PHD #407: Cooperation
Summary: …gets you sunglasses. Kepner interrogates Cora during her first session in The Gun Chamber. It's really more like a chat?
Date: 9 Apr 2042 AE
Related Logs: Other Gun sessions, etc.
Cora Kepner 
The Gun Chamber
According to the set, it's not very interesting.
Post-Holocaust Day: #407

The Gun's reactor chamber is not a particularly exciting room. In the bowels of the Areion's Engineering compartment, walled off from actual work floor and FTL, monitored from outside by technicians via vid screens. Within it is empty save the reactor core itself, and a single chair that's been bolted to the floor. Leather arm and leg restraints are affixed to the chair though, as Captain Cora Nikephoros is led within, the Marines escorting her don't bother to force her into them. Rather, a Medical technician merely hooks her up to a monitor to record her heart-rate and other vitals. Then, both Marines and tech exit, and lock her within.

"Your cooperation is refreshing, Captain," comes Commander Kepner's voice, echoing over the wireless as the Gun is powered up. Slowly but surely filling the chamber with intense heat and bright, greenish-tinged white light.

Cora does not appear particularly excited to be in The Gun's reactor chamber, though she walks in under her own power and as much of her own volition as is possible when there is a Marine escort involved. She takes a seat in the chair, glancing down to find it bolted, and submits to the medical monitorin, then stretches her legs out, crossing them at the ankles, and shuts her eyes as the reactor begins to light up. "I'm sorry to hear that, Commander," she replies when Kepner's voice fills the room, "I had hoped the process might go smoothly, though I have to say that your methods were not very well considered, from a PR stand-point. How long will this take, precisely?" she asks, gesturing at the reactor, "To prove definitively that I'm not a Cylon?"

"Our Medical personnel prefer a high-risk target undergo exposure for four hours at a time, three times a day, over a period of seventy-two hours," Kepner replies, voice resounding in a reverberating fashion off the walls of the chamber. The implication, of course, being that Cora is a high-risk target. "I spent longer in there, when I took a turn. After we caught Fields, we couldn't be too careful about those in charge of this ship. I'm frankly surprised, Captain, that the search for skinjobs aboard Cerberus hasn't been more…intensive. That'd be your job, now wouldn't it, my dear?"

Cora nods at that, not seeming concerned or surprised at the implication. "Thirty six hours it is, then," she replies, "How long did you spend? I'd like to be cleared as comprehensively as possible, the accusations are starting to get irritating." As for the search aboard Cerberus, she shrugs. "It is all of our jobs, to be on the lookout for the enemy, isn't it, Commander? But yes, it has been part of my job. Unfortunately, the methods I am allowed to employ are restricted by Command. I would be happy, however, to provide you with a list of those that I have come to consider high-risk targets."

"I did my time in the chamber for five days, Captain," is Kepner's reply to that. The temperature and light level eventually settle, albeit somewhere around Very Hot and Very Bright. "And your list would be appreciated. How have your methods been restricted, exactly?" His tone is conversation, almost incidental, as it echoes over the microphones.

"Then I'll take five, if you can spare the time," Cora says, even as she lifts a hand, flicking dogtags out from beneath the collar of her shirt, and hooking hands on the back of her chair, so she can turn her eyes into her arm and shade them slightly, "I'd like this settled once and for all." Beyond hiding her eyes and beginning to sweat, she seems fairly comfortable, and her tone is equally at ease as she replies, even chuckling as she asks, "You have met Major Tillman, have you not?" She shakes her head a little, "The XO loves his crew, and his trust in them is significant. There is also more concern for rights and niceties than I would have expected from a wartime military." She shrugs.

"Yeah, I've met Major Tillman. I can't say I'm surprised," Kepner comments, his tone level with disapproval. "There have been several incidents aboard your ship that I'd think would make even the blindest man wake up to the realities that we face, Captain. Planes and air supplies sabotaged, some of those incidents killed your personnel. An entire mission compromised, if the bungling of 'Cobra Talon' is as bad as it reads from the review of your logs. And then there's you. Picked up on Leonis out of nowhere, in a city crawling with skinjobs, with no one to corroborate your identity and given a high-security position like you were Andy Pewter and Clive Tillman's nearest and dearest."

"And then there's me," Cora repeats, and laughs lightly. She shrugs, "I am sorry, Commander, to have proven such a troublesome survivor. I assure you it was not my intention to be the only one of the group I began with to make it to safety. I had thought, briefly, to consider myself lucky, but it has been made very clear since that all that I am is suspicious. It's not strictly true, however, that no one can corroborate my identity," she points out, "There are two… well, one now, aboard Cerberus who I knew before the attacks. One I've known since childhood, even. But I don't expect you to find this compelling evidence in my favor, since no one else has."

"Your 'luck' is remarkable, Captain Nikephoros. As is your meteoric rise from a near-refugee to one of the highest-placed officers in Cerberus' chain of Command. I'm sure you can understand the suspicion. How did you come to be on Leonis? Before the attacks. What were you doing there? And how did you come to be found by the battlestar personnel?" No doubt Kepner knows the answer to some of this, but he continues in that conversational manner anyhow.

