PHD #448: The Forge and The Foxfire
The Forge and The Foxfire
Summary: The recon team finds some significant things at Lampridis.
Date: 20 May 2042 AE
Related Logs: Gemenon Recon Logs
Ciro Constin Circe Vandenberg 
Cliffs Over Lampridis
Brush, scrub, whatever. Its in the setpose.
Condition Level: 2 - Danger Close
Post-Holocaust Day: #448

Its been several hours of hiking since they left OP Alpha and started hiking along the rim of the cliffs that surround the basin containing the lake and the town of Lampridis. Staying a hundred yards or so into the brush has kept the view of below out of sight except for the lake in the far distance. The going hasn't been particularly rough with only a few scrambles here and there. For the most part the team has made it through with little more than a few scratches and bruises. However, with about three hours until sunset, the Captain finally calls a halt as they are quite obviously at a different vantage point nearer the far end of town. Turning back. "Alright," she addresses. "Grab up some local scrub and tag it onto your uniform. We're going to move low and slow to the rim. I want everyone on their guts when we arrive at it. Same noise restrictions in effect. You can talk, just keep it to a whisper. Questions?" Whisper. Just like she's doing now. The team leader is already grabbing up branches off a scrub brush next to her and shoving them into her web gear.

Taking a knee, Ciro keeps his rifle's muzzle pointed towards the dirt as he gathers up some of the local brush, starting with some old, half-dried shrubbery. Glancing down to his tac-vest, he finds places to start attaching it, preparing to blend in with the scenery. "No questions. I read." Ciro whispers back, issuing the Captain a stiff nod. Piece by piece he camouflages himself and waits for the go to move.

The trek has been a long one and as they stop, Circe lets out a breath and grabs for her canteen, uncorking it and downing more of that precious water. Hot. It was frakkin hot and even as the sun is fading her residual heat is starting to swelter within all that gear. That lake is looking even more tempting. She lifts a hand, rubbing at her neck a moment as the lead speaks, her eyes watching before she adjusts the chains around her neck, releaving the pressure slightly.

Her leg, despite her best efforts is bothering her and giving her a bit more to grit through to keep up. But the medic is doing just that. A shake of her head is offered in reply to questions and then she begins to start painting herself with the living medium of the area.

Constin shakes his head once to the call for question, pulling his jump knife to cut loose a few small limbs of scrub brush, tucking it ito the back band of his helmet to break up that smooth line, repeating the process a few times before wiping and re-sheathing the blade. One more marine, ready to roll.

Vandenberg nods to the lack of questions strips off her ruck, opting to carry it by the handle. She finishes affixing the plantlife to her, all of it sticking off at odd angles above and behind her. "Let's move," she whispers and leads the into the brush towards the cliff. The woman keeps a slow pace through those fifty yards, it probably taking a few minutes to finally come up on the edge - which is only a meter or two from the last of the brush. A tree even grows right off the edge only a few meters away. She goes immediately to ground and begins crawling towards the edge, stopping short to dig into her ruck. "Move up," she orders to the rest.

From this angle, everything looks a little more clear. The town of Lampridis is roughly the shape of an isosceles triangle turned ninety degrees to the right, with its shorter side defined by Lake Philomeides and its longer sides flush with the high cliffs nearby. As such, the only viable approach into town is to turn off the freeway onto Highway Twenty-Three, creating a funnel. And if the general condition of this area is any indication, it looks like it might be tough going into that funnel. Here, a two-mile line of wreckage stretches from one side of the gap between the cliffs to the other, anchored by a large Agora-Mart that stands in the center. Surrounding it are various warehouses and office buildings.

When the order to advance is given, Ciro keeps his body low to the ground. Pulling with his hands and pushing with his toes, he slides across the dirt, letting his rifle slide in its sling alongside him. Slowly, carefully, he makes his approach to their overwatch position. The intense heat of the ground beneath them mixes with the heat of the sky above them, causing beads of sweat to form and fall into the scarf around his neck. Soon night would fall, and he would be thankful for it. First, he would have to finish the day's work. Lining up, he chooses his spot and sets his body down, preparing his field glasses.

Shifting the front packs on her body to allow for her front crawl, Circe follows, having to crouch before Vandenberg does and eventually the medic is forced down. She digs her elbows in, dragging herself forward as her hips swivel to aid her forward. Gritting her teeth, that numbness spreads through her leg and she shakes it off as the tingling remains.

