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 Post subject: Re: TDI Episode 2: Thieves in the Night
PostPosted: Wed Oct 23, 2013 11:57 am 
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Jormung Anchorage, Ops Center
Day 3, 0700 Hours


Captain Jason Paul Ames stepped out of the lift onto Deck One of Jormung Anchorage, Senior Chief Gunnarsen a step behind. They had boarded the station at Ring Four, delivered by a Raptor from the Patrocles, and had taken a high-speed elevator up 23 decks to the top of the ammunition depot. In the tightly curving corridor outside Jormung's command center Ames scowled for a moment, startled that this section of the immense station could seem so small. Ames dismissed the thought and crossed the corridor, activating the hatchway door beneath a sign that read "Operations Center".

Inside they found Captain D'Augustine with Captain Thompson and Major Davenport, standing next to one of the Op Center consoles.

"Captain Ames," D'Augustine greeted the pair. "Chief Gunnarsen. Colonels Bisby and Mast should be here shortly, and we have Colonel Trafford on the wireless."

The Marine commander had nodded toward a console screen as he mentioned Trafford, but Ames' eyes were drawn to an overhead monitor. Trafford's image was displayed there as well. The Titan's CO was seated behind a desk in what appeared to be a private office. He was leaning forward, his manner expectant, and Ames noted the solemn look upon his face.

"Captain D'Augustine," Ames responded, then met first Thomson's gaze and then Davenport's, acknowledging each with a curt nod.

"Sirs," the Senior Chief said to the group.

The sound of the Op Center's doors opening drew the attention of all present. Colonel Bisby swept into the room, his pace telegraphing the speed at which he must have been moving through the corridors. Colonel Mast followed hard on his heels, matching the gaunt commander step for step. Bisby moved to the center of the group, then looked around the room, his gaze settling lastly upon the video monitor.

"All present, then," he said flatly, then turned to Major Davenport. "Your report, Doctor?"

In a few sentences, Davenport told the others about what Pardo and Coulter had found, finishing, "We're going to have to go back to navigating manually. There are no earlier versions of the CNP to reload."

"Can your experts re-write around this 'backdoor' portion of the software?" Mast asked before Bisby could comment.

The Major shook his head. "It would be too great a risk, Colonel. Chief Pardo and Lieutenant Coulter are very knowledgeable, but neither is a computer programmer. There's no telling how much more the CNP has been altered."

Ames gave a slow nod. "There could easily be multiple backdoors," he noted.

"Agreed," Bisby said with a glance toward Mast, a trace of impatience in his voice. Then he focused on Captain Ames, fixing the former narcotics enforcement officer with his smoke-blue eyes. "What of the collaborators, Captain Ames?"

"Conover and Neall were an effective team," Ames began. "They were able to smuggle a bioweapon onto the station and install it without detection, and they completed their cover mission with precision. If we had any other suspects, I would be inclined to keep looking. We do not, though." Ames looked aside at Gunnarsen, then continued. "These two were professionals, and given the information provided by Satyr's security chief, Rand, it would appear that the sabotage of Jormung was just one of the jobs they carried out. I don't peg them for the CNP job, however."

"I agree with Captain Ames' assessment, sir," Gunnarsen spoke up. "The station's computer systems show no sign of tampering. The collaborators who altered the CNP code had to have been computer experts, agents who'd been in place for some time. The development of the military portion of the CNP was a highly classified project, and anyone who worked on it was investigated and cleared for access. Conover and Neall had different skillsets and different objectives. I wouldn't be surprised to find out that those two also infiltrated and sabotaged other Colonial facilities."

"Yeah, these were hardware guys," Ames said, "and even though the CNP job was completed long enough prior to their arrival here, I agree with the Senior Chief - these two weren't desk jockeys."

Bisby nodded his acceptance, but Mast looked unconvinced. "You're telling me, Captain, that there was some high-level conspiracy in the fleet - that the cylons found people who were willing to do their bidding, civilian contractors with high-level clearance? That after a decade-long war that is far from forgotten, the toll of whose bloody battles is taught in our schools, those chrome bastards found people in sensitive positions who were willing to help them kill us all?" Mast stood in silent thought for a moment, one hand gripping his forehead, then threw his arms wide. "How the frak could anyone fall in with them? How could anyone side with those metal motherfrakkers against their own people?" He was practically yelling.

"Sir, I'm in total agreement with you," Captain Thompson said evenly, but her dark expression supported her calm words. "However, we don't know what the cylons told or promised the collaborators. There is no excuse for giving aid to the enemy, but humans are... imperfect. We tend to believe what we want to, even in the face of logic. Some people are easily swayed by ideological arguments or cold hard cash." She paused and her voice grew hard. "If... if we ever find out who these traitors are, we'll show them as much mercy as the cylons have shown us."

Mast turned hard eyes on Thompson. "How old were you during the last war, Captain? Were you even alive?" He paused a heartbeat, but did not wait for an answer. "I was - not old enough to fight, but old enough to suffer. There's no reason, nothing that could excuse someone from aiding those soulless bastards."

"Lawrence," a deep voice sounded from the communications console. "All present here are just as committed as you, whether they lived the horror of that war or not; and despite our inability to comprehend why they aided the enemy, it is clear that someone did indeed commit heinous acts of sabotage. Let us pull together - rather than apart - and stand to the challenges ahead."

"Bill is right," Colonel Bisby said, his voice subdued slightly, seeming almost compassionate. "These youngsters may not have lived with war, but they will soon. Save your venom for the cylons."


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 Post subject: Re: TDI Episode 2: Thieves in the Night
PostPosted: Sun Oct 27, 2013 10:49 am 
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Superheavy Vessel Retriever Tauranian Titan
Day 3, 0714 Hours


Major Emmanuelle Cavanaugh stood at a closed pressure door in the passageway that ran through the core of the Tauranian Titan's dorsal docking arm. She wore an EVA suit, and her comms were patched in to Colonel Trafford in the Titan's CIC as well as to the small group of SeaBees who were accompanying her on this damage survey. To her right the helmet lamps of her team illuminated a hatchway which bore the label "Starboard Motor Housing", while to her left another was similarly labeled, albeit for the port side.

One of the SeeaBees looked up from where he'd been straining against a manual crank and shook his head. "It's jammed hard, sir," he reported. "We can back up to frame 750 and go EVA; otherwise we're not getting into the forward section of the arm."

As Cavanaugh nodded acknowledgement the wheel on the starboard hatchway spun and a moment later the hatch swung away, revealing Master Chief Petty Officer Ty Samuels. He stepped into the passageway and faced Cavanaugh while one of the constructiomen dogged the hatch closed.

"Major," he addressed Cavanaugh, "Lighting is still down, but we have power to the gravity plating as well as the actuator motors for the dorsal elbow. The joint still cannot be rotated, though. From what I can see through the observation ports there is a substantial piece of wreckage which pierced the hull just beyond this point and became lodged. It is apparently obstructing the function of the elbow."

"Very well, Master Chief. You take charge of getting this arm operational. Send part of your team on forward - I want a damage report within thirty."

"Yes, ma'am," Samuels replied, then switched comm channels to designate which members of the team would go EVA and proceed forward.

