PHD #331: Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes
Summary: Cidra discusses upcoming changes that concern the Air Wing and the Deck with Damon.
Date: 23 Jan 2041 AE
Related Logs: All that pertain to Networked ECM, Viper 7.5, and Shiner becoming a pilot.
Cidra Damon 
Naval Offices - Deck 10 - Battlestar Cerberus
This area is set-up much like any standard office building. Cubicles have been constructed using cheap waist-high walls, their contents left neutral for whoever needs to use them. Inside each cubicle is a desk with a laptop and chair. Simple overhead lights bring dull illumination to the room except over the back wall where each one of the colonies twelve flags hangs from its own pole. Fake, potted plants dot the room and seem to be standard issue along with the water cooler and coffee machines. Off the main room are a few private offices such as that of the JAG or CAG.
Post-Holocaust Day: #331

Cidra has finally carved out a few spare moments to corner Chief Damon about various odds and ends. The pending introduction of Areion technology into their ships is the main topic she's brimming to discuss. She's in her office now, hatch slightly ajar, smoking a cigarette while she waits.

Damon shows up wearing his greens, meaning he hasn't been milling about on the Deck too much today. Stopping at Cidra's door with a folder under his arm, he snaps off a courteous salute. "Sorry to keep you waiting," he says. "I pulled up all the info and schematics I could find on the changes." He's hesitant to refer to them as 'upgrades'.

Cidra rises and acknowledges the salute, then sits down again. The whole process is fluid and designed to get the protocol out of the way as soon as possible. "Not all, Chief. Sit, please." Since the fires that swept Deck 10 her office has undergone some changes. The owl bookend that once rested upon her upper shelves is gone. As are most of her books, for that matter. New papers have accumulated on her desk, but her computer looks more used than it did in the past. The CAG has been forced to rely more on her electronic files. "What do you make of them, by the by? The changes, that is. I am generally pleased with what I have seen of the way they deploy their ships and think parts of it would be useful to adopt, and yet sweeping change always makes me hesitate."

Damon enters and takes a seat as offered, putting the folder on the table. It's labelled in large block stencil letters, "STUFF". Above it is clarified in pen, "Damon's". Beneath it in red, "Don't Frakking Touch". Very professional. "Most of this stuff is beyond me," he admits, tapping the folder. "Electronics and programming and all that stuff. Overall, it looks good from a functional standpoint - the schematics will work, that's all my team can really vouch for. We're not engineers, after all, so we need supervision on the matter." There's no bitterness in his tone, but there is a bit of dryness. Belgoin's memo might've hit his pride a little bit, it seems. "But aside from the technical and the functional, I'm just… very hesitant about such a big change."

"If it is a matter of man power, do as you can. There is nothing *wrong* with the way our Raptors run," Cidra says. "And I do not want to change every bird. Not at first. I would like my Early Elevens squadron to be running with the amplifiers the Areion personnel use, as well as a portion of our Harriers. No more than half…perhaps as little as a third or quarter, depending on what your hands are prepared for. The rest of our Harriers, and my Providers squadron, I want to remain unmodified. The Areion's Raptor personnel report no degradation in their ship's other functions from these, but I want some baseline to compare and contrast."

Damon nods. "What we'll do to start, then, is aim for a third of the Elevens and a third of the Harriers first. That'll be our first goal. Once that's done, we can start augmenting the rest up to a half or what you determine to be necessary at that point?" He writes that down on his pad. "In terms of manpower, we will match what you require. If we need to put more people on shift, we will. If we need to extend the shift hours, we will. My understanding is that we'll also have Engineers there working with us to make sure it's done correctly, and that'll help a lot."

Cidra nods in agreement with Damon on that. "Sounds most sensible. Third of each from the Elevens and Harriers, see how they fly, then consider the rest. As I understand it these modifications are fairly small, at least where the Raptors are concerned. Just a matter of giving the Raptors the ability to link into the Areion's…Gun." It probably has a technical term, but she's not even going to try and use it. "Still, I am no engineer either and shall not pretend to know what this will entail. Do what you need to get that done soon. I do not think we should try to utilize them in Operation Silent Mastiff, with preparations so far underway, but after certainly. The Raptors in this Areion business are my priority. There are smaller modifications I would like to call for in five of our Vipers, but those will be customization jobs to…I do not think more than tweaks to one or two of the plane's systems, given what I have seen of the way the Areion's run."

"Aye aye, Major," Damon says, closing his pad. "Once we do the first one or two, I'll have a much better idea of how long the whole process should take and I can give you an estimated time to completion. Right now, all I really have to go off of are the schematics. As for the Vipers, I think I got the files on that a while back. Some of the changes look fairly minor, but others can get pretty involved in the guts of the bird from what I saw. I guess that's all dependent on the pilot's style?"

"It is, yes. As I understand it these are less improvements than…forming the Viper around the pilot," Cidra says. "Attempting anything like this across the board would be a disaster, but if we employ them on a limited basis with my more experienced jocks I suspect they could be most useful. My Captain Adia Valance of my 'Checkmates' squadron is over the Areion now, as part of our 'coordination' effort. The deck hands there have offered to mod her aircraft themselves. She should be able to give us some first-hand account of the differences, and from what she says their deckies would be willing to assist with the specifics. They did the whole line of Areion Vipers, so they would know the tricks. For you here it will be limited for now to four of my other pilots. Captain Vakos of the Knights, of course, and the Knights' Lieutenant Devlin, Lieutenant Ellinon and Lieutenant Jay-Gee Duncan. I shall tag their flight footage and sim scores for your deckhands use. I shall also see they are personally at your disposal when you start work, for interviews and consultation."

