PHD #268: Test Pilots
Test Pilots
Summary: Cidra and Khloe discuss selecting a cohort of pilots to have their Vipers pimped Areion-style. Evandreus balances work and semi-fatherhood.
Date: 21 Nov 2041 AE
Related Logs: We're All Friends Here; Seven-Point-Fives for Three; Raptorball Match I
Cidra Khloe Evandreus 
Flight Simulation - Deck 11 - Battlestar Cerberus
A training room specifically dedicated to honing aerial skills, this area is equipped with several flight simulator pods that allow the pilots to practice maneuvers and tactics without being in a real live plane. The Viper-pods are installed on one side of the room with a little space between them, an attempt to provide a realistic feel for close-range wing training, while a smaller number of Raptor sim-pods are installed on the opposite side of the room from the Vipers. A central computer terminal and overhead display screen sits at the head of the room, where one can input exercises and data to be run in the sims, scroll through score records, and control the training modules.
Post-Holocaust Day: #268

The CAG has been extremely attentive to her duties since she began sleeping in her bunk again. Well, more nights than not. She still occasionally disappears, but she's making at least an effort to be visibly there at times. Not that she's been precisely social. If anything she's more inscrutable than usual, more drawn into herself. But, the side effect is she's thrown herself into her work. Which is why she's summoned the Knights SL to the sims today. To discuss matters Areion, and their spiffy Vipers, is the agenda. She's waiting now, up at the central terminal, sitting and idly mussing with the computer.

The usually punctual Khloe Vakos leaves the CAG waiting for a half-minute past the time she asked for her to report. In fact, Cidra can probably hear Khloe's quick boots coming down the hall, slowing suddenly when several meters away from the hatch; after a moment of pushing away a stray lock of hair that's worked its way free of its braid-like prison and straightening her uniform does Khloe head into flight simulation at a normal pace. "Apologies for being late, Major," she begins. "I was in the ready room looking over camera footage, and I think time got away from me." Her face looks freshly scrubbed, perhaps a tell-tale sign, perhaps not.

Cloudy blue eyes tick up from the computer screen, to Khloe. Cidra stands. Her own ruddy dark hair is down, as she tends to wear it when not tasked to actual flight. She regards the other woman a moment. Likely noting her freshly scrubbed features. There's a pause in which it seems like she might ask about them. But seh does not. At least, not directly. "You are still within the bounds of punctual I do think, Poppy. The footage. Yes. Did you find anything of import?"

"I… My final report will be on your desk this evening," the Knights SL says, folding her hands behind her back and standing at-ease. Cidra's inscrutability proves difficult for Khloe to read her, so perhaps that's why she hesitated. "Lieutenant Duncan and I have gone over the footage, and to summarize quickly, we found that Lieutenant Sophronia's death was no accident and not fault of tactics, either from CIC or from myself. There are some other incidentals, but I will leave that for your eyes later, sir."

"Lucky was a fine pilot. She was doing her job. Some days, that will catch up with you," Cidra says. "Honors to her service." A familiar refrain from her, and one always said with a note of somber respect. "I shall be interested to see the full report. The overall tally from the other squadrons, and what Lieutenant Colonel Baer tells me from the Areion, makes me wonder. The Cylons are assembling a force of great power around the colonies they still occupy. Our reconnaissance has told us that much. Yet, when they found us at Aerilon, they threw but a pittance of Raiders at us. One could call us fortunate I do suppose and yet…it all strikes me most fearful strange."

Khloe dips her chin in a slow nod. "Yes, sir, I had that same thought," she says, her voice a little lower. "Far be it from me to criticize our fine Raptor pilots and the intelligence department, but there's simply not enough to actually make a decent guess as to what they're up to." Straightening up a little, shoulders squaring up, she adds: "Lieutenant Vandenberg from Dog Platoon came to see me briefly regarding her experiences planetside. We're both of the mindset that the Cylons were after our softer targets, being the ground crews and the civilian freighter, but we're not sure as to the reasoning behind it."

"Nor am I," Cidra admits. A long sigh from her, but she does not speculate on the motives of the Cylons. "In any case, I did not ask you here to puzzle the mind of the Cylons. I shall admit I cannot fathom them, much as I try. Have you heard overmuch about the Vipers the Areion's pilots are equipped with." Faintest of smirks. "Bootstrap has taken to calling them the…Mark Seven-Point-Fives."