Cavanaugh headed aft, along the 250 meter passage that led through the shorter base section of the Titan's dorsal docking arm. Reports indicated the 700 meter long forward section had decompressed when the Amaryllis exploded, and Samuels' report of the piece of transport wreckage which had compromised the hull showed them at least part of the problem. Cavanaugh was confident that the Master Chief would have the arm operational quickly, but she still worried whether it would be quickly enough. The cylons could return at any moment, and while the supertug could perform an FTL jump with the arms in any configuration, she knew that Colonel Trafford would prefer not to jump until the damage had been repaired.

As Cavanaugh walked back, she recalled the moment of the transport's destruction. She'd been in the dockmaster's station, at the base of this very docking arm, reviewing logs before ending her duty shift. She had not known of the cylons' arrival until Condition One was called over 1MC. The announcement had triggered the auto-close on the station's portal covers, but moments later the ship-wide loss of power stopped the metal plates from sealing over the window panels. She'd seen a pair of streaks as the cylon fighters passed the Titan, and had been vaguely aware of a swiftly moving smoke trail that intersected with the Amaryllis where it was docked within the Titan's arms.

Then a fireball had erupted along the transport's back, followed by the white-hot flare as the ship's tylium fuel ignited. The vacuum of space doesn't transmit the force of an explosion as atmosphere does, but the true danger lay with the wreckage which was propelled violently outward - like the large piece now impinging the dorsal arm's elbow joint. Thousands of smaller pieces had struck the Titan as well, scoring her hull. Some of those pieces impacted upon the armor-glass windows of the dockmaster's station, left exposed when the ship lost power. Cavanaugh had watched in horror as one of the panels fractured from a strike. She knew she couldn't escape the station and seal the hatch in time, so she scrambled into one of the emergency pressure suits. Her luck held, though, and the armor-glass did not fail.

As a group of SeaBees met her in the passage Cavanaugh's attention returned to the moment. She watched as the constructionmen shifted to single file as they passed her on their way forward, and she nodded to herself, satisfied that her ship was in good hands.


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 Post subject: Re: TDI Episode 2: Thieves in the Night
PostPosted: Sun Oct 27, 2013 10:56 am 
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Transport Amaryllis
Salvage Assessment
Day 3 0723 Hours


Captain Edmund Jarrett set his construction shuttle down on the dorsal hull of the Amaryllis with a few short puffs from the RCS thrusters, then activated the mag-locks. Around him the wreckage of the transport was illuminated only by starlight; Jarrett adjusted the focus of his twin searchlights from his landing point to survey his surroundings. The single-person shuttle sat atop the crest which marked the dorsal sublight engine. Through its bubble canopy Jarrett could just perceive the dorsal docking arm of the Tauranian Titan as a black void - an absence of stars above him. Before him the Amaryllis' back was a tangle of twisted metal that stretched halfway to her bow, well beyond the strength of his lights.

The cylon missile had penetrated the transport's hull before it detonated. The resulting explosion had sent a violent shockwave throughout the still-pressurized sections of the ship causing a cascading failure of the pressure doors, while the fiery core of the blast had ignited the tylium contained in the Amaryllis' dorsal fuel tanks. The explosion had rent the Amaryllis' hull and sent pieces of wreckage hurtling outward. SeaBee teams were already conducting search-and-rescue operations within the hulk, but Jarrett held little hope of finding anyone alive.

Jarrett thumbed his wireless on and spoke into the mic. "Major Cavanaugh, Survey One."

[Survey One, Cavanaugh,] came the reply. [Go ahead, Captain.] Jarrett knew the 171st's Commanding Officer - his immediate superior - was assessing damage to the Titan. She'd assigned the assessment of the Amaryllis to her XO.

"The transport is a total loss, ma'am," Jarrett reported. "Under normal circumstances she'd be salvageable, if we could jump her back to Scorpia..." Jarrett's voice trailed off, but he held the channel open. Silently he shook his head. "We could fix her up, but she'd be in our care for months, and use up a lot of resources. I recommend she be stripped and scuttled."

[Acknowledged,] Cavanaugh responded. [Secure from EVA, Captain, and report to me. Mother's got a busted arm, and I'm putting you in charge of the repair.]


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 Post subject: Re: TDI Episode 2: Thieves in the Night
PostPosted: Sun Nov 03, 2013 7:48 pm 
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Jormung Station
Day 3, 1415 Hours


Rattler looked up when Kasan Smith approached him. He still held the piece of finely-grained sandstone with which he'd been sharpening one of his knives; he'd slipped the blade itself silently into a sheath on his thigh as he shifted his attention to the young mercenary. Around him several of the Fiddà looked toward him when the rhythmic sound of steel on stone ceased, but each looked quickly away giving their warleader privacy. Rattler waited impassively for his lieutenant to speak.

Smith came to a halt and stood in the position of almost-attention. It conveyed the respect required for a superior officer but also showed genuine deference to his commander. "Sir," he said, "I have gotten news that yesterday evening the cylons sent a party of three ships, which were subsequently shot down by one of the Colonial Raptors and the station's point defense weapons. Before they were shot down, the cylons destroyed the Amaryllis and damaged the vessel retriever Tauranian Titan."

Rattler listened without changing expression, though he remained intently focused upon Kasan as he spoke. When he finished, Rattler nodded. He swept the gaze of his one eye out across the mercs. "So the metal abominations of the clanless sent a small sortie to eliminate this station. Instead, they found the clanless hiding here." Rattler turned his eye back on Kasan. "They will return, in force. Such is the logic of machines."

"Such is the logic of any attacking enemy for a prime target," Kasan agreed. "From what I have heard, the commanders of the battle ships are planning counter-attacks. I haven't yet heard what those attacks may entail."

"Let us hope to find out swiftly, Kasan. This fortress holds resources that Colonel Bisby needs, but he must surely realize that he cannot hold here against his enemy. To disappear into the wasteland of space, to strike from the shadows... this is how the small force may be victorious against a larger foe. The Colonel must realize this, if he plans to counter-attack. He must realize this for us all to live."

"Yes, sir," Kasan nodded, inclining his head deferentially. "I'll see what more we can find out."

The mercenary Lieutenant took his leave of his commander, stopping to speak to two of his sergeants. "Continue to monitor any of the Colonial fleet communications you can intercept," he said to them quietly. "The sooner we find out their plans, the better." He knew, though, that the meager communications equipment they'd been able to bring on the station had limitations.

"Yes, sir," S'Rimald replied. He gave a slight wry smile. "Your chats with our keepers have probably been more productive than anything we can hear over the wireless."

Kasan Smith gave a single nod. Of all the mercenaries, he was the only one who didn't bear the outcast scar over his left eye--and the station staff had seemed more willing to engage in conversation with him than with the others. "Still," he said. "Any small piece can help complete the big picture."

"Yessir," S'Rimald responded. At his side, S'Yon merely nodded.

From across the compartment, Private Manny S'Mani watched as the Lieutenant consulted with the S'Rimald and S'Yon, and followed the Lieutenant with his eyes as he strode away. "What do you think they've got up their sleeves, Rob?" he asked the mercenary at his side.

Private Roben Baker had also watched the exchange. "Dunno," he said with a shrug, "but I'm tired of sitting around and doing nothing but training. We need to show the Colonial sheep who's in charge."

S'Mani gave Baker a narrow-eyed look. "Like how?" he asked suspiciously.

"I dunno about Baker, but I'll take charge of those nurses," leered another nomad. "I think I might like something soft and round, for a change."

