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 Post subject: TDI Episode 3: Know Thine Enemy
PostPosted: Tue Jul 14, 2015 6:47 am 
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PREVIOUSLY ON THE DEIMOS INCIDENT:

"If any other fighting ships survived..." Herlihy began, then paused as he bit his lip. "... and they find that relay, they're gonna be walking into a real hornets nest. The toasters lost a cap ship, and they know we spotted the staging point. Unless they abandon the position, they'll be reinforcing it."

"I doubt they'll abandon," Hawkins said softly. She was silent for a few moments and then added, like a prayer, "May the gods watch over any Colonial ships that find it."


Thirty-two hours later
Battlestar Pegasus


The flagship of Battlestar Group 62, the Pegasus, silently flashed into existence near the comm relay. In the CIC, Rear Admiral Helena Cain stood, rubbing her thumb against her forefinger as she soberly observed her instruments and crew. The ship was at Condition One and the compartment pulsed with red light. When Cain spoke, she addressed Lieutenant Kendra Shaw, her aide.

"How many Raiders, Lieutenant?"

"I'm reading twelve signatures, sir," Shaw replied, her eyes locked on the DRADIS console.

Admiral Cain's brow tightened momentarily and she glanced from the overhead DRADIS display to where Lieutenant Shaw sat. "That's more than we anticipated, but one squadron should be able to handle them and eliminate the target."

In response, the Pegasus XO picked up a handset. "Launch Blue Squadron." Within seconds a score of Vipers erupted from the launch tubes of the battlestar's port flight pod.

Simultaneously the DRADIS console issued an alert tone. "Sir, new contacts," Shaw reported.

"What the hell...?" Cain said in consternation, punctuating her words with sharp movements of her hand.

Shaw stared intently at her screen, attempting to interpret what she saw. "There's a lot of jamming going on out there, but I'm reading 15 full squadrons of Raiders, sir."

Colonel Fisk looked to the overhead display, then at the Admiral. "They must have jumped in right as we launched our fighters."

Realization registered on Cain's face. "This isn't a comm relay," she stated. "This is a staging ground."

Colonel Belzen looked at Cain, concern on his face. "Recall the Vipers, sir?" the XO asked. When Cain did not reply, he repeated, "Sir?"

As Blue Squadron continued to close on the comm array the Raiders accelerated toward the Colonial fighters. Colonel Fisk monitored their progress. "Two minutes to contact," he announced.

"Admiral, the cylons knew we were coming," Belzen said, taking a cautiously advisory tone. "We have to recover the Vipers and jump out of here while we still can."

Admiral Cain shook her head, leaning on locked arms while she focused on the tactical plot table. She shook her head. "No. Scramble the reserves. Order them to provide cover while Blue attacks the target."

"They'll be outnumbered four to one," Belzen observed. He fixed his gaze on Cain, hoping the Admiral would listen to his voice of reason. Cain, though, did not acknowledge him.

Still monitoring the DRADIS console, Lieutenant Shaw gave an update. "Sir, a squadron of Raiders has broken off and are now inbound."

Admiral Cain's response was instant. "Activate defensive batteries."

"They aren't responding, sir," Shaw stated as she tried to comply with Cain's order. "The network's locked us out of our weapons grid." As Shaw spoke, Colonel Belzen looked toward the weapons station, assessing their situation in his mind.

The setback did not faze Cain. "Then have gun crews assume manual control," she ordered.

Colonel Belzen fixed his gaze on his commanding officer. "Admiral, we are hugely outnumbered and now our own weapons grid won't respond. What more proof do we need that this is a trap?" he asked, knowing that lives depended upon the Admiral's response.

Cain's eyes never left the DRADIS display. "All the more reason to launch everything we've got."
__________
Transcripted from Battlestar Galactica: Razor


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 Post subject: Re: TDI Episode 3: Know Thine Enemy
PostPosted: Tue Jul 14, 2015 6:50 am 
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Guided Missile Frigate Patrocles
Officer's Wardroom
Day 7 0757 Hours


Colonel Wallace Bisby leaned forward on locked arms, his hands resting on the surface of the tabletop monitor, fingers splayed. He studied the displayed image, a map of the Helios Delta system. He shifted slightly and with a few strokes of his hand he focused the map onto the gas giant Hestia, located in a shared orbit between the colonies of Aerilon and Canceron. With another motion he enlarged Hestia until its moons were visible. He stabbed a finger down onto one.

"We'll start here," he said.

Thompson's frown was internal as she studied the map but her outward expression even and calm. "Cassiopeia," she stated. She searched her memory for any shred of information about the moon, but couldn't find any. She clasped her hands behind her back, lifting her gaze to the Colonel. "Is there any particular reason we should start there, sir?" Aside from the fact that it's probably swarming with cylons, so close to the Colonies.

"NAS Barzel," Bisby said. His sidelong glance at Thompson was marked by narrowed eyes, and bespoke his displeasure at having to explain himself to his second-in-command. Still, he continued, "and there's an extensive tylium mine and processing station."

The Patrocles' XO was familiar with the reputation of Ezra Barzel, the famous Marine from the cylon war--the first cylon war, Thompson corrected herself, although she wasn't aware that a Colonial Naval Air Station had been named for him. "It's possible that the cylons are aware of the moon's tylium processing facilities," she said, unperturbed by her Commander's annoyance. "Do you think that the Marine unit at NAS Barzel would be able to defend those resources on Cassiopeia, if the cylons attacked there?"

"I have no doubt the cylons targeted Cassiopeia," Bisby replied, his affirmation carrying a trace of scorn. "I don't expect the Marines had any more success against the enemy than the Fleet did. Barzel housed a Marine battalion, and I don't relish the thought of that many dead warriors from any of the Colonial Forces." Bisby paused, his teeth gritted in anger. "We need the processed tylium stored at the mine, if it's still there. In any case, it's a draw point - for the cylons, and for any Fleet survivors." Bisby stood erect and turned, affording Thompson a rare look that bespoke a sense of equality. "We owe it to them, to go there."

The Captain gave a fierce nod of agreement, her blue eyes cold and hard. "The sooner, the better," she stated. "I haven't seen the status of our ships, Colonel. Have we gotten any damage assessments yet?"

