PHD #034: EVENT - Inescapable
Summary: Haeleah, Astrid, and Kulko hack into the Parnassus' computer, and find a mystery.
Date: Mar 31 2041
Related Logs: Parnassus Stuff
Haeleah Astrid Kulko 
Engineering - Deck 11 - Battlestar Cerberus
Post Holocaust Day: #34
Pipes, conduits, and cramped passageways. Heat and the smells of sweat and machine oil. Engineering is a maze of hallways that run deep into the aft of the Cerberus. Dotted with a few storage rooms, offices, and workshops, this section of the ship is constantly staffed by a huge team of professionals. From the main fuel tank feeds to the massive FTL drive room, no other part of the ship is more important than this section that provides propulsion and life support to every section of the battlestar.
Condition Level: 3 - All Clear

ST: Gabrieli

An office close to Gabrieli's was cleared out on the ChEng's order when the team returned from the Parnassus with a prize. Two computer terminals set up, two chairs at each. The data from the Parnassus' terminal, still heavily encrypted and some corrupted, has been loaded onto both — and both have been completely disconnected from the Cerberus' mainframe. Just in case.

The physical drives themselves sit on the table as well should they need to be hooked up. The only one with the security keycode to the office, who Gabrieli gave to personally, is Haeleah.

Haeleah leads the way to the office, since she's got the key in. Interested parties who've been cleared to gander at the data as likely following her lead. Hatch is unlocked and she enters, holding it open until everybody's inside. "I'm hoping we can get some more out of it now that we have some time - and clean machines - to break it down," she's saying. "Somebody dumped a load of garbage data into the anchorage's system, but there's something damn interesting lurking at the bottom of it."

Kulko tugs at the cuffs of his duty blues, looking around with unabashed curiosity as he's led through the engine rooms. "Let's hope we can get somethin' off of it… those top three decks were scorched to Hades and back, and I'm damned curious what was up there."

Astrid follows behind the three officers, uncharacteristically quiet in her duty greens. Shouldering her way around the others, she makes her way to one of the computer terminals and has a seat at the keyboard. She doesn't start tapping at keys just yet, looking first to Haeleah and then to Kulko with a slightly wrinkled brow.

"You and me both, Kulko," Haeleah says, locking the hatch again once they're all inside. "I wonder if it'll give us a clue as to what the frak was going on on those research decks. The radiation distribution in that place was decidedly weird. My guess is they were engaged in some kind of nuclear research, but frak me if I know what."

"Would make sense. Didn't seem to be any signs of nuclear weapons fire. Had to be internal," Kulko thinks out loud along with the engineer. "And why put it all the way out there? Gotta be juicy, if they were hiding it."

"I wouldn't guess it could have been much else," Astrid points out in response to the research question. Another look darts towards Haeleah for a moment. "I mean, I'm in the same boat as you, Lieutenant… I don't have a frakking clue what they were up to in there, exactly, but it's pretty obvious it wasn't soft and fuzzy." She turns back to the screen, and only then does she start to bring up the Parnassus data. "Whatever it was, they sure as hell didn't want anyone to see it. Look at this mess." A derisive snort.

"Everything about that place is grade-A weird," Haeleah remarks, heading around to sit at one of the computer terminals. It's promptly fired up. "Anyway, let's see if I can make anything out of this. We salvaged the hard drives themselves from the Parnassus CIC, as well as the data itself. These computers are isolated from the Cerberus' main system so, if there's risk of corruption, it's contained to these machines." A smirk. "I'll be careful anyway. If Captain Gabrieli's hiding any computer card games on these things, I'd hate to erase his high-score."

"Good. We don't know how long the toasters were onboard, with access to their systems - might well be some hostile code in there." Kulko seems to assume the worst - not that the data is corrupt, but that it's malicious. He peers over Haeleah's shoulder, without so much as a clue what he's looking at.

The terminal that Haeleah's at lights up, internal boards accessing the data they've been loaded up with. The screen glows blue, then goes suddenly black again, for a disappointing amount of time. Tick. Tick. Tick…seconds go by on th clock. Just when one might think the entire endeavour might be useless, the blue returns and white text flashes by in a stream of corrupted garble. It vanishes, leaving behind a screen waiting for input: The Parnassus emblem and an input box.