"Well," Baker lowered his voice, leaning closer to the other mercenaries, "It seems to me that this station doesn't have much of a crew. It would be easy to take it over, and then we'd have hostages--along with plenty of weapons and ammo--and we could bargain for whatever we want." He gave S'Tarren a grin. "Get you a nurse or two along with it."

"I'll take two, possibly more," S'Tarren answered.

Darren S'Bec fingered his knife as he slipped in beside Baker. "These clanless are soft," he said, infusing the word with disdain. "We could take this station with just a handful of knives."

"Easily," S'Mani agreed, touching the sheath of his knife.

"We just need to be ready," Baker looked left and right. "Let anyone else we trust know what we're thinking of, and then... when the chance comes up... we'll be in charge."


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 Post subject: Re: TDI Episode 2: Thieves in the Night
PostPosted: Sun Nov 03, 2013 8:02 pm 
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Hospital Ship Chiron
Major Davenport, CPO Pardo
Day 3, 1800 Hours


Petty Officer 2nd Class Elaina Davos and Specialist Rex Tamati sat side-by-side in Chiron’s bridge, Davos monitoring DRADIS and Tamati on communications. The lighting in the bridge was dim, enhancing the view of Jormung station, pinpoints of stars beyond.

Tamati was slouched back in his chair, his eyes half-closed, almost appearing asleep. He had his headphones completely covering one ear, but the left headphone earcup was resting partly on his head behind ear, partly over his ear.

Davos pinched the bridge of her nose and glanced at Tamati. He was motionless except for the fingers of his right hand, resting on his console keyboard. At first Davos thought that he was just tapping his fingers nervously, but then she realized that he was methodically scanning through the wireless frequencies.

“What do you hear?” she asked, looking back at the DRADIS display.

Tamati’s fingers paused. “I have my left ear tuned to the fleet frequency,” he said. “I can hear the CAP and transmissions among our ships.” He wiggled the fingers of his right hand up in the air without raising the heel of his hand from the edge of his console. “And I’m scanning up and down the freqs, listening with my right ear. I wish we could have found out what frequency the cylons transmit on.”

“The crew on the station got some good video,” Davos remarked. “Have you asked if they heard any of the cylon comms?”

“Yeah,” Tamati confirmed, his fingers still stretched up in the air. “They’ve got state-of-the-art passive monitoring systems, but so far their computer hasn’t found anything.”

Davos sighed, sitting straight and arching her back, trying to relax tense muscles. Her eyes scanned the DRADIS from habit, noting the motionless capital ships and the changing positions of the CAP. “I wonder if the cylons are going to come looking for the ones we shot down,” she sighed.

Tamati moved his fingers in the imitation of a shrug, then again began tapping the keyboard. Davos could hear the quiet tik-tik-tik of his keyboard above the sounds of the bridge, above the hushed conversation that the Major and Chief Pardo were having at the far side of the bridge.

“What does it sound like?” she asked. “Space?”

“Nothing but the rain,” he murmured.

Major Davenport watched Davos’ and Tamati’s quiet conversation absentmindedly, his thoughts on what Master Chief Pardo had just told him. He’d asked her to check the Ophiuchus system navigation code, to make sure that the hack to the CNP hadn’t affected Ophiuchus at all. She’d been dismissive, saying it wasn’t possible, but she’d humored him. As she’d expected, the secret computer system was still isolated and intact, and she had just relayed that information to him.

“I am considering,” Davenport said to Pardo in a more deferential manner than usual, “of suggesting to Colonel Bisby that we initiate Ophiuchus and the search for Earth.”

Pardo turned her head to regard the Major directly. She didn’t speak for a moment, and he waited. Presently, she said, “To them, Earth is a myth.”

Al nodded. “We’ve seen the cylon’s strength,” he said. “Fighting them is certain suicide. If we can follow the path our predecessors took, find Earth… that is a chance for life.”

Again Pardo was silent as she considered the idea. Neutrally, she commented, “Our Order ancestors were persecuted because of their beliefs. Colonel Bisby is not likely to view a search for Earth as anything but a crazy heretical notion.”

“We’re probably the last remaining Order members,” Davenport stated. “Us, and Lieutenant Coulter.” He gave a shrug. “Death at the metal hands of the cylons can’t be much worse than persecution for our beliefs. If Bisby entertains the idea, we might possibly live.”

“We need to meet with Lt. Coulter,” Pardo said. “A quorum…” Her mouth twisted in a bitter grimace. “A quorum of three, all surviving Order members.” She nodded briskly. “I trust you can arrange that, Major.”

“Yes,” he said calmly. “I can.”

_________________
Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper, about budget cuts for the US’s intelligence agencies: "We're not going to do more with less and all these other clichés. . . . We will just simply have less capability."


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 Post subject: Re: TDI Episode 2: Thieves in the Night
PostPosted: Wed Nov 06, 2013 8:12 am 
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Guided Missile Frigate Patrocles
Combat Information Center
Day 3 1800 Hours


Colonel Bisby had just returned to the Patrocles' bridge after taking dinner. He carried a notebook and as he took up position by the frigate's tactical table he opened it and reviewed a page for a few moments. As he did, Lt. Davisson approached him and stood at attention. When Bisby looked up and acknowledged him, the communications officer spoke.

"No comms traffic from the midwatch, sir."

Davisson pivoted to return to his post, but Bisby stopped him with a word. "Wait, Lieutenant," the Patrocles' commander directed. "Get a Field Post envelope and stand by for a message to Fleet Headquarters."

Davisson hesitated, looking confused. HQ was destroyed... Aloud he asked, "A field post envelope, sir?"

Bisby glowered at him. "Yes, Lieutenant, a Field Post envelope. You will find several in the storage cabinet beneath the communications console." The tone of the Colonel's voice was impatient and made clear the fact he thought that Davisson should have known where to find them.

Davisson stepped quickly to the comms board and knelt, opening the seldom-used storage cabinet beneath. A moment later he stood with a page-size envelope in hand. It was bright red, with yellow stripes on the flap. He stood at attention, his eyes on Bisby.

"Lieutenant, take down the following message for transmission to all local Fleet units," Bisby began, taking on a more formal tone. "Make hardcopy, place it in that envelope, and dispatch it immediately to Jormung Anchorage with directions for Captain D'Augustine to place it in his document vault." Bisby paused for a heartbeat, continuing once Davisson had acknowledged his orders. "As of this date FFG Patrocles, DDE Bellerophon, AH Chiron, ASVR Tauranian Titan and AT Distant Sun are assigned the designation Expeditionary Strike Group 62 under the command of myself, Colonel Wallace Bisby."

Davisson entered the message at the console's keyboard, then read it back to Colonel Bisby. At Bisby's nod, he struck a key and then announced, "Message relayed to all ships, and the station, sir." Davisson hit another key and the printer began to chatter, printing out the message.

"Address the Field Post to Admiral of the Fleet, Picon Fleet Headquarters." Bisby noted the look on Davisson's face and gave an uncharacteristic explanation. "HQ must be informed of this action. D'Augustine can hold the communique until such time it can be delivered." Bisby gave a wave of his hand, his meaning clear - send it on - and then turned his attention to the DRADIS monitor.

Davisson slipped the page inside the red envelope and sealed it, then picked up his handset to call for a courier.


