PHD #476: They Know
They Know
Summary: Van and Elf talk after the Cylons show up.
Date: 17 June 2042 AE
Related Logs: Missives
Constin Vandenberg 
Vandy's Seekrit Stash
Its in the set.
Condition Level: 3 - All Clear
Post-Holocaust Day: #476

Getting in doesn't take long, but it is thorough. The security is understated but about as best as can be done without making it as obvious as the security around the nuclear weapons. There are several cameras in vents around the area that proper ID should be flashed at or worn for. The only apparent security is that of two armed Marines standing outside of an otherwise un-noteworthy Armory. That and the fingerprint biometric scanner beneath the 8-number digital keypad. Inside, Constin would find Vandenberg who sent for him. She disappeared after the meeting last night and nobody knew where to except a few. Some things can't wait. Van has set herself up at the table in the center of the room with a thermos of coffee, a full ashtray, a half eaten sandwich, and stacks of files. The interior of this former armory has been emptied of firearms and munitions and refilled with what looks like bomb-proof filing cabinets. Even the ventilation ducts inside have had several sections of bar welded to the interior. This place is a straight bunker… and where the S-3 keeps most of her hard information on Cylon strategic aims.

Constin grunts an even "Sir," in greeting as he habitually ducks his head to step through the doorway, holding any further words until the door is clanked shut again behind him. Narrow blue eyes flick back to Vandenberg, as he steps up to the table opposite the S3. "What you wanna start with?" he drawls in even query.

Last night Vandenberg showed to the meeting in her pressed and starched grey digital cammies, her sidearm and handcuffs worn around her shined gunbelt. She's still wearing all of it though it looks rumpled, like she slept in it. Given the pillow and blanket on one of the cabinets, its possible she did just that down here. "All depends. First, I'd like to know how the hell they knew where to find the Corsair. Heavy Raider jumps in and wants to talk a cease fire. That's the space where we found the Ark, too. If they needed the Ark, they would have known where it was before and wouldn't need to contact us for it. Which also tells us that if they are being truthful about not knowing where it was, that they didn't land on it. Likely the Fives who wanted the Knife did - or some model associated with them."

Constin shakes his head once to the negative. "Don't matter. Too many possibilities. They can either tell us how they knew where to find the Corsie, or else we can pick from the laundry list of 'maybe's. Maybe they was at the Ark, before. Maybe they still got eyes on the Cerb, or access to somebody else's eyes on the boat. Maybe they got eyes on the Corsair. In any case, it all comes back to the plain fact that they can find us whenever they want, which makes this whole 'come visit us' thing look more and more like jerking our chains every damned day." A short exhale. "If they're lying about the Threes, they at least were smart enough to pick a reasonable boogeyman." A fresh breath, "Me, I think they landed on the Ark, and left it for us. Thats how they know what's on it. If the Fives found it first, they'd have snatched the thing up, and carried it off- like they did the knife, or blown the damn thing up. No way they leave it drifting for us to find with a one-in-ten-billion chance."

Vandenberg shrugs. "Whatever happened to that other skinjob we know we've got in the fleet? Any luck with it? If you can tell me, of course." She knows its none of her business and isn't going to be offended if he tells her so. He'd know her that well. "Well, if they can find us whenever they want, that still tells us that they aren't coming after us. Why the elaborate trap to ruse us out when they could simply jump in a fleet of basestars and nuke us to hell and gone? Someone, or something, has been working in our favor and against the more extreme end of the anti-human side of their race." The rest gets her to lean back in the chair and she gestures for him to sit in the other chair. "Frak. At ease, Elf. Don't stand around..hovering. Look, there's a good number of reasons the Fives left the Ark -if- they found it first. Namely, they needed to come back with something to cut open the doors to the main part of the ship. Or.. like you're saying, the Elevens and Twos landed. They copied the contents of the interior, and then chiseled it on a wall in Lampridis. If the latter is the case, they'd have to know we'd think of that. Its a pretty blatant possibility."

