emotion. She has gotten good at hiding. Looking up at Pepper, she stills. Sitting up a little, she folds her hands once more, "Peters. While I understand and commend your stance, I would like you to please consider that you are being obstinate and somewhat pig-headed." While the words are harsh, the tone is gentle. "Yes, both you and Salin are 'Fleet Resources'. Yes, we all need to respect that. But, consider… This way, you get to plan your wedding. If you wait until your child is about to be born, it will be Reed hovering over you while you huff and puff between contractions while Salin holds your hand and says 'push' instead of 'I do.'" Harsh? Maybe. Softening, she looks the younger woman in the eye, "Or, do you object because the offer comes from me rather than someone more acceptable?"

Reed continues out, "I'm not getting into this, you two work it out between you." And he's gone. He didn't quite throw a Combat knife in the middle of the room and seal the door, to Thunderdome this exchange, but almost.

Pepper dips her head to Reed, watching him as he skitters out of the room, a brow arching ever so delicately. She is not a happy camper, that much is evident on her face - but there's a small smile in place as she turns back to Isabeau, eyes just a touch cool as she studies the other woman. She says nothing, at first, choosing, instead, to move to the table to put her files down, edging them neatly with the table. "With all due respect," she says, finally meeting Isabeau's eyes again. "The reason I'm not accepting the kind offer is because I have no desire to ambush my fiancé'. He and I are partners. We are partners in life. In friendship. In love. In parenting. In business. And soon to be marriage. I will not make such a monumental decision about our future without his input. First of all, it's disrespectful. Secondly, it's a decision he and I will make together, as a couple. While I appreciate the care and concern our friends and loved ones exhibit on our behalf, our relationship is ours. No one else's. To be quite honest with you, I was prepared to marry him two months ago. Circumstances prevented that." Her hands rest lightly on the files. "As for the veracity of the suggestion? I am touched that it came from you, and I believe that Salin would be, as well. And while it may be petty of me, I do find myself somewhat suspect of the motives behind the offer." She's quiet for another moment. The words were gently spoken, carefully, despite their harshness. "There was one thing I dreamed of for my wedding," she continues quietly, chin coming up just a touch as she continues to study Isabeau. "And that is something I will never have. The only planning I need to do for my wedding is finding a time when Major Zaharis, Doctor Pike, Major Zimmerman, Captain McKenzie, Captain Fotilas and yourself can be present. The only thing I care about with regards to an event is that our friends and loved ones are with us to share in the celebration, so that Salin and I can thank them for their love and support. But ultimately, I will be happy if it is simply Salin and I exchanging our vows, alone, standing in the training classroom here on Hera."

Isabeau remains cool through the entire commentary. She nods once when it is over, "Your sentiments are very commendable." Rising, she steps away from the chairs and moves toward the hatch. Before she reaches it, she pauses, "Why?" Turning, she waves a hand, "Not about the wedding. I understand that and even agree. Why do you find my motives for making the suggestion suspect? What benefit could it possibly afford me?"

"That is exactly my question," Pepper says quietly, standing her ground by the table. "I have seen your face when you're in the same room as Salin. I have watched your expression when his name is spoken. I have seen the way you react to being in the same room I am in." Blue eyes are rather intent as she studies the other woman. "I am not an empathetic person, but even I can feel your pain and discomfort. I may be very young, but I believe that just about anyone would be at least a little suspect to find a woman still in love with a man offering to help plan his wedding to his pregnant fiancée'." Her words aren't cruelly spoken, simply matter of fact. "I would like to imagine the best of anyone, Isabeau. But I am not so young that I will blindly allow something like this. Why? Why would you do something like this?"

Isabeau looks away, the pain in her gaze muted by understanding, "Fair enough." Moving farther away from the young woman, she finds a place to lean, "You are a good and kind woman, Pepper." Woman. Not girl. Although the age disparity is there, and a sore spot from time to time, she does not go there. A sigh escapes her lips, "Because I do love him with all my heart. Because… I would far rather see him happy than otherwise. Even if that means that he is happy with someone else. Because I do understand the sort of man he is and know that he is far more likely to pay attention to his duty to the Fleet than his own happiness. Because… While you cause me pain, Pepper, I like you quite a lot and want to see you happy. It is not your fault, after all. At this point, it is mine." She draws a slow breath, then releases it, "If you cannot accept altruistic reasons, I can give you two very selfish ones. Firstly, I believe that it will be easier to let go if he is married. After all, married is untouchable. And secondly, I would like to help. And this may be the only gift I could possibly give you that would matter." Although that is a consideration, it is clear by her tone that it is not the primary one. The others are far more important, if incomplete without the rest of it. Turning, she flashes Pepper a quick, half smile, "There. Now you can see me, warts and all."