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 Post subject: Re: TDI Episode 2: Thieves in the Night
PostPosted: Tue Nov 12, 2013 10:56 pm 
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Jormung Ammunition Reserve
Day 3, 1830 Hours


Joseph D’Augustine stood in the open hatch, looking down the station’s spindle core. From where he stood, the core was open all the way down to the terminus; no fans or other equipment blocked his view. There were more access hatches at intervals down the spindle, most closed, a few open. Lights set next to the shallow rungs of a ladder studded one side of the core. The white light reflected off the core walls but could only illuminate the core to a twilight-like atmosphere. Pipes and vents cast thin, faint shadows along the walls. At the bottom, JD could see the bright points of faraway stars through the Kletnov Boundary.

The station maintained atmosphere and gravity in the core and JD knew that if he stepped off this narrow ledge with nothing to stop him, he would fall to the terminus of the station and out through the Boundary in around forty seconds, dying shortly afterward in the frozen indifference of space.

He put his hands on either side of the hatch and leaned forward into the core. He looked down, breathing deeply, and then let go.

He dove with his arms back and close to his body, his legs straight, arrowing down in the dim metallic light. In less than fifteen seconds, his speed was around 56 meters per second, but it seemed faster in the narrow confines of the core. He bent his knees and arched his back, doing a midair backflip as he fell, and then another.

Facing downward again, he drew his arms out in front of himself, bending them at the elbows, slowing his descent slightly. He moved his left arm in toward his head and did a complete turn, a flat spin, to the right, then stopped the turn. He counted mentally to two and repeated the turn to the left.

When he stabilized his turn, he tucked, flipping forward, a fast spin four times before he again stretched out into the relaxed skydiving position. He studied the increasing diameter of the terminus below him as the air rushed past and swept through his nose and sinuses. Without a horizon for reference, it appeared as if he was maintaining his position and the terminus was speeding towards him.

JD reached back and grasped his pilot chute, pulling it out and releasing it. The small chute pulled his main ram-air parachute from the pack on his back, which deployed almost immediately. He grasped the control lines of the parachute, steering so that he wouldn’t slam into the walls, and looked down. Although his rate of fall was greatly reduced, he had only seconds to find an open hatchway and steer into it.

Once he spotted the open hatch, he pulled down on both control lines, slowing his fall and angling toward the lit opening. The hatch he was steering for was a little more than half a meter taller than he was; even traveling as slowly as he was now, if he missed his target, he'd be missing his head.

He lifted his feet as he reached the hatch, then put them down on the deck, taking several steps forward until he was stopped when his chute hit the side of the core wall. He turned in a graceful pirouette, grasping the parachute lines, and leaned back, stepping backward as the deflated parachute floated down and in through the hatch. He continued walking backwards until the chute was fully through the hatch, resting on the deck, its orange and blue panels bright in the artificial light.

He leaned back his head and let out a primal scream. The sound bounced off the bulkheads, echoed through the core, and gradually faded.


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 Post subject: Re: TDI Episode 2: Thieves in the Night
PostPosted: Thu Nov 21, 2013 5:13 pm 
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Guided Missile Frigate Patrocles
Hangar Deck/CIC
Day 3 1915 Hours


Lt. Malcom McFarland ran his fingers tiredly through his short, sweat-dampened hair while he waited for Lt. Hawkins. Their two Raptors had been out on a search and rescue mission, collecting intelligence on the cylons as well as looking for survivors.

Kasey Hawkins told her ECO, “I’ll be back in a minute, Dylan,” handing him her helmet, then she trudged over to where McFarland waited.

Colonel Bisby had ordered that McFarland be assigned to the Patrocles; given his dual certification in both Raptors and Vipers and his greater number of flight hours, the assignment automatically made him the ship’s senior pilot. Hawkins was just as glad. She hadn’t minded reporting to Captain Thompson, but—privately—she considered Bisby a boorish oaf. Now she just had to report to McFarland, and let him handle the upper brass.

“Sir,” she saluted the senior Lieutenant.

“Lt. Hawkins,” he returned the salute. “Any luck out there?” he asked, although he knew that if she and her ECO did have any luck, they would already have told him via wireless. Their mission had them searching different sectors and returning to a rendezvous point every hour to check in with each other.

“No, sir,” she shook her head, her dark ponytail brushing her shoulders. “Just like we’ve seen at every stop… cylons all over the place and destroyed Colonial ships… military and civilian.”

“Thanks,” he said. Over her shoulder he saw her ECO climb out of their Raptor, carrying both his helmet and Hawkins’. With a slight stirring of inner amusement, he recognized the way that Herlihy was looking at Hawkins. “Get some rest, Hawkins, we’ll probably be up in the SAR rotation again in nine or ten hours.”

“Yessir,” she agreed, starting to turn away.

“Oh, Lieutenant…” McFarland forestalled her.

She looked at him questioningly.

“The Commander and XO,” he said. “Any words of wisdom?”

“Captain Thompson is easy to work with,” she replied, then stopped. She didn’t add anything, just looked at him steadily.

“Ah,” he said. “I see.” He gave a single nod. And Bisby is NOT. “Thanks again.”

He’d worked with other difficult commanders, and shrugged to himself as he headed to CIC. He was good at his job, and from what he’d seen, so were the other pilots on the Patrocles. Hawkins and Herlihy certainly were. All the same, he was a little relieved to find that Capt. Thompson was on duty in CIC and Bisby was nowhere to be seen.

“Sir, Lieutenant McFarland reporting on the SAR mission,” he said, saluting her. Good looking blonde, he thought, but kept his expression neutrally professional.

“Lieutenant,” Thompson responded. “Welcome to the Patrocles. I hope your berthing is satisfactory?”

“I haven’t had a chance to do anything besides drop my gear there,” he admitted, “but it’s nice to be flying a Raptor that has a functional jump drive.”

“I’ve put in a maintenance request to have one of Colonel Trafford’s FTL people take a look at One-One-Two,” she told him. “We might also be able to get some help from Master Chief Pardo on the Chiron—she’s a navigation/FTL systems expert.”

“Thank you, sir, that bird has been good to me,” McFarland said gratefully.

She nodded, having heard about the pilot’s experiences in the initial cylon attacks. “What do you have for me, LT?” she questioned.

“A lot of cylons and not much else,” he said with a grimace. “It was the same in all the sectors we checked in the Helios Beta system. The cylons have shot down every ship we could see, even the civilian ones. There was a baseship on station off both Leonis and Virgon, with constant rotating patrols of Raiders. They favor sending them out in threes, for what it’s worth.”

“The same as we’ve seen on our other missions,” the XO murmured.

“There may be survivors on the planets, but it would take a very stealthy ship to sneak in past the cylons,” McFarland sighed.

“I’m not sure that picking up anyone planet-side would be any kind of rescue,” Thompson stated.

McFarland shrugged. “They may have better chances hiding out down there, than they would in space,” he said dryly. Especially on Scorpia, he added to himself.

She echoed his thoughts. “Your clansmen on Scorpia probably have the best chance of survival of anyone.”

“Ah, yessir,” he agreed, startled.

“Thank you, Lieutenant,” she said gravely. “Get some sleep, there’s more of the same coming up.”


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 Post subject: Re: TDI Episode 2: Thieves in the Night
PostPosted: Thu Nov 21, 2013 5:15 pm 
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Destroyer Fleet Escort Bellerophon
Pilots' Briefing Room
Day 4 0545 Hours


Lieutenant Malachi Nyberg stood at the podium in the briefing room, a chart of the Helios Delta star behind him on the main monitor. Several sections of the chart were highlighted among the orbits of Aerilon, Aquaria and Canceron. Nyberg addressed the assembled Raptor pilots and ECO's, projecting his voice confidently throughout the room.

