PHD #274: Judgment Call
Judgment Call
Summary: Bootstrap and Sweet Pea debrief — re: the booby trap and Sweet Pea's command decision.
Date: 27 Nov 2041 AE
Related Logs: Trashed
Leyla Trask 
Ready Room
With the hatches at the rear of the room, the walkways on both sides slope down towards the dais at the front of the room. The stadium seating forms a partial semi-circle around the speaking podium and provides enough seats for all three hundred members of the Air Wing. The walls are adorned with the patches of each squadron aboard and their mottos stenciled in white lettering above each one. Behind the podium is a set of large LCD screens that can display any matter of material from reconnaissance to maps to gun camera footage.
Post-Holocaust Day: #274

It seems that the ready room has had quite a bit of traffic, in recent days. And today is no different. Mostly quiet, save for the screens running through streams of data on one feed, and camera footage of a wrecked transport, complete with parked, red flashing shuttle in the remains of its bay. A single figure, in the form of one small taurian pilot is settled in the front row, seemingly going frame by frame advancing the data stream in time to the camera imagery, a writing pad set on a table pulled over in front of her for notes as she works.

Reviewing footage is something all too familiar for the Harriers' SL, but he likely does it more than others in the squadron as a result of being the guy in-charge. After all, if someone fraks up, he needs to know about it. Lately, however, it's been his own frak-ups in the pilot's seat that he's been going over more than not. "Sweet Pea," he idly greets, heading to the front of the room to commandeer one of the unused LCD screens for his own purposes.

A flick of the remote and both screens Leyla is using are stopped in mid stream, as it were, at the sound of someone's arrival. It's not that she has anything to hide, no, it's more that she can't afford a second of distraction. The voice identifies the body, before Leyla turns to glance at her SL walking down the aisle to the front, "Boots. I didn't realize you had the room." She does not, however, turn off the screens she was using.

"Don't neglect your peripherals," he says in the faux tone of a flight instructor. Lords know he's been told /that/ more times than he'd since he commenced training for pilot qualifications. Even so, it's an impish mirth curling the corner of Kal's mouth. Loading what he wants to review, he moseys over to one of the best seats in the house and deposits a notebook on the desktop. In the adjacent chair goes his helmet, gloves tucked inside. That done, he sits on down, wriggling a bit to get as comfortable as anyone can in these lecture hall seats. "What'cha reviewin'?" No doubt, he's being disingenuous to a point where he is aware that she is aware that he is aware that she is aware that he already knows.

"A lesson that bears repeating, thank you." It's probably a mark of how well Leyla either likes her SL or trusts him, that she manages to find something close to a smile in return, body shifted so that she can look back towards where he's decided to settle in, "Footage and the data stream from the booby trap that disabled Bertha the last time she was out." Yes, it hurts her to say disabled. If ever there was a pilot who was one with her ship, it would be Leyla and the little raptor that could. "Command won't allow me to go back out into the debris field, so I'm trying to go through it step by step and figure out what the trap was, and how it was set to work. I'm also hoping to see if I can get some of our engineers on it, see if we can reverse engineer that signal. Compare it to what happened to our ships on Warday."

"Conclude anything, yet?" Bootstrap looks quite laissez-faire quasi-reclining at an angle to better regard Sweet Pea. In the foremost two fingers of his left hand, a pen is idly twirled. The way his head vaguely cants and his eyes gleam, it's almost akin to being observed by a crow.

"I try not to conclude anything until I have all of my bits and pieces in order, which I won't, I think, for quite some time. But I do have a few theories. Quite obviously, the beacon was triggered by proximity, at which point it began to send out its radio signal. My theory is that a 'friendly' system would have recognized the signal and responded with the appropriate reply, at which point the trap would have reset itself or returned to being completely dormant, until the friendly moved out of the area and likely sent a signal to reactivate the trap. At least, if I were building something like that, that's what I would do. Upon receiving no response from myself or Spiral, the program followed its primary directive, which was to send out a signal to disable the ships in its immediate area and then detonate to destroy the adjacent targets. If I had been a better pilot, I could have avoided having my ship disabled." Leyla doesn't continue that thought, but doesn't have to. After all, Spiral made it out in one piece and she nearly didn't. The fact that he's probably been flying as long as she's been alive or close to it also isn't mentioned.

There's just the faintest hint of humor curving the man's mouth as though he found something amusing. This isn't an uncommon expression to be found upon his face, so perhaps there's not much to it. "Sound reasoning," Trask concludes, then shifts to prop his right elbow on the desktop, palm tipped up and out to support his chin. For some reason, his face scrunches a bit with discomfort, so he instead opts to make a fist against which he rests his cheek. From this new angle, it's possible to notice the fresh bruise along the right side of his jaw. Perhaps someone took offense to his effective ban on booze. "What I /really/ wanna know," he continues keenly, in that needling way of his, "is why you decided to approach." The pen holding the hand is flourished. "I mean, don't you have experience with mines an' pirates and stuff like that?"

