PHD #335: EVENT - Questing
Summary: LT Leyla Aydin, LTJG Marko Scaurus and their trusty Raptor steed set out to follow a set of mysterious coordinates. But what lies at the end of their path is nothing they could've expected.
Date: 27 Jan 2042 AE
Related Logs: More Than Just Ashes; Beachhead; Waypoints
Leyla Marko Hydra 
Various waypoints in space
Post-Holocaust Day: #335

Big Bertha, Sweet Pea and Flasher's general Harrier of choice, has just been loose from the Cerberus' hangar deck and taken flight away from the ship. CIC has given them clearance to jump when ready. It's just a matter of entering the final plotting points and skipping the hyperlights away from Parnassus and into…well. That remains to be seen. Unlike the planetary recons, the destinations on point for today are somewhat shrouded in mystery. All that is known is, these coordinates were laid out on a 'map' of sorts in a house on Tauron that showed signs the Cylons - or at least one art-obsessed Cylon - had been inhabiting it. Though all that had been left behind when the Cerberus personnel searched it were these coordinates of a pair of jump points between Tauron and Gemenon, a canary, a lot of strange sketches, and a poem written in the same notebook as these points. Or, perhaps, a message.

"The same dream. Three nights in not as many weeks.
Our brother HAD to have heard. He has to bring help.
Even then, I do not think God will forgive us for our crimes. Do we deserve it?
Home. Not this Hell we have made. But a home."

Tappity, tap-tap go Marko's fingers as he begins to input the first string of co-ordinates for their recon mission. A quick tap on the CYCLE key and the Raptor's internal computer chews on them for a second before the FTL engine's status board starts winking on green light after green light to let anyone who cares to look that it approves. "Okay, Leyla, we're go on the FTL for the first jump. Got a random string set in as a decoy, just in case, and I've marked the fleet's position so at least we can get back if we run into trouble." he reports. "Standing by to jump."

"I feel as if we should have brought Klax." That would be Captain Klaxon, Morale Officer, former Cylon's yellow canary. "Part of me says it's stupid, the other part of me wonders if he wasn't left behind for a reason." At least Leyla can muse and work at the same time, as she goes through her final pre-jump systems checks, making certain everything on the ship is as ready as she can make it for Marko's go-ahead. "Think we should—" No, Marko's already got everything ready to go. And Sweet Pea, uncharacteristically, is just putting off the inevitable. "Start the clock."

"Copy that, Sweet Pea." Marko replies, turning to start flicking the necessary switches. "The clock is…operating…Jumping in five…four…three…two…one….Jump." With that, the magic key is turned and the Raptor's FTL engines channel ridiculous amounts of energy into subspace. With a flicker of pseudomotion, they're gone.

And in a flicker, they've arrived. Light years transversed in the blink of an eye and the spool of a jump engine. The first point of this excursion is about a third of the way - depending on how you measure space - between Tauron and Gemenon. Outer rim colonies both, on the edge of 'civilized' space and sometimes not exactly attentive about putting out regular customs patrols, and this was badland territory outside even their frequently-scanned jurisdiction. A frequent hop point for smugglers, pirates, or just merchants who wanted to avoid the stricter colonial tariffs. No habitable planets nearby but it's thick with asteroid debris. Which can make for either entertaining or dodgy navigation, depending on your perspective.

They jump into a relative clear spot of space, away from the main asteroid clusters. A little off from the main 'routes,' such as such things exist out here. Though those are just a short flight away as a Raptor travels.

"Annnd…Our DRADIS is faithfully reporting back to us wiiith….." Marko says, checking for contacts. "A big fat wad of nothing at all." he sighs, almost sounding disappointed. "Make it about two thousand klicks to the nearest asteroid cluster. Not a bad place to stash a Raider or two." he notes.

"No enemy contacts means more time to look around and see what all's here." Leyla settles in, orienting herself along the leading edge of the closest debris field, "Start your scans, active and passive. Everything you can think of. Key up the FTL to jump to the next safe point, if we knock something loose and we need to make a quick escape. I'll set a course to walk this open area to give you as much coverage as possible."

"You got it, Sweet Pea." Marko replies, turning to quickly input the emergency co-ordinates into the Raptor's computer and make sure they take before starting to flip the switches on Bertha's great big bag of detectors and spoofers. "You want the whole smash?" he asks, starting to go down the list. "LAMPS, WRECKERS, DRADIS, PERKS and…TRAFFICS, all on-line and recieving." he says, starting to sift through the data that's coming in. "So much as a fly farts out there, we'll know about it."

<FS3> Marko rolls ECM: Success.
<FS3> Leyla rolls Alertness: Great Success.

Leyla's course is slow and steady, just fast enough to cover good ground, slow enough to allow Marko to do the scans he needs done justice. Just your normal day in the neighbourhood, until the gentle pressure of Bertha coming to a stop changes the order of things, "Marko, can you come up here for a minute?" Or at least look this way, "I'm getting a visual on what looks like some sort of debris field, but it's not natural. Looks like fragments from ships, not very different from the skies over Tauron. I've got Bertha oriented in the right direction. But we might need to get in closer, once you give the okay."

