PHD #412: EVENT - Nastygram
Summary: A team finally manages to decrypt the two files left by Cylons during the Gemenon recons. Whatever they were expecting to find, it wasn't this.
Date: 14 Apr 2042 AE
Related Logs: Gemenon Recon #1, Gemenon Recon #2
Bannik Cora Marko McQueen Sawyer Solstice NPC Tucana 
Repair Bay
A bay where stuff is repaired. Also, desc in set.
Post-Holocaust Day: #412

It's getting late in the evening, following a clock that is becoming increasingly irrelevant the longer BS-132 remains in space. As Command has requested, a team of Cerberus' finest (or at least whoever was at hand when people were needed) has managed to stake out a little corner of the Cerberus' repair bay as their own. Electronics, computer terminals, and couple of larger computer consoles are set on and around a series of featureless workbenches which are littered with wires. Next to the rightmost bench, a large table has been repurposed with a giant coffee dispenser which is surrounded by several empty cups; they've piled up like proverbial 'dead soldiers' as the crew has been at work the last few shifts.

A lanky, short-haired Petty Officer Third Class Lamar from Engineering frowns as she brushes back her prematurely salt-and-pepper hair with her free hand, grimacing in annoyance.

"So it's like this, and /has/ been like this every time we try to crack the damn encryption. It's like the files re-encrypt on the fly when we attempt to descramble them."

Peters, a lowly Crewman who made the fortunate move of joining the Fleet to finance a future degree in computer engineering, looks back at her and seems a bit less frustrated and maybe a bit more hopeful and enthusiastic about the project. "We already got buy-off to network a few more machines from Command as long as they don't have any way of being wired to the ship's systems themselves. And each machine process we add to the network gives us more time /before/ it rencrypts. So — we hit it with a bigger hammer, P.O."

Lamar snorts. "That's just the problem, kiddo. When we get the encryption unlocked, the files fail an integrity check. Just the smallest bit of data missing. It's like something degraded these files on purpose."

And the files, of course, are transmissions sent to the Cerberus' fleet, presumably of Cylon origin.

"Decrypt and re-crypt upon unscrambling." Marko pipes up from just outside the compartment. The young ECO, now looking as if he's shed more pounds than he could safely afford to lose thanks to a combination of a brief bout with the mysterious crud that's been going around and way, _way_ too many flight hours, has just ambled up from the flight line and leans against the hatchcombing tiredly. "That's an old hacker trick. There's gotta be a key somewhere in your decrypt sequence that's missing." he muses. "Like a password inside of a password. More processing power'll crack it eventually, but you've only got access to so much and there's only a few trillion possible permutations based on what I've seen of Toaster code before."

"There were other files, in other missions to Gemenon." Bannik pipes up from where he's been sitting at one of the terminals, frowning at the screen in front of him. "In those, it is like message was waiting for a Cylon who would be able to decrypt it. But we hardly have the computer power of a Cylon. Or the decryption key, if that's what they have."

"Mmmmm." A recent addition to the team, Lt. McQueen, has been keeping himself busy since his recent bust-up in combat with the Cylon swarm that rendered him injured and off the flight line. In the past couple of weeks, the bandages have finally come off and he's walking okay even if he hasn't yet been cleared for flight status. He leans over one of the consoles, the sleeves of his sweatshirt billowing as his pale blue eyes squint at the screen. "It's almost like this was purposely set up as a puzzle. Now we're in some Cylon retro adventure video game. You get a bloody time limit. Type 'get lamp' and 'get sword' and you get three tries to type in the commands properly before the arsehole gorgon eats you and you have to reload." He snorts. "Yeh, they're all like that." He says as an aside to Bannik before turning to Marko. "It's like someone's idea of a frakkin' joke. Flasher? You think we can get a /full/ printout of the file checks the next time the decryption run is complete? Maybe we can cheat." He barks a rough laugh.

A pair of marine-issued black cargo pants are the most comfortable thing Sawyer owns next to her pink plaid pajama pants and the latter doesn't seem appropriate for the Deck. Comfortable is important when it comes to sitting extensive hours at a terminal, swigging copious amounts of coffee and squinting at lines of code from behind the lenses of her glasses. She'd almost look military, if it weren't for lanyard of credentials around her neck instead of dog tags. "Can't we just try imputing 'Secret one' or 'password'?" The journalist mumbles more to her screen than the others, "Really. If they communicate with something as rudamentary as 'hello world', we should just strip everything back to the basics." Like using the two most common passwords, for instance.

