PHD #384: Cost of Business
Cost of Business
Summary: Colonel Alke Riederer discloses some rather touchy intel to the Cerberus Marines via Mathers and Kincaid.
Date: 17 Mar 2042 AE
Related Logs: Sure.
Riederer Kincaid Mathers 
Security Hub - Deck 6 - Battlestar Cerberus
More than just an office for the Marines and their XO, this room has remote surveillance views of the Brigs as well as a state of the art communications center built into the far bulkhead. A locked and heavily armored door to the aft leads into another room, the white lettering on it reading 'ARMORY.' There are a few desks scattered around the room for getting necessary paperwork done and the Commandant's picture hangs on the wall next to one of the President.
Post-Holocaust Day: #384

Alke Riederer has been waiting in the Security Hub for the better part of five minutes while a yeoman scurries to find someone of adequate rank to deal with her request. Sitting somewhat uncomfortably on a standard-issue chair, she pages through a magazine — Great Homes and Gardens, from the looks of it — from more than thirteen months ago, its cover stamped with the Colonial crest and the characters 'BS-132' beneath. It's from the library, it seems, and judging from its pristine condition, it hasn't exactly been the most popular item on the battlestar's shelves.

Asked for by name? Well, that's weird. Kincaid is barely summoned by his own chain of command, much less someone else's. But he appears promptly in the Security Hub, coming to attention, or at least as much 'attention' as he can muster. "Colonel. You wanted to see me, sir?"

Give a man a chance finish his shower, will you? Drying off was purely optional, or so the haphazard job Mathers did of doing so seems to indicate. His hair is still wet, but combed and there are dark splotches on his uniform where a towel didn't particularly seem to hit as he hustled out of the Head. All this, and he was easier to find than Madilyn, it seems. "Sir." He rumbles as he comes in behind Kincaid.

"At ease." Riederer snaps off a casual salute, which for her means she rises to her feet, folds her magazine underneath one arm, and then brings hand to forehead. "Thanks for coming on such short notice. Scheduling has been difficult in light of the recent attacks. We've got lots of fires to put out. I imagine things are much the same here, so I won't take too much of your time." And not waiting for an answer, she gestures for a young yeoman sitting a respectable distance away to follow her past a few computer clusters to a nearby office cleared specifically for this occasion.

Off follows Kincaid, trailing after the Aerion Executive Officer. He shoots a look over his shoulder at Mathers, as if to ask 'do you know what this is about?' But he seems to know the already that the answer is 'no' because he doesn't even wait for an answer before he's back eyes front.

Mathers doesn't even have a shrug in answer to Kincaid, his brows furrowed so tightly towards the middle, that seems to be where he's focusing all his physical effort. "Thank you, Colonel." For coming over? Or keeping it brief? His hair continues to drip down the back of his neck, patting on his collar.

The answer to Kincaid's implicit question seems to lie in the thick folders said yeoman is lugging in the carrying case behind him, one of which he gives to each of the meeting's principals before retreating to an inconspicuous chair near the now-closed hatch. Riederer, for her part, doesn't bother to sit. Leaning against the bulkhead with her arms across her chest, she allows the two Marines to flip through their binders while she does her best not to crinkle the magazine she still holds. "Those are medical reports our CMO just cleared for dissemination on Monday," she says without preamble. "They detail experiments we conducted on the Cylon infiltrator we discovered aboard our ship before — and after — its death, specifically in relation to the radiation produced by the Gun."

Kincaid takes the folder and begins to flip through it — as anticipated — his eyes skimming left to right, left to right, left to right, right down the page. "Uh-huh," he says, non-committal. Let this all soak in at first.

Mathers doesn't bother flipping through the papers, not yet. He just merely holds the information packet in his hands and is more interested in watching Riederer for the time being. "And what does that mean to a jarhead like me, Sir." Because sometimes the Reader's Digest version is so much more pleasant to consume.

"There's an executive summary of the report on the first page you might want to read when you get a chance. It has bullet points and everything. Rudy loves bullet points." Riederer's smile is cool and noncomittal. "And just to anticipate the inevitable complaints — yes, we had this intel a few months back, but we didn't want to release it to your people before we were absolutely sure it was actionable." The XO begins pacing back and forth behind the desk, her eyes darting toward the camera in the corner — a camera that's been deactivated for this precise reason. "The takeaway point: our squints assure me that we've come up with a method to differentiate human from skinjob with near-perfect accuracy."

"Uh-huh. And you want us there when the test goes off and it comes time to slap the cuffs on when a suspected Cylon becomes a confirmed Cylon." Kincaid looks up from his papers and then over at the Command officer. "Am I right?"

Mathers finally flicks the folder open at the mention of the summary, eyes scanning the initial page. "And how were you able to successfully test this method? You have a secret pen of Skinjob guinea pigs that we don't know about?" Because obviously he hadn't gotten that far with the reading.

