PHD #064: Puzzles
Summary: The Ananke mess is chewed over. All signs point to Leonis, for good or ill.
Date: 02 May 2041 AE
Related Logs: Lots. Sic Semper Tyrannis; Inescapable; Cryptic Script; Fear the Reaper; No Lies; Necessity; Pizza Delivery; Probably more.
Haeleah Kulko Oberlin Tillman 
Ward Room - Deck 7 - Battlestar Cerberus
A large oak table in the center that is surrounded by high-backed, black leather chairs, and is one of the few compartments that has carpeted floor dominates the Ward Room. There is a large LCD screen at one end of the room for presentations that faces the CO's position at the head of the table. At the other end of the room is a small counter for refreshments and has stacks of legal pads and writing utensils available for those that use the room. Nearest the hatch is a small screen set into the wall, which provides a readout for a customizable set of data. Along the starboard wall, stand the 12 flags of the colonies.
Post-Holocaust Day: #64

Haeleah arrived early to the Ward Room. At the moment she's doing the last minute prep work of getting the proper slides loaded up for the LCD screen. And getting herself some coffee. Coffee is all important. She's been dispatched as Engineering's representative for this little get-together, it would seem. The goal of the meeting, such as it is, is to pool over what information has been gathered about project 'Ananke.' And what it may mean.

Kulko meanders into the Ward Room, having already secured his coffee, and sets about lighting a cigarette. Those two things having been dealt with, he moves towards the Engineering Lieutenant and offers a quick salute. "Parres," he greets. "Good to see ya. Never was much for puzzles, myself."

There are recent arrivals, and early arrivals. Strangely, one of the latter sits here, with a splayed-open notebook in front of him. Clad in his duty greens, an odd thing for him, this figure is clearly one Lieutenant Oberlin. Sitting here. There's a lukewarm cup of coffee at his place at the table. As for he himself? He appears to have, oh no, dozed off. Face down in said notebook.

Haeleah straightens, returning Kulko's salute briskly. And offering one to Oberlin, while she's at it. "Lieutenant Kulko. Have a seat." She does so promptly, pulling out a chair for herself near the LCD screen. Where she can work the controls. "I hope we've enough of the puzzle put together that we can bring something coherent to the Admiral now." It's not until she sits that she notices Oberlin. Dozing. Blink. "Lieutenant!?" It's kind of yelled in his general direction.

Tillman arrives from Deck 7 corridor.
Tillman has arrived.

Kulko selects a nearby chair, secures an ashtray, and settles in. Oberlin gets a bemused smirk - somehow the Tactical JiG is less than surprised at the Intel officer's lack of consciousness. "Calvin. Rise an' shine, brother, we're gonna get started.

"Uhhh. Wha? Oh. Yeah. That." The rumbling from the disshevelled Oberlin comes fairly quickly as he in fact, rises, reaching for the lukewarm coffee with a stretch of his hand. His head rises to reveal the notebook that is? Well. Shockingly blank. At least on the current page.

Tillman slides through the hatch and shuts it behind him, the Perpetual Mug of Coffee is already in hand as he moves in, nodding to those present as he heads for a chair. "Evenin, everyone." There's a quick nod to Haeleah. "Thanks for hostin' this."

"Captain Gabrieli's buried in the Fabrication repairs at the moment but he sends his warm regards," Haeleah says. Screen on. Blip. Funky data originally pulled off the Parnassus computer appears. The word 'Ananke' highlighted amidst the general collection of text vomit. A sideways look at Oberlin. "You okay, sir? You look a bit…disheveled." Haeleah is kind. "Anyway. For the past several weeks, the lot of us have been trying to puzzle out what was going on at Parnassus. I suppose now we'll never know the whole of it. The Cylons blew that motherfrakker out of the universe, along with whatever other secrets it had. But I *think* we've gotten some kind of handle on Project Ananke. Or least, some coherent piece of the puzzle."

Kulko rubs at the back of his neck. "Really? Cause I'm still as fuzzy as a peach come summertime. But supposin' I'm jumpin the gun." He sucks down a long drag off the cigarette, sliding the ashtray a bit closer to Tillman's seat. So they can share.