She draws herself up to the edge, staying low as her own hand snakes down to pull frew her viewfinders and she settles to the ground, not moving. Movement would draw attention.

Constin stows the big Zasta at the point he would need to go to his belly to proceed forward. As has been his habit for the past several days, as the rest of the team stares into town, Elf spares a moment to survey the terrain at their backs, passing a slow scrutiny around the countryside before joining his squadmates in their slow approach to the edge.

One of the largest buildings on the outskirts of town, the local Agora-Mart sits atop a shallow ridge that nevertheless dominates the area's otherwise flat terrain. This superstore is just like all the other thousands of Agora-Marts scattered across the Twelve Colonies but looks damaged with items about the parking lot.

This other area farther outside town doesn't need any help to be rough, difficult to traverse unless one sticks to the roads. It's still covered in scrub brush, yucca and agave predominating, grown wild in the general absence of people. A freeway, largely intact, leads through this area before turning onto Highway 23 into town, and several exits branch off from it. One, a small two-lane road leads north to a huge hole in the ground, and is lined with shrubs and smoketrees. The other is larger, four lanes turning off to the south.

Ciro's blue eyes scan over the wreckage, taking a moment to decide where he wants to start his observation. The Agora-Mart is an obvious choice, but as he follows the highway his eyes come to the two-lane road and the large hole that is in the center of it. While the concrete may have been destroyed, he narrows his eyes at the shrubs and smoketrees. He raises his field glasses to his eyes for a closer look, starting there.

<FS3> Ciro rolls Alertness: Bad Failure.

Constin sets his chin to the dirt to avoid moving his head and changing his profile as the Gunnery sergeant squints through the field glasses in the opposite pan that Ciro chooses, he scans over the road network before devoting his full attention to the Agora-Mart. The effectiveness of long-nuked advertising calls to mind the commercial jingle, but Elf remains silent as he studies the building.

<FS3> Constin rolls Alertness: Good Success.
<FS3> Circe rolls Alertness: Great Success.

The viewfinders are lifted as she gives a full look over the entire area and then narrows her gaze on that hole a moment. But her eyes flicker to the south, adjusting the settings to get a finer view. The medic shifts, pulling herself closer to edge and settling to her stomach fully, stilling herself finally to dedicate that sweeping study of the south.

After a few minutes gazing over the details of the road, Ciro finds nothing interesting about the hole at the end of the street. He pulls his eyes from the shrubs and smoketrees lining the hole, retreating from the field glasses to pick another target. Panning his vision once more, he takes a note of the lake and the edge of the town, settling in to scan the water's edge and the tail end of Lampridis, scanning the buildings.

The hole is overlooked for the most part and when Circe starts studying the area to the South, she gives pause. Focusing in on a sign, it seems to be a national park of some sort, though the name is hard to make out. Something rock, rock something. But giving up on that, she notices the formations, noting the cover that could be given if they were to move in. Wetting her lips, she clears her throat and begins to study the best route down to this area.

Constin has been studiously silent throughout the mission. With the exception of the 'did you say geese?' incident, he hasn't spoken unless required to. As he narrows in his eye upon the building at the objects about it, his first comment breaks with tradition. "…The frak?" Elf grunts under his breath. "I got.. four, count: four non-Colonial artillery emplacement tucked around the building's perimeter. Looks like.." he double checks before speaking. "Three old Foxfires, and one big sunovabitch. Frak me, it looks like a Forge."

Vandenberg is still fiddling with her pack, trying to get the camera out. She doesn't seem too inclined to bother them until Elf speaks up. Her helmeted head whips up. "Good Lords!" she whispers harshly. The work in the ruck goes back into doubletime and the camera is finally out and she starts scooting up to the edge.

<FS3> Ciro rolls Alertness: Terrible Failure.
<FS3> Circe rolls Alertness: Terrible Failure.

"North.." Elf double checks his bearings, before confirming, "North western corner of the building. That comm tower looks like a damned Forge system. Somebody confirm for me?" the big marine mutters. "Them other emplacements are definitely Foxfires. Some kinda sandbags set up around them." A moment, "Yeah, them's fertilizer sacks." A drawn breath. "Fella's walking up by way of the road. Looks like a fella in Colonial fatigues."

