PHD #345: The Godsdamndest Thing
The Godsdamndest Thing
Summary: A conversation around the dinner table.
Date: 06 FEB 2042 AE
Related Logs: Guidance Testing,Hammerfall Results
Constin Mark Marko Radcliffe 
Behind the two hangar decks, the Cerberus' Galley is the largest room on the ship. Nearly half the size of a football field, the eating area is made up of long lines of stainless steel tables that can be folded up and placed against the wall for larger events. Individual seats are the standard military issue, boring and grey with lowest-bidder padding. The line for food stretches across one of the shorter sides of the room while the kitchen behind works nearly twenty-four hours a day to produce either full meals or overnight snacks and coffee for the late shifts.
Post-Holocaust Day: #345

=[ Condition Level: 3 - All Clear ]=---------

A mere three hours late for dinner, on the day of a combat op. Constin's timing is getting better. The big marine sits at a table, with a tray loaded down with leftovers- largely sandwiches in platic wrap and a few deep fried ambiguous meats that have been warmed under heat lamps for a few hours, spiced up with some bagged chips and such. Despite the less than appetizing nature of the meal, the Cerberus' Master at Arms is chowing down without complaint.

There's almost anywhere else to sit. The whole place is wide open for sitting. So obviously you would expect a new arrival to find someplace else to sit. Mark strolls in wearing his incredibly dirty orange coveralls with grease smudged all over his face. The only way to think this guy an officer would be to know him by sight or be able to see the pins under all the grime on his collar. His top is unzipped down the front and there's a black and orange/red multicolored shirt underneath. Difficult to tell what it is. He grabs a plastic-wrapped sammich, a refill for his coffee, and OF COURSE he joins Constin, tossing the folder onto the table. "Mind company? I frakkin' hate sitting by myself. I feel like I did something wrong when I do."

Constin glances up, with a raised brow as the new arrival joins him and promptly strikes up a conversation. A shrug and shake of his head serve for an initial answer, seeing as how his mouth is presently full of egg salad sandwich- spiced liberally with multiple torn packets of salt and pepper which litter his tray. Swallowing the first half of the mouthful, he drawls around the rest, "Solitary's a punishment for a reason, I guess."

"Ain't that the Godsdamned truth." Mark kicks the chair out with a heel and flops into it. He takes a hard pull on the coffee and settles the mug down on the table. Its black and reads, in white lettering, 'Rocket Scientist' and has a few complex equations on it. "So what's up man? I'm Mark. Got a name? Got a job? Do anything exciting?"

Constin eyes the mug drily, "Name of Eleftherios. I shoot shit, Mark," he drawls, deadpan in response before taking a swallow of water and chasing it with another big bite to polish off that half of sandwich
Ah, MidRats, the only meal on the ship that LT (JG) Marko Scaurus has the ability to eat with anything approaching regularity. Tonight, it would appear the young ECO is unusually tardy, barely getting before the cut off to snag a sandwich and a bowl of what could be called tomato soup if one were feeling generous. It's hard not to spot the ChEng and the big Marine, they being the only other occupants of the space. A stop by the bug juice machine later, Marko and his food's heading for them. "Mornin' Captain." he calls amiably. "Sargent." he adds, giving each man a polite nod. "Anybody mind?" he asks, nodding in the direction of the table.

"First," Constin mutters drily to Mark's predictable reaction. "And yeah, well enough. Sometimes the shit shoots back, but eventually it falls over. Makes this real satisfying clatter when it does," the marine drawls around a mouthful of egg salad sandwich on slightly stale bread. "What about you, then, 'Mark'?" Constin returns, before turning an eye to Marko at the other's approach, "Sir," he greets evenly, before eyeing Mark as Marko names the man an officer. "Huh," he grunts wordlessly at the revelation.

Mark tilts his head back to see Marko and the man grunts, gesturing to the table. He's chewing and cannot be bothered to answer yet. Chomp chomp chomp. He slides the folder over to Marko's place. "Read that shit and weep, frakker. Ninety-nine percent." He nearly spits food as he tries to talk around the chicken salad sandwich. He then looks to Constin. "Chief Engineer. I built the shit that shoots your shit." Again, still trying to eat. He finally washes the rest down with another sip of coffee. "I haven't even seen a godsdamned Centurion since Leonis. I can't frakkin' tell you what a relief that is. Big bullet headed sonsofbitches. Not quite nightmare fuel but they're some ugly bastards. Do they at least blow up good?"