The XO settles into his chair and nods to Kulko for the ashtray before sipping at his mug and looking towards the screen. He looks over the jumble of data that probably only makes solid sense to someone like Haeleah. "Yeah, gettign this all straight would probably help us assemble some sort of picture. Let's have it." Tillman settles back into the chair, his demeanor relaxed for the moment.

"Ten to one it wasn't Admiral Hauck's moonshine still." Oberlin says, humorlessly, a bit of a sigh creeping into his voice as he straightens somewhat. "I'm absolutely frakking stellar at the moment. Just plugging away on that little bit of Cylon tech the deck gang ripped out of those Raiders." His thin smile flickers and fades, straightening even more as he notes Tillman's entrance.

"Nothing about that place makes any hard kind of sense," Haeleah admits in wry agreement with Kulko. "But I think we're getting somewhere. Maybe. Captain Gabrieli told me he'd come across a previous reference to Project Ananke when he served aboard the Battlestar Chimaera. His clearance at the time wasn't high enough to get into the details of it, but he did say it was something Admiral Madeline Hauck and his CO on the Chimaera were really thick into. And that some of the work - whatever it was - was being done by a company on Leonis." Head tilted toward Tillman. "One of the survivors off Parnassus said something about Leonis, didn't he, sir?" 'Survivor.' 'Insane prisoner.' She's obviously using polite symantics.

"And whatever it was, the enemy wanted it gone. Shame," Kulko notes simply, falling silent to listen.

Tillman lets off a long sigh as he looks to the ceiling, a symbolic gesture of him searching his memory. "Ah, yes. I believe he did. Something about 'the hunter' and 'the plains', if I recall correctly." His eyes fall back to Haeleah. "We sent those recons to Leonis to check out some oddities with what the man was saying. Got some interesting intelligence back from it, too. But first I want to hear what you've got to say."

"Hm. Suggestion. I've read reports and mostly there was a lot of gibberish from a broken man who spoke through ciphers. Gods rest his soul." Oberlin says, the latter part sounding like a sort of confused afterthought. He doesn't seem to be the type to give benedictions, at least. "If we have confirmed codespeak, might as well try to avoid using metaphor when discussing confirmed translations. Otherwise we'll have everyone in the chain of command repeating said metaphor and crossing their wires." His nose wrinkles flatly. "That's a pretty terrible business."

"The Cheng-" 'Chief Engineer' for those not versed in snipe-speak. "-mentioned the Chimaera made a lot of wonky little milk runs to out-of-the-way anchorages, like Parnassus, when he was attached to it," Haeleah said. "But it was primarily tasked to Leonis. So there does seem to be some connection with the colony. Cipher or not. I guess he heard his CO talk with Admiral Hauck about 'the end to the Cylon problem', but he wasn't high up the chain enough to get the details at the time. Captain Gabrieli said that was years ago. Seems almost prescient now. And creepy."

Kulko taps some ash off the end of his cigarette. "Maybe they figured it out? Like… an override code, or some chink in their armor. Prolly what sent the toasters into such a tizzy." Glances shot around the room until he looks back to Haeleah.

"True. But its also a one-in-twelve shot if you look at it from an analytic standpoint. But given that we've got a few lines going back and forth, not much hurt in seeing if it develops into a web that binds Parn and Leonis." Tillman sips at the mug of coffee, still looking fairly relaxed for now.

Sounds like a nice wish." Oberlin comments as he begins to dig for a pen, pops the cap off, an begins to freely scribble as he squints at the paper below. "I think personnel is a good start. Like Lieutenant Parres. I never met anyone specifically associated with the crew of the Chimaera, so we'll have to concentrate on Parnassus and and our findings there. He pauses, as if waiting for someone, anyone.

"Could be. That's kind of where my head was going," Haeleah says with a little nod to Kulko. "Though I guess that could be wishful thinking. Anyway, I think there's more lines to Leonis than just some nutjob's ranting to the MPs. The company most closely associated with Project Ananke, from what we can make of the data, is called Impinj. It's a biotech firm. Based out of various locations on Leonis." She clicks to some more slides that show a map of the colony, certain spots dotted. "It has branches in various cities, but it's center is located in the Aspasia Province." Zoom, zoom. "So whatever work wasn't going on on Parnassus *might* have been ongoing there. This thing had civilian contractors attached to it out the ass." Ahem. "Sirs."