<FS3> Constin rolls Alertness: Success.

Listening to Gunny, Circe growns and lets out a long breath. "I got a possible position to get closer." She pulls the viewfinders away to point. "Got some good cover down there to the South, might allow us to get close enough for surveillance." She continues to search, knowing the Gunny's got that area covered - they needed a secure, dedicated way down in cover. No sense pulling attention to a well armed location. "Don't know about a way down, but the Park could be a vantage point to get closer to the 'forge'."

Sighing, Ciro's shoulder lifts in a shrug, finding what he's looking over to be rather boring. There's simply nothing to see. "Foxfires and a Forge?" Ciro whispers, realizing that he's obviously looking everywhere except where he should. He lowers his field glasses and turns them in the direction of the store, scanning his field glasses in the direction that Elf is, trying to spot the soldier first, and then to attempt to verify the AA systems.

<FS3> Vandenberg rolls Alertness: Success.

The Captain crawls up beside Circe and looks out over the area she's describing. "Yeah, good point. But we're about twenty-four from pick-up. We'd spend all night getting over there securely. That may be our next place if we have to come back. Good eye." The camera is lifted in her prone position and she starts snapping photos of the outtermost roadways. But at Elf's prompting she turns the telephoto lens back onto the big store. "Aye. Looks like.. some kind of formation?" She starts snapping more photos.

<FS3> Ciro rolls Alertness: Good Success.

Ciro remains quiet, eyes locked into the viewport of his field glasses as he sizes up the Agora-Mart. His brow lowers and his lips pull in a tight frown. "Confirmation on the Forge. I am unable to verify the Foxfires. Too many trees." He whispers. "We've got MG nests on the roof, four plus, covering all of the angles and sandbagged bunkers on the lot." He moves his glasses, taking in the sight of the man in the fatigues. "Man in colonial dress is VIP model two." He settles his gaze over the civilians, looking to see if any other models or VIPs are present before he turns his gaze to the warehouses and office building windows.

"Check, got a way down…one of the highways leads right up to these cliffs somewhere over in that general direction. Heads right down into the park that will give us our vantage point." Circe reports. Her eyes draw back from her viewfinders once more to look over at Vandenberg. "Sir, request permission to make my way over that way to see if it is clear." She waits for the green.

Vandenberg keeps her focus on the Agora-Mart, snapping more photos. "A two. In fatigues." She zooms in on him and snaps a few high-resolution photos. "Might be our friend McQueen." She then moves around the lot getting pictures of the rest of the lot. "Formation is moving to the edge of the lot. Looks like.. line formation?" She frowns behind the lens. The display gives poor quality. Van then looks to Circe. "Negative. We stick together. We'll scout that approach before evac tomorrow, though. Probably use it to get to our site just outside town." She smirks and looks back towards the Agoramart just as the sound of gunfire, gentle and rolling, reaches them. A series of shots almost fired at once.. then silence.

Ciro spends 1 luck points on Add to Alertness Roll(Warehouse/Office).
<FS3> Ciro rolls Alertness: Success.

"Looks like we've hit the jackpot here…" Ciro whispers. "Office buildings and warehouses are reinforced for firing positions. Nothing fancy like poured concrete, but they've dug in there. Looks like a shit posting, but it'll work in a pinch." He pauses, keeping to the edge of town, once again taking another look at any other liveable structures. "There's no way this is just a few civilians with Cylon backup, there's got to be combatants we're not seeing."

<FS3> Circe rolls Alertness: Bad Failure.

Pausing at hearing this, Circe furrows her brows and turns to look out over it. It takes her a moment or two but she is really looking for something specific. "Do either of you see Centurions or any of the models we know? Because if you think perhaps this is why the people in town are armed?" She asks, her head tilting as continues to scan, the medic zooming in where she can.

"Well…there was a model two back at the temple where that Brother Solon is, but there's also a model two here as well. These guys are far better armed, though." Ciro notes, pausing to make a few remarks in his book, sketching out a quick design of their fortifications for the mission log. Then, he turns his field glasses to the highway, noting each overpass and exit, looking for choke points. "Any other confirmation of those Foxes?"

