PHD #095: EVENT - Baiting the Trap
Baiting the Trap
Summary: An MP operation to draw out saboteurs goes into motion.
Date: 2041.06.01
Related Logs: Sabotage logs.
Cadmus Constin Panos NPC Polaris 
Athletics Area — Deck 12 — Battlestar Cerberus
A large pair of mats dominates the center of this room, their centers taped-out for a small area to practice boxing or other martial arts. Around the outside are treadmills, bikes, weights, and an impressive variety of gym equipment to help tone and shape the bodies of the crew. To one side of the room is the locker room while at the rear is a hatch that leads back to the oversized swimming pool. Off to the side is a rack that holds boxing gloves, pugil sticks, and the associated pads for the sticks.
Post-Holocaust Day: #95

Cadmus has arrived.

There hadn't been much explanation, and there certainly hadnt been anything written or sent through usual channels, simply the request for Cadmus to meet Constin at the Athletics arena with his gloves. The big corporal is suited up and killing time on a heavy bag, sending a look toward the door every time someone new walks in.

Offduty being the order of the hour, Cadmus is prepared. He arrives carrying his customay duffel bag, no doubt rife with duty uniform, training gear, and assorted other knick-knacks useful for the athletics area such as rubber knives. The gloves are on, though. "El," he greets, touching his brow as is his fashion. The bag is tossed down at the edge of the mat area, and he walks directly toward the opposite side of the bag.

"Cad," Constin drawls back. He isnt throwing combinations like he typically does when on the timer, just alternating heavy hooks into the bag at an easy speed he could maintain for most of an hour. "Got some bad news," he rumbles as Cad comes within earshot. "Ah followed up on the deck security feeds." Punch. "And ah think it's been doctored," he notes making eye contact before looking to the bag again. "No visible skips or hiccups. The timestamp stays steady, far as I can see. But everything surrounding this bit of tape is screaming at me that it's been worked on." A few more punches are thrown. "Which leaves us with one helluva problem."

Steadying the bag from the other side, Cadmus leans into it; each impact of a fist against the surface serves to deepen his burgeoning frown. "Well, that's some shit news. What on the video has your gut tingling? I haven't seen the tapes," he admits, face occasionally peeping around one side or the other.

"Everything in it- except for someone else tampering, supports Coll's story," Constin relates. "She rushes off in a hurry. Is gone about as long as she said. No one touches the missile, and she comes back, and freaks the frak out. Plus-" he adds with an especially vicious hook, "Ah pulled Borenstein's prints off the missile housing." *THUD* "He was never assigned to that bird, and ah'm getting a better picture of how it got done:" Scowling all the fiercer, he rumbles, "Borenstein lifts the warhead, passes it off to Morgenfield, who has no alibi when the bomb was planted, and somebody in the Security Hub covers it all up."

The next punch staggers Cadmus, and he struggles to regain his balance. Once his does, his expression has evolved from the frown. It is no longer a frown, it is a statement of possible imminent beatings upon *someone*. "Someone in the security hub. Gods dammit…" he mutters. Eyes glancing back toward you, he shakes his head quickly, "If that's the case, we have a bigger problem on our hands. All the better that we say nothing about current plans to anyone outside our immediate team."

"Which is why we're chatting HERE," he adds with another hook to the bag. "If ah'm right, someone has access to the Security Hub, which means we could have bugs planted. Here's what ah see we need now:" he recites having had far too much time to consider. "Somebody trustworthy with the knowhow to break down that tape and prove reliably one way or the other if the tape was doctored. Two: we need someone reliable in the Hub when we spring our little sting.. Three: to know if the same marine is on Hub watch when the saboteurs start moving the goods tonight as was on watch when Coll's missile was hit.. And Four: we arrest Borenstein and Morgenfield, and anybody else who looks suspicious after this night is over for questioning. Ah missing anything? You see any holes, Cad?"

"No. Except I don't know anyone I trust *implicitly* to do video analysis. El-Tee Oberlin worked some video for Phaedra and I on the Swigert case, but I can't guarantee his reliability for something like this… As for who's in the hub, Panos should be there. If he's unreliable, we're already frakked, because I've included him every step of the way," Cadmus says. He glances at his bag, sniffs once, and looks back: "We should be prepared to deal with culprits more heavily armed than I'd initially anticipated."