"Biotech?" Kulko echoes somewhat pointlessly, eyes drifting upwards in thought. "Any chance there was some sort of an inside job? Collaborations with the Cylons? Might explain all that goop we found on the Anchorage… and inside the Heavy Raider."

Tillman waits until Kulko is finished before speaking up, the XO feeling polite today. His fingers drum across the side of his coffee mug a few times. "Aspasia Province. They wouldn't have any major offices in Kythera, would they?" The man takes it all in but isn't giving up much of his own information yet.

"Check. That's always charming. /Extremely/ charming, at that." Oberlin rattles off, after weighing the arrayed evidence."From what I am grathering, the organic substances are cylon-generated. Somewhow. They had their fingers all over that station for some reason I can't even begin to fathom."

Haeleah's nods, dark eyes going to Tillman. "Come to it, sir. Kythera's *the* major city in Aspasia Province. And the answer, more specifically, is yes. It has an office or two specifically based out of the city." Head then tilts to Kulko. Dark eyes widening a notch. The idea clearly spooks her. "Maybe they had some intel the Cylons were dabbling in biotech. Could've been trying to counteract them." Still, she clearly mulls the idea of collaboration.

Kulko leans back in his chair, flicking ash from his cigarette and mulling over the notion himself. "The whole thing is spooky."

The Major sighs heavily and looks back to his mug. "Figures. It -would- be Kythera." He snorts, looking like he might laugh at the irony but holds back. "As for what Mister Kulko is suggesting, the concept of collaberation with the Cylons is not entirely out there." He looks between those in the room. "Those of us wo have seen the inside of the Heavy Raider know exactly why. Damned things has a flight yoke, some sort of instrumentation system, and a padded seat for the pilot. The implications for that are staggering because it was clearly designed to accomodate a human pilot. The Cylons went to a lot of trouble to accomodate that, I would assume. If they designed a lot of - or even all of - their Heavies like that, that's thousands of human collaborators. Maybe tens of thousands. I can't even wrap my head around what that could mean or how it could even happen." He drums his fingers once more and looks back to Hayhay.

"Collaboration seems a little far-fetched, though, given the players involved. I can't imagine how or why. Unless — " Oberlin states, slowly shaking his head now. "The substances found seem to be standard-issue, given the reports Medical have thrown out there. Maybe the big transports are some kind of throwback? Remember the scale the old Raiders were built to back in the first war?"

Haeleah has seen the cockpit, undoubtedly, and mention of it makes her shrug her shoulders as if she felt a twinge between them. "Spooky is right…" she mutters low, in semi-response to Kulko. More to herself than anyone else, though, really. A little nod to Tillman. "I'm not going to say it's impossible, sir. Though the vibe I got from the personnel involved is that Admiral Hauck and her cohorts were rabidly anti-Cylon. And those are the players neck deep in all this. I mean, maybe it was just cover or some spook thing or…frak, I don't know. This was all way above my pay grade off the jump." She nods to Oberlin. "Yeah. The old Raiders were build to haul Centurions in some pilot capacity, if I recall my historical specs right. Given the amount of re-engineering they've obviously done to themselves, though, it still seems weird."

"Can't say that I do," Kulko retorts to Oberlin. "But the old Raiders were piloted by Centurions, weren't they? I saw a busted up ship on the Anchorage and it didn't look like there was any sort of hatch or nothin'." A pause for a sip of coffee, before he shakes his head. "We're gettin aheada ourselves. Hauck. Is there any sorta clue as to what the nature of her weapon was? Software, EMP, biological?"