"Heh, okay…" Marko chuckles, taking a seat opposite Mark and picking up the folder. "Whoa…frak me…" he breathes a few moments' worth of reading later. "Okay, I'm impressed." he says, laying the folder down open and starting to unwrap his sandwich. "How's it going, Sarge?" he asks, turning to Constin for a moment before going back to reading. "Looks like a good start to me, sir." he notes, frowning thoughtfully as he scans through the data sets.

Radcliffe arrives from the Deck 9.

"That they do, sir," Elf returns with a short snicker at Mark's query of whether Centurions 'blow up good', before adding to both officers, "Team scrapped a handful this afternoon, in fact. Lost a man going in to do it, though," he recounts evenly. Glancing between Mark and Marko as the two discuss percentages, the blunt marine just shakes his head. "You boys start talking tech, don't expect me to chime in."

"Yeah. No BS, right? I couldn't believe it. The only glitches it looks like we're getting are in the misidentification of quasars and pulsars. It looks like she must've been tired or something when she was going over that part…" He takes another big bite of his sandwich and looks at Marko's frown. "What? Whyfor do you frown, my good jig?" The ChEng then looks back to Elf. "Oh yeah? You were on that assault team? See anything good over there between the exploding scrap heaps?" But at the last, the Captain chuckles and takes another sip of coffee. "

"Its techy shit, but nothing too complex. Its right up your alley. Scaurus and I are looking into these missiles some former Deckhand was trying to make operational."

"Actually, Sarge, I think you'd be into this." Marko notes, frowning again. "Hm?" he asks, looking up at the ChEng for a second, then chuckling softly. "Was I frowning? I do that when I'm thinking sometimes. Doesn't mean anything." he shrugs. "I wonder…?" he begins, then starts flipping pages until he finds what he's after. "Ah-ha! Someone was smart enough to print out the source code." he smirks, starting to go through it. "Yeah, I see the glitch right here on line twenty ninety six." he says, fishing out a pen and underlining an obscure bit of code. "Parenthesis instead of a comma. Happens. These are the kind of things that'll drive ya nuts." he adds, taking a bite out of his sandwich and looking immediately as if he regrets the decision. "Have you run this stuff through a debugger?" he asks. "Deckies have them for Air Wing software, you're bound to have them downstairs." he notes. "It'll find a lot of this stuff for ya."

Talk of missiles doesn't immediately pull Constin's eye up from his plate of food and the next planned bite, until a beat after Mark mentions the 'former crewman'. The big marine glances up- first at Mark, and then to Marko- and wonders, "What missiles might those be, then?"

There's the shock of orange to make it known that Radcliffe has arrived, the deckie hurrying to where the pile of protein bars are so she can snag herself a handful to take with her, time short or at least that's what she's thinking up until the point she sees the gaggle of gander hanging around, chatting. Pursing her lips, she looks at her watch before she decides she has enough time to say hi and she angles herself towards their table. "Hey, sirs. Sarge…" she says as a means to say 'hey, I'm here, mind if I butt in' without going as far as to say that exactly.

Mark opts to answer the Master at Arms first this time as he takes another sip of his coffee. His eyes are on the code that Marko is going through, not noticing Elf's interest. "Hammerfall's. Some kind of experimental missile system. Stealth. Nothing we've got will fire the sonuvabitch but I think I know how to test it. We're trying to get it operational." The ChEng leans forward a bit to look at where Marko points out. "Shit, son. You have any idea how long it would take me to find that?" He more rips and tears the bite off the sandwich than actually chews. "Man I just got here. You think I know what kind of fancy shit you guys got on the Deck? The last time I wore a uniform you were prayin for pubes and Mark Two's were still hot shit. I can check it out, though. I'm still not willing to change the programming just yet. I want to run twenty tests for a baseline and then try fixing the code." With Radder's approach, Mark just waves her in. Poor Elf is being invaded upon. "Word, Petty Officer."

