PHD #098: The Truth of 481
The Truth of 481
Summary: Raptor 481 is searched.
Date: 5 Jun 2041 AE
Related Logs: The Problem of 481
Constin Coll 
Port Hangar Deck (No, Pol, you can't drink the Hangar Deck.)
The single largest rooms on the Cerberus are the hangar decks. Each flight pod consists of two stacked landing bays with adjoined decks and hangars, which along with computer-assisted landings results in a faster Viper recovery rate. Mirror images of each other, these two huge areas are located on the flight pods. The inboard sides of the deck, closest to the ship's main hull, are lined with parking and maintenance bays for Vipers and Raptors based aboard the battlestar. The outboard side of the deck contains the launch tubes used by the Vipers for standard deployment. Huge blast doors seal the deck into four sections, each one containing an elevator that leads up to the flight deck directly overhead. The fore-most section contains an elevator system that leads towards Aerospace Fabrication.
Post-Holocaust Day: #98

Retrieving her orange coveralls from the MP's office, where they'd been chillin for a bit, Coll is looking like the same woman Constin busted on this very deck. Except she doesn't seem to look as terrified and paranoid. There's a cool confidence to her as she strides across the hangar deck towards Raptor 481. There's a toolbelt slung over her shoulder and a large red toolbox in her hand. "You spend a lot of time down here, ever?" she asides to the man who is assumedly near or next to her.

"Can't say ah do," Constin answers lightly as he walks alongside Coll. "Not much business on the Deck. Athletics area, sure. Rec room, plenty of times. Deck? Nah, ah've got this allergic reaction to pilots," he drawls with a snicker. "So just to let you know: you make Air Wing again? Might have to take a dislike to you."

Coll laughs and it echoes a bit on the deck which is nearly devoid of people. Just a few a hundred yards down tooling on a Viper. She glances over to him, "Oh yeah. Almost forgot. Marines are supposed to hate pilots and vice versa or some bullshit, right? Its okay, though, I'm not a real pilot. I can crash a Raptor plenty well, but I'm along for the ride in those things." She wanders them into the bay and sets the toolbox down on a metal rack. "Hey, there's a boombox in the next bay. Wanna grab it?"

"Yeah, *real* subtle," Constin mutters in return to the boombox request. "Keep the volume under five, yeah?" Still, he steps toward the indicated adjacent bay, looking around for the sound machine. "Don't think that being a *bad* pilot gets you off the hook, Coll. Just like me being a bad idiot meathead doesn't save me."

"Trust me, you'll want the music," she calls over to him as she clips the belt around her waist. "Besides, nobody cares. Just have to shut it off if we go to Condition One. I never bother to turn it up loud, though. Just set it down on the work bench." She takes up a handheld computer and logs herself in with a few buttons pressed. "You might be surprised. I might be born aircrew, but I was raised country. You lookin' to hate someone because they grew up rich and love Caprica with somethin' approaching a sex offender obsession? Then you definitely hate the right department. Just matters where you dig your roots up from and how much you can stick to em, yeah?"

Constin chuckles at Coll's retort, as he steps back with the boombox in hand, setting it down on the requested work bench. "You got that right," he mutters to her last point, a grin at her jab at Caprica's expense. "Suppose it does. Hell, Captain Quinn's a pure hayseed, once she forgets to keep the drawl out of her voice. It's frakking funny, really."

"Thank ya muchly, kind sir," she says primly to his delivery, drawling it out from her own roots. "Yeah, I noticed that about Quinn." Coll flips the locks on the toolbox and pulls out a CD. "Insert disc. Press play." She then turns back to the box and begins pulling out tools with a minor racket, stuffing them into her pockets and into her belt. "I don't get that shit. Who does that? I mean, like, I can understand that tryin to decipher what she's sayin on the comms would be the biggest bitch if she let that accent hang out like a horse's balls, but godsdamn. Pick a locale, Cap." The box is closed and she looks to him as she passes by towards a small box on wheels marked with the words 'START CART' in white block. "If you could be from anywhere, where would it be? Where would you have wanted to grow up?" She yanks a long black cord and plug out of the cart and begins tugging it to the Raptor.

