PHD #413: EVENT - Taken
Summary: In CIC, people learn how frakked they are.
Date: 15 Apr 2042 AE
Related Logs: So many.
Bannik Cora Marko Sawyer 
Post-Holocaust Day: #413

"I just don't understand," Bannik is saying to Sawyer as they make their way into the Combat Information Center. "Why do they need us? I mean, they don't have any threats down there. The only people there are the humans and the investigating Cylons. What do they need from us? What could they possibly need from us?"

Sawyer has been damn near living and breathing computer code, and when she's not doing that, she's been dreaming about it when she can actually get some sleep. Therefore it's with an exhausted countenance that she reports to the unusual request for her come up to CIC. She flashes her clearances at some crewman that tries to stop her from entering along side of Bannik, muttering something about the Captain requesting her and the Specialist. "Slow your roll." The journalist mutters, touching her forehead as if warding off a threatening headache. "I'm sure it's just some technicality. Like a gag order on talking about what we found yesterday."

Bannik is in duty greens, so he has an easier time making it into the Combat Information Center than the Editor-in-Chief of the Associated Fleet Press or whatever its calling itself these days. "No. I mean. Not the Captain. I mean the Cylons. Why would they call us down there? What threats do they have that they need us to protect against?" Gag order or no, Bannik is just about the biggest hen there is.

Cora is on duty in CIC, taking her turn as Officer of the Watch. Luckily this does not actually involve Watching anything in particular at all times, it seems. In her duty blues, the TACCO sits at a desk towards the back of the room, raised enough to allow her a clear view of the rest of the space should she require it. Just now, she is focused on what looks like a bunch of photographs, spread out on the desk in front of her. Her laptop sits off to the side, and a notebook and pen next to it. She looks up as Sawyer and Bannik enter, and waves them over. "Thanks for coming," she says, "Sit. I want to talk about Gemenon. I've pulled stills of the bits of mural with the text that matches the script used in the Ark. Now that that's been translated I'm trying to see if we can decode these as well. Take a look," she pushes the photographs over.

Any answer she has for Bannik is clipped off as she draws up to Cora and is immediately being presented with photos. Sawyer plops into a chair and pulls the glasses off from their clip on her collar. One hand on the papers, she uses the other to manuever the glasses to her mouth, using her lips to pry the arms open so she can slide them back onto her face. "Okay, sure."

"I don't think I saw the translations of the ark text, sir," confesses Bannik, looking down at the pictures and such spread out on the TACCO's desk. He pushes his glasses up on his nose — something of a nervous gesture — before resuming his peering. "But I recall some of the same paintings. Like the maelstrom over here." He points.

"Ah, sorry," Cora apologizes to Bannik, pulling out her notebook and passing it over, "I have been meaning to speak with you about it, I know you have some religious interest as well as your experience helping with the cryptography. Here." The notebook contains the translation, apparently, and she gives them a moment to read.

Sawyer focuses on the notebook that Cora hands over, eyes skimming the text once before she goes back and rereads it more thoroughly. "This smacks of the exodus. Yet they identify themselves as twelve and there are thirteen alcoves and that Maelstorm symbol which we saw again in the footage we pulled yesterday from the transmissions. Serpent though." Her finger reaches out to tap the page.

Bannik looks down at the text and then compares it to the stills of the murals that Cora has pulled. "Well," he says. "I suppose the things that jump out to me are the serpent we have here …" His voice trails off, pointing at the mural. "And the mention of the serpent here. Both talk about, in a way, running, needing to be protected from this serpent." Cogent, Tyr. That's the real Intel officer in you. "People talk about thirteen tribes sometimes." But that's just a story. "And there's twelve gods listed; usually most people say there are twelve Lords of Kobol. But what if, I mean, if there are thirteen tribes, what if …" His voice trails off. Implication is clear, but he finally says: "What if there are thirteen gods?" The blasphemy of what he says must be apparent even to him, but as long as they're spitballing.

