PHD #010: Bodies of Confusion
Bodies of Confusion
Summary: Tillman and Stavrian discuss some disturbing intel from the Chimaera. Abbot pays a visit.
Date: 08 Mar 2041
Related Logs: Too Many To List?
Stavrian Tillman Abbot 

[ Ward Room ]-----[ Deck 7 - Battlestar Cerberus ]

A large oak table in the center that is surrounded by high-backed, black leather chairs, and is one of the few compartments that has carpeted floor dominates the Ward Room. There is a large LCD screen at one end of the room for presentations that faces the CO's position at the head of the table. At the other end of the room is a small counter for refreshments and has stacks of legal pads and writing utensils available for those that use the room. Nearest the hatch is a small screen set into the wall, which provides a readout for a customizable set of data. Along the starboard wall, stand the 12 flags of the colonies.

-=[ Condition Level: 2 - Danger Close ]=-------—-

Once again, an audience is requested. Tillman knows the JG isn't prone to wasting his time so its granted very quickly. Rather than sitting at the table this time, he's focused up front and standing in front of the TV screen. There's a couple of shots he's cycling through, looking at them with a dour expression.

Stavrian spent the last hour trimming the medical report down to its intel-only components, papers neatly tucked into a folder under his right arm. He has a slightly off gait today, made awkward by the fact that he can't move his left shoulder very much. Stepping into the ward room on time, he comes to a stop a few feet behind Tillman and raises salute with the folder in his hand. "Captain Tillman."

The TACCO turns to the JG as he comes close. "Lieutenant Stavrian." He returns the salute. "At ease." He takes a few steps away from the screen and moves to sit on the edge of the table. "Glad to see you made it back. Heard both ends of the day had a rough go of it. Sorry to hear your team lost one, too." He says the last quietly. "So what have you got for me?" he asks, glancing to the folder.

Stavrian drops salute, nodding once. "I'm sorry too, sir. Gods take him to peace." His voice is subdued with those words, the death still hanging in a near-tangible cloud over the operation. He clears his throat quietly and opens up the folder, setting it down on the map table. "This is an intel report, sir, that I also sent to Captain Diego. I'm sure you have the Marine report already, with the details of the evidence of struggle we found aboard?" A pause there, just checking where the info flow stands at the moment.

Tillman dips his dead to the matter of Ren. "Indeed." Man can't bring himself to disagree. A man like Tillman can only hope his beliefs are wrong. "Aye. I have the Marine report. Just finished reading it. Something about evidence of a gunfight in the CIC? That someone removed the blackbox?" Tillman furrows his brow a bit and looks to the Lieutenant to make sure he understood correctly. "What else did you have to add?"

"So I understand, Captain." Not Stavrian's realm of expertise, black boxes. He draws a breath, holding it for a moment. "The entire ship was empty, as I'm certain the report said. Empty of presence, no bodies. Nothing. We found those blood streaks through one corridor that ended abruptly in enlisted berthings. It was though…someone had just taken every bit of evidence of corpses with them, and left behind the blood." His lips thin, drawing down at the corners. "The only human traces we found were in CIC — two bodies. They both had gunshot wounds, and both had been electrocuted on one of the panels."

Tillman's face turns a bit southward. "I hadn't heard that." The TACCO's attention is directly solely on the Lieutenant. "There were no bodies anywhere except two electrocuted ones in CIC," he repeats. "Why would..that doesn't make any sense. How could thre not be any bodies? That CIC should have been full of them. Not to mention..What???" Okay, the Captain is confused and a little frustrated.

"There was nothing," Stavrian repeats. Not as if the Captain hadn't heard him the first time, but just to drive the point home. The frown lingers on his face, troubled. "Three dead in the very outermost corridor and then nothing. Enlisted berthings were completely empty. It was as if someone had packed up all the bodies and just /left/ with them, sir. There was evidence of drag on the ground, but as I said it came to a dead end in those berthings. Everyone's belongings were still there, but not…them."

Tillman takes a long breath and looks away to the floor. His face because a mask of inscrutibility. If he could capture it for Triad, he might be a pro. Finally: "Drag marks. All the personal belongings. Nothing else left. Blackboxes gone." The Captain's hands push into his pockets. "Alright, Lieutenant." He looks back up to the Marine. "I've got my own ideas. You tell me what's on your mind."