"Yeah, lemme unstrap." Marko replies, suiting action to words to take the step and a half necessary to lean into the cockpit. "Okay, eh….well, you've got better eyesight than I do." he concedes. "Cause I'm seeing big rocky blob-like shapes. Note to self, go to Sickbay and get some frakkin' glasses." he grumps. Just then, the LAMPS board gives a chirp through the headphones on his helmet and he goes to check on it. "Okay, here's something new and different. LAMPS is reporting a man-made metal at one one four carom one seven eight." he calls out. "Pattern's consistent with a debris field. Not too much different from what we saw over Tauron, just not nearly so much of it. No sign of Cylon contacts, nothing on comms."

"This is what happens when you spend so much time sitting so close to the computer screen. Didn't your mother ever warn you about that?" But that's lightly said, as Marko comes up to join her. "I'm going to get us in closer. Hopefully nothing jumps out to bite us on the ass." It wasn't so long ago that she's forgotten what it was like to very nearly get blowed up in a debris field. "Moving in slow and steady, keep everything running."

Marko makes a rude noise with his lips. "You can thank my Mom's side of the family for my eyesight." he grumps. "How I got through Basic Flight's beyond me." he notes, keeping his eyes on the console. "Okay, getting a little more definition now…..What do you wanna bet some smuggler tried to be clever and jump in there to keep from getting spotted?"

Steady as she goes. Which will be the way they'll need to navigate this mess, for a mess it is. There are, at least, no ghostly pulses beckoning Leyla here. Just debris of all sorts. The thin metal from civilian, inter-colonial buses. Slightly thicker hull bits from transport freighters and merchant ships. Even the odd chunk of armored-plating, the scavenged kind beloved by less-than-legal smuggling vessels.

And all of it blown to pieces. Perhaps Flasher has the right of it, times one hundred. There are all sorts of motley remains of vessels here, perhaps fled here seeking refuge from the Cylons. But not a one of them that you can immediately see remains whole. They are blasted to bits, torn asunder by canon-fire that one can only guess came from the toasters themselves. Who, by the by, there are still no signs of. Nothing out here so far but Bertha, her pilot and ECO, and this graveyard of happenstance that, for some reason, some*thing* on Tauron took an interest in.

"You probably reprogrammed the viper's control system." Hey, what's a hacker good for if not hacking? The advance continues, however, as Bertha moves through the space junk that comes from being in an asteroid heading towards the one set of things that are not like the other. "If any of these pieces start bleeding, we are taking back samples. Can you scan to see what sort of composition we're looking at? Military grade, industrial? If we can figure out what sort of ships these were…who jumps around the colonies looking for space junk?" Nobody.

"SHH! They're recording us!" Marko calls, then chuckles. "Heh, I should've thought of that." And with that, he goes to work. "Okay, Sweet Pea, you wanna do as much of a search grid as we can?" He suggests. "We get enough angles on this thing, maybe LAMPS can peer into that frakkin' ball of crap out there and get a peek at possible cargo. Figure the Toasters hit these guys for a reason instead of just waiting them out?"

<FS3> Leyla rolls Alertness: Great Success.
<FS3> Marko rolls ECM: Terrible Failure.

The search grid continues. Piece of a winglet, hull fragment, nosecone from a civilian shuttle, likely lost trying to get back to its home ship. Thankfully there aren't any bodies floating around to bang up Bertha's shiny new finish. A flash of light off of one of the fragments has Sweet Pea blinking as she orients to the next vector, and stops dead, "Raiders. Looks like…two, maybe three of them." Since she's not gunning Bertha's engines it's a good sign that they're probably not operational. "Looks like these guys didn't go down without a fight." Leyla pushes Bertha forward, "Let's see if any of them are intact enough to both carting back."

"Okay..let's see what we can see." Marko says, starting to tap a string of commands into the console, and inadvertently throws the system into a full diagnostic cycle. "Oh for FRAK's sake!" he growls over the comm link. "Stand by one, Sweet Pea, I just pulled a real frakkin' boner back here." he reports, frantically trying to convince the Raptor's on board computer that now is not a good time to check every single black box in the bird.

As for the Raiders - or remains of them which Leyla has sighted - there's little left of them but blasted winglets and chunks. At least some of these ships went down fighting, even if they did go down in the end. There's nothing left of them worth trying to retrieve, investigation would quickly determine. Nothing left worth carting back of the other wreckage out here, either. Most of what's floating is in drifting in pieces. There's a *lot* of spacial drift, which suggests this wreckage is quite old. Perhaps dating back to when the Cylons abandoned the outer colonies, or even Warday itself.

Bertha once again comes in for a quick halt. "We'll wait until you're ready, Flasher." Leyla seems perfectly happy to wait. There's no need to rush, and mistakes do happen. She'll just report what she can see from where she stopped, "This doesn't look recent. Months old at least, maybe older. And I think it was probably two, now that I'm counting pieces," Raiders that is. "Which begs the question, if they haven't been here for this long, why come back?"