"Damage to the Patrocles is minimal," Bisby stated. "Colonel Trafford is replacing a few armor panels on the port side. We'll have Engine Three back online by 1200 hours." Colonel Bisby watched Thompson with a slightly raised eyebrow as he recounted the damage to his ship - Thompson had been overseeing the Patrocles' point defense during the attack, and the frigate's wounds were the result of cylon missiles that had penetrated that defense. Thompson frowned slightly but didn't speak, allowing the Colonel to continue. "The Bellerophon was fortunate. That missile strike against it detonated on a KEW turret. Trafford will have to repair the turret and replace some surrounding armor plate, but that can be accomplished while we're underway."

Silently resolving to review the barrage patterns and timing from the port side point defense weaponry, Thompson said, "Very good, sir. When will we depart?"

"Today," Bisby replied, "1600 hours." The Colonel glanced at a clock on the bulkhead. "That gives you 8 hours to make the ship ready, Exec." With a swipe of his hand Bisby minimized the view of the Cassiopeia moon, returning to the map of the full Helios Delta system. He stood, studying it intently.

Knowing that Bisby had already dismissed her and expected no further response, Captain Thompson gave a nod, and turned briskly to check on the status of the damage repairs.


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 Post subject: Re: TDI Episode 3: Know Thine Enemy
PostPosted: Wed Jul 15, 2015 8:18 am 
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Superheavy Vessel Retriever Tauranian Titan
Material Storage Bay 17
Day 7 0815 Hours


Captain Edmund Jarrett, XO of the 171st SeaBee battalion, watched from the bay entrance as the huge overhead crane lifted another modular section of hull armor and brought it to the waiting electric truck. The truck - a broad, flat vehicle with high-torque electric motors mounted at each wheel position - would take the armor section to the shuttle bay where it would be loaded and transported to the Patrocles or Bellerophon. Both vessels had suffered damage to their armor during the previous day's skirmish with the cylons.

Jarrett observed the latest module as the crane moved it closer. Suspended on the crane, outer-side down, he could almost sense it's immense weight as it loomed nearly overhead. The outer skin was a dark military grey; behind that were layers of steel cells filled with high-tech ceramics, designed to shield against radiation as well as absorb any destructive energy that penetrated the armor's surface. Jarrett noted the blue paint that marked this module as one that had been supplied by a civilian contractor and had probably been aboard the Titan since its launch.

The gantry had lowered the section onto the truck with precision, and now it whirred off toward its home position to wait for the truck's return. Jarrett stepped aboard the truck, nodding to the operator as he grasped a handrail. The operator used the truck's independently-driven wheels to spin it in place, then left the storage bay for the wide passageway beyond. The electric motors hummed loudly under the load as the truck picked up speed toward the shuttle bay.

Less then eight hours until we jump, Jarrett thought. To swap out the armor panels that had to be replaced, within that time limit, on both of the warships, Major Cavanaugh had EVA teams working simultaneously. Jarrett figured the timetable would be tight, but he had confidence in his people. Repairing the damaged turret on the Bellerophon, though, would not likely be completed until after the jump.

This is my life now, Jarrett thought. Keep those warships alive, so they can keep us alive. It was a task for which the Titan had been built, but it had never been intended that she do it alone. He glanced at the armor module and gave a tiny shake of his head. We can't build any more of these, not without a foundry ship.

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Armor storage, with overhead gantry crane


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 Post subject: Re: TDI Episode 3: Know Thine Enemy
PostPosted: Thu Aug 27, 2015 12:40 pm 
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Destroyer Fleet Escort Bellerophon
Pilot's Briefing Room
Day 7 1050 Hours


"That concludes this briefing. Mess starts at 1100 hours, and our jump to Hestia's orbit is scheduled for 1600. All Raptor crews are to report to the Flight Deck by 1545. You will mount up and be ready for launch prior to the jump. Dismissed!"

With those words, Lieutenant Malichi Nyberg concluded briefing the Bellerophon's Raptor crews on the Strike Group's mission. Nyberg watched as pilots and ECO's stood up and prepared to leave. Four crews plus an odd man had been present at the 20-minute briefing - Ensign David Telves had been assigned to the Belle and Nyberg had included him in the meeting despite the Viper jock not being assigned to a Raptor as yet. Telves was junior to the rest of the air crews, and there were no extra Raptors aboard the destroyer, but Nyberg wanted Telves to be familiar with shipboard proceedings. Also, he wanted the newcomer to get to know the other pilots.

Nyberg's eyes narrowed when he noticed Jack Mayer speaking to Telves as the two exited the compartment, Mayer's ECO trailing behind them. He hadn't expected that. Mayer doesn't make new friends without a motive, Nyberg thought darkly...


"This time we're just flying recon on a tylium mine," Jack Mayer was saying, "but we could still run into cylons. You know what that's like, Telves, you were in that fight."

"It wasn't much of a fight," Telves interjected, shaking his head.

"Precisely." Mayer's eyes flared as he went on, "We've only a handful of ships left, and we're facing an enemy that has plenty of support. And what's Bisby gonna do? Arm us, fuel us and then send us to our deaths against an entrenched cylon occupying force?"

Ensign Telves scowled at the thought, but did not reply. He generally knew when to keep his mouth closed, around both fellow pilots and superior officers. When someone you just met starts dancing dangerously close to mutiny, that's definitely a time to keep yer yap shut. Telves glanced aside at Lieutenant Shartava. Mayer's ECO seemed just as uncomfortable with Mayer's comments, and she was just as silent in response.

"The Colonies are gone, destroyed," Mayer said. "The fleet's gone, too. Bisby and Mast have no real authority left, just what we allow them. Right now, we're allowing it out of habit." Mayer looked directly at Telves as they continued walking toward the mess deck, then turned to look at Shartava. "Or out of misplaced loyalty, or duty." Mayer spat out that last word. Sensing little sympathy from the other two, Mayer gave a derisive snort, then fell silent.

Sheep, he thought. Mindless sheep. Let them go quietly to the slaughter. I won't. Maxwell holds the key to our escape, to going where the cylons cannot pursue us. I need to get him aboard the Belle, though, and Bisby may have just handed me exactly what I need.


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 Post subject: Re: TDI Episode 3: Know Thine Enemy
PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2015 6:19 pm 
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Guided Missile Frigate Patrocles
Pilot's Briefing Room
Day 7 1100 Hours


Lieutenant Malcom McFarland looked over the small group of assembled pilots, the crews of the Patrocles' four Raptors. They sat attentively in the front, their numbers filling less than half of the seats in the compartment. One of them had called out "CAG on deck!" when he'd entered. It was a descriptor he had not become accustomed to yet. McFarland was not one who craved the power or the recognition of a command. The nomad in him, though, recognized the responsibility that had been placed upon him, and he treated that very seriously.