"Huh. So we've got.. what? A Cylon defensive line tied in by a cheap consumer goods warehouse? With not inconsiderable anti-aircraft defenses." She continues snapping photos. "Hahn is going to want to know about this. We gotta find out of those guns are tracking our Raptors on their way in. Just don't see how.." she grumbles. More gunfire reaches them. "Looks like that guy you identified as a Two? Looks like.. is he giving shooting lessons? What the.." She grabs more photos and moves her camera off towards the rubble Ciro was pointing at and starts snapping more pictures. "All I'm seeing is that Two. Saw some Centurions last night on patrol. No idea where they are at right now. Last I saw they disappeared down a side-street in town. No confirmation on the Foxfires directly, but I got photos. They'll blow up nice and big. Give us positive ID."

<FS3> Circe rolls Alertness: Success.

"Frak, so we've got a patrol of Centurions unaccounted for?" Ciro asks, panning his field glasses over the area, stopping near the model two, trying to get confirmation as to who he's training, and if he's seen any of the faces from the town. He then starts scanning the tree-line, looking for signs of any sort of communications or DRADIS that would allow tracking of the Raptors. "If they've got a Forge then they've got to have some sort of targetting DRADIS dish somewhere. I still don't see those Foxes, but they've definitely got a nice setup here. I'd buy it for a cubit."

"Nope, nope, got a Centurion over here." She motions down to the side as it comes into view, the tracking light in its headpiece making her shudder. "THey always are so unnerving.." She mutters below her breath. Circe then shakes her head, "What are they preparing for?" She says with some strained worry, drawing the viewfinders down to get a better layout with just the naked eye. "We are behind the scenes greeting party here." She thinks of the Raiders and wrinkles her nose a bit, touching something beneath her shirt.

"Nah, they wouldn't need it. Forge has a built-in track-while-scan system. Reduces engagement time. Tell you what, though.. turn one of those things on a line of advancing troops?" Vandenberg lets out a low whistle. "Devastation. Same with those Foxes." The woman continues getting photos. "Would be nice to know if they've got ground-based DRADIS, though. But I'll bet most of their early warning is handled by the basestar." She sets the camera down too and looks towards the Agora-Mart, squinting. She thinks on Circe's words a moment longer. "It honestly looks like they are looking to defend this spot to the last man. I'm not sold on their way of doing it, but this looks like a solid resistance operation of some kind. Training to shoot? Defensive positions? Gun batteries? Heavy machinegun positions.." She shakes her head. "I still think this stinks. More now than ever before."

"Agreed." Ciro replies, turning his glasses to Circe's Centurion, nodding as he confirms its existence. "Lakes, V and I were talking about this last night that we've seen shit like this before back on the Sag. This is a resistance operation for sure, working with the rubble for cover. Chances are there's a lot of people we're not seeing, or in the case of the area around the temple, there's probably a lot of guns inside that people could run in and grab fast." He glances to nearby marines. "I think we're in concensus though that whatever their problem is, it's not a plague or hunger. Those ducks were getting into that boat on the marina and there was some kind of statue in there. I wish we could get a better look at that area."

"I didn't just see this on Sag, Sondray. I ran an operation like this on Aerilon for a few months after Warday. Four-hundred strong. When they hit us, they sent a couple hundred Cents at us by the time it was over." Vandenberg's words are grim. "But you need serious firepower to resist a determined attack. What the frak are they expecting? This doesn't make any damned sense." She huffs out a breath. "Anti-air like that? They're expecting to either hit big stuff on the ground or knock down aircraft. The weapons we spotted last night were a mishmash of different things. If they were serious, why not raid a Marine Armory? This could easily be a trap." The Captain shakes her head before sitting her chin on her hands, looking over the cliff. "Wait, a statue? What kind of statue?" she rumbles. ..As well as someone her size can rumble.

Ciro tilts his head, glancing in Natalie's direction with a blank look on his face. "An infinity symbol. It was in there with those two geese and all that food. Really, though, who cares about a statue. There was all kinds of food in there, and if those geese were getting at it there's no telling what other kinds of stuff might be in or around those boats."