"Who gives a shit?" Constin asks dryly to that last question. "Hell, ah had a shit life, but ah'm godsdamned proud to have come through it. Had a softer life, ah'd be a softer man, and frak that. What about you?" Disc is inserted, 'Play' is pressed. "Yeah, well.. some folks get embarrassed. Don't much get it m'self, but.." a shrug.

Coll shakes her head at his answer as she flips open a port on the side of the Raptor and plugs the cart into it. "Such a grouch," she laughs. "I didn't say there's anything wrong with how you grew up. Hell, I'm proud of what I came from. Hard, honest work and good people. Big dinners for family and lots of sky to run around under. I pity the Capricans and city dwellers. There's a lot of beauty to be missed. Very inspiring. But, like, if you had kids. Where would you want them to have grown up? Small beach town? Same place you did? Deep jungles where women run around wearing loin clothes?" She waggles her brow at him as she kicks a button on the cart and it hums to life. The lights inside the Raptor flash and systems can be seen booting. "Me? I dunno. Probably someplace sorta like where I'm from, but with mountains. I'm a sucker for high altitude and the views. Place I'm from is kinda crap for that. Lotsa flat, with continued flat. Chance of flat for one hundred miles approaching one hundred percent." A tilt of her head and she motions for him to join her on the entry side of the Raptor.

"Hell, ah like the sound of that jungle one," Constin smirks predictably. Giving the deck a slow pass of his attention, before following to the entry side of the Raptor (having a nice conversation doesn't mean he's any less on guard duty). "Ah'm about done with rock. Think a nice beach, maybe? Maybe an island or something. One of the kinda places those frakking Capricans want to go on vacation to get away from thier miserable cities, yeah?"

"Yeah I bet. Bunch of cracked-out Scorpian women runnin around with their tits floppin in the warm breeze? Sounds like paradise." Coll winks and climbs up onto the winglet and reaches to open the hatch and move inside. "Yeah. Them poor Cappies and their first world problems. I'm boo-hooin' up a storm over here." She motions him up and into the ship. "C'mon, plunk your big ass down in one of the jump seats. Shouldn't be more'n a few minutes." She flops into the ECO chair and sets the handheld down on the main screen. Everything in the ship is lit up. System boots are still running. "Island would be pretty nice, gotta admit. Sit on the beach all day? Drink rum n soda? Perfect a tan and the art of laziness. Go for a swim if ya get too hot. Ever been jet skiing before?" She glances to him as she begins running quick function checks, flipping rocker switches, and watching for anything out of whack.

"Damn right," Constin grins at Coll's winking description of 'paradise'. "Mm-mmm." A snicker at the first-world problems of Capricans, and a wordless grunt as he settles into the jump seat that isn't occupied by Lauren. "Naw. Never even been swimming since ah was a kid," he adds, regarding the multitude of status lights on the craft's display banks. "So you're from Virgon, right? Other than 'flat' what kinda place you grow up in?"

"Damn. That's a shame. Loooove swimming. Once I'm in? Its usually a royal pain to get me out of the water. We had a river near my parents place with a freak rope swing on a tree. You imagine we had fun growing up. When we discovered beer? Injuries multiplied." Coll flashes a grin back at him and picks up the handheld as she leans back in the chair. She crosses her legs and plugs the thing in. A brief message on the screen indicates a scan in progress. "Yeah. Virgon. Little place called Yarnell. Virgon's, you know, rich 'n shit. A lot of people vacation there because they 'LOVE THESE KYOOT TOWNS' that're all basically little Caprica Cities reduced to a couple blocks. Well my town? It was on the other side of the Colony. My high school graduating class? Twenty-seven. Twelve girls. Three were pregnant. Five already had kids. One of them already had two. If that doesn't pretty much define it, nothing will. But it was great. Had a lot of good times. Late nights with friends in a place like that? Wouldn't have traded that experience for anything. What about you?"