"No idea." Marko replies, still busily disengaging diagnostic systems. "Okay, gimme a couple more minutes and we should be golden." he reports. "Whoever put the diagnostic toggle so close to that switch should _DIE_."

With the raiders having been given her most thorough going over, visually at least, Leyla makes use of the wide bubble of spaceview she has access to with her raptor. "This is just like being back home." Careful hands turn Bertha in place, a rotating circling 360 all angles rotation on axis to let her get a good look around while she waits. "I…Flasher. I think I've got a ship. Looks like it went down on that asteroid there…at," she checks her DRADIS, "Four five, seven."

Two and a half minutes, one near-heart attack and a soft reboot later, Bertha's brain finally grasps the concept that 'Stop' does, in fact, mean 'Stop' and her ECO's systems come back under his control. "Oh thank the Gods…" Marko sighs, going back to his scans. "Interrogating on those co-ordinates." he says, swiveling LAMPS in the indicated direction. "Okay, from what little I got here, looks like we're looking at transports and freighters, some of them fairly well armed. Hence the dead Toaster bits floating about." he reports. "Wait one." he asks, flipping open the calculator he keeps on his kneeboard and doing a few quick calculations. "Based on spatial drift, I'd say this particular debris is about a year old, puts it right in the middle of Warday."

"Anything we can salvage for the fleet?" Metal is hard to come by, these days. Leyla continues on, going through the entire search grid, even if it seems to all intents and purposes that there's nothing really there to find beside ship and raider parts. "Reprogramming for new search coordinates," back to that asteroid that seems to have been used as either a crash…or a landing pad. "FTL is still ready to go?"

"Eh…I dunno. As badly damaged as all this stuff is, most of it would have to be reforged to be of any real use and we don't have a foundry ship handy." Marko replies with a slight shrug. "Looks like this is just another sad reminder of a day we'd all rather forget." he sighs. "And, affirmitive, Sweet Pea, all you have to do is give the word and we're off like a bride's g-string."

The asteroid Leyla's homed in on is a large one. One of the largest in this particular cluster. It's not an ideal landing spot, by any means, but there are places on could put a ship down there if they were particularly adventurous. Or desperate. And there is a ship down there. Landed nearly between the rocks of the asteroid, as if it were searching for a hiding spot. And never intended to take off again. It's civilian, that much is a obvious. And completely cold, to any scans or visuals that are zeroed in on it. It looks deserted of either life or electrical activity, though you'll need to get in closer to tell much more than that. Just parked on the asteroid and drifting, albeit far more whole than the rest of the wreckage.

"It wasn't such a bad day, you know, I mean, not in ever aspect." Says the impossibly logical pilot. "I mean, yes, most everything we know is gone. The places we cared about the people we held dear. But like any fire, it's forged us under the worst conditions. Made us better than we might have been. Given us a reason to live, not just exist." Bertha continues on, approaching, at a safer speed, the asteroid and its ship accessory. "I want to get a better look at that thing. It might be something that we can bring back. Or it might be what the cylons were looking for out here." Or their transport. "Is the asteroid solid, or is there some sort of internal structure." Like a certain asteroid with a monster in its guts, yo.

"Wow, that's very…poetic of you, Sweet Pea." Marko replies, blinking a few times as he takes that one in. "Disturbing and kind of cold blooded, but, yeah…poetic." he says, keying up the appropriate sensors to give the asteroid the hairy eyeball. "Scanning now." he reports.

Perhaps this ship was the lucky one. Or perhaps it just managed to hide in the right place until all the toasters were gone. Either way, apart from some minor hull damage, it still looks intact. As far as hull integrity is concerned, at least. A closer look reveals it's very much dead in the water. And yet…the hangar bay is open. Dark and deserted, but open. Not blasted off, but opened naturally as if a ship eggressed from it. And there was no one left to close the barn door. As if something, or someone, *did* fly out of there. But whoever it was is long gone, as there are no signs of life on the scanners anywhere near here.

"Is the ship FTL capable, Flasher?" Sweet Pea moves in closer still, while Marko moves to scan the asteroid. If there is some sort of internal structure to the thing, maybe that's where the former crew went to. One never knows. "I wouldn't mind doing an EVA to get a better look at it. Maybe see if we can't fire it back up." Waste not want not.

"Eh. it is." Marko replies. "But, it doesn't look like it'd be a lot more trouble than it's worth trying to pry it out of there." he notes. "It's wedged in to that rock pretty good. Might explain why the crew bailed out." he notes. "Core's still hot, by the way. And she's still got pressure in the bits that I can scan. Going to visuals." he says, touching the appropriate button. "I'm not seeing any detectable weapons emplacements, though she's got the hard points for 'em." he announces, playing the camera over every visible surface he can get imagery on. "You could make a passenger transport out of it, but it'd make the Elpis look like the Grand Caprican." he snerks. "If you could find a way to get her out of there, she'd be serviceable enough. If you could find a way to get her out of there." he concludes. "That'll take someone a hell of a lot smarter than I am."