"Colonel Bisby is leading us to the Helios Delta system," McFarland began. "In five hours we will jump to the orbit of Hestia. Our objective is one of the moons, Cassiopeia. There's a Fleet base there, as well as a nearby tylium mine and processing station. We hope to find Fleet personnel and Marines at the base, tylium at the processing station. The tanker will be coming with us, and our intention is to load her up."

"The Raptors' jobs will be three-fold: recce the moon before we proceed to the mine and the base, patrol for the enemy while we are there, and defend the strike group if we make contact. Deck crews are already fitting our your birds with every bit of ordnance we picked up from Jormung." McFarland waited as a few hoots rose from the pilots. "You'll have plenty of toys to play with, but I hope we find survivors, not cylons."

One of the pilot's raised a hand and when McFarland acknowledged him he asked, "So once we top off the tanker, where are we going?"

"We'll be carrying the fight to the toasters, you can be certain of that," McFarland said with conviction. "But our early steps are critical. We need supplies, but we also need intell and reinforcements. Besides the obvious benefit of obtaining additional fuel supplies, Colonel Bisby considers the moon a draw point for any surviving forces. So let's hope he's right, and we find more ships there."

Kacey Hawkins nodded with satisfaction to herself. Everything about this mission satisfied her; the possibility of finding survivors and the chance to take out cylons. She wasn't sure which of those possibilities she preferred. Intellectually she also realized the need for intell, but viscerally she really wanted to kill cylons. Unconsciously she moved her hand as if firing ordnance from her Raptor.

Beside her, Dylan Herlihy missed her finger movements. He'd spent this briefing as he'd spent most others, distracted by watching Kacey, his eyes tracing the lines of her face as she watched whomever led the meeting. He was always careful not to seem inattentive to the senior officers, and not to let Kacey catch him staring. At least, not too much. This time, when she glanced aside at him he grinned in response, then made a show of paying attention to Lt. McFarland.

She knew he'd been watching her the instant she looked over at him. She felt a flutter deep in her stomach, but then thought, I hope he didn't miss anything important from the briefing... She dismissed the thought as quickly as it came. He was the best ECO she'd ever had, even if he didn't fully focus on the briefings. The best looking ECO, too!


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 Post subject: Re: TDI Episode 3: Know Thine Enemy
PostPosted: Sat Sep 05, 2015 5:32 pm 
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Guided Missile Frigate Patrocles
Pilot's Briefing Room
Day 07 1140 Hours


JRLT Dylan "Hobo" Herlihy stood from his seat and followed LT Kacey Hawkins to the rear of the compartment. They had just finished a briefing on the strike group's next mission, and Hobo had locked onto one particular thing that LT McFarland had said. Besides the obvious benefit of obtaining additional fuel supplies, Colonel Bisby considers the moon a draw point for any surviving forces. So let's hope he's right, and we find more ships there. As they moved toward the hatchway, Hobo touched LT Hawkin's shoulder to get her attention.

"Angel," he began, using her callsign, but then he faltered as she turned toward him. He'd meant to say something about the briefing, though the thought of exactly what was now lost to him.

She paused, meeting his eyes, and didn't respond for a few long seconds. Finally she drew a breath and said quietly, "The old man always has a plan up his sleeve, doesn't he." She didn't take her gaze from him, and the momentary silence between them seemed... comfortable. She smiled slightly, one side of her mouth curling up.

"Yeah, he does." Hobo flushed as she smiled, feeling his ears grow warm. He traced the curve of her lips with his eyes, reveling in the rare smile, then looked back at her brown eyes. "Hey, do you wanna..." he began, but he was jostled by one of the passing pilots. Hobo turned, a scowl on his face, but the pilot continued oblivious to what he'd interrupted. When Hobo turned back, it seemed as if the moment had passed. He made a motion as though to resume their exit.

Hawkins nodded, turning and stepping into the flow of people leaving the briefing room. She felt a flash of... anticipation? Disappointment? Something that made her stomach flutter. She was acutely aware of Dylan behind her, but wasn't sure what to do next.

Dylan's eyes lingered on the back of Angel's head. He watched her as he followed, catching a glimpse of her cheek as she navigated the passageway. Something in her manner had left him expecting a backward glance, but it hadn't come. His eyes wandered, through the curls of hair at her neck, down the lines of her back, settling onto her hips as they switched back and forth. He'd always loved following her, watching her ass as she walked. She made a pair of fatigue pants a thing of wonder, he thought yet again. Dylan counted having to trail behind her as one of the perks of being a junior lieutenant and her ECO.

Then the look came, and Dylan quick-stepped forward to be beside Angel. He flushed, certain that he'd been caught staring at her butt. He didn't really care though, not anymore. He grinned, inwardly trying to calm his racing heart, and said the first thing that came to his mind.

"You wanna come to my berth?" The question was out before he considered the wording, and he felt embarrassed at its seeming brazenness. He wanted to let it stand, see how she interpreted it, how she'd react - but he didn't want to offend her. He felt like he was walking through a minefield. He deflected his question a bit with an explanation. "Weasel traded some of our stuff to the civvies... wouldn't be right if I didn't share with my driver," he told her, trying to grin casually.

"Yeah, I'd like that," she agreed, smiling. She'd felt him behind her, like she had some sort of DRADIS tuned to him. She'd pictured his face, his eyes, and felt a sudden uncertain but smug sort of tingle when she caught him looking at her ass. "What sort of stuff did the civvies have?"

"Some chocolates, a few bottles of hooch," Dylan listed. "We didn't have much to trade." Weasel had come back with some fresh porn as well, but Dylan was unsure how Kacey might react to mention of that.

"Chocolate!" she exclaimed, then stopped in her tracks. She hadn't had chocolate since... since before the cylon attacks. It occurred to her that the chocolate they had in their small fleet might be all the chocolate there was left anywhere. This seemingly mundane fact affected her more than had any other ominous statement from command about how dire their situation was.

"Dylan," she said quietly; he'd stopped when she had, turning to look at her inquiringly. All we have is right now, she thought. "Kiss me," she said, and stepped close to him. Before he could react, she tilted her head slightly and put her lips on his, gently and caressingly, and put her arms around him.

Dylan's surprise lasted only a heartbeat, then he was pressing his lips to hers, the kiss growing urgent. His hands moved to her body, settling on her waist. He slipped one further, onto the small of her back and drew her closer. He was completely lost in the experience - her soft lips, the warmth of her body, her scent. Everything else ceased to exist.

