BCH #008: Seeking Clarity from an Engineer
Log Title
Summary: Demos interviews Astrid about Tuata
Date: Feb 18 2041 AE
Related Logs: Seeking Perspective, Of Dreams and Portents, The Tenth Sparrow, A Tangled Web, A Sea Without a Shore, Best Get to Work, and Fly
Demos Astrid King 

[ Security Hub ]----—[ Deck 6 - Battlestar Cerberus ]
More than just an office for the Marines and their XO, this room has remote surveillance views of the Brigs as well as a state of the art communications center built into the far bulkhead. A locked and heavily armored door to the aft leads into another room, the white lettering on it reading 'ARMORY.' There are a few desks scattered around the room for getting necessary paperwork done and the Commandant's picture hangs on the wall next to one of the President.

Astrid can't help but remember the feeling of being summoned to the dean's office as she steps gingerly into the security hub, even if intellectually she knows she's not in trouble. Still, though. SecHub is not a place she wants to get into the habit of seeing. She clears her throat softly as her eyes catch the pair of chatting marines. "Lookin' for a Sergeant…" Astrid pauses, looking down at a note in her hand. "Demos?" Her eyes settle on the woman of the pair. "I'm Petty Officer Ter Avest."

King pushes his chair back some so that Demos can answer for herself. He also adds, "Also, it is…pretty much the lack of oxygen that I try not to dream about."

Demos cannot help the chuckle at King's reply, "I suppose that dreaming about a lack of oxygen would be cause for a visit to the psychiatrist." Turning as the woman enters, Demos nods and listens. She pushes the days ledger toward Astrid, "If you would sign in, please? I am Sergeant Demos." Turning a glance to King, she demurs a bit, "I am sorry, Sergeant. I will need to cut this short. Would you mind if we pick up again another time? I need to spend a little time with Ms. Astrid."

Astrid shrugs. "Sure thing." She steps towards the desk, snatching up a pen and scrawling her name on the first open line of the sign in sheet. Her eyes linger on the paper a moment; she's curious to see if anyone else she knows has been in. Looks like Chief Merrell, and that's it. She looks back up to the pair of marines, and smirks over at King. "Sorry to cut the yakabout short, Sergeant. Official business, don't ya know."

King nods as he stands up and starts for the bulkhead door. "Alright. I probably should get started on my paperwork and the like anyway." He raises a hand dismissively to the private at the door. "Have a good one folks." He says with a smile and a wink.

You say, "Take care, Sergeant." She lifts a wave in reply, her tone warm and friendly, then turns to Astrid, "Thank you for coming so promptly, Ter Avest. Please, come in." Turning a bit, she motions to the Private, "Come in. Call Estrada and see what the hell is keeping him?" Then, she motions to a desk farther back in the office. It has one of those 'witness' chairs next to it. "Please sit down. May I get you some coffee or tea?""

"Uhm." Ter Avest blinks slowly at the sergeant's offer. "Er, sure, coffee would be great." She hesitates. "As long as you're offering… you wouldn't happen to have a smoke I could bum off you, would you?" Not a regular smoker is Astrid, but then this is something of an irregular moment. She strides over to the indicated chair and has a seat, her fingers drumming a sharp staccato beat against the top of the desk.

Moving to the counter where the coffee pot is, Demos pours a mug and tops hers off. She lowers a bit to look on the shelf below. "I do not, but Evans does. Since I bought her this pack when I was off ship last, she will not mind if you have one." So says the non-smoker. Claiming the pack and a lighter, she tucks them into a pocket, then carries the mugs to the desk. Sitting behind it, she sets the mugs down, then retrieves the smokes and lighter. These are also set down and she leans forward, "This conversation will be recorded." She touches a button and the soft whir of equipment working sounds briefly, "The date is February 18th 2041 and I am speaking with Petty Officer 2nd Class Astrid Ter Avest. This is Sergeant Phaedra Demos of the Cerberus Military Police. It is regarding activities witnessed by PO Ter Avest on or about February 10th." She leans back, drawing her coffee toward her. "Now, Petty Officer Ter Avest. Please tell me in your own words, what you witnessed on that day?"