Cora doesn't precisely watch them read, going back to her own efforts, but turns back to listen curiously as soon as Sawyer and Bannik begin to comment. "Yes, the serpent is everywhere," she nods, "Always chasing, except when it's eating sparrows. Which must be the tribes," she says, head tilting sideways briefly. She touches the picture Bannik was referring to, "The sparrows are the Twelve Tribes." There's the sense that this idea has just occurred to her, and she looks at the photo for another long moment, and then chuckles at Bannik's last and says, "I could recite you some skinjob-babble about that, if you want. The thirteen, the one, the all, the beginning and end. Inclusive, not separate. An ill-conceived number. Something like that."

"What if the thirteenth god is what they were betrayed by? That's where this is all going, right? Of our own faith, but not our own. Who knew that that all along there was a black sheep of the Kobol family? And what do you do with a disowned family member? You take their picture out of all your old photo albums so the next generation doesn't so much as remember they ever existed." No, Sawyer's not afraid to travel down that road with Bannik. "But they always creep back up at reunions."

Just then, a voice comes broadcasting over the intercoms: "FIRE FIRE FIRE! XO's Quarters! Away Damage Control Teams!"

"Yeah. The Scrolls tell of the time when the gods warred among themselves. What if this Unnamed, this Thirteenth god, what if it was the one that lost? Was cast out? Was exiled? Like —" Bannik's voice trails again, but it's cut off by the announcement over the intercoms. "Frak! Not again!" Yes, he was here when the ship launched. And despite the levity inherent in the words, his voice is stricken with worry. If anything, he looks like he's ready to bolt and join the D/C teams.

"Who lost, when the Gods were warring?" Cora inquires. Maybe it's rhetorical, maybe she's not very up on her Scrolls. Maybe it's been a long-ass night staring at these photos, who knows. In any case, the call for damage control has her sitting up straight. "That's not good," she says, before turning to Bannik, "Are you on the D/C teams?"

One of the ECM techs in the corner has been frowning at his monitor for a moment, and now he turns towards the corner with the TACCO and friends, "Captain, I just picked up something strange, I just picked up a UHF signal? Does 'Hard Six' mean anything to you?" Cora frowns, and shakes her head, "No, Petty Officer, it doesn't. Is that all it was? Can you trace it?" The young man nods, "I'll see what I can do, give me a sec."

Two things happen when the announcement gets barked over the intercoom. First, Sawyer practically jumps a foot out of her chair and she lets out a startled squak. Second, Sawyer goes almost as white as parchment when it sinks in as to where the fireteams are being called. She swallows thickly, "What's a UHF signal?" But her mind is suddenly elsewhere.

"Everyone's on D/C teams," replies Bannik to Cora. He doesn't even think before he says it; it's just one of those things they drill into you in Basic: when fire hits, everyone on the ship is a damage controlman. Everyone knows the basics of how to fight fire. "But no. I can stay." Despite the fact that he also seems spooked by the call: "Uh. UHF is Ultra High Frequency. It's uh — two-way radio systems and cordless phones and some public-safety broadcasts. But — I don't know who would be transmitting to us. Unless — sir, I'm not a Tactical officer, but doesn't that mean to start coming about? Coming to your six o'clock?"

"It was encrypted," the PO offers helpfully, "But it looks like it came from Areion?"

On a much more common frequency, there is a brief rustle of static, and then a familiar voice booms.

"Men and women of the Fleet: I am Commander Rudolph Kepner of the escort carrier Areion, and I have taken command of this battlegroup.

"At 1438 hours, Commander Laughlin was executed for acts of treason against the Colonial Military. Colonel Pewter, Colonel Ionis, Major Hahn, Major Willows-Cavanaugh, Captain Makinen, Captain Bia and Chief Petty Officer Damon are in custody for mutiny, sedition and colluding with the enemy in a time of war. The executive officers of Corsair, Cerberus and Praetorian, having endorsed these treasonous acts, have been subdued so as not to interfere with our mission.