"Yesterday at 1900 hours Raptor crews from the Patrocles began a systematic search of the Delta system, checking orbital stations, outposts, moon bases... anything that is on the books where there might be Colonial survivors." Nyberg noted questioning looks from several of the officers and added, "So far there's been nothing, but the cylon presence has prevented us from checking some of the more promising sites." Pray for us all, both searchers and those we seek, he thought, and considered saying it aloud. For the moment he held back.

"Today we move on to the next phase," he continued. "We are seeking intel on the cylons - location, strength and composition of their fleet elements. You will be surveying Delta's three Colonies in detail, as well as the orbits of the uninhabited planets and their moons. Lagrange points as well, and anywhere else the Colonels deem to be worth a look. This will be dangerous cat-and-mouse work, because we need a detailed picture of cylon operations." Nyberg looked at each face present, his expression solemn. "I know I don't need to say it, but I will anyway: Be sharp, be safe, come home."

Nyberg gathered four files from the top of the podium and stepped toward the briefing room's rows of seats to distribute them. He named the Raptor drivers as he handed out each file. "Gabby... Ringer... Wobbles..." As he handed out the fourth file, he noted the pilot's brooding look and added a touch of sharp emphasis when he spoke.

"Dragon!"

Jack Mayer scowled at Nyberg in return, but sat a bit straighter in his chair. Nyberg held his gaze for a moment, then returned to the podium. "Familiarize yourselves with your target zones. You launch at oh-six-ten. Any questions?"

"What's our weapons loadout?" Mayer asked. His expression was a predatory grin, and he looked around the room to check his fellow pilots' reactions as he waited on Nyberg's answer. The others did not seem to share his zeal. Sheep, he thought darkly.

"Minimum ammunition load, full complement of countermeasures."

"So what do I do if I find a few cylons out alone?" Mayer asked, his tone bordering on derisive. "Spit at them?"

"This mission is intel-gathering, Dragon. No heroics. I don't care if you find a Centurion with his pants down taking an electronic crap, you will not fire on it. Do your recce and get out without being seen." Nyberg could see Mayer's emotions churning just beneath the surface, threatening to break forth. Go ahead, challenge me, he thought. I'll have you cleaning toilets on the flight deck...

Mayer didn't rise to the bait, though, and another of the pilots cut in with a valid question. Nyberg answered and then dismissed the group, but still he watched as Lieutenant Jack Mayer left the briefing. Just before reaching the hatch he looked back, meeting Nyberg's eyes. Mayer paused before he turned away, his expression unreadable. Nyberg did not flinch, but the exchange left him unsettled.


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 Post subject: Re: TDI Episode 2: Thieves in the Night
PostPosted: Thu Nov 28, 2013 9:18 pm 
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Guided Missile Frigate Patrocles
Nuclear Missile Store
Day 4 0915 Hours


Ensign Stein watched nervously as the mercenaries moved the nuclear missiles from the transport carts onto the cradles in the Patrocles missile storage compartment. Each cart held four missiles, fastened down with ratcheting metal straps. It took two of the mercenaries to lift each missile and transfer it to the cradles protruding from the narrow compartment’s bulkhead. The cradles were two pairs of curved and padded metal beams spaced a meter apart, one pair under the missile and one pair over the top. Once each missile was put in place the top arms of the cradle were lowered and locked, securing the nuclear weapon in a circular embrace.

Stein wasn’t nervous about the nukes themselves; it was the mercenaries who worried him. They looked… barbaric with their scarred faces, and they made jokes in their nomad language so Stein wouldn’t know what they were saying. He was sure they were mocking him, but he didn’t dare challenge them. Captain D’Augustine had put him in charge of this detail because regulation required that an officer oversee the transfer of nuclear weapons. Stein understood following regulation, but he wasn’t sure that it was regulation to have conscripted mercenaries handle the nukes. He hadn’t dared to challenge Captain D’Augustine, though, so he just gritted his teeth and followed orders.

“On three,” S’Faridaki said to Baker in Iri’shèè as they prepared to lift a missile from the cart. He counted, and together they lifted the heavy weapon. Moving together, they took a single step sideways and bent to rest the missile in its cradle. They both paused to regard the weapon. It was two meters long, a fourth of a meter in diameter, with the tip painted bright yellow and the propeller-like 'nuclear' symbol gleaming red and yellow on its flanks.

“Frakkers are heavy,” Baker grumbled.

Na'àm,” S’Faridaki agreed, making sure the missile was centered in the cradle. “Are you clear?” he asked.

Baker held his hands up at shoulder level and took a half step back. “Clear,” he replied, and S’Faridaki lowered and locked the upper arms.

They repeated the process, locking a second missile in the cradle above the first. Baker glanced over his shoulder at Stein, then still speaking Iri’shèè, said, “Hey, Jason, I heard you lifted a couple of pistols from the small arms store.”

S’Faridaki rubbed his damp palms on his thighs—it was warm in the small compartment—and gave Baker a calculating look. “Yeah, I did,” he confirmed.

“Where’d you stash them?” Baker tried to make the question sound casual, turning to the transport cart.

After a brief pause, the Corporal answered, “In a safe place… why?”

“I just figured… it would be good to know,” Baker shrugged. “In case, you know, we had to defend ourselves or something.”

S’Faridaki chuckled. “You could defend yourself against this dod’e bawa with your little finger.” His quick glance indicated Stein.

Baker grinned slyly, nodding, and he said, “Yeah, but what if we wanted to take the place over? We’d need more weapons for that.”

The other mercenary snorted, turning to remove the straps from the third missile on the cart. “If the Major decides we should take over the station, he’d make sure we had the weapons we’ll need.”

Baker nodded, but he still gave Stein a sideways glance as he and S’Faridaki moved the next missile.

Stein shifted from one foot to the other, wishing that the barbarians would quit talking and hurry up. He heard the sound of a transport cart and turned to see two more mercenaries guiding another nuke cart, escorted by one of the Patrocles Marines.

“Sir,” the Marine greeted Stein with a nod.

Stein noted the name on the Marine’s shirt and replied, “Good morning, PFC Hester.” He paused, looking at the cart and trying not to look at the mercs. “This should be the last of the ship-to-ship missiles,” he stated.

“Yessir, that’s what Chief Turner said,” Hester agreed.

“Aren’t you two done yet?” PFC S’Choll needled S’Faridaki and Baker, stopping the cart next to Stein by the compartment hatch.

“Oh, yeah, let’s rush while we're moving nukes,” S’Faridaki grinned at S’Choll as he and Baker manhandled the fourth missile onto its cradle.

“We shouldn’t have to do their work for them,” LCpl J’Senna muttered, muscles rippling beneath desert-bronzed skin as he spun the weapons cart to align it with the hatchway. J'Senna fixed grey eyes on his partner; below them his mouth was drawn into a disapproving scowl.

S’Choll shrugged, one eyebrow inching higher beneath short-cropped blond hair. “Better than being locked up on the station,” he replied.

“I’m with you, Sen,” Baker agreed. “Let the sheep do their own heavy work.” He paused, nodding for S’Faridaki to push the cart ahead of him, out of the compartment. He followed behind, stopping as S’Faridaki paused to give S’Choll room to push the loaded cart forward and out of the way.