<FS3> Marko rolls Computers: Bad Failure.
<FS3> Cora rolls Cryptography: Good Success.
Sawyer spends 1 luck points on Not Sucking.
<FS3> Sawyer rolls Hacking: Success.
<FS3> Bannik rolls Computers: Good Success.

"I'm just going with what I know, Queen." Marko chuckles, stepping inside and moving to a free terminal. "Maybe we don't have to get _all_ of it." he muses. "I mean, logic would say that the most sensible place to put the other sequence in would be at the front, so the program automatically knows it doesn't have to _stay_ open." he says, sitting down and tapping on his keyboard. "So maybe we can get the first few lines…" he says, starting to input commands. Obviously, he is zigging where he should be zagging, because on stabbing the XQT key, the entire system locks up and refuses to do anything. "Oh Frak….."

Looking just faintly crispy, like she's had a bad sunburn, and wearing the same black cargo pants as Sawyer along with her standard-issue tanktops, Cora sets down one of the cigarettes she's been chain smoking and chimes in, "Whatever they are, at least this definitely isn't just some toaster joke to distract us. There's something in here, something to see if we ever managed to decrypt it. Or something for the skinjob it's meant for to see, I guess. What happened, Marko?" she asks as the ECO curses.

"This message looks like the other messages that got stuck in our computers when we did recon over Gemenon," Bannik tacks onto Sawyer's observation, tapping and frowning at his screen as all techy types do; you know, the furrowed brow sort of thing. "If we can crack this, we might be able to crack the other parts. And …" His voice trails off as he squints at something in particular. "It seems like — I don't think the corrupted data may actually be corrupted. It may be by design. But we'd have to break more of the encryption to make sure."

"We'll start another run, sir." Lamar says as she studies Marko's Bad User Experience (tm), stiffly and professionally and goes back towards her workstation. "Uhh, I think that's been happening when we have too many of these processes running. Good news is, I did that twice already and didn't lose any work."

Sawyer swivels in her chair, her gaze sort of focusing on the ether, which is to say the journalist is looking at nothing at all while her mind chugs away at something. "That." She points a pencil in McQueen's direction, the yellow hexagonal-shaped wooden prism so marred by teeth marks it's impossible to tell the manufacturer stamped on the side. "Go back to that." But to hurry McQueen before he even starts to repeat the choose your own adventure mischief again, she makes a winding motion where she mentally fastforwards herself to the end of what he said. "We print everything out. We …we analyze the decrypted data itself."

A little late to say the least, Solstice moves over to the group, dressed in her coveralls. The bright orange casts some glow to her face despite the exhaustion that seems to rest there. Tugging her curls back as she hurries over, she takes up a place not far away to watch Marko work over the item. With a long breath expelled as she listens, it is not like she actually had been around for the original Gemenon information.

"What happened? Heh, I frakked something up, that's what happened, wasn't the computer's fault." Marko sighs, then chuckles good naturedly as he restarts his terminal. "Oh, where was all this six years ago when I was good at it?" he says mournfully. "Got too much Fleet code in my brain now…Gotta relearn to think about stuff from all the weird angles." he adds. "That's not a bad idea, Sawyer." he says, fishing a bright blue plastic whistle from the breast pocket of his flight suit and tapping at it thoughtfully. "But won't the thing recrypt before we got it all?"

"Easy, Flash. Don't get th —" McQueen starts, seeming positively energetic here, likely it's the result of his chance to do something vaguely related to duty. And as he processes what the others start saying, his mouth hangs open a little. "Wait a minute now. So the Cylons send a message to the fleet to one of their own? Indiscriminately? They knew we'd bloody interecept it." The rest of the recommendations start to dawn on him as he looks towards Cora, Bannik and finally Sawyer. "Shite. You mean we can stare at printouts instead of screen for a few? Lady, you're a bloody genius." Clicking his tongue, he adds, stifling a slight smirk, "Sounds like you /all/ are on to something. In all seriousness. Something I was wondering about this — the encryption's strong, but if humans can beat it, it's dumbed down."

Finally he just glances back to Marko at his question. "So we print it out /fast/."

