PHD #403: In the Loop
In the Loop
Summary: Trask brings Marko into the loop regarding the CLASSIFIED findings of the Gemenon recon.
Date: 05 Apr 2042 AE
Related Logs: A Lamb in Wolf's Clothing (second Gememon recon); Interested (Trask recruits Sawyer); AAR: Gemenon Recon (CLASSIFIED); sneaky Areion foo is referenced from Knowledge for Knowledge
Marko Trask 
Map Room - Deck 7 - Battlestar Cerberus
Post-Holocaust Day: #403
The one object that dominates this room is the one it is named for: the giant plotting table in the center of the room. Bottom-lit like the plot in CIC, this one is twenty feet across and about the same distance wide. The maps, which are rolled and kept in a locker at the side of the room, provide much more detail than most of the charts in CIC and are especially useful in planning tactical operations. Unscaled models of ships are available to be situated on the surface of the table and risers on each side of the room allow for a small audience to watch or be briefed. A single large LCD screen is built into the wall at the far end to display reconnaissance or other supplemental material.
Condition Level: 3 - All Clear

Presumably, the SL of the VAQ-141 has already read the Gemenon reconnaissance report. More than likely, he did so more than once and took copious notes in his largely chicken-scratch, Flint-slang, Black Country shorthand. Perhaps this has something to do with why he summoned one LTJG Marko "Flasher" Scaurus to the Map Room. Dressed in his duty greens, as is his wont, Captain Trask is busy reviewing something or another on his laptop while he waits for the junior ECO.

Marko enters the Map Room fresh from the flight line and a long CAP. "Reporting as ordered, sir," he says, snapping off a salute. "So, what gives, Boots?" he asks, stifling a yawn behind his fist. With all the sick pilots, maintaining a decent CAP has been a nightmare.

Organizing the duty roster has been no picnic either, but Bootstrap makes the best of the situation with the people he does have who are fit for duty. "Flasher," is the greeting, a very lackadaisical salute offered in return and only because Marko is technically reporting for duty. As for what gives? "Your two cubits." Keen eyes settle on the younger man. "What's your opinion of Magnus Dekker? I hear he's some sort of computer genius. Something about being a peer of Gaius Baltar, although I sure as frak hope the similarities don't extend beyond their fields of study." Because, if his tone and expression are any indication, Gaius Baltar strikes the Blackie as a pretentious twat. Shock be.

"Magnus Dekker?" Marko replies, eyes going wide for a second as he struggles to keep his jaw from falling open. "Eh, that's kind of like asking a Pyramid fan what he thinks about Sam Anders," he grins. "Man's a frakking genius. Way over my head most of the time. They say that even Gaius Balthar hasn't decoded some of his theories."

Without missing a beat, the Taurian retorts, "C-Bucs suck." Even so, Anders truly is — was? — a star player, so Marko's assessment draws no real criticism. "That notwithstanding, you won't mind working with him on a project, will you?" Naturally, the answer is no. And if, for some reason, it isn't… well, that doesn't really matter because Trask has already made up his mind. "I've been comparing the latest Gemenon data to everything we have from when you and Bunny went. The encryption matches. And since the C.S. covered in E.E. is far less than what you and Dekker know, I want you to look into it."

"Wait….. somebody else picked up what we did?" Marko asks, taking a sharp breath. "Holy _frak_." He sighs. "Who was it and what did they get?" he asks, as if Trask has the hard data to hand. This is what happens when computer geeks get excited, those with weak constitutions might want to look away. "Wait… wait… Did you say Dekker's with us?" he asks. "I never knew he survived. That's _awesome_!" he grins, nearly vibrating in anticipation of working with the man. "When do I start?"

"If by that you mean having our systems effectively raped and knocked-up, then, yeah, you're not the only ones who came home with an STD and a proverbial bun in the oven." To answer the second question, the senior ECO relays, "That'd be Shakes. Sweet Pea was at the helm. According to the report…" Pause. "Well… Here." Make no mistake that the document is CLASSIFIED and not even a whiff of its contents has be made available outside of Command and Intel. It's only by sheer virtue of it having been two Harriers that undertook the recon that Trask has a copy. "It goes without saying that there's a gag order about this." The report is not at all relinquished until Marko assures him in no unquestionable terms that he'll keep mum.

To the rest, though, Bootstrap relays, "Yeah. Was picked up on Tauron. I've yet to actually speak with the guy, but it's my understanding that he's been cleared as a contractor. You, however, start A-SAP. Shouldn't take long to get him aboard. In the meanwhile, I want you working with Sawyer Averies. She was on the second recon. Plus, I'm sure her cryptography skills will be of great use."

