PHD #130: Prototypes and Transfers
Prototypes and Transfers
Summary: Coll tracks Damon down to talk about the prototype ship and her transfer application.
Date: 7 Jul 2041 AE
Related Logs: None
Coll Damon 
Hangar Deck - Port - Midship - Battlestar Cerberus
Post-Holocaust Day: #130
The single largest rooms on the Cerberus are the hangar decks. Each flight pod consists of two stacked landing bays with adjoined decks and hangars, which along with computer-assisted landings results in a faster Viper recovery rate. Mirror images of each other, these two huge areas are located on the flight pods. The inboard sides of the deck, closest to the ship's main hull, are lined with parking and maintenance bays for Vipers and Raptors based aboard the battlestar. The outboard side of the deck contains the launch tubes used by the Vipers for standard deployment. Huge blast doors seal the deck into four sections, each one containing an elevator that leads up to the flight deck directly overhead. The fore-most section contains an elevator system that leads towards Aerospace Fabrication.
Condition Level: 3 - All Clear

Coll, apparently, just came from someplace else requiring a flightsuit. Her hair is matted heavily with sweat but the helmet going with it is nowhere to be seen. There's a readio crackling off the comms nearby on Tac3. One of the Raptor dorrs is open, too, with some people listening to whatever the hell is going on outside. The Crewman, probably not far from being mistaken for an officer, is walking away from clearing an elevator back down from the Flight Deck and looking for something as she cranes her neck to see down the Hangar Deck.

"Come on, come on," Damon says to one of the crowds gathered around a radio. "I know this all is exciting stuff, but we got shit to get done." His voice is good-natured, but it's clear that he's starting to lose his patience a bit. That usual easy-going smile looks a bit forced. "Get goin'. You can listen to it while you work." A wag of the wrench disperses that group. A sigh, a shake of the head, and he's on the move again across the hangar bay floor. The days are long and the work is never done.

Coll trots up to Damon. "Petty Officer," she addresses. She even sounds authoratative. "You hear that on the radio?" The Crewman looks like she's a bit out of breath. Whatever she's been up to. "CAG's right. Its just like Villon. She was killed by carbon dioxide poisoning. Somebody frakked with the trimix on the flightsuits." She takes a moment to catch her breath. "Annd. I still need to talk to you when you've got a few minutes, Petty Officer."

The first thing that Damon sees of Coll as he continues speedwalking is the flightsuit. "No, I haven't been listening to the radio, sir, it's been pretty - " And then he realizes who it is once the voice clicks. "Oh, it's you." It takes a second more for what she says to register in his spinning-a-hundred-miles-per-hour brain. "Wait - what?" he says, his voice rising. "No, not again. It can't happen again." The wrench extends to gesture at a nearby Specialist. "Bring me a radio, yeah? I wanna listen." Back to Coll. "Just Damon. I'm petty, but I don't like to be called it to my face."

Coll just waves her hand at being called 'sir' and nods when she recognizes him. She unclips the vest and unzips the suit a bit so its not as obvious. The Specialist grabs the radio and brings it over. "Damon." One final breath. "Look, this is exactly what happened with Villon. Except last time they got jumped by Cylons. Shit's been all over the Deck, sir." She puts her hands on her hips and looks around, standing tall. "Ensign Villon went out on a CAP. She started actin funny like she was drunk. Raiders bushwhacked em, sir. I watched the guncamera footage two days ago. I remember this pretty well because I had to personally check all of our air tanks before we jumped down to Leonis. Every one of them - not just our advance team."

Damon catches only the tail end of the comm chatter - but what he does hear doesn't sound good. "Frak. Frak, frak." One deep breath, two deep breaths - "Frak." So much for that approach. He starts to pace instead, hands up to his head brushing through his hair back and forth. "What are you trying to say, Coll? You're thinking this might be a setup for an ambush like last time or something?" The news sends him reeling pretty good - he doesn't even notice or bother to respond to her calling him 'sir'. In all fairness, he started it.

Coll shakes her head emphatically. "No. I'm not saying anything about a potential attack. What I'm saying is what I had passed to me by a pilot. A warning just before we were supposed to jump to Leonis. That's -all- I know. But if that's the case, Damon, then there is someone on this Deck with access to those tanks who is trying to kill our aircrew." She just watches him pace.

Damon spins for a while, but he doesn't take too long to rev down. "All right. All right. There's nothing we can do about that right this instant. But we will get to the bottom of this before it endangers more people. Before - " No, he cuts himself off there. He holds on tightly to the radio though it's gone silent for now, like the act of gripping something is giving him an anchor to reality. "You said there was something else too, yeah?"