"I can't think of another reason why something as purposeful and methodical as a machine would design a system like that. Sure, they had those old Raiders that had Toaster crews. But the new Raiders?" Tillman shakes his head. "I can't think the Cylons to be nostalgic. Besides, there's no way an eight foot armed refrigerator is going to fit into a cockpit like that. And if they did? Why pad the seat? Why have a flight yoke or visual instrumentation? Shit does not make any godsdamned sense. Don't even know if we're chasing anything important in those things." Tillman grumbles the last two lines as he lifts the mug to take another sip. "As for Hauck, I agree. She wouldn't have truck with anyone who was even a little luke-warm for the relaxation of our posture. Whoever, or whatever was supposed to fly those Heavies, wasn't a friend of Hauck's. I'll godsdamned guarantee that."

"Naturally. I think the basic assumption can be this — given what we've seen. The big ones are used for troop-haulers. Anyway, we're grasping at straws here. We need some basic question-and-answer in terms of what we're looking for and what we know, eh?" Oberlin says, swiping his hand through the air dismissively as he leans to grab a sip of his now-cold coffee.

"Well, Haucke was neck-deep in Project Ananke, sir. We know that, at least," Haeleah says to Tillman. "Beyond that…there's still a lot we don't know. The involvement of a biotech firm points to some kind of biological research-" A little nod to Kulko of her curly head. "-but that's still in the realm of speculation." She nods to Oberlin. "Fair enough, sir."

"Fine," Kulko is just as blunt, nodding Oberlin's way as he shifts gears. "Question: if this Admiral really cooked up a game-changer, is it worth barrelin' into a hornet's nest of basestars to go get it?"

"Okay, so we have all these ties. It does seem to point towards a tie with Leonis. Our recon brought back information that seems to point towards Leonis as well so we may not have a choice. Kythera has a defense contractor called MolGen that has infrared emissions and I need to review the AAR once more to confirm it, but I believe there was even a colonial transponder down there in the building. We've got no evidence pointing ourselves anywhere else." The Executive Officer looks at the mug once more. "And Kulko, the answer is Yes. If we can get the upper hand on the machines that decided genocide was a good way to spend an afternoon and it fraks 'em up, then I'm all for it."

"I read that too. Colonial transponders. In a Civilian building." Oberlin states in a passionless tone, narrowing his eyes as he draws in a sharp, deep breath and shakes his head. Pointedly. Very pointedly, in fact. "Well, we have options. We can just run away to uncharted space somewhere until we find a), supplies, b), a habitable, sustainable hiding spot, c), survivors. Or d), a place to die. Or we can pursue these leads. Like you said." He shrugs, haplessly. "Fact is, I'm with you on this one, Major. Don't let this get out, people might start expecting a precedent. Then you get the rumors and everything. That's how they start, you know." His grin is cheeky, but overall humorless.

Haeleah sucks in one cheek, passing a look between Kulko and Tillman. She's clearly, mentally, echoing the Junior TAC's question. But she doesn't voice it aloud. All this is, again, well above her pay grade. She just watches the senior LT and Major, almost like a little kid peeking in on her parents making a big decision. One that may or may not kill her.

"Or, e), we stick with the original plan and keep executing harrying strikes until the enemy splits his forces and we can attack with maybe a prayer of survival," Kulko counters Oberlin's way. "I read the AAR too. We're outnumbered over ten to one, and all the Swallows in Cyrannus won't actually bring down those basestars. We'd have to start thinking unconventional."

"Running might have worked for a little while. Until they realized that they didn't get everyone. Then? Then they would come hunting for us and who knows what kind of state we would be in when they found us. Maybe a decade from now? Two? Five? Twelve, when this brand new Battlestar couldn't even keep life support operating?" The XO shakes his head. "We either make it plain that we should not be followed or we play for keeps and go all out to force their withdrawl from the Colonies. Convincing them of the former is going to be nearly impossible." Tillman sips at his mug and stares at the side absently. "Yeah, there's no way we could expect to get anyone down there to poke around using fleet tactics and engagements. We saw how they reinforced when a single Raptor showed its nose. We jump this strike group in there? Forget it. We'll be outnumbered thirty to one in under four minutes - which we wouldn't make it to." He clears his throat and looks to Haeleah. "What about you? You think its worth it? Trying to get down there and figure out what's up, I mean."