"Full ground combat rigs are in the training center," Constin reports evenly. "Well you'd best pick your three favorite techies, Cad, because we need answers on this in a hurry. Ah'll pass off copies of the tape to you, and you pick who to gamble on trusting. Cause if there's a traitor in the Corp, like there looks to be?" A glare up from the bag. "Ah'm about to get rightly biblical."

Releasing the bag, Cadmus nods curtly - just a single, sharp nod. "All right, then. To be on the safe side, we move with enough firepower as we can without having scuttlebutt outpace us. Heavy vests, CQB-mod rifles, that kind of thing. I'll see who I can dig up - it's probably gonna be Oberlin, because gods above, I have to lay faith in *someone*. And frankly, he's all we have in terms of a pro at this shit," he says, sighing heavily as he finishes. After a moment, he adds: "Well, if fire and brimstone is in order, I'll bring down some thunder and lightning to help."

"Good," Constin rumbles back, giving the back one more full force fist, before standing up and squaring his shoulders. Narrow blue eyes lock with Cadmus'. "Let's do this."

Training Room — Deck 12 — Battlestar Cerberus
A little taller than most rooms, this one was able to find some space under a section of Engineering that didn't require it. Overhead from the deck is a small catwalk where observers can watch the goings-on below them between the shift able walls. Nominally, set up for training in urban terrain, the course offers a variety of different training grounds with the different configurations including homes, offices and even battlestar corridors. All ammunition used in this area is paint or laser and as the signs repeat on every wall, the use of lead ammunition is a violation of Naval Regulations.
Post-Holocaust Day: #95

Grainy black screens cast crackling shadows across the mock urban terrain, casting their brilliant blue glow across bombed-out buildings. The entire complex has been locked down for the past eight hours, surrounded by a contingent of Marines forbidding entry to those without business in the fake Leonisian city, and inside — reflected in those shiny CRTs — are more of the same, surrounded by a haze of cigarette smoke and discarded bags of crisps.

And the storage room — nay, storage closet — in question? Empty.

"What's the status on that tracker?" Constin drawls in query to Cadmus. "We got movement?" Stirring to stretch out his shoulders and back, with CQG rifle hanging at rest, the corporal draws a long slow breath in through his nose.

Regulations be damned in this particular case: there is a hollow click-CLOCK as Cadmus double-checks the safety and chambered round on his P90. Now is definitely not the time to be caught with a MILES unit when you need to have a real bullet exit the barrel. This is only one of several double or triple-checks in his regimen: radio, sidearm, taser, even strip-cuffs get a mental check-off before he feels comfortable. "Looking good, Corporal. I think we're green on gear," he says. Picking up the voice input for his wireless, he clicks over to the encrypted channel: "Panos, what's the status on our tracker and audio? Any change on your end? We're negative contacts here."

"Nothing, nothing, and more nothing," says Panos, his head jerking away from the screen as he ashes his cigarette between index and thumb. "Think we might have spooked the frakker — frakkers? — though I can't imagine how. Leak, maybe? Some dude on the inside?" The private, too, checks his gun, hefting it and its magazine to make sure he hasn't accidentally loaded up a laser.

Constin simply nods at the report, popping his back once. "Possible. Also possible they're just patient. Which means we gotta be more patient," he notes, setting his back to one of the combat mock-up walls, to rest his legs for a moment. If history repeats itself, he'll cycle from standing to leaning, to sitting, and back to standing, to keep from getting too stiff.

"Well, we're halfway to being a regular Marine unit: a lotta hurry up and wait. At least there's no mortar fire…" Cadmus says, that black-edged humor creeping into his voice around the more serious basal tone. "The Corporal's right. They know we're probably on the lookout, so they wanna bide their time until they feel safe. Once they feel safe, we *keep* them feeling that way, until they do something stupid."

<FS3> Constin rolls Alertness: Good Success.
<FS3> Cadmus rolls Alertness: Success.

Polaris (Pol) pages Cadmus and Constin: You hear voices. Muffled — one male, one female, both of them talking with some degree of animation.
Polaris (Pol) pages: You hear in particular: "Thanks for signing the paper," says the male one. Real bitch, trying to do inventory these days. Security. Frak."