"Couldn't we have the computer log an image or something before it recrypts?" Cora suggests, "So that we can print it all out, I mean." She leans over to tap her cigarette against an ashtray before taking another drag and then asking, unrelated, "Scaurus, is that a whistle?" She leans back in her chair and looks thoughtful for a minute or two before adding to McQueen, "We've never gotten anywhere near this close to cracking Cylon encryption before. There must be some reason we're being allowed to this time."

"Image capture /and/ printout? Might as well go for broke, Sir. And Ma'am." The lanky petty officer looks up from her screen and knocks back a swig of coffee as she addresses both Cora and then Sawyer. Funny enough that, despite her lack of military status, the 'ma'am' comes across as a bit of an honorific. "Just say the word, folks, Decryption peaks in three minutes."

"If they're dumbing it down, then they want us to break this." Bannik looks over his glasses at the others here. "Because the other messages? There was no way in Hades that we could crack it. Not without a Cylon to help us. So this is different."

"They're clearly trying to communicate. Or at least this last pack of was." Sawyer nudges up the bridge of her glasses with the rubber eraser of her pencil, turning back to her computer. "In something of a grander scale then they could pull off with Lamp Code. It would have taken ages to have an entire conversation /that/ way. It's like the data is missing just enough of its integrity to not render. On purpose. Maybe the key is in what is missing, not what is there."

"Maybe it's a gag and they're faxing us a picture of someone's arse." McQueen observes idly in response to Cora. "Some of the image feeds they had bouncing around the archive center at Leonis Telecom back when I was doing my internship had us chasing an elaborate gag which all led up to a doctored digital image of two goats frakking, with pictures of the CEO and HR director superimposed on their heads." He snorts, simply. "Seriously, though. I don't know how to deal with the concept of Cylons having humor." He finally glances over at Sawyer and his lips purse. "Let's see if your theory holds."

Marko spends 1 luck points on Not screwing this up!.
<FS3> Marko rolls Computers: Success.

"Heh, yeah." Marko replies to Cora. "It's kind of a totem for me, long story, ask me about it when you've got more time." he says. "The statute of limitations has run out on it and it's not like Global Defense are gonna come looking for me now, anyway." he chuckles. "I dunno if we're being 'allowed' to break it." he notes. "I think we're just finally starting to look at the problem from the proper angle." he says, frowning a little. "Okay, gimme a sec, folks, let me try something…." he says, starting to tap commands into his terminal.

Keeping her silence for now, Solstice watches the ideas being thrown around, her own opinions kept to herself as she just waits to see results. Arms fold before her as Shakes leans a little, tapping her foot unconsciously. But she shifts forward as Marko tries again, moving to the side as she looks then to the others for a moment, honey eyes lingering before she falls back to being absorbed in the happenings.

"Godspeed, sir." Petty Officer Lamar looks up at Marko and then stares back at her monitor. "Allright, people. Game time. We won't have but a few minutes to get this data out and in some kind of workable state, get those capture scripts." She shouts out orders to some of the junior engineering staff. "And Peters - For Hephaestus' sake, make sure that plotter feed doesn't jam because I am /not/ sitting here waiting hours for another pass." The younger crewman hops to the sound of her voice and, well…

So far so good. The better part of an hour will go by as the data is printed out and screenshots of the raw data, zeroes and ones in decimal, and converted to hexidecimal. Several crewmembers splay some plotter out on a spare workbench, and the visual capture is made available for Marko, Sawyer, Bannik, Cora, and anyone else willing to take a gander. There are two files present - a shorter message that was beamed at the Cerberus by a strangely-behaving Raider months before, and the recent transmission sent on Solstice's recon.

"So, uh, yeah. It looks like we're hitting some kind of breakthrough here." P.O. Lamar states as she squints at a printout. "Look. About every 72 characters or so in the hex dump of this data, something's missing." Another crewman stares at her blankly. "What I mean is this - There are two ways to assemble these zeroes and ones into any kind of raw code. One is decimal which is just a series of numbers which can be arranged to represent alphanumeric values. Hexidecimal is another method which uses alphanumeric characters which can be arranged to represent alphanumeric values mathematically. Looks like we've got holes in the hex code, folks. But they're sparse."