"Just the one Six, unfortunately. It proved remarkably — resilient is the word I'm looking for, I think. Which allowed us to carry out our tests over weeks instead of days. Are you familiar with Project Ananke?" Riederer asks, looking down at the top of the junior officer's head. "There's some bullet points about that in there as well. The short and sweet version: it was one of Admiral Hauck's ARPROD projects, designed to disrupt communications along Cylon silica pathways. The Gun's the first prototype — and as you've seen over the past couple months, it seems to work. And though we can't tell the difference between skinjobs and humans with extant scientific techniques, only skinjobs go insane when they've been exposed to enough of the radiation. Which is how we caught our Six in the first place."

Only after that little speech does Riederer turn to Kincaid. Officers' questions are more important to her than those of enlisted folk, it seems. "As for you: that's step two. Step one — well, your CO tells me you've been doing some top-notch investigative work regarding the disturbances aboard Elpis, among other things, which makes you perfect for what we have in mind. I want you to start putting together a list of suspected skinjobs aboard your ship. Assuming — " Sharp eyes flick back to Mathers. "Assuming Bravo Company doesn't object."

Kincaid takes a pen out of his pocket and clicks it open. "Yes, sir," says the Marine. "I — I mean. Well, the 'suspected' list of Cylon infiltrators isn't worth all that much. Most of it's just rumor and back-biting. If you think someone's odd, he's now a Cylon. But I'll get it together." He glances to Mathers. "Assuming that my chain-of-command doesn't mind."

"So Command wants to…subject suspects to high level doses of radiation and see if they go insane. Do these studies show what happens to a human after being subjected to the same? I mean, that is what we're doing here, right? Poisoning people to see if they lose their marbles or just all their hair. Sort of like a throwing a woman in water, and if she floats she's a witch and you kill her. If she drowns, well! Turns out she wasn't a witch afterall, but she's still dead. Sorry, sir. I'm merely trying to understand the full weight of this folder, and I don't mean just in my hand." Mathers doesn't raise his voice, he just keeps it at an even, respectful timbre.

"It seems as if your chain-of-command does mind." Riederer's expression is impassive, her tone imperious. "I encourage you to actually read our doctors' findings, Captain, when you have the chance." Implication: like Kincaid was doing. Like, right now. "We've subjected several of our own crewmen to the same treatment as the Six. Volunteers, all of them. None of them manifested any major symptoms whatsoever. Certainly nothing so severe as to justify removal from duty. And though obviously there's no such thing as a guarantee when it comes to this sort of black magic, I'm more than comfortable taking that risk to avoid compromising this Fleet any further."

"I'll be reading it very carefully, Colonel, I promise." Kincaid makes a few notes on his copy of the report, then circling something on it. "I also assure you that I will be discerning in my selection of individuals for the list." A beat. "Have you picked off anyone besides the Six? Any other infiltrators on Aerion?"

Mathers doesn't have time to read all the materials right now, as she gave him about a week's worth. Conversation is so much faster, in this sort of situation. At the assurance that the radiation levels have no affect on humans, he seems satisfied enough. "In that case, his Cee-Oh-Cee does not mind, Colonel. We will, of course, happily pass down any orders that come from Command. Lance Corporal Kincaid will have that list to you before the end of shift."

"Very well, Captain. Convey my appreciation — and Rudy's — to Major Willows-Cavanaugh as well." With that, Riederer pushes off from the bulkhead, her fingers rearranging her hair in its neat little bun while she waits for her yeoman to unlock the hatch. In the meantime, her gaze settles once more on Lance Corporal Kincaid, as if subjecting him to whatever arcane evaluative process makes her a decent judge of character. Then: "No others aboard Areion," she says, having evidently decided to keep her conclusions close to her chest. "But our Marines have been working up a list of suspects aboard other ships, including this one, all the same. I'd be — interested — in seeing what you come up with. And of course, this assignment will remain classified. No leaks. That means your pet reporter best be kept far away from the scent."

"No leaks." Kincaid nods once, though he says very little about 'his pet reporter.' Mostly because he's more Sawyer's pet than the other way around. "I look forward to working with you, Colonel." But the warmth doesn't quite reach his eyes.

"Colonel." Mathers uses her rank as a parting, his voice then slanted at the Lance Corporal as the hatch closes. "You have a pet reporter?"

Alke Riederer, at least, won't be answering that question, sweeping out of the compartment to the Raptor waiting a few decks below. The second meeting of the day and she's already behind schedule — but that's just the cost of doing business.

"I used to be a reporter, sir." Kincaid glances down at his notes. "I've got lots of friends who still retain that title. But you should know reporters. None of them ever can be led, much less housebroken. If there's nothing else —?" He pauses to make sure there is not, and then heads for the hatch. And as he leaves, he writes down one name on his notes: 'Circe Lagana.'

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