"Awesome, Sarge, thanks." Astrid reaches out and accepts the cigarette, quickly flicking the lighter and touching the flame to the tip. A drag is followed by a sip from the coffee mug, and then the snipe leans forward, placing her elbows on the desk. "Sure thing. I was working my shift in Engineering… it was like my second day on the job, but you seen one engineering compartment on a battlestar, you seen 'em all, ya know? I mean, it was pretty easy to get right into the swing of things. I was working on rewiring a console when whatsername… uh, Tuata… walked by." There's a shrug. "She didn't look right, so I stopped her." The woman pauses there for another puff 'n drink combo.

Demos smiles, "You are most welcome." Relaxing into the chair, Demos lifts her mug to take a slow, easy sip. A pad of paper is then pulled toward her and a pen retrieved, "What do you mean by that, please? That she did not look right? What seemed wrong?" Her gaze then settles upon the woman and remains there.

Astrid nods at the question. "Well, it's like this, Sergeant. I've served in engineering on battlestars for going on five years now. Like I said, you've seen one, you've seen 'em all. The consoles look the same, the layout looks the same. Most importantly… the people act the same. You don't see anyone lollygagging down in Engineering, Sergeant, not ever. We're the ones that keep this movable beast running, and on something this size, there's always something needing work, for one thing. Second, it's not exactly a safe place, and you could very well end up crushed, lacerated, or gods know what if you're not steppin' lively. So when I see this chick movin' at half speed through the damn engineering deck, staring off into space like she's daydreamin' of daisies in the meadow, it's gonna set off some warning flags."

Demos nods, "Ah, I see. Yes, that makes perfect sense." She lifts a hand, "Please continue. What happened next?"

"Well, what happened next was the Chief and I — uh, that's Chief Merrell — " Astrid continues, breaking her stride to clarify Merrell's identity for the benefit of the recorders. " — the Chief and I stopped her. We asked her what she was doing and where she needed to be. She claimed she'd been doing some work on the backup reactor and she was on her way to report to a Doctor Chryse for her next assignment. Except…" Ter Avest sighs, her cigarette flaring as she pulls in another lungful of smoke. "Except she didn't know who he was, what he looked like." She shakes her head, twin tendrils of smoke pouring from her nose as she exhales. "I dunno about you, Sergeant, but every assignment I've had I make damn frakkin' sure I know who all the chiefs above me are, even if they don't work in my section." There's a derisive noise, and then she continues. "So the Chief calls for this Doctor Chryse… and let me tell you, I was half surprised by that point to find out that he really did exist, because everything else she'd been trying to feed us to that point reeked of bullshit."

Demos nods, agreement flaring in her eyes at several points. "Before moving on, please think back. Did Tuata do or say anything at this point? Other than what you have already mentioned? Or, did you notice that anyone else was giving the situation undu attention?"

Astrid shrugs. "Other than trying to feed the Chief and me this cock-and-bull story, she cooperated fully. Although." She tilts her head to one side. "Yeah. Forgot to mention one thing, actually. When we first stopped her, she was suddenly real keen on wiping her hands off on the back of her uniform, and trying to do it all stealthy. They were covered in grease, like she'd been working inside something mechanical, but she'd said she was only reprogramming something in the reactor, as I recall." She shakes her head as to the second part of the question. "Like I said, Engineering's a busy place. I only noticed her '

Astrid shrugs. "Other than trying to feed the Chief and me this cock-and-bull story, she cooperated fully. Although." She tilts her head to one side. "Yeah. Forgot to mention one thing, actually. When we first stopped her, she was suddenly real keen on wiping her hands off on the back of her uniform, and trying to do it all stealthy. They were covered in grease, like she'd been working inside something mechanical, but she'd said she was only reprogramming something in the reactor, as I recall." She shakes her head as to the second part of the question. "Like I said, Engineering's a busy place. I only noticed her 'cause I'd just finished the thing I was working on, and the Chief noticed because Tuata bumped into her. People tend to get a little preoccupied down there."

