PHD #365: Presumptions
Summary: Van pays a visit to the CAG about an upcoming recon.
Date: 26 Feb 2042 AE
Related Logs: Sparrows stuff, I think.
Cidra Vandenberg 
CAG's Office
Lots of pink. Frilly flowers. The sound of children laughing under foot. And the inscrutable CAG.
Post-Holocaust Day: #365

Between organizing the double CAPs for the ongoing state of Condition 2 the ship exists in, with the onslaught of the Swarms, and the memorial for her fallen pilots, Cidra has not had a lot of downtime today. She technically does not have it now, but she's flitted back to her office to check the daily memos that've found there way to her desk. That's where she is no, hatch slightly ajar as it tends to be when she's in residence and not absorbed with some private matter. Sorting octagonal papers and smoking.

There's a knock at the hatch and the head of Lieutenant Vandenberg appears. She glances about for a brief moment before turning her eyes to the CAG. "Sir. Hi. I was wondering if you had a few minutes?" She opens the hatch a little more to be seen but doesn't enter without an invitation. The Marine is in her combat blacks minus her helmet, rifle, and assault vest.

Up tick Cidra's blue eyes from her papers. She's presently standing to rummage rather than sitting. She's in her flight suit, for her part, but most pilots have taken to wearing them, given the day-in-day-out swarms of Raiders they've been facing. "Lieutenant Vandenberg. Hello. I have a very few. I am due on Alert shift in an hour. Come in, but if you could make it prompt I would be appreciative. Do Major Willows-Cavanaugh or Captain Mathers require something of us?"

"Thank you, sir." Vandenberg steps inside but doesn't approach the desk or its stacks of papers. "No, the Marines are pretty quiet right now. Wish I could say the same for your people, sir." She nods slightly. Its almost jerky. She seems pensive. "I overheard in the galley today that there is another recon operation scheduled for Gemenon sometime soon. I recalled your interest in it quite a few weeks ago but had assumed that it wasn't a priority as I hadn't heard anything about it since." Which is what she gets for not asking. "I was wondering if I might be able to ask where it is going and what it is doing, sir."

Cidra now fully focuses her attention on Vandenberg, blue eyes narrowed rather quizzically. "'Overhead?'" Brows arch. "I did mention our interest in a return look to Gemenon to you myself when last you came to my office, Lieutenant. And it is rather presumptuous of you to assume you know my priorities. If you were curious, you should have come and inquired further on it sooner. In any case, sit, please, and I shall try to dispense with this shortly." She sits herself now, as it is clear this will take longer than she'd anticipated. "What would you like to know?"

Vandenberg flickers an expression on her face that seems to indicate that she is guilty as charged and chastised for it. It all rolls into the undercurrent of her mood. She takes the offered seat with a whispered 'thank you' and crosses her legs as she sits forward. "Sir, we had discussed looking for connections in my investigation to Gemenon when I was last in here to speak with you. Since then I've found quite a few that all relate to one place: Lampridis Falls. I was wondering if that was someplace that you were planning to send the Raptor."

"Lampridis Falls…" Cidra murmurs the name of the place soft, its syllables wrapping easily around her Gemenese-accented tongue. Whereas she seems to occasionally stumble over standard. "It is a name that recurs frequently in the information I have been given, and a place I intend to revisit closely when we return. Though what interest the Cylons might have in it we presently cannot guess. The data we gathered from our last expedition there was quite incomplete. What is it you have gathered about it, Lieutenant?" A pause. "If there is actionable intelligence that would be useful in our upcoming mission, it is rather important my people know it before jumping off, I do not feel I should have to say."

"Aye, sir. I've seen it come up there. Sadly, there is no actionable intelligence according the Captain Nikephoros. When I look at what I have about it, I'm reluctantly forced to agree - to a point." The Marine clasps her hands, setting them on her lifted knee. "I interviewed a few people who have shared a vision. Its this vision that led directly to the discovery of the knife that I have come to consider so important. In this vision there was an image of Lampridis. When the recovery team arrived at the Knossos Museum there was a large mural of it in the lobby." She takes a breath, steadying her gaze at the CAG. "I am aware you are religious, Major. I am not attempting to play to your sympathies. I wouldn't even know how. But I believe with everything I am that the Gods are trying to send us there. As soon as possible."

"My Lieutenant Doe dreamt of it quite long ago, when Colonel Pewter authorized the first reconnaissance to Gemenon, if you have not spoken to him yet," Cidra says. "I did request he and my Lieutenant Scaurus take as close a look at it as possible when they went to the place. This was when we discovered the abandonment of Sagittaron, Aerilon and Tauron. And the continued occupation by the Cylons of Gemenon, Doe and Scaurus' Raptor barely managed to escape without them both being shot down and ended. As it is, we came away with a less-than-close look at the terrain there. We could not even get our noses into low orbit, surrounded by Raiders as they were, and had to rely on a long-shot photo reconnaissance." A pause. "The gods or the Cylons. I do agree there is something there worth looking at, but we must use some thought about how we do it. I am unconvinced this could not be some great enemy trap. Or something far more troubling. Not all omens are good, Lieutenant. Have you heard the tale of the auspices the Chaplain saw when this ship was launched?"