Astrid doesn't make it quite as far as Haeleah does, so when the input prompt flashes on Haeleah's screen, she leans away from her own keyboard to eye the other woman's screen. A thin smile crosses the woman's face. "Well then. Don't suppose telling it 'I am root' would work, hm?" A bit of humor that's been all too rare from the woman since the incident with Sarkis.

Haeleah cracks her knuckles and then turns her fingers loose on the keys. They flick over them swiftly. She's a quick typist and seems to know roughly what she's looking at. Or, rather, looking for. "I was thinking the same thing," she admits to Kulko, about the hostile code. "I mean, the Cylons have got to be using more than just toaster with guns, right? They didn't bring down the whole Colonial infrastructure with just a bunch of Centurions and Raiders. Makes me wonder what kind of more delicate cyber warfare they might be into…" She frowns at the screen with intent concentration as it bluescreens. Then blackscreens. Then gibberishes. Ominous. But, at the appearance of the PASSWORD login, she actually beams with triumph. "Well, we can get in at least. I should be able to crack this. Just…gimme a sec…" She scrolls back up at the gibberish, squinting even more intently. But, again, she seems to know what she's looking for. Finger starts working again. Clickity-click-click-click.

Kulko demonstrates just how little he knows about the software side of things. "So are you… guessing? At the password? Or do you sort of… go around the box, rather than through?"

Haeleah shakes her head to Kulko, eyes not leaving the screen. "Bad idea to start guessing with these systems. But, based on what we got off it at Parnassus and some of the prelim work I've done with the hard drives, I think I can crack it. Just needs to be hacked a little…oh yeah, baby." She grins. "This…should…work…" She types the letters 'Adrasteia' on the screen. She hits the command input key. Dramatic pause. Well, as dramatic as things go when staring at a computer screen.

"Well, someone had a randy side to 'em," Kulko comments, resting a hand on the back of the Lieutenant's chair. "Did it work?"

As Haeleah inputs that strange word, 'Adrasteia', the screen blackens again, quite suddenly. Text begins scrolling again, most of it horribly mangled with symbols and garbage that makes little to no sense. A few lines make concrete, albeit mundane, references to parts of Parnassus — one little flicker spouts something about the electricity consumption. Some are random dates. Scroll, scroll, blip. Finally, something reads, clearly:

FORM H1488-C

A slight frown comes over Astrid's face as Haeleah types the word into the box. Her expression resembles that of a person who recognizes someone, but their name is hanging just off the tip of the tongue. "Where'd you get that from, Lieutenant? Sounds… familiar." Her puzzlement only deepens as the terminal responds to the password.

"Pulled the combination from some of the garbled code that flashed by earlier," Haeleah says, squinting at the screen. "And…yeah, it does. I think I've heard it before. Just can't remember where. It means…'Inescapable' I think. Frak…" The profanity is murmured her under breath as she tries to recall it, but nothing's summoned to mind apparently. "What do you make that, PO?" she asks, pointing to the bit about electrical consumption. And the strange words it finally lands on.

"I was thinking a name, actually. One of the nymphs, I thought." Astrid shrugs; in the grand scheme of things, etymology isn't exactly high on the priority list right now. She frowns. "Sorry, LT, can't make it out. Something about electricity use. Beyond that, well." Another shrug. "Like I said, a frakkin' mess." Sharp eyes notice something on the screen, and she points to the only clear bit of text on the screen. "You might try clicking on that."

Kulko has given up on watching the screen at this point. His attention bounces between the two engineers as they do their thing.

"Nymphs?" Haeleah's curious. "Huh. Maybe. I was never much on theological stuff." It's hard to tell if the use of the past-tense is intentional or just a matter of phrasing. Head tilts at Kulko. "I don't suppose it's some kind of super-secret tactical thing of which the snipes know not?" She's only half-joking. A nod up at Astrid. "It might be just mundane maintenance logs. That's what a lot of this stuff looks like. Docking and shipping. But all information is useful in the right capacity…" Click she does.

