PHD #217: An All-Expenses Paid Trip
An All-Expenses Paid Trip
Summary: Bran gets informed that he and Leyla have just won an all-expenses paid trip to not-so-beautiful Picon for recon.
Date: 01 Oct 2041 AE
Related Logs: Impending Doom is Leyla's part of the mission briefing
Bran Trask 
Ready Room - Deck 7 - Battlestar Cerberus
Post-Holocaust Day: #217
With the hatches at the rear of the room, the walkways on both sides slope down towards the dais at the front of the room. The stadium seating forms a partial semi-circle around the speaking podium and provides enough seats for all three hundred members of the Air Wing. The walls are adorned with the patches of each squadron aboard and their mottos stenciled in white lettering above each one. Behind the podium is a set of large LCD screens that can display any matter of material from reconnaissance to maps to gun camera footage.
Condition Level: 3 - All Clear

Sooner or later, everyone in the Harriers receives a summons to meet with their 'interim' Squadron Leader. When LTJG Bran finally gets his first such memo, it doesn't say much more than where (here) and when (now) to show-up for an Important Matter to discuss.

With the way rotations are set-up, the Ready Room tends to be empty at this hour, which is just how Trask wants it. Dressed in his flightsuit, he's busily tapping away at the console that controls the various large LCD screens, keying-up flight footage.

Memos and appointments from up above on the proverbial food chain have Sam Bran on the best of his behavior. He's in his duty uniform and he steps into the familiarity that is the Ready Room with a clearing of his throat. It's an attempt at politely announcing his entrance without any atypical fanfare. A brief, polite smile is tossed in as well before he speaks up with a short, questioning, "Sir?" Sooner or later the man's posture will relax itself, but for now he's fine being fairly formal about things.

Bootstrap has never been one much for formality. As far as he's concerned, formality doesn't necessarily equate respectfulness any more than its absence is an indication of disrespect. Granted, he's from Flint, which is as ghetto as wastelands of post-industrial blight can be. "Pens," he greets, amiably enough, before glancing over and breezily commenting when he notices the oh so prim posture, "You might wanna loosen up before your spine snaps." One corner of his mouth faintly quirks with a certain amusement. "You're gonna be here a while."

Bran takes a moment upon speaking up to look down the length of seats to the left and then right, offering a subdued nod of his head. "Well, guess you're not the first one to say that, and probably not the last," the smile from before reappears, albeit sharper and a touch sarcastic. He takes in a breath and dives into things. That just leads him into a confident stride deeper into the room in order to join Trask for whatever it is he's been called for. "So what's this all for?" He's nodding his head in the direction of the flight footage. They are rather hard to miss right about now.

Without missing a beat, Trask replies, "Your going away present." With wry humor, he explains, "Congratulations. You an' Sweet Pea have just won an all-expenses paid trip to not-so-beautiful Picon. You'll be flyin' ECO-class to what had once been the heart of the Colonial Fleet, where you will likely have an action-packed adventure exploring whatever remains." In short, welcome to recon detail. "I'll be givin' Aydin a run-down later on what she should expect."

Bran wrinkles the bridge of his nose at the sight. It does not forebode well for the ECO. "This sounds like some horrible honeymoon," he blinks owlishly and then adds rather quickly, "And we're not even married." He's oh so glad he's cleared that up, because this is Sweet Pea that the two of them, or at least just him, are talking about. "I take it we'll be cutting that trip short, too, but uh, recon, right." Pens promptly stops talking so Bootstrap can.

"Technically, it's not considered cutting the trip short if you encounter Toasters," Trask points out, facetious as ever. "I'm gonna give you the rundown on procedure. This, right here," being the assorted flight footage, "is your homework. I advise not blowin' it off 'cuz there will be a Final Exam, and a failing grade will get you killed." Never mind the grim humor — the man is dead (heh) serious. "You might wanna take some notes." Dry understatement, that. Even so, the SL is thoughtful enough to have provided some note-taking materials, which he retrieves from the podium and hands to Bran.

Bran can totally do this. He lets off a small huff of a breath at the thought of death and then the man lifts his gaze skywards, as if the Lords and Gods were to smite him where he stands. It doesn't happen. He folds his arms over his chest and tightens his hold there, tucking hands out of sight as he looks from Trask and to the monitors nearby. Then, he looks back to Trask. By the time the paper is given in his direction he has his usual pen out and primed to go. Efficient, or at least everyone knows where his callsign came from; either way, he's accepting things and giving a nod in thanks before taking a seat. "So, I assume it's still considered a complete loss, but," he looks up at something and then jots something further down. "Lords willing, something decent's out there?"

Once Pens is comfortable, Bootstrap gets started by answering the question with a droll nonchalance, "The entire planet was gridded out with nuclear weapons to ensure the complete destruction of every single military site on the surface. Fleet Headquarters alone was hit with a 50 Megaton strike." That's right. Fifty Megatons for a single facility. "Roughly twenty-five percent of the Colonial Fleet was destroyed during that assault. As of the initial recon from the 1st of March, a heavy Cylon presence was still in the area. Much like Virgon and Aquaria, Picon has been considered a total loss. That was March 1st, though."

Expounding upon that statement, Kal continues, "What we don't know is whether or not the scrap of the Fleet remains in orbit, like it had at Virgon, or if the Cylons did a clean-up like they did at Sagittaron after we frakked-up all their shit. We're not expecting any survivors."