More visions. Natalie shakes her head slightly but seems unsurprised by that revelation. "Risky. I've looked at the intel about Gemenon and I must admit that it wasn't promising for our options. I'll speak with both the Lieutenants, though, sir." To the point of it being a trap Vandenberg doesn't bother with head movements. "I do not believe it to be a trap, sir. Not with what I have seen. If the Cylons had the capability to implant visions into our heads I could think of far better ways to get people to send our fleet to disaster than an overly elaborate trap months down the road." With the question, the Marine shakes her head. "Negative, Major. I have not heard of what happened."

"The Cylons are subject to these 'visions' too," Cidra says. "The Model Five we had in custody in the brig not long ago apparently had an episode of one. And they have their own strange, abominable religion. I do not put it past them to have twisted in some fashion some piece of what they have learned in the Sacred Scrolls to their advantage. There has to be some reason they nuked with such vengeance all the holy places on Gemenon. But, I do not in my heart think it a traditional 'trap' as well. But that does not mean our doom may not lie there."

She pauses, to take a quick drag on her cigarette. "Before we launched from Spacedock Leonis, the chaplain Sister Karthasi sacrificed a cow in the traditional manner. I assisted her in the procedure myself, held the knife which cut the beast. I am a woman of the Faiths, Lieutenant. I have taken part in many rituals throughout my life. Some showed good omens, some ill." Another pause, she shudders. "I have never seen any omens darker than what I witnessed in that ceremony. And barely two weeks after it, the Cylon holocaust came upon our worlds and near-destroyed our race in fire."

"The Model Five had a vision. Mm." The repeated statement seems to be her way of absorbing that new information. Though, it also doesn't surprise her either. "I guess that would track, sir. If we are seeing them then it would make sense that the skinjobs would be as well. Alternative to my theories, if they are visions sent by our Gods, they may be intended to cause harm to the Cylons." From how she is talking, she very obviously is someone of faith. But like Cidra she's calm and collected about it. The information about the bad omen, though, does surprise her. "No kidding, sir. I didn't realize that the strange happenings aboard went back all the way to before commissioning. I thought it was all post-Warday, Major." More of her being presumptuous.

"You presume very much, Lieutenant," Cidra says. "Which is fine if one follows the presumption with inquiry, but to act upon such blindly is folly." She shakes her head. "In any case. I will tell you something of me. In my youth, I studied to be a priestess of Athena. That was not the path my life was to take, for many reasons, but in doing so I learned much of rituals and omens, even if I have never been blessed with a vision myself." A pause. "You presume one more thing in all this, Lieutenant, which I think a very large folly. You presume that what lies upon Lampridis Falls - if anything does at all, is to our good and our enemy's bad. There is no indication of this. What there is, is a feeling. I feel it, too. Some force, larger than ourselves, speaking to something of import that lies at that place. But this is not necessarily to our good. Omens of death, of destruction, are often even more apparent than those of good to come, due to their power. I believe there is something in these 'visions', Lieutenant. I believe this true. But I also think it possible that our doom could lie on Gemenon. Or something very dark that the Cylons are twisting the place to. This, I cannot discount."

This time Vandenberg doesn't seem to hear the first comment about her presumptions. But the personal information about Cidra is quite curious. "Huh. That's something I never would have expected, sir. I've completed a Rite before but had never considered Priesthood. It would seem our Wise Lady was indeed better informed and sent you to this ship where you were needed more." But the rest the Marine S-Three listens to. She's waiting. She's already considered this, apparently. "No, sir, I have considered that extensively. That is why I believe we need to get there as absolutely soon as possible. If there is some good there for us, the Cylons will attempt to take it from us. They were digging all over. I'm inclined to believe they want one thing but don't know where to find it. They may still be looking. If there is some sort of doom there, some kind of horrible fate that awaits us, then we need to know about it right away. If this doom is related to an artifact they need, we need to prevent them from getting it. I tried to convince Captain Nikephoros that we need boots on the ground but she is disinclined to approve what she believes to be a suicide operation."

Cidra shrugs to that, taking another drag on her cigarette before answering. "In my youth, when I spoke to the military recruiters on campus at the Kobol Colleges, it seemed flying a Raptor was the very embodiment of service to Athena. Sharp eyes, heavy wings, talons to ensnare foe or carry friend to safety. Well. I was young and naive. I am now unsure who's creature I was all these years. But I do try to serve as best I am able. I do try." As to the last. "At present putting boots on the ground there *would* be a suicide operation. The Cylons still control the planet tightly, and we have not information good enough to know *where* infiltration might be launched, if it is even possible. This is the whole point of further reconnaissance, Lieutenant, to acquire data to present such a mission to Command in a way that is feasible." Again, just the slightest note of puzzlement at the way Vandenberg puts that, but she tries to keep her tone gentle. "And as I have said both when we last spoke and now, I intend to launch such a mission there as soon as we are able. With the Swarms presently plaguing our ship, and the Cylon Foundries to deal with, we have not had Raptors to spare. Those we have are needed to maintain jamming strength so that we may ward off the Cylons, spreading our scouting forces too thin is suicide right now. And losing a Raptor to such a dangerous mission if we are not fully prepared would be great folly. Do not again presume, Lieutenant, that I do not think this of importance. Gemenon is my home." There is just the slightest touch of offense in her tone though, again, it is carefully muted in good manners.