<FS3> Cora rolls Cryptography: Great Success.
<FS3> Bannik rolls Computers: Good Success.
<FS3> Sawyer rolls Hacking: Good Success.

"Yeah, we're talking bare nibbles here." Marko says, moving over to inspect the printout for himself. "Wait a second.." he says, frowning sharply. "Averies, I think you're onto something. There's structure here…This has structure. See?" he says, sweeping his hand over the first few bits. "That's not a random pattern. That's not a random patter by a long frakkin' chalk." he says. "Sons of Dis…." he hisses, blowing out a long breath.

"Yeah. We need this in hexidecimal," Bannik is saying, standing over the laid out papers, frowning down at the octagonal shapes on the table. "Because then, if we put it in an alphanumeric format, that'll make it make sense." He runs his finger along the print-out. "If it's in decimal, it's just numbers."

"Did someone say nibbles?" McQueen mutters flippantly as he rummages in his pocket and pulls out a couple of good ol' nutrition bars swiped from the ship's stores and placed down on the workbench table for anyone who wants some, making a sweeping 'have at it' gesture. As he lumbers on over towards the printouts, he squints and starts waggling a finger at some of the missing characters. "Think it'll be possible to reassemble if we plug in this missing packet data. A dropped transmission still leaves a trail." He reaches for a pencil and starts to hover over the printout before actually writing anything.

"There's definitely a pattern," Cora agrees with Marko, having risen to bend over the print outs, staring at the little gaps in the code. "It's like we have to fill in the gaps," she suggests, "With a passkey of some kind, I'd think. If we can plug values into these spots, the data wouldn't be corrupted." She runs a hand over her hair and moves from page to page, studying the breaks, and then points out, "Look," she touches a few, "Each missing value is next to a spot with a value that's repeated. Like…" she shakes her head a moment and then goes on, "Like an alphabet? This has to be the key to figuring out what goes in the gaps."

McQueen adds as an asside to Bannik, "Aha. And people don't speak in numbers. Usually. Well, unless they're gifted. Or talking about taxes."

Catching the sound of there being missing pieces, Solstice frowns some. "It can't be damaged, they were fixing my fire walls..there is no way they would have left something like that." SHe muses. Moving over to look at the print out as well, Shakes tilts her head, unfolding her arms to look at the gaps. Listening to COra, she slowly nods, considering the importance of what might be missing. The ECO stares at the range of code. "It can't be dropped, I wouldn't think." SHe says again, remembering how well the Raiders had implemented themselves into the Raptor's systems.

Sawyer is leaning over her elbows which are propped on the table, leaning closer to the code than really necessary given the benefit of her glasses. "So we figure out what to plug in, and it'll render." She murmurs, as the pieces all start to click together when each person pipes up with their findings. "If we can find the pattern to the first, it'll snowball. Once we have the first, it'll be easier to find the second, and so on."

"How many characters are we talking about here?" Marko asks, bending slightly to peer at the printout. "We could start by mapping them out, alphabetically, like Cora said." he says, more to himself than anyone else. "If that's where the break is, and provided we've got all the characters we need, the trick is to figure out what goes where. The math'll help us on that one, 'cause well, math is the only truly universal language." he says, bobbing his head thoughtfully. "And we are dealing with artificial intelligences here."

"Do you think there's some link between the two messages?" asks Bannik, looking from the first to the second and then back again. "Like, that — the first would help with the second somehow?"

"Looks like hundreds of characters." McQueen says after a long while of studying the text. "We've got another hard-copy so we can scribble this in if you'd like? I mean, take a stab at it. It's not like I have anything /better/ to bloody do." He says ruefully and hefts the pencil.

The Petty Officer says towards Bannik, "Well, the patterns appear to be the same between the two messages, Specialist. If that's what you're asking." Beyond that she has nothing to offer.

The team is really burning the midnight oil here as some hours are spent on the tedious and painstaking game of 'fill-in-the-blanks.'" Using the plotter paper as a worksheet, the project members take a stab at cracking the 'code' of missing data as it were, filling in blanks, using some crude computer analysis to determine character sequence, and entering the data. Were it sped up, it would have been not out of place while set to music in a film from a couple of decades ago where the plucky team of human underdogs works their hardest to crack the Big Bad Cylon code. And finally, it is produced in some kind of workable state, as the Petty Officer begins to enter the 'reconstructed' set of data. The next few minutes are spent compiling.