"Cut chatter," Constin voices shortly, eyes instinctively narrowing in concentration as he strains to hear. A short look aside to Cadmus for comfirmation, holding up two fingers. Something in the exchanged words giving him a frown, followed by half of an unpleasant smile.

Tapping his earpiece, Cadmus cranks up the volume dial after clicking off all extraneous radio; he presses one hand to the side of his head and closes his eyes, as he attempts to hear more of whatever the conversation is.

It'll take a lot of cranking on that volume — the sound in the room is curiously muffled, thanks in large part to the tinny miniature microphones the security team has installed. Soon, though, more snippets of conversation become audible over the shieking noise of a hatch being unlocked and opened — mumbled snarking about extra security and whatnot. It's the usual claptrap — save for the fact that one of the participants is none other than Petty Officer Second Class John Borenstein, whose hulking frame dwarfs the orange-clad crewman beside him.

<FS3> Cadmus rolls Alertness: Success.
<FS3> Constin rolls Alertness: Success.
Polaris (Pol) pages Cadmus and Constin: You guys know the rules of the ship left and right. There's no way an enlisted person should be carrying around a sidearm while the ship is in condition three…

Constin lets out the slowly drawn breath as Borenstein comes into view. No surprise there. He draws a similarly slow breath, stirring only to pass a glance toward the other members of the assembled fireteam. Otherwise its back to the viewer and the unfolding event, which has just grown a bit more explosive.

There is a look of displeasure or possibly annoyance on Cadmus's face: Borenstein was *not* in the top running for saboteurs, at least not over Morgenfield. But at the same time, in light of Constin's earlier news, he doesn't look surprised. For now, he simply narrows his eyes and watches.

"Gotta move these," says Borenstein, angling towards — an otherwise insignificant box in the corner of the room, in which can be seen the images of various power tools used for routine maintenance. "Mind grabbing 'em for me, Specialist? You gotta bulk up those muscles." The man's grin shows perfect white teeth as he watches her heft the heavy container — and only when her attention's diverted does he make a play for the boxes full of boom.

Constin mutely files away details. Crewman in question apparently unaware of goings-on, apparently guilty only of dereliction of duty in bending regulations. A small shake of his head as the Corporal continues to keep his eye fixed on the screen.

Scribble. Scribble. Cadmus is quietly scratching away notes with times: the better to frak you with, my dear, if you edit video logs. Also into the notebook goes a rough description of the accidentally complicit crewman, just in case.

It's with the flick of a hand that the conveniently-placed G-4 is secreted into one of his multitude of pockets before he, too, goes to help out with the massive boxes. "Thanks, Ashley," rumbles Borenstein. "I'll sign this business off once I'm done with Yet Another Viper." His calm laughter triggers a burst of static in the Marines' earpieces as he moves out, presumably towards the hangar deck. "Burnt engine fairing. Go figure."

"Subject One is moving out, now.." Constin voices quietly, holding his word to see whether Borenstein ducks back the other direction, before stating the Petty Officer's direction. If this plays out like he imagined the last time had, the first handoff will be quick.

Standing with a few joint poppings, Cadmus stretches himself out. "Let's give the subject a good lead before we move on him. Panos, you keep tracking him via the wireless, but let us know if he's gonna head into any shielded areas where we'll lose contact," he says, slinging the P90 with a glance at Constin.

"Click-click, man." The young private has a grim expression on his face. "Tracker is … green; signal is … five-by-five. Good luck with the takedown. We'll be in touch. Wish I could be there for the kill, is all." Face turns into a snarl as he grabs and lights another cigarette, greasy salt-and-vinegar-covered fingers sliding slickly over the cool steel. "Ignite the traitorous bastard."

"Maintain close surveilance, Panos" Constin instructs crisply. "Continue to compare the package's direction with available visual on Subject One. We expect a handoff of the package, Private." Status check, lock and load.

"Tell you what, Panos. You make sure the board stays green on your end, we'll do our best to save you a piece, eh? And make sure you get cameras on Borenstein wherever possible. I don't want him stashing that shit somewhere along the way and not knowing," Cadmus says, before clanging down the stairway to the training floor proper.

