PHD #404: Party Planning
Party Planning
Summary: The 'garden party' on Gemenon is revisited; plans to revisit Gemenon commence.
Date: 06 Apr 2042 AE
Related Logs: A Lamb in Wolf's Clothing (Gememon recon); In the Loop (the importance if missing report data); AAR: Gemenon Recon II (report in question)
Referenced: Total War (Eights not Threes, according to the Elevens)
Cidra Leyla Solstice Trask 
Ready Room - Deck 7 - Battlestar Cerberus
Post-Holocaust Day: #404
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.
Condition Level: 3 - All Clear

The CAG is out of quarantine, just in time for all things Gemenon recon aftermath to hit the fan. Naturally, Cidra wants a proper account of that, so she's called its pilot and ECO, as well as their SL, into the Ready Room to review the strangeness on her homeworld. She's come early and is sitting, reviewing recently-processed gun camera footage from it on the LCD screen. Friendly Raiders, flying friendly. Expression is fixed in a slim frown as she watches, otherwise carefully neutral.

Leyla arrives as quickly as she can, having received the call on the ship's comms for her to report to the Ready Room. As seems to be her usual, when she's off duty, of late, she's wearing her sweats, with a duty green shirt over it, to which her name patch has been velcroed. Big and comfortable. Life still goes on, and pilots do actually take time off, when they have the chance. The only concession to work she makes is to have brought her laptop with her. All of her other gadgets are probably tucked into pockets. "Toast."

Having to muster herself awake and having to deal with the fact she was in the nugget berths the sleep cycle before, Solstice is quick to move once the summons is delivered to her. One can say she is curious, but the overall unreadable expression on the woman's face gives nothing away. Dressed in her off-duty uniform, she enters the ready room and slows. No such fancy tool as a laptop is on the woman. Carryied with her instead is a pad of paper and a pen. Rubbing her eyes a little, she blinks and tries not to yawn before she starts over towards the other women. "Sweet Pea, Toast." She intones.

Trask sees those two (2) off-duties and one (1) set of uniform blues with his own duty greens. Like Leyla, a laptop is on his person, carried in a bag designed for such things. "Major, El-Tee, JiG," is the nonchalant greeting. Carried in one hand is his nigh-omnipresent thermos that undoubtedly contains his beloved Deck coffee. As he takes a sip, brown eyes alight upon Solstice, narrowing slightly in keen regard.

"Aydin. Vasco. Trask. Do sit, please." Cidra remains in her own chair, for her part, though she does pause the footage. Frozen toward the end, as the Raiders rather peaceably watched them jump away. The CAG snorts. "I emerge from Sickbay and I find all the worlds have altered once more. I suppose I should be used to this by now. Sweet Pea, Shakes. I have read the report, of course, and watched this until my eyes do bleed, but if you could give me an account in your own words of what transpired. And what you made of it. There is much here, but little that I find easily understood."

"There isn't much more that I can tell you beyond what you can already see from the data the raptor brought back. With the possible exception of the data that was downloaded into the raptor's systems, which I am assuming Marko is working on." Since Marko pretty much works on everything wonky that comes onto the ship from the Air Wing. "We jumped into Gemenon space, descended into the planet's atmosphere and found a basestar waiting, but making no move to intercept us. They seemed content to stay where they were set. The raider's approached us in Colonial four bird formation, and used our systems to signal us to form up. Which I did, as it seemed to be more prudent than trying to attack them and being destroyed ourselves. They accompanied us on our recon of the Falls, and we noted the garden party happening on the temple grounds. When we were ready to leave, they allowed us to depart. We might have been able to find out more, if someone hadn't fallen down on the job and allowed Lt. Duncan on my boat. But I suppose that's what I get for trusting other people to do their job."

Looking from the CAG to Trask as he enters not long after herself, she meets that assessing gaze before she nods her head and clears her throat. Solstice looks to Aydin as she first explains, having been more the eyes in the sense of what is seen on the video itself. Once Leyla is done, she offers up a bit more. "After they moved in on us and offered a formation, Ms Averies suggested that the static on our DRADIS was a 'Hello World' in lamplight communication." She shifts on her feet and then continues, "This being said, it would hint at a very basic computer programming in the sense that they might very well have been rewired. Further more, while they were in formation around us, they proceeded to enter our system and download a packet - which you know of. This was partitioned off and there was no actual effect to our current systems or main system, for that matter. It was a small file… possibly a small video," she says, rubbing at her eyes a moment and then wetting her lips. "What I also found odd, was the fact they were repairing fire wall problems and bugs that we had in our systems. It was a gesture of good will if I have ever seen one," she says, giving a nod to the CAG but look at Leyla a moment. "My eyes were mostly on my DRADIS and what the camera was seeing." Which means she saw quite a bit, but not really wanting to discuss it.