After long moments the world around them reasserted itself. The passageway was not empty, and some of their crewmates lingered to watch Dylan and Kacey. No one actually stopped, but there were hoots and calls of encouragement. Most seemed directed at Dylan. The kiss ended and they stood for a moment, heads bowed and foreheads touching, laughing softly. Then Kacey took Dylan's hand in both of hers and with a few steps backward began leading him once more toward his berth. Feeling Dylan's strong hand in hers, she wondered why she'd waited so long to do this.

Still smiling, Kacey told Dylan, "To hell with chocolate!"

When they reached the berthing compartment Weasel was at the hatch, just finishing tying a sock onto the dog wheel. Dylan shot him a sheepish grin, but Weasel just punched him on the shoulder as he said, "Everyone's out." Then he was off down the passageway, giving the couple a long backward glance that neither saw.

_________________
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 3: Know Thine Enemy
PostPosted: Sat Sep 05, 2015 5:35 pm 
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Guided Missile Frigate Patrocles
CIC
Day 7 Midday


Captain Thompson listened in on the comms as Colonel Trafford’s SeaBees finished replacing the port side armor panels. Engine Three was online ahead of schedule, thanks to the joint efforts of the Pat’s engineering crew and Trafford’s experts. The SeaBees were also well along on the repairs to the Bellerophon. Thompson had no doubt that they’d be ready to head to Cassiopeia before Bisby’s 1600 deadline.

The XO had studied the barrage from the port side point defense against the cylons in their earlier battle, and could only determine that a cylon missile had gotten through by random bad luck. From the pattern and the relatively minor damage it had inflicted, she thought perhaps that the cylon missile had been intercepted close to the ship, and its energy had still been enough to cause the damage. She knew that Bisby wouldn’t accept any “excuses”, even if they were plausible reasons, and didn’t intend to bring the topic up unless he asked. At any rate, she sent a request to the engineering section that they check the calibration of the point defense weapons—both port and starboard—after the ship’s repairs had been completed.

Thompson next pulled up data on Cassiopeia. Hestia, along with its moon Cassiopeia and fifteen others, shared an orbit with Aerilon and Canceron in the Helios Delta system. Cassiopeia was a dormant, stable moon, and Thompson rubbed her chin thoughtfully as she read the basic data about it:

Atmosphere: 68% argon, 14% helium, 12% oxygen, 5% neon, 1% trace gasses
Mean surface pressure: 0.13 atmospheres
Mean surface temp: 150 degrees F/66 degrees C to 40 degrees F/4 degrees C
Rotation period: 25 hours
Revolution period: 8 days (local)


With an atmosphere so thin, Thompson knew that atmosphere suits would be necessary. In spite of the thin atmosphere, the mass of the moon would give it a gravity slightly less than Colonial standard. What she was most interested in, however, was the fate of NAS Barzel’s Marines and the possibility for finding tylium there.

The military database had the usual information about NAS Barzel. It was listed as a training base, and as Bisby had said, with a permanent party of a battalion. Units from platoon to company size conducted training operations there. Thompson found this interesting; a training base on a remote moon wouldn’t usually have nearly 300 Marines to support such a small training mission. Further reading revealed that the battalion had a dozen Krait Scout/Attack craft, a ship that had been in service since the first cylon war and used with various modifications over the years. Colonel Robert Davis was listed as the battalion’s most recent commander. With a mental grimace, Thompson felt it certain that he, along with the rest of the marines on the base, were dead.

The Captain moved on to search for information about Cardelli Corporation’s tylium mining. The few facts provided by the military database frustrated her, and she wished she had the easy access to civilian information as they’d had before the cylons attacked. She found the company’s mission statement and two short sentences about its presence on Cassiopeia:

”Cardelli Corporation’s mission is to continuously deliver shareholder value by manufacturing and supplying tylium products and services that satisfy the needs of our customers while constantly achieving operational excellence. We pledge to conduct our business in a safe, environmentally sustainable and economically optimum manner.

Cardelli Corporation has been mining, refining, and storing tylium on Hestia’s moon Cassiopeia for over four decades. Our Cassiopeia business unit is proud to provide a vital energy source to the twelve Colonies and their military forces.”


She considered the sparse information thoughtfully. If Cardelli Corp had been on the moon for that long, there was a chance that it had established more than one mining/refining operation—and that tylium, both raw and refined, might have been stored at different locations on the moon. Hopefully the cylons haven’t found all of it, she thought, and resolved to brief the recon Raptors herself on what to look for.

_________________
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 3: Know Thine Enemy
PostPosted: Sat Sep 05, 2015 5:37 pm 
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Guided Missile Frigate Patrocles
Crew Berthing Compartment


Kacey Hawkins relaxed in an almost-doze, Dylan snuggled up against her side, his arm over her. Her thoughts wandered idly in the aftermath of a supremely satisfying frak as she gently traced the muscles in Dylan's upper arm. She wondered if the frak had been so great because of the end of the worlds, or... just because it had been so great. She breathed out quietly, a sigh of contentment.

Beside her Dylan lay silently listening to her breathing, trying not to twitch from the light touch of her fingertips on his skin. His mind was a tumult of thoughts: amazement at what had happened between them, uncertainty about whether it would ever happen again. He wished they could do it again, now, but the nature of ship-board life made it unlikely they'd have the time. And he wondered what had changed... Kacey had always seemed so unreachable. Never mind that the rest of the Raptor aircrews had discounted his chances with her, Dylan himself never expected she'd respond to his interest.

But she had. Dylan's mind raced, touching for brief moments on all the questions this had opened up, not lingering long enough to answer any of them. What was going to change once they left his rack? Would things be awkward between them, in the cockpit, the mess hall, the showers? Dating wasn't forbidden between two officers, but it was greatly frowned upon and ultimately could come down to a decision by Colonel Bisby. Dylan scowled inwardly at that thought. That brought to the forefront of his mind the whispers he'd been hearing the last few days - the Colonies were ended, as was the Fleet, so did Bisby have any authority left? He shuddered slightly, choosing not to go down that path. However it might benefit him with regard to Kacey, it was still a descent into anarchy.

Kacey's thoughts had wandered to the future, also, but along an entirely different track. She turned slightly to face Dylan and said calmly, "The cylons could be finding us right now. In seconds or minutes... or days... we could be dead." She paused thoughtfully for a moment, then continued, "All the plans I had for the future--getting to be CAG, someday commanding my own ship--all those plans aren't worth a cubit any more. All I have, all we have, is the present. Right now." She paused again, chewing her lip. "I'm not throwing away those plans, but I'm not going to postpone what could be right now for what might be in the future. I've done that too much, missed out on too many things, because of plans for a future that may never be." She stopped, her eyes searching Dylan's face. "Does that make sense?"