"There were civilian contractors all over the info we picked up from Parnassus," Haeleah says. "That spooks me, too, I'll admit. Seems like a ton of this stuff was kept off the official books. Though…I don't know. I never dealt much with Intel. Maybe that's how they roll." A little sidelong look at Oberlin. She crosses her arms along her chest, almost defensively, as Tillman goes on. "I'm no tactician, sir. You give me an order and I'll follow it. I just…if you're asking my opinion, I just hope the plan we end up with isn't just a quick way to get us all killed." She shrugs, looking half sorry the moment she says it. But it's not taken back. "Respectfully, Major, sir. But…it might be something. I don't know what it is but it might be…more than we've got."

"So if the Battlegroup won't last five minutes," Kulko muses, stabbing out his spent cigarette, "then what's left? Flight of Raptors under ECM cover? Get in, hit the ground hard, get out?"

"Going to need a few more bombs than we've /got/ then, don't we?" Oberlin says, flatly. Not with anything resembling hostility. He arches a brow with only a few hairs out of place at Kulko. "There is another idea. Maybe. Possibly." He says, clearing his throat after another coffee gulp.

Tillman listens to Haeleah, weighing her words in his mind. "The last thing I want to do is get anyone killed. I'm not going to order anyone down there unless I thought we had a very good chance of bringing them home safe and sound. Don't apologize for the concern, either. Its entirely justified." He waves it off. "But if we had a way to get down there and get home safely, you would advise that we chase this? You know what's going on with this investigation and understand all of it better than I do so your opinion -does- matter." He then looks to Kulko. "Don't know yet. We'd have to look at our options. Oberlin?" Brows lift to the man as he seems to have an offering.

"Like I said, sir, it's not my place to advise that kind of thing," Haeleah says. "But Captain Gabrieli thinks there's something to this. And I'll admit…it's a lot of weird that seems to add up to *something* the Cylons were touchy about given they made a special call to blow Parnassus the frak up, even if I can't quite do all the math right." She leaves it at that. "Like I said, I'll follow orders." Gaze flits to Oberlin.

"We know /something/ is there. Something that's vaguely connected to something the Cylons apparently felt the need to adopt illogical tactics to destroy directly. Not once, but /twice/, if you look at Parnassus." Oberlin says, smoothly, his eyes alight after listening to the ideas being floated around the table. "Something on Leonis. I've been involved in this effort to figure out how in the Hell these damn transmitters work. We're still not sure what they do. It feels like a longshot, but Lt. Paris and Specialist Mercer discovered something when we were staring at those things. What if we used a ship we don't care that much about? Found some way to possibly trick their internal communications? Like you said," He nudges his chin towards Kulko, "Swallows aren't going to cut it. But if we stay far enough away, we could slip a force onto Leonis. Figure out what is down there, if anything. And then we possibly use it. Or at least make it /look/ like we have something."

"I'd been talking to Crewman Bannik about that. How we can jam their ships, so we /ought/ to be able to jam the Centurions, too." Kulko agrees, swiveling his chair to and fro in a small arc. "What did you turn up?"

"Don't be afraid of direct questions," Tillman says gently to Haeleah. "If I ask them its because I'm genuinely interested in what you think. I don't eat briefers for breakfast and I'm not looking to trap anyone." He offers her an easy smile before looking back to Oberlin. After the Lieutenant finishes, the XO purses his lips and looks to the coffee mug as if it might offer up sage advice like a Magic 8-Ball. "That's not bad. Keep talking."

"The Crewman's working on it, as are we, though it won't be quite as straightforward as jamming something like the Raiders," Haeleah says. "They're vulnerable to traditional electronic warfare, like any other ship. We're working on it, though. Wish I could say something more concrete, but we'll bang out an answer for you ASAP, Lieutenant." Brows sort of furrow at Oberlin. Intrigued, but she's still curious where he's going with this. "Any particular ship you've got in mind?"

"Oh, wait. You're looking at me like I have a fully-formed idea, sir." Oberlin says, with a slight air of self-disparagement. "Electronic signatures. That Bannik kid's — it's a shame there's no wider career ladder for him. He could go places." Yeah. And a million other reasons why Oberlin misses a fully formed fleet too, no doubt. He coughs just once and downs the rest of his coffeesludge. "This could be worked into the plan. But the ship in question, Parres," he turns to study Haeleah now, his eyes alight, "The one without weapons. Other than a few passively timed nukes we could stuff on board, so as to avoid triggering radiological alarm. /Just in case./"

Kulko just sips at his coffee, letting the conversation flow around him.