Once Boots goes about settling himself back in, Leyla's eyes drop to the side of his face, and the discolouration of his skin. No, she doesn't make a comment. Whatever she might think about the man, his life is clearly not her business, and she's no desire to get involved. "Because I had to know, Boots. I had to find the source of the signal and get as much information from it as I possibly could. This is the first planet we've been to, since we started jaunting around, and more importantly, since we did our secondary recons, where the debris field has not been cleared. Unless I missed something in my readings of our first recons, this is also the first time we've encountered anything like this booby trap. Which leads me to wonder why is it here. Why was all of this left behind. Why go to so much trouble to destroy what might be approaching the planet? Past experience doesn't make up for present knowledge.

Little changing in his demeanor, the SL simply listens, returning to twiddling the pen in an idle manner. Odds are that he's not disagreeing with any of Leyla's logic, seeing how he's yet to start in with the snark. "That /is/ what DRADIS is for, you know." Wry, that, but still within his general manner. If he's one of those people who tones down when extremely angry, the pilot must be in a terrible amount of trouble.

"When you're in the pilot's seat, DRADIS is no replacement for your eyes." Not quite the same sentiment she and Cidra have been trying to drum into the ECO-SL's head, but it's very, very close. "DRADIS and sensors are accurate, to a point, but were not able to identify the exact source of the signal or its provenance. Lacking that amount of information, the only solution was to supplement the sensor readings with a visual inspection. With the cylon fleet gearing up, for who knows what end, we can't afford to always play it safe. If I had been a better pilot, I would have been able to get the information we needed without endangering myself or Skeeter. That's my failing. I'll accept whatever punishment my SL decides to hand down.

At talk of punishment, there's a quiet huff, followed by a rolling of his eyes. "Stop being such a drama queen." Easing up into a more upright position, Bootstrap still admonishes, "For all the good your eyes /do/ do, they still'll never be able to see in the infrared spectrum, or register electromagnetic activity, or countless other things that you, as a pilot, need to better learn to trust your ECO to assess." That said, he explains, "I've already spoken with Skeeter," which may or may not mean dressing her down for being somehow being dumb. The man does concede, "Shit in there /is/ futzing with our sensors, but that's when it comes down to a judgment call. Did you make the wrong one?" One shoulder is lifted into a shrug. "Dunno. Y'all made it out alive with minimal damage to the birds. Good enough for me."

"Well, I like to think I learned from the best." As to just whom the drama queen is referring to is anyone's guess. Leyla accepts the seeming lack of punishment with a slight nod of her head, the less said about that topic the better. "Some ECOs you trust more than others. Just as some pilots you trust more than others." A tip of her head follows that. Boots being a perfect example, having, seemingly, never willingly flown with anyone except his three preferred pilots. Not on combat missions anyway. "I'm also wondering if at the end of this, if we'll discover that this was of cylon origin, or if it was something planted by our own people." People, being, in this case, likely, humans. "I've got maquettes ready for the project you asked me to work on for you." In a complete 180 degree shift.

Without missing a beat, Kal counters, "Poppy really needs to lay off the polishing of her crown. That's glare's gonna end up blinding someone." As far as trust goes, he wryly notes with a hint of self-recrimination in his eyes, "Some lessons are more difficult to learn than others." Cameo didn't get him killed when the Cylons attacked at Aerilon, but he still has a long way to go. It's not something he's going to dwell on, either. In fact, maquettes appear to be downright fascinating. "I was gonna ask about that, actually. We'll need somethin' for this rock, but I'll leave that to you."

Opening his notebook, Trask retrieves a crisp sheet of paper that looks like an official Colonial Fleet Memo. That's because it is. "A little reward for passin' the pop quiz." Handing it over, he notes, "ExLORAD's a go. Just waitin' to hear back from Papa Baer, but we should be rollin' out within the next 24 hours."

"Poppy does what she has to do to keep her demons at bay. Same as you. Same as me. I'm not going to fault her for that." Leyla rises as she sees Boots reach into his folder for something, making her way from her seat at the front of the room towards the back, close enough to reach for the paper, "I'll bring you what I have, go over the fine tuning once you're happy with the designs." Before she turns to read over the paper she's handed, she offers, as casually as she has anything else, "I want to go home, Boots." No look of hope, no plea to search for survivors she might know, just that. And then the paper is promptly read, reread and then checked over, "A crude version of the cylon technology from Warday, or a crude copy of the cylon backdoor?" Beat. "Why only a fifty percent efficiency reboot immediately following the burst, but a bull reboot once we were back on the Cerberus? Beat. "Inefficient doesn't seem like the Cylon's style. They're machine that, we presume have no need to sleep or rest. Considering the resources they have at their disposal, why something so crude, if it was them? Something doesn't sit right about that." Beat. "I'd love to see that damned ghost ship drifting for a while."

Nothing more is said about Poppy. A joke isn't a joke if it needs to be explained. A nod about the designs and a, "We will," about going back to the Black Country. There are a few places warranting further scrutiny. Flint, for what it's worth, isn't one of them, having been effectively razed. This doesn't seem to bother Boots.

"Just what it says, Sweet Pea," is drily remarked. Trask tends to be pretty specific with what he writes. If he says it's Cylon work, he stands by that assessment. "To answer your question about inelegance, who the frak knows how long they were working on the CNP exploit? This is quick an' crude, but it does the job. What /is/ kinda interesting is that this is really similar to some of the electronic traps, for lack of a better word, that they rigged around strongholds during the first war."