Vandenberg turns her head to look at Ciro. "Infinity," she repeats carefully. Her mind chews over that as her eyes drift away. "This has all happened before, and it will happen again. Infinity. Repetition? That's-" She sighs, looking back towards the town. "No, its too far and entirely too risky. Our mandate is to avoid contact with the local population if at all possible. We can't risk that. Especially geese? Damned things are loud as hell when you provoke them. Last thing we need is a duck blowing our cover. But I get what you're saying. And if there was food on the table? People will be coming back." Harumph. "Wouldn't have been bad to head back from our first OP, but we're too far, now. And we can't split the team."

"I wouldn't think to hard on it. It was a boat. For all we know that's some guy's personal mantra or power idol. You're right, though, that's exactly what I was thinking. It's been over a year. If there's still food on that boat then someone's been there and there's probably something important about that marina." He nods in agreement. They can't separate the party at this point, and before long they'd find themselves on their way back to the Cerberus. "Bear in mind if there's more Centurions they could probably all be in that water, waiting. I wish we had something that could scan that lake."

Listening to the two of them speak, Circe narrows her gaze and ponders over something. Finally the medic shifts and clears her throat to get their attention without raising her voice. "Sir, night time those geese won't be on the water, they will be on shore. Gives me extra cover. Swimming is what I do best..all my life. Let me go down there, get some shots…perhaps something from the boats. Anything really to give us an idea." Her gaze lingers on Vandenberg, watching her. "Can wrap the camera up tight, strap it to my back and bring it out to get the shots. I won't even make a sound." She says. There is utter confidence in the corpsman's voice, feeling her proposal sound.

Vandenberg chuckles. "Sondray, I know you're new to these kinds of post-apocolyptic operations, but one thing has become clear in the last year: Everything means something. But hey, maybe you're right. For now? It fits with everything I've been hearing." She scoots back from the edge a meter and removes her helmet, setting it on the ground beside her. "Specialist? If you think you are going off alone? You're nuts. No way, period. And you're even more shy sandwiches for a picnic if you think you're going to be allowed to go dip the lake without me. What you're proposin ain't just not gonna happen. Its downright mean. Making me think about swimmin. I oughtta have you keelhauled.." She sends a weary smirk at the medic.

"Everything means something?" Ciro nudges his head in the direction of the Cylon infested Agora-Mart. "I've got more than one of the same girl down there, more than one of the same guy down there, and they're all spending time around an Agora-Mart and a shrine to Aphrodite. Now I'm all for figuring out what they're up to, too, but I've put up with enough of this goofy, vague Cylon bullshit to think that some infinity statue on a boat that's a food-house for geese is gonna be the key to everything." Ciro smirks, rolling his eyes at the two of them, daring his ever-constant and stoic demeanor a moment of levity. "Frak you both if you two are getting a dip and I'm not, too."

"No one says you couldn't join me, sir." Circe quips lightly and then gives Ciro a look for support. She then shifts back so she can engage in the conversation a bit more, pushing away from the side view. "Sir, we need to know. This is not engaging any enemy..its a little water and about ten minutes of my time near a boat or two. Someone can come with, Sondray here is a swimmer too." She says, giving a motion of her thumb in his direction. "And stop your complaining Sondray." She mumurs and eyes lighting with a spark.

Natalie looks to Ciro with a lofted brow. "Agreed. Though I'd put forward the notion that the Agora-Mart is an incidental. But I've also had enough of this vague Cylon bullshit. Communicating in opera and vague references to carvings on a wall does not a happy S-Three make." She reaches into her leg pocket and pull out a dip pouch and pinches some out to tuck into her lip. "I say I can't go, either," the Captain retorts. She touches her chin to seat the chew and looks back to Circe. "Ten minute swim. Plus a five hour hike each way. You want to risk ten hours of exposure to check out a statue and some geese? No way, darlin. We're sittin tight."

"Who's complaining?" Ciro whispers, turning back to his field glasses to keep watch on the assembled resistance of the sorts. "These guys have mouths. They clearly speak standard. Nothing is stopping them from simply saying something like food please, or evacuation please. Instead they're going to drop so many vague references that the only way we're going to be able to communicate with them is to break down the chaplain's door or access some of the frakkin' goofier cult-status folk on Cerberus to get their interpretation." He smirks. "What I wouldn't give for five minutes with one of these Cylons, a cup of tea, and some real no-bullshit conversation."