"I wish I were done, sir," Stavrian tells Tillman, a note of dry entering his voice that quickly dissipates. "Let me throw one last wrench in for you. The two electrocuted in CIC? As I mentioned, I didn't have much time with them. But I did get a brief look, and…" He licks his dry lips. "Sir, their internal organs had been completely removed."

Tillman pales with the last remark from Stavrian. "If I heard that from anyone else, Lieutenant, I'd demand a voucher." His eyes narrow. "Are we talking about tissue damage that removed the organs or was this surgical?" He chooses his words carefully.

Stavrian exhales through his nose, lips thinned. "They appeared to have been taken neatly rather than ripped with any extensive damage, but that's all I can say about it. My best guess would be surgical removal, but I was only able to look at them for about a minute."

"Why wasn't one of the bodies recovered?" Tillman deadpans. "Why aren't you and the CMO looking it over right this minute?" The Captain does not look happy. At all. Though lucky for Stavrian it doesn't look directed at him at all.

"We were directed by the ranking officer to leave them, sir," Stavrian says, teeth slightly grit as he gets that out in an admirably neutral voice. "We had just encountered five hostiles and had reason to believe the area was not secure."

Tillman's face does that grimace again. "Directed to leave them." A heavysigh with some unhappiness built in. "And who directed you to leave those bodies there?" He stands off the table and stalks across the room. "So we lose the chance to figure something out and these people won't even get a burial. I'm glad we got a Centurian here and our lost crewmember, but.. Wasn't it zero-G in there?" He turns and looks back to the Lieutenant.

"Lieutenant Marcion, sir," Stavrian's tone has something else in it, a flicker of distaste for the name. "And it was zero-G, yes. Crew followed his orders and I commend them for their efficiency, but the chance is gone now. We are lucky we retrieved what we did."

Tillman clicks his teeth and nods once to the Lieutenant. "Yeah. Following orders. Right. Well its hard to second-guess the on-scene commander for their actions. I wasn't there, but the name is duly noted, Mister Stavrian. And yes, I'd agree. We're lucky we got what you all brought back." He crosses his arms and continues his stalk towards the tv screen but doesn't pay it any notice. "So give me your analysis unless thre is more?"

"At this point my best guess is…that they were taken for some kind of study," Stavrian throws that into the heavy air in the room, folding his arms. It jarrs his hurt shoulder a little, and his lips press together. "Some cylon is out there writing a Murder Manual, with diagrams where to spray bullets for best chance at instant exsanguination." The words are not in the least bit glib. "Only upside," he adds darkly, "Being that if all they have are dead, they're not testing biological warfare with them."

A curt nod and he looks back to Stavrian. "I hadn't considered the bio warfare angle. Good thinking. Makes sense. I was thinking along similar lines for why they might take the bodies. But all of them?" His expression turns a little dark. "There's a lot we aren't seeing here. And I suspect this is pretty vital. Have you talked to any other teams that boarded? I wasn't able to keep track as to whether or not we got anyone else aboard ships."

"No, sir, only the fireteams I was with." Stavrian's dark head makes a slight shake. "Only thing I can throw at the problem of the numbers is that whatever they're doing is likely widescale. Perhaps conducted at more than one center, thus the need for many bodies. No research happens with only one…I hate to use the word…specimen." The word seems to taste bad in his mouth, turning sour on the back of his tongue. "It would help if we knew if only the Chimaera were pillaged this way - which might imply that something was tested on it and they were cleaning up - or if they've been round to other ships and done the same."

The Captain listens attentively, not daring to interrupt the other man's analysis. "I'll assume that air samples and other things weren't taken. But I sort of doubt the Cylons would test something on the ship unless it was done after they killed everyone. Evidence of gunfire.." He shkes his head. "Machines wouldn't double up on two different resources. Everything I've read about them says they generally stick to single attack patterns per engagement. My guess would be that they weren't doing that." He's looking at the table again, deep in thought. "What would electrocution do to render someone unworthy of recovery for testing?" He looks back to Stavrian. "What would it change?"

Michael arrives from Deck 7.
Michael has arrived.

