PHD #348: Secondhand
Summary: The ChEng gets his information about the ancient ship any way he can.
Date: 09 Feb 2042 AE
Related Logs: Questing and Past Is Prologue directly. Tangents indirectly.
Leyla Mark 
Ready Room
With the hatches at the rear of the room, the walkways on both sides slope down towards the dais at the front of the room. The stadium seating forms a partial semi-circle around the speaking podium and provides enough seats for all three hundred members of the Air Wing. The walls are adorned with the patches of each squadron aboard and their mottos stenciled in white lettering above each one. Behind the podium is a set of large LCD screens that can display any matter of material from reconnaissance to maps to gun camera footage.
Post-Holocaust Day: #348

It's not been long, since the second recon team to the ancient vessel has returned to the fleet. The ship, no, did not return with them, but words, and images and hitherto unbelievable stories did. The sleeping dead, the remnants of a lost civilization, the relics of hope. And while most of the command staff that went with the recon are likely in the middle of briefings and whatnot, Leyla has managed to slip away, finding quiet, for the time being, in the Ready Room, and an open LCD screen through which to feed the images she's brought back.

Mark is apparently one of those people who isn't in on the debriefings. Probably because he wasn't allowed to go. Some kind of fuel leak prevented that one. One can probably imagine the anger he had over that. But the next best thing is to hunt down someone who -did- go. He pushes through the hatch, shutting it behind him. "Heard I might find you here." He's dirty again. It never ends. Boots clomp down the side of the room towards Leyla. "Hearing some crazy stuff. You got anything I can hear about? I'm impatient for things like AAR's."

The sound of the hatch opening brings Leyla head up, her gaze around to the grimy man making his way into the neat and tidy Ready Room. She makes no attempt to stave off the flow of images crossing the LCD, but she does pause them, "It depends on what you want to know. I don't know what was the found on navigation and engineering, as I wasn't on that detail. I was assigned to what turned out to be the crew quarters." Probably not really what the Engineer was interested in. "You're welcome to look at what I brought back."

Mark reaches into a cargo pocket on his leg and produces a paper-wrapped sandwich from the galley. He doesn't even look at it. His focus is on the screen. "Hey, at this point I'll settle for hearing about the shape of it some more. Gabrieli is still in debrief and I won't hear anything about what was found until reports go out in the morning." He glances to Leyla and grins. "So yer stuck with me." The sammich is pre-cut into two halves and he offers part of the egg-salad to her. "So what all did you guys run into? Inquiring minds would like to know, if possible."

Leyla's eyes fall to the sandwich, the half held out to her. Clean hands emerge from her gloves, replacing the suit gloves she wore most of the day, as the duty greens have replaced her flight suit, the screen behind her showing an image a wall, covered in a mural showing an outdoor scene. "Thank you." The gloves are set down on the table, before she find takes the half-sandwich in her right hand, using her dominant left to navigate her computer. "I can start with the recon Flasher and I brought back from our first trip out. We did a few full rotations around the vessel to get enough images from the raptor's cameras that we could build a 3-D model of the ship." A shift, from one folder on her laptop to another, and the images from the raptor's camera begins. The head of the ship, for lack of a better word, working its way towards the tail. "You can sit. If you like."

"No problem. Figured you spent all evening out there on the ship you might be a little famished." Mark takes a bite out of his and stuffs his free hand into his pocket. He doesn't even give her gloves a second glance. This time. He's probably either distracted by the photos or just accepting the gesture to the lost. "Coooool." Mark watches it scroll through before he glances to the chairs with her offer. "Heh, thanks. I'll stand. I always feel weird on this deck. Everything is so clean. I feel like just by standing around I'm ruining scenery. Sitting would be actually doing that." He grins and looks back. "Damned odd shape for a ship. Haven't seen bridge construction like that before - assuming that's the bridge." He points to the whale's tail. "Civilian vessels either put them out front or at the rear and high up. But not like that. Weird." He takes another bite.

It takes a long while, to go through the first set of images, before Leyla keys up the 3-D modeling she's spent most of her work and off duty hours constructing. "I haven't even thought about eating all day." She just gets that way. And who doesn't, when they're hard at work. "You are the scenery. Nothing that dirty usually comes up here unless something's on fire." The edges of her lips curl, something approaching a smile, before she looks back to the screen. "No, actually, the ship is divided into two decks, the 'tail' portion is actually the closest the ship has to a hangar. Where the whale's…head, I suppose, would be, is split between the command sections of the ship, and the living quarters. "It's not like any colonial design we're familiar with." She does punctuate the commentary with slow bites, "You smoke?"

At least that gets Mark to chuckle. "Lieutenant, are you trying to objectify me? Because I'm okay with that. Hell, at least you're up front with it. Everyone else up here just sniffs at me curiously like I might turn into a werewolf at every moment." He winks and looks back to the 3D. "Good amount of detail on this set of renderings. Impressive. But huh, okay. Weird. using the tail as hangar's. I guess it makes sense in a way. Though that kind of design is very.." Mark searches for the words. "Very last-ditch. If the fuel lines in the hangars explode, it won't take the rest of the ship. Makes me think of lifeboats for some reason." The man grunts and takes another bite of the sandwich as the images scroll. He then looks to her and shakes his head. "Only grass. Never been one for the cigarette. Go ahead, though. You oughtta see some of the workspaces down there in Engineering."