"Aye. I've got a few things I need to go over with you." Why the hell is Coll still talking like she's in charge of something? She fingers the flightsuit. "This. And I also need to go over project tasking with you. The latter will take a bit more effort on my part. The Ensign I was working on the project with was killed last night."

"The prototype ship. The CAG mentioned that in a memo. If you've got a copy of the plans and blueprints you can let go of, there's going to be a special project team put together to look over it and certify it on our end. For obvious reasons, I can't have you on that team - but they'll be consulting with you heavily." As for the flightsuit, that brings a frown of confusion to Damon's face. "I don't know what the 'this' is. I hate to say this, but I need you to bring everything to me in paperwork. Memos, blueprints, and that kinda shit. As much as I hate frakking paperwork, I'm gonna forget if it's not in writing on my desk."

Damon listens as Coll rants, that calm and patient mask taking back over. Angry people, he can deal with. "Listen," he says as soothingly as he can manage. "I know this thing is your baby. And I ain't gonna make a fool of myself and say that I understand what you've gone through to get this far." Pause. His eyes hold hers with a frank look. "You are an Ordinance and Avionics specialist. And the subject matter expert - the only one - when it comes to this new ship. So trust me when I say that you're not getting cut out of the evaluation. All I'm saying is that the team that certifies this thing can't officially have you on it. Full transparency, no conflict of interest. But they'll be consulting with you every step of the way and you'll be fully involved. OK?"

Coll takes a hot breath. "I'm also the only person on your Deck who took the time to disassemble, document, and write out roughshod instructions and schematics for those cruise missiles. I've got the videotape and notes sitting in a secure lock-up in the Security Office whenever you want them. I get more time with them, I'll get you more information." She's trying to calm down but that pissed her off but good, apparently. "Fine, I can't certify it. But don't cut me out of the build, Damon. I can't handle that. Not after everything." A pause. "Please." She finally looks away and takes a deep breath, -trying- to relax. "Look. Also. Did you see the JAG report on me? I'm not sure if it was only addressed to Major Hahn and the Chief or if it included you, too."

"You're not getting cut out. Not out of the build or anything leading up to it. That's a promise - you can hold me to that." Damon reaches out to touch her on the shoulder and give her a reassuring squeeze - slowly, so she can shrug him off if she wants. Some people just don't like to be touched. "As for the JAG report, I, uh, I'm not sure. That might be sitting on my desk, but I honestly couldn't tell you for sure. I've just been swamped since I got back from Leonis, y'know?" A wry smile lights his face. "Though I'm sure it can't be a bad one if you're running around doin' all this."

Coll just looks down at the squeeze and it does seem to calm her. "Okay, sorry. Just..yeah. Thanks." She clears her throat before continuing. "Well, its actually pretty bad." Those eyes lift back to him. "The bombing of Raptor 305? JAG ruled against me. I got demoted and banned from the Ordnance Deck and the Hangar Deck except when it was specifically related to duty. Ordnance Deck under escort. The official charge was Dereliction of Duty. They slapped me with Negligence." Coll used to work voluntary shifts that would stretch beyond 16 hours some days. No friends, no hobbies, that was all she did after showing up as a refugee from Picon Anchorage; Work. "I won't bullshit you Damon. I ignored that order more than a few times just so I could get access to data I needed. Parts. Different things. The Military Police were and still are aware. They don't agree with the ruling by JAG and they are working to prove my innocence in it."

Damon nods as he listens to her summarize the report. "Well…" he draws out. His lips purse in thought for a moment. "Agree or disagree, an order is an order. JAGs can make your life hell if they want to - I stood before a Court Martial for a laundry list of charges." A small sigh escapes him as he looks over Coll. "It's a good sign that people don't agree with the ruling. If someone tries to get you into shit for being on the Deck when you're not technically on duty, let me know first and we'll spin up some 'special project' that you were working on off-hours, yeah? I know you've been working yourself half to frakking death and you're not just dicking around here. I trust you." He finally sets that radio down, since it's clear that everything that was going on out there is over. "As for the Ordnance Deck, I'm telling you 'not to disobey your orders'." Of course, that's accompanied with air quotes and a shake of the head. "I can't cover you if you're not being escorted, but it sounds like you're being careful anyway, and got friends on your side. Just watch your ass, yeah?"