"Heh," Constin chuckles at the story. "Out of Canceron. So damned hot, everybody lives along the coasts. Folks worked at the off-worlder resorts, doing whatever crap work they could get paid for," he relates. "Beaches were private property.. rich folks only." The grin which marks his face is a clear clue the rules didn't hold. "Never really got to drinking before going off to work, mahself. Already told you about the mines, yeah? That was from fifteen years, on."

"Yeah. Never been to Canceron, myself. Already heard it was hotter'n shit there. We never had the money for vacations, though." She finishes up the scan and shakes her head. "Birds got clean code. I'm going to flash the ECO to be sure," she asides. The woman continues plugging it in until she hears the time he work in mines. The Deckie turns a bit and looks at him with a frown. "You were fifteen and you started working in mines? My Gods, Const. Did you finish school?" The flash completion meter is already counting up.

"As much as there was to finish, ah guess," Constin drawls back with a shrug. "School was just what you did until it was time to work. Couple of the smaller resorts were shutting down, old man couldn't get work doing what he used to, and family needed the money. That made it time." There really is no regret in his voice, recounting the realities of his youth. "Standing by on Eee-Cee-Oh, Coll."

"Damn. That's rough. Guess that's one the reasons you're such a big guy they, yeah?" Coll asks with a bit of a smile. The handheld beeps and she sets the computer down and slides off the seat onto the floor. "What would you have liked to have done? Given anything and lettin yourself dream a bit? Anything in particular really strike you?" Out come the tools and she's already working on pulling off the paneling.

Constin nods with a shrug. "Suppose it is." The abstract question of dreams requires a frown and a few moments of though. "You mean other than jungles and cracked-out Scorpian girls?" he quips to buy a moment's time. "Hell. Best time of mah life was after ah joined the Corp. Would've liked to have joined up sooner. When the old man was still alive, you know? He could've gone home and settled in before he got wore out. Maybe get to know my kid brother's little girl." He chuckles after a moment's musing at the thought. "And how about you? What kinda life would you pick to put you on that mountain?"

"Not everyone gets the nekkid jungle women. I hear they like stoners and tree-huggers. Takes years of dedication." She grins as she says it, facing the panel. Last screws out, she gives it a firm kick and the panel detaches, settling in her lap. "Really? You like the Marines that much, huh? Well that's good to hear. I figured you would say something like 'professional mountain climber' or something equally as hands-on." A flashlight comes out and she twists, sliding onto her back and pointing the beam up into the maze of wires and circuit boards. "Didn't know you had any brothers. Just the one? But me? Dunno. I've never been happy settling any one place. I like to travel. See new sights. I'd probably use that little mountain oasis as my zen. Nice quiet place to return to. I always liked the idea of writing but I'm awful at it. My brain hops around too much. I guess its sorta the romance of it. Maybe be one of those people who writes for travel journals? That probably would have worked well for me. But I loved bein' aircrew. Kinda like you, I fell in love with the job."

"Yeah," Constin voices easily back. "The Corp was the first thing in mah life that made me feel proud, you know?" he states, with a tone which presumes that she does. "Just the one brother. Alex. He got married and had a kid the last year before ah shipped out." As she goes on he snickers again. "Well, that makes sense.. You really are a twitchy piece of work, Lauren" he adds with a broad grin at Coll's mention of her mind jumping around too much to be a writer.

"You got plenty of things to be proud of, Const. You helped support your family when they needed you. That's damned noble." She continues on flashing the light around and peering at a few particular areas. Coll laughs a bit at being called that. "My momma used to say that it was a gift. Somethin' about a bouncin' mind being a sign of intelligence. Dunno about -that- but I just have a lot of interests. Nothing I'm particularly good at out of them, but its good fun. Its horrible when I'm drunk. A conversation will remind me of something, that will remind me of something else. Which will tangent off and then I'll open my trap and let loose with something completely irrelevant. Makes for excitin' conversation, though. Or that's what I'm told, anyway. Better than beating people up with trashcan lids, aye?" The smile on her face is evident just by the turn of her voice with the last remark.

