PHD #413: The Other Side
The Other Side
Summary: Khloe and Trask meet to discuss how to retrieve their people from the brink, now that lines have been drawn.
Date: 16 Apr 2042 AE
Related Logs: To Own the Skies
Khloe Trask 
Map Room - Deck 7 - Battlestar Cerberus
Post-Holocaust Day: #413
The one object that dominates this room is the one it is named for: the giant plotting table in the center of the room. Bottom-lit like the plot in CIC, this one is twenty feet across and about the same distance wide. The maps, which are rolled and kept in a locker at the side of the room, provide much more detail than most of the charts in CIC and are especially useful in planning tactical operations. Unscaled models of ships are available to be situated on the surface of the table and risers on each side of the room allow for a small audience to watch or be briefed. A single large LCD screen is built into the wall at the far end to display reconnaissance or other supplemental material.
Condition Level: 3 - All Clear

1447 Hours. No sooner than the Raptor carrying Bunny and Bootstrap redocked in the relative safety of Cerberus did the latter have his closest Captain cohort paged to report to the Map Room. Knuckledraggers were assigned to handle post-flight, especially since Evandreus and Pallas both were sent to Medical for treatment, which permitted Trask to haul ass to the designated meeting place.

Having come straight from the deck, having been assigned to alert Vipers during the 'incident', Khloe is still in her flight suit, albeit stripped away to the waist and tied there to make her tanks-clad upper torso free. Dog tags swinging to the side as she literally pushes her way into the map room, her first words to Trask are, without fail: "What the frak is going on, Kal?"

"Khloe." That's as far as formalities go, offered in a 'so nice to see you, too' tone because that's how facetious people roll. "I thought it was obvious that Kepner finally went through with his coup." Sass aside, the man also doesn't seem the least bit surprised. Such is his faith in the asshattery of humanity. So much so that it almost seems rote the way he's arranging models on the map table — all in offensive position against the Areion. It wouldn't be beneath Trask's sardonic cynicism to have been expecting, thus somewhat planning for such a day as today. "Spiral and Bunny are in Medical being treated. Those dickwads blew-up your rook Burke, I think is name is, and wouldn't let us bring him back upon pain of blasting the rest of us to smithereens if we attempted SAR. As far as I'm aware, he's aboard Areion now as a prisoner of war." Because this is how the Harriers' SL viewing the events: a declaration of war by a junta that overthrew the system.

"I have ears, you ass," the narrow-eyed Knights SL spits at him, going belly-up to the map table opposite Trask, hands grabbing the edge looking as they might tear off the side of the thing. "I was talking about your CAP. Burke, just got his trial by fire; add him to the pile of hostages. But what happened to Spiral? All I could make out on the radio chatter is that he was bumped and that his bird flew apart. Damnit!" Poppy balls up a fist and smashes the table, causing the air group models to jump slightly. She's no wilting flower; strong like bull, and twice as smart. "Where's Broadside? Anything from him?"

Unfazed by Khloe's declaration of having ears, Trask merely inquires, "Then why the frak ask?" When the models jump at the table pounding, he pauses and faintly smirks. "Not helping," he notes before resuming his arrangements. "Broadside's doing whatever the frak an interim CAG does. Right now, he should be conferring with Intel. I just thought we," that being the two present SLs, "would get a bit of a head start after I told you what happened to your peeps. The others should be by soon. Flat-out, though, Kepner and his goons can go frak themselves. Even if their proposed plan weren't a suicide run — which it is 'cuz their precious frakking Gun doesn't work the way they're spinning — I still would do whatever I could to take down that jagoff."

Jaw clenched in pent-up anger as Trask calmly speaks his bit, Khloe then eyes the models again. "He's right, you know," she utters, believe it or not. "His methods are wrong and completely illegal. But he's right about the Cylons. We can't just keep running. At some point, we'll have to turn and fight. But right now, I refuse to take orders from a commander grounded in mutiny." She looks down at the table again, eyes focusing on the little models. Because, when it all boils down to a head-on conflict, that's all they are: miniature war pieces, meant to be pushed around to fight and die. "Thoughts on tactics?"

"Maybe he is, maybe he isn't. We're all on borrowed time, regardless, so I find it moot. If Cylons don't finish the job, people will. It's just the way we're hardwired. Even in the face of a common enemy, some jackasses will turn on their fellows. In the absence of a common enemy, a lot more will. Tale as old as time, la-dee-da, you know the rest." Misanthropic much? Perhaps. Trask simply considers himself a realist who all too well knows first-hand the crap people do to other people. "Just so happens that I'm petty and spiteful enough that I'd destroy us all before the Cylons could if it meant thwarting that stupid frak. I suspect he doesn't realize this." Oh, how the man smiles, although there is a certain sadness and darkness to the gleeful impudence.

As for plans, "The way I figure it, we need to view all those hostages as already dead. 'Cuz, really, if we fall in-line like we've been told, we all /will/ be dead. I expect that they don't expect we're willing to play such hardball. Guess they don't accept ghetto trash in spook school." A nod to his origins and that of Poppy. "Anyway, they have control of our nukes. No idea how or what, but Broadside is getting more info. I'm inclined to tailgate 'em so they remain in our blast radius, should they choose to detonate. They're zealots and likely also insane, so they might well just blow us all up, anyway. Personally, I wanna get back our people, or die trying. Even with the blueprints for that freighter model, we need to keep in mind it's been heavily modified. The CMC did some training exercises aboard there, though, so maybe some of 'em recall something that can be of use."