The weight of that statement isn't permitted to linger for long, though, for Trask deals with heaviness by simply plowing forward, just like a bull. "First an' foremost, here is the most important thing to keep in mind…" He shoots a look of 'you ready for this oh so important information?' at the younger ECO. "Don't die." Beat. "Be sure to write that in big, bold letters. Highlight it, underline it, draw arrows an' a big box around it." Because it /is/ important, even if he's being a smartass.

Bran slowly nods to the information being filtered down the line. Offhandedly, he counts the months past in the back of his mind and takes a handful more of notes. They're shorthand and unimportant right now. He can make sense of it all later. "Gotcha," is murmured and he looks up, hand pausing. No survivors are expected. It's not so much a surprise as it is a sudden weight being placed upon his shoulders. And then he has to return to life as he knows it and his notes. With a wry smile, he looks down to his hand circling around something he has written thrice or so in the same place: DO NOT DIE. "Recon and SAR's seem to be our specialty. We've got it covered, sir," with Pens having come up from the Providers and Sweet Pea with the Early Elevens.

It's with the matter-of-factness of someone who has done the most Cylon-infested recons in the fleet (because he has) that the elder ECO remarks, "I assure you, this sure as frak ain't like anything either of you have done before. As it stands, we recently lost the best damn ECO in the whole of the Fighting 14th, as well as one of our most senior pilots. Most of the squadron isn't up to this kind of thing. You're gonna be flying solo into an area that will likely be occupied by no less than one Basestar and its contingent of Raiders and Heavy Raiders — and that really is a bullshit number 'cuz it's gonna be a whole lot more than one. This is effectively a suicide mission, hence the importance of the First Rule." AKA, DO NOT DIE.

Not one to sugar coat anything, Trask further explains, "I'm sendin' you and Aydin 'cuz you both have strong chops, and have skills an' training that will better compensate for a lack of this kind of combat experience. The only place we expect more heat is Caprica, so you're bein' sent to the potential slaughter because Major Hahn and I believe that you an' Sweat Pea stand a chance of gettin' out alive and with some useful intel."

There goes that weight again and it makes Junior Lieutenant Bran feel all sorts of hollow and insignificant. Still, he probably hasn't survived this long through things just for the small stuff. He can totally make suicide missions his forte. He sobers his expression up and his hand returns to its intricate, staccato-like fashion of drilling down notes. He flips a page after glancing to the footage in the background. "We can do it, just give us a time and we're all yours," yeah, the confidence has yet to falter in spite of the odds stacked against them. There's a small smile, as if to be of thanks to Trask and Hahn. The pen stops. "Any coordination with the Areion we need to know about? Other than the solo bit on our part, that is."

Bootstrap's callsign isn't the least bit ironic, which means he might not even know how to handle another person with gloves, so to speak. "If I didn't think you could, I'd be havin' this conversation with someone else." That would be his equivalent of positive reinforcement. He is, after all, a Black Country boy. The question about coordinated efforts prompts the answer of, "Nope." The CEX Aerion may now be part of the Battlestar Group 132, but its Air Wing has yet to be folded into the CVW-14 and thus remains of the CVW-12 designation. That, however, is a whole lotta politics he's not even touching.

That said, Trask gets back to business. "The primary goal is to determine what the Cylons have been doin' since the initial recon. Go over the AARs and be sure to review the film." Which, by the by, is as intense and as unsettling as is to be expected of flight footage into absolute wreckage inundated with Basestars and Heavy Raiders. The SL was not talking shit or exaggerating in any sense. "I want you both to also review the reports and footage from the other recons." Those of Virgon and Leonis are even worse. They also are two of the several that Bootstrap and Bunny did, so he also is speaking from personal experience about what to expect.

Bran goes to speak up in reply and then inclines his head to the side with a short nod. Nope is as good of an answer as any for this bloke and he returns to listening, and studying. After a glance in the direction of the footage, he writes down something lengthier than anything before and nods with the affirmative. "On it, Sir," there's a pause and in that beat he looks up from the pad of paper and towards Trask. It's one of those expectant looks, as if waiting for something otherwise important to magically appear given the unbalanced scale of experience between the two of them.

For someone so many claim has a massive ego, Trask doesn't even mention his role in any of it. These are all details for Bran to uncover when gets around to reading the reports and watching the footage. "This is strictly a scouting mission. Jump in long-range, passive DRADIS only, and get as close to the planet as you can while remaining undetected. The Raptor will be outfitted for recon," which means no weapons, "so, Get The Frak Out is the standard procedure when encountering the enemy. Do not deviate from this procedure. It'll be a few jumps before you Are-Tee-Bee, so don't hesitate to drop a swallow or two." Decoys FTW! "In the unlikelihood that Picon is seemingly deserted, and in the even greater unlikelihood that you detect survivors, it'll be the same protocol as with the recent recons of Aerilon and Sag." Document locations but do not even attempt to retrieve anyone.

Bran is intimately familiar with basic GTFO business, at least. It demands an appreciative look from him as he jots something further down before returning his gaze back towards Trask. He gives off a nod and then when all things have been said and done makes with standing. He has a lot to review and look over before the mission gets underway any further. The lieutenant might as well get to it fairly immediately.

There's nothing that Bootstrap can say that will be more informative than what Pens will see with his own eyes, so he simply says, "Right, then. You have any questions, you lemme know." And that, for all intents and purposes, is his way of saying 'dismissed'.

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