"Technically, you can overturn those orders as Interim Deck Chief." Coll guestures to him. "JAG said specifically that I can have unlimited access again once I am approved by the DC or IDC. My work on that Cruise Missile was done specifically with the permission from Major Hahn. I might have gone down there looking for stuff, but I'll be damned if I was touching experimental weapons systems without permission from the top. Like I said, though, I have that information whenever you need it. As for working to death?" Coll's smirk is a little lacking in humor. "I worked those hours because I was going to go nuts if I didn't. A former Raptor Lieutenant with minimal Deck training isn't terribly popular. And people saw a Specialist at my age? Shit, Damon. You're probably five years younger than I am. If you saw a thirty year old Specialist, you'd probably wonder what the hell was up. So I just worked because its all I knew. Nobody around here would talk to me. Started hearing second-hand death threats after 305 and before I was detained. Even had protective custody for a bit." By the look on her face, Coll isn't joking. With any of it.

"Interm Deck Chief," Damon echoes with a little laugh in his voice. "Nobody's actually ever called me that. It tickles a bit." The little smirk remains on his face even though what Coll says isn't really humorous. "Age don't mean shit. And people are frakking idiots if they think a thirty-year-old Specialist means anything. Some people join later on, others remuster. I work because I don't know what to do when I'm not working - just don't burn out, that's all. We need you here." He taps his temple. "We need you here. If anyone from the Deck gives you shit, I'll sort them the frak out. Last thing we need at a time like this is to be at our own throats. And it's been a while since I knocked someone out with a wrench." His grin widens with that. Is he being serious?

Coll dismisses the notion with her hand. "It happened. I still don't get along with many down here. I'm not going to bitch about it. It's a fact I've accepted. Nobody ever directly threatened me, anyway. I'm over it. I have better shit to do than witch hunt. I'm pretty sure you do, too." She let's off a long breath. "Anyhow, I just need permission from you to reinstate my access across all Decks. If you don't trust me, that's fine. You don't have to allow it. I can get targeted permission as I need it. Or I can just do it anyway and break an order from JAG that the MP's thus far haven't given a shit about."<RE>

"That's not really the best…" Damon starts, then just shakes his head and waves away the rest of whatever he was going to say. "Never mind. It's not like you don't know better anyway." He drums his fingers against the bulkhead for a moment, off in his thoughts. "All right. I'll send a note to the JAG as the 'Interim Deck Chief' reinstating your access. Just don't make me wear it somewhere down the line, all right?" A sheepish grin accompanies the thought.

"Thank you, Damon. Appreciated. Sadly, though?" Coll shrugs. "I didn't do anything wrong the last time. I got really sick and had to run to the Head. Sergeant Constin and I think they poisoned me. When I get back from the Head, the missile I was taking apart? The warhead was gone and 305 was already on station." She shakes her head. "Anyhow, I also need to explain why I'm in a flightsuit. I've tried to catch you the last few weeks but I know how insane its been. I put in for a transfer to the Wing. I've been doing check-rides in the sims for the last ten days or so."

"I believe you," Damon says simply. As she continues on to the flightsuit, though, he draws in a long breath and lets it out as an equally long sigh. "Whew, okay. Definitely haven't gotten to that memo yet," he says jokingly. "Okay, well… Hm." It's obviously caught him off-guard and he doesn't quite know what to say right off the bat. "I'm not gonna say no. Obviously, I'd be sad to lose you from the Deck, but if that's where you wanna be - and they want you there - then I can't stand in the way of that. But…" His lips twist in thought. "You've got skill and knowledge that we need on the Deck for sure. Like that new ship you've designed and the missile you took apart. So even if you leave the department, we need someone here who can do what you can do, who knows what you know." He chews on the inside of his cheek. "Think you'll have time to work on this prototype ship over there, or are you planning on transferring after the ship's done?"

"It isn't even so much where I want to be anymore. Its more that its getting to the point where we are losing aircrew too rapidly. I was a full Lieutenant before I got busted back. It isn't just cowardice not to step up, its criminal, Chief." Yeah, she's gonna call him that anyway. "I've got some veteran skills in the Raptor that I can't put to use. I believe I can do more damage out there. As for working down here?" She crosses her arms. "You'll have to talk to the CAG or Lieutenant Trask about that. Ensigns don't have a lot to do except menial bullshit so it shouldn't be hard to request me down here. But I'm taking my quals probably this weekend. Ensign Weber..ahem..he estimated about four weeks from the time construction can begin. A lot of it is systems integration - which I've outlined. I've never designed an avionics set before, but what I cobbled together was mostly a stripped ECO station and a Viper cockpit. Its a two-seat strike fighter, Chief." Coll must really know her shit about Raptor avionics.