This causes Khloe to tilt her head slightly, jaw shifting a slight bit as she mulls over the question. "I'm not sure I've had a chance to see one up close, but from what I little I know, they have some high-tech modifications. Beyond that I'm not familiar with them, other than they beat us fairly soundly during Lieutenant Demarcos' wargames event." She shakes her head, smirking a little. "They obviously have a higher oxygen environment. There's no way Dizzy could avoid blacking out, otherwise." Whether or not she's referring to the pilot's acrobatics or her personality is left for the beholder to determine.

"They did trounce us rather, yes," Cidra says wryly, as to the Areion's performance during Raptorball. "Well. They are the 'Evocati.' Elite. Supposedly the best of the best. As for their planes, they are not *precisely* 'high-tech' modifications. Papa…" Ahem. "…that is, Lieutenant Colonel Baer has shared the specifications of some of them with me and Boots. They are not so much upgraded as…very specific." A pause, as she searches for a way to explain it. "Their technicians have apparently modified individual Vipers *around* the way their pilots fly. Small changes to targeting systems if one prefers to attack while diving, or handling if one makes frequent turns or rolls during flight. They are not any 'better' than the Mark Sevens we fly in terms of build but they have been…customized."

Khloe shakes her head at Cidra's revelations. "Inefficient," she states, the distaste threatening to drip off of the last syllable. "The reason why all hardware is uniform across the board is to ensure that in an emergency situation, every pilot can expect any particular Viper they sit in to behave like any other." Her eyes narrow a hair. "Are you planning on implementing this sort of customization aboard Cerberus?"

"No," Cidra says firmly. "Not across the board, at least. You are quite correct. If one attempted to operate this way on a standard Fleet ship it would be disasterous. Besides which, in the hands of pilots who are not long veterans in Viper handling, such quirks appear to degrade more than aid performance. However. I would like to make use of this on a…small scale. A select few 'test pilots,' I suppose they could be called, and mods to specific Vipers slated for their use. No more than five, I do not think. I do not want a ship full of 'Evocati'…" Faintest of smirks. "…but if applied judiciously this may aid us in our operation against the enemy."

Khloe shifts her weight from being at-ease to throwing her weight behind her left leg, jutting out her right hip a little as she folds her arms across her chest, and her face drawing downward into a thoughtful scowl. Clearly, she's uncomfortable with this notion. "I can already hear the complaints, Major. Why should certain sticks get special Vipers? It'd be bad for morale, and I think if you are serious about exploring this idea, we keep it quiet. Besides, I can only think of a handful of pilots who might benefit from something like this. Frankly, we don't have the same kind of seasoned pilots that the Areion does."

"Because certain sticks are more experienced than others and are able to serve the ship in a slightly specific capacity," Cidra says simply. "I see no more insult than that than in assigning a certain pilot to a mission over another, and I will not bow to jock ego in what I deem a possible benefit to defense of the ship. I myself would be completely unsuited for this, and I am shamed not to admit it. And would be worse for morale if this was kept secret and it got out. And it would, I have little doubt of it. Still, I concur that only a 'handful' are suitable. Of the Knights, do you have anyone specifically in mind? A few names spring to thought, I must admit."

Evandreus arrives from the Deck 11.

Khloe makes a disapproving sound in the back of her throat, but she doesn't pursue arguing with Cidra any more than she's already done. "Well, Lieutenant Duncan should be on that list, definitely. Same for Lieutenant Devlin. They're my top sticks in the Knights; their numbers don't lie." She's clearly leaving herself out. "You might want to touch base with the Captains of the other squads to see if they have one or two they could pony up."

"Bubbles is a given, yes. She is one of the Knights best and has an…artistic sort of flair to her flying. Which is not always a positive, but it makes her ideal for something of this nature. Concur to Drips as well. He is probably the only J-G grade in the Wing up to it. I shall be speaking with my other squadron leaders as well, but I had yourself in mind for this as well." A pause. "And Lieutenant Ellinon." Yes. She suggested Pallas. With a completely straight face.

