PHD #315: Base 3.25 Squared
Base 3.25 Squared
Summary: Leyla and Marko track down a possible cylon signal. Mines are discussed. MidRats are not eaten by all. Quinn and Lunair guest star.
Date: 7 Jan 2042 AE
Related Logs: Cry Havoc and Strength in Numbers (referenced)
Leyla Lunair Marko Quinn 
Harrier-307 and The Galley
One has bad food, the other has really bad food.
Post-Holocaust Day: #315

"Okay…let's see if you're still getting anything, Bertha." Marko says from the ECO station as he finishes connecting a portable computer directly into the ESM equipment's output port. "Probably not, but what the hell." he chuckles. "Not like I've got anything else to do right now." he smirks as he starts tapping commands into the computer. "Now, Bertha, show me where the mean old Cylons touched you on the dolly."

At the moment, with Bertha settled on the flight deck, and her flight systems on standby, there's not much for Leyla to do. So what's a pilot to do when there's nothing to pilot? You sit with your ECO and look over his shoulder, that's what. It's not as if she couldn't use the study time either. Leyla's ECM skills are hardly better now than when she graduated flight school. "You always have something else to do."

"Yeah, and this is kind of one of them." Marko replies with a little nod. "Let's see…primary buffer's got….." he says as he watches the screen on his portable start to fill with data. "Nothing I didn't expect…..Secondary buffer's got….nothing again…..Let's try the coms log." he says, plugging in another lead directly into the wireless set. "And….hey…what's this?" he says, frowning a little. "A candidate signal…..son of a bitch…different frequency than the others." he says, writing 22044 m/c on his note pad. "But still nothing we or anybody else would be using…"

"This was from her last run out to the Elpis?" Not that Leyla likes that things being as they are, she often has to share her ship with the Providers who do most of the transport work, but she seems…to have settled on not pitching a fit every time she comes on the deck to find her ship missing, "Or was this during out last CAP?" And then there's another concern, "Is this SoP for all raptors, or a routine you have set for Bertha to run whenever she's powered up?"

"I dunno, I gotta check the timestamp." Marko replies, back scrolling through the data. "Looks like our last CAP. Yeah, yeah, there it is. Next logged communication is with Checkmate 201." he says. "Gotta be Blowback's joke." he nods. "And, eh, it sort of is…now. It's part of that job I've got I can't really talk about just yet." he explains. "Which, I would like to explain so we're both on the same page, but not here."

Leyla shakes her head, "If there's one thing I know, Marko, is that if I was supposed to know about this job, they would have told me about it by now. We may be at war, but I'm not going to risk my ECO ending up in the brig." She hasn't asked up to this point what the super secret squirrel stuff Marko's been working on is, and apparently, she doesn't plan to. "So, what are we looking at exactly? And how did you pick it out of the rest of the com traffic?"

"Heh, right, right." Marko replies, chuckling a little and nodding. "Your shipmates must've loved you at Basic." he teases. "That sheet and blanket aren't at precisely fifty millimeters and….Oh for crying out loud, can't you do hospital corners?" he jibes, instantly ducks lest Leyla take revenge with a blow to his head. "Eh, if this is related to the other stuff I've found, it's the Cylons. The give away's the frequency. The last bits were on another freq very close to this one, I can't recall it off the top of my head and my notes are locked up." he explains. "Nobody uses these very high freqs like this. It's a dead give away."

"It's not about whether or not I follow the rules, Marko." Though, by all accounts, while not as gung-ho balls to the walls as her BFF Poppy, Leyla is a rules follower, "It's about not wanting to see you brigged or worse. Tensions are just too high these days, all the whispers about traitors and cylon conspirators, I'm not going to have that on my conscience. "Okay, so we've got a suspected Cylon signal. But no means to decrypt it?"

Marko ahs and nods. "Yeah, there is that, isn't there." Marko sighs. "Godsdamn Toasters, I swear they did that just frak with us." he grumbles. "And yeah, that's about the size of it. I'm making inquiries to get access to better decrypt gear, but it's taking forever." he says, shrugging a little. "I tried running it across our systems. Poor Bertha got about twenty five percent through the sequence and then just sort of shrugged and went 'Frak, I dunno.'" he sighs. "She's okay, though." he adds quickly. "I double-checked everything against the master tapes."