"No," he replied, his expression somber as he met her gaze. Kacey's eyes sharpened at the word. "And yes," Dylan added, the corner of his mouth curling into a smile. All we have is the present. Her words swept away his jumbled, uncertain thoughts. It did make sense. It was possibly the only certain thing that remained. He brought his face close to hers and kissed her lightly. Then again - urgent, hungry.

She returned the kiss, matching his urgency, but knowing that what could be 'right now', they really didn't have time for. She pulled back and touched his face with her fingertips, smiling.

He laughed softly. "Right now..." he said in concert with her, and then they both paused. Kacey smiled again and Dylan took it as her cue that he should finish their thought. "Right now," he continued, "we need to get to the mess. We might just be able to grab a bite before we're expected on the flight deck." He slipped out of the rack, nearly falling as he did, and began gathering up his clothes.

He dressed quickly, stealing glances at Kacey as she did the same. He finished just before her, then couldn't resist stealing another touch. He nipped at her neck as she wriggled into her shirt, one hand on the bare skin at her waist. When she turned to face him, he gave her a wistful smile that said he wanted to do anything but leave. "We gotta go," she said, but in the lines of her face he read the same reluctance. He bit back his desire, turned and spun the dog wheel to open the hatch.

As Dylan stepped into the passageway he attempted to compose himself. He couldn't do it, though, and grinned like a fool all the way to the mess deck.

_________________
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 3: Know Thine Enemy
PostPosted: Thu Sep 10, 2015 6:12 pm 
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Jormung Ammunition Reserve
Ring 4 Docking Access - Deck 24
Day 07 1250 Hours


Gabriel Kyros leaned against the bulkhead where the number 24 was painted in black, extending from the deck to the overhead. He took a long draw on the cigarette he held, savoring the flavor of home grown tobacco laced with a bit of spice. He exhaled a few puffs, making a series of perfect smoke rings. Turning his head aside he released the remainder of the smoke in a leisurely breath, then turned back to watch as the rings dissipated.

Kyros heard his guest approaching before he could see him down the curving corridor. Although the Anchorage was never silent, its mechanical noises did not rise above Lieutenant Mayer's footfalls. Kyros stood upright, drawing his cigarette case from a pocket. Opening it, he tapped out the smoke on the metal inside surface. He was just placing the half-smoked cigarette back in the case when Jack Mayer came into view.

Kyros waited until Mayer was within comfortable speaking distance before addressing him. "Lieutenant Mayer," he said, inclining his head slightly. "To what do I owe this pleasure?"

"To Max," Mayer responded, giving Kyros a reproachful look. He had no idea whether the Satyr's XO had intended the question as a flirtation, but Mayer did not want any misunderstanding between them. Theirs was a business relationship, and Jack Mayer's business was Dr. Maxwell.

"Colonel Bisby intends to take his Strike Group to Hestia," Mayer stated, dispensing with any further preliminaries. "Let your captain know that he'll be leaving without her."

"Certainly the Colonel intends to return to Jormung. If he's off to fight cylons, he'll be back to replenish his ammunition. Cherenko will not wish to leave the safety of the Anchorage."

"If she's smart, she won't leave the safety of a warship escort," Mayer countered. "The fortunes of war are uncertain and Bisby may not return. The cylons are almost certain to return to Jormung, though. If Cherenko's not smart, you'll have to be smart for her."

Kyros considered Mayer's words for a moment, then slowly nodded acceptance. "When does the Colonel intend to leave?"

"Sixteen-hundred hours," Mayer replied. "Undocking will commence some time before that."

"If D'Augustine denies us exit from the station?" Kyros made a gesture of helplessness with his hands. "Or Bisby refuses us the jump coordinates?"

"Your captain will have to be convincing, then. Or you will have to be. Just make sure you make the jump with us." Mayer turned to leave, but after several strides he turned to face Kyros once more. He held one hand up, index finger extended to emphasize a point.

"If they won't give you jump coordinates, tell them you'll jump to somewhere near Hestia. I think Bisby would rather have you where he can watch you than have you searching among those moons trying to find him. He'll give in."

With that, Mayer turned to leave once again. His footfalls sounded again down the corridor, this time growing fainter until the little noises of the station overcame them. Kyros listened until they were gone, standing at the observation window. The Satyr was a grey shadow in the blackness of the docking bay, her hull illuminated in only a few places by the Anchorage's lights. Kyros looked beyond her to the exit from the dock and the immense doors which sealed it. Mayer's suggested blackmail might convince Colonel Bisby to provide them with jump coordinates. What, though, would convince D'Augustine to let them leave?


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 Post subject: Re: TDI Episode 3: Know Thine Enemy
PostPosted: Sun Oct 11, 2015 10:44 pm 
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Destroyer Fleet Escort Bellerophon
Day 7 1407 Hours


Major Jonathan Goldsmith stepped into the Officer's Wardroom and paused, looking around. Only a few of the Belle's officers were there, playing cards. One held up a handful of cards in Goldsmith's direction, his expression questioning, but the Major shook his head with a rueful grin. He tapped his wrist, indicating he didn't have time, and mouthed, 'maybe later', then backed out of the compartment.

He paused in the passage thoughtfully, then shrugged to himself and headed for the hangar deck. If Lt. Mayer wasn't in his bunk, the gym, or the wardroom, the next logical place would be on the hangar deck. Probably berating some poor knuckledragger for no good reason, Goldsmith thought philosophically. He wasn't at all surprised to find the pilot performing a meticulous inspection of his Raptor.

"Dragon," Goldsmith greeted Mayer cordially.

Jack Mayer ended his examination of the Raptor's forward DRADIS emitter, scuffing his knuckles across a spot where space dust had pitted the cover. Rising from one knee, he turned to greet Goldsmith. The Bellerophon's XO had addressed Mayer by his call sign, so the pilot expected this was somewhat less than a formal matter. He acknowledged Goldsmith with a respectful "Exec" and then stood at ease.

For a second, Goldsmith considered beginning with casual conversation, but instead decided that Mayer wouldn't appreciate small talk. Casually, he said, "Your records show that you've been to Cassiopeia... I was wondering if you could add anything that Lt. Nyberg's briefing didn't touch on. Do you have any gut feelings about the place? What are your thoughts about a possible cylon presence? Are you familiar with NAS Barzel?" The XO's relaxed manner kept his questions from seeming like an interrogation.