Leyla turns her attention back to the ChEng, "Objectify? No. I just know the sort of people that usually frequent this deck. And they're not usually engineers, or anyone else that's not at least wearing clean duties." As Leyla is, "The most rough and tumble you might encounter, is someone in their flight suit." An easy return to the rendering, "Hangar was as close a word as we would come to what the space might be. But it doesn't resemble any hangar we've ever used. It was more…a sort of communal area. Here, I'll show you." There's a shift back to images, as she starts a run of the images from the raptor as it makes its entry into the pried open hangar door. "You see? It's more of…a sort of gathering place." The closeups, made after Leyla and Marko disembarked the raptor come next. "There were marks on the ground, that, in my opinion, were made by some sort of cylon craft, probably a heavy raider leaving skid marks."

Mark laughs again, even if she isn't. "Seriously. Its great, though. Everyone gets out of my way like I'm going to give them something venereal just by brushing against them. Takes me no time at all to navigate the deck." Another bite of the sammich and he's back on the screen. Its all taken in with only a grunt to punctuate his thoughts. Another bite of the sandwich and a swallow before he says anything else. "Weird. Communal area. I've seen decorative stuff placed on walls in landing bays before, but they're usually ceremonial. If this just vents to space I can't imagine why unless they had a way to prevent vacuum access. But that's some high science fiction shit - stuff like shields they technobabble their way through. You're a pilot. You've seen the insane airlock systems we use just to recover your birds on elevators off the flight deck." Another bite of the sandwich. "Cylons, though. How much of the ship do you guys think they got to?"

"I don't doubt that I might have to have you medically screened before engaging in close contact, Captain. But despite my small amount of experience, I do recall my classes enough to know that you need more than casual contact to acquire a venereal disease." And on to the subject of the ship, "I believe they must have. Their entryways are not like anything I'd seen before either, not on our ships." Which have hatches and stuff, natch. "This some of the close footage we brought back today." Leyla sets aside the sandwich she hasn't finished yet, using a clean piece of paper in lieu of a napkin. "This is not as organized as I would like." But now she shifts to images of the door, and the system around them. True to her word, it is not a hatch. Indeed, it has no visible means of entry. "Flasher said it reminded him of the sorts of automatic doors that we have in grocery stores, but we couldn't find where its 'sensor' would be." Cylons, "I do not believe they breaches beyond the hangar area."

Mark just looks at Leyla for her first comments. Something she said.. "They.. they teach classes now? Damn I coulda used that." A shake of his head and he looks back. As the images move he steps closer to the screen and pops the last of his sandwich into his mouth. Nom nom- whoa. He tilts his head. "No kidding. Damned strange, that is." Squinted eyes try unfocusing to maybe find something else. "Most people don't notice anymore, but every hatch on every ship is marked. This is done so that in emergencies you know exactly where you are going. These have nothing. At all. No direction, no indications. And these doors." Mark clears his throat. "We don't use doors like this because they're prone to breaking seal. That's why we use hatches. You'd have to use electromagnetic locks or massive amounts of force behind each door to even make them remotely safe. You said you got through them, right? How? What was on the other side?"

"Teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases are a rampant problem in my part of Tauron. All schools there taught sexual education classes. I suppose you must not have come from a place with such issues." Leyla retrieves her sandwich, taking her time in finishing it, "There was only one hatch heading into the ship. Perhaps there was no need to make it, as there would be only one way to go." As for how? "We drilled and cut into the doors and used brute force to power them open. There was a hallway perpendicular to the door. The right curved towards the upper deck of the ship, towards engineering and the bridge. The right lead to a stairwell and down to the second level where the living quarters were." A quirk of her lips, as she considers the door. "We considered, briefly, attempting to interface our power systems with theirs, but neither CAPs Trask nor Gabrieli were able to deduce a way to interface our technology with this."

"No, not really. I mean, kids are gonna do that stuff but when I was growing up we were still crawling out from under the war. My hometown was about as poor as it gets for Picon. So no, no classes." Mark nods, listening to the woman discuss their entry. "Interesting. I'm assuming there was no vacuum behind the door - like there was no atmosphere to speak of? You probably would have seen it venting with the first cut." Its more or less spoken to himself. "Given enough time, you can make power systems work together. Its less about power requirements as power regulation. But yeah," he waves it off. "You all went to the living quarters?"

Leyla looks a bit askance at the engineer, critically, not judging, but weighing. "You are not that much older than I am, Captain. Perhaps…a decade or so? But Derry was in a very industrialized area of Tauron. Perhaps that was one of the reasons for the differences in our education." Back to the work at hand, the pilot seeming to have no trouble moving between two completely disparate lines of conversation, logic will let you do that, "No vacuum or atmosphere. No signs of life of any kind. Only the remains. A moment." Leyla switches to yet another folder. She's at least gotten this far in her OCDness. Images of the stairs, all bare of words or decoration, and then the entry into the galley area, including some re-organized pictures of the kitchen, and the animal skeletons in their long-abandoned cages. "Breeding stock, Captain Nikephoros believes." A nod, at the last of his comments, "If there is anyone who can figure out how to interface this system with ours, it will be our engineers."