Constin nods once and settles into the seat when instructed. "I ain't saying they chiselled it in, or nothing. Just saying they know what's on board the damn thing, and I ain;t much inclined to call it either coincidence, or divine will, when a plain and simple answer of 'they wanted us to find it' will follow." A fresh breath doesn;t disrupt his habitual frown. "And I ain't saying they're working for our benifit, neither. Just that for wahtever reason, they want to keep us alive. Might be for our benefit, might not, but it's damn sure to their benefit, whatever they do. Remember, McQueen's one big act before abandoning the fleet were to cripple Areion's Gun. That weren't to save us, Nat." Settling back in his chair, he mutters, "As for the alleged agent we still got rattling around, I ain;t inclined to consider them friendly. Got a short list of suspects, but ain't inclined to discuss names."

"Yeah, all things being equal, the most likely explanation is most often the simplist. I get that. But something about it doesn't quite fit. Them wanting us to find it seems just too obvious. How much of what the Cylons have done has been obvious like what we're looking at with them wanting us to find it?" Natalie shakes her head, stuffing her hands into her pockets as she slouches. "It don't fit with the bigger context." To the list of names, she dips her head but says nothing more. "Fair enough. Unfriendly works fine for me. But I'm also inclined to agree. Cylons are selfish. They're lookin out for number one the same way we are looking out for our own first. They pointedly ignored the question about what they want with our battlegroup and a truce and Lenore specifically said to me that their motivation for helping us is directly related to what motivates us. And she's not what I'd call a religious fanatic. She was nervous. True believers don't get anxious like she was. True believers like one of Solon's people would probably be like Bannik." Lenore was certainly NOT like Bannik.

Constin tacks on, deadpan, to Vandenberg's description of Cylons, as 'looking out for number one' with, "Or Number Two, or Number Eleven." To the rest of her comment, he notes, "They ain't being honest, is all I'm saying. They're hiding shit from us that, if they were telling the whole truth about what they want for us and want from us, they'd have no reason to hide. And as for being more obvious than before?" A slow shrug of the right shoulder. "Might be they're getting desperate. Can't say why, cause there's too much unknown. But the way things was before might not be how they's gonna be from now on."

"Oh hell yeah, they're hiding something. They know way more than they are letting on. This crap about the Three's is just like them dangling a fishhook into the water and waiting for us to bite." Vandenberg doesn't sound amused. Nor does she actually appear as if she is willing to bite, despite the points she is making. Its all academic.. for now. "I'm not impressed. This is about as helpful as when they took Bannik and Sawyer. They're trying to yank us in. If what they are saying is accurate, they don't have a lot of time which means they are getting desperate." She sighs, tilting her head back. "That Two, Eames, -from what he is saying it sounds like the Cylons are heading towards a civil war. I've got evidence in these cabinets that supports what he is saying. That its been heading that direction for more than eight months."

Constin nods once, and leans back in the chair, itching at an old scar at the side of his neck before crossing arms. "Yeah. Everything we been seeing points toward them wanting to get us there. If it were my call- and for the record, I know damn well that it ain't- these folk gotta come clean before I'd want to stake this fleet on a trip to Gemenon. Alla this *reeks* of manipulation. If the Cylons was headed toward a war, it wouldn't just be the Threes we'd be going in against. It'd be the Fives, the Twelves and at least a few more, if that old eleven our folk spotted on Leonis was on the level." A shake of his head. "They want something from us. Might be the Ark, might be something on the Ark, might be all of our lives wrapped up in a nice big bow. Until they tell us more, there's too many questions."

"I asked about the biowarfare possibilities and they said they think those are done with. If they aren't really? The rest of humanity might make a nice addition by implanting out souls into their Centurions. It stinks, man. I'm with you there." There's always a 'but'. "But how do we explain the dreams? I mean, the personnel of this fleet have been having weird dreams, telling them to go to Lampridis. Warning them. Urging." She shakes her head and tilts it forward to look at Elf. "We can't ignore that. And I'm with you about the Three's, Five's and Twelve's. We'd already be facing the worst end of their stick if it really breaks down. The Elevens don't even seem like they want to fight. If they only walkin fusebox line that wants to tangle are the enemy, we're frakked before any opening of hostilities. And that Three seemed fairly convinced it was going to happen." She reaches a hand out and taps her finger to the tabletop. "Anarchical Systems. Groups procure weapons. Neighbors get nervous, they procure weapons. Unchecked in a lawless system, war comes to the region after alliances are made. Its not a law, but its a theory you can place money on."