"Heh, well, I used to do this sort of thing before I joined the Fleet." Marko chuckles, shrugging again before taking another big bite from his sandwich and giving his soup a quick pair of slurps. "It looks like she basically had her act together, though." he notes. "What few errors I'm catching just glancing through look like the kinda stuff you do when you're tired or in a big hurry." he explains. "Mark Two's, sir?" he asks, looking up curiously. "Bet you never expected to be back in harness again." he smirks, giving Radcliffe a nod. "Heh, stop looking antsy, Petty Officer, grab a chair." he smiles freindly-like.

Constin turns a look over one shoulder as Radcliffe wanders up, nodding once and waving the Deckie toward a vacant chair, before turning a wry eye around the galley to verify that the rest of it is, in fact, still abandoned. He then looks back to Mark. "Those the ones pulled off Parnassus? The ones supposed to score a one-hit kill on a Basestar something like four times out of five?" Constin queries with brows raised. "Shit, unless Engineering scrapped the project, there was some kinda prototype Strike Viper getting worked up to sling those things, a couple months back." It's been significantly more than a couple months.

Radcliffe slips a chair over and turns it around, sitting in it backwards so she can lean her arms over its back. She smiles in appreciation to everyone before listening a bit, her curiosity obviously piqued. "Sounds like you guys are talking about something fun," the PO eventually quips while running a thumb along the edge of her nose. She quiet after that, trying to get the gist of what's being discussed before saying anything further herself.

"Well then that would make this shit a ton easier then wouldn't it?" Mark shakes his sandwich at Marko, laughing. "Little prick." Its a term of endearment with the Captain, most likely. "But yeah, it looks like she really knew her shit. I stand by my opinions though, man. It could go either way with a coin toss. And no. Hell no never expected to be back on a ship. Not for a deployment anyway." The man shakes his head and then just -stares- at Constin. "Okay, Sergeant. Enlighten me. Probably stumbled across those videos when you were investigating Coll or something, right? As for a Strike Viper? Shit." He glances to Marko and back. "First I've heard of it." To Radcliffe: "Yeah. Those missiles the Crewman was working on back before she was killed by that guy screamin' she was a Cylon. We're trying to work towards a flight test maybe in the next week or two. We'll see how simulations go."

Marko snerks. "Heh, let's just say I had…..interesting odd jobs when I was a teenager and leave it at that, okay?" he chuckles to Marko before turning to Constin. "I was read in on a little of that project, but it never seemed to go anywhere." he says, gnawing at his sandwich with increasing gusto. "I thought it had been scrapped." he shrugs. "But yeah, that was the plan. Big, frak off missiles to one-kill a Base Star." he nods. "I dunno about the delivery vehicle, but the weapon's definitely in the frakkin' works." he nods firmly. "These test results are pretty damn promising." he adds before turning back to Mark. "Sounds to me like you're heading in the right direction." he says, nodding approvingly, though as Chief of Engineering, it's doubtful whether or not he needs Marko's admiration, even if it's clear he has it. "Anything I can do, let me know. I'll find a way to shoehorn it in."

Constin starts to crack a bone-dry grin at Mark's stare, before the engineer's words cause brows to draw in and he states, "Naw, sir. Lauren Coll's my wife." A deliberately slow breath is drawn through the nose, before he adds, "So I'd take it real kindly if you told me what these videos are you're going on about." Finally, something in the conversation is enough to make the big marine forget about his food, as one calloused hand idly stirs upward to absently rub the third of the dog tags around his neck between thumb and forefinger. He begins to answer Marko at first without looking away from Mark, but gradually, the big man's head turns to the pilot. "Construction stared on Weber's designs while we were over Sagittaron. Whether it got froze or scrapped, I couldn't say."

There's a scratch to a cheek and then she looks up, obviously thinking. "I don't think regular platforms will work. Big thing is that we'd need to have a delivery system that…" Pausing, she shakes her head as she looks at the Captain, her grin softening. "I guess it is a matter of trying to figure out just how 'out of range' these puppies need to be fired from. But I get a feeling that I'm touching about shit you all have discussed so I'll stop there." A bar is unwrapped and a piece is broken off, it then popped easily into her mouth. "Who is slated to help with the tests?"