"What do we think it is? Encrypted voice, some sort of binary communication system? I mean, we've got to have some clues as to the scope of it, even if we can't piece it together. Frak's sake, whatever they've become now we made the damned things. They couldn't have advanced SO much that we can't even make an educated guess as to what they're transmitting." Not that Leyla doesn't trust her ECO, it's just damned irritating.

"Well, see, that's the problem. Sweet Pea." Marko sighs, double-checking that he's got everything before starting to unplug the leads from the Raptor's computer. "We may have created them, but they spent forty years off in Gods know where improving themselves. When we built them, they were kind of, sort of, maybe a little predictable." he says. "But now? You're dealing with pure machine logic, and that functions on a few different layers than ours. They simply don't _think_ the way we would. Makes predicting them damn annoying."

"That may be, Marko, but you can't tell me that they went out there and came back completely reinvented. That they didn't keep a single trace of anything we put into them. That would be like saying they went out using base-10 and came back using base-7, or base-3.5 squared. I keep feeling as if what we're missing is just a keystone, some single piece of information that will open all of this up for us." Leyla rises, to make room for Marko to clean up and sort his equipment.

"Well, you're probably right, Leyla, but the problem is, we still haven't found it and none of the humanoids we've run into have been in any big rush to enlighten us." Marko shrugs. "It's probably right under our noses, but it's so obvious, we're missing it."

"It's too bad we don't have any functioning centurions. It might be useful to transmit some of these signals to one and see how it reacts. Of course, that would mean finding some way to access its slave drive." Which is not technically the term, but more of a slang for the controller many servile cylons from before they went bonkers often had to keep them in line once purchased by a human. "Where are we off to next?"

"Well, I dunno about you, but bashing my brains against impenetrable ciphers always makes me kind of peckish." Marko replies. "And, hey, it's MidRats in the galley." he grins. "As to the centurion idea, I dunno about that one. Without knowing what we're sending, Gods only knows what the damn thing would do."

"Well, I can't have you hungry. Then you'll steal all my ration bars and then where would we be?" Leyla, the poster child for 'I only eat artificial food and it hasn't harmed me yet'. "Let's get this gear stowed away and get down to the galley. Are we leaving the signal in the buffer for command to pick out?"

"Eh, yeah…we could do that." Marko nods. "I've got my copy saved." he says. "I'll draft a memo to my boss to let 'em know what I found, just in case." he adds, winding the cable between his hand and elbow neatly before stowing it in the canvas bag the portable's in. "And for the record Leyla, your ration bars are completely safe from me." he chuckles, going through a quick pre-shutdown checklist. "You know you could leave one of those things on a stump in the middle of the forest and come back a month later and it'd still be intact?"

"More for me, I say." Leyla helps as she can, before she heads for the hatch out of the ship. Her ship. As close as Leyla will probably ever come to having a baby, given how much she coddles the raptor. "I wouldn't want them to think that we were trying to hide anything that might be potentially useful, especially with this operation coming up. Which reminds me. I've been wanting to go over scenarios for how we can deactivate these mines without blowing them up and alerting the cylons that we're coming in."

"Mines? What mines?" Marko asks, hauling himself out of the Raptor after Leyla. "Clearly, I have missed something important."

"If you mean the general mission alert Colonel Pewter sent down the line about four days ago, I'd say yes. But not to worry, oh ECO mine, I kept a copy on me." Leyla reaches into her flight suit, which, despite being down to Condition Three, she's still wearing. A copy of the memo is retrieved from the pocket where her mission notes are normally kept and she hands them over to Marko.

"Oh, okay, _that_ one." Marko says, snagging the memo and scanning through it. "I forgot about the mines." he explains sheepishly. "Eh, that'll be a hot one, no doubt." he says, passing the memo back. "Have to go over a few things before giving any recommendations."