"What is our mission, you ask? The time for planning garden parties with Cylons who murdered our friends and families by the billions is finished. The time of giving aid and comfort to enemies within our ranks is finished. The time for cowardice, for timidity, for fleeing like so many confused sheep — that time is finished.

"This is a time for heroes. This is the time to fight.

"Amplified by the ships in this Fleet, the Gun is finally ready to strike a crippling blow against the Cylons. As such, I am ordering our battlegroup to jump to the heart of Colonial space. There, we will take the fight to the major Cylon outposts on Caprica, Picon, and all the rest. We will eliminate their foundries, annihilate their troops, and destroy the resurrection depots that grant them their profane immortality. We will strip them of their bodies and render them mortal at last.

"Make no mistake of it: our mission will be hazardous. But should we die, we will die like men, like warriors, winning sweet vengeance against an enemy that has destroyed everything we hold dear. Our other choice? To limp along out here in the hidey-holes of space until the Cylons pick us off Viper by Viper, while our spirit is sapped by some foul plague of their engineering. Well, I am no coward, and I say that if humanity is to go down, we shall at least take the Cylons with us.

"Some among you will undoubtedly object. Before you do, know this. Colonel Pewter and the others are being held safely and securely aboard this vessel. But should this treason spread — should you launch any attack against my ship, attempt to jump away, or refuse to comply with these directives — we will execute one of your Department Heads every thirty minutes. Their lives are in your hands and, though they do not deserve your loyalty, they will suffer the consequences for your disobedience. And if you require additional incentive, know also that my people have access to the launch codes of Cerberus' nuclear missiles and are prepared to detonate them on my orders. If mission preparations are incomplete after six hours have elapsed, we will not hesitate to do so.

"I know in my heart you will make the right decision. I know brave and righteous humans still exist in this Fleet. And together, we will see our mission through to the end.

"Your Commander has spoken. Kepner out."

And then one more, this a less familiar voice: "Cerberus Actual, this is… this is Corsair Actual, I guess, is Tillman and everything alright over there? We just had to rush our XO to Medical 'cause someone hit him over the head with a wrench."

Sawyer has covered her mouth with a shaking hand during Kepner's speech, her eyes rounding out behind her glasses. Her eyes slowly turn to Cora as the other transmission comes across and reality doesn't have the politeness of sinking in. It hits like a ten ton pallet of bricks. "That's you…" Sawyer's trembling hand falls away from her lips, so her words are not muffled. "You're…you're Cerberus Actual now, Cora."

"What if Hard Six was their code phrase?" Bannik is just speculating out loud now, as if trying to push past the harrowing announcement that just came over the common frequency. "What if it was what triggered all — of this. They get the call; Hard Six. It all goes up." But then another thought pops into his head: "The Gun. That's not how it works. It's not an offensive weapon. Captain. It doesn't work like that."

Cora is starting to say something to the ECM tech when Kepner's message begins, and then on its heels that one from Corsair. She blinks for a moment, and then turns to Sawyer, and laughs, "Frak me running," she replies. All around, CIC is in obvious shock. "People!" she calls, "I need updates on the situation at the XO's quarters, I want a call out to Praetorian, find out if their XO's been "subdued" as well," she says the word sourly, "And everyone else, I want you at a console. Find out if they've really go control of our nukes and if they do, GET IT BACK. You two," she turns to Bannik and Sawyer and points, "Grab a computer, it's all hands on deck."

"Oh, gods; oh, gods; oh, gods." Bannik just needs to get that out of his system. Besides, he's a deckhand. Besides patching things up here, what the heck does he know about CIC? But orders are orders, and orders from the — uh, acting commanding officer, well, those are even moreso orders. "Yes, sir," he says, even as his eyes scan the room for something. A free console somewhere. There we go. One of the ones on the back. And then Tyr? He's here for the long haul.

