PHD #240: Strike the Viper
Strike the Viper
Summary: Cidra visits Damon to discuss Coll's Strike Viper and Hammerfall Missile projects.
Date: 24 Oct 2041 AE
Related Logs: Any to do with Coll's death, the Strike Viper, or Hammerfall Missile.
Cidra Damon 
Chief's Office - Hangar Deck - Battlestar Cerberus
Post-Holocaust Day: #240
The room is fairly small, to maximize the area of the deck itself. It contains a smallish metal desk with locking drawers, a computer terminal, a file cabinet against one wall and metal shelves filled with tools, spare parts, and manuals. There are two chairs facing the desk, clearly scavenged from somewhere else. One area of the shelving, nearest the desk, has been cleared and is clean. This holds a coffee maker that constantly seems to have some brew or other in it. Above the chair behind the desk, in a position of prominence, a framed picture has been hung. It is an embroidered image depicting Hephaestus with his two metal helpers. The work is beautiful and almost lovingly detailed. The god is laughing, one eye bright where a patch covers the other. He is held aloft by his helpers, one done in glittering gold, the other in silver.
Condition Level: 3 - All Clear

Cidra sent a missive that she needed to speak to Damon. And she has arrived to do just that. In her duty greens rather than her flight suit. Which generally means she's on the hangar deck for a matter not, directly, related to flying a Raptor.

Damon glances up from his desk. "Major," he says in greeting, dragging himself up to his feet. He's still a fairly young man, but it seems that the deskwork has been taking its toll on him from the winces of pain when he stands up. Pain in his neck, pain in his lower back, cracking in his knees. He needs one of them fancy ergonomic chairs. "What can I do you for?"

"Petty Officer Damon. A good day," Cidra says, ever polite, offering the faintest of smiles and inclination of her head to Damon. "This shall not take long. I have been speaking with Intel and I did want to touch base on a few…items concerning the late Crewman Coll had been working on. Her 'Strike Viper' design and some missiles collected from Parnassus."

"Ah…" Damon seems saddened just to hear the name of the late Crewman, though he forces a polite smile nonetheless. "Please, Major, pull up a seat." He gestures to an uncomfortable-looking plastic chair across the table, the best that he's got to offer. "It's funny you should mention the Strike Viper and the missiles - I had just come across that paperwork again the other day. Does this mean that we have authorization to continue work on her prototype plans?"

Cidra sits, legs crossing. She does not seem to mind the discomfort of the chairs. "Thank you. And no. As I did say, I have spoken with Intel and as I understand it all matters with which Crewman Coll was spear-heading are on hold indefinitely, due to the circumstances of her death. If you wish to take that up with Intelligence, that is your matter." She does not actually mention the accusations that Coll was a Cylon, but that's her clear reference. "The missiles I leave up to you. It seems unwise to me to leave weapons we could use against the enemy idle, and there are perhaps various ways they could be repurposed and reviewed. But I would like to request personally that the Strike Viper project, even on hold as it is, be officially scrapped."

Damon doesn't speak immediately following Cidra's words, measuring his response. It's clear from his crestfallen expression that he's disappointed by her request to cancel the project altogether. "I see," he says evenly. His eyes focus downward on a pen which he idly rolls back and forth across his desk with his thumb. "Major, I… I understand the nature and the gravity of the charges laid against Crewman Coll. But if the missiles are a weapon we wish to pursue using against the enemy, doesn't the Strike Viper project also fall into the same category?"

"The charges against Crewman Coll are only one of my concerns about this project," Cidra says. "Have you looked over the design, Petty Officer? To be frank. It is entirely unheard of, completely untested, and contains ideas that I am frankly unconvinced are even workable. And it was designed by a deckhand and one of my ensigns with, so far as I know, no direct supervision until I requested they bring you into consult on the project. I do not mean to slight their skill, but it did always seem more built on dreams and enthusiasm than practicality. Secondly, I am also unsure *how* my people would make use of this creation if indeed testing did find it workable. We have, to my knowledge, no way to launch it from our tubes. That would take additional re-engineering of our flight deck. My pilots would certainly need additional training to handle it, which would take away from their primary duties. It would also utilize a large amount of supplies even to build it - unknowing if it would work or not - which could be used on fabrication of new Mark Sevens or repairs to our present complement of Vipers and Raptors. Lastly, it does confuse me very much why the Colonial Fleet designed weapons its existing ships could not use. Though that is more a question for Weps and yourselves than me. I am willing to hear arguments as to why it should continue, Petty Officer, but it has always been a…problematic endeavor and the circumstances of Coll's death, and the delays the investigation will prompt to it in any case, make it only moreso."

Click-click-click-click-click. Click-click-click-click-click. The hexagonal pen rattles noisily as Damon pushes it back and forth, back and forth, looking glum. Like a teenager whose parents won't let him go to a party because he didn't finish his homework. Not once during Cidra's argument does he make eye contact with her. "At the time, I was brought onto the project to look over the plans as to their specifications and combat capability," he says after a long silence with a resigned sigh. "I hadn't given much thought - no, let's be honest, any thought - to the practical implications of the ship, I'll admit. I just…" His face crinkles into a look of hesitation. "I hate to tell the Deck to shut it down after all the work, all the hours that've gone into this thing, all the blood that's been shed just to get to where we are now - a piece of frame and some landing gear." Without giving her a chance to respond, he holds up his hands to forestall any kind of objection. "I know, I know, Major, I have to suck it up and be a man. I'm the Interim Deck Chief until Atreus returns, and that means I have to deliver the bad news along with the projects and promotions. It just… well, it sucks."