Stein found himself face-to-face with Baker, and he snapped irritably, “Get moving.”

Baker stared at him. Without blinking, he stepped even closer to the Ensign and put his hand on the butt of Stein’s sidearm, drawing it out of the holster. Stein automatically grabbed for it, his hand over Baker’s, gripping the weapon.

Baker tried to snatch it away, but Stein grabbed it with both hands. They wrestled for it a moment, then Baker twisted it from Stein’s grip. He flipped it around in his hands, grasping the butt…

And then froze, hearing the quiet but distinctive sound of a round being chambered. He looked up into the barrel of PFC Hester’s pistol.

“Don’t,” Hester said in a flat voice.

Baker assumed an innocent expression, holding both hands palm-up, Stein’s sidearm flat in his right hand. “Hey, I was just playing around,” he protested.

In Iri’shèè, S’Faridaki said, sounding resigned, “Give it back to him, dolo,” calling Baker a ‘dimwit’. “If we need more weapons, you’ve just made it harder for us to get them.”

Baker offered the pistol back to Stein, who snatched it from the mercenary’s hand, replacing it in its holster. Stein hoped that no one saw how his hand was trembling.

“Sorry,” Baker gave Stein a crooked grin. “I just wanted to have a little fun.”

Slowly, Hester put his handgun away. “Get moving,” he said to both Baker and S’Faridaki, sounding a good deal more authoritative than Stein had. As he followed the two down the passage, he gave Stein a concerned glance; then he watched Baker and S’Faridaki closely, his hand resting on the holstered butt of his own pistol.


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 Post subject: Re: TDI Episode 2: Thieves in the Night
PostPosted: Thu Nov 28, 2013 9:20 pm 
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Raptor 585, from Bellerophon
Recon mission
Planet Styx, Helios Delta system


"Nearing the upper boundary of the troposphere," Lieutenant Vanya "Bantam" Shartava said, her voice edged with concern. "Pick up orbital speed, Dragon. Our rate of descent is still a bit high..."

"Let me do the frakkin' flying and you find this gods-damned deuterium harvester," Lieutenant Jack Mayer snapped. Though he seemed to ignore his ECO's cautionary words he still eased the Raptor's throttle wider. "Dunno why we're wasting our time on an automated station, anyway."

"The Colonels must've figured it was important. Maybe they're planning to build more thermonuclear warheads," Bantam offered. "Just keep us off the hard deck. Styx is the river at the edge of the underworld - let's not cross it right now."

"Frakkin' idiots," Mayer countered. "Day's comin' when crap like this is gonna cost Mast his command." Mayer expected his ECO to rebuke him. When she didn't, he turned in his seat to look at Lt. Shartava where she sat at the ECO board. She was looking at him, aghast.

"Holy frak, Dragon... you're talking about mutiny!"

"I'm talking about survival. It would have been mutiny, back when there was a Colonial Fleet... when there were Colonies. All that's gone now, Bantam. Mast... Bisby... they have no authority anymore. Only what we allow them. Most of the crew are still loyal out of habit - it's all they know. The time will come, though, when we are going to have to choose who to follow, not based on a foundation-less hierarchy, but according to who can keep us alive."

"And who is that going to be? You, Jack?" Bantam asked.

"Who else?" Mayer queried in reply, following with a derisive snort. "Me. Us."

"Us?" Lieutenant Shartava echoed, incredulous.

"Yeah, us," Mayer emphasized. "This will come down to survival, Bantam. You'll side with me..." Mayer paused. "Because if you don't..."

Mayer's threatening pause was interrupted by a warning tone from Bantam's ECO board. "DRADIS contact, 200 klicks, orbital position matches the deuterium harvesting station," the ECO stated. "Reflectivity within parameters... mass estimate is a bit high."

"We'll be on it in 20 seconds... visibility roughly 5 klicks," Mayer called out as we worked the Raptor's controls. "That's kinda tight. Can you resolve the target?" As he asked, Mayer rested a hand on the Raptor's throttle, ready to add power in order to climb into a higher orbit.

"Negative."

Around the Raptor the upper atmosphere of the barren planet was a melange of cream and tan and tallow, all suffused with sunlight. Their target was a relative speck of military grey, lost in the brilliant blaze until they were practically upon it. The Raptor and the station were both racing at orbital velocity in the same direction, but their closing speed was still high. As they discerned the station in their forward view, Mayer gunned the engines and banked away even as the collision alert sounded.

Shartava fought to identify the object connected to the station, the source of the too-high mass reading. "Cylon heavy raider," she pronounced as Mayer climbed the Raptor out of the glowing gasses. "Frakking tin cans are docked to the target."

"Guess they want some more nukes as well," Mayer noted with a scowl.


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 Post subject: Re: TDI Episode 2: Thieves in the Night
PostPosted: Sun Dec 01, 2013 8:43 pm 
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Hospital Ship Chiron
Dr. Bertrand Lemonde’s quarters
Day 4, 1750 Hours


Al Davenport waited in the passageway for Lemonde to answer his door, his thoughts in the past. The service for Tatia and her crew had been earlier in the day, but Al’s thoughts were further back than that. Not very much further, though… the image he couldn’t dismiss from his mind was of Colonial ships, helpless above Scorpia as the cylons launched the attack, Scorpia Shipyards in flames. The planet below in flames... he couldn’t shake his thoughts from that catastrophic scene four days earlier. Waiting, he rubbed his face wearily with his palm.

The door opened and Davenport was greeted by the Chiron's Chief Medical Officer, a man in his 50's with heavy dark eyebrows and close-cropped hair sprinkled with grey. Doctor Bertrand Lemond's round face seemed perpetually friendly, no matter whether his wide mouth wore a smile or, as now, stretched into a thin line of concern. Lemonde wore a long-sleeved white t-shirt beneath light green scrubs, over matching pants. His brow gathered slightly as he invited his commanding officer inside.

"Major Davenport," Lemonde said in simple greeting. "Would you care for a drink?" Lemonde had been assigned to the Chiron simultaneously with Davenport, and during their time together the Commander and CMO had often met to discuss matters of import over a glass of brandy from Lemonde's native Tauron or whiskey from the clans of Scorpia.

"A drink is exactly what I need," Davenport replied, following the ship's CMO into his quarters. Making an effort to distract himself from his morose thoughts, he saw that Captain Layton was there, a drink already at her elbow. She was wearing duty blues, every crease in place and every strand of hair tidy. Looks like I interrupted something, Al thought, but it doesn't seem to be, ah, personal. For a moment he entertained the idea of leaving, but knew what he needed at this moment was anything but solitude.

"Katherine," he greeted the Chief of Nursing, his physician's mind automatically diagnosing too much stress and not enough sleep. "Thanks, Bert," he accepted a glass from Lemonde, sitting and stretching out his legs.

Captain Layton returned Davenport's greeting, speaking his name, while Doctor Lemonde refilled his drink. He lifted his glass, swirling the medium brown liquor and inhaling its aroma. Then he extended his arm, gesturing with the glass first toward Layton and then Davenport. "To those lost," he said solemnly, "may the Lords have mercy upon their souls."

Al gazed into his glass a moment, then looked up and replied simply, "To Captain Tatia Jenkins and the crew of the Amaryllis." He tossed back the contents of the glass, feeling it burn when he swallowed.