"The Eidolon. That unarmed cargo freighter we picked-up? That what you're thinking?" Tillman lifts his eyes to look at the Intel Officer. "But yeah, damned shame about Bannik being stuck where he is. I'd like to see him go places. I've been damned impressed with him so far. Anyhow - you think we could somehow slip past Cylon defenses with a Cylon IFF device tacked onto our ship? Then we could land on Leonis and investigate? That -is- what you're getting at, yes?"

"Could do, could do, sir," Haeleah says, as to the Eidolon. "The only real reason to hold onto it is for cargo space. And it's small ship even for that. It was built for a crew of thirteen."

"She's clear as day Colonial built… and we ain't seen any examples of Cylons commandeering our ships," Kulko suggests, ever ready to play Debbie Downer. "Once they got a visual, we'd be destroyed at worst, or boarded at best."

"So we don't give them a visual. Until it's too late." Oberlin says, countering Debbie Downer with Patty Positive. He even manages a big smile. BLING! Look at how white those teeth are. "And I emphasize 'too late' because I'm still coming up with what 'too late' means. As far as getting our people off, that's a whole separate ball of wax." He clears his throat again. To Tillman — "Yes, the Eidolon. And that's pretty much what I'm saying, sir." To Haeleah — "And Yes. That thing has cargo space. But what kind of cargo?"

"True, Mister Kulko. However we also haven't seen any other colonial ships except for the ones in decaying orbits so we can't prove or disprove the statement. Our initial recons to Leonis and Caprica, the one's conducted immediately post-strike, indicated heavy traffic to and from the surface of each planet. It may not be entirely outside the scope of operations for them to have landing ships other than Heavy Raiders. I don't see a basestar surviving an atmo entry." The XO considers Oberlin's words and finally shrugs. "Eidolon's got an FTL. The only thing we have to do is actually get down there and look like we belong. We can jump straight from atmo if we want. If I remember correctly, you just have to have enough clearance to ensure the FTL bubble-thing" - technical term, clearly "-doesn't take up anything else with it. Sure, it'll cause shockwave and wind damage, but on a nuked planet?" The man shakes his head. "I can't see why it wouldn't work."

"Whatever supplies we might, theoretically, one day be rich in, I guess," Haeleah replies to Oberlin. A little wince at the prospect of being boarded. Which seems to twitch her more than the 'destroyed' possibility. A little grin at Tillman's use of the phrase 'FTL bubble thing.' "The…thingy's are more Lieutenant Marcion's department specifically. But what you're talking about is possible."

Kulko lets his eyes drift up to the ceiling again. "Is there enough space to pack a Raptor in there? Same concept. The FTL bubble would damage the mother ship, but if we don't care about the ship we're jumping from? Don't need to launch the damn thing. Use Eidolon to get down to the planet, and keep the Raptor there as a backup in case egress gets too hot for the crew to get out. Even if the jump guts the freighter, well, she's lost either way."

"I'll leave the math to the math people." Oberlin says, succintly, nodding at Haeleah. For his part, Tillman's speech invokes silence as he just listens, starting to scribble a bit, expanding the scope of his note-taking. He looks up at Kulko, though. "I think you're right there. About the Raptor." He says, succintly.

"Nah, the Eidolon should be able to make the jump. But that's something for Engineering to look at in better detail. There's no way we'd be jumping anything from inside it, though." The XO rubs at his chin, still staring absently at the coffee mug. "The hold on the ship, though? Yeah. We vented the cargo hold into space when we figured out it was full of some kind of acidic garbage. Industrial waste or something like that. But it -should- be able to hold a couple Raptors and..maybe half a dozen Vipers? Its not built for a deck atmosphere but I'd think we could grab a couple crewmembers to run ordnance and refueling operations. I'd have to talk to Major Hahn and the Deck Chief about it. We'd also need a Marine fireteam. Small group of one or two from Tactical. A couple from Engineering.. The pilots would have to be dual-qualified as much as we can find." He lifts his eyes. "If this can be done and the IFF device can be made to work, I'm not going to order anyone on this assignment. Two-Alpha only." All volunteer crew. "Oberlin, when will you all be able to test and see if you can get that IFF to work?"