The Exec's mention of Cassiopeia triggered a momentary alarm in Mayer's mind, but he quickly quelled it. Goldsmith's manner and tone did not seem suspicious or accusatory, and in Mayer's experience officers could seldom hide their intent when they had something on you. Mayer therefore took the questions at face value. Goldsmith was truly seeking any bit of information that might help the small fleet in their upcoming mission.

With his sense of self-preservation satisfied, Mayer began to assess Goldsmith in light of the cylon attacks. He was certain that the XO was involved in the smuggling that Mast and Bisby were carrying on - Goldsmith was simply too clean, too smooth. There would be no more smuggling profits now, though, just as there was no one to buy the secrets that Mayer had held until just recently. Mayer regarded Goldsmith thoughtfully, allowing the man the impression that Mayer was considering his question. In truth, Mayer was balancing two thoughts. How long can I entrust my survival to this man, whose authority vanished with the Colonies? Mayer wondered, against How can I use the luck of this target to get Maxwell brought to the Bellerophon?

"Barzel's the ass end of nowhere," Mayer began. "I don't see any strategic value to it, for the cylons. They'd have brought their own fuel supply." Mayer shook his head. "It wouldn't make sense for them to depend on using any fuel they might find there. They're too scattered, and their needs are too large."

"That could be the case," Goldsmith agreed, "but they've targeted all the Colonies--nuked them--which also doesn't make a lot of sense, considering that they could have used resources on our planets. I don't think they use strategies that are logical to us. I just want us to be prepared for anything they might do, including using Cassiopeia as an outpost."

"As far as a cylon presence goes, I wouldn't expect one," Mayer said, scowling. "They might nuke the mine, and the base, if they're following a scorched earth policy. Otherwise Hestia just isn't strategically important, and any Marines left on that base aren't a threat to the cylon fleet."

"Do you think we'll find survivors, find the facilities intact?" the XO asked with curiosity.

"More mouths to feed," Mayer replied, fixing Goldsmith with his gaze. "Civilian miners..." Mayer gave a derisive snort. Goldsmith was a little taken aback at Mayer's callous attitude, but he had heard that the pilot could be heartless. The only reaction he allowed himself was a slight, neutral frown. "And Marines... ground troops when Bisby wants to fight a space war."

Mayer paused for a beat, noting Goldsmith's reaction to his comment about finding civilians. Soft, he thought in typical Scorpian fashion, dismissing it. When Goldsmith gave no sign of replying, Mayer decided to bait the Exec regarding Dr. Maxwell. Trying to appear thoughtful, he looked Goldsmith in the eye. "There was at least one secret bunker at Barzel," Mayer noted solemnly, referring to the Marine base. "The Ministry of Defense liked the place - secluded as it was - and ran secret projects out there."

Goldsmith's gaze sharpened on Mayer. "What sort of secret projects?" he asked, wondering if Mayer knew. He let a little of his curiosity show, with just a touch of skepticism--as if he doubted that Mayer would really know about secrets--hoping to entice the Lieutenant to brag a little about his insider knowledge.

Mayer shrugged, letting a trace of amusement show on his face. "They were secret projects, Major." Mayer gave a dark chuckle. "But I knew a guy... know him still... who worked on one of those projects. Advanced FTL technology, but he'd never tell me more. Fleet made him sign a non-disclosure agreement."

The XO raised an eyebrow. "Know?" he asked. "You're certain this man is still alive?" Goldsmith realized that if Mayer knew that someone who'd worked on secret projects at Barzel had survived, he probably also knew where that person was... and their universe of known survivors was very small. Someone in our little fleet, he thought, or at Jormung.

A delicate dance here, Mayer thought. I don't want anyone asking too many questions about how I know Max. "He's aboard the Satyr. He was escorting my wife, coming to meet us at Bieffe Station." Mayer manufactured a wistful look, and shrugged. "Plans made when we were still scheduled for wargames on the IHC frontier."

His wife? Goldsmith hadn't been aware that he was married, and made a mental note to review Mayer's personnel record. More importantly: "Who is this man? And he worked on advanced FTL technology? His knowledge could be essential to our survival."

"His name is Abraham Maxwell," Mayer answered Goldsmith's first question. Pausing only for a moment, he considered his next words. Affecting an air of uncertainty, Mayer went on, "He claimed he was working on a new type of FTL drive, at Barzel. And I agree with you, it could be the key to our survival." Mine, rather, and those with enough foresight to follow me, Mayer added silently.

Goldsmith nodded slowly, his thoughts racing. He knew it wouldn't be easy to convince the CO to allow a civilian on board, and they didn't have much time before the fleet jumped to Cassiopeia. It might just be easier to get Mast to let the Satyr jump with us to Cassiopeia, and work out what to do with this Maxwell person after we get there. "I will talk to Colonel Mast and see what I can do," he told Mayer. In the back of his mind, he wondered why Lt. Mayer hadn't told someone about Maxwell sooner, but he dismissed the thought for the moment. "Thanks for letting me know about this."

Mayer gave a quick nod. "Sure, Exec," he said, keeping his tone casual. Internally he seethed at having to bait Goldsmith, to get Maxwell brought over to the Belle. He returned to the inspection of his Raptor as the echo of Goldsmith's footfalls faded. Things will be much easier, once he's gone.


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 Post subject: Re: TDI Episode 3: Know Thine Enemy
PostPosted: Wed Dec 30, 2015 9:26 pm 
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Destroyer Escort Bellerophon
Sometime prior to Jump


"He said he was married," the Bellerophon's XO explained to the ship's CAG, "but I didn't see anything in his records about it, when I reviewed them before. I'd like to make sure I haven't overlooked anything else."

Goldsmith and Nyberg were sitting side-by-side in the ship's admin area as Goldsmith scrolled down the on-line list of crew members. Upon reaching 'Mayer, Jack N.', he opened the file. "Thanks for giving me a second set of eyes on this," he added.

"No problem, sir," Nyberg responded, casting a glance at Goldsmith that the XO didn't seem to notice. This seems informal, Nyberg thought as he looked back at the screen. What's Mayer done now, to get the Exec's hackles up?

Together they studied the initial entry; name, birthdate, place of birth, home of record, service number. Mayer had joined the Colonial Navy at age thirty-three and had progressed through the ranks fairly normally, although there was an entry about borderline insubordination. It was actually phrased 'continually challenges orders', but Goldsmith knew Mayer and knew what it meant.