Oddly enough, Pepper doesn't seem willing to give in quite so easily. In fact, she doesn't seem willing to give much at all right now. She stands quietly, shoulders back, chin out ever so slightly, eyes faintly narrowed as she watches Isabeau, listens. "I will fight for him," she says in a very low, very quiet voice. "I will fight for his happiness. Selfish or not, I will fight for him." The words are allowed to hang in the air for a time before she slowly moves around the table to the other side, settling her backside against it, arms crossed loosely over his chest. "I will fight for him because I am secure in the knowledge that he loves me, because I trust him." Something in her expression softens, just a touch. "I lost my father because of Salin. I lost the last connection I had to home. To my family. I mourn that loss every single day, Isabeau. I grieve the fact that my father died after I made my choice. I have nightmares that the last words I ever heard from his lips were "Get out." The last sound was the glass of his mirror breaking as I shut the hatch behind me." The pain on her face is raw, and while her eyes glimmer, no tears fall. "I appreciate your pain. While I don't have experience with it, I can appreciate how difficult it must be for you. However, right now, I will not put your happiness and healing above my relationship with Salin. I've grieved for you. I have wracked my brain trying to find ways to restore your support system. But I will not make a decision to put your happiness over Salin's, no matter how altruistic your motives. You need not give Salin and I a gift. You have already given us one by letting him go." Her jaw works slightly. "This is not your fight, Isabeau. This is not yours to plan, to arrange," she says, voice going a bit softer. "This is mine. MINE. I appreciate what you are trying to do, perhaps more than you know. But this is -mine-. Yes, married is untouchable. But you also do not strike me as a woman who would stoop to attempting to take a man who is, in his own heart, already married." She lifts her left hand slightly, letting the light glint on the small diamond ring on her finger. "The night he put this on my finger, he pledged his heart to me, until death." Her hand lowers again. "So I will say thank you, Isabeau, for the kind offer. I am touched by your generosity, especially now that I know the spirit in which it was given. But I will have to respectfully decline.”

Isabeau listens then nods, "You do not have to fight for him, Pepper. He is yours. No, I would never try to poach another woman's man. It is… A waste of time. Disrespectful. Debasing." Turning, she walks to the hatch but pauses before opening it, "You know. While I understand your feelings, you never did need to see me as a rival. I think that hurts almost as much as Salin leaving me. I gave up being 'after him' when he told me he was engaged. Oh, in some fantasies deep down, perhaps, I thought it would be nice to have him back. But, in my more rational moments, I know that it would never happen. It is impossible to 'take back' someone who has said that they do not love you 'that way'. So, yes, it is YOURS…" She puts the same emphasis on the word that Pepper gave 'MINE'… "And even if you left him tomorrow, it would still be yours. That is not something I have ever sought to take from you and never will." Finally, she pushes the hatch open, her tone quiet, "Good night." Opening it, she steps out into the hall.

Pepper is quiet for a time, almost letting Isabeau leave - but then she finally speaks up, voice low. "I've never seen you as a rival for his affections," Pepper says softly, though loud enough for Isabeau to hear. "He loves you. He always will. You were his first love, and will always hold that place in his heart. You are both too honorable to cross that line. But the wedding is mine. It is mine to plan. It is one of the few things I have left." There's regret in Pepper's eyes as she watches the hatch. Her arms slide lower over her abdomen, one hand cradling, protectively. "Good night, Isabeau." Then, voice going very soft, very quiet - so quiet the woman likely won't hear - she whispers, "I'm sorry."

Isabeau pauses in the hall to listen. She nods once, though does not do more than turn to glance back at the other woman, "I wish you luck with the planning, then. Have fun with it." Her gaze drops as Pepper's hand moves. Nodding again, she looks up, "Be well." Turning, she walks away, head held at that angle that indicates an unwillingness to show rejection to the world. Unfortunately, that final whisper is missed.

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