"There's certainly room for a Raptor aboard," Haeleah says. "I went with the initial landing party to the ship myself. Plenty of leg room to get a Raptor in and out. Of course, you can't jump a ship from inside another ship. That's…well. A recipe for a lot of things and people exploding, though Lieutenant Marcion would know better than I. If you can egress the Raptor on escape, though, it's doable. You don't need to get *that* must distance between ships before jumping. As for Vipers…it doesn't have like launchers or anything. I don't know. That's not my department. It's not made to carry aircraft like our Cerb is, though."

"Sign me up, sir," Kulko says Tillman's way, without hesitation. The young man evidently derives some satisfaction from his role as the expendable one. "But after the Praetorian… I don't know if we should even bother with the Vipers. Half a dozen ships won't do much except get pilots killed. And shear wings offa planes."

"Heh." Oberlin chuckles pointedly. "Volunteers. I think at this point you'd have to /keep/ people away from this assignment." Showing a bit of teeth again, he falls silent to simply address the Tilldozer's question. "As soon as I can get a cycle with the Engineering team. I have a feeling we're close? But it's like herding cats. You see."

"Don't need tubes to launch Vipers. Just a deck with access to space that is large enough to hold a Viper. We launched our fighters off the flight decks during the wargames and off the Praetorian's deck for your operation, Lieutenant Kulko. As for needing them? That's something entirely different. If we need them, we need them. Slap a couple mark eighty-two bombs on them and they make great close air support tools. I used to work with them extensively in that role when I was in the Marines. Traffic control and fire direction is easy. Might save us in a pinch. As for you going?" Tillman tilts his head. "Maybe. I'll need to talk to the Admiral about all this. I may recommend you stay behind and replace me if I end up going." Executive Officer Kulko? "It'll depend on what the Old Man wants. He'll probably hand-select the entire crew from the volunteers if Mister Oberlin is correct." He then look back to Juan. "See that it gets taken care of. Get a priority fire set under some asses. Lieutenant Parres," he addresses, looking back to her. "Assemble a team and figure out exactly how much we can get onto the Eidolon. Figure.." Some quick mental math. "Seventeen to twenty crewmembers. Ordnance, small arms, fuel for the aircraft, EVA suits, a small medical team and supplies. Plus food and water. Then, I need to know exactly what that old bitch is going to be able to do as far as jump capabilities inside atmo. Think you can handle all that?"

Haeleah winks at Oberlin. "Just offer us some nip, sir. We'll get there." With a flick, she turns off the LCD screen. "That's all from me as far as Ananke's concerned. I'm sure the Cheng will have something to say about this for his own self before anything gets off the jump. Umm. Speaking figurative-like. If you need a hand, I'm game to assist in any way I can." She says no more about the possibilities of getting planes of the Eidolon, though still looks non-plussed at the prospect.

Haeleah adds to Tillman, "I'll see to it, sir."

"Yeah, and got nigh on none of 'em back," Kulko half responds, though Tillman's already off in mental math land. "Tough to land 'em when you're in a time crunch." He just listens, then.

"Nothing further from me. Although I would like to protest. I deeply, deeply resent anyone chosen for this mission on a personal level." Oberlin states. Smirking back at Haeleah first, and then Tillman. "Professional envy."

"Remain flexible, Mister Kulko. Demand the best from your crew and believe in them to be able to do their jobs. They will succeed and often surprise." Tillman smirks to the JTAC and rises from his chair. "Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go deal with some of the first reports about that clusterfrak down on the hangar deck." He dips his head. "Gentlemen. Lady." He takes up his mug and moves for the hatch.

"I presume he means you, sir," Haeleah asides to Oberlin. "I don't think I've ever been called a lady." Grin. A little levity for the room. She stands and salutes her betters. Such as they are. She's outtie.

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