"It was what needed being. Nothing especially noble about it. Hell, it ain't like starving to death was any kind of option, was it?" Constin grins back, in a fair mood for the first time in at least three days. Her last comment draws a short, barked laugh as the infamous trashcan lid is brought up again. "So in other words, the trashcan lid is mah only clue you're drunk?" he needles back.

Coll makes a face as she looks through a bale of wires and flashes her light back across to another circuit board. The woman slides out, then, "Quitting is an option for some people. It takes more to live. A sacrifice of youth for the betterment of your family? Damned right you have something to be proud of. Family is important. Maybe the most important." To his last, she chuckles and shakes her head. "Nah. I'm only dangerous with that combination as long as I'm trying to hook up with someone and being interrupted." She flashes a smile and turns to seal up the ECO panel. "Welp, shot that theory out of the water. This thing looks clean. If Borenstein wanted to do anything with it, it may have been just by chance or he didn't need to do anything to it. I can look for bombs, but the avionics package is dirty. Main busses have some dust. Grounding wires have the same coats of dust n dirt. Means nobody has touched them in at least a month or two. Probably longer by the look of 'em."

"How long generally goes between avionics maintinences?" Constin wonders idly, frowning at the deflation of what had sounded like a promising (if only partially comprehensible) theory. "Check for whatever you think is worth checking, Coll," he answers, more than willing to let the expert be the judge. "Yeah, suppose family does matter. That's one thing ah would change- never really had much to do with the family. Talked to them more after ah enlisted, than had in the ten years before then, and that was frakking worlds away." Idly, the marine notices he's tapping out the rhythm of the music on the side of the jump seat. "Said you had a big family, didn't you?"

"Depends. Avionics is pretty stable. These frames don't alter much between the variants. We usually don't touch them much unless there is a problem. Most of the issues are just replacing wiring harnesses. Simple shit. Plodding around the system itself is done with that handheld, but a simple check compares the Raptor's computer with a second copy. If both match, like usual, its gold." Coll puts the last screw in and turns to lean against the panel. "You left family, Const. I don't blame you. Its one thing when you can see them every day. When you can't? Changes things. But me?" She holds up two fingers. "Two families. I was an only child. My other family? They were the big one. Warlocks. I didn't sweat, bleed, and cry for my own family as much as I did for them. Imagine a platoon of Marines that stays intact for years. Transfers out were rare. The new guys get folded in quick. I'd have done anything for them."

Continued talk of family draws another shrug. "Mines were half the world away from home. Saw momma and Alex maybe one a year or so. Think the old lady barely knew me anymore by the time ah enlisted. That's what ah meant about wishing things'd been different. But ah hear you on that," the big man voices in understanding to espirit de corp. "YGBSM, yeah?" he grins. The information about the vessel's avionics package is half digested. "So that would make a damned good place to hide one of the three 'B's, then.."

Coll shrugs. "There's fifty thousand places on a Raptor to hide something. Like I said, if I had a week? I could strip the whole thing to check it all as long as I could work sixteen hour shifts. As it stands? I have to check every other Raptor in the next few days. And I only have about six hours a night to do it. That means.." Some quick mental math. "One Raptor every fifteen minutes, roughly. Assuming I take three nights. The Vipers? Forget it. It'll take me a week to work through a squadron." She lifts a hand to run through her hair, resting her head against the panel with a gentle -clank-. "Half a world away at fifteen." Lauren just looks up at him for a long moment of silence. "I hear you downplayin a sacrifice like that again, I -will- pop ya. I won't need a trashcan lid." There's no more mention of her bigger family.

Constin holds up both hands- healthy and splinted, to ward off the threatened pop. A dry chuckle stirs his throat. "Don't go swinging at me, Lauren.. might hurt your hand," he winks. "You want to hit up the next bird then, or got something else to look at here?"