The Petty Officer suddenly drops her coffee cup. "Shit. I think — shit!"

McQueen has spent the better part of the last few hours scribbling here and there, periodically changing a couple characters back and forth as the baseline analysis of the pattern is established by the team. Most of the time he lets the others take the lead. Finally, he glances up at P.O. Lamar. "Wha? - "

After spending what seems like a week annotating the characters and making sure they're all there, which, surprise, they are, Marko is nearly walleyed with exhaustion, but mentally more alert than he's been in months. This is the sort of thing he lives for, and it shows by the increasingly maniacal grin he's wearing. "What'd we get?" he asks the Petty Officer, pausing to take a big stretch and stifle a yawn behind his fist. "Please tell me it worked…"

Bannik just stands up over the table, looking down at the string of items. "What did we get?" he's asking. "What did we get?"

Cora has been working away at it consistently as well, her brain perhaps starved for activity after five-plus days sitting around doing nothing on the Areion. She's just stepped away to acquire more coffee as the petty officer exclaims, and she steps over quickly to try to get a look. "What is it?"

"I think we did it right because both archives can be opened now. Hephaestus' Big Brass Balls," Lamar exclaims. "The older one's a lot smaller and contains an /audio file?/ Let's hit it first." With that, she flat-out jumps the gun and opens it.

As the crew assemble the first message (the one sent to Cerberus) it becomes clear that this is an audio-only transmission. And it's of surprisingly good quality too, for someone with an ear for what sounds like—
Opera. That's right. It sounds like it's from an unknown rendition of the centuries-old classical work "Orpheus and Eurydice" by Pashilidas. The melodious sound of the male and female duet contains a particularly well-known passage detailing Hermes' protection of Orpheus as he descends into the Underworld. Particular emphasis is on Hermes' graciousness and blessing of Orpheus. It goes on for several minutes and then stops as the piece transitions to its next movement.

As the music starts to play from the computer's speakers, Sawyer just turns her head towards the ceiling. Opera music. That's not exactly the reveal of the century, her shoulders sagging when the song finally ends. She looks to the others with a 'that's it?' expression on her features. Peeling off her glasses, she rubs the knuckle of her thumb into her tired and strained eyes.

Solstice tilts her head, listening as her eyes slowly begin to widen in recognition. Her lips part and she unfolds her arm further. "Oh.." She says. Her throat catches her words further and she looks to those around her before she says, "It is a Sagittaron prayer.." She steps forward a bit more, listening further as she nods, recognizing it quiet well. "It is a very old is a call for help. A call to Hermes in prayer." SHe says. SHe shakes her head, trying to consider the meaning of it, her lips pressing together before she looks to Bannik a moment and then the others. "It was used by pacifists during a time of war, asking for aid. Those who gave this to us are asking for our aid…in a time of war." SHe swallows, "They are desperate." Says the Saggitaron.

"There are two files." That's all Bannik can say at first to Sawyer at her pained look. But then Solstice explains and Bannik just nods slowly. "They need our help, huh? But what do they need our help with? It's just them down there right now. Unless —" His voice trails off, as if trying to deal with the implications he just came onto. "Unless they're the pacifists down there."

Marko through the sheer grace of several of the Lords of Kobol, manages to be above a chair when his legs give out from beneath him as the opera piece begins to play. "Okay……okay…..this must be what going mad feels like." he comments, scrubbing his face with the backs of his hands. "Yep…definitely crazy time down here…"

McQueen's thick, bushy eyebrows raise as he listens and then study's Solstice's reaction. "And here I was expecting some shitty electronica. Guess they're not dancing the robot down there at least, yeh?" He quips. "You know anything else about it? This wasn't the kind of joke I was expecting…" Trailing off, he coughs and gives Marko a sidelong glance. "Either that or they're going sane, brother."

"If they were so desperate, they'd stop burying things under layers of riddles." Sawyer says, tired enough that she's forced to sit back down. She leans over her hands, glasses dangling from the hook of one finger while she grinds her palms against both eyes now. "Alright, so we have classical music as the first transmission. What do we have buried in the second?" Because as Bannik points out, they still have another. "Maybe one can help us figure out the other."