"Depending on the intensity and whether AC or DC current, sir…" Stavrian inhales through his nose, lifting his chin as his eyes flicker upwards and then back to Tillman's face. "Direct tissue damage, of course. Altered cell membrane resting potential, muscle tetany. The thermal energy causes massive tissue destruction and coagulative necrosis, and then there's mechanical injury from tetanic contraction. Cardiac damage, brain injuries, nerve damage. Electrocution's very nasty, Captain. The problem here is that we don't know if they sustained trauma and were electrocuted after, such as in simply falling against the panel, or if that was the actual cause of death and happened before the gunshot trauma." He purses his lips, pausing. "Which makes the step of organ removal also bizarre. If they wanted them useable, logically this would point to the order of: gunshot, removal, and then electrocution. If they took them after electrocution, gods only know why."

Tillman dips his chin as he tries to follow what the Corpsman is saying. A few of those, though, he recognizes. "Well in your opinion, do you think it matters? I mean, the primary damages to crew during engagements, as I understand it, are blast and fire. Add in cylons and you have gunfire." No, he doesn't like any of this. "It sounds like electrocution was the major factor. Or am I missing something? But, that doesn't explain anything. Why would they take bodies and leave..those? I mean, let's assume that you're a Cylon and you need human bodies. Why would you possibly need them? You have giant armored bodies. Why would you need an entire ship's worth of crew - maybe more - to donduct weapons testing? Humans are pretty fragile, aren't we?" Tillman is standing at the front of the room by the TV screen. Both men have their arms crassed and are facing each other as they hash out this information.

Sometimes, it's good to the CO. It typically means you can intrude where ever and when ever you want and Michael's taking full advantage of that. Even as the hatchway to the Ward Room begins to slide open, the man is already speaking, having been informed of Tillman's where abouts by some unfortunate crew member, "Captain Tillman, would you care to explain how the frak the recon mission went to shit. Did someone in the Marine Detachment forget how to do their job?" The final words are said as he's pausing through the door and it only takes him a moment to spot Tillman and Stavrian. Neither are offered a nod, for there's a look that midly resembles annoyance or anger upon his face.

"Perhaps what they're testing isn't Better Bullets," Stavrian raises an eyebrow slightly at Tillman. "Cadavers are used in…crash testing…durability testing…they could be using the joints to study for those new robotic models." He hesitates. "And of course, sir, cells have DNA. They could be after genetic material…" Now we're getting to the scary shit. Which is promptly cut off by Michael's entrance, for better or for worse. The JG straightens formally, left arm let to his side and right arm brought up in curt salute, eyes turning neutrally to the wall. Admiral. Shit.

Tillman is about to respond when the hatch opens. He begins to say something towards it until he see's who it is. "Admiral on Deck!" he says quickly, rolling up to attention with Stavrian. He delivers a crisp salute. "Sir. The recon to Virgon brought back some good pictures as far as I can tell. I was prepping the slides for tomorrow evening before I began discussion with the recon to the other ship with Lieutenant Stavrian, here. As far as I can tell, they were ambushed in the ship's CIC and a firefight ensued. As to how badly they frakked-up, sir? I wasn't on-site and can't comment about actions taken by the detail until I talk to the Marine leading the security section, Admiral."

There's no indication for either man to relax after Admiral on Deck is called and instead, Michael simply stalks over towards the table, tossing a report down onto the polished wood, "Yes, yes. Pictures are all fine and good, but I want to know why the frak a Specialist from Engineering is lying dead in our morgue. That would tell me, Captain, that someone frakked up." Hands settle on the table, palms splayed out as he semi-leans against it. "It begs the question of whether the Marines were adequately covering all access points. If you can't answer that question, Captain, I suggest you find out. That specialist lying on the slab deserves that much."

And when the Admiral doesn't tell you to relax, you don't relax. Stavrian's eyes stay on the far wall, shoulders back if just slightly crooked from the secure hold of the bandages cradling the joint.

"Sir. I will talk to the Marine leading the detachment personally and find out what happened. If the Marines aren't covering the access points, I'll make sure they rectify the problem." Tillman isn't going to comment about the dead Specialist. He's just going to hold the salute for the moment.

