PHD #444: Scenarios
Summary: Van runs over the plan one last time for Mathers.
Date: 16 May 2042 AE
Related Logs: Anything with Saratoga or metaplot. Or Bannik's Manifesto.
Mathers Vandenberg 
Map Room
The one object that dominates this room is the one it is named for: the giant plotting table in the center of the room. Bottom-lit like the plot in CIC, this one is twenty feet across and about the same distance wide. The maps, which are rolled and kept in a locker at the side of the room, provide much more detail than most of the charts in CIC and are especially useful in planning tactical operations. Unscaled models of ships are available to be situated on the surface of the table and risers on each side of the room allow for a small audience to watch or be briefed. A single large LCD screen is built into the wall at the far end to display reconnaissance or other supplemental material.
Post-Holocaust Day: #444

Because someone has to be the officer on watch, Mathers wasn't able to make the briefing regarding the Gemenon mission. Though he no doubt got the low down from the Lieutenant Colonel herself, the XO has called Vandenberg to the Map Room under the same pretense, or so the runner for the S3 Captain so informed her. At the moment, he's standing over the illuminated Map Table, the suggested landing site for the mission drawn up in all of its two dimensional glory.

Since Sunday morning the jump team has been doing some intensive training - much of it down in the MOUT room in the dark with the heat cranked up past comfortable levels. In full gear. So when Vandenberg steps into the map room after being summoned, she is looking a little moist around the head and neck - apparently caught after a shower because she lacks the stink of hard training. The woman is in her greens, too, the top being buttoned up as she steps through. "Captain Mathers, sir." He's her XO and still her superior. The woman comes to attention with a salute. "Reporting." Her eyes flicker to the map and back quickly. The past few weeks the S-Three has been making a solid effort to be more professional - even crisp. But the Canceran accent hangs on as if she were just unable to part with it.

Mathers returns the salute with clean efficiency, being the sort that took to officer training school like a duck to water. But then again, these shoulders seem made for holding pins. Speaking of shoulders, they square as he addresses Vandenberg. "Captain Vandenberg. I know you're busy so I'll keep this brief." He makes a motion for her to join him at the plotter. "Please."

The salute drops with the same clean efficiency. Its fast to her side and her hands fall behind her back as she comes to parade rest. "Its not a problem, sir. Anything Command needs from me right now takes priority." As he gestures over she dips her head and covers the distance to stop beside the table. Her eyes scan it quickly. "What can I do for you about the LZ's, Captain?" There is no lack of confidence or enthusiasm in the woman's voice.

There's a twitch of his lips at the corners, Mathers coming dangerously close to smiling for a brief second. "Why don't you just walk me through it. Beginning to end, but you can leave out the boring stuff. We'll operate under the assumption that the jump in is successful."

Natalie turns her eyes up to him and gives a stiff nod to his request. "Aye, sir." She comes from her position at parade rest and moves around to the other side of the table. "Given variable wind conditions which should blow us towards the cliffs and town, we're expecting to land in this flat area of scrub right in here." She circles an area just east of the drop zone. "We assemble out chutes and hike our gear up to this ridgeline here." Her finger slides to it. "We'll scout the best possible location to spot from here, potentially spreading out across the cliffs depending on need. We'll remain in place here for twenty-four hours to monitor activity. If we believe we can get better visiblity closer, we'll likely either rappel or base jump with our reserve chutes off these cliffs and into the valley proper - under the cover of night." She circles a wide area just west of the town near the cliff base. "At H-plus-sixty-four we will select an extraction zone and begin extraction on foot towards one of four sites we've selected. Eight hours later a Raptor will return, we'll make radio contact, and request our extraction from our location." She rises from the table and comes back up to look at the XO. "This is assuming that this plan goes as fragged - which I'm expecting to need to modify and react on the fly." She could smile.. but she doesn't. The S-Three is already wearing her game face.

Mathers listens to all of Vandenberg's report in stony silence, neither nodding nor making any verbal approval of her plan. His head tilts as he considers the map in relation to her walk-through and then finally lifts his eyes back to her face. "And just as importantly, how are you feeling?"

Natalie meets the look from him and takes a breath. "Feeling fine, sir. Face still itches every now and again but the doctors say that's normal. I'm off my meds from my hand being rebuilt." She nearly lost her whole left hand on the Areion. "Lagana has full use of her legs back and has been cleared for the jump by medical. Constin has as well. Every one of these people has been ripped up and reassembled before this mission. You probably don't want to know how we screened for selection or things I have had to say. But this group is the absolute best we can assemble, sir." Oorah. "I'm staking my life and the lives of this fleet on it."