"As far as changes go, I'd say this is better than the homecoming the Talon team received," is wryly remarked by the SL. After all, when you've been stranded on a nuked planet for 42 days as the result of a mission turned clusterfrak, few things top coming home to a mutinous battlestar group and the discovery that the Rear Admiral of the Fleet's been tossed in the brig on the grounds of being a suspected skinjob. When Solstice mentions the bit about firewall repairs and bug squashing, eyes are back on the junior ECO, again narrowed. Faintly, Trask cants his head, overall akin to a rapaciously attentive crow that might well start pecking away. "Any reason why this wasn't in the report, Sweet Pea? And, more importantly, why a supplemental wasn't made available if it's something you didn't want to leave the Wing?"

"Lieutenant Duncan did apparently ignore directives to be checked with Medical, presuming he could elude such and 'work through the pain', as it were," Cidra says, an audible sigh in her tone, though it's touched with worry as well. "He remains comatose in Sickbay. At last word his condition is stable but unchanged. Come to that, I gather he had some sort of episode within the Raptor quite different from simple delirium." She looks down to the printout of the AAR she's brought with her and recites Wade's gibberish: "'Time is the undamned river that plunges over the falls. The falls. Remember you the falls, Children of God is God is God is…' and end. Does this strike any of you as familiar?"

As she asks that, she rifles through some more papers on her lap and continues, "The 'garden party.' An apt term. Cylons and humans, in seeming peace together. And giving seeming welcome to you, or at least enough to impart whatever it is they wanted to impart. They did not fire upon you and seemed not disinclined for you to see what was going on upon the planet below. They wanted us to see, and receive, this. The central question is why. I welcome and solicit speculation, please. This is obviously a matter of prime importance, to both the enemy's mission and what future undertakings we may attempt on the planet of Gemenon." Brows just arch at Trask in a vaguely puzzled fashion at his reaction to Solstice's account.

"What information I had was included in the AAR, Boots." Leyla doesn't seem in the least perturbed by Trask's attitude, nor the look he's giving her temporary backseater. "I was not sitting the ECO station, and would have had no way to know what the cylons did to our system outside of what I was told. And what I was told is what I included. This is the first I am hearing about any changes made to the raptor's systems outside of the download." A glance away from her SL to the CAG, "Those are some of the same words that were uttered by the hybrid cylon who was running the foundry which we destroyed just recently." As for speculation, "I would prefer not to speculate. It has done us no good up to this point. I would prefer to return to the planet and actually find out what is going on down there."

Caught at least by the fact that she had not given the information right away, Solstice then says, "I made a supplemental the other day. Perhaps it has not be updated and given out yet," the ECO supplies. "I realized after reading the AAR that I had made an oversight as I was more interested in what was in the downloaded file," she explains. Shakes meets Trask's gaze a moment and then back to the CAG, "That oversight was mine entirely," she admits and then lifts a brow to the words offered. "That is what I thought, but I hadn't a mind to pay attention to what he was saying to be honest. All of the passengers on the Raptor that day were wanting to be heard." But as Leyla suggests returning, Shakes nods in agreements. "Returning would be the best idea. I agree with Sweet Pea."

The puzzled brows of the CAG are seemingly unnoticed. Only the subtlest of smirks surfaces at Leyla's explanation. Solstice's admission of fault doesn't ease the sourness of his mood, but it's enough to let her walk-away with nothing more than a sardonically noted, "Well, here's somethin' else for you to realize, Vasco: that's not the kind of oversight you should ever make." Beat. "Not unintentionally, anyway. And certainly definitely never if it results in keeping me and the CAG out of the loop. This little tidbit of yours makes a major difference." Sweet Pea, by sheer virtue of working as closely with the SL as she has, might well be able to deduce /why/ that piece of info is so important. After all, she's already foregone the conclusion that Marko has been put to work on it. Which, for the record, he has.

As far as returning to Gememon, the man notes, "I'm certainly not opposed to it. Still would like to take a closer look at the parting gifts they gave us, first." Eyes flit to Cidra.

