PHD #009: Hypothetical Fireballs
Hypothetical Fireballs
Summary: Demos and Cadmus discuss the storeroom fire investigation with Sabaudia.
Date: 2041.03.07
Related Logs: Swigertly Speaking
Cadmus Demos Sabaudia 

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

The security hub isn't exactly *bustling* with activity, but it's a small room and becomes cramped quite easily. Despite this, the MP pair of Fireteam Able Three-One is busily at work within it. Cadmus, at least, is hunched over a monitor, scrolling video backward and forward in frame-by-frame; occasionally he punches a printout button and studies the stillframe closer. Beside him is a pile of notes written in nigh-illegible chickenscratch of varying sizes. Visible words include "Swigert - covering?" and "Investigate subcontractor."

Demos is seated at a desk near Cadmus'. Although she has the same footage in one corner of her screen, it is held at a still image. The majority of her screen is taken up with a listing of personnel that looks like a duty-roster. she has a similar pile of papers at her elbow, the chicken scratching more akin to a pictographic shorthand than verbage. She occasionally makes a new entry with a pen as she sets a search bot to seeking something specific.

Clip-clack. Clip-clack. The sound of heeled shoes approaching in an irregular gait. Captain Sabaudia enters the security hub, pausing at the threshold with long, pale fingers resting upon the hatch. She's looking reborn, considering the state Demos saw her in the evening before - crisp and professional despite the scratches and fading bruises carpeting her. She takes a few beats to observe before announcing herself. "I was summoned?"

Despite being abruptly startled out of his reverie, Cadmus immediately stands to attention and salutes. "Captain Sabaudia, thank you for seeing us. I am Lance Corporal Cadmus Maragos, and this is Sergeant Phaedra Demos. We've been investigating the storeroom fire on Deck 11 that occurred some time ago, and we thought it best to discuss how we should proceed with the office of the Judge Advocate General," he says, lowering his hand - but still looking a bit like he's been dipped in starch.

Like a puppet on strings that have been pulled tight, Demos rises. Her salute is also crisp and clean. "Captain. Welcome to the Security Hub. Please come in and have a seat." She lowers her hand, her posture remaining upright and correct, "You look much rested, sir." She motions to a chair that can be placed between her desk and Cadmus', creating a conversational triangle of sorts. "Would you like some coffee? Or tea?"

Sabaudia's counter-salute, fluid and polite as you please, is accompanied by a faint wince and a roll of one shoulder as she relaxes from it. "Please. At ease." She limps across to the offered chair and settles down gratefully, placing a leatherbound notepad in her lap. "Tea, please. That would be lovely." She makes a minuscule adjustment to her notepad, then folds her fingers together over it. It's a more relaxed posture, technically speaking. "My apologies for not arriving more prepared - the four square feet about to become my office is still being unpacked." The corners of her mouth lift in a thin smile as she says it. "Please, continue. A storeroom fire?"

"Mm, yes," Cadmus says, busying himself with fetching the tea. While the water pours into the little paper cup, he looks back over his shoulder. "It involves irregularities with maintenance, MPs being lied to, chemical burns… All the kinds of things you really don't want to find on your watch. In a nutshell, an apprentice electrician was found laying in a pool of methanol, which was subsequently ignited by an electrical short. And she's not telling us the whole story," he says, bringing back the tea - and two more cups of coffee.

Demos is about to rise to take care of the tea when Cadmus handles it. He wins a quick smile for his efforts, though it fades as the tale is told. She nods, his summary complete, "Indeed. We have taken the apprentice into custody but have not yet filed charges. In part because it is still unclear exactly what we should charge her with. And in part because there is some evidence to suggest that she might have been a target, rather than an accomplice. So, we were hoping to get your advise, Captain." When the coffee is brought over, the smile returns, "Thanks, Maragos."

The leatherbound notebook Sabaudia holds poised in her lap seems to be some old and treasured item - creased and veined from much use, water- (or more likely, tea-)stained in several locations and, inside, simply a standard-issue notepad putting on airs in its fancy wrapping. The pen, when uncapped, reveals itself as a fountain pen. The Captain comes from money, or likes to pretend she does. She dates a page and immediately starts jotting notes, that sharp and attentive gaze flicking from paper to each person as they speak.