"Many things suck all around, Petty Officer," Cidra says simply. "I would rather not put more effort into something that shall come to naught, and perhaps never be cleared by Intel besides. The parts salvaged for it can still be used, I hope? I understand Specialist Bannik has made some progress in studying the Cylon designs, perhaps to improve our fuel capacity? And, there are those ships flown by those aboard the Areion." Slight dubious note to her tone on the last, but curiosity is there.

Damon nods, putting away the pen. No more that annoying plastic-rolling-on-wood sound. "Aye, Major. Bannik's been plugging away at adapting the Cylon technology for use on our ships, and my plan is to pour more people on that project. As for the Areion, I've been hearing about their customized Vipers and Raptors. My intent on that front is to zero in on the modifications and improvements that can be used on our ships across the board. I'm none too certain about the feasibility of custom-tailoring each craft to each pilot; I'd rather focus on the broader picture to start, then zoom into the fine details if it's possible at that oint."

"As would I, particularly as our supply of air craft is hardly finite," Cidra says. "We still run a mix of Twos and Sevens, flown by our pilots are their repair status dictates. Things are better now that we have not engaged the Cylons for some time, but I have no reason to believe this shall remain so. The broader the better. Do as you can, Petty Officer." A pause and she adds, "As for Crewman Coll's missiles, as I did say, Intel has kept her projects frozen as her…status is investigated. But we may be able to reengineer and repurpose them for use by our Raptors or Vipers. Or, if not, perhaps Weps can use them in our capitol ship systems. I have no objection to your people continuing to work upon them for our use, pending whatever Intelligence finds of course."

Damon nods again, this time a single nod of agreement. Her words sound like a summation, but he's not about to stand up before she does just in case it isn't. "Aye aye, Major. I'll make sure we interface with Intel on that before doing any sort of work. Call me gutless, but I've been, uh, apprehensive of so much as looking at the documentation for the Strike Viper and the missiles after the stop-drop was called on those projects." He smiles wryly, indicating several sealed envelopes set aside with CLASSIFIED stamped across them. "I've heard talk of those who're suspected of being Cylon sympathizers getting, ah, unwelcome visitors. The less I do to make people even suspect that I'm delving into 'Cylon stuff', even though Coll hasn't actually been found to have been one yet, the better all around."

"Coll's death left many…lingering questions," Cidra says. Her tone is troubled, and she does not bother to hide it. "I am quite glad our investigative staff is taking them seriously, for my part. As for the acts of vandalism…" She frowns as she stands. "…I find it abhorrent that such things are being visited by one crew member upon another. Whatever Coll was…" And she sounds like she's in the 'maybe Cylon' camp, for her part. "…we know those abominations to be skilled in covering themselves. That she may have fooled so many…well, Morgenfield and Shaker did so before her. Perhaps Admiral Abbot as well." Her frown deepens, particularly as she says those last two names.

"Gods forfend that she, too, was one of their number," Damon says, his words uncharacteristically solemn. For him, Coll being a Cylon as well as Morgenfield - two members of the Deck that he's worked with - is too repulsive and frightening a thought. "Major, if I can ask a you question that might not be my place to ask? What's being done to protect us against further attacks from within, especially with the Areion having recently joined us? I mean, there are more hidden Cylon agents within the Fleet, are there not? We haven't had Centurions bursting from the walls for a while now, or any real acts of sabotage, but I can't shake this feeling that we're being watched. Toyed with."

"I cannot shake it, either," Cidra replies. "And I fear there is only so much I can tell you of that, Petty Officer. Me and mine, we defend from forces without. Raiders and other enemy aircraft. Enemies from within…the Marines would know more. And I do not envy them their duty. Raiders I fight with not hesitation. But the prospect that those I serve with, even those whose orders I did follow if Abbot is what it seems…well. That we are toyed with, it does chill me. But I cannot shake that feeling either."

As cliche as it is, Damon can't help the shudder that overtakes him for a second. The thought is not a pleasant one, and it chills him to the bone. "Nor I, Major," he murmurs, in reference to envying the Marines' job. "Our job on the Deck is simple. It has a beginning, ad middle, and an end. The primary intent is always the same: maintain the combat capability and equipment of the Air Wing. There's a mechanical, mathematical simplicity to what we do. And I'm glad for it." He forces another smile, one that doesn't reach his eyes. "Perhaps the mysteries will be unraveled soon. Whether they are or not, we must carry on doing our jobs."

"We carry on as we can," Cidra agrees. She suppresses a shudder, for her part, but looks no more at ease than Damon. "I wish you good works, Petty Officer, and good hunting." Whatever that might entail for him. She'll take her leave on that note.

"Major. The same to you." He rises and offers his respects with a quick salute, which was remiss upon her entrance.

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