There's a subtle nod of Michael's head, an indication that perhaps that answer is acceptable. Then, his eyes simply flit between the two men, letting them stand there for a moment before his eyes settle upon Stavrian for a moment longer, "You are dismissed, Lieutenant. The Captain will be available to speak with you, again, shortly." Then, it's back over to Tillman to whom the Admiral gives another nod of his head, "Relax, Captain."

"Yes, sir." Stavrian's voice is normal volume, curtly formal. His arm drops, joining left hand behind his back, and he nods to Tillman. "Captain." The JG turns on his heel and heads for the hatch, on GTFO order. He probably won't go far.

Stavrian has left.

Tillman looks to Stavrian with the call of his rank. 'This isn't finished.' is what he says with the glances before looking to the Admiral. "Sir. What can I do for you?" He steps back towards the table and picks up a folder that was sitting by Stavrian. He taps the bottoms into his palm on the approach.

As Stavrian makes his way out of the room, Michael affords the Lieutenant another glance before shifting his attention back to Tillman. A hand lifts then, coming to tap a single finger against the report, "First and foremost, ensure that this doesn't happen again. IF, and I hope it doesn't, it had been a Marine death, I could see the justification for it. What I want to know, is how a frakking specialist was in the line of fire." His hand lifts from his the report and he's straightening, hands coming to adjust his tunic, "Secondly, what are the results from the recon."

Tillman looks to the Admiral and nods. "Sir, I used to be a Marine. I spent the first seven years of my career with them. Their primary concern is safety of the rear echelon i nsituations like this. From my undertanding, the ambush began in front of them. Likely they moved to engage to the front as we were taught. The cylons flanked them rapidly and sealed the exit, from what I gather." This isn't something he was going to say in front of the Lieutenant. "I will find out, though. It could have been anything. If you want me to launch a formal investigation I can, sir. But the Marines will need to have the confidence from Command Staff to operate without wondering whether or not we'll be investigating them after the fact." The Captain's voice is relaxed and neutral. He seems perfectly willing to follow the orders, the comments made lightly. "As for the recon? The Raptor one, sir, or the one to the Chimaera?"

"If I was intending a formal investigation, Captain, I would have Captain Archer up here or I'd be down in Marine Country, demanding answers." Hands move to slip behind Michael's back now, left clasped within right as they settle against the small of his back, "I don't like the prospect of my men having been out-thought by machines, either. Find out what happened and recommend that tactics be adjusted for it, even if it requires an additional couple of marines for each mission." There's a pause and a momentarily look in the direction of the flags, "Every life aboard this vessel is important and we can't afford to be caught in situations like this. Marines are trained to deal with a firefight. Engineers and other personnel are not. Let's make sure we're covering all our bases, going forward." Eyes shift back to settle once more on Tillman, "Both."

Tillman keeps his eyes on the Admiral but seems to be maintaining an easy calm to him. "Aye, sir. I'll get it taken care of. I feel the same way about the lives." He clears his throat and takes a long breath. "Well sir, I'll start with the Virgon mission I slated." He taps the folder into his palm a few more times. "We had them run in and grab photorecon of three sites I designated as representative of the planet as a whole. The first, Venona Bay?" A pause. "There was a oil refinery and storage facility just north of town on elevated terrain. The tanks ruptured apparently and flowed downhill into town. Venona Bay is currently a lake of fire about twenty miles across. Our best estimates say it will burn for another week. Next, Phaeton City. It looks like it took a one hundred kiloton strike to downtown. We have a clear photo of it. However the recon ran into problems at Skyler. During a directed low-level recon, they encountered heavy anti-aircraft fire. They aborted despite getting a picture or two. They were chased until their jump by three unidentied contacts." He waits for questions before talking about the Chimaera.

Listening to the report, it's not until the mention of anti-aircraft fire that Michael's brow lifts up ever so slightly, "Anti-aircraft fire and unidentified contacts? Knowing what we know, now, I take it that these unidentified contacts are most likely Cylons. What's at that particular location, Captain, that would be of any use to possibly go through the process of establishing anti-aircraft emplacements?"