"No, I mean…I don't…" Sawyer's head ticks back and forth in a disbelieving shake. She swallows down the rising bile in her throat. "Frak me running." Gets muttered underneath her breath as she turns, "I don't know this shit. I could hack into the computer system at school and change my grade in Trig…but this?!" The journalist leans over a terminal and pecks a key with her fingertip but when nothing explodes, she gains a little more confidence and actually pulls up a chair. "Picon, we have a problem." She mutters again to herself. Yeah, a civilian is at a terminal in CIC and is touching things. Under orders. That is /definitely/ a problem.

Marko arrives from Deck 7 Corridor.
Marko has arrived.

"It'll be okay, Sawyer." Bannik might not be close to her; they haven't quite talked since Tisiphone passed away, or, that is, took her own life. But he does his best to reassure her. "It'll be all right. The gods know the righteous. And so — we've just got to make their belief in us earned."

"I came as fast as I could." Marko announces, making his way into CIC like the hounds of Hades were nipping at his heels. He isn't kidding, either. His hair's still soppy wet and his uniform looks like it was put on after a minimal amount of post-shower toweling off. Is this guy serious, sir?" he asks Nike. "I knew those louts were going to be trouble sooner or later." he growls.

"Scaurus, good," Cora spots Marko as he enters, "Take a terminal, we need to find out if they've got control of the nukes, which they are on," she points, "And if they do, we need to figure out how they did it and get them back. And yeah, he seems serious. Corsair XO is down—" a helpful communications officer pops up to offer, "Praetorian XO down also, sir. Might be poison, they're saying, I'll keep in touch with Medical for updates." Cora looks back to Marko and throws up her hands, "Yeah, they're serious. See if you can figure out what they're doing in our systems, your three. I know it's not your usual job, but… we'll take what we can get."

Sawyer flicks her gaze over at Bannik. "Nothing about this is going to be okay. It hasn't been okay for a very long frakking time now. But gods damn it, we're going to make this right." She looks back to the screen. "Somehow." The last word seems a little meak, but it's time to buck up, princess. Her hands fan out over the keys, "Here goes nothing…"

The Petty Officer pops up again to offer: "D/C teams report an enemy saboteur aboard, sir. Two marines dead before the first blast, Major Tillman wounded and escorted to Medical. Secondary bomb placed to target rescue crews. The fire's not yet contained."

"Oh, they've got the crowd pleasers." Marko sighs, shaking his head slowly. "I'll bet you cubits to frakking cupcakes they do, sir. But not for long." he says, setting his mouth in a determined line as he begins to type frantically at his keyboard. "Okay, my friends, let's see what you've done here….."

"If humanity's still here at the end of the day, Sawyer, it's okay." Bannik is firm in that, but he leaves the philosophical debate as he turns to his terminals and begins tapping. "I can't imagine how they'd get to our nukes. I mean, there are so many fakkin' fail safes …"

<FS3> Marko rolls Computers: Success.
<FS3> Bannik rolls Computers: Bad Failure.
Sawyer spends 1 luck points on Not accidently nuking ourselves.
<FS3> Sawyer rolls Hacking: Success.

"Yep." Marko reports, cursing virulently under his breath. "They've got 'em and they're encrypting their work as they go to make sure they keep them." he adds. "Lemme see what kind of encrypt their using. My guess is it's modified Fleet code, I _hope_ so, anyway." he says.

"I hit a firewall trap!" announces Bannik from where he's working. "Frak. I'll have to reboot the damn console." Well, this is a good start to his career as a counter-hacker against the Areion spooks. But all he can do is what he will do, so he goes about rebooting. Yet this will take time.

Sawyer might not be trained to run a Battlestar computer system, but when it comes down to it, it's all just 1's and 0's right? And that levels the playing field a little. "I can confirm that they have control…and…frak." Whatever Sawyer thought she was onto, she lost momentarily. Her eyes skim the screen frantically. "It's like they're…whenever I seem to be getting close, they're re-encrypting right over the top of it. Cora!" She looks up from her screen, "Cora! This is the same shit we saw with the Cylon code." And any likeness is too close for comfort.