"Yes, sir." Marko replies firmly, nodding repeatedly. "Anything this hot has to be kept _tightly_ under wraps. Not even if Athena herself comes down from Olympus to offer me an old fashioned, will I breathe a word of this to her." he says solemnly. "Something like that gets into the wrong hands, we could be doing more swarm dancing, and nobody wants to go down that road, least of all me." he says firmly. "Averies?" he asks, cocking his head a little as he realizes that name has been dropped. "She has some crypto skill, not a lot, but some," he admits. "But, as she was there. I shall have to track her down and get cracking on this. So, that's me, Averies, Dekker and yourself in the loop. Who else is in?"

"I really don't give a frak about Athena," spoken in the blithe 'no, really, the Gods can suck my sweaty ballsack' sort of way, "but this does not leave the room. Averies knows 'cuz she was there. Dekker has no clue and will continue to have no clue until Command dictates otherwise." Or Trask does, anyway, because it's already questionable conduct that he's reading in Marko. And, really, he means what he says, still holding onto the report.

To the other question, "That's it. I've been asking around about Dekker, and he seems on the up-an'-up, so I'm willing to take a calculated risk. You and Averies are the only others I know who have applicable skills and enough of my trust to be entrusted with this. I'll speak with Damon and see how much in the loop Deck is. If Bannik's been released from quarantine, I might see about getting him involved." That said, he adds, "I imagine CIC will be all over this, and that they'll be tapping you. But since there's still a mole that's unaccounted for, you can see why I'm wanting to keep this in-house. If Gabrieli were still in-charge, I know Engineering would be on-point. Since he wouldn't appoint an idiot as his replacement, I'm bankin' that Makinen and his peeps will somehow be involved."

However, between the appointment of a new ChEng and the deaths of Paris and Parres, the SL's ties to Cerberus' snipes have largely been snipped. Once upon a time, he'd know pretty much most everything going on in that Department. Alas, those days are long gone.

"Hey, whoa now, Boots. I just said this isn't going to leave the room. If Dekker isn't in the loop, then he can frak himself in the ass with a very sharp stick," Marko replies defensively. "The way you said that made it sound like he was in's all," he continues. "I just want to know who's in the loop with this, if that's just me, Averies and yourself, fine," he shrugs. "That's how it is and that's how it stays," he says flatly. "And yes, sir. Keeping this as in-house as possible's the best solution until we know who, if anyone, we can trust with our findings," he says reasonably. Because, paranoia be damned, sooner or later, somebody's going to find something and it will have to be communicated to Command. "I've got no problem with that. You know me, sir," he adds, venturing a smirk. "The only reason I didn't spend Warday as a guest of the Colonies on some lovely penal colony's I know how to keep my mouth shut."

"No," comes the somewhat cheeky reply, "you said that you wouldn't trade these tasty tidbits to Athena herself were she to offer to turn tricks for a taste." Now that he's heard what he wanted to hear, in no uncertain terms, Bootstrap hands over the AAR and full report. As for Command, nothing is said. In theory, he knows that's true, but it becomes a lot more complicated when those outranking the CAG seem increasingly less trustworthy, not to mention stupid. That, however, is the Taurian's burden to carry, and it's one he chooses to shoulder in silence. For now, anyway.

"Heh, I said I wouldn't trade _these_ tasty tidbits to Athena herself." Marko chuckles, accepting the file and give it a little wave for emphasis. "As for my formerly questionable career choices…. Eh, I'd take my chances with the courts," he smirks. "Dumb bastards never managed to really hang anything on me, anyway. Worst case, I was looking at two years, light labor," he shrugs. "I wasn't as good at gardening then as I am now, but I'd've pulled through easy enough," he says, before flipping open the report and starting to scan through it with hungry eyes.

"Thaaaaaat's what I said." Because it specifically was. Other tasty tidbits are not applicable in this conversation. Even so, Trask mentally handwaves it all and reaches into a pocket to retrieve a small tin of magnificent mints. Flipping open the lid, he pops two pieces into his mouth and starts sucking, lest he start snarking about martial law, military juntas, and certain spooks who seemingly had no problem having a Rear Admiral executed when they supposedly possessed means to prove whether or not said Rear Admiral was a skinjob. Because, unlike what's in the report, mouthing off about certain Areion shenanigans can right and truly get people exterminated.

Fair trials? Ha.