Damon listens, nodding here and there, until that last part. "Lieutenant Ellinon?" he repeats. "No disrespect toward the Lieutenant or yourself intended, Major, but I can't remember a single time that man launched a Viper and didn't come back with some kind of damage on the bird. Even for routine CAPs. I'm just a little concerned about modifying his Viper to non-standard configuration in the circumstances - it might be costlier to repair in terms of parts and time, not to mention that the junior deckhands might not be able to adapt to the changes if they're extensive." Meaning, he'll have to assign senior POs to Pallas' bird if he goes screwing around.

"Yes, Lieutenant Ellinon." From the way Cidra says it, she is used to having the name exclaimed back to her in disbelief when his involvement in this project comes up. "He is…at times difficult to work with, I admit this, but he is one of my top sticks and an ideal candidate for this in terms of his ability to handle a Viper. I shall speak to him about his…treatment of the planes he uses. Another reason I want to keep this small-scale is it will make these five birds extremely touchy to swap between pilots if we get in a situation again where we have may down for repairs. If we get into a situation with any of these planes where they could be impossible, or near so, to repair were they damaged, it is likely not worth the effort. But if you deem we can make these adjustments with the parts we have and keep them from mutating entirely beyond your hands' ability to maintain, then I think it worth trying."

"We definitely have the parts for the customizations," Damon says. He looks dubious that any talking-to from Cidra is going to affect how Pallas treats his birds, but what can he do about that? "Assuming a fairly standard set according to the specifications given by the Aerion, of course. But even if we were to make all modifications on each bird, it's a fairly small list, so I'd be willing to bet we'd have the parts required for it. If we were looking at implementing something to the scale that the Aerion has, then definitely not." He opens his pad back up and scribbles another line down.

"Definitely not," Cidra says. "I honestly cannot fathom how Lieutenant Colonel Baer has managed to run so effectively with the across-the-board changes to his Vipers. Though their jocks do seem most attached to their ships. Perhaps it makes them take extra care with them, and that would certainly be an incentive worth pursuing." A quick puff is taken on her cigarette. "That should be that, in terms of my interests in our ship mods. I know Engineering is involved in *much* larger-scale projects which may task your people. Prioritize these as you see fit. I understand Cerberus herself comes first, the Raptors are my priority over the Vipers but that is all the input I have."

"Aye aye," Damon confirms again, putting his pad back into his breast pocket. "We'll get this underway ASAP and I'll have reports and estimates to you soonest. Was there anything else you wanted to discuss while I was here? I can't think of anything terribly pressing off the top of my head, but I've been getting more forgetful lately." He taps the pocket he just put the pad into. "Hence why I started writing everything down."

"Just one more matter. It has nothing to do with the Areion or how her vessels fly," Cidra says. "It concerns Apprentice David Wright. He does seem serious about pursuing pilot training and I must admit, he shows more promise for it than I did figure he would. I would like him to begin Nugget training officially, on an intensive basis."

Damon is silent for a minute. "Right away?" he asks finally. Rushing to add, "Not that there's a problem with that. We need more pilots, and I can give one of the civilian 'contractors' more hours on shift to cover for Shiner if need be." With a chuckle, he shakes his head. "He's a good guy, but you'll have your hands full with him. Or his instructors will, at least. I was looking forward to see how he turned out on the Deck, but… good for him. Apprentice to Nugget, I think that's a first."

"I would like to get him officially training right away, yes. I have neglected that for too long," Cidra says. "Though I was wondering if we might work out some sort of…unorthodox arrangement where he is concerned. He has no civilian flight experience and I think it is very beneficial, his working with the planes systems as a mechanic. Would it be possible for him to continue to work some shifts on the Deck? Fewer, obviously. Flight instruction, and OCS, is very difficult work. But a few times a week, perhaps?"

Damon takes in a sharp breath with a hesitant look. "That one, I'm not so sure about. I'd prefer, professionally, that if he's going the OCS route to become a pilot, that he be fully removed from the Deck even while he's just a Midshipman. It just gets too tangled up and all that, with him becoming an officer. I mean, he'll eventually be the one mounting up in the ships that we take care of. After he's done the training, I don't see a problem with that - we've got plenty of pilots doing duty on the Deck on their off-time - but while he's undergoing it, I think it'd be best for us and for him if he focused on that alone. If that makes sense."

Cidra makes a soft "Ah" sound, though she nods readily enough. "I do understand. He will certainly proceed more quickly through the process if he is dedicated to it. I admit I feel as if I am rather poaching one of your hands." A small shrug. "Truth be told, I did not quite foresee he would stick with it this far. But he has. I owe him to see what we can make of him."

A small smile lights Damon's face, both proud and sad. "Part of me hoped he wouldn't, I'll admit to that. Shiner has a natural charisma, and when he's not using it to try to get into someone's pants, he lights up the Deck. We need more guys like him. But you need more guys like him, too, and in the end, it's his call to make if the road is open to him." He stands up and salutes again. "By your leave, if that's everything. Sorry to be so rushed, but I promised one of my guys that I'd test him out on the Pyramid court in about ten minutes." He grins boyishly. "Still looking for someone to help me seek revenge against the Aerion team that beat us last time."

Cidra stands, acknowledging the salute. "Of course. I thank you for your time, Chief. I shall get Mister Wright's paperwork submitted properly by tomorrow. I do thank you. For all you do." Faintest of smirks when he mentions taking on the Areionites in Pyramid. "A worthy mission. I wish you good luck, and many points in your favor."

"Anytime, Major," Damon replies happily. "And it's not points I'm looking for this time - we were close enough in that, I know Petra and I could've taken 'em if we'd tried just a little bit harder. No, this time, I'm looking for someone who can foul back as hard as they hit us." With a grin, he picks up his folder and jogs off to the arena.

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