"That would be my assessment, Admiral. My best guess is that the triple-A sites were emplaced by whatever chased out the recon. So that means there may not only by those sharp-winged raiders we've seen so far. They're need transports. Which, we have reliable reports of to back those up. It may be a safe bet that they are armed as well." Tillman keeps his voice even. As far as Skyler City?" The Captain shrugs. "Regional capital. Lots of businesses there. First Bank of Virgon. Kyrdex Tylium. Both had their corporate headquarters in downtown. Both are gone, though. I'll have to dig but there isn't anything that comes to mind. However it could be related to intel we've gotten from our Raptors about other colonies.."

There's a soft grunt as Michael gives a slight nod of his head, "Interesting. Put Intel on searching through files and trying to establish a possible point of interest that might remain there. It's an unknown and the fact that our birds were chased away leaves me feeling that it might just be something of importance. Something we shouldn't overlook at this particular point in time." Hands unclasp with the right lifting to make a brief 'continue' motiong.

"Aye, sir. I'll put Lieutenant Oberlin and Ensign Kulko on it." The TACCO takes the hint and continues. "The Chimaera." He looks less sure of himself and looks to the folder in his hands but doesn't open it. "I was speaking with Lieutenant Stavrian about it, like I said. Sir, they found some -very- strange things there. The entire ship that they could search was almost completely devoid of bodies despite drag marks and evidence of a gunbattle aboard. The only two bodies organic to the ship suffered severe electrocution and had their internal organs removed - and not by explosive means. Something or someone removed them." He meets the Admiral's eyes again. "I intend to continue my prior discussion with the Lieutenant and get to the bottom of it." There's a determination in his voice that belies the exterior calm. "As for what else they found? The ship's black box telemetry recorder was missing from CIC. They also recovered a Cylon from the gunfight, sir, which I will be giving to Engineering unless you object."

As Tillman continues, the Admiral listens intently, right up until the part about bodies being removed and the removal of organs, "Whoa, wait. I'm not sure I heard that correctly, Captain, but did you just say that they removed the bodies and for those that they didn't, they removed their internal organs?" While the rest is heard, it's no doubt put on hold so that he can clarify this particular piece of .. gruesome news.

"Aye, sir. That's what it appears. Someone or something removed the bodies from the Chimaera. The two that were discovered in CIC had been shot and electrocuted, however neither body was recovered so we can't be sure which came first. Those two had their vital organs removed." Tillman doesn't sound any happier about it than can be expected. "There wasn't even mention of body -parts-, sir."

"That's what I thought you said." With that said, Michael falls quiet for a moment, pondering something before simply giving his head a shake, "Alright, lets make sure for subsequent missions that we look for this same pattern. Theories and assumptions are all fine and good, but if we can, I want to know exactly what's going on with our dead." Turning slightly, the Admiral assumes a rather casual posture now, his hip settling against the side of the table, "In terms of the Cylon, pass it off to Engineering, but ensure that it's under marine guard. With everything that's happened, I don't want someone to have the opportunity to take out their feelings on it and potentially damage a useful resource."

"Understood, sir. I won't even venture a theory at this jucture but I'll be working with Medical to figure it out. Tomorrow night at the briefing, I'll be handing tasking to the CMO for it. I will keep you updated as much as possible, but I get the idea just from talking to Stavrian that this is something more important than we're grasping at the moment." Tillman looks very serious about the whole matter. Its enough to make the hair on the back of his neck stand up. "But aye, sir. I'll have a Marine guard posted at Engineering per orders."

Michael gives another quick nod of his head, "Perfect. Once Captain Diego has information, tell her to keep us in the loop. This topic has piqued my interest and is something that I want to get to the bottom of." Then, there's another nod, "Excellent. Let Engineering know to pull in any resources that they feel necessary to examine this thing. I want to know what makes it tick and I want to know what it's weakness is. The more information we can gather on it, the better our chances of defeating it."

"My thoughts exactly, sir. We may be able to get a lot of solid intelligence on it. Lieutenant Oberlin has been working with Engineering already on a few projects and I would like to appoint him to liaise with them once again. Besides, he has a better head for computers than I do." The TACCO finally opens the folder in his hands and glances to it. There's a pair of sketches inside. "Whoa. Looks like Stavrian also left us some first-hand visuals of the new models of Centurians, sir. Gods.." he breathes, turning the folder to show the Admiral.