"I haven't heard a thing from Boots or anyone else about this, but I know going in there trying to clear a path is going to put those cylons on alert. Which is, quite frankly…a stupid idea. But if there's some way we could shut them down, like we did with the sparkers in the debris field, that'll go a long way towards helping our people get in and out again in on piece." Leyla hops down from the raptor, but waits for Marko to join her.

"Yeah, that'd be about the same as sending them a wireless comm saying 'Hi there! We're coming to storm your Foundry! Would you mind terribly not shooting at us? Okay, thanks, bye!'" Marko grins. "If we can shut 'em down, things would go much easier."

"That's what I've been thinking. But the trouble is…we don't know all that much about them. We can scan them and look at them, but unless we can get the specs on them, we won't have a surefire plan for deactivating them." Leyla shakes her head, "I'm not sure how much intel we can gather from a visual. And I'm not certain how safe it would be to try to capture one. I'm hoping that perhaps seeing if there's a sapper in the Marines who's familiar with them might help. But that means talking to the Marines to begin with."

"Oh _NO_!" Marko laughs, heading for the stairwell. "That would be horrible beyond comprehension." he teases. "Bad enough your ECO's married to one…but having to _speak_ to a Marine?" he says theatrically. "Horrors!"

"You know what I mean, Flasher. Lunair might be amiable to cross-departmental intelligence, but the majority of the marines on this ship seem to think navy and air wing in particular are something to be scraped off the bottom of their shoes. As it is the last time I had a run-in with a Marine, he left me wanting to see how hard I'd have to kick him to make him sing soprano." Leyla heads to the stairs taking them two at a time as she heads towards the galley.

Marko chuckles and follows along. "Yeah, they are a hair on the clannish side." he concedes. "But, if it helps us get what we want, why not?" he shrugs, topping the stairs and falling into the ever-lengthy line of crew waiting outside the galley for MidRats. "They want to have an attitude, let 'em."

"Clannish is your way of saying…" Leyla trails off, "Sorry, I'll hold comment out of respect for your wife." Leyla settles into line, seeming not to be much bothered by the wait ahead. "So that just leave figuring out which marine to talk to."

"Constin." Marko replies, nodding. "He might not be our biggest fan, but since it's his people's who's asses are gonna be in the fire, he should be amenable to listening." he says simply, tapping his foot a little as his stomach gives a soft, inquiring growl.

"He's the MaA, sure. But that makes him the head of the military police. And this isn't really a military police operation. I don't mind trying to get in there to talk to him, but I'm not sure how much input he'll have into the marine side of the operation." Leyla looks aside, "Who's missing their ration bars now?"

"Yeah, yeah, but he's pretty much the senior goblin when it comes to the noncoms and enlisted." Marko replies. "We could take this through Major Willows, if that's more to your taste." he shrugs. "Either way, we need to talk to _somebody_ and that's where we're at." he says primly. "And stow it, Sweet Pea, I haven't eaten since lunch."

"I'd rather not go to the Major if I can avoid it. She's already bound to have enough on her plate as it is." Leyla pointedly makes no mention of going to the new company XO. "And I think sooner, rather than later, before they decide to just go in their letting the fireworks explode all around them." As for not eating since lunch "What do you think they made all of these pockets for?"

Quinn is still mobile, mostly, and hasn't been put back on bedrest since her bout well over two months ago, so that's good news. Of course, the stairways on the ship are not fun at all, considering her lungs feel like they are the size of baseballs and her belly's a watermelon, but she takes it slow and steady and manages. The very, very pregnant Captain steps breathlessly across the frame of the hatch and into the galley, leaning there just a moment as she catches her wind and surveys the room.

Lunair gotta eat! The short marine wanders in, and makes her way towards the lunch line. She hums softly as she does, seeming to be in a quiet mood. There's a pause, seeing poor Quinn. She waves. "Sir," A polite smile. And - her husband! A grin at that.

"To keep 'food' in." Marko chuckles, "Note the emphasis on the _last_ bit." he adds, arcing an eyebrow. "That stuff you eat bears a passing resemblance to it." he teases, scratching at the back of his neck and looking about as Quinn makes her arrival. "Jugs!" he grins, waving happily, mouthing his words across the noisy space between himself and Leyla instead of _shouting_. "Hey there!" he adds. It's all topped off when his wife arrives, eliciting yet another one of those goofy, love-sick puppy grins only Lunair can inspire.