"Such has indeed been entered into the full record when I reviewed the material after exiting Sickbay," Cidra replies. No surprise there. "The supplemental information should have been delivered to you, Boots, if you have not yet checked it." Moving right along, a short nod to Leyla. "Indeed, Sweet Pea, it was precisely. Drips and the others were along because they had had an… experience in Dreams…" The word is audibly capitalized. "…calling them back to Lampridis Falls. It does appear Drips at least had his mind touched again, in his state. And that the Cylons are privy to these same… call them hallucinations or visions. I know not quite what. Did any of the other passengers aboard the Raptor exhibit any sort of… reaction to the Falls?"

As to going back, she just nods shortly. "Quite so, though we must plan how, and fix in our minds contingencies of what we may find there. I am quite eager to return, for my part, once all analysis of *what* we found is complete. I am hesitant to believe we shall face a garden party to welcome us. Colonel Pewter does seem amenable to sending personnel back. Though I understand there is… ongoing debate about the proper reaction to this in overall Fleet Command. Either way, I am moving planning on a return forward. I understand from Major Willows-Cavanaugh the Marines are already assessing plans to insertion scenarios to be fully prepared if such goes off as well, which we should keep abreast of and coordinate with as they go."

"I am already coordinating with the Marines for places where we can put them down. They want to land two parties. The one to meet the Cylons, and a second to do a more stealthy recon of the area. To ascertain whether or not what we are seeing is a contrivance and not actual fact. I will have to give them my recommendation, once the full analysis of the topography of the area is complete, since we would need to find a place where we could put down without the raiders or the basestar picking up on us. And no. None of the others had any reactions or intuitions that they told me of when they reached the falls. Ms. Averies was translating the signals they were sending, Sofia was making observations, Andrea was wailing and gnashing her teeth because she thought Duncan was going to die. I, for my part, think he should be brigged as soon as he wakes. His refusal to follow directives forced us to cut short a mission that could have brought more valuable intel back to the fleet. And while we're on the subject of the fleet, are we really going to be listening to what Commander Kepner is telling us? Frankly, that reeks. The last time I checked, Commander Laughlin was in charge of the fleet. Not some spook who probably has his own agenda. Which might very well run to allowing this damned AAR to be leaked to everyone and their mother." Spook-hater is hating.

Her chin lifts with the verbal attention Solstice gets from Trask. A faint nod is offered, "Yes, of course, sir. It will not happen again." That is fact. She rubs at her eyes once more and focuses on the task at hand, listening to the details of landing. "How exactly are they going to be landing without being seen? I am sure there will be a welcoming party once again when we break atmo. The question is, will the Cylon's change colors when they feel we are a threat?" She looks to each. Then again, it was all about risks to be certain. Her hand tilts and she brings the pad of paper to her chest, a few scrawled notes settled to the page. She tilts her head, considering Leyla and her description of the Fleet situation, a brow arching as she falls silent to listen.

When Sweet Pea not-so-sweetly speaks up, it's like honey to the ears of her fellow Blackie. In fact, he smiles with equal parts amusement and, daresay, pride. "See, that's why you're my second." Which, in Trask-speak, is saying the pilot is hella smart and on-the-ball. Oh, and that he's of the same opinion about Kepner. Uncharacteristically, however, he doesn't add anything, masking behind a sip of coffee his desire to keep his own counsel. Instead, it's back to the Raiders. "Which is why I wanna see what we can suss out before we commit to an operation, but we definitely should be laying the groundwork."

"Or is this all some elaborate trap, and shall they change colors in any case?" Cidra asks atop Solstice's words. "Such are the questions we face. If we can avoid engaging these Cylons violently, that is my paramount hope. There are people alive down there, and I should not do anything to endanger them." There's an underlying note of passion in her tone as she says this, though she seems to try not to show it. The CAG is Gemenese herself, after all. "There is tree cover in the area where a search party - or second team - might hide. The question is how to have a Raptor in the air escape notice, which is not so simple a question. Our attempts to disguise Colonial signatures as Cylon on Leonis was near-disastrous."

As to Leyla's words. "Dial it down, Sweet Pea. Our fellows on the Areion have fought and flown and died aside us for months now, and are worthy of more respect than that. It is beside the point. Commander Laughlin is in charge of this Fleet, and Colonel Pewter of this ship. But as to Commander Kepner, I intend to have words with Lieutenant Colonel Baer on this matter promptly. We are of like minds on many issues, and I believe he shall see the necessity of a return to Gemenon. He has fair influence over his superiors. We cannot simply ignore what we have seen, that much is clear."

"A raptor is fully capable of making an intra-atmospheric jump," Leyla points out, "and if we can plot the jump point precisely, allowing for the interference from the planet's magnetic field, as well as the mineral composition of its surface, we should be able to get in undetected. I had also considered researching the possibility of pulling the raptors transponder altogether, so that it should not transmit its usual Colonial signal. Best case scenario, is to do a two raptor mission. One to bring in a group to rendezvous with the cylons, the other to drop the marines at the same time. If the cylons change their mind and attempt to attack us, we jump out of there and make other arrangements."