"Closed-Circuit Television, man? Frak that. This is Cerberus-Circuit TV." The young man grins, showing pointed teeth. "Three frakking heads, six frakking eyes — enough I could track your limp dick from a hundred klicks out. Looks like he's moving to the hangar deck. You'd best rock and roll."

Constin's boots clatter down the steps, after the rest of the team is told, "Fall in, boys." Expression settled into all-business stoneface, the big Corporal walks at a good clip out the Training Area toward the twelfth deck access to the central staircase.

Right on Constin's heels, Cadmus advances a few steps to just behind the other man. "What do you think, El? We hang back near the entry, and try to keep out of line of sight? Or just walk on like we're supposed to be there? Seems like now would be prime time to let the pee-oh act feel like nothing's wrong," he mutters.

"Move close, stay out of sight," Constin voices curtly in response. "Let him think he's in the clear. Subject One has something planned, and soon, ah'm guessing. Otherwise he wouldn't be risking a sidearm," the corporal voices as boots strike on stairs. "If he drops the package, we take him down quietly and out of sight. If he hands it off, we'll play it on the fly."

[Into the Wireless] Polaris says, "Takedown Team, Panos here. Subject One is making a beeline for the hangar. Moving fast, too. Don't know for sure but I think he's got that fine chickie with him. Almost like a shield."

"You probably have more training in staying hidden than I do; I'll move on anyone he has suspicious contact with," Cadmus says, pressing two fingers to his right ear as Panos speaks. "He keeps that Crewman, we're gonna have to play this real careful…"

[Into the Wireless] Constin says, "Panos, Constin. Copy that."

Constin's steps accelerate, CQB rifle still at rest in his hands. "If he bluffs with the detonator, maybe not," the Corporal voices back to Cadmus. "If his play is to get off the ship, we take him down. Alive if possible, but I want no collateral on this one, Team."

Behind Constin, Cadmus matches pace. Consciously or unconsciously, he's started to crouch a little: not quite into the crouch-walk of someone moving through hostile terrain, but certainly ready to drop to a knee at a moment's notice. The 90 slides out, and he grips it lightly - again, the sideways hold of someone who's got a thumb on the safety. "Well, you take point on this one, El, I'll keep my eyes on the sides," he says.

[Into the Wireless] Polaris says, "Moving down the stairs — and — yeah, guys, confirmed. Just showed up with Chickie Dearest on the port hangar cam. Think I've found the Viper, too: eight-seven-seven-fiver, say again, eight-seven-seven-fiver. Assuming he wasn't lying about the fried nacelle."

Constin instructs curtly as the team stalks its target, "If this turns into a hostage situation and subdual fails, Maragos take one shot at his gun hand. That fails, or he fires a shot, take him down fast and hard."

[Into the Wireless] Constin says, "Panos, Constin. We have an ID on the female?"

[Into the Wireless] Polaris says, "Brunette. Cute. D-cup?"

"Roger that, El. I won't miss," Cadmus says, tone taking on that air of leaden finality one gets when one is absolutely certain of something. Apparently luck and circumstance don't enter into this equation for him; only the certainty of his own abilities.

[Into the Wireless] Constin says, "Panos, Constin. Relative to the aft stairwell, what is the position of Viper Eight-Seven-Seven-Fiver?"

[Into the Wireless] Polaris says, "Shit's ugly, boys — right in the center of the godsdamned deck. I've already vectored in the backup team to cover the central stairs and set up a perimeter in case he makes a break for it."

The fireteam moves quickly through the corridors toward the hangar bay, clearing the path with the occasional curt command to stand aside. Panos' answer gets the word from Constin, "Cadmus, you're going right down the middle, dead for him. If I'm not in position by the time things go ugly, the team will fire at your discretion. Understood?" And then they make the hangar, with Constin immediately breaking off from the team to try and put a pallet or vehicle between himself and the central Viper.

<FS3> Constin rolls Stealth: Success.
<FS3> Cadmus rolls Stealth: Success.
<FS3> Polaris rolls 6: Terrible Failure.
<OOC> Constin says, "….Damnit Leeroy."

Cadmus gives a thumbs up, and then points two fingers to the left as he enters the hangar deck; "Aye Aye," and a gesture indicating there are proper flanking positions to port. The P90 gives a very quiet pop as he clicks the safety off; his index finger rides along the guard, not yet into a weapons-hot position. And then he advances with the stealth of a man in a crowd: no crouching, not furtive gestures, but the easy pace of one who belongs where he is, and is putting objects between himself and the quarry.

