PHD #373: Deus Ex
Deus ex
Summary: Mark talks to some pilots about a discovery.
Date: 07 Mar 2042 AE
Related Logs: Ark Log Stuff
Cidra Marko Mark 
Behind the two hangar decks, the Cerberus' Galley is the largest room on the ship. Nearly half the size of a football field, the eating area is made up of long lines of stainless steel tables that can be folded up and placed against the wall for larger events. Individual seats are the standard military issue, boring and grey with lowest-bidder padding. The line for food stretches across one of the shorter sides of the room while the kitchen behind works nearly twenty-four hours a day to produce either full meals or overnight snacks and coffee for the late shifts.
Post-Holocaust Day: #373

MidRats is in full swing when a tired-looking Marko finally manages to plonk his tray of soup and sandwich-like substances down on one of the tables, tossing a book about meteorology from the ship's library next to it, along with a notebook and a pen.

Cidra is among those still in line to collect her food. Soup, a small ration of greens shipped over from the hydroponics lab on the civilian ship. Tea. That acquired she steps out of line and scouts for a seat. Marko spotted, it's that direction in which she heads. "Ah. Flasher. Heavy reading for chow time. What are you at work upon?"

Mark is already here. He looks like someone dropped in from the ceiling to flop into a chair, arms draped to each side and legs stretched out while his head looks skyward. He could be sleeping but the coffee tells another story. When he hears the Major's voice not too far away, he rouses from his stare and cranes to look. Oh, hey! The man rises like a bear from hibernation and he swipes up the mug. Ambling over, the man is still in his cruddy coveralls with the arms tied around his waist. The mug is lifted in greeting. "Major. Mister Scaurus. How goes the good fight?"

"Oh, heh, to tell you the truth, Major, it all started out with me looking for something to help me sleep." Marko chuckles. "And trust me, the first chapter of this thing." he says, pointing to the book. "Is better than a handful of sedatives. But after that, I got interested. It's the math." he says, shrugging a little. "Hey there, Captain. Fancy meeting you here." he says to Mark, nodding politely as the big man takes a seat. "How's things in the engine room?"

"Captain Makinen." Cidra blinks, a little surprised at the chief engineer's rising from the crowd, though not unpleasantly so. She's still in her flight suit, for her part. She rather inhabits the thing of late. "Fighting so much as we can, yes. And more than we would like. You are doing the same, I see. All these encounters with the Cylons must be most trying on the ship's systems." A glance down at Marko's book. "Meteorology? Would put me out, I confess, but I was never much for astrometrics. If I am not interrupting, do you mind if I join? I have but a short time to eat, so I shall not linger much."

Mark snorts to Marko, chuckling. "Exciting. Lots of moving parts and potential for fire. Tylium leaks. Barely saving the day. Its a little like flying for the Air Wing, I bet." He winks at the man. That was -clearly- a joke. But he gives a short shrug to the Major. "Its still a relatively new ship in the grand scheme. She's been pushed hard but the old cans that are still around since the first war kept up in the serivce. I'd be more worried about the Corsair, to be honest, sir." He lifts the mug and looks between the two. "But hey. While I've got ya both here I was wondering if I might bounce something of of you that one of the Deck guys brought to me."

"Heh, it reminded me of one of the computer science classes I took on Gemenon." Marko explains to Cidra, sipping thirstily at his bug juice. "The entire field of chaos theory and the advances it created in artificial intelligence were driven by something as simple as the fact that it was almost impossible for even the most experienced meteorologist to accurately predict the weather." he says, pausing to gnaw at his sandwich and snarf up a few spoonfuls of soup. "The system was so incredibly complex, they had to completely re-invent the math to start building the models, and that's where the AI stuff came in." he grins geekily, a happy nerd in his sandbox. "Yeah, sure thing, Captain." he says, turning his attention back to Mark and nodding.

"The Corsair is older than a good many personnel on this ship. Not myself, alas," Cidra says dryly as she sits. "The flak frigate seems to have performed as she should with us so far, though I know not what her systems shall do if pushed. Colonel Pewter does seem to think she's a proper warhorse. Certainly." A nod to Mark, as to his last, before she takes a sip of her tea. Marko's geeking earns an almost fond grin. Albeit a faint one. "For true? So all of this, the genesis of the Cylons, was due to one wanting to know more accurately if it was going to rain?" She can't help but chuckle soft. "Better for us all had they invested in an umbrella."