Which just leaves her question about rebooting. "Electromagnetic disruption. Proximity to flooding. The Deck is much cleaner." Briefly, he flashes a winsome smile.

"I have few ideas of places we might want to look for salvage. A lot of machining going on up our way. Pre-made parts that might save us some wear and tear. Storage depots we might want to check, even if the factories themselves have been razed." Leyla purses her lips, almost considering arguing with the man, but let's face it. Two bulls locking horns is never going to have a happy ending, "I'd like your permission to bring Payback in on this. He was boots on the ground back then. If anyone could give us some intel on exactly what they did and how they did it, stuff that might not have made it into the archives, I can't think of anyone better." Unless of course there are any other first war raptor veterans tooling around in the fleet. "Do you think it might be possible to reverse engineer something that could affect their systems out of what we have here and the data we have from the CNP?"

"Draft it, an' we'll make it happen," is all that's said about scavenging. "There are some places I'm lookin' to hit in Tauranga," which is located in the southwestern quadrant of the planet. "Optical fibers aren't the kinda thing we'll find in scrapyards." And for an ECO-slash-electrical engineer, such materials are priceless. "We'll also be raiding Wreath-of-Roses for shits an' giggles." Plus all kinds of high-end items the repulsively rich have hoarded. Now is the time for post-Holocaust refugees to own an antique armoire made of ivory and lined with baby sealskin. Failing that, more designer clothes and shoes than anyone could possibly need.

Insofar as the Old Salt goes, "Payback, huh? He's over on the civvie ship, yeah?" It's not pondered long, assented to with an insouciant shrug. 'Sure. Why not? Can't hurt. Feel free to put out some feelers."

To the rest, Trask smiles, the expression equal parts pleased with Sweet Pea's line of thinking (because it's akin to his own, heh) and rueful because the truth of the matter is, "Identifying it is easy enough. Reverse engineering any of it? Yeeeeah. That's not happenin' any time soon." He would know because he's been hammering away at it since the first of it was discovered. "'course, between the new doc and our most recently arrived guest in the brig, maybe we'll get a break." Beat. "One can hope, anyway."

"I'll get something to you as soon as I'm finished with my shift." Leyla, rather than continue standing, takes the time to lean against the back of a nearby chair. She might as well get comfortable. "Wouldn't mind seeing what they might have up there for supplies. I imagine whatever they had up there was a hell of a lot better than what we had down there. Medical and otherwise." Which, considering much of their security was private sector, probably includes that as well. Oh the things money can buy. "Yeah, he's lead pilot over there now. I get over when I can." It's no secret the pilot spends what free time she has, when schedules coincide, over on the civvie freighter. "I say we plug her in like a light and see how long it takes for her synapses to fry, but that's just me."

"Hells," Trask exclaims, "what they had up there's probably better than what even most of Caprica had." Being among the wealthiest 1% of the Twelve Colonies would do that. One point where he does disagree with the pilot, however, is the skinjob. "She's far more useful as a blood and tissue donor." Impishly, he smiles, even crinkling his nose. That said, he shifts gears. "Right." It's an emphatic segue. "That's it on my end. So, unless there's somethin' else you feel warrants discussion, I have flight footage to review."

"Probably. I never had the pleasure of going there myself." Leyla lifts up from where she's perched, rising to her full, not that it makes much of a difference, height, "Oh, I didn't mean just fry her outright, more jack her in and see how much of her brain we can access. She might be wetware, but she's still a machine, and machines have programs that can be accessed, information that can be retrieved. The doc could definitely help with that." Leyla reaches out, looking as though she were about to pat the SL on the arm, but instead, she simply pats the seatback next to him. "You know what they say about that. Too much and you'll go blind." A brief smile and she steps back, taking her copy of the memo with her, "Let me get cleared out and you'll have the room."

"Which?" is wryly inquired. "Wreath-of-Roses or Caprica? Not that it matters 'cuz pleasure isn't the word I'd use to describe such an experience." Never mind that he's never been to either place, but prejudice is prejudice. Keeping with the theme of things that suck, Kal blithely comments, "Wouldn't it be nice if it were that simple?" As if. The way his mouth sets more or less conveys 'not frakking likely'. Then, in a manner of mock apprehension trying to be played cool, he asks, "As a matter of academic curiosity… does that affect peripheral vision?" Typical cheek.

"Both, though in this particular instance, Wreath-of-Roses." Colonial fleet she may be, but Leyla never set foot on any of the colonies aside from Picon and Tauron. At least, not until after Warday. But rather than stay to continue the conversation, Leyla is indeed going back to the front to retrieve her things, and remove the footage from the LCDs, clearing out for the SL to use the room alone. "I didn't expect it to be simple. I do expect her to do a bit of screaming before the end." Once all of her things are gathered, she turns back, to make her way back to the hatch, "Depends on if you've got your eyes down or not, doesn't it? I'll be in the machine shop on the deck if you need me." And with that, she'll duck out.

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