"Continually is right." Nyberg breathed the words quietly, following up with a soft snort.

"Nothing about being married," Goldsmith remarked to Nyberg. He frowned slightly. "I know they have different customs on Scorpia...?" His tone invited Nyberg to comment if he knew about Scorpian marriage traditions.

"Yeah," Nyberg responded. "Fleet has never figured out to how record a marriage by clan-vow, since you can be married to someone and they might not be married to you." Nyberg answered Goldsmith's quizzical glance with a shrug. "Mayer might not have even reported it, since Fleet can't require what it doesn't acknowledge."

The XO looked further down in the record, then paused and said, "Well, he has a Ditaan Mayer listed as next-of-kin." He glanced up at Nyberg, then sat back, running his hand over his hair. "I've dealt with others who had a habit of... 'challenging orders'... but Mayer is the first one who's made me wonder about his motivations." He gave the CAG a candid look. "How does he strike you?"

"Secretive. Surly," Nyberg replied. "With the typical Scorpian dispassion about doing violence." Nyberg shook his head slowly, a pensive expression on his face. "As to motivations... before the attacks I would have said money and power. Now, I expect it's all about power."

"Power," Goldsmith repeated. He shook his head slowly, not in doubt, but with a slight frown of incomprehension. "The Colonies as good as gone, likely not many survivors aside from our small group, and he wants power." He fell silent a moment, thinking of his own pre-attack pursuits. He looked back up at Nyberg and said with a sigh, "All we have now is our lives--and to keep those, we need to work together."

Nyberg gave a crisp nod. "Aye, sir. Count on me."


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 Post subject: Re: TDI Episode 3: Know Thine Enemy
PostPosted: Sun Jan 31, 2016 9:15 am 
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Civilian research vessel Satyr
15 minutes to Jump


The Satyr's Executive Officer, Gabriel Kyros, and Security Chief Robert Rand stood at ease before Captain Mischa Cherenko's desk. The dark-haired civilian commander stood behind it, her expression determined.

"It's time to play our hand, gentlemen. I believe we have narrowed the time window sufficiently. Colonel Bisby will have only a few minutes to consider his response."

"That assumes D'Augustine will allow us to clear the dock," Kyros noted.

"As far as I am aware, we are not prisoners here, Mr. Kyros," Cherenko replied. "He'll open the outer doors, or we'll go through them."

Robert Rand frowned. "This is an armored military installation, ma'am. The Satyr would take significant damage during a forceful exit. The success of such a move is doubtful."

"If I may..." Kyros began, "a short-range jump from within the dock would present minimal risk to our ship, while placing the docking level in considerable peril. Should D'Augustine need convincing, inform him you are prepared to use FTL to escape if necessary."

Cherenko gave a cold smile as she stepped from behind the desk. "Excellent, Mr. Kyros. Take the conn. Robert, wait a moment?"

"Yes, ma'am?" Rand replied, glancing aside to watch as Kyros exited the office.

"I want you to see to our comatose cylons, personally. I don't expect a problem, but we know too little about their physiology, including how jump affects them - comatose or otherwise."

"Understood, ma'am," Rand replied. He turned to go but then stopped. "D'Augustine would have easily succumbed to your charms, thus ensuring his cooperation now."

A flicker of annoyance crossed Cherenko's face as she replied. "I would remind you to maintain decorum, Mr. Rand. Besides, D'Augustine is military. It is quite likely he'll allow us to leave, which places the problem squarely in the lap of his superior officer, Colonel Bisby." Her hard look made it clear she expected no further comment from Rand. "Now, see to your duties."

When Rand had left, Cherenko checked her appearance, viewing herself in a mirrored plaque that commemorated her fifth year of service as an Advanced BioResearch ship commander. She glanced at where Rand had stood moments before, then turned back, addressing her reflection.

She smiled slightly, biting her lower lip. "I should never have frakked him," she said quietly.


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 Post subject: Re: TDI Episode 3: Know Thine Enemy
PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2016 11:15 pm 
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Jormung Ammunition Reserve
Operations Center
Day 7, 1540 Hours

Specialist Stone sat at one of the control consoles, Captain D’Augustine at the console to his left. Stone had gotten used to the background chatter of the CAP pilots over the comms, and used to the idea of having a destroyer escort and frigate there to help defend the station against the cylons. He definitely didn’t like the idea that those ships were leaving, even if they were supposed to return. He wasn’t the type to worry, but it was a combination of curiosity plus a little concern that compelled him to ask, “Captain… sir, do you think it’s a good idea? That the ships are going to fight the cylons?”

D’Augustine swiveled his chair to face the Specialist, hearing both emotions in Stone’s voice. “It is our duty to fight the enemy, Specialist,” he replied calmly.

Stone nodded slowly. “Yes, but… there are a lot of cylons and not very many of our ships. Wouldn’t it be better to, to find more of our ships that survived and have a bigger… fleet?” He swiveled back and forth slightly in his chair.

“Colonel Bisby may find more of our ships when he’s out there fighting,” JD said, watching to see how Stone received it.

Stone remarked, “He’s going to find a hell of a lot more cylons.”

The Captain chuckled. “Undoubtedly,” he agreed, glancing up at the DRADIS display.

“What would you do, sir, if you were in charge of those ships?” Stone’s question was pure curiosity, now.

D’Augustine weighed the question. “I believe what Colonel Bisby and Colonel Mast intend to employ are hit-and-run type tactics. Given our situation, that’s a good approach.”

“But…” Stone prompted.

“But I’m not sure how effective that tactic will be in the long run,” D’Augustine said pensively. He rubbed a hand over the top of his head. “I’m sure they’ll destroy some of the cylon ships. From what our intel shows, though, there are so many cylons, and so few of us, I don’t know if we could win a war that way.”

“How do we win a war where we’re so outnumbered?” Stone questioned.

“Unconventional warfare,” the Captain replied. “We need to learn more about the cylons, find out what their weaknesses are, and strike them there. They must have some sort of economy and a planetary system where they’ve been able to build their ships. They have a networked communication system. We need to destroy their economy, their base of communications, destroy their manufacturing and supply.”

“How do we do that? Find out where they… live?”

“They have had human collaborators for a while now, it seems,” D’Augustine pointed out. “Maybe we could turn those collaborators against the cylons.” He paused, then went on, “We could try to infiltrate them. Send in agents who say they want to be on the winning side, but who can get into a position to destroy their headquarters, their leaders. Find out what they really care about, and destroy that.”