"Yeah. Its a warhorse but its showing its age internally. I was over there once to talk to their Chief about patching one of their FTL programs that was fritzin. No joke, they had a pipe made of welded couplings, sir. Those boys and girls got guts." Mark listens along to the ECO, standing just outside of Creepy Distance. He sips at his coffee and seems about to comment when he's reminded again of why he came over. "Oh! Right." The ChEng clears his throat and shifts his weight. "So when we tried to power up the systems on that Ark we had some child from Tactical kick the genny on accident and flood the circuits. Caused a small electrical fire and fried most of what was left. Anyhow, a Specialist Bannik was able to salvage something like a harddrive out of their.. I guess we could equate it to a command deck. Well the thing was worthless - no surprise - as for as data goes. You do enough circuits around a star like it has and the EM coming off those buggers will wipe most drives. Anyhow, he found a few things that are- Okay, well one thing is puzzling. The other I kind of expected." Mark takes the opportunity sip at his mug and rub at his eye.

Marko pauses to finish chewing at his sandwich and wash it down with a sip of big juice before replying. "Okay, Captain, you have my complete and undivided." he says, turning his chair to point directly towards Mark, head cocked to once side, expression eager and anticipating. The idea of computer data from the Ark's enough to make him forget anything else, including his meal.

Cidra turns her attention to Mark as well, sipping her tea and eyeing him attentively, brows arched in a vaguely prompting manner. She's interested.

Mark sniffs and looks into his cup as if offended by something and then looks back to the waiting pair. "Right. Continuing. Well Bannik was saying the drive was designed to probably work in a network so its at least as old as the last war. But out metallurgical work told us that just after we brought it back aboard." He sips at the mug again. "The puzzling thing? So Bannik was saying he's looking this thing over and notices all the wiring is hosed. I'm sittin there thinking 'no surprise' but hey, the Specialist knows his beans. Tells me that the thing looks like its been taxed. Bad. Probably circuit burns. Could be anything. Anyway, so he goes back aboard the ship to look it over. Turns out everything he looked at was exactly the same. Guy gives me the opinion that either this ship was running -to- something or burning tire smoke to get away as fast as it could." Mark lets that hang, nodding slowly.

"Well, we know they were in a pretty big hurry to get away from Kobol, based on the Scriptures." Marko muses, spooning up a little soup and slurping it down slowly, too slowly, apparently. He has to taste it this time, and pulls a little face before sipping at his bug juice.

Cidra nods in grave agreement with Marko. "The Scriptures tell of some great calamity which drove our forefathers and mothers from Kobol, though we know not what. That they may have been fleeing something is as likely as anything." She downs some more tea, a slim frown coming to her face, albeit a thoughtful one. "There are so many answers that vessel may hold about who we are, where we have come from. I have been spending some time in its forum, as I can. The images on the walls are…beautiful."

Marko's words seem to surprise the ChEng. He wasn't aware of that, obviously. "Okaaay." He ponders a sip but ultimately declines his arms own reflexive offer. "I haven't ever had a chance to look the scrolls over. I'll be honest. I know they left in an exodus. But why would they leave in a hurry like that?" Mark tilts his head towards the pair. "Look: Lieutenant, Major. You can run a ship at full tilt, sure. But the way this thing was run? If you're trying to find a new home across the stars you don't do that unless there is something pretty horrifically serious going on. You run -heavy- risks of electrical fires, explosions, shorts to systems, problems with damage control systems, you name it. Nevermind the fuel burn and engine stress to the entire delivery system. It- it would be like trying to light every system on a Raptor at once while running the engines at full bore. If it were possible." He pauses. "No armaments. Nothing I could see worth calling armor. Short of a celestial or.. 'metaphysical' event I can't see any reason to put the hammer down like that without packing firepower." He sighs and looks away. "I've only been able to spend a little bit of time there. Some with your pilot, el-tee. Some more just looking over the systems on the deck. I need to get down there and look at those engines." The last seems grumbled, almost.

Marko hrms, polishing off the last of his sandwich in four equal bites and washing them down with bug juice. Even mysteries of the cosmos must be set aside temporarily for practical considerations, apparently. "Well, and forgive me, Toast, if I get this completely wrong, the Scriptures say something along the lines of them fleeing from a great fire…I can't quote it directly, but that was the jist of it." he muses. "Which….I dunno…..that sound familiar to anyone?"

"No reason, Captain?" Cidra's brows arch slight. "What does make you say this? We are fleeing pursuers daily in a way that taxes our systems at this very time. That is not a metaphysical event. That is fear that drives one. Surely we would all be more fearful had we not gunnery and shielding." Head tilts toward Marko, and she nods. "Eternal return…Sister Karthasi and I have spoken of it before. The idea that all things in the universe are circular. All of this has happened before…and all shall happen again…"

Mark shrugs once more. "No idea, Lieutenant. Bannik is going to look into it for me as a favor since he seems to know more about it than I do. We're just chasing some games and theories at this point." The mug is polished off and he sets it to the table. "Right, sir. We're fleeing daily. We're fleeing from an armed force bent on our genocide in an accidental battlegroup. Like you said, we're just glad we've got you all to defend it." Fingers spider around the rim of the mug as he plays with it absently on the table. "I didn't see any signs of gunfire on that ship and we've been over nearly every external inch looking for transponders. So once you are away from Kobol, why not throttle back? Like I said- metaphysical or celestial. Its too risky. Think about what would make us light fires like that if we didn't have FTL." The man actually seems interested in entertaining suggestions, but his face darkens a touch. "Bannik compared us to that ark, too."