Like a bull with its head down, so is Leyla Aydin. "I'm going to bring that ship back. Maybe not today," since they still have one more stop at least, to make today, "But she is coming back to join the fleet. I'm not going to throw away a perfectly good ship because she might be more trouble than she's worth. And we've done more with less. And the Elpis, when we first found her was way less." Indeed, the lumbering transport, fuel sieve and all is a hell of a sight different than the derelict farming silo she was on Aerilon. "Alright, I'm vectoring away, let's finish this search grid and then head to the second set of coordinates."

The rest of the search grid contains more of the same. Much wreckage, some of it obviously far adrift from where it was a year ago. This must have been a veritable turkey-shoot for the Cylons who preyed on these fleeing ships. Apart from the odd smuggling craft, they couldn't do much to fight back, try hard as a few of them clearly did. Nothing remains here except a lot of debris and that single ship that survived only long enough to be abandoned by whatever survivors it may've carried. Where they went, one cannot tell. Bertha and crew is all alone out here.

"Hey, I'm not saying it's a bad idea." Marko replies with a nod. "Just that it isn't going to be easy to do and this isn't exactly a friendly neighborhood anymore." he points out simply. "Okay, retraining the sensor array." he reports. "Nothing much, some debris, that's about it."

Leyla's visual reveal much of the same. "Before we jump away, can you download a backup of this data?" Who knows what they'll be heading into where they're going next. Apparently, Sweet Pea isn't feeling like taking any chances. "Of course, if the ship gets blown up, it won't do anyone any good, but hey." While Leyla preps the ship to head to the second point, "Finding a clear space for you to make the next jump," her voice comes again, "Disturbing and cold-blooded?" There's no hurt in Leyla's voice, just thoughtfulness, "I suppose most people would describe me that way." Even her ECO. Call a spade a spade. "I've always valued your honesty. Thank you."

"No worries, Sweet Pea, I'm backing everything up, as well as taking notes." Marko replies. "We'll know right where to come back to when the time comes." he says reassuringly. "Maybe we could bring a few snipes with us next time, get a proper survey." he muses. "Okay, co-ordinates are going into the computer." he reports, starting to tap out the next string. "And…sorry. I've got a big mouth. Has to be for my feet to fit in it." he adds apologetically. "Just, well, that was kind of an odd take on Warday. Even if you do have a point…sort of."

"How else should we take Warday? We can't close our eyes and wish it hadn't happened…click our heels three times and go home again. We can't bring back the dead. So if we can't do any of those things, what is the point of dwelling on the pain and the loss and the death? Surviving is not just about keeping your body alive. It's about keeping your mind alive, your heart. It means having hope, having dreams. Wanting to be more than the last remnants of humanity." Once Leyla gets Bertha in position, she moves back to business, "Jump on your mark."

And on they go in a *FLASH!* Bertha blinks out of that graveyard of a shipping lane and into…well. Not a hell of a lot, immediately. Or as close to it as space can get to emptiness. No debris here. Just the black. This was an odd point on that 'map' from Tauron to Gemenon, really. While the shipping lanes was something of a proper route, this actually takes on a little out of one's way. It's on the very edges of Colonial space, and the jump to Gemenon actually takes one back a little inward. And there's nothing on any maps or surveys as remotely important out here. Space is big, and this is a large, isolated, sprawling waste of it that no one in the colonies ever took a particular amount of interest in.

<FS3> Marko rolls ECM: Good Success.

"Good points all, Sweet Pea." Marko replies, nodding a little. He's about to add more when his eye spots something on his screen. "DRADIS contact!" he announces. "Faint DRADIS signal, range approximately six thousand, bearing two four eight carom three four four. Doesn't register as Cylon, or Colonial for that mattter." he says, reading the data off the screen. "It's either a ship or a very big chunk of processed metal. We're not quite in LAMPS range, so I can't do a direct scan." he announces. "Could be a civvie. Some of the smarter smuggling outfits would rig their transponders so they didn't immediately pop up on DRADIS."

Leyla's eyes move immediately to her own DRADIS, as Marko reports the contact, "Not just the backend of beyond after all." Quick fingers move across her console, realigning the raptor to the necessary coordinates. "I'm taking her in. Drop to passive, if you think that's for the best, at least until we get a better idea of what we're looking at." Bertha's already moving, chugging along through the dark and the emptiness of space towards that far away spot on her ECO's console.

There's nothing to get in their way as that Raptor flies straight toward the whatever-it-is Marko pegged on his scanners. This is, well and truly, a deserted patch of space. Save for the whatever-it-is, which slowly comes into visual range as they continue on course. It's a ship. That much they could tell right off. Though it's nothing like either of them have seen before. Either in their years of learning the ins and outs of piloting Colonial craft, or in their months of tangling with the Cylons, it resembles nothing either humanity or the enemy fly. If its hull is comparable to anything, it'd be a whale. Fat 'main' body, with a rounded 'head' where the bridge should be and a 'tail' curving upward that may serve as a hangar. If one assumes its layout is anything like you're used to inside. It's construction is so different from what you're accustomed to that it appears almost alien. It's big. Nothing on the Cerberus, of course, or even the little escort carrier that's been refurbished into the Areion, but it dwarfs that freighter you left back at the previous jump point. It sits in space, no signs of life or activity from it. Gods knows how long it has sat there undisturbed. Space is big, and no one ever had a particularly good reason to venture into this corner of it.