"A pool of methanol," she repeats back, pausing to accept the cup of tea with a mute but grateful nod to Cadmus. "Potentially a target, yet she's not telling you everything." This seems to intrigue her, too. "Do you have any theories on why she's reacting this way?"

"This is by no means concrete, but as we've gathered more information it has seemed increasingly likely that an altercation of some sort occurred between Apprentice Swigert and Crewman Foster. Both parties had entered the storeroom fourty-four minutes prior to the event, and Foster left thirty-eight minutes prior to the event, alone," Cadmus states, re-seating himself in his chair after delivering the tea and coffee. "The two were arguing about Crewman Foster's engagement, and Swigert blatantly lied to us - she claimed she slipped and fell, knocking herself unconscious. Her initial medical report noted that there were no bruises or contusions on her in keeping with a fall. It is my supposition that she feels loyalty or indebtedness to Crewman Foster for some reason."

<Exit Cadmus for RL.>

Demos sips her coffee while Cadmus speaks, then lowers the mug to add, "She also lied about the timing. If the individual in the security footage is actually Crewman Foster, she was in the storeroom for only six minutes, not the fifteen that has been claimed. In either case, it seems clear from questioning her that she is shielding someone. That someone could have been Foster, but might have been someone of vastly different rank. She was reprimanded for breaking the fraternization regulations on one occasion prior and it is equally possible that she intended this to be a romantic adventure. She may be shielding her compatriot to protect both from reprisals. We do have an expert in Intel looking at the footage to see if we can get it enhanced."

Small, neat annotations in black ink start filling up the page Sabaudia writes on. Lots of short words - either abbreviations or her own shorthand. As Demos finishes speaking, the Captain reads back her notes, following event from event with her pen nib, glancing up for clarifications as she goes. "The Apprentice and Crewman enter together. They argue over the Crewman's engagement - to whom? The Crewman leaves, six minutes later. The Apprentice is discovered thirty-eight minutes later - unconscious or not? - in a pool of methanol. Was the fire triggered by the discovery?" She starts to add even more questions, then belatedly realizes their uselessness if there's no time given to answering them. An apologetic smile and a, "Sorry, Sergeant," is offered.

Demos scoots back in her chair, posture upright and confident. "Please remember that the identity of the crewman has yet to be verified. But, pending corroboration, it is the working hypothesis, yes. We have not interviewed Foster, yet so the identity of her fiance is unknown. Frankly, when Swigert began lying, I did not want to press for too many details at once. I want to talk to Foster, then see what Swigert says." Another sip of coffee and she continues, "Swigert was unconscious when found. The people who found her tried to turn on a light. A short sparked the methanol starting the fire." The smile is returned, "Oh, no problem, Captain. This is helping me to keep the facts straight. And to uncover holes in our investigation. Thank you."

"My pleasure. The more eyes on something, the fewer details that escape notice." Sabaudia sounds very genuine when she says it. Either she really is all about team efforts and not standing on rank, or she's doing a fine job of pretending to be that way. "So. Intelligence is working on the camera footage to get a positive ID on whom we're presuming for now will be Crewman Foster." Nary a pause for breath as she rattles that out. "Have you spoken with Medical Staff about the cause of unconsciousness? Would she have died from methanol inhalation if left there?" She taps the paper once, twice, thrice. "Speaking with Foster would be ideal, yes."

Demos nods, "That is the way we try to work here, Captain, yes." She lowers the mug to the desk, "Yes. I expect to hear from Lieutenant Oberlin soon, actually." Turning in the chair, Demos picks up a folder and flips it open, "Yes, Maragos did, I believe. In any case, we have a copy of her medical report. She could have died from inhalation if not found, yes. According to the medical report from CMO Diego states that Swigert's unconsciousness was the result of methanol intoxication, but there was no evidence she had been drinking the stuff. The problem with this is that intake via fumes is relatively slow. I do not know whether she could have absorbed enough via her exposed skin to cause intoxication and I am not sure what else would give that diagnosis. Something else to ask medical."