"All of this has happened before…" Marko echoes reflexively. "Do you think the Ark _has_ an FTL?" he asks Mark. "What if their only option was to burn like _hell_ until their fuel ran out and then drift the rest of the way to where they were going?" he muses. "Maybe save a tiny bit of it for maneuver later, but use the bulk of it just to build up enough speed."

"I do still think fleeing the Cylons would make us light fires quite hotly," Cidra says. "Or a like force. If there mechanics are so different from our own, perhaps they faced threats in different forms from modern weaponry as well. But. You have spent more time speculating on this matter than I." Her nod at Marko's echo of the 'All this has happened before' is equally reflexive. Like it's a mantra she's accustomed to.

Mark shakes his head to the ECO. "I won't know until I get a team down there to rip that engine apart. I'll probably get on that tomorrow. But metallurgy says its just not strong enough to handle FTL gravity wells in the way we design them. It would essentially spaghetti noodle as it pitched across the event horizon." There's a mental image. "We don't even -know- what its made of. There's nothing in our computers about it and we'd need a serious lab to figure out compositions." The ChEng then moves to settle his rear on the table. "I dunno. See, that would make sense in something like a Raptor, right? Short distance hop, you could do it. But ship design dictates that you use the engines to power the whole ship. You just use lower settings. Your cars ran on the same principle. You can burn all day picking up more and more velocity in space. Nothing to stop you but gravity. But you'd better know exactly where you were headed to pull a stunt like that… and still risk fires." The Captain sighs and looks back to the Major. "I have no idea, sir. I suppose its possible. But then why the peaceful find inside?"

Cidra winces slightly at the spaghetti noodle analogy. Though it seems to remind her to turn her attention back to her soup. "I know not, either, Captain. But we know some of those who left Kobol made it to the Colonies. That we are all here speaking now is proof of such. And this ship was found very near our former homes. Perhaps they did have some idea of where they were going. As to what forces kept them from reaching there…well, your guess becomes as good as mine."

Marko smirks a little, nodding thoughtfully as he spoons up the last of his soup. "We are talking about a totally different culture, here." he points out, shrugging a little. "Though, if they had the technology to build ships like this one, it's not outside the realm of possibility that they knew where at least _one_ of the Colonies were located." he notes. "May they'd already planned to come here?"

"Aye, indeed they did, Major. I can't argue the point. At this point, anything is possible. We've got absolutely no data recovered from the ship and know hardly anything about it - except that it was important somehow." Mark taps a foot on the deck. "But its worth looking at. Especially if they were running away. I'd like to know if its something I might have to worry about from an Engineering standpoint." He plays with wrenches all day. Can you blame him for being one-tracked on his mind? A glances to Marko and he shrugs. "Maybe. Its all possible. Given the make-up of the Cyrannus system, it wouldn't be too hard to pick out the signature of planets. Hell, we used to spot them all the time in distant systems. But -if- that were the case, we'd have to make the reverse assumption: That we can already see the Kobol system from the Cyrannus. And if we can, how come nobody has bothered to check it out?"

"Because the Scriptures warned us not to go back there." Marko replies simply. "I can't recall the exact verses, but the general drift was 'Go back to Kobol and you'll die.'" he adds. "Maybe we started thinking we'd made up all of this stuff in the few thousand years between?" he suggests. "I mean, I'll be completely honest with you, until we found that Ark, _I_ thought most of this was a load of 'carb."

"That would be an assumption. We know nothing of the location of Kobol," Cidra says. "And even if this ship did not have an FTL…perhaps it traveled by some other means to speed it, of which are know not? As you say, it is most alien in other ways. Gods only know how long these ships were out in space. Searching. Running." She exhales long, inclining her had a notch at Marko's words. "Fire and calamity. Such were our ancestors escaping. Such we brought upon ourselves again. And it all gets back to eternal return, Captain…"

"The laws of gravity tell us we shouldn't jump out of aircraft but I've heard about some pretty insane things you all have done for each other. I'm not saying the scriptures are anything more or less than what they are, but that logic holds, buddy." Mark nods to the ECO. "Unless the Gods pointed a finger at the exact right spot in the sky for them?" He shrugs and looks back to Cidra. "Seriously. Think about that, sir. How many generations would it take to travel at sub-light speeds to cover a given distance. To a star we couldn't see? Thousands. Maybe hundreds of thousands. Then again, picking out a system with twelve planets on it? MUCH easier than a system with one." He lifts a finger. "You have a point about there being an FTL-style system. No doubt. But if there is, that brings up more questions: Why tax an entire ship when you could just jump away?" To the last he takes a long breath. "If it all comes back to eternal return, sir, then it begs the question: Do we fight against it? Or go with it? I'm not a plans guy. I play with screws and computers. But.. Like you said, its worth thinking about and discussing with people as you said you have, sir."

