PHD #311: Some Pretty Wonky Stuff
Some Pretty Wonky Stuff
Summary: Marko brings his disturbing Cylon transmissions findings to someone he trusts.
Date: 04 Jan 2041 AE
Related Logs: Communication Breakdown? (Marko uncovers said pretty wonky stuff), Storks (Trask's interest in cyphers), Pressure Points - Air Wing (the Dec 18 stealth basestar incident), & Not Out of the Woods - Air Wing (the Aerilon skirmish)
Marko Trask 
Harrier-303 - Midship - Battlestar Cerberus - Hangar Deck - Port
Post Holocaust Day #311
The forward section contains the flight deck, with side-by-side seats for the pilot and ECO (who occupies the rear section of the vehicle during normal operations). This opens into the main body which contains bulkhead-mounted racks of electronics equipment and sensors. A large canopy provides good forward and side visibility for the crew if any, which is no doubt of considerable benefit during atmospheric flight.
Condition Level: 2 - Danger Close

Whistling to himself quietly, Marko makes his way across the deck to the hatch of Harrier-303, undogs the hatch and slips inside. If the deck crew notice, they don't comment, as he's been doing a lot of that of late.

It's not so uncommon, really. With the Naval offices still sealed off, Trask has been holding office hours in whatever Raptor is available. Perhaps it's not as comfortable as using a table in the berthings or even a desk in the Ready Room, but it keeps him close to the hangar and is actually rather quiet. As is, ever since the fleet went to Condition Two, he's been sleeping on a cot in the makeshift sickbay on the starboard deck. So, really, him being here when not on CAP is not unusual. Hearing the hatch open, his attention flits from some paperwork to the new arrival. "Flasher," is the amiable enough greeting.

"Evenin', Boss," Marko replies, nodding politely as he dogs the hatch behind him. "They said you were down here. Interesting choice for a replacement office," he comments with a bit of a smile. "I can see the appeal. Every place else is so damned crowded and noisy," he grumbles. "Well, 'cept for where they've got me working. That's pretty much a ghost town," he chuckles. It's no secret that Marko's been spending an unusual amount of time in a former broom closet near the Map Room working on Gods Only Knows What Hush Hush Project that he can't talk about. "Anyhow, I'm glad I found you. I've come across some pretty wonky stuff here and I don't know who I can trust with it."

The SL doesn't pry about this Mysterious Bizniz. Never has, really, seeing no sense in straining a work relationship over something futile. "Wonky, huh? Doesn't sound overly nefarious," he smirks. "Feel free to take a seat an' shrug off the load on your shoulders."

Marko nods and folds down the jumpseat across from Trask before sitting down and opening the rather alarmingly large file he's brought with him. "Okay, before I get started, I gotta caution you. This is _highly_ classified. I'm not even supposed to be whispering about any of this to you, but seeing what it is I've found, you're the only one I can think of that's in my chain of command I really trust with it," he says, offering Trask the file.

"Consider me cautioned," Kal replies, although it's questionable how much he really gives a frak about such things. After all, he /is/ the sort to disregard anything he deems stupid and getting in the way of good work. He starts to flip through the file. "Any oral summary you wanna give me to save some time?"

"Ah, yeah, heh, that would probably help." Marko nods. "Okay, long story short, a few months ago, Captain Nikephoros told me that some unknown signals were being received and transmitted out of CIC. She had no idea what was being sent or how it was being sent, and put me on the job to find out. Well, that's before everything went so buggo around here," he says, pausing to take a breath. "But, I managed to find a few things out. Apparently, someone or something has tampered with the comms maintenance programs that cover transmissions coming in and out from the ship. The part of that code that governs non-Colonial, non-Fleet, and non-Civilian frequencies had somehow been commented out," he explains. "Somebody or something just put a couple of loops into the thing that makes that part of the code go and, zap, it gets bypassed immediately."

Transmissions to and from CIC garner no response; it's something Bootstrap already knew. The rest, though, is of some interest, the man perking up a bit even though he doesn't cease his perusal. "I imagine that the good Captain," dry, that, "is suspect due to access and the likelihood of possessing the necessary skills. You must have other leads, though." Marko is, after all, thorough.

"Yes, sir. She's right there on my list." Marko nods gravely. "Along with several others who routinely work with this code," he sighs. "But wait, my story gets even better," he adds. "Now, the original transmissions were wiped from the system. No logs, no nothing, wiped by Captain Nikephoros herself, or at least on her orders. So, I'm going over everything and it occurs to me that the Raptors' comms gear may have picked some of this stuff up. You know what the buffer's like on these beauties." He smiles fondly. "You could put the Delphi Municipal Library in there and still have space left over," he chuckles. "So, what I did was I got the timestamps for as many of them as I could, checked the logs to see what ships were on CAP at that time, and went and pulled the buffers." He grins proudly. "Sure enough, bingo, there they were. And hoo boy, do I wish I hadn't found them. Turns out, twelve to twenty-four hours before every Cylon attack since we left Leonis, there was a burst transmission transmitted on…" he says, voice trailing off as he checks his notes. "Twenty-two thousand fifty-eight point two one fiver megacycles," he says, letting his tone indicate how weird he thinks _that_ is. Nobody transmits on that frequency, _ever_. "This goes all the way up to when we got nuked. There was another, larger packet sent on 29 November," he notes. "And another sometime after 18 December. I've tried to narrow it down, sir, but I'm still crunching the numbers. The buffers get kind of crazy from there."