Evandreus looks thoroughly presentable this evening/morning/afternoon. A set of scissors having been taken to locks about to edge over the boundaries of acceptable length, a razor taken to cheeks more often than not shaggy with dense growth, nails trimmed and shaped and buffed to a fine gloss— if he weren't dressed in his usual off-duties, you'd think there were some manner of occasion. But no, it's just Evan, with his armload of binders, finding a spot at the bank of terminals downwind, somewhat, from where the CAG and Knights SL are talking shop, offering them a crooked smile hello if they happen to look over, but not interjecting himself into matters, preferring to open up the top binder and grab a tab, flipping it open to a certain section and then browsing through the pages.

"Spiral? Major, with all due respect, I…" Khloe stops short as Bunny enters and gets situated, so she lowers her voice to below-conversational as to continue her disapproval. Evan can choose to eavesdrop, or not. "Lieutenant Ellington is barely fit to be a Viper pilot. The only reason why I haven't grounded him out of propriety is that we need every pilot we can get in the air. And I doubt the Areion techs can find a way to optimize drunk bastard. They're good, but not that good."

"Yes, Spiral." Cidra is entirely serious. "I do not deny he is…as you say, a drunk bastard." Well, it's an accurate description. She's not going to argue it. Oh, look, there's Evandreus. She doesn't precisely bite her tongue, but she does clear her throat and lower her voice for further Pallas commentary. "He is also probably the most experienced Viper pilot outside my squadron leads that I have left. And, say what you shall about the man, he does know what to do with himself in a cockpit. I do not recommend him without being fully aware of his many difficulties."

Evandreus is many things, but a busybody isn't one of them. Respectful of the conversation being held in private-sounding tones no more than a meter and a half away, he keeps his eyes on the page and draws a pencil stub out of a pocket to note with a set of arrows the algorithms he came in here to correct, all the while thinking to himself the lyrics of a lullabye he'd heard a long time ago in a better time and sweeter place than this— thinking them loudly enough to turn the nearby conversation into nonsense noise in the background, without going so far as to give any manner of voice to the tune. Once he's finished marking up the mathematics on the page, he slides himself into a chair and calls up the program he'll be using to test his modifications.

Khloe inhales sharply through her nose at the CAG's words, falling short of a snort but giving the same expression of derision. "Right. Your call, Major. I can't promise his inclusion will be worth a damn, but far be it from me to second-guess you. Never have, won't start now." The taller woman shifts her weight to her other leg, arms still crossed. "Want me to talk to them individually?" Meaning, the pilots Cidra's interested in including in on the project. "Or shall I leave that to you?"

"I shall send word to those I would like included in this. And that shall include yourself, Poppy," Cidra says. "I would like you to meet with those selected among the Knights, either individually or as a group. Work with them to determine how this shall fit into their regular duty rotation. The Deck shall be tasked with the bulk of the modifications so it should not impact them much, but they will need to be…properly fitted. Mainly coordinate with the technicians on the mods to their particular ships, and it would be helpful if they combed their flight footage and tagged tapes and engagements that would be useful for review. Bootstrap has done a good deal of leg work on this on the technical end so far as simulating how this would work, as have Lieutenants Scaurus and Apostolos. We shall see what happens when we put wrench and pilot to Viper. As it were." That said, she directs proper attention to Evandreus. No longer speaking in a way that suggests she's trying *not* to be eavesdropped upon. "Bunny." The greeting is simple, accompanied by the faintest of smiles.

Evandreus is chewing on the flat end of his pencil nub while the computer runs through the updated algorithms by the time Cidra lifts up her voice to offer him his name. It takes a while for the word to worm its way through the fog of concentration, hope, and willful ignorance in which his mind is blanketed, and it's only when he sort of sees eyebeams aimed at his from the corner of his eye that he looks up and to the side, pulling the pencil from his mouth with an ever-so-intelligent-sounding, "Huh?" Eyes slightly wide, as if he thought the CAG might have said something important to him, before the context and little smile sink in, and he returns the smile with a bright grin after the Bunny's ancient custom, "Oh, hey, Cid. Popsicle. 'Sup?" he asks of them, colloquial, congenial, keeping an eye on the program still running on the machine while allowing the other two to come into existance in the world inside his head.

"Yes, sir," Khloe answers Cidra, apparently considering the matter closed. But then she blinks several times at what Evandreus says. It takes her a moment to realize that 'popsicle' is a variant or embellishment on 'Poppy'. "Popsicle?" She inquires, taking a few steps away from the master console where she was having her chat with the Major, and over to the sim-pod that Evandreus is working in. Placing a hand at the top and leaning in a little bit, serious Khloe gives Bunny a 'serious look'. But it's fleeting. "You're looking better, Bunny. Keep taking your vitamins, or whatever you're doing. What are you working on?"