"You've got me stumped, sirs." Marko admits with a little, frustrated-sounding chuckle and a broad shrug. "Oh, and speaking of 'eternal returns', Sweet Pea said something to me during the last Swarm that really put the shits up me." he says. "We pretty much know that the humanoid Cylon models can 'download' their consciousness when they die, right? What if the Raiders can do the same thing? That's why they can get away with the kind of suicidal tactics they've been using. As long as they've got Raiders, they've got 'pilots' that are just going to get better with time."

"We know the Raiders have the ability to download their 'memories,' much like the skinjobs can," Cidra says. "Become better fighters. The radiation cloud around Audumbla - we theorize - suppresses this ability. The skinjob creature known as Morgenfield…" Her lips curl with distaste. "…was quite hell-bent on escaping this area when last we sojourned here. That is, perhaps, why these Swarms that have come upon us here have retreated. Though it is a dangerous thing to speculate on. Whatever is dampening them, my hope is it holds until we can find a way to stop these Swarms." To Mark, she smiles very slight. "Some schools of theology believe we have no choice. Fight as hard you can, the Fates will take you in a certain direction. One way or another. For my part…I seek the path the gods would have me walk. I am not always sure I have found it. But…They do not make it simple."

Mark lofts his brow at Marko's remark about Sweet Pea but makes no comment. "Well they're wasting pilots if we're inside this cloud, right? If you kill them, they should be dead here, right?" Cylons are not his thing. "Retreatening, huh? Nice." He plays with the coffee cup. "Sounds AI working at self-preservation. You all seen that a lot in the last year?" To Cidra, Mark nods in understanding. "I can't follow organized religion but I can grasp the idea of what you're getting at. Like I said, I'm a believer. I haven't needed convincing in quite a few years."

"Yeah, it does seem logical that they'd back off now." Marko replies, nodding a little to Cidra's comment, even managing to blush a little. The man's been _busy_, for frak's sake, if he's not reprogramming simulators, he's working on other projects, all with a 'crash' status. A fine thank you for being the only decent hacker on the boat. "As for the rest, I am at a total lost." he admits. "Unless Zeus strolls into the ready room with a briefing, I'm as much at sea as anyone."

"I pray He does each day, but thus far He keeps leaving it to us," Cidra says a touch dryly to Marko's comment about Zeus. The rest goes uncommented on beyond a small dip of her chin, familiar with Marko's insane tasking as she is. She's near finished her meal by now, and is just polishing off the remnants of her tea. A deeper chin-dip, nod, to Mark. "Self-preservation? That is a sound hypothesis, I do think, though they still continue to lose scores of Raiders to us in these attacks in the gas giant's shadow. Whatever fear it puts in them is not enough, and it does not seem the Cylons are in short supply of the damnable things to throw at us." On that cheery note. "Speaking of, I shall be due on Alert status soon enough. Do not read too hard, Flasher. You get little enough rest as it is."

Mark crosses his arms and smiles at Marko. "You'll never find an Astrophysics student who hasn't considered their own mortality and religion before. Some find the Gods out there and in their studies. Some don't. All I know is that I know we aren't alone. Start looking at the universal singularity and tap some string theory." He then nods to the Major. "Fear. In a Cylon Raider. Now that's a concept I like. Wish we could crank that up to Eleven." He taps his forhead to the departing woman. "Fly safe, sir."

"Good hunting, Boss. And, no worries, I'm racking out soon as I finish my bug juice." Marko says, giving Cidra a respectful nod of his head as she readies herself to depart. Yay for being off graveyards! But, if that's the case, why the frak is he up so late to start with? "Heh, I'm a computer guy, sir." he chuckles to Mark, shrugging a little. "With me it's all ones and zeros."

Cidra has left.

"Deus ex machina, my friend. Deus ex." Mark rises off the table, too. "We don't have to understand them, but it helps to just give it a nod when it shows up." He takes up the mug. It reads on the side: 'Why Yes, Actually I AM A Rocket Scientist'. "It'll find you or it won't. Somehow, I think that even if it doesn't, you'll still be in good hands. Have yourself a fair-ass night, Lieutenant. I'll let Leyla know say hi or somethin." He starts strolling off lazily towards the hatch.

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