"Copy that, going to passive gear and getting PIRCs ready." Marko reports, touching the appropriate buttons as Bertha moves in to take a closer look. "Not reading any emissions of any kind. No power, no comms, doesn't even look like the core's hot, if it's got one." he reports faithfully as he begins to dial in PIRCs to take a peek. "Sons of Dis! Leyla, you gotta see this." he says, his tone both awestruck and disturbed. "Whatever this thing is, it doesn't look like it's from the neighborhood." he announces, flipping the PIRCs system over to Leyla's repeater screen. "Going hot on the scanners." he announces, training every bit of electronic snoopage the Raptor's capable of on this strange new bogey.

"The great whale, swimming through the vastness of the cosmic ocean." Leyla's a poet and she didn't even know it. It does nothing to mask the expression on her face, partway between shock, the other awe. She is a pilot after all. "I'm going to do a couple of revolutions around this thing, get a complete picture if we can. "Is there any way to analyze the hull, see if we can get an approximate age of construction on this thing? I've never seen anything like this. Ever."

"Oh, yeah, I've got LAMPS all over this thing." Marko replies, nodding and steadily tapping the 'CAPTURE' key on the PIRCs controller unit, taking as many pictures of this….whatchamafrakkum as he can without disturbing his other work. "I don't think anybody's ever seen anything like this." he breathes. "You don't think this is…….you know…." he calls with a certain tone in his voice. "I mean, they say life here began out there….."

<FS3> Marko rolls Academic: Terrible Failure.
<FS3> Leyla rolls Academic: Success.

Leyla begins what, might to lesser beings, looking like loopy-loops around the ship. Which, she sort of is, but she's also making a series of overlapping (for the raptor's cameras at least) runs around the ship so that a complete scan or 3D model could be made from the picture retrieved. She starts at the nose and begins to work her way down along the body of the ship. "Flasher, this is probably not what you want to hear…but…I seem to recall images very close to what this ship looks like." Leyla continues flying however. She can talk and fly at the same time. "This looks…a lot like pictures I remember of what the ships of the ancient settlers looked like…the ones that came from Kobol. Or so they say." Not a jarring stop, but a slowing, as Leyla makes her way towards the rear end of the space whale. "Flasher…its hangar doors are open. Forced, not blasted."

"You know…I think you may have something there." Marko replies, frowning a bit as he goes over the results of the intial LAMPS scans. "Cause this material's scanning as seven to one thousand years old." he reports. "It's not anything near like the kind if steel we're using now, either. Same basic elements, iron, titanium, aluminum, molybdenum, but they're all in drastically different proportions. Get this, it looks like a fair bit of this was worked chemically. Nobody does that anymore." he says, then swivels his head to stare, jaw wide open, at his pilot. "Say again?" he asks. "All after 'hangar doors'…."

"How the hell has it been out here all this time, if it has been out here all this time, and we never found it before?" Leyla, never one to let a job go unfinished, completes the revolutions around the craft needed to give the complete picture, before she moves the raptor into position to look at the open hangar. "Come and see for yourself. Someone pried these doors open. There's not a single visual sign of blasting or weapons fire." She looks back to her ECO, "If we were wondering what the frak the Cylons were doing all the way out here…maybe this was it." She looks back to the hangar. "Bertha's small enough to make it in there."

"Holy shiiiit." Marko breathes, going through the stills until he finds one of the aforementioned hangar doors. "Wait one, Sweet Pea, I need to crunch a few numbers." he calls, flipping open his calculator again to do the arithmetic waltz. "Oh _frak me_…." he breathes. "Remember how I said this was seven to a thousand years old?" he calls. "Scratch that, based on my calculations, this thing's been here at least three _thousand_ years. She's acting like a comet, swings by this neck of the woods every six hundred fifteen years….estimated apsis is about twenty thousand kilometers from here. Perhelion looks like it's an asteroid belt a _long_ frak-off way from here." he says. "If you wanna get out and look around, I'm right there with ya."

"So she's following the same orbit with little to no degradation? Is it too much to ask that we could use it to track back to her point of origin?" Probably, since she's apparently orbiting, well, something. "You understand we can't just leave this here, right? She needs to come back with us. I don't know how in the hell we'd find room for her, but we can't just…we can't leave this behind." But at her ECO's words, Leyla adjusts her angle of trajectory, taking Bertha carefully into the hangar. Here's to hoping they don't die. And Leyla's possible final words? "I wish Bunny were here."