"The moment they realize we are closing ranks, they will start executing hostages," Khloe states what could possibly be the obvious to Trask, but it needed stating anyway. "We need to be ready to put into a plan that appears, at first glance, to be a by-the-book operation for dealing with sedition during wartime." She considers briefly. "Our only non-combatant ship is the Elpis. She'll need to go elsewhere, as otherwise she'll be a target. I'll not have a civilian ship on the field that we'll have to protect in addition to trying to take the Areion, as well. What're the chances we could jump her out, on her own, and have her land or hide somewhere? And not the emergency jump coordinates; if there are Areion moles aboard, I'd rather not they know where she's gone."

"Those are the stakes," Kal concurs. "Gotta play the best we can with the crap hand we've been dealt. We'll lose some, no doubt, but we've gotta make sure they bust, too. Or whatever the frak the metaphor is. I never really played cards." Dismissively, he mildly shakes his head and moves on. "I haven't heard anything about Payback being taken. Only way I can think of slipping him a message under the radar is if we somehow are permitted to retrieve what people we already have over there on shore leave. No idea if our groundpounders still have control of the ship or not. If they do, we /might/ be able to somehow sneak a message to Payback. Or we can see if someone in CIC can get permission from Kepner to send away the civilians. Playing politics might be the best move on that one, provided he actually /does/ give a damn about preserving humanity." Of which the Taurian seems rather skeptical.

Khloe nods slightly. Then, glancing back at the table, she offers: "If they expect us to follow the book for this engagement," she says, assuming there's going to be an engagement at all. "Then we need to plan two steps ahead of them. We must assume they'll see through whatever we do as our first deception. And planning a third deception would just stretch our resources too thin — and at that point we deserve to die because we're wanking off and not actually putting forward sound tactics. I propose the bulk of our forces remain behind to guard Cerberus and the two frigates, while two deceptionary teams do their work. Our targets should be Areion herself, in both cases - one group to take out their precious Gun, and the other an attempt to board to retrieve our assets."

Considering a moment, Trask starts to rearrange the models into what he understands Khloe's proposal to be. "Okay… why protect the capital ships? Head-to-head, Areion will be crushed. Keeping the Wing nearby won't prevent those fraks from launching or detonating our nukes. We also outnumber them, Vipers to Vipers and Raptors to Raptors, so we'd eventually reclaim the field if we went Wing to Wing. No… their leverage is the hostages, and the belief that none of us are willing to die to thwart their sorry asses. Like I said, they're all zealots and likely insane, so they just might be willing to nuke us all if we advance, but we're all already dead anyway."

"If they nuke us all, they lose," Khloe explains. "If we protect Cerberus, if they try to take her or board her, we'll know that their nuke bid is a bluff. Either way, we can't operate on the assumption that we'll win Viper to Viper, Raptor to Raptor. Hosedown's Raptorball fights have shown that they just have a leg up on us as far as skill and equipment. However." Separating a pair of Raptor and two Vipers, six birds in all in two groups, Khloe diverts them away from the main battlegroup. "Cerberus moves to give Areion a hug, preventing them from detonating the nukes. If the nukes are live, they'll send a group and try to take Cerberus. While that battle is going on, team A's Vipers protect Raptor A until it can calculate the jump to Areion's back. There, it suicides a nuke or other high explosives on their Gun." A suicide mission. "While that group draws attention to itself, successful or not in its mission, group B - " She moves the other Raptor and Viper group. "Will attempt to board Areion in an attempt to secure the hostages and eliminate Kepner and his command staff." Another suicide task. "Go bold, or go home."

"Uh, hello? Zealots… Insane… You think they care about that if they really /are/ that far gone? They're already willing to die taking out Cylons. They just might be indignant enough to push the Big Red Button if they realize we're being buzzkills." That said, Trask reiterates, "It's a numbers game, Poppy. Just like with those Swarms. We won't be unscathed but we can take 'em." Of this, he is clearly certain. So much so, he has a model Raptor ram an Areion Viper across the table. "The rest, though… yeah. Tentatively sounds good. 'course, that's probably 'cuz that's what I largely had in mind. We'll need to see what Broadside says, though."

Khloe folds her arms across her chest. "Zealots or not, they desperately want to kill the Cylons, once and for all, using that giant electromagnetic phallus of theirs," she scoffs. "Kepner wants to be immortalized as the savior of humanity, or at the very least, its avenger. I say we play this denying him both." The muscles in her jaw flex, betraying her anger again. "And Birdie called me a coward, so this is my chance to prove him wrong." She glances over at the chronometer. "I need to tend to my squadron, Boots. Keep me updated."

Somewhat wryly, the man smiles. "In the end, if he can't write history, he still might do what he can to make certain no one else can." As for Birdie, Trask simply points out, "Yanno, you really need to stop caring about the opinions of people who aren't deserving of your respect. I thought you were smarter than to care what an idiot thinks." To the rest, a nod and, "I'll keep you posted. Likewise, keep me in the loop, yeah?"

"The thing is, Birdie isn't an idiot," Khloe explains as she comes around the table. "He's a soldier, and he's doing what he thinks is right. He's following his commanding officer to his death… that's commendable." She pauses by Trask's side, lifting her chin slightly, giving him an uncharacteristic - almost warm - look. "No matter what happens, Kal, I'll see you on the other side." And with that, she departs.

"Don't wait up. Not plannin' on headin' that way anytime soon," is quipped after the Crab. What she doesn't see is the sad little smile, reflectively fond even if somewhat rueful in estimation. Trask doesn't say anything, though, somewhat uncharacteristically letting her have the final word about Birdie. At least until she's out of earshot, anyway. "And, yeah. He is." An idiot, that is. "Nothin' commendable about blindly following a moron and casting aside sense and reason." Maybe a grunt can make that claim, but not an officer, which is what Major Dirk Finch is /supposed/ to be.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License