Cut off at the first bypass, Circe quiets and gives a muted 'yes sir' in reply. The corpsman looks over at Ciro. "They are nervous, not sure its so much us." She still believes that. There has to be an outside threat and shifting, the medic moves to go back to looking, needing answers they may not get from this perch. She hmmms, biting at her lip as she tries to get an idea for patrol

"I am. I'm sick of this hidden agenda shit. How the frak do these dumb shits expect us to trust them if they can't spit out a plain word. We took on a humanoid that really hated my guts. Crazy bitch talked in code for hours and days. It was like trying to decipher old school Gemenese written in crayon with the lights out." Vandenberg shakes her head. "But yeah, I'd love to get one of them in a room for a chat. And no, I don't mean violently. I'm fine with not shooting anymore if it means figuring a few things out during the time-out." She spits into the dirt, moving the chew around with her tongue. "I think they're nervous, and I'm not convinced its someone else. That's enough for me. I still think this whole set-up stinks to high hell. They want help, won't be clear about who from? Frak 'em. The time for crappy, artsy, fartsy innuendo is over. They want help? They oughtta tell us why they need it. And what with."

"You're gods-damned right." Ciro's head bobs in agreement, lowering the field glasses to watch for points to scout. He whispers out of the side of his mouth in her direction, keeping the conversation very low. "I'm not interested in beating or torturing anything, and I'm done being angry about the nukes. I just want straight conversation. Do I trust them? Frak no, but all of this tip-toeing around is something I need to understand why they're doing?" He pauses, considering his words. "Wolfe says she has that number Eleven's sketchbook. I haven't seen the sketches, but I think when I get back I'm gonna take a look."

Vandenberg shakes her head and spits once more into the dirt. She looks down to the ground below and starts tracing lines in the soil with her fingers. "I'll never get over the nukes. Especially with their occupation of Libran. The man I was going to marry was on Libran. Maybe still is. I haven't an idea what happened to him, but I can't even look at the recon data off there anymore." She sighs. "I see these things and all I think of is what was taken from us. But.. Given the situation we're in? We gotta face reality, you know? Pisses me off. I just want something clear rather than mud. We should kidnap someone and bring them home with or something," she jokes, smirking. "You get that book? I want it. I've been trying to get it for months."

"Wolfe is a sweet girl but she's also friends with Tyr. She's got this thing about people playing nice with eachother. Girl's lost enough friends to the war I can't blame her." Ciro replies, turning his head to glance at the dark brown smear that Vandenberg has left in the dirt. He sighs and turns back to his recon sketching. "My girl was either on Scorpia or in transit. My old man was in a tyllium mine. They had a good chance too, and just like you I was gonna marry. Am I pissed? Yeah, but…I don't know. I've gotten more than enough talk lately about how I gotta stop wallowing. Frak, even you told me that at Pete's. Mourning or not I just want to get this shit over with so we can start combing colonies. Until then don't expect me to volunteer for any of those breeding programs."

"Frakking Bannik," she groans, dipping her head into the dirt and then lifting quickly. Its hot. Her finger continues tracing lines until she's unconciously drawing the infinity symbol. "One day she'll learn. You shit or get off the pot, aye. Pick a damned side because that's what Bannik is forcing. Dumb frak." She sighs. "Nah, no sense wallowing. Move on. We have to. Parking your head in the past isn't healthy. Something about denial or some kinda junk." She stops tracing the line for a moment before continuing. "This fleet has his Tauron, Sag, Aerilon - which is where they found me - and now we're on Gemenon. Intel says they withdrew from those colonies and consolidated their force structure around the rest. Including Canceron, Libran, and Scorpia. Why the frak they cared about Sorpia is beyond me. Long range recon of that place looks like hell. Fires burned for months. Decimated the jungles." She sniffs, tilting her head as she draws. "Wanna see some crap to bring it home, I'll check out the runs to Virgon for you. Not just the low-altitude recon. But the fleet graveyard above it. Scary shit. Those first days in this fleet must have been hell."

"I don't need to see, really that's fine. Altogether I'm probably better of not knowing for the time being. It's been over four hundred days and this is the first place I've seen on a colony that seems functional, and it's covered in supposedly-friendly cylons. If she's not down here, that means she's on Canceron or Scorpia either dead or running for her life, that's if the last four hundred and fifty days didn't kill her with starvation, radiation, or any one of a million frakkin' things that can wreck the human body. I'm well aware she's probably dead, Captain. I get it." Ciro's last words linger on the edge of having a little bit of bite to it, the first time he's given his captain, and possible friend, a gruff angle. "So what's the deal about these dreams?"