"Lovely," Cora replies as the news comes from all around that yes indeed, the Areion has secured control of Cerberus's nuclear weapons. She runs a hand through her hair and takes another update from D/C (fire contained, D/C teams at work, XO in medbay with Marine escort) before heading back over to look at what her impromptu hacking team is up to. "They're using Cylon techniques?" she asks Sawyer, "Or Cylon code? What're you saying? Can we get a trace just to double-check this is coming from Areion?" This is directed to the trio and all the other computer-types before she steps over to speak with another aide of some sort, who is sent off running.

Marko spends 1 luck points on Breaking the Aerion's codes..
<FS3> Marko rolls Computers: Success.
<FS3> Sawyer rolls Hacking: Terrible Failure.
Bannik spends 1 luck points on Fighting the Firewalls..
<FS3> Bannik rolls Computers: Good Success.

Bannik at least manages to make up for his initial FAIL with some fancing frowning and tapping at his computer screen. "I'm back up and running." And then: "I've got the trace going, Captain. It's coming from Areion all right. It looks like they have people working the hack live. This isn't just a program. We're going up against their spooks in real time." And that, ladies and gentlemen, is a pretty scary prospect. "It's shifting too much for it to be a program."

"It's not Cylon code." Marko calls out. "Well, okay, it _is_ Cylon code, the source code is Cylon in origin, but the applications they're using are designed too crudely to be Cylons. This is some geek on the Aerion's team using bits and pieces of Cylon code for their own ends. Which doesn't make it any easier to break." he notes with disgust. "Wait, Specialist, are you saying they're networked to us?" he asks. "How in the hell did they do that? I thought we broke all of our data links?" he asks, then answers his own question. "Frak! Sir, it's that Godsdamn navigation program they made us take on, I'd bet my life on it." he says, snapping his fingers. "If we can take our computers completely off line, shut everything down but life support and swap out with our original code, they got no network anymore."

"I'm saying it's the same sort of code. The same type not the…" Sawyer makes a few frantic keystrokes, trying to head off the code worm before it eats away on itself again and changes the encryption once more. "Branchala's Balls!" She hisses, as her screen doesn't just go dead, it flashes a few times in mockery before it blinks out entirely and then there is the sudden acrid smell of fried electronics in the air. There is another yelp of surprise as the terminal she's working on actually sparks and wisps of smoke start to curl out from between the plastic seams. "Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeah. I meant to do that." She says dryly.

"Copy that, Specialist," Cora calls back with a nod. She continues speaking with a couple of other CIC personnel down by one of the big DRADIS consoles before coming back up to listen to their updates. "You make absolutely sure that doing that's not going to blow us up, Scaurus, because that sounds a little too easy to me." She blinks at Sawyer, and shakes her head, "Nice work. Pick another, I guess."

"Yes, sir." Marko replies and continues scanning the lines of code popping up on his screen. "Oh frak me…..they've got a failsafe installed. We try to take any of those systems down,…_boom_." he sighs. "Which seats them in the 'Crazy but not Stupid' section. It was worth a shot, though." he sighs. "Okay….we've got an open network line transferring code to our ship from theirs…can we send code back?" he muses…

"Yeah, that's about what I thought," Cora nods. She smiles crookedly, ruefully, "Well, I hope you're all comfortable, because you guys are on this until I say you're not. We've got to figure out how to get those nukes back, fullstop. Tillman's out of commission along with the other XOs and they've got every CO and Department Head locked in their brig except for Laughlin who's dead. So we're pretty well frakked without those nukes. Or, as Ensign Drama down there," she gestures at the young man in question, "Just put it, 'they've decapitated the fleet'!" She flashes another dark smile and pats the top of Marko's computer, "So, good luck!"

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