Damon nods. "All right. That's fair enough. I'll talk with the CAG and find out if you can be here to help with the certification to answer all the questions we might have along the way. I know you wanted to be part of the build process, and I wouldn't want to build the frakking deathtrap without you since you're the one who knows it inside and out, so I'll bring that up too - that's gonna be significantly more time." A short pause; a momentary hesitant look crosses his face. "If - if - the CAG can't give a reasonable guarantee on those two things, I'm gonna ask you to consider sticking with the Deck until the prototype is complete. Fair?"

Coll looks off and shrugs. "Chief? I've already started checks. I've got finals coming up soon. Maybe this weekend or early next week. As for the work on it?" She shakes her head. "I've been working on that thing we brought back. I haven't started disassembly yet but I've been trying a few things out in my off time. Cataloging whats intact, what needs to be patched - everything. I should have most of that done. Special project tasking shouldn't be hard but the CAG doesn't like me, Chief." The Crewman looks fairly serious. "If there's even a hint that you want me to stay on the Deck, she's going to throw me back here and tell me to deal with it. I won't ever see an ECO slot."

Damon pinches the bridge of his nose. "First off, quit callin' me Chief. Second, CAG might not like you as you say, but she still sent me a memo with a commendation for you for your actions on Leonis. So even if she doesn't like you, she still knows you're good shit. Add to that the fact that we're hard-up for personnel in the Air Wing, which is hands-down the most important department on this Battlestar…" He shrugs. "I'll be careful in the way I approach the matter with her. I'm not looking for her to sign a guarantee in blood, anyway - I know schedules are hectic, we're max flex, I just want a bit of reassurance that you're not just gonna completely disappear as soon as you get over there, leaving us all scratching our heads looking over your prototype plans."

"The Letter of Commendation and my Silver Cluster?" Coll rolls her eyes. "She can keep them. Turn them into earrings for all I care as long as I can get back into the Wing." She seems pretty set on this. "I'm not looking for anything either except a chance. I've got my chance. But Damon? I worked eighteen hour days on this Deck. We've all put down blood, sweat, and tears for this ship. But I'll be damned if I didn't earn this. I've spent the last two months in Hell. I wanted to kill myself until a Marine Corporal beat my ass back into a state of mind." Its not the sort of admission for someone looking for sympathy. Its got a hard edge to it that could slice paper. "There's twenty-four hours in a day. Even if I can't get tasking, I'll be damned if I'm not available. Ensign Weber died saving my life to get that Raptor back home for our salvage. Someone wants to try and stop me from this project, they'll have to frakking brig me."

"Lot of us have worked hard. Lot of us have worked long. Lost friends. Gods know we've all earned a year's worth of leave except we'll never see it. You've been a huge help since you came aboard and you've earned a lot, there's no denying that. If I get to have a say in anything, you'll get what you've earned, yeah?" Damon nods once to affirm what he's saying. "I'm going to make it clear that when it comes to this ship, you and you alone are the expert. And it's true. So don't worry about that. Before you know it, I'll be saluting you and calling you sir and dragging your sorry ass out of a Raptor or whatever that ship of yours ends up getting called when you land on the Deck."

Lauren looks off again, taking a long breath. "Its not meant to be my personal pet, Damon." Her eyes find him once more. "I want people to -want- to build this thing. I don't even care if I ever sit in the damned thing. Seeing that motherfrakker put a cruise missile into a baseship and watching it explode?" She makes a fist and punches it into her palm. "That's payback. Those missiles have a non-nuclear explosive that I think rivals a small tactical nuke. Our plans call for two on the wings. I might know my shit about this project, but I'm not the Goddess of the Strike. There's people on this boat much more qualified than I am. A piece of the team, nothing more. You make it plain to Hahn that I'm the sole expert?" Coll shakes her head. "She will never approve my transfer. As for saluting, well, whatever. I'd fly at my present if it was allowed. They way I've been treated by that wing so far, save for a few?" Whispers of a sneer flirt with her face. "I'm proud to be enlisted. But I didn't say that. Period."

Damon nods and glances away as someone starts calling for him from the other end of the floor. "Important, but not too important. I'll walk the fine line when I talk to the CAG." He claps her on the shoulder, a very different kind of gesture from the earlier squeeze. "I'm proud to be enlisted, and don't see that changing for myself anytime soon. It's a whole other world over on that side of the house. Couldn't imagine doin' anything else but a knuckledragger's job." He grins and gives Lauren a wink as he begins to walk away. "When I know anything, I'll get a hold of you!" he shouts. And then he's gone, lost in the maze of men and machinery.

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