Clearly, Marko has more to report.

Attentively, Trask listens, brow furrowing as he processes both what he's reading and hearing. "Have I ever told you you're my favorite of the fresh meat we started with?" Never mind that most of that fresh meat has since been shipped to the Underworld. All the same, the elder ECO always had faith in the younger one. "I rue the day when you finally disappoint me." Which, in his backhanded way, is decidedly a compliment. "Your awesomeness aside, I'm no fan of the good Captain," again, wry, "but we still need to consider that she's being framed. We also need to consider that we're being steered to consider the possibility even though she's guilty as guilty can be." Even so, he's not making an actual determination. "Were you able to pull who had access during those timeframes? Not that /that/ can't also be forged."

"Heh, thanks, sir. I hope that day doesn't come any time soon." Marko chuckles, nodding a little. "Cause I have no doubt Toast will hand out popped corn and cheese while you flay the skin off my back," he laughs before turning back to his notes. "Oh, wait… I got something wrong there. It was on 18 December or thereabouts that a new layer of monitoring was added. My apologies, I got that one wrong," he says, holding his hand up to stave off any possible explosion. Any flaying, deserved or not, can wait until after he's corrected his error. "Yeah, here we go, they put in a series of _very_ serious sub-routines…" he breathes, glancing back over the code and pursing his lips thoughtfully. "I've hit credit card companies didn't have this kind of security," he sighs. "And it's subtle as hell, too. You'd have a hell of a time finding it, if you didn't know it was already there. But… according to this, on at least one occasion, someone tried to breach it, but backed off just before sending up a red flag. I haven't done a _lot_ of digging into this, but what I have found is that it was set up by several of the very senior techs, not sure which ones based on the data I've got so far, and it was done under authorization codes issued by the MPs, again, I don't know which ones. Haven't had time to look into duty rosters and the like yet," he explains. "Because, frankly, sir, I'm kind of worried that if I make this public, it'll kick off a witch hunt that'll make the unpleasantness with Admiral Abbot look like a square dance." He sighs, shaking his head sadly. "Right now, I've got a list of suspects that include some of the most senior officers and technicians on this ship, and barely enough evidence to really make a case against any of them."

"The 18th, huh?" Yeah, that is of interest. "That's the day we encountered that stealth basestar. The one with the ECW on PCP and steroids." It's something he wouldn't forget. Something else also catches Trask's attention. "What do you mean 'breach it'? That implies someone knew it was there. Who the frak would know other than skinjobs?" A frown starts to form and an idea comes to him. "You recall how those Elevens said there was a Two aboard? That he wanted to be one of us? Can you determine the nature of the poking? Try to determine what the would-be hacker was attempting?" The witch hunt discussion can seemingly wait. "And Aerilon… when the Cylons attacked but it seemed kinda half-assed compared to Sagittaron. Was there anything different? Did that occur after the attempted breach?"

"I was thinking the same." Marko nods to Trask's reply. "I'm still going through the code, but whatever he, she or it was after, it was definitely protected by the new protocols. If it hadn't been for the keychecks embedded into the system, I would've never found it," he explains. "All I've got is bits and pieces, even with that," he says, flipping through his voluminous notes until he finds the right print out and passes it over. Between all of the computer gobbledygook, there's one definite command that sticks out: 'crimsonsky_obj.'. "I haven't been able to find one trace of any code object that matches that description in any of the computer logs I've had access to."

Marko explains, "My guess is, the perpetrator did what I'd do, once they realized they were about to trigger an alert: they killed the program mid-stream with a killswitch — that's a kind of hot key, you see. Say you're executing an object, which is — and my apologies if I'm telling you what you already know — an object is a series of commands executed one after the other," he explains. "A killswitch is something you can write into the object, so if, say, you're in the middle of an object and you think you're about to get caught out, you can hit, say, escape or backspace or tab and it sends another command that terminates the program. Then you just wipe the whole damn thing from the buffer. That's the easy part, really. There's not an operating system in the universe doesn't have an option to clear the buffer. Now, CIC probably has what we call a 'deep buffer', that would log _everything_, but I'd have to have an access level like Zeus to get into the damn thing 'cause it stores, well, _everything_ including stuff I'm not even remotely cleared to see," he sighs. "As for the rest of it, I'm still crunching the numbers; the new security protocols are scrambling up my attempts to match up date stamps."

Bootstrap is pondering something, his countenance too intense to qualify as pensive. "Do what you can to determine if something was different about Aerilon." Then, moving onto another mental track, "What about cyphers? Find anything that might be a decryption key?"