"If it's good enough for the Navy, it's good enough for me." Leyla turns her attention as Marko does, stopping at Quinn, and with a polite word to ecuse herself, she moves over to offer an arm for support to the wobbly LSO, "I see they let you out of your cage again, Maggie." A flash of a smile to Lunair, as she catches sight of the marine El-Tee as well, "Looks like the gang's all here."

Quinn looks a bit gruffly embarrassed that Leyla is -assisting- her into the room. She's not THAT pregnant. Or, well, hell, maybe she is. Maggie gives a casual nod towards the married couple, a warm greeting, but she lets the pair greet each other too-too cute. Her eyes are now all for Leyla, "Hey, hun… no need to be a crutch, I'm fine. just getting up the frakking stairs is… Well, I'd like to know where my lungs went. I'd be happier then." She jokes, still somewhat breathless. "And the frakking doctor wants me to walk -more-? He's insane! How are you, hm?"

Lunair quirks a brow at the conversation. She smiles even more at her husband, her expression brightening. "Marko!" She chirps back. She moves over to sit near them then. "How are you?" She is beaten to offer an arm to the LSO and a smile to Leyla in turn. "Yes, I'm glad." She's relieved. There's a pause at Quinn too. "It's good to see you too, I've been missing everyone. Figures I get the graveyard shift," She offers quietly. "And I suspect many mothers feel the same towards the end of pregnancy." She'll let Quinn sit first. "May I join you?"

"Look like it." Marko chuckles, moving to give his beloved a _woo_ inducing hug before all and sundry. "Ah, shaddup!" he grumbles to the commentators. "How's your world?" he asks, taking her hand in his gently. "Missed you…"

Leyla, for her part, doesn't look a bit embarrassed to be helping Quinn. There's nothing wrong with two friends walking arm in arm, is there? "I think they're lodged somewhere up behind your ears, which means it's all gravity's fault that you can't breath." Not the baby's fault at all, no it is not. See? "Busy, as usual. We've got a couple of jaunts to plan, and we've been talking over this operation to the foundry. You wouldn't happen to have experience working in minefields, would you, Maggie?" Leyla's more than happy to let Marko and Lunair have their couple time. God knows she's mostly to blame for them barely seeing each other.

Maggie only slightly leans against Leyla, frowning as she looks back towards the chow line. She really doesn't like to be totally useless and -can- get her own food, but it seems her friend is determined to get her in a seat. "You know, Sweet Pea… I can carry a tray.." She half teases, half protests, but she's at a table now and figures there isn't much she's going to say to convince someone she can get her own food. So she pulls out a chair and steps around it, lowering herself with a faint wince down into the chair's grasp. "…Alright. Down… Uh… you can join us, but if you two want couple time, go right ahead.." She belatedly echoes to Lunair, only just having sat herself.

Lunair frowns at the commentators. But she returns the hug happily, even closing her eyes a moment. Hard not to swoon just a teeny bit! It's her Marko!. Her fingers curl around his. "And I missed you," She smile sup at him. She smiles. Then a blink. Minefields? Her eyebrows lift. That's mildly worrisome. "Minefields? Gods, what are they making you do?" There's concern at that. She squeezes Marko's hand gently. "I'll sit with you guys for now," She nods. "I am glad to see you too, Quinn. It's been far too long."

"Oh, it's a _long_ story, hon." Marko sighs, shaking his head a little as the serving line comes within striking distance. MidRats on the Cerberus…put your camel loaf to bed…

"You could be a tray at this moment, Maggie. You sit and rest. I'm not going to be the one to explain to Sam how you ended up on your back like a turtle on its shell." Despite the harshness of the comments, there's quite obviously no harshness intended. Quinn is not one to be molly-coddled, so Leyla adjusts, "I'll bring you back something nice. And you're welcome to join us, Lunair, Flasher." Off she goes, to get back into line.