As the form's opened, text blinks up.


And abruptly stops, the last letter blinking rapidly. The screen flickers, as though threatening to shut down, then stops.

"Contractor…" Kulko reads out loud, for the benefit of any pre-primary schoolchildren present. "Maybe they were testing civilian software before deployment? What are those parts we're missing? Fleet something transmission?"

"Neither am I. But when you study on Gemenon, hard not to pick up some of it through osmosis no matter how ya try," Astrid notes wryly to Haeleah's comment. A pause, as she remembers her first look at the logs from the other day. "Whatever they were docking and shipping, sure as hell was a lot of it," she murmurs. That's when the screen starts going wonky. "Fleet research and development mission?" She adds a guess of her own to Kulko's before turning to Haeleah and hmphing at the flickering screen. "Here, LT. Let me." Without waiting for the lieutenant's answer, she brings up a diagnostic tool on the lieutenant's screen, running through a few quick routines before checking the wiring itself. There's a quick bit of tinkering, and then she steps back. "Should be better now."

Haeleah frowns. "There were contractors on the station, weren't there?" she asks Kulko. "Among the survivors, I mean. Frakkin' weird…" That's still her overall view of what they've taken off Parnassus. "Maybe they took on something from a private firm for the research there? Might explain all the attention to the shipping data in here…oh, don't you dare, you mother-frakker…" Talking to the computer as it threatens to shut down. But Astrid is doing something more useful than just being profane at it, so she wheels her chair back to give her room to work.

Maybe Astrid should've hit it with her knee. Whatever she does to it works…for now…and the blinking stops. They're treated to a few lines of garbage, then:

TO: … …….. ….. .. ………. ……..
DATE: ……23…………39

"Why is a petty officer CC'ing an admiral on his email?" Kulko wonders, squinting at the screen. "This had to be some high-level stuff. Can you clean it up any?"

"I can try," Haeleah says, returning to clickity-clicking at the keyboard. "And you're right. It is weird. Though it's not unheard of for senior NCOs to be clued in on high-level projects in Engineering or the Deck. If they've been in long enough, they have more expertise in some ways than some of the officers. What the frak were these people into…?"

"No, not unheard of for them to be involved. But chain of command doesn't change," Kulko counters, folding his arms across his chest. "NCO goes to officer, officer sends it to the flag. Least, that's how it's supposed to go."

Astrid points to the date. "Is that supposed to be 2039?" Shit just keeps getting weirder. "If it really was something to do with R&D, who the frak knows?" Of course, the huge gaps in the information aren't doing anything for her disposition. "Yeah, Ensign, and what exactly about this screams 'normal' to you, huh?" A dark frown on her face, she begins muttering profanely as she goes back to the machine itself. This time she calls up a debugging utility, calling up several scrambled lines of code, which she proceeds to descramble as best she can. Then, it's back to the hardware, and a cable from the second terminal is plugged into the hard drive from the first. And yes, there's a small thump from her knee hitting the casing as she finishes. Gotta remind those machines who's the boss, don't ya know.

Kulko fishes around in his pocket for his smokes and a lighter. "So whatever they were up to, it's nothing new." He retreats into silence and tobacco, trying to blow smoke away from the computers.

That poor machine. Under the combined effort of Astrid and Haeleah and a few smacks from the former, it spits out a rapid-fire page of text…

"Supposed to, yeah…" Haeleah agrees softly with Kulko, squinting at the output on the screen. A look is flicked back at Kulko and his cigarette. But she doesn't object. The gobble on that screen is driving her toward some sort of fix herself, most likely. She gives Astrid plenty of room to beat the computer into submission, then gets to typing again. Though what it eventually gives up appears to clarify little for her. "Huh…" She squints, as if looking at the words /harder/ might make them make sense.

"Those look like names. Saggitaron, some of em." Kulko offers helpfully from behind those doing actual work.