"Excellent. Please send along copies of everything you're able to give me, as soon as you've got a moment." Sabaudia cants her head at her notes, tapping at them with her pen nib again. "There was methanol routinely stored in the room the fire broke out in, I assume? And- were the lights on a timer?" she wonders, looking up from the page to Demos, thin brows lifting. "Could someone have known the wiring was faulty- or made the wiring faulty- and then left the room knowing the fire would begin later? This- It comes back to Foster, again."

Demos says, "As far as I know, methanol could have been stored there. We have an interview with someone from Engineering. I do need to send to Supply, though, to be certain." She shakes her head then, "No, the lights were standard with switches in the wall. They were not on. Swigert said she had tried them when she went in and they did not work, so she was using her torch. The wiring. I do not wish to hazard a guess, sir. But, will let you know once we speak to Engineering." A nod then, "It is entirely possible that the wiring was tampered with later, yes. And, yes. It comes back to Foster, again. If she had a grudge, it could have been that Swigert was a target. However, we also need to see if the storeroom was set up the same way the galley was when their fire broke out. You see, it is also possible that we have a firebug loose on the ship. And that is a truly chilling notion." She leans forward and motions to a drawer. Opening it, she indicates a few files, "Everything we have on this case is here. Help yourself or I can make copies for you."

"Excellent," repeats Sabaudia, sounding more than a little like someone just given the keys to a locked toy cabinet. "Even better. Thank you, Sergeant. I'll make copies myself." Maybe she just enjoys the smell of toner. One finds kicks where one can, as a lawyer. "If what I heard this morning was correct, the Cerberus was launched with its price-tags and receipt still attached? A…" She chooses her word delicately. "…disconcerting number of growing pains. Or so it seemed to me." She makes a few more notations, then says, "If we're dealing with a firebug, it may be worthwhile to ask Engineering where the choicest targets would be."

Demos cannot contain the chuckle at the sound. "We are a team, Captain. The more you know the more you can assist us. The more we know, the more we can help you. It is a reciprical arrangement, it seems to me." The mug on her desk is turned around once, then stopped as she considers, "That… would be an accurate assessment. We are trying to determine which are growing pains and which are nepharious in nature." The mug is lifted and she takes a sip before adding, "Yes. We have Marines stationed where we think attacks could come, but I do not know whether Maragos has checked with engineering or not. Good idea."

Sabaudia's thin mouth curves into a thinner, but genuine, smile. "Thank you. My brother was an engineer." No indication on how recently her brother became a past tense. "To hear him explain it, half of what's done in engineering is to figure out how best to break things. If they're anything like he was, they'll be delighted to be able to talk about hypothetical fireballs on-duty." She finishes the last of her tea and sets the mug neatly aside, then starts making ready to stand. "It sounds to me like we've got some fresh things on our plate already. Unless there's anything else you need me for at the moment, Sergeant?"

Demos's smile warms until warmth returns to her eyes, "You are most welcome, Captain. An engineer. I have always thought that was a noble profession." Then, the warmth ignites as laughter begins, "I can only imagine. It will be fun to see them go, I think." Slowly, the laughter dies and she nods, "Oh, we do indeed. Yes, actually. What can I charge Apprentice Swigert with? Or, shall I say that we have her in protective custidy pending further investigation? What is legal in this case, please?"

The Captain pauses mid-motion in tucking the leatherbound notebook under her arm, turning her keen gaze back on Demos. For a moment it punches through her, focussing at some distant, lawyerly point beyond, before snapping back to the material world of MPs and JAG Officers. "It's important to hold her until we can speak to Foster," she says, "but we should be as swift as possible. Protective custody pending further investigation. Exactly that, Sergeant. If she demands details beyond that, I'll speak with her myself. And- if you'll excuse me, I'd better make sure they're putting the filing cabinets into my office rightways up." A quick, curt salute, and then she's on her way, as quickly as her limp permits.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License