The ChEng chuckles. "Yeah, okay. Odd jobs. Probably knocked over ATMs from your basement or something." A nod to the man's comments on the missiles: "Thanks. Its been a while since I worked on guidance systems. Most of it was network engineering and making things appear seamless. But I'll probably tap you if I run into any other problems." Elf's words make him double-take, though. "She was- Oh shit, you're Constin." He takes a long, creaky breath and looks to his sammich. It needs to have a bite taken out of it while he thinks back on everything he's just said. Finishing, he looks back. "Two videos. You ain't seen them?" He doesn't wait to find out. "Co- Your wife made a pair of missile videos that most people high up on the Deck know about. Hell, Damon is the one who has the originals but there's a few copies floating around. Its not classified. One is about two, maybe two and a half hours. The other one is about ten minutes. You oughtta be proud, Sergeant. I've been doing engineering work for more than twenty years. I've got a doctorate in systems integrations and her work is the godsdamndest shit I've ever seen. Brilliantly simple. Very creative stuff." No comment on the strike viper thing, though. Maybe he's getting there. A glance to Radcliffe, then. "Petty Officer Fasi is helping me with the tests for now. As for range? Its space. There's no set range. No gravity to pull it towards a non-existant ground. They just fly forever until they hit a target or celestial body or event."

Marko sits, eating hungrily and quietly as the conversation strays into realms he feels best left uncommented on by the uninitiated, adding only a vigorous nod of agreement to Mark's assessment of Coll's work. "Godsdamngest thing I ever saw." he says, smiling.

"Always have been," Constin returns to Mark's comments that he should be proud of Lauren. "If they ain't classified, who'd I talk to about getting hold of a copy of these tapes, sir?" the MaA asks, plain in phrase and tone as he addresses the Chief Engineer. A brief look aside to Marko as the pilot echoes Mark's pronouncement. While eyeing the Airman, the marine's lip curls into a wry twist, amused by the choice of words. "Stealth missiles from who knows how far away? sounds like fun, don't it?" he notes a moment later to Brina.

Radcliffe nods to Constin. "It sounds like a lot of fun. Almost wish I got into weaponry instead of mechanics." Almost being the key word in there. "I hope the tests go as you wish them to," she adds to Mark, her well-wishes given in the middle of a chuckle. "I don't envy you guys the long hours I'm sure you all have faced and still have ahead of you but the results in the long run will undoubtedly make it worth all of them."

"By the way, Scaurus.." Mark asides, lifting a finger towards him. "We're gonna need to test the targeting software. Think we can find a way to link up the Raptor sims' TRAFIKS to the missile sim program on the console? We need to plug it in and see if it will hit a Basestar. Think we can do that? I'd give anything to see that thing track a Basestar at two-hundred thousand meters per second. Sploosh, baby. Frakking sploosh." The Chief Engineer looks back to Constin then and shakes his head. "Shit man, you don't even need to ask. You got a laptop?" Mark holds up a flash drive between his fingers. "This only has the ten minute one on it. I was watchin' it earlier while I was going over some data verification. Got the other one on my laptop back in my office. I can make the copies myself. But good. You should be proud. If Fasi's scans come back clean, and I think they will, then no matter what the truth is about your wife - she left us one frakkin' helluva gift. Well, twenty of them actually." He sits back in the chair, popping the rest of the sandwich into his mouth. "Bah. I don't sleep much anyway. maybe two hours a night? A short nap in the afternoon? I get more work done being an insomniac than you might imagine."

"Eh, don't see any reason we can't, sir." Marko replies, frowning thoughtfully. "Yeah, yeah, rig it through TRAFIKS via the secondary plug in?" he muses. "How much bandwidth are we going to need?" he asks. "Primary'll give you all you need, but we'd have to re-kajigger the internal boxes and that'll play hell with flight rotation and probably piss off the Chief, the CAG and the XO." he explains. "Backup's easier."

"I got a computer," Constin returns to Mark's question of whether he has a laptop. Not *quite* the same thing, but close enough for the technically semi-inept. Marko's mix of technical terms and slang has the marine thoroughly out of his depth, before he turns an eye to Radcliffe and asks, "They're just making up words now, yeah?"

"I…" Listening, Brina eventually falls quiet, trying to get some kind of comprehension to her but fails. "I think they're talking about computer stuff but don't quote me on that." Shrugging, she leans down to rest her chin on her arms, scooting herself a bit further in her seat to do so, "This makes me glad I didn't get into that field." That's said quietly to Constin himself, Brina not wanting to interrupt the officers' train of thought.