Quinn smirks flatly in Leyla's direction as she is teased about being a tray. "Oh, come on… there is not a flat PART of my body right now. Except my feet. Those have turned into pancakes." She then winks up to Leyla and sinks a bit deeper into her seat, "We'll discuss landmines when you get back but… frak, it's been a long time for me, and those were just war games. Can't say I have hands on experience, actually…" Maggie admits with a bit more of a frown.

"I have a right to worry about anything involving my husband and mines," Lunair points out. She shakes her head and smiles at him. She seems pleased though. "I'd be honored to sit with you," She nods. "Pregnancy sounds kind of scary now," Lunair admits, quirking her brows. She's having doubts about this whole thing. "At least there's still decent juice I guess."

Marko has no doubts whatsoever, such is the fate of an overworked ECO. You will learn to eat processed Fleet Food Substitute and _love_ it, or raid Leyla's ration bars. The physical results are the same, the stomach is filled, the cells are fed….So it is with sandwich, soup and bug juice, Marko returns to the table to start to scarf it down as if there were no tomorrow. "How's it goin, Cap?" he asks between munches. "Haven't seen you in a dog's age." he smiles.

Leyla remains in line for a while yet, getting something goopey and resembling stew for herself, and a less frightening looking sandwich for Maggie, along with all of the fixings. Okay, she does take a chance and get a small bowl of stew for the LSO too, but just in case the baby doesn't like it, she gets the rest too. Tea and juice finishes off the plate, before she heads back towards the table, sliding the tray in front of Quinn for her to pick whatever she and the baby might be in the mood for today. "Marko and I were discussing possible ways to demine the field before the ships go in. No reason to set anything off and warn the enemy if we don't have to."

Quinn looks first up to Lunair, smirking a bit, "thinking of going for a baby? It.. .it isn't scary so much as… far harder than you ever dream. How the human race gets sustained by -this-…" Maggie grunts quietly, shaking her head. Then it's over towards Marko as she shrugs, "Progressing. Going as well as we could hope for, so that's something to be said." She responds honestly, never wanting to be overly optimistic. She's reserved about everything these days. And then she's back to Leyla, smiling thankfully as the woman returns with the tray. "You're amazing. Thanks, hun… and.. huh… we could do some experimenting with a good ECO… "

"Uh huh," Lunair smiles. "We'll get fresh veggies going soon, promise," She nods. Lunair gets much the same - wrinkling her nose at the stew. "I see. That's very wise," She agrees. "Mines tend to do a number on ships." Then a pause at Quinn. She blushes. "Not for a good, long time," She shakes her head as far as going for a baby is concerned.

"It's a question of how they've got the mines keyed." Marko says, sipping at his bug juice while reaching out for Lunair's hand. "If they're active, jamming them shouldn't be _too_ hard, once we find the right freq. If they're passive…..that'll take a little bit of recon to figure what they're looking for."

Of course, the charming thing about late pregnancy is that all the symptoms of ALL the other stages of pregnancy can come rushing back at ANY point in time. Including morning sickness. Sometimes, especially morning sickness. As the tray is set before Maggie and she gets an actual whiff of the food, she almost vomits right there, catching bile in her throat as she turns her head to the side and just breathes a few moments of air that doesn't really smell like food. But the whole room smells like food. She's looking as suddenly ashen green as one can get, shakily beginning to stand…"Uh.. sorry all… not… Not feeling the best… going to take my… leave… Sorry…"

"Good thing I carry one of these with me everywhere." Leyla reaches into one of her many flight suit pockets, pulling out one of those paper airline bags, you know the kind. Likely for when some poncy Marine can't handle her flying. She snaps it open with a flick of her wrist, before she rises to help Maggie, "I'll be back shortly, Flasher, Lunair." Truly, Lunair is She Who Has No First Name. She'll assist the almost sick woman out to go and find some less…aromatic air. Or a bucket.

Lunair nods. "I can imagine. I hope it goes well then," She admits. "Or I'm going to worry myself sick." Frown. She doesn't want to think about it much. Though, there's a pause and a worried look at Quinn. "Sir?" Her eyes go wide. "Okay, thank you." Lunair seems relieved that Leyla has a sick bag. She's sympathetic at least. "We'll save your seats."

OOC: To be appended at a later date.

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