Cora's first reaction is to glance down at the Petty Officer and ask, "Is this a joke?" She even almost seems ready to laugh, but… apparently it's not. She listens, and then turns to look as Solstice speaks as well. "It's also a famous opera," she points out, "And they could have just asked for help, or recited the prayer, or something." She nods at Sawyer, "Let's see what the second is."

"Well, I doubt we're the only ones with the powers of deduction out there. Maybe they're trying to give themselves some extra protection in case — in case some of them that aren't as sympathetic to us get the message." Bannik replies to Sawyer, but then shuts himself up. After all, there is a second message.

"That's almost scarier, Queen." Marko chuckles. "Pacifist Cylons on Gemenon….Gods, it sounds like the set up to some kind of bad joke." he growls, frustrated. "Yes, by all means, let's open the second package. Maybe it'll give us a recipe for Tauron wedding cookies."

"At least it's pretty, sir. Yep. There are two files." The Petty Officer states as she stares at the screen, shrugging. She then eventually leans down to retrieve her fallen (and thankfully empty) coffee cup, setting it back on the spare table next to her as she dives into the next file. "I'll let the smart guys figure out what that one means. Anyway, this one — " She pops open the second archive and a few keystrokes later, she exclaims, excitedly, "Oooooh. Upgrades. Wonder if they're sending us a nastygram. It's video, so I'll pipe it out to these three screens. Hang on." And the screens flicker.

As the video message opens up, some hand-held shakycam footage appears. It appears to be a cavernous, indoor structure dimly lit by some artificial light sources. There is rubble and rock in varying shades of gray and brown and suddenly the image of a woman's face appears. It's immediately recognizable as a Cylon Model Eleven. Her dark hair is covered by a red scarf typical of Southern Sagittaran fashion.

"If you're watching this — then maybe we have a chance." She states plainly, and calmly, her pale forehead smudged with dirt and soot. "Please. We don't have much time. This is what the Fives were so dead-set on destroying. We give thanks to God and the resilience of your people that they may have failed." With that, she ducks away from the camera as the footage pans and the person carrying it walks forward deeper into the cavernous passageway. Debris gives way to what looks like the ruins of a man-made structure. Walls. And eventually, the figure of a man comes into view - a slightly stocky, round-faced, middle-aged man who seems weathered but is still surprisingly healthy. He is dressed in a large, brown overcoat which is covering what looks to be the vestements of a priest. He has dark hair and a receding hairline. "I am Brother Solon. We have been told that people still yet survive. Which I can believe - we have been brought here from far-flung corners of the other colonies. What I am about to show you is a key to our future. If we are still to have one, Gods and Goddesses willing."

The man goes silent for a few moments as the cameraman goes deeper into the complex. What can be seen are remnants of murals, etchings, script, in similar style and content to what was seen in the ancient ship which now lies dormant in the Cerberus' very own Starboard Hangar Bay. As the camera comes back into focus, the apparent Priest is seen again, his thick, weathered fingers drifing along the surface of the wall, tracing some more of the script. There are remnants of the etchings of what appear to be small birds in flight, in the weathered stone. The large, monstrous stylization of a serpent is behind them.

Several statues of the Gods are seen; just as he passes the remains of the statue of Zeus with two outstretched arms he comes to a stop at an empty altar. Above it is a carving of the same maelstrom image that was seen in the alcove of the ship.

"We are so close. This is the future of humanity. But we need help. Help from you, and help from them. "This is to the Battlestar Cerberus and any remaining ships. If humanity is to survive, you are our last hope."

The camera is then moved back to the Eleven - several humanoid-looking figures are seen in the background, in varying styles of clothing and shape (note - they're not identical-looking either) and even a couple of Cylon Centurions moving some debris aside carefully. "The Elevens and the Twos - a lot of bad things have happened." She says, her eyes lowering. "There comes a time, the ancients called it 'Metanoia.' A time of right thought and right action, at the right moment. We don't ask to forget the things our people have done to each other. But sometimes you have a choice. And we have made a choice here. Help us - come to Gemenon. We need you now, as much as you need us." With that, the footage flickers — and fades.

"Some nastygram." The P.O. breathes. Her mouth is hanging open.

Cora actually stops smoking, as the video plays, crouching to peer at the screen as closely as she can, in an obvious effort to miss as little detail as possible. When the video finally ends, she straightens up and continues staring at it for a long moment, and then says, "Petty Officer, I'd like that file duplicated and saved on several different drives immediately. We're not taking any chances that this gets lost or corrupted or deletes itself somehow."