Stone frowned. “What they care about? They’re machines, how can they care about anything?”

It was D’Augustine’s turn to pose a question. “Why do you think they attacked us?” He raised an eyebrow.

“For… revenge,” Stone said at once, “or maybe they thought we’d try to destroy them again, and this is their preemptive tactic.” He stopped, then said thoughtfully, “But revenge means they care about having lost, before. And being worried that we might try to destroy them again means they… want to… live.”

“When we first created them, we created something that has probably evolved… evolved itself into becoming capable of emotion, even if they are machines,” the Captain murmured.

Stone looked off into the distance, but his thoughts were interrupted by an incoming transmission.

["This is Satyr Executive Officer Kyros. Captain Cherenko requests permission to leave the dock."] Kyros' words were precise and formal; his tone that of someone who assumed that permission was a foregone conclusion.

Stone's response was automatic. "Wait one please, Satyr." He closed the comm link and turned to D'Augustine. "Ah, sir? Can we let them go?"

The Captain was already considering the implications, and in reply to both Stone and Kyros, opened the comms and said, "Satyr, this is Captain D'Augustine. You have permission to undock." He sat back with a slight grimace and to Stone, said, "Satyr is a civilian ship, Specialist, and Colonel Bisby has not commissioned her under wartime law. We can't deny their request."

"Why wouldn't they want to stay here?" Stone was baffled.

D'Augustine just shrugged. He knew Bisby would be angry if the Satyr followed them, but the Fleet had no authority over civilian ships. The Satyr was an independent vessel.


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 Post subject: Re: TDI Episode 3: Know Thine Enemy
PostPosted: Wed Mar 23, 2016 1:03 pm 
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Civilian research vessel Satyr


"We are clear of the docking ring," the Satyr's helmsman reported.

"Thank you, Mr. Sterling," Mischa Cherenko responded. "Take us to the staging area, engines at ten percent."

"Aye, sir," Sterling replied, her hands flitting over the helm controls as she set a course toward Jormung's ship staging area, a mere 4,000 meters away. There the Chiron, Tauranian Titan and Distant Sun hung motionless, while the Patrocles and Bellerophon were just falling into formation.

Cherenko glanced at her Exec. Gabriel Kyros stood nearby, his hands clasped behind his back. "Mr. Jaeger, establish a tight beam connection to the Patrocles."

The communications officer confirmed the order. A moment later he stated, "Connection established."

Cherenko strode to the comm station and picked up a microphone. "Patrocles, Satyr Actual," she began. "Please transmit jump coordinates." When she released the mic key, she smiled at Kyros. "You said he likes things brief," she commented.

A long moment of silence followed, stretching out until Cherenko put her hands on her hips and scowled. Kyros watched her with a raised eyebrow. Just as she reached for the microphone again, Colonel Bisby's voice sounded from the overhead speakers.

"Negative, Satyr. Return to the Anchorage."

"No, Colonel. I know you're going to Hestia. If you will not provide me with your jump coordinates, I will simply perform a jump to standard planetary orbit and then proceed to look for you."

On the Bellerophon, Major Goldsmith had just finished telling Colonel Mast about what Lt. Mayer had reported—a passenger on the Satyr, Abraham Maxwell, who might have information about Cassiopeia and advanced FTL technology.

When they heard Bisby’s denial to Satyr, Mast growled at Goldsmith, “It’s your intel. You get on the line and tell Bisby about it.”

Goldsmith took a deep breath, then nodded to the communications technician. “Closed line, please,” he said. Once patched through, he said, “Colonel Bisby, Major Goldsmith here. Lt. Mayer informed me a short time ago that a passenger on Satyr, Abraham Maxwell, has worked on a secret FTL project at NAS Barzel. Maxwell might be a valuable resource.” He waited for Bisby’s reply, thinking, The worst he can do is fire me. That might not be too bad.


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 Post subject: Re: TDI Episode 3: Know Thine Enemy
PostPosted: Sun Apr 03, 2016 10:25 am 
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Guided Missile Frigate Patrocles
Jormung Anchorage Staging Area


Quote:
"Patrocles, Satyr Actual. Please transmit jump coordinates."


The Patrocles' CIC always displayed a quiet tension when Colonel Bisby was present, but in the moments following Specialist Tere's announcement that the Satyr had emerged from Jormung Anchorage, the silence had become palpable. Now as the civilian vessel requested FTL jump coordinates, every ear keenly awaited Bisby's response.

Captain Thompson allowed herself a brief expression of mild interest, but only because she knew Bisby wasn't looking her way. Privately she thought, Cherenko, I am not at all surprised.

The helmsman reported that the frigate had assumed station-keeping, and Colonel Bisby acknowledged him with a curt nod. Turning his attention to the comms officer, he stepped closer and picked up a handset. Bisby stared at the DRADIS display, his face unreadable except for his eyes, which burned with displeasure. "Negative, Satyr," he said. "Return to the Anchorage." His voice carried the full conviction of his authority, and only the barest trace of anger.

[No, Colonel. I know you're going to Hestia. If you will not provide me with your jump coordinates, I will simply perform a jump to standard planetary orbit and then proceed to look for you.]

"That impertinent bitch," Bisby fumed. He turned to face Thompson, his jaw clenched. It was clear he was considering precisely how to respond.

The XO had erased her earlier expression, and now returned Bisby's gaze with a face devoid of any emotion. I wonder how she found out where we're going? was her thought.

Before Bisby responded to Cherenko's defiance, a tone sounded at the comms station and the comms officer announced, "Closed channel from Bellerophon, sir. Major Goldsmith." Bisby gathered his brow for a moment, wondering why Goldsmith was on the wireless and not Colonel Mast. He gave the comms officer a nod to put the channel through to his handset. "Bisby," he spoke into the microphone. Then he listened, his scowl growing with each moment. Turning back to Thompson as Goldsmith spoke, he met his Exec's eyes once more.

"Major Goldsmith, I'm going to allow that civilian to accompany us. If she becomes a liability she'll be shot down, and you will pull the trigger."

I wonder what Major Goldsmith knows? Thompson mused. He wouldn't have told the Satyr that we're going to Hestia. That ship is full of surprises and secrets...

"Helm, transmit jump coordinates," Bisby ordered. "Comms, transmit to the strike group, set Condition Two... and commence jump." He nodded to Thompson, where she stood with one hand on the jump key. "Exec, jump."


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