"So you mean this wasn't a matter of sticking names in a hat?" Before she can read too much into that, Mathers is quick to add, "Kidding. Only kidding. Though I have to tell you, base jumping? Repelling? Makes me wish I could go along. Been too long since I've seen a proper cliff." Fingernails cut down to the quick scratch along his jawline, catching on light scruff that's accumulated since his morning shave. "So. You've told me what you want to happen. Now you tell me what you think can go wrong."

Vandenberg's lips twitch as if she might smirk at the remark, but she holds it short, eyes on Mathers. "Our focus was on taking Marines who are well versed in either the situation, the terrain, or the mission.. preferrably at least two. Then we looked at temperament. Wouldn't mind having the weight of XO's pins down there, though, Captain." By the look on her face, she means that. What can go wrong? This time a short, humorless smile cracks. "I think anything can go wrong. Right now I believe we are looking at three primary 'Clusterfrak' scenarios. First, we arrive and the request for help was legitimate except we waited too long and the opposition Cylons have levelled Lampridis. We forced to recon a smoking, radioactive hole in the mud. Second? We arrive either during or right before some kind of attack on the town by main force Cylon aggressors and we have to make some hard choices real fast. Third, we're discovered. Should the last one take place, the recon is over and we might as well be overt. We'll just walk into town. Command has given me discretion to act as I see fit for relations with the Cylons." Captain Vandenberg as a political force? Some might call that a 'fightening prospect'. "Should that take place, I'm not spoiling for a fight, sir. Seen enough blood. Burying twenty-six a few weeks back after killing our own?" Natalie shakes her head slowly. "Captain, I'm ready to look at different angles - as long as I've got more Marines covering my flanks. Ain't harm in listening."

To that Mathers only gives a tiny little shake of the head. "It's not in the cards, not this time. Consider it your time to shine, and do me proud. Not that you haven't already done that at least half a dozen times since I came aboard the Cerberus." Devoid of his standard toothpick, his jaw works side to side a few times in a quick clack of teeth. "You're thinking, using your brain. Not going into this thinking it's going to be a cake walk or a by the books recon, that's all I need to know."

Vandenberg gives an appreciative nod. "Thank you, sir. But we're doing what we're trained to do. Nothing wrong with a little more weight. We've faced worse." As if her actual face doesn't speak easily to that. "No, sir, I think this will be anything but a cakewalk. Something stinks about this. Bad. I want to trust that there is something more here, but I get bad vibes. I think Constin does as well, but we're not about to admit that to each other or anyone going. But we are definitely not being given the straight picture by them. They're holding back something big."

"On the contrary, we've been lucky enough to be able to call a spade a spade on our missions. While we may have gotten a few surprises along the way, we haven't gone into a mission before with people's hopes riding so high on our backs. I'm telling you not to be disillusioned by rumors of an end to this war or that of a new home for our people." Mathers finds his smirk, enough to dimple one cheek like a pock mark, "But it seems I don't need to."

Vandenberg takes a breath, pursing her lips as she looks away. "I have very strong opinions about what's been circulating from Specialist Bannik, sir." Her eyes drift back to Mathers. "I think he's a wreckless child who will cause a lot of good people to die - and that it will probably be Marines and civilians when it happens. If he isn't stopped soon, it'll be anarchy, sir. We're going down there for a lot of good reasons, Captain. More than I think can be fully appreciated by most of this fleet. But his trumpeted reasons are dangerous and are backed by no evidence. I have my own personal hopes about what we will find, but I have no illusions about the import of this op and what it means to the fleet. You want stone cold professionalism? You have it." She pauses for a moment. "Just remember one thing and be prepared for it: If we find this place is a trap? Bannik's followers and believers will go batshit nuts. There may be riots and this team may be attacked."

"There are ways around a rioting civilian ship, that's less of a concern to me than what may happen on the ground. But you did warn me that your opinions were strong." Mathers eyes seem to scan Vandenberg's face, and at last he finally nods. "Anything else you wish to add, Captain?"

"Agreed, sir. We'll get it done, though." There's a grim determination there. The same 'Do It or Die Trying' attitude she's always had, though now its eems to be tempered by something more rigid and less frenetic. To the last Vandenberg shakes her head. "Negative, Captain. We're packed and good to go."

There have been times when Mathers has acted less-than-formally with Vandenberg, typically when her well being is concerned. Now it just shows in a softness of his eyes, but it's nothing that either gets verbalized or acted on. "Then you are dismissed Captain. Thank you for your time, and bring yourself back in one piece."

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