Layton picked up her glass and simply nodded, her manner reverent. She took a deep drink, then returned the near-empty glass to the small table beside her chair. She met Davenport's gaze, saying, "Tatia will be sorely missed, Al."

He nodded gravely in agreement, his thoughts dark. "I wonder how many more we'll lose..." he murmured, voicing the usually ignored reality. We WILL lose more.

"So," Layton said, sitting forward and tenting her arms in front of her, fingers interlaced, "scuttlebutt is at least partly right - the commander of that frigate means to go on the offensive?"

"Colonel Bisby," Doctor Lemonde stated, "of the Patrocles." His tone bordered on patronizing, and he wore a self-satisfied smile as he took his seat.

"Yes, yes," Layton replied, irritated, then returned her attention to Davenport. "Al, does this Colonel Bisby intend to attack the cylons?"

With irony, Davenport said, "I don't think Colonel Bisby believes that a physician, even one who commands his own ship, needs to be briefed on this 'fleet's' plans." He paused, then added more slowly, "I know the man, though... and we've all seen the push to supply the Patrocles and Bellerophon with weapons. I'm certain he and Mast intend to take the fight to the cylons." Again he paused, for longer this time, absentmindedly fingering the medallion on his necklace. Finally he murmured, "I'm not sure that going on the offensive is a wise thing to do."

"Wisdom is seldom the counselor of the resistance," Lemonde observed. "We must control our return to the soil, so if it is our fate to be obliterated by the cylons, I for one prefer to do so while carrying the fight to them."

Captain Layton lowered her hands, gripping each knee. "I'm in no hurry to die, Bertrand," she countered. "The fleet may be defeated, the Twelve Worlds bombed, but I cannot believe there is not some far-flung corner of the Colonies where we can hide." She turned her gaze from Lemonde to Davenport, looking at her commander expectantly.

Carefully picking his words, Davenport said gravely, "I, too, believe that there is a place far from the reach of the cylons where survivors of this holocaust can live in peace. But which would ensure the survival of humanity--staying to fight, or retreating and trying to find this place? Where does our duty truly lie?" He shook his head slowly, looking into his empty glass.

"There is no question as to our duty," Lemonde replied. He remained relaxed in his chair, his expression neutral. "We swore our loyalty to the Colonies, and as long as a ranking officer lives, we follow his orders."

"And what of your Physician's Oath?" Layton asked. "Where in that is your commitment to the well-being of your patients? Your promise to do no harm?" Layton leaned forward, elbows upon knees and hands clasped together. Her focus was on Major Davenport. "I say retreat, Al. I say we argue that with the Colonel. Two small warships and a handful of support vessels have no chance against the cylons. You say you know this man - what will it take to convince him to lead us into hiding?"

Davenport brooded silently a moment, staring off into the distance. Presently, he said, "I doubt that anything I could say would change Bisby's mind." He focused his gaze on Layton. "I believe I have a duty to present that option to him, however, as... convincingly as I can." He rubbed the bridge of his nose between thumb and forefinger and turned his attention to Lemonde. "I also see your point, Bertrand. If I cannot convince our commander to seek refuge, then we do have a sworn duty to follow his orders. And it may be possible that after seeing the futility of continuing to fight the cylons, Colonel Bisby will be more inclined to look for a planet where we can live without the threat of the cylons."


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 Post subject: Re: TDI Episode 2: Thieves in the Night
PostPosted: Thu Dec 05, 2013 5:58 pm 
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Civilian research vessel Satyr
Quarters of Abraham Maxwell
Day 4 1815 Hours


"You sure you don't want me to call up another meal from the galley, Jack? You look like you could use some good food."

Abraham Maxwell sat at a dining table within a large and well-appointed stateroom. The table was covered with a white cloth, embroidered on the edges, and the plate from which he ate appeared to be fine silver. Lieutenant Jack Mayer stepped close and took a whole pear from a bowl near Maxwell's wine glass, crunching into the fruit before answering the older man's question.

"This'll do," the pilot replied, wiping at the corner of his mouth with his other hand. "I need to get back for some rack time; we'll be going back out soon."

"Suit yourself." Maxwell gave a shrug as he set to cutting another morsel from a braised pork chop. He raised the bite on a fork, then paused to speak. "So, Jack my boy, what do we do now?"

"Adapt. Survive." Mayer paced the length of the table, then turned to regard Maxwell. "Your breakthrough in drive technology still has value, though not as a commodity to be sold. You hinted at a weapons application, and - if not that - it still would serve to make our escape from the cylons, permanently."

Maxwell's expression became wary. "Impending breakthrough, Jack. I'm very close. The IHC would have paid for my research notes, as well as the proof-of-concept device. We don't have a working prototype yet, though."

"You don't have a working prototype," Mayer corrected. His gaze narrowed as he continued, "Odd, how your positives always follow 'I', but somehow the negatives always seem to encompass some nameless other to become 'we'. Or are you referring to you, and me?"

Maxwell picked up his wine glass, hiding his fear behind it as he gulped the deep red pinot. He had known Jack Nathaniel Mayer for a long time, and though the man could be fiercely loyal to those he counted among his friends, he tended to be mercurial as to whom he counted.

"We're in this together, are we not?

"You're a weasel, Max." Anger evaporated from Mayer's face with those words, replaced by a patronizing grin. "That I can always count on." The younger man stepped closer, taking another bite from the pear as he did. He stood for a moment, chewing deliberately. "I need to get you off this ship," Mayer said, looking about. "Onto the Bellerophon."

"I'm fine right here."

Mayer regarded Maxwell with a smug grin. "No you're not, Max," he countered. "Oh, you think you are... you think this gives you some measure of freedom from me. Let me disabuse you of that notion right now." Mayer stepped near to Maxwell and leaned close, bracing his arms on the table. "A word in Colonel Mast's ear and I can have you in the Bellerophon's brig within the hour. And don't think anyone will believe any counter-charges you'd think to bring - I eliminated any evidence of my wrongdoing the moment those documents became worthless."

"You can't prove anything against me," Maxwell sputtered.

"I don't need proof." Mayer stood up, a satisfied smile on his face. "A weapons designer, in IHC space? Your very presence there practically damns you."

"You wouldn't..."

Mayer's smile vanished. "I need you close, Max. I need you working on that drive. I'd prefer to bring you over by choice, but if you're unwilling..."

"Alright. Enough." Maxwell dabbed at his beard with a cloth napkin, his expression one of resignation. "Make the arrangement to get me over there. Tell your colonel I can squeeze more performance from his FTL drive, or whatever doublespeak you think he'll swallow." Maxwell watched Mayer as he spoke, and as Mayer's shoulders relaxed so did the expression on Maxwell's face. "Now, what about her?" the older man queried, nodding toward a door that led to the adjacent suite.

Mayer rolled his eyes and grimaced toward Maxwell, suddenly the man's friend, united against a common enemy. "Ditaan? Frak if I know." Mayer shook his head, then affected a perplexed look. "When I sent word to you, through her, I never thought you'd bring her along."

"Where she is concerned, my dear boy, you have seldom done much thinking."

"Aye," Mayer admitted, and with a sigh headed toward Ditaan's door.