Her attention shifts to Cidra, "Salt flew and fought and died with us, and nobody trusts him. Most don't trust him because he's a Cylon. And yet he did exactly what you say the Areion are doing now. The fact remains, they have done little to nothing to earn our trust. They are spooks hiding secrets from the only people left in the world. In a time when there is no more reason to keep secrets, in a time when secrets can hurt or even destroy us. And the secrets they're likely keeping are more dangerous than one pilot who refused to go to sickbay. And that reeks of hidden agendas to me, no matter how many of them are dead now."

"Spooks or not, if we all start suspecting each other, then everything we have gathered, those that were rescued - including myself… is lost. There has to be a start somewhere. Being wary is something else entirely but if we crack at this level, then we might as well just land on Gemenon and stay," Solstice says in reply to Leyla's suspicions. She is newer to Cerberus but the fact that officers are feeling ill at ease is something that needs to be addressed, at least in her opinion. "That being said, we have a clear objective. We have to get back to the planet and land. Figure out what is going on behind that face value we have on video."

If only they had any idea just what Trask knows about the Areion and the seeming actions of the spook Command staff. Alas, he's not about to share. Instead, he merely observes, "Some people will /always/ dick over other people regardless of crapsack circumstances. And just like the jagoff race that spawned 'em, I'm thinkin' that Cylons are not immune to strife and predation, especially since their common enemy has largely been relegated to oblivion."

"If we could air our grievances concerning our Areion brethren and whatever suspected motives they may have later. The matter of Salt is of little import at the moment, beyond what his nature in fighting for us on Warday may show about the malleability of Cylons. Which may, in point of fact, be of importance given what we witnessed at this 'party.' But this is tangential, and driven by nothing of substance. We are going back to Gemenon if I have any say in the matter, and I have a good deal." It is said firmly, with a sort of unruffled confidence Cidra tends to show when preparing to roll through some obstacle or another. "As to substance. Intra-atmospheric jump in would I agree be the best chance at avoiding immediate detection. Removing our Colonial transponder entirely may be possible. Even if we do not read as a Cerberus Raptor, though, the craft itself is not so easily hidden, and such attempts at deception may serve as antagonism to the forces on the ground. Well, we have time to plan, and I shall consider all ideas. I am certain Major Willows-Cavanaugh shall as well. The creatures down there seem open to communication, and we can speak with their air forces electronically. If it is all not an elaborate trap, that could be used to arrange the more obvious of the two landings."

Leyla lifts her shoulders, a rolling shrug as she once again gets told they need to just brush the situation under the rug. Well, back to business. "I'll go over the data with Marko, see if we can come up with an appropriate jump point, give the marines a fighting chance to do what they're being ordered to do. And on the subject of the malleability of cylons, as I said to the Marine S3, we were all enemies once, before the Colonial Unification, and some still are, as the forces we encountered on Sagittaron can attest. And none of us know who we were and what we came from, when those who came before us left Kobol. We might well be no different from the Cylons at all. Now, while I am not suggesting that we attempt to make friends with these cylons, I would caution against the sort of attitude that blanketly labels all of them 'abominations'." A term Cidra herself seems entirely fond of, "These cylons could be valuable to us. We should approach them cautiously, but also with an open mind. We already know that their skills outrank ours in computer systems, as what they did to Bertha can attest. Those fixes they made to her system, if they can be vetted, might well provide us better protection in the future. They may have other benefits we can take from them."

"Valuable?" Solstice makes no comment about Sagittaron. "To be honest, if they are the only ones of a peaceful mind set it won't help us much over all. And say they are so peaceful that they couldn't be helpful anyways?" The fact they may be no different from Cylon's ruffles the ECO and she tenses, shifting upon her feet and clearing her throat to keep from speaking up a little harshly. In silence, she abides. "The question is, if we don't join them, would even the colonists possibly side with the existing Cylons. We may need to be prepared to look at this as a loss," she says softly. It's obvious she's not liking the situation anymore than anyone else. "What is worse, that if we have to handle this with force, with the AAR leaked, Cylon sympathizers are going to come to the forefront."