Marko begins scanning the documents, muttering the occasional 'frak me' as he goes, flipping pages seemingly at random while the hamster wheel he calls a brain begins ginning up for full-on Hard Crunch Mode. "Sons of _DIS_," he sighs at length. "There's a _lot_ here, sir…" he says, finding a seat and pulling out as he continues to read. "Wow…. I never thought we'd see _THAT_ operator from the Cylons," he murmurs to himself as he sits down, steadily reading.

"Why's that?" About the operator. Trask's background in programming never exceeded the basic stuff covered in the coursework of an electrical engineering degree.

"'Cause it dates back from the first war," Marko replies, whistling through his teeth softly. "Makes sense, though, if you think about it," he notes, nodding to himself as he motions Trask over to point out the specific lines of code as interpreted by the Raptor that intercepted them. "It's a pretty basic comms function," he explains. "My guess is, and emphasis on 'guess' is that the Cylons are using whatever code works, as is, rather than rewriting it. Very logical behavior," he notes. "Otherwise, you spend half your time reinventing the wheel."

"Makes sense," he supposes, although it's more a matter of realizing that Marko really would and does know more about these things. Switching tracks a bit, Bootstrap notes, "I revisited the flight footage from your jaunt with Bunny. None of those Raiders were marked." Whereas the ones in this report are.

"Really?" Marko replies, frowning thoughtfully. "That's interesting…. Do you think that might be indicative of a new faction inside the Cylon camp?" he asks, semi-rhetorically. "We never saw the striped Raiders until recently. Did they display the same behavior traits?" he asks, flipping through the file for the answers.

It's all in the report, but Trask still relays, "Sounds like these ones were acting like otters and dolphins at play. Insofar as the not attacking us part, though: yeah." To the rest, "For a while now, I've been thinking there might be some civil upheaval among the different models. With humanity largely wiped-out, it's only natural that they'd start fighting each other." That is, after all, what happens when groups sharing a common enemy cease to have a common enemy. With no rallying point, things begin to unravel. "The hashmarks, though," he continues, "could be the skinjobs branding their cattle, so to speak. WHY they'd need to do it so crudely, I dunno, but it's starting to smell like schisms."

"Yep…" Marko nods at length, plucking his nigh omni-present water bottle from it's thigh pocket and taking a thoughtful sip. "That sounds about right to me, as well. Intelligent machines who have completed, more or less, their larger goal, might start to differ on the smaller ones," he muses. "Interesting that you say 'at play'…." he notes, frowning thoughtfully. "Though, that fits too. All intelligent creatures need to play, in one form or another. It provides relief from stress and boredom as well as education. "Do we have footage of this play?"

"S'all cued-up. Knock yourself out." That's part of why the laptop's here, after all. "I'll give you a copy of Doc Adair's report to take with you. Short version, he compared Raiders to dolphins on neurocrack. And, get this: he found some kinda chip in the ones we've snagged. Says they're located in the part of the brain that controls free-will and whatnot, and that it seems to be some kind of inhibitor."

"Yep… that makes sense too." Marko replies, bobbing his head a little. "Armed Raiders could play havoc if they were allowed tog get too smart or too…. emotional, if the word truly applies. They'd want some way to override them."

"Makes sense," Kal concurs, snarkily adding, "and also hypocritical as frak." heh.

Marko chuckles and gives a little shrug. "I dunno, we've all of us in the Fleet had a fair amount of our natural behavior modified through training," he notes simply. "For the Cylons, this would be the same, only more efficient."

"Except our free will wasn't eradicated by some operant conditioning." Beat. "Well, that's debatable in regard to some of the jarheads but that's beside the point." No, whatever Marko may be trying to sell, Trask ain't buying it. "That's not the hypocritical part, though. Bitching and whining and being all butt hurt about how humans suppressed Cylons, blah blah blah, and then turning around and pulling the same bullshit? Yeah. Jagoffs. Totally."

Marko shrugs a little. "Heh, I didn't say they were right," he counters, "Just that I can see where they're coming from. Machine logic is different from human logic in a lot of very fundamental ways," he notes. "With machines, it's all about _expediency_. What gets you where you want to be in the fewest steps with the fewest complications. With people….. frak…… that's a whole other can of worms." he chuckles.

Those two mints clack against a molar, flicked there by Trask's tongue. "Bollocks are bollocks," is all he has to say. "Anyway, I'll let you know about Dekker and Bannik." Which is pretty much his way of dismissing Marko.

Marko doesn't seem to have any inclination to leave, not while he's still in the middle of processing these reports. "I'll have a prelim for you sometime tomorrow, Boss," he says, distracted by the mysteries swirling before his eyes.

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