Astrid catches a whiff of the smoke, and craving wars with irritation on her face. The latter wins out, though, and she goes where Haeleah doesn't. "Really? Sir?" Hard, dark eyes sweep around the small cubicle-like office before settling back on Kulko and his cigarette, not without a certain bit of scorn. "Why don't you just light the frakking hard drives on fire, while you're at it? It'd be quicker." She turns back to the screen with storms on her brow. "Lords save us from ensigns and their 'help'," she mutters acidly to herself before pointing to something on the screen. "Look. Some of these are company names. The Tzonis Group had several of the subcontracts for our ship's construction, I remember. I did an internship at Regeneron one summer, when I was still in school. Dunno about this 'IMPINJ', though."

The corruption in the file is so bad that it's impossible to get any of those lists to make much more text sense than that. But as the two engineers labor at the gobbledegook, they manage to uncover one thing. That garbled first line, the recipient of all this bizarre mess that even the Parnassus' computer seemed to have been guarding with its life.


The words flashe across and then, abruptly, the screen goes to a heart-wrenchingly familiar blue screen of death as the system crashes.

"Saggittaron?" This makes Haeleah even more curious. And more puzzled. "There was serious spook shit going on on this station. Whatever it was. I wonder why they'd be dealing with Saggittarons…" She looks back to Kulko, to pick his brain, actual work or no. "I don't know too much about Sag. One of those names looks kind of familiar, though. Guiloff. I think I've heard Captain Gabrieli mention it before but frak me if I can recall where." Astrid earns a *look*. "Simmer, PO. Contractors. That makes sense. Still wonder what the frak they were involved in out there…" Some more quick typing, grinning, like she feels like she's getting somewhere. And…that's when it crashes.

Kulko lets the cigarette dangle from the corner of his mouth, ignoring Astrid's tirade except for a pointed glare at the back of her head. He watches, and listens, as the two make what progress they can. "Hauck… why's that so damned familiar?" At the blue screen, he leans forward a little. "Hey, get it back. It was just starting to get good."

Astrid directs a sneaky dark look over at Haeleah when she's not looking, and an even darker look back at Kulko whether he's looking or not. If she's thinking of any other comments, though, they're forestalled as the computer crashes. "Frak's sake," she snarls in disgust, though whether her ire is directed towards Kulko, the machine, or both is uncertain. An open palm slamming against the desk next to the keyboard. More muttering ensues as she goes down for another look. After some work, the screen goes active once again, but it starts in diagnostic mode instead of the default reboot. "Shit." A helpless look over to Haeleah. "Uh, sir, I think these things have about had enough. Gonna need some work before we go back to digging around in those drives."

"I think the picture show's over, Ensign," Haeleah says, muttering a string of "frak"s under her breath when she gets the Blue Screen of Death. In various combinations. It takes her a sec to collect herself. "That name does sound familiar. A lot of that *sounds* familiar but it's tugging at the back of my mind and not going anywhere. Some of those named sounded pretty above-my-paygrade. Maybe Captain Gabrieli and the XO will be able to grok something more from them. Or even Admiral Abbott." She eyes the computer balefully. "We can get it back up but it'll take some time. It'll be work overnight, at least."

Kulko nods, taking a long drag off the cigarette. "Alright. I'd hope this goes without sayin', but all of this is classified until further notice. Send for myself or Lieutenant Oberlin when you've got anything more. I'm gonna run this up to the XO and see if it rings any bells. Lieutenant, Petty Officer. Thanks for your help."

"Yeah, got it," Astrid sighs listlessly at Kulko, the wind taken out of her sails by the blue-screen-of-death and resulting technofail. "You'll be the first to know." Her tone is as dry as a good martini. She leans back in her chair, sneering at the terminal in front of her. Not as though making faces at an inanimate object will help, but it seems to make her feel better.

"Understood, Ensign," Haeleah says firmly, as to the classified bit. "I honestly don't know what the frak to make of it yet, but we'll keep it tight. Maybe we can get a clearer picture once we get this machine back up. Or Command and Chief Gabrieli can put the puzzle together better than we can."

"If that's all, then, I'll leave y'all to it." Kulko offers up a salute to Haeleah with his free hand and makes for the hatch, unlatching it and heading out.

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