"I don't imagine we'll need a lot. The plug on the missile's guidance access port is a generic USP - which is normal for a missile in test phase. They move to more complex shit once they are operational." Mark lifts the mug of coffee and takes a sip before looking to Elf. He sets the flashdrive down on the table and pushes it over to him. "She's on there, man. Don't know how much you'll follow but she knew ordnance pretty well. Shockingly well. an no, hey, look Sergeant." Mark leans forward a bit. "This stuff is really advanced. I could do it if I spent all my time with missiles. Its definitely doable by a human in her listed time frame in that video, but its hard. She took the autopilot system out of a Raptor and more or less overlayed it on top of an old guidance system that was corrupted. She then modified the coding system in the Raptor's fire control avionics to work with what was in the missile for sensors. Your wife essentially turned these missiles into Raptors with warheads and no FTL." By the end he's looking at Brina and Constin equally. "Anyhow, the guidance systems are almost one hundred percent complete. We've got a minor tweak or two but they are good to go."

"Yeah, but we're talking USB for actual firmware, not experimental software." Marko counters simply, polishing off the rest of his sandwich and pausing to wipe his mouth and hands with a napkin before going after his soup. "If you can get a common USB rig up, then we'll have no problems at all." he smiles at length before taking a big swig of bug juice. "Aaah….That's the stuff." he sighs happily. "Amazing what you can choke down when you've got blue bug juice to wash it down with."

"Heh," he grunts drily to Brina's quip, regarding the scientists with a small shake of his head. As Mark slides the flash drive across the table, Elf leans forward and closes his fingers around the little packet of plastic and circuitry, he peers at it for a long moment, before cracking a grin and turning his narrow eye to Mark and Marko. "She always had a way for thinking sideways. Thanks for this, sir. Thinking I'm gonna get on my way, about now."

"The red juice is better," Brina opines with a chuckle. "The blue is too artificial of a color for me to get over." Still sitting with her chin on her arms, she looks between the guys, her lips pursed. "I am sorry I don't have anything to add. But I guess this is where the saying 'you can't do it all' is kind of true. But, yo. You guys need an engine overhauled…" She raises a hand and waves it. "I'm your gal Friday." As Constan makes with his goodbyes, in a fashion, Brina turns that wave to one of farewell. "Take care, Sarge."

"Nah, they wouldn't have left these plugs on there for the end-user. If they did it would be too easy to access Its just easier to go with known systems to make sure your platform is running properly. You can get creative with your access once the thing works. And shit, drink coffee. Way better for you. That bug juice freaks me the hell out. Blue? Augh." Mark makes a face and sips at the mug again. Nodding to Brina, the man watches her for a moment. "If you're hot to get into weapons, you could theoretically look into these things. They're large enough that they operate like small aircraft." He glances to Elf and nods a few times. "Apparently she did, Sergeant. Funny the way women latch onto the soul like they do." His smile fades to a whisp of itself. "I'll see about getting that second video to you. I should be getting on my way too, though." He rises from the seat.

"The red kind's good, but it gives me heartburn." Marko shrugs to Radcliffe, to Marko he simply chuckles. "Why do you think the red kind gives me heartburn?" he asks with a smirk, polishing off the last of his soup. "And I'd best be going too or I'm never going to get any sleep tonight." he adds, stifling a yawn behind his fist. "Take care, Petty Officer, and if it means anything, keep up the good work, you guys are _awesome_." he grins, giving her a thumb's up. "Let me know if there's anything I can do, sir." he adds for Mark's benefit.

Constin nods once more in parting. "Obliged if you did, sir," to Mark. "Sir," to Marko, and "Radcliffe," to Brina, and the Master-at-Arms is on his way. Late as the hour is, there's a spot of privacy to be expected at the computer terminal in the storage closet he calls an office.

Radcliffe hmms. "Not sure. I'll let you know once I become a doctor," Brina answers mark, punctuating it with a wink. With everyone else saying how they need to be off she rises too, bumping Mark on the shoulder with a fist. "Come down to the Deck and say hi sometime, sir." She tosses a little salute before she scoots off herself. Back to the grindstone.

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