Demos nods, then again lifts her hand, "Okay. Thank you." She is sitting at a desk somewhat removed from the doorway. Astrid is sitting in a 'witness' chair to one side. Both have coffee and Astrid has a cigarette. "Go on, please. Was Dr. Chryse called to the floor?"

There's a nod from Ter Avest, sitting aside the desk. "Chief Merrell called him over the intercom. And he took his damn sweet time getting there, I tell ya, but he did show up. So then, all four of us went back to the reactor where she was supposedly working." There's another snort from the petty officer. "First of all, there were two guys she said were still working in there when she left — uh, Kennison and… Damon? Dillon? Yeah, Dillon, I think. Anyway, these two jokers were nowhere to be seen, the console she said she was working on had no signs of being opened up, and when Chryse looked at the code, he said she'd barely changed it at all. I checked myself a moment later, and he was right. A couple clarifications here, a code switch there, but she'd barely touched the damn thing. I pressed her to be more specific about what she was actually doing — I mean, there's no such thing as too much caution when it comes to the thought of someone messing around in the reactors, ya know? — but she just clammed up. That's about when Chief Merrell had her detained."

Demos leans forward to take a few notes in pen. Yes, it is being recorded, but… "Interesting. Do you know if Kennison and Dillon are actual people? If so, are they contractors or military personnel?" Leaning back again, she toys with the pen for a moment before slipping it behind one ear. "Go on, please. What happened then?"

Another shrug from the acerbic petty officer. "I dunno. I didn't recognize the names, anyway, and like I said they weren't around at all. But I'm still pretty new to the ship still, so that's not saying much." Her cigarette is tapped lightly over the side of the desk; ash flutters softly to the floor. "Not much else to tell after that point, really. Chryse squawked a little when Chief Merrell called for the MPs, but neither of us were hearing any of it. Tuata… now, she was one creepy little bi… er, chick. She hardly blinked the whole damn time, and she hardly said a word, even when Chief was calling the MPs and they came, cuffed her, and hauled her off. Whole thing was just bizarre."

You say, "That is fine. I was just curious. I can find them, more than likely." Listening to the rest, she twirls the pen a few more times, slowly, slowly, while thoughts chase themselves through her head. Nodding very slightly at last, she reaches forward to write a few things on the paper. "Thank you, Ter Avest. Is there anything else at all that you can think of?" Looking up, she focuses again on the woman's face. "Even the smallest thing that was out of place or odd could help. Oh. Right. What was done after Tuata was hauled off? Anything different? For instance, did Dr. Chryse do or say anything? Also. Which reactor did she claim to be working on? Do you recall?"

"Well, he bitched a little when the Chief had the MPs take him along with Tuata, but he didn't put up a fight or anything," Astrid replies in regards to Chryse. She pauses a little, her features screwed up in concentration as she thinks. "And yeah, it was the backup reactor." Astrid gives a minute shake of the head. "That's about everything I can remember, Sergeant. But if I remember anything else, I'll be sure to come back down here and let you know." She gives the sergeant an expectant look, but doesn't rise from her seat just yet.

Demos nods again, then tilts her head, "Forgive me, Ter Avest, but I am not very familiar with Engineering. How many backup reactors do we have? Only one? Or more?" Her nod turns to a smile and she lifts her hand, "It was a pleasure talking to you. Thank you again for coming down."

"Oh, sorry. Uh, a Mercury-class has three backup reactors. Tuata claimed she was working on number two." Astrid nods, and finally rises from her seat, the spent nub of her cigarette still in one hand. "Not a problem, Sergeant. Glad I could help." Demos gets a thin smile, and then Ter Avest makes for the door.

You say, "Right, then. Thank you again." Rather than see the guest out, she takes turns off the recording and lifts her page. Moving back to the main desk, she claims a file and slips the page in. "Very odd…"

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