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 Post subject: Re: TDI Episode 2: Thieves in the Night
PostPosted: Fri Dec 13, 2013 12:17 pm 
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Patrocles Raptor 775
Recon mission, Helios Delta System
Day 4 1830 Hours


The Raptor winked into existence in the shadow of an asteroid ten times larger than the small ship. Kacey Hawkins glanced from the DRADIS screen in the cockpit to the view out the windshield. “Lagrange point four,” she murmured. She shut down the engines and most of the ship’s systems, leaving just essential life support, DRADIS, and electronics operative. The Raptor drifted in concert with the asteroid.

In a hushed voice, she asked, “See anything, Hobo?”

"Not a thing, Angel. Again." Hobo glanced aside, his gaze taking in the deep black of space beyond the Raptor's canopy, then lingering on Lt. Hawkins. "I thought this system was supposed to be crawling with cylons."

"They're probably concentrating their forces wherever the most Colonial survivors are," the pilot replied bitterly. Then she sighed. "Sorry," she said, turning to look at her ECO. "It's just sort of odd that we haven't encountered any of them... cylons or survivors."

Hobo checked his instruments again, then said, "This place is silent as a graveyard. Let's go - one more Lagrange point in this orbit."

Hawkins nodded, watching him a moment as he worked, her expression pensive. Turning back to the Raptor's controls, she said, "Coordinates loaded, and... here we go." The space-bending effects of FTL jump enveloped the Raptor, then spat it out at their next location.

"DRADIS contact! Strike that - multiple contacts!" JRLT Herlihy called out as his electronic warfare board sounded an alert tone. "Bearing three-five-one carom two-zero, range twelve hundred klicks. Large return, zero shift, consistent with a stationary emplacement." Hobo's words came at a fast clip as he scanned his instruments. "Additional returns from same locale, no ID's, attempting to resolve..."

Hawkins stared at the DRADIS display in the cockpit for a moment. She knew that Herlihy's console had better resolution than hers, however, and after a few seconds snapped her head around to look at him. She didn't ask for more information--she knew that he would immediately report anything he noted. She turned back to gaze narrow-eyed out the windshield.

"Wireless traffic on known cylon frequencies, Angel." Hobo held a hand to his headset, eyes closed, concentrating. "Low power, like they're trying to hide the traffic. I got 'em, though."

Herlihy pulled up the Raptor's nose camera view on his main monitor, duplicating the image to one of the cockpit screens. He dialed up the magnification until the image blurred, then backed off a touch. The image, though fuzzy, was of a vertical hull with arm-like extensions that clearly were reminiscent of a cylon basestar, though much smaller. Though the details were unclear, it appeared to have an extensive array of antennae.

"Communications array?" Herlihy ventured a guess.

"Command and control base?" Hawkins guessed, looking from the cockpit screen back to Herlihy.

"Dunno." Herlihy emphasized his expression of uncertainty with a perplexed look. "Roll to starboard," he said then, turning back to his instruments. "We'll train the Orbital camera on that station and maybe get a better look."

Hawkins rolled the Raptor to the vector Herlihy indicated with delicate bursts of the thrusters.

A sharp sound filled the Raptor cabin, similar in frequency to the recon bird's DRADIS but alien in its pattern. Hobo's eyes widened as he met his pilot's gaze. "Active ping!" he exclaimed, "they're trying to find us!"

"Frak," the pilot muttered. "Keep recording, Hobo, I don't want to bug out until the very last minute."

"Just keep playing dead," Herlihy responded, knowing the suggestion was unnecessary. He continued to work the controls, trying to bring the cylon outpost into focus on a camera system designed to photograph planetary surfaces. "Check it out," he said to Hawkins as he decided the image was as clean as he could get it.

She studied the image with a frown. "Supply point, like Jormung is for us?" she murmured. "Are you picking up anything else in this sector, Dylan?"

"Nothing but the toasters," he replied. "Colonial wireless traffic would be strong here..." Herlihy's words slowed, then he stopped and stared at Hawkins, wide-eyed with realization. "It's a gods-be-damned spy shop, Angel. A toaster listening post. Look at the frakking antennae on that thing."

The shriek of an enemy DRADIS pulse sounded throughout the Raptor again. "Outbound small-craft returns!" Herlihy called out. "Probably Raiders. I think they've got us - if they don't the next ping surely will."

"All right, then, as soon as you get the next ping," Hawkins said.

"Um, Angel... I think we have what we need. I vote we bug out now."

Hawkins gave her ECO a thoughtful look, then nodded. "Bugging out now," she agreed.

With a flash like the blink of a star, the Raptor was gone.


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 Post subject: Re: TDI Episode 2: Thieves in the Night
PostPosted: Mon Dec 16, 2013 9:08 pm 
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Guided missile frigate Patrocles
Officers' Mess
Day 4, late


The compartment that was the frigate's Officers' Mess was dimly lit - night hours were still being observed in some parts of the ship, although combat-critical areas remained on alert status. Colonel Wallace Bisby was standing among the boxes of supplies stacked there, an apple rummaged from one of the containers gripped in his left hand. Surplus non-refrigerated foodstuffs had been stacked in the limited extra space in both the officers' and enlisted mess halls. The surplus would be used first, clearing up the clutter.

Colonel Lawrence Mast drifted slowly along behind Bisby, hands clasped behind his back, his steps measured and deliberate. The two men were engaged in quiet conversation.

"Lawrence, are you familiar with the feudal custom of hostages?" Bisby asked, taking a bite from the dark red fruit he held.

The topic took Mast by surprise. "Feudal?" he asked. "Can't say that I am."

Bisby reacted with a sly look that was about as close to a smile as the surly commander ever made. "To control those of his nobles that he thought untrustworthy a high king would require that they live at court part of each year, and often that their family take up permanent residence there. Thus the king could threaten harm to persons the lord presumably valued, which tended to prevent the lord from taking action against the king." When Bisby finished he looked at Colonel Mast with clear expectation.

Mast stared at Bisby as the implications registered. "Are you thinking of taking some of those mercenaries hostage?" he asked, his tone holding both admiration and disbelief.

Bisby chuckled darkly. "I'm thinking," he said, "of requiring the assistance of his lieutenants. He can't refuse - they're conscripts." In the semi-darkness of the mess compartment, Bisby watched for Mast's reaction to his next words. "I think one aboard your ship, one aboard mine."

Mast's first reaction was absolute refusal, but a second later the advantages to such a proposal occurred to him. He pondered a moment, his eyebrows lifting at the intriguing suggestion. "You have a twisted and devious mind, my friend," he finally said with a slight smile. "Do you have any idea what sort of assistance we'll require from these lieutenants?" His initial thought had been to throw said lieutenant into the brig, but he realized that such an action would likely encourage the Scorpian thugs to revolt, rather than keep them in line.

Bisby made a show of examining a box packed with potatoes. "Peeling these," he replied with an unconcerned shrug, "though in the enlisted mess. Scrubbing toilets in the head. Hades, they can stand in for the targets on the firing range for all I care."

"As attractive as that idea is, I'm not sure it would serve our purpose," Mast said with a snort of amusement. "Rattler," he deliberately left off the mercenary leader's rank, "would certainly understand the notion of feudal hostages. While he knows that his lieutenants will not be allowed access to anything military, he would expect them to be treated with a certain degree of respect." The distaste in his voice showed how he felt about that.

"What goes for respect among that rabble will barely require our notice, Lawrence. Rack, rations and return them alive; that will leave Rattler little room to complain." Bisby grinned, though there was little mirth in his eyes. "That should de-fang the snake."

"Indeed it should," Mast agreed, nodding. "Indeed it should."


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