"I still consider it something that would sell me, sir. Though that happened to another member of our fleet, I think. A CIB agent I recently met that was rescued from Tauron. Very smart, quick mind." Vandenberg smiles a touch with the mention. But as the rest of the conversation unfolds, her face turns to more of a confused frown. "I hadn't assumed any of that, sir, and I honestly meant no offense. Certainly not to insinuate you didn't care about Gemenon. My apologies if it came off that way. I hadn't given much thought as to why a second recon had not been done. I would just as soon say that the Wing had reasons I was unaware of. I'm Marine Operations, sir. I don't really even know but maybe three or four pilots so my interaction with your people is minimal at best."

"Your apology is accepted and I will assume I did misinterpret," Cidra says. "And I did think the Swarms were rather apparent and constant threats, but I shall take it that we have done our jobs in keeping them off the ship if they are not automatically known as such. As it stands, if you had an interest in this operation you should have consulted me. But, you are doing so now, so I do take it you do not need be told this. If you would like to assist in the planning of this, I am most open to that. I have already given a pair of my Viper pilots - Duncan and Demarcos - permission to fly along on the Raptor going out. To no real actionable purpose, as Vipers have no FTL. But they were parties to these Dreams, as you may or may not be aware, and may see something of value."

Vandenberg only stares at the CAG during the first part. Whatever she is thinking is guarded behind that mask of hers for she says nothing in reference to it. "I know Drips, sir. Demarcos I only met once briefly while volunteering in Sickbay. But yes, I would be interested in being involved in this recon when it can be done. Riding along as well if I possibly could." She has hardly moved but for her face since she sat down. She's still tense. More so since the pilot took offense. "I'd very much like to get involved. Who should I contact about it?"

"That could be useful, certainly, in terms of you riding along," Cidra says. "Best place to coordinate in terms of that at present is myself and my Captain Quinn. She has also been privy to dreams that may be of import, as you may or may not be aware through your own investigation of this issue. She has been down with Medical issues but, for reasons I think obvious, it would be my preference to have her fly it."

Vandenberg nods twice to the permission to ride along. "Thank you, sir. I appreciate this." More mentions of people having visions gets a loft of her brow. Especially that they could potentially be important. She doesn't seem as happy as she was a moment ago, though. "Understood, sir. Captain Quinn. I'll hunt her down. I was unaware of her involvement in visions." She pauses, seeming intent on a point. "If Cylon presence is lessened and its possible to get people on the ground, would I have your backing to take the request to command if their intent is otherwise?"

"As I have just a moment ago said, Lieutenant," Cidra says. "The whole point of returned reconnaissance is to see if further action on Gemenon is feasible." She takes a moment to smoke some more. "I will not speak to information I do not have, but that is our whole aim in this. To that end. Please review maps of Gemenon terrain that, from a strategic point of view, might be useful as landing zones or insertion points. We can make a note to scout those in detail, and you can view them yourself during the flyover if you are able to come along. I will coordinate with your Major Willows-Cavanaugh and Captain Mathers so they are aware of your tasking to this endeavor. And be aware we cannot launch this off tomorrow. We still have the Swarms to deal with, and we must maintain our search for additional Cylon Foundries, which we believe to be the source of the Raiders that plague us. The Fleet has many actionable and immediate dangers, Lieutenant, as I am sure you are well aware."

Vandenberg takes that stare again, waiting for Cidra to finish. She almost looks confused. In the end she nods once, slowly. "Aye, sir. I don't expect it would come off until everything is taken care of. It will take me a few days to look over potential landing sites, in any case. I'll also need to speak with your pilot about it. I have no expectations or assumptions about it being done until the wing is ready."

"Very well. Review the reconnaissance data from Gemenon from our initial post-attack flyover and our last attempt to gather data from the planet as well," Cidra says. "The flight footage is available for review, and I am honestly surprised you have not asked about it before, given your interest in the planet. In any case, I can have it marked out for review in the Ready Room at your convenience, and that of my pilots. Is there anything further, Lieutenant? I must be on Alert in getting near a quarter of an hour."

Again, Van looks expressionless. "Thank you for the access to the recon footage, sir. I have nothing further and will get out of your hair." She uncrosses her legs and rises slowly to salute the Major. "Sir."

Cidra stands and acknowledges the salute. "Good hunting, Lieutenant. We shall speak of this more in the coming days, and I shall be in touch with your superiors." With that, she sinks back into her chair to do a bit of last-minute memo organization.

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