Cidra does not seem to mind the use of the familiar (even nickname) from Evandreus. Faint smile lingering on her lips, in fact. "We shall see it done," she says simply to Khloe, which seems to be her proper closer for the matter of the Vipers. She approaches Evan with the SL, also curious, and she listens for the answer to Khloe's question. For her part she says simply, "The day finds you well, I do trust?"

Evandreus is obviously comfortable at the computer, back just slightly slouched, one leg stretched out underneath the console to press bent-back toes against the flat surface thereunder. When Pops calls him out on his embellishment, which, after his usual fashion, was thrown together on the spot rather than any manner of actually-thought-out, he ad libs the following explanation with a quirk of a grin equal parts cheeky and warm: "'Cause you're just that sweet." That out of the way, he goes on, turning aside to cough at his shoulder once before he draws his open binder over across to where Cid and Khloe can look at his number crunching. "Nothing important. I was just wondering whether deriving the LAK differential on the third axis of a terrine trail from your target's extrapolated LAK would be more efficient than doing so from the calculated LAK." He gives the computer readouts a tight-lipped look, "Looks like… well. Yes, but to such a small degree that it barely makes any difference." A pause, and then a shoulder pops upward in a 'well, whatever' kind of shrug. "Well enough," he goes on to say. "The Evans are totally getting the hang of this tummy time thing. They'll be doing pushups right alongside the r4est of us at PT any day now." Not like Evan's in love with those babies or anything. "How 'bout you guys?"

Khloe gives Evandreus an incredulous look at his explanation for the derivation from her callsign. "You have to be kidding me," she says in response, shaking her head. Pointing a finger at him, she says, "The only reason why I'm letting you get away with it is because the CAG is standing right here." At the mention of 'tummy time' and his adopted children, Khloe gets a briefly panicked look. Yeah, all Bunny has to do is threaten infant and Khloe shrinks away like you just killed her dog. "I'm fine," she says in quick response, stepping away from his simpod.

There are no children in the vicinity, so Cidra manages not to look too afeared of the youngins. Up close she's rather twitchier about them. "I am glad the children and their mother are becoming more self-sufficient. I would not have your devotion to them detract from your duties." She listens with interest to the project he speaks of. Making a soft "Ah" sound. "Would come down to which method a pilot is more comfortable with, I do suppose. Poppy and I were just speaking of making use of some of the Areion's…booted mechanics. For the Vipers particularly, though they have delivered us one of their Raptors for study as well. The Deckies are prodding its various areas now, as I do understand things."

And the prize for Greatest Buzzkill goes to… Cidra Hahn. Having his daughters (he's quite nearly to the point of thinking of them as such, you see) relegated to the status of a distraction that the CAG would rather not be a part of his life is enough to let some of the air out of Proud Papa Evan's sails. Not to mention turn his stomach just a little bit. But, after his usual fashion, he doesn't confront her on the point, even if he's unable to hide a briefly cloudy expression. He banishes the clouds with a bright grin summoned from whatever parallel universe of infinite smiles he pulls those from. "Oh, that's great. I'm sure Deck will be able to figure out what'll work best with our systems. They must be excited to have the materials down there."

Looking like it's time to retreat, Khloe says to Cidra, "Major, if you don't mind, I'd like to get back to my duties. I'll mention our plans to those officers as I see them. Permission to depart?" She glances towards the exit, then back to the CAG.

"Permission granted, Poppy. I should be getting along myself, come to it," Cidra says. If she is aware of the great buzzkill she's inflicted on Evandreus…well, it's hard to tell. As it ever is with her. But she harps no more on the subject of his children. "I do hope so, yes," she says, as to the Deck and the Areion Raptor. "The main alteration they have made to it is in its ECM system. I would be quite lying if I said I understood the engineering of it, but apparently it is designed to network with the Areion and amplify its electronic powers. I have some concerns about applying this to our own operations, but it is interesting for study. If you are curious about it, do feel free to give it a look when you are next on the Deck. I shall admit, I would myself be seeing how it handles at the earliest opportunity."

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