Mark nods. "Probably, but its important to put context into that decade, Leyla. It took most of that decade to rebuild after the Cylon war. Our education systems were heavily in the tank. Most of what I learned at a young age was from home-schooling. I didn't see the inside of a classroom until I was..geez. Maybe twelve? I think it was sixth grade. I'd give it the differences in location and context, though. My only trip to Tauron was for a salvage last month." He shrugs. The man isn't going to make assumptions about her home. Turning back to the work at hand, he taps his chin with a finger. "Well atmo or gases don't just disappear. They can decay and degrade, but they don't turn to vacuum. Sounds like we've got an active leak someplace." Mark snorts at himself. "No surprise. Huh, yeah. Breeding stock. Gods, what an eerie place. I cannot wait to look at their flight logs. My next two weeks are going to be spent in that damned craft, I can tell you right now. I might as well bring a sleeping bag when I head o
ver there."

"We only homeschool in the outer regions of Tauron now. It is not very much like it was in years past. Tauron moved on, and many traditions were lost. Only in a very few pockets were the old ways kept alive. And not all of them as they should have been." There's another of those faint smiles, "Picon was the only colony I ever saw before Warday. I went to Fleet Academy there. Learned to fly there." The smile fades, replaced with something very much like a snort, "Believe me. Most of Tauron was not much changed by the coming of the cylons. Industry and progress ground down what was once a beautiful and vibrant colony." Attention returns to the images, which are now moving out, following the course of Leyla's feet. The observation area first, and then into the individual rooms. The pilot clearly made no attempt to soften the blow of the images. The books and pictures, the murals on the walls. The bodies tucked away in their beds. The remains of every, one would suppose, man woman and child that called the ship home. "Every room the same. Every indication that every person on that ship simply went to sleep, never to reawaken."

She mentions traditions and Mark glances to her gloves. Its not a shameful expression but simply one where he is drawing connections. "One night you and I will have to sit down and discuss Taurian traditions. I'll listen, you talk." Its an agreement he makes with her whether or not she agrees..or something. His eyes then turn back to the screen as he looks over the bodies. Its probably not his first time seeing dead people - in person or pictures. He doesn't seem squeamish about heading over there at all. "Okay, well if we ignore the possible chemical or biological reasons for something like this, there are a few options: First, atmospheric changes. CO2 poisoning would do this. If life support started churning out buckets of it, a slow poisoning overnight would kill everyone. Getting everyone to just suicide at once is just.. I don't even want to go there." The man shakes his head. "Second.. I dunno. I'd have to see it myself. I'll be interested to see what medical says. But if there are still skeletal remains and this was under vacuum.. Lessee. Chain of events? I would say everyone died with the engines fully fueled - or with at least enough power to run life support for several years. You wouldn't decay in the vacuum. You'd just become a giant brick of ice. So these bodies would have had to have been there for a long-ass time to be in this condition. Again..medical."

"I never know how to talk about things like that." Leyla is not a babbler, "I can never decide what someone else might think is important or interesting or not. Especially with such a subject. Things I take for granted will be new to you. It is easier to ask questions." So no, she's not turning down his agreement, only giving a tacit one of her own, "There are records, are there not, of religious fundamentalists who have committed mass suicide?" She looks at the pictures, room, after room, after room, "There were so many books. None of them looked truly personal. I wonder if they either did not keep any, or stored their personal thoughts in some other fashion. If they had personal thoughts at all. We are individuals. What if they were not?" There's so little in the way of anything that looks like individualization, aside from the images. "As you said, there are so few markings, instructions…what if they didn't need them?" Alien thinking, but this is an alien ship. "Poisoning, perhaps. If life support was on for an extended period, they would not have remained in their beds like that for such a long period of time." Finally, the images come to a close, "That is all I have. I haven't gotten any copies of the images from the other team."

Yep, she signed up for it. She will be at his mercy for the questions. Though the man is in agreement. "Sure thing. Cults do that shit. About twenty years ago they all ate oatmeal laced with strychnine. The little frakker who ran them said that the convulsions caused were the soul attempting to fight its way out of the body past the demons and on to Elysium." Its all deadpanned as he looks at the screen. "Storing logs electronically. Personal stuff. Its easier than writing everything down - especially when you are in danger of running out of paper over very extended periods of time. Books..books are always good. As for individualization?" The man shakes his head and looks back to her. "I don't have a clue. Its some spooky shit. Anyhow, thanks. I need to go grab a snipe or thrice and see about doling out work over there. Thanks Leyla. I'll grab you when I head over to check out the command decks." He dips his head and heads off for the hatch.

"If you are right, then it is even more important that we restore power to that ship. I will get the images together that I have and send them on to you when I can. Good evening, Captain." Business over, back to working. Leyla reclaims her seat. And even finishes her sandwich, before she lights up and gets back to work.

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