"I'll see what I can find out." Marko nods, "As for the other, again, I'll see what I can find, but it's gonna take a while. The encryption I found on those transmissions looks like it was written by somebody on a six day morpha bender," he sighs. "I've never seen code like this, we're talking about complexity layered on complexity. And yes, before you say it, it's _gotta_ be Cylon, no human would ever write something like that without heavy medication."

Vaguely, the Taurian nods his head. After a musing moment, "A'right. Keep me posted. I'll see what I can do for you on the MP front. In a round-about way, this ties into the transmissions I've been going over, so I can use that as a pretense to put some feelers out on Toast. Maybe she can manage to get some notes from Baer for comparison." A long shot, sure, but it's still worth a shot. "Think you can copy all this to some data sticks, for me?" It's a question he probably expects the answer to be 'yes'. "Other than that, is there anything else?" To relay. That Marko needs of Trask. <Insert something here.> The SL may not be the most approachable person, but he's always available for his people and willing to do what he can to aid them in their endeavors.

"I can have the digital stuff I've got on a disc and tucked under your pillow inside of an hour," Marko replies with a nod before passing over a pen. "You'll need to write this down, sir," he says. "Decrypt sequence is Bravo, Leo, Union, Bravo, Rotate, Bravo, Yellow, one, one, two, sixer, four," he says. "Type that into any portable into the fleet with a disc reader and you'll have the lot."

The pen is foregone. Instead, Trask reaches over the ECO console and retrieves a smart device with a built-in keypad. With swift thumbs, he starts typing. In Taurian. Then he locks that file. "Got it." All that is left is to say, "You need anythin' else, lemme know." Which is as much of a dismissal as he's going to give before he gets back to far less interesting paperwork.

"Will do, sir," Marko replies, collecting his notes and shuffling them back into order before tucking them back into the file and the file beneath his arm. "I'll keep digging. Mean time, I've got a dawn patrol hop to start thinking about getting ready for," he says, stifling a yawn behind his fist. "Any word about when we'll be moving on?" he asks curiously.

"If there is, I haven't heard it," is the simple reply. "The obvious answer would be whenever an FTL jump won't tear apart the ship. The ChEng's been a bit busy recovering from a coma, so I haven't really been pestering 'im about it." Facetious, yes, but also very true.

"Eh… yeah, that would slow things down a touch," Marko replies, chuckling as he pulls a bit of a grimace. "Anyhow, I know you've got work up to your eyeballs, so I'll leave you to it. If I find anything else out, I'll let you know. If you hear anything, see anything, or just _suspect_ something, sir, _please_ let me know. Got a feeling it's going to take a lot of people's brain meats to work this one out," he says, rising from his seat and making his way, hunched over, towards the hatch. "By the way, how's Quinn holding up?"

"That it would," is wryly remarked about recovering from a coma. "And I will." Let Marko know anything that arises regarding the investigative matter. Just as he resumes reading something or another, the question about Quinn is asked, which actually draws Trask's attention to alight on the departing ECO. "As well as a whale of a pregnant woman comin' up on 39 can be." He can talk like that about her. She's his BFF. Then again, he'd probably say that even if she wasn't. "Should be servin' up that apple dumplin' within the next few weeks." Then in a move many would find shocking, he demonstrates the social grace to inquire, "And you? Married life treatin' you well? Your wife? Fine, I hope."

"Heh, well, you see her, tell her I said 'hi'," Marko replies with a nod and a ghost of a grin for the cavalier, backhanded affection Quinn and Trask share. "Hope the sprogs cook well," he chuckles. "Yeah, Lun's fine, busier than a one armed paper hanger, but who the frak ain't these days?" he shrugs. "We still see enough of each other to stay close," he adds, smiling in a slightly goofy, love-sick way. "Anyhow, sir, thanks for your time, but I got about ten minutes to shit, shower and shave before my CAP rotation," he says, nodding his obeisance to his CO before opening the lock.

"Yanno, if your mother doesn't mind, it's okay to have sleep-overs." That's right. The SL is giving the green light for Marko to do just that. His parting quip is nothing more than, "If you shit after you shower but before you shave, be sure to wash your hands — and use soap!"

"Heh, damn… so that's what I've been doing wrong all these years," Marko quips back with a laugh. "Thanks for the tip, boss," he says. "And, we do have sleep-overs, it's just easier to do them in less… public areas," he adds with a lascivious grin. "Why do you think I got involved with the hydroponics stuff, sir?" he asks. "Cause I like my veggies?"

"You mean it's not literal cherry picking in there? I'm shocked. Shocked and horrified." So much so that the deadpan theatrics are brought out. "Regardless of what you're eating in there, I'm certain your wingmates thank you for your discretion."

Marko laughs. "You can kindly leave my wife and her cherries out of your thoughts, sir," he chuckles. "Fruity and delicious as they may be, a marriage must have its secrets," he winks teasingly. "Anyhow, seriously, I gotta be going."

"Then go," the SL cheekily needles before getting back to doing whatever he was doing before this little interlude.

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