"Not just Sag," Trask idly notes with a small smirk. "Ezra Taim is pure dirt eater." As for waxing philosophical, the man is actually prone to such. Just not today, it would seem. He's more concerned with facts. "Well, what was encountered is consistent with what we know of the Elevens. If we believe what they've said, they are united with the model Twos and in opposition of the Threes, Fives, Nines, and Twelves." Which prompts the thought, "It's been a while since I read the reports, but did they actually name the model number of the so-called brothers they said feared the experiments being conducted above Sag? The ones that made the Elevens sterile. I only recall something about fear that the side-effects would taint the other models if those Elevens resurrected, or something to that effect. If that's the case, and if the brothers in question were Threes, well, hells. That definitely would play into this."

As for sympathizers coming to the fore, "They just might stop after enough lynchings and 'accidental'," the hand not holding the thermos makes a quotation mark with only the index finger, "airlockings. One thing's for certain: the civilians are likely to start clamoring for an actual government. Even in times of war, these kinds of decisions never lay with the military. And this goes well beyond battle tactics. This is political as much as anything else, especially is there's a schizm among the skinjobs." So says the SL.

"Whatever the forces on Gemenon may be engaged in, they are presently no actionable threat to the Fleet," Cidra says. "Not in any immediate way. And they clearly have humans with them, either being held by them or… living with them." She says it as if wrapping her mind around it with distaste, but there it is.

"Any action of force we were to take would endanger the remnants of humanity, which is the opposite of any mission we have left and must be avoided. The Cylons are still trying to destroy us, at least in some part. The 'Three' creature we encountered proved as much. But the captain is correct that some may be open to negotiation, and the Eleven is our best hope for that. We have already been assisted by this model on two occasions. Perhaps she is working in some manner against her own kind, or at least at cross-purposes. Her interactions with Major Tillman said as much, when we held her copy aboard this ship. There are still many unknowns in this, and issues outside our control, which must be considered as we move forward. Perhaps our fellows can make better sense of the data we gathered. I am given to understand Lieutenant Scaurus has already been recruited by Command for the team engaged in intelligence-driven analysis of our recon findings. We shall see what they see, and in the meantime make our contingency plans with for the more logistical matters of getting Raptors and personnel back to the planet. That we can work upon. Is anything further to be said on the findings of the reconnaissance itself?"

"I'd have to read what I could get on those myself. This was long before I was with the Harriers, and there was quite a bit that never trickled down to the Elevens." She must mean the Early Elevens, and not the Cylon Elevens. One would hope. "They will be clamouring for a government, and none of them will want to stand up and make one. And they won't want to be united. It's not like we have a Senator or some member of the President's cabinet lying around we can pull out of a hat and claim right of succession to the Presidency." A shake of her head though, "as I said, all I know is what I saw there, and what Marko will tell me when he finishes. I can't give you anymore without another recon of the area." And back to Boots, "Can you pull the transponder on a raptor?"

Shakes listens, but her mind is on one thing and when the matter comes up again about the packet and information, the ECO speaks up. "I would like to be a part of the team that is going over the information in the Raptor's compsys," she says. "If that would at all be possible?" She queries. Letting the topic of Cylons rest, she luckily had not been around for those times concerning the models and is glad to be unknowing of them. It's already confusing as it is; mash in some unknown factors and Cylon sympathizers and you have a whole lot of mess.

"None from me, at the moment," is the reply to Cidra, "although there's somethin' I need to run past you, Major, after we've finished here." Despite the nonchalant mention, those damnably expressive eyes of his betray that it's not something the CAG should postpone. As to Leyla's question, "In theory, I suppose. I mean, that kinda thing woulda been hella illegal, back in the day. I know some ships had failsafes wherein the entire thing would shut down if you removed the transponder. Can't say I ever bothered to try to find a workaround. Never had a reason. Definitely worth givin' it a shot, though. Won't do a damn thing against heat sigs and the like, but we have some tricks for that." Finally, to Solstice, "If someone who outranks me gives the greenlight, not much I can do about it." Other than rant and bitch. A lot. "I, however, am not the sort who assigns to projects people who are lacking applicable skills." Bootstrap may bat his lashes twice, at that, but he's no less of a pragmatic buzzkill for it.

"As you were on the mission itself, Lieutenant, I suspect your input will be prove necessary, whatever technical work is required. You have most firsthand knowledge of precisely how the Raptor responded to what was done," Cidra says to Solstice, with a sidelong look at Trask. "From what I gather, our Engineering and Intelligence personnel are up to speed now, so it shall be broken down shortly. You shall be contacted as needed, and I shall make it known you are available for consultation." And to Trask proper. "I must meet with Captain Vakos about a few matters now that she has been released from quarantine. I should be at liberty afterwards, Boots. All, I thank you for your time. Dismissed."

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