"I ain't worried about my hand. I'm worried about your damned head." Coll shakes her own and slowly climbs up from her seat on the floor. "Well I kinda want to rip this damned thing apart. Stare at its guts. I mean, that's what you do with a situation like this. You think someone was frakkin with a frame? You take it off rotation and strip it til you find something wrong. But?" She sighs and crosses her arms over her chest as she looks around inside. "Yeah. Screw it. Next Raptor. We gotta keep movin. Gods, I was really hopin' to find something in here." She takes up the handheld and pockets her tools. "So why am I checking every Raptor and Viper for this shit? What prompted this and how come I got tapped. Plenty of knuckledraggers down here. Most have even been to work recently."

"See, that last bit is part of the problem," Constin answers. "Most knuckledraggers are already busy as hell patching up the damaged birds, and the Ex-Oh wanted this done quiet. Security feeds gotta be considered compromised, which means we don't know if more warheads are missing, or if more birds are rigged. Needs somebody who knows Raptors well enough to catch something that a regular once-over might not catch." Constin shrugs as he climbs back to his feet, moving to exit the depressingly un-sabotaged Raptor, en route to picking up the stil-playing boombox.

"Security feeds are compromised?" That's a big clue to why he's so optimistic about her case. "Holy -shit-, Const!" She doesn't exactly sound happy about it, but at least she ain't shouting. The woman pauses in the entrance and looks back around her at the Raptor, suddenly questioning if she's looking for the right things. "Gods." She turns back and steps out, shutting the hatch behind her. "So the XO wants this lain low. I kinda understand why, I guess. But he has no idea who I am. Or at least, I -really- hope he doesn't. Last thing I need is someone from command taking a personal interest in one mysterious Lauren Coll." She wanders around towards the Start Cart.

Constin hefts the boombox off the bench, and looks backward at the tech as she seals up the Raptor, "Yeah, so you'd best get a hat and make sure to keep that under it, Coll." A breath drawn and let out. "Ah'm getting real tired of walking around this boat with news that still manages to make everybody start cursing," he mutters with a wry edge to his words.

"I got better shit t'do than go kickin up dust." Lauren moves to the metal rack and picks up her tool box. She sighs and looks at him. "I don't think anyone'd even listen to me. And if they did? They'd probably just get suspicious about me all over again. Just gettin' back on my feet with crap and the last thing I'm looking for is another knock back down. You got anything else kickin' around up there I might need to know about what I'm doin?"

"Yeah well, if you were considered a liability, no frakking way you'd draw this assignment, so.." Constin shrugs with the thought, and doesn't caution discretion aloud again. His splinted hand sweeps across the deck, "Pick your poison: got the whole deck to choose from, so which bird gets the music next?" the marine wonders with a grin.

Coll is about to say something about the Raptor across the hangar deck when her eyes fall back on him. Her smile turns up and trembles a little. "It was you, wasn't it?" A step is taken closer and she inclines her head a touch as she looks up to him. "You vouched for me, didn't you? JAG's ruling still stands. Nobody else would trust me with this. Const?" Her voice dropped nearly to a whisper by the time she finishes.

"You had the time, you had the skills, and you damn sure had the most to prove," the marine answers in indirect confirmation. Looking back to eye the woman, he rumbles, "This is a chance to correct the only real mistake ah think you made, before. Only fair."

Coll looks like she could cry. She brings the toolbox around to hold that handle in both hands in front of her. A hard swallow followed by a sigh. "Thank you." Its nearly squeaked, the words caught in her throat. "You didn't have to but you did anyway. I won't forget that." She bites her lip and looks away, blinking some of that blurred vision away. She's not really sure what else to say.

Constin stands where he is, shoulders squared toward the next Raptor in line, boombox still prattling on merrily in his hand, half turned to look back at Coll. "Prove me right, Lauren," the big man answers, with a tight smile. "And prove me right in a hurry- we're on the clock, here."

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