Inside is utter darkness, though the Raptor's floodlights could shed some illumination on it easily enough. There's nothing there to slay them, at least nothing readily apparent. This thing, this ancient relic of a ship, is empty. Immediately upon entering, Sweet Pea, Flasher and their trusty Big Bertha would find themselves in a large room, ceiling domed and rounded over head. The curve of the 'whale's' 'tail.' This is no traditional hangar bay. It was not made to launch Vipers or fighter craft, though a craft like a Raptor could plunk itself down on the floor without much trouble. It looks less like a place made for transit than a living space. A large entry foyer, or common area. The 'floor' is bare, though there are shadows of openings in the walls themselves, depending on where you turn those lights. Only the 'hangar', or foyer, is open. While there is an arched doorway (or odd, arched hatchway) at the opposite end of the room, which your lights would fall on directly if you kept them straight ahead, it's sealed and is a size made for people, not ships, to walk through.

"He'd be pissing down both legs, no doubt." Marko replies with a grin and a nod. "As for bringing her back, eh, one step at a time, Sweet Pea." he cautions. "This thing is old as dirt, and no telling what condition her systems are in." he says simply, having to play the rational one yet again on this trip. "Not to mention the fact that, even if she's in pristine shape, we might not know how to fly her. Lots of things change in thirty centuries, languages and number systems for a starter." he adds, switching on the Raptor's signal light to add some illumination to the scene. "Gods beneath us." he sighs. "Got no obvious power sources, not exactly a surprise." he notes. "No pressure, again, not a surprise. This'll have to be a hard suit run."

"No, he wouldn't. Bunny is kind and sweet, but he's far stronger than people give him credit for." By what means Leyla has come to that conclusion, she doesn't say. But she does maneuver Bertha, very, very carefully, to try to get a good view of the hangar, such as it is, activating her flood lights to bring the open area into view. "We might not have to fly it. If we had a place it would fit, we could tow it in. "Alright." Leyla nods, in answer to Marko's readings on the ship and its present conditions. "I'm setting her down. We'll have to do this all on foot. And we've got that portable generator in storage." Not that she expects their power system can interface with this one, but better to try and fail than not try at all. "This looks like some sort of…passenger liner, don't you think?"

<FS3> Marko rolls Alertness: Good Success.
<FS3> Leyla rolls Alertness: Great Success.

"No, no, that's not what I meant. He'd be pissing down both legs in glee and excitement, Sweet Pea." Marko corrects with a chuckle. "Bunny's one tough motherfrakker, always has been. Just wish the guy could keep his clothes on now and then." he chuckles fondly. "Eh, I dunno, that sounds reasonable enough." he adds, frowning thoughtfully. "Maybe some kind of dual-purpose space?" he muses. "Okay, that's good, Sweet Pea." he adds, steadily taking images as Bertha begins to pivot into position. "Oh, we are going to be very popular when we get back." he chuckles throatily. "Cidra's gonna have kittens, she sees these."

There'll be no difficulty landing the Raptor. The deck is flat, and the floor is bare of anything that might get in there way. If this was a passenger ship, the business of living was probably undertaken in different parts of it. There are no signs of ship controls here, or living quarters. But this does appear to have been some sort of gathering area. There are insets in the walls. Recesses, small galleries that three or five people could sit in comfortably together amongst themselves. Thirteen of them. But it's the walls themselves that are probably most interesting. They're covered in what looks like mural artwork work over each little gallery. Difficult to make out specifics of them when one is just exiting, though a closer look could easily be taken. There's writing as well though, again, it's not immediately easy to tell what it says, or even if it's written in a legible language to your eyes.

It seems Marko, despite his claim that he likes to put his foot in his mouth, manages to smooth Leyla's ruffled feathers. And where Bunny is concerned, anyone even looking at the Leontinian pilot funny is likely to get the sharp end of Leyla's tongue. "I don't mind him without his clothes. I suppose it's a girl thing." Now you know the apocalypse has come. Leyla admitting she's a girl, even if she is discussing her appreciation for her wholly platonic live-in bunkmate. Bertha's skids gently kiss the ground, "We're not the first people in here. I noticed skid marks on the deck as I was angling her in. Raptor sized…though I know for a fact no raptor has touched down here since Warday. More likely…a heavy raider. They leave about the same footprint." With Bertha settled onto the deck, Leyla sets the controls to standby, rising and giving her flight suit a once over, just to be sure there's no damage that would make dumping the atmosphere in the raptor and heading out a Very Bad Idea. "I'm ready when you are," she offers, as she moves to grab what videography and still photography equipment the raptor is outfitted with. "If she doesn't kill us first for not jumping back right the frak now to get her."

Marko bobs his head as he does his own 'idiot check' of his flight suit seals, because, when dealing with hard vacuum, there is no substitute for being _sure_ about such things. "Yeah, that figures." Marko replies, unstrapping himself and standing up to run a check on another important bit of kit, his sidearm. "Wait….you don't think?" he begins to say, then shakes his head. "No…no…they couldn't….could they?" he asks, frowning a little. "Let's see what we can see, Sweet Pea." he says, moving to slowly blow the atmo out of Bertha's innards in preparation for disembarkation. "Feels like I oughta say something before we step inside." he notes, starting to cycle the Raptor's lock. "But I'm damned if I can think of what."