Easily though they move, it's not terribly difficult to spot the Marines on the deck, armed as they are in their MARPATs and massive frakking guns — and it's not like Marines are really on the deck all that often. And so it is that while Constin and Cadmus make their way with surpassing ease through the bustling room's various natural obstacles, their comrades aren't so skilled. "Hey!" shouts a deckhand who's just been roughly shoved aside by a private making the rounds — "Watch it, brah — "

And Borenstein, kneeling with his assistant beneath the engine, suddenly looks up, panicked expression smoothing into one of idle disinterest before, with a flash —

[Into the Wireless] Polaris says, "GUN!" shouts Panos, thin voice screeching."

Panic is the father of mistakes. Cadmus drops to a knee and lifts his rifle; the reflex sights glint orange even in the bright halogens of the deck. "Artemis, don't you frak me now, you know I love you," he whispers; the sighting eye narrows as he begins to aim. Then he shouts: "Petty Officer Borenstein, you are bound to *stand down*!" Sometimes you have to paint a target on your head to get the job done.

Constin had been approaching from the other side of a damaged Viper from Cadmus. No sooner does the screech of 'Gun!' go off and Cadmus deliver his demand, than Constin bolts into a run, dashing to close the thirty foot distance seperating him from Borenstein.

"I'd re-think that if I were you, Marine," comes Borenstein's remarkably congenial voice. Powerful hand forms an iron vise around the suddenly-terrified specialist, grabbing her by the waist and keeping her body between him and Cadmus. His back is covered, too — by the massive Viper behind him, which he's conveniently located to block off shots from the rear. "I'd explain but clearly you've got no interest in hearing it, or you wouldn't have set up this rigamarole, so — here's how we're going to dance, gentleman. I'm going to go to that Raptor over there, and if one of you so much as lifts his gun, well." He shrugs, flashing perfectly white teeth once more. "Hope you can live with the consequences."

Cadmus isn't so collected that there isn't sweat on his forehead, isn't thinking he should lower his gun. But he doesn't. He follows Borenstein with the sights, aimpoint squaring at the shoulder. "You know how this goes, John…" he calls out in response. "You lose the hostage, you lose your leverage. I lower the gun, I give you leverage. We stay like this, and it's hidden cards 'till doomsday. Won't know who's got the high card until they fall…" Keep his attention. Let Constin get close, unseen. The gun demands attention, not bodies in the periphery.

<FS3> Opposed Roll — Borenstein:6 vs Constin:Stealth
Net Result: Borenstein wins.

"See, way I figure it is, I'm already dead." Another toothy grin as Borenstein begins to sidle away to the Raptor, his dark eyes flashing over to where Constin's been doing some sidling of his own. Nuh-uh, darling. "But I get in that bird, I fly away, I die on my own terms. Myself. By my hand. And that, man, that's worth something, isn't it? So just let me go and this beautiful girl here'll go free. Let the Cylons blow me out of the sky, man. What's the difference to you?"

Constin continues moving at what he imagines to be juuust outside the periphery of Borenstein's line of sight. The mention of 'that raptor over there' gives him a destination to work toward cutting off. Cadmus still has the lead in this situation.

<COMBAT> Borenstein has changed stance to Cover. (Polaris)
<COMBAT> Cadmus takes careful aim at Borenstein.

Not a clean shot. Cadmus holds his trigger finger, hoping Constin can get close enough to make a move. "Not gonna happen, John. You get in that Raptor, and they lock down this deck. Nothing I can do about that. You'll die on CIC's terms, not yours," Cadmus says, holding steady with the rifle. Under his breath, he whispers quietly, "Come on, move your frakking arm."