"My Gods." McQueen joins the 'mouth open' crew as his jaw hangs agape, staring at the footage. Even now his pale blue eyes focus on the glossy screen, though the video is gone.

"I gotta find the CAG." Marko says, hauling himself up from his chair. "And Trask…Can somebody give me a copy of this to show them?" he asks. "If they don't see this for themselves, they'll never believe me. Snag a copy of the opera bit, too, if you can. CAG is gonna have kittens when she sees this. Those are some of the same images we found on the Ark. Whatever's going on here is weirder than my pay grade."

"Already done, sir." The P.O. recovers and snaps her head towards Cora, punching in the copy commands like clockwork. "Doesn't look like there's anything hidden here, but we had 'em archived just in case. Sir." Her eyes are still wide.

"Everything's weird, Flash. Everything. The Gods haven't abandoned us. Whatever some might think." McQueen says, breathlessly. "I think Toast would give a whole lot to see this."

Cora nods to the P.O. and follows up with a few more, "Yes, a copy for the CAG, and one for Captain Karthasi as well. One directly to Intel and I'll take another for my personal files. I'm also going to need someone to take screen captures of the frames where that writing is visible and enhance them as much as possible," she says, "I want to see what we can make of it now that the writing in the ancient ship has been decoded. Actually, the whole thing will need to be cleaned up and enhanced as much as can be. Let's get it over to the technicians for that." She glances over at McQueen and remarks, "It was weird before, but it definitely just got weirder."

<FS3> Solstice rolls Theology: Terrible Failure.

"They're probably beneath the temple at the falls." Sawyer says quietly after the video has ended and people start to scatter. The journalist recalling her little history lesson about that place, and the background images they saw on the recording. "Looks like the Cylons are having a full on civil war. The question is…because of us?" She stands up from her chair, rolling it underneath the terminal she was using. With a head shake, she heads off, having enough to puzzle over herself. While she gets some sleep, no doubt.

"Right. You heard the boss, people!" The P.O. claps her hands as she looks up at Cora and several crewman go scurrying about, performing these tasks at a brisk pace. "Uh. Right. Yes sir."

"Yeh, Captain. Eventually the weirdness will approach critical mass and this shite will start making /sense/. I don't know what to believe. But that temple. That ship. And — I don't know what to bloody well think anymore." McQueen looks between Cora and Sawyer. "Uh. I think I need to go have a more convential religious experience. Considering I'm off the meds, maybe it'll involve a bottle."

"Oh," Cora adds, gesturing at the screen again, "And get me a print-out of that priest? Brother Solon? Send that over to the Marines, I want them to check it against the face books we've got, see if it matches anyone in the Fleet, or if anyone recognizes him." She scrubs at her forehead and nods, "I'm sure there'll be more. But this is a start." She nods at Sawyer and then smiles crookedly at McQueen and shrugs, "Maybe you'll have an epiphany, who knows. Enjoy, lieutenant. Thanks for your help."

"Thanks." Marko says to the Petty Officer, dropping the disc in the breast pocket of his flight suit with one hand while using the other to replace the blue whistle. "Okay, well, that was……frak…I dunno what that was." he shrugs. "Good work, folks. If you all will excuse me, I have go to give my CO and his boss heart attacks."

"It's what I do, sir." Lamar chirps and gets down to the rest of her duties, nodding once to Cora and otherwise settling into silence.

Meanwhile, the assembled crew hops to their next tasks, and the little revelation has left them shaken but otherwise dedicated to their appointed tasks.

As the ship progresses into the wee hours of the 'night' the shifts will eventually change and things will proceed more or less as they have in recent days. One thing is certain, though - the contents of these messages will be on everyone's lips.

"Oh. I think I will. And as I told Toast a million times, I'm here to help. Glad to be doing something before those martinets return me to the flight line." McQueen offers Cora and bunches his hands in his pockets, glancing briefly at Solstice. "Good work out there." He offers the Raptor pilot. "Look at what you brought back." He offers the woman with some uncharacteristic sincerety and for once - no cheeky, flippant comments. He turns back to Marko. "Ten cubits for a description of the look on the CAG's face, Flash." Okay. Back to flippancy. Just this once.

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