Leyla gets what equipment she can together, foregoing the power generator, though she does at least pull it out and get it ready to go. "Bertha's still recording?" Leyla would assume so. But once she's ready, and Marko's dumped atmo, she moves to key open the hatch. "How about…don't trip on the stairs?" Yes, it is sort of a monumental occasion, Leyla allowing Marko to go first, before she'll step out herself, her eyes going immediately to the skid marks on the deck, "If they were here, we would have scanned them by now. Or they would have come out of the woodwork to protect their property." Such as it is, "But who else could have come here, if not them. Certainly not us. And given what we saw on Tauron, they're certainly obsessed with Kobol." Leyla steps to the end of the winglet, turning to offer her gloves hand to Marko, wanting to take the first step into the unknown not before her ECO, her partner, or after him, but together.

Those galleries all contain benches one could sit in, quietly talk in, but otherwise they're as bare as the rest of the room. The 'cave paintings' for lack of a better term are writ large over each of the thirteen. Spidery writing surrounds them, not a lot of text but a few words near each, but it's in a language that definitely isn't Standard or any modern dialect.

1 A triangle with two curved 'horns' curling out of the top of it, drawn to resemble a crude ram's head

2 A lion's head with a full mane.

3 A bow, with an arrow on the string.

4 A goat, drawn with its head lowered as if about to charge

5 A bull facing the goat and likewise drawn horns-down and charging, with a lightning bolt drawn over his head

6 The outline of a female figure in flowing robes, seated with very straight posture

7 A figure, again female, pouring water from a pail

8 Two silouettes of 'faces' drawn as if back to back, with the noses pointing outward, facing away from each other
9 A pair of weighing scales, in balance

10 The outline of two fish, swimming toward each other, tails curved as if they're weaving around one another

11 A crab, pincers upraised

12 A scorpion, its poison tail curved

13 A spiral of colors, or mandala more rightly. (OOC: Refer to picture herein)


"Kobol…." Marko replies quietly, frowning thoughtfully, closing his eyes for a moment before they snap open. "I think I know what they were looking for." he says, suddenly. "Okay, here goes nothing." he says, nodding formally to Leyla before taking the offered hand and making his way out of the Raptor and into totally unknown territory. With his free hand, he pulls a flashlight and starts to stab at the deep pools of darkness surrounding the places where Bertha's lights can't reach. "Thirteen alcoves, thirteen tribes, that fits." he says, starting to make his way towards the first of them. "Caprica." he says, pausing to peer at the writing. "And, yep, I was right. This isn't modern Colonial script. This is…." he says, voice trailing off in both awe, wonder and, by the look of him, a mild case of the 'holy shits'. "This is like the stuff I'd see in Mom's scrolls…"

Once they're both down on the deck, Leyla releases Marko's hand, so that they can both get to the business of taking pictures and recording everything they possible can. "The 13th Colony?" Everyone knows that story, the legend of a 13th tribe, another home, far from the Colonies the 12 settled on. "These are…more like the ancient symbols for the colonies. I've seen a few of them in the old stories of my family." The slow, steady, careful rotation continues. "Leonis." The second of the alcoves. "This script isn't like anything I've seen before outside of the old scrolls we brought back from Wreath of Roses. And I can't read a lick of it."

"No…_Kobol_." Marko replies, shaking his head. "As in _location_." he explains. "The refugees who went to the 13th Colony would've been on different ships." he reasons. "But _this_, if we're right, this would've left from Kobol, so, logically, it's nav system would have the …..oh frak me…." he breathes as the implications of that thought finally hit home. "They'd have the co-ordinates for Kobol….." And for a second, it looks like he's about to take off at a dead sprint in the first direction that looks like it could lead him to the bridge. "Leonis….wait…I know this one." he says, snapping his gloved fingers silently in the vacuum. "Leo…." he says. "Then this one is….Oh okay, this one is Caprica…Capri….Capri_corn_….." he says, trying to calm himself down as he plays his flaghlight into the gloom. "Virgo…….Aquaria……Gods, Mom, you would have a heart attack if you could see this…"

For Leyla all this talk of Kobol and the original home of the colonies. Yes, she knows it, her family stories are rife with it. But it's just…a dream. A myth. "Would we want to go there, if we could?" An honest question. She really doesn't know that much about the place. "I mean, they left it for a reason…didn't they?" But she continues on, allowing Marko to put in the names she can't figure out for herself, now that she has his guidance. "That's Tauron, the bull. And that one must be Libran. The scales are still on its flag."