"That any of us are alive is remarkable, Commander," Cora replies, "And my rise, I would like to think, somewhat less so. Tactical and Intel have, like every department, been depleted during the course of the conflict. They were small departments to begin with. It means room for advancement, for those of us who do not crack under the pressure. I can't say that I expected to be promoted quite this high, but," she shrugs, "I guess I impressed Major Tillman. You would have to ask him why he did it. Though, if you have ever met Captain Price, I think it will become a bit less remarkable."

When it comes to the story of her rescue, she sighs, as if tired of telling it, and explains, "I was on leave in Kythera, visiting my brother. He worked in the Caprican embassy as an aide, and had been married while I was out on tour. I was in a bar when the bombs hit, it happened to have been built in an old bank vault, and so shielded us from the blast. After a time some of my companions accidentally alerted the Cylons to our location. We fled. Along the way others were picked off, I survived to make it to the embassy district, where I hoped to find supplies or other survivors."

"Very lucky. To have been the only one in your group to have survived." There's a layer of humor underlying Kepner's tone. As if he finds the story of her survival mildly amusing. "And you found survivors. Survivors on a mission whose plans it's now clear were somehow exposed to the Cylons. Tell me about your life before the bombs fell, Nikephoros. Caprica. The Atlas. Or whatever memories the Cylons put in your brain, about what you were."

"I was the only one with military training," Cora replies with a shrug, "None of them had experience with firearms, or survival techniques." She chuckles at his request, and the way he puts it. "Is this actually part of the process?" she asks, "Does the radiation somehow not fry skinjob brains if you aren't asking them questions while they're exposed? Or do you just enjoy it? Picking people's brains while you can? I can understand the appeal. Getting your questions answered, acquiring as much knowledge as possible given the opportunity. My family should be well-known to you, Commander. It would have been a foolish risk, having a skinjob pretend to be a non-existent member of a family as high-profile as mine. My father was Deimos Nikephoros, president and CEO of Nike Associated Entities, and a retired Major in the Colonial Navy. My mother was Stella Demetrian Nikephoros. I had four brothers and three half-brothers. Would you like me to list them, and their accomplishments? Birthdates? I wonder if I remember them all, that could be an interesting exercise. It might take some time. And that's without even starting on my uncles and aunts and cousins, let alone previous generations. I'm sure you're familiar with my uncle, Commander. Aetos Nikephoros, admiral of the 7th Fleet? You can look him up, if you like. I'm told we all inherited my grandmother's eyes."

"You're correct, Nikephoros." Kepner actually sounds vaguely pleased with her. "The questioning is largely incidental. The Gun breaks down whatever is still Cylon in the brains of the skinjobs whether or not anyone is talking to them. But it does present a prime opportunity to get answers out of a subject. You said Command aboard Cerberus hadn't let you go as far as you wanted in your search for skinjob agents. What did you mean?"

"Have you gotten anything interesting, yet?" Cora inquires of Kepner, "I don't mean from me, obviously, from the others. Anyone cough up anything juicy while under the lights? Speaking of which, I don't suppose anyone out there has sunglasses they'd like to lend me?" She glances up at the ceiling (the home, as everyone knows, of disembodied voices) in faux-hope, "No? Too bad. If you happen across any, I'd be grateful." As for her efforts on Cerberus, she asks, "Do you plan to have Tillman and Pewter in here? You should ask them, when you do. I assume, ideally, they'd be tested, anyway. Everyone should be. Why didn't you start this sooner?"

"Since you asked politely, Medical can obtain some eye shades for you for your next exposure sessions," Kepner says. "The light is just a product of the reactor. It's what it puts out that's important. Your cooperation reflects well on you, Nikephoros, yet again." As for the question. "It's my opinion every man, woman and child in the Fleet should submit to this. As for why I didn't start sooner…well, that's a question you might want to ask Major Tillman and Colonel Pewter. And Commander Laughlin." He doesn't answer the question, but he lets the implication hang in the air.

"Thank you," Cora replies, "I prefer aviators, if that's an option. Preferrably Joseph Marks, all the others tend to run too large." She lifts a hand to wipe sweat from her brow, and then ducks her head to wipe her face on her shirt, instead, before sitting back and once again drawing arms in front of her eyes. "I can't see any particular reason I shouldn't cooperate," she replies, shoulders lifting, "Strictly speaking, that 'warrant' your people were flashing probably wouldn't hold up if JAG got ahold of it, and as I said earlier, I don't think your methods will prove effective in winning people over to the importance of this testing, but… personally I'd prefer a nasty sunburn to continued suspicion. It gets so tiresome, having to constantly explain myself, to no avail. When this is finished," she says, "I'd like a printed copy of the resulting report for my own files."

"If after five days you're still clearly human, Captain. I'll carbon copy it for you myself," Kepner replies. "Now, if you'll excuse me. You've got a few hours left, and I'm a busy man. As for our methods, your commanders are clearly not taking the situation of Fleet security as seriously as it must be taken. We have every reason to believe high-interest targets like Gunnery Sergeant Constin and Sawyer Averies would have been sheltered from these sessions, either by your Marines or by your commanders. This couldn't wait, and action had to be taken. If you, and they, are exonerated after this, no one'll be happier than I. If not…" He just lets it hang in the air again. "Make yourself as comfortable as possible. I'll have our doctors unearth some shades for you." And with that, his voice fades.

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