No wonder the guy took his sweet time fluttering towards the bait — this must have been exactly what he'd been preparing. Still keeping the terrified girl between him and the Marines, he moves ever closer to the Raptor in question, turning once or twice — a half-second at a time — just to prove that pistol's still pasted to the small of her back. "That'd be pretty dumb of CIC, wouldn't it?" he says, voice almost conversational. Not backing down, him — it's the tone of a fanatic. "Because if they shut the door, I'd just jump this bucket right in the middle of the hangar, and — well, I'm not an FTL engineer by trade, but it's my understanding that'd leave a pretty big dent where your Vipers used to be." He laughs tightly, maneuvering past a row of boxes while around him various deckhands have stopped a safe distance away, their eyes wider than platters. "Might be a good thing, too. Call up to CIC and have 'em shut the door on me. Consider it a gift: if you can't launch, you can't fight, and then you'd have no choice but to give up this godsdamned war and turn your godsdamned tail like the Admiral should have done after Virgon."

<COMBAT> Cadmus attacks Borenstein with Rifle - Serious wound to Neck.
<COMBAT> D-cup passes.
<COMBAT> Constin passes.
<COMBAT> Borenstein attacks D-cup with Pistol and MISSES!

<COMBAT> Constin has changed stance to banzai.
<FS3> Opposed Roll — Borenstein:6 vs Constin:Melee
< Net Result: Borenstein wins.

Two shots ring out in quick succession — one, the sharp crack of a pistol; the other, the shrill bark of a rifle — but it's Cadmus who fires first, his bullet rending Borenstein's jugular before lodging in his throat, and so it is that the kick from the rifle renders Borenstein's shot impossibly off-target. The small-caliber pistol round nicks the girl's uniform, punching a hole through the space between fabric and body before ricocheting off a nearby Viper. A half-second later, Constin launches himself at the massive man — but for this, Borenstein is ready, having spotted the encroaching Marine. With a grunt of pain, the deckhand lurches forward, stiff-arming the oncoming MP with muscles literally bulging with veins, staggering towards the Raptor that's so close — so close

As the brass falls to the metal deck below him, Cadmus is already switching targets. It's too late to worry that his carefully placed shot at Borenstein's arm actually hit the neck. Too late to worry about the deckhand's wound or lack thereof, too late to worry about anything but the next fragging target. "Thanks, Artemis," he whispers, reflex sights honing in on Borenstein's left knee next. Living culprits are better, but they don't need to *walk*.

Constin lets his rifle hang by it's rest strap, as he is thwarted in the unexpected (not so unexpected) takedown. Borenstein's lurch toward the raptor gives the big corporal another chance to subdue Subject One, bare hands in the tac gloves moving to take the man to the deck.

<COMBAT> D-cup passes.
<COMBAT> Cadmus attacks Borenstein with Rifle - COVER stops the attack (Hostage is cover, attack resolved below).
<COMBAT> Cadmus attacks D-cup with Rifle - Light wound to Left Foot.
<COMBAT> Constin subdues Borenstein!
<COMBAT> Borenstein passes.

They don't call them Military Police for nothing — for as quickly as Cadmus cycles one round out of his rifle, chambers another, lines up his shot, and fires, Constin has already wrapped up the injured Borenstein in a bear hug that typifies his wrestling roots. Pity, though, that the man succeeds just a millisecond after the hyperpowered bullet shrieks towards Borenstein's leg, smashing into the girl's left foot — and just like that, three bodies tumble to the floor, blood staining red the slippery metal deck. One last desperation shot from the subdued deckhand flies wide, shattering one of the bulbs in the ceiling — but as broken glass tinkles down like rain from the rafters above, blessed silence reigns across the suddenly-quiet floor.

And then, while participants and spectators and un-silent Jenkins catch their breath, there comes the sound of something from the massive man on the floor —

The gurgle of breath, the flutter of skin, and — tears.

Constin forces Borenstein into the deck, face first, transitioning quickly to plant one knee in the small of the wounded man's back, one hand forcefully pressing down on the back of the PO2's head, while the other pries loose the pistol. The corporal's words are barked out harsh and clear: "Maragos, get medical down here now- Jenkins, get on the wireless to Panos. I want Pee-Oh One Morgenfield found and detained immediately. Parker, secure that sidearm and attend to the wounded Specialist. MOVE!" Borenstein's hands are already being forced behind his back, to permit for the restraints to be secured. Only after that will Constin begin first aid, to keep the prisoner from bleeding out.

[Into the Wireless] Polaris says, "On that shit like white on rice, El. Think this shit counts as resisting arrest." The man's voice is thin and crisp. "Beautiful work, man. Thing of beauty, even in black and white. Shit's in my spank bank already. Panos out."

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