"I honestly don't know, Sweet Pea." Marko sighs, shrugging helplessly against the weight of ancient history that's landed on his shoulders. "Taurus and Libra." he adds thoughtfully. "I know we can only nibble at the leftovers from the Colonies for so long." he says simply. "Sooner or later, we're going to have to go _somewhere_, maybe Kobol could be the first step….Doesn't look like any of these doors have been forced." he notes, sounding hopeful. "No power….So, the odds are, whoever it was that came here, they didn't get to engineering or the bridge…"

"This one," Leyla offers, as she touches Marko's arm, pointing up to the scorpion, "Scorpia?" Leyla is still taking pictures and recording video of everything she can see, allowing Marko to proceed her through the exploration. Clearly he knows more about all of this than she does, and for a time, she leaves him to the alcoves and murals, while she goes to examine the doors. "If whomever it was came all this way…why didn't they go further in? Wouldn't they want to see everything?" Leyla certainly would, "Unless they got everything they needed from in here."

"I don't know." Marko replies quietly, nodding to the question Leyla's asked and playing his flashlight further into the other alcoves. "I can't figure what they'd be looking for in here that they didn't already know." he shrugs. "Libra….Pi…." he begins, then pauses. "Pi - something or other….wanna say it's Pi_son_…" he adds diffidently. "Cancer….Scorpia…..And this……..This is number 13, right?" he asks Leyla, as he levels his flashlight at the mandala. "What the frak is _that_? Never seen anything like it in any of Mom's old scrolls." he adds.

Leyla returns to Marko's side, adding the light of her flashlight to his, peering up at the symbol she's never seen before. Even more than the other symbols she's not seen before, "I haven't either. It looks like a circle on an ocean, sort of, like an island in the sea. I mean, I don't know what the symbol is, but…it sort of reminds me of the stories of Atlas, holding the world up on his shoulder. I don't know why." Leyla pauses, "We're going to go over all of these again. You outside and me in Bertha, so I can use her floods to illuminate the walls better." Oh yeah, they're going to be here for a while.

"Copy that, Sweet Pea." Marko replies, nodding as he checks the 02 level in his suit's tanks. "We've got plenty of air if we pace ourselves." he adds. "You're right, it does look like an island…..Atlantia?" he guesses blindly. "Frakked if I know, I know who needs to come here next, the Chaplain. And in a frakking _hurry_." he says firmly. "Maybe she'd recognize all this carb."

Leyla nods, still studying the circle within a circle within a circle. "Why don't we get the illuminated pictures out of the way first, just so we have them, then we can crawl around a bit in here and explore before we have to get back?" Leyla steps back, more than ready to get back to Bertha and hover her around for picture taking. "Better to get the hard work out of the way first."

Marko nods and and motions for Leyla to pass him the recorder. "Yeah, you light 'em up, I'll take the pictures." he replies. "We'll take it step by step, alcove by alcove." he adds, gesturing to the first in the sequence. "Try and use the PIRCs on that writing, computer can clean it up once we get back." he advises.

PIRCs. She can do that. She passed ECM training, and it's not like he's giving her a hard job, right? "Alright, let me head back." And so she goes, to head back into the raptor. To do each alcove in sequence, though her voice is still coming through the comms. Liftoff, hover, position lights, settle. Head back to Marko's console, follow his instructions, rinse, repeat. "Do you think, do you remember there being any specific order to the colonies? Any reason why they are laid out like this? Starting with Caprica and ending with…whatever that ring thing is?"

"No." Marko replies, shaking his head. "I know there is an order to it, but I can't remember it." he sighs, lowering his head slightly in an unmistakable 'I feel stupid' kind of way. "Have to ask Karthasi when we get back." he says, straightening. "I know they're based on months in the year, but I'm frakked if I can remember the sequencing……Think it's astronomical, but, again, I'm not sure on that score."

"I'd rather ask Toast." For whatever reason, despite the fact that the Cerberus is fully equipped with a Chaplain and all that comes with it, it's always been the Gemenese CAG that Leyla has gone to for her religious questions. Asking Cidra just feels right, and proper. Not some chaplain she's never met and hardly knows. "I don't put much stock in all that religiosity, but Toast makes it understandable." Even if they do tend to agree to disagree, the atheist and the polytheist. "Alright, moving the ship now." And so it goes, alcove to alcove.

"Heh, we'll bring 'em both along." Marko replies, carefully documenting each alcove with the hand held gear as Bertha pivots in a thirteen point circle. "This is….Gods below…." he sighs. "You're right, we _have_ to take this with us somehow….if at all possible. This is….this is history….this is _history_, history……..Stuff we read about as kids." he breathes, awestruck as he works the shutter on his camera. "The stuff we never really believed…..and now……Dis….." he sighs.

The stuff we never really believed, and yet here it is. History, near myth, a past so long ago it is reduced to ancient history. A place Sweet Pea and Flasher walked tonight. A place someone, some*thing* back on Tauron somehow traced, and perhaps ventured to, a path of their own, though who or what that something was remains an illusive question. Big Bertha and her crew make the return jumps back to the Cerberus without incident, with much footage and many questions, and an answer they could not have possibly expected to find. Perhaps answers are locked deeper within this ancient ship, which still waits for them, a relic in the preserving vacuum of space.

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