"Looked at those reports again before I left to remind myself. The video of the Virgon Graveyard is pretty intense. Most of the fleet was taken out in between thirty minutes and a few hours. They found a survivor out there a few days afterwards. Just.. horrid stuff. Makes the skin crawl, yeah." The Captain shivers despite the heat. "You want to imagine ends for your lady, Sondray, have fun. Keep ya cod in your trou because I ain't about a pissin contest right now. Glad you're okay with it." That seems to be about all she's going to say on it. The last gets her to chuckle. "Off the record? Me not being a Captain and S-Three and you not being an uncleared Sergeant and not an MP?" She glances to him and goes back to drawing the symbol. "The crew of the fleet has been having dreams that.. aren't totally explainable. Some have led us to some very important things in ways that defy explanation. Others? Well the more recent ones have been all about Lampridis. And I don't give two shits what Bannik says, not a single dream I've investigated has told anyone to enter into an alliance or godsdamned huggiebear bullshit relationship with the Cylons. If anything, the Cylons have figured as the enemy."

"Right." Ciro replies, keeping his attention on the observation post, which allows him to have a good excuse to not look at her after their tight exchange. "Off the record's fine. Don't call me a doubter, you know I just you a little more than I trust most people so I'm willing to buy it a little bit, but it's said there's more cylons out there, right?" He pauses, choosing his words carefully. "Any possibility these dreams were put there?"

Vandenberg shakes her head. "I can't think of a single way the Cylons could pull off something like that. Beaming dreams into our heads?" She smirks, but its dry. "I could think of better strategic applications than having us seek out religious artifacts and eventually sending us here. They could have just beamed us a dream to send us into a massive trap to wipe the fleet out a dozen months ago. There's no reason for the complexity to send us here." She sighs. "The Gods are at work here, Ciro. If that investigation has done anything, its reinforced my faith. Bannik blares his song and dance and he doesn't know a tenth of it. If I decided to break with everything I had? I'd probably be a messiah. Difference is that I know what this information could do. Its a weapon. I'm holding it for Command to use, not public demand."

"Makes sense. I'm not saying you're a cylon. No sense in them building a model that needs a step-stool to change a lightbulb." His whispered words can't hide the smirk on his face. "As far as the Lords go…I don't know exactly how I can comment on that. I haven't had one of these dreams so it's either I take your word on it or a try to scrutinize every detail to try to rip your theory apart. I'll be somewhere in the middle. Trust me, you'll be thankful I plant myself there. Last thing it sounds like you want are acolytes, and I respect that. Just don't steer me off a cliff and you and I are square." Ciro offers, letting out a quiet sigh before he settles into his work of watching and learning.

Van chuckles out an "Asshole," as she continues tracing the infinity symbol. "Good point, though. But its perfect camo," she challenges back for the remark. "I've heard someone say that those who don't need convincing won't get a dream because our minds are already on the path. Or at least our mindsets. As for your opinions?" She shrugs. "I said a prayer before our mission. That's as in your face as I get with my beliefs, but its also tradition for me. Said the same prayer a hundred times before an op. I don't ask anyone else to believe. You take your own grain of salt with what I've said. If its not for you? So be it. I'm not a role model and I'm certainly not a priestess. If you want to stay middle of the road?" The woman smirks. "Hey, that's your thing. No triffle from me. But if you're fixin to stay there, don't dive too deep down that rabbithole of an investigation. You'd catch your breath more times than you're comfortable with, yeah."

"It's not the Lords I don't trust. Our species doesn't have a history of making good decisions, and we got ourselves into this mess." Ciro replies dryly. "I keep an open mind, I just haven't been given enough reason to step off the fence just yet. That's another conversation for another time though, and it'll need to be had over shots. You can pray all you want for me and my safety before a drop, I'll accept it gladly. All I'm saying is the moment I stop looking over my shoulder is gonna be the same moment this war is over…give or take a year."

Vandenberg listens to all that with a short grunt. "Another time, then." As the sun fades towards the horizon she continues tracing the same symbol over and over. She seems almost lost in it, her mind clearly on the topic of what her and Ciro were discussing.

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