"Make it so." Then, as the folder is turned in his direction, Michael's eyes shift to the images inside and his brow lifts ever so slightly once more, "Interesting. It seems that they've been busy in the time that they've been gone." Being an Admiral and CO of a Battlestar, the man has no doubt been briefed on the old Cylons and the full details behind it. "This is also worrisome. If they've developed new models, it begs the question of … What else have they been developing?"

Tillman shakes his head. "We can only guess, sir. But those new Basestars don't look anything like the old donuts that the Navy faced the first time around. The Raiders don't even look like the old ones. I would hazard to say that we may as well scrap almost everything we know about them. Or, I should say, thought we knew. This is an entirely new enemy."

"So it would seem, Captain, so it would seem." Shrugging off from the table, Michael once more adjusts his tunic, "Let's make it a priority to uncover and understand any and all information that we can in respect to the Cylons. If we're going face them in a fight, I'd rather us not be going in blind. The more we know, the better our chances of winning an engagement and defeating them." It's then that a hand lifts to run through his hair, "On a different note, but related in a fashion, we need to arrange some sort of 'social event'. With recent events, there is obviously going to be no shore leave, nor replacement crew members. There's only so much our crew can take before they need to relax and I'm not keen on working the crew until morale is at an all time low. Let's keep it simple and ensure that we're still properly staffed, but ensure that people can rotate in so they get a chance to take their minds off things."

"Yes, sir. My thinking is that we play it close to the chest for the next few weeks. We gather intelligence before we commence offensive operations against the Cylons. See what we can find out and give Engineering time to disassemble that tincan they're about to get. It may also be worth it to try and scrape some of those Raiders into a fight. Put a maximum force engagement together against a minimum-sized Raider element. That way we can try and recover what they have." The TACCO seems to be all about the information. To the rest, the man nods. "Does the Admiral have any suggestions, sir? I'm not exactly a people person in the strictest sense. Are you thinking about a party on the starboard hangar deck or something?"

"We are in agreement, Captain. At this particular moment, we can't comment our forces to any large scale battles, not until we better understand what we're up against. Small elements that are alone are what we'll look at." Then, Michael is rolling his shoulders up into a shrug, "I don't care if they have to play pin the tail on the TACCO, to be honest. Over the next little bit, we're going to be putting these men and women through their paces, with no chance for a break. Let's show them that while we're going to be putting them in harms way and forcing them to work quite a bit, that we're also willing to give them a chance to step away from things. To be the people that they are. A moment of normalcy in a time of chaos." Once more, hands slip back behind Michael's back to clasp together, "We have four deck's. One is in use for the Civilians and I don't want to disturb the make-shift camp that's going on. Check with Chief Atreus to see if the third deck is available. We're down a fair number of birds, so two deck's should suffice. Worst case, we'll use the Rec Area or the Galley and just shift some things around. As for real idea's, you won't get any from me. Ask around, find out what people want. "

"Aye, sir. We'll be going over a proposition tomorrow night for a strategic concept of operations for us tomorrow night. However, its just a proposition with nothing set in stone." Tillman seems confident in the issue, though. But he laughs lightly at the idea for a game. "Understood, sir." The man actually seems rested, but the laugh an odd anomoly to an otherwise quiet ship. "I'll get with Atreus and look for availability, aye. Anything else, then, sir?"

"Good enough. I have a few meetings with crew's scheduled during the initial portion of the meeting, so I'll be delayed. Shouldn't need me, anyways, though I'll drop in once I finished up." There's a slight flash of a smile then before he gives a shake of his head, "That'll be all, Captain. I need to return to my paperwork, anyways." With that said, he's turning and beginning to trek towards the door, though he does pause on the way so that a look can be cast over his shoulder, "Check with a few of the civilians as well. Lets make sure that they know they are welcome to attend. We're stuck with them and they are stuck with us, so lets try and make them feel like they are .. part of us." With that last part voice, he's turning and moving back towards the hatchway out.

Tillman dips his head to the Admiral. "Aye, sir. Will do." He then looks back to the folder. That's a lot of work ahead. He lets out a long breath and looks towards teh coffee machine at the back.

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