Constin is nodding along with Vandenberg's oration, up until the dreams issue is raised. He holds comments until he is finished being confused (the twist of a confused frown is slightly different than his frowns when annoyed). "Yeah, I didn't follow all of that last breath. But as for dreams and shit? I ain't swallowing the line about the Gods. Some of the most religious folk in the fleet ain't had no dreams. Far as I can tell, this 'Come to Gemenon' shit hits a random cross section of folk. If it were the Gods, why in the flying frak wouldnt they send messages to everybody at once? Why not talk to Pewter and Tillman, and high command? Nah-" he notes with a shake of the head. "I ain't gonna buy the notion that the Gods sent these dreams. That leaves the idea that dreams is coming from something less than divine, which- far as I can see- makes it all suspect."

"What I'm getting at with the last part is the idea of buildings weapons systems. Eventually they are going to get used and nothing builds defenses and wastes valuable resources for no reason. Especially in this scenario." Her hand retracts as her legs kick out and cross at the ankles. "I've heard it said that the people who need the dreams will get them. Those who don't need them won't receive them. Those actively walking the path will lead the others and not require the Gods' intervention. For instance, take yourself. Maybe you haven't had a dream because you don't need one. You've got a solid head, Elf. You'll likely be presented with evidence at the proper time or you'll simply follow the pathfinders because that's your way. I'm sorry, El, but I can't see those dreams as anything except divine inspiration. There's too many insidious ways to employ tech like that than to waste it on Gemenon."

Constin shakes his head. "Guess you and me are just gonna disagree on that, Nat. Ain;t gonna point at Gods when there's other answers. If you gonna buy the idea that there's all powerful Gods out there that can load pure truth onto folk's brainpans, it don't fly that the info is so imperfect. Either Gods is fallible, and therefore I much ain't inclined to much listen to what they say, or they're perfect, and they're jerking us around as much as the cylons." That said, he draws a deep breath. "Long and short of it being, I'm putting in a request for a chat with the skinjobs."

"Well theologically speaking, messages from the Gods have never been written clearly. Its the debate of fate versus free will. The idea being that the debate is resolved by the Gods providing us freedom to choose our own paths in our lives with some direction given at key points that either will or will not influence the future. Besides, if Zeus appeared in front of you and told you to do something, chances are good you'd just ignore it and go get a drug test, right?" Natalie smirks with it. "I know I would." She reaches into her pocket for a smoke and lights it. "Yeah, I'm going to be talking to them as well. I need to talk to Yazdeh about the investigation. But what this Two, Eames, is saying?" She shakes her head. "If the Threes are building weapons and turning the core planets into fortresses, this should be verifiable. And if it is, that's a threat we can't ignore. And targets. IF he's telling the truth, how do we take them out?"

"Meh," is the sum eloquence Constin spends on the theological debate on the subject of free will and divine revelation. "More to the point, this notion of Gemenon and bailing out the armed pacifists is tied to abandoning the doctrine this fleet has run with since Warday: we do not commit to conventional defense of fixed locations against massed cylon forces. We can't go head to head with the Cylons and win. Even if we do have a 'pacifist' basestar on our side."

Natalie chuckles at Elf's dismissive. "Well said." She smirks and ashes her smoke into the overflowing tray. "I'm with you, El. Really, I am. I think fixed defensive positions are the worst possible thing anyone can commit to. Especially when nuclear weapons are on the table. One warhead is all it would take to wipe that place. That's why I'm saying we need to find our targets and actively hit them. If we frak around waiting until the enemy, whoever it really is, is ready to go to war on a whole new level, we're screwed." A pause. "I asked that woman about evacuation and she wasn't long on her reply that the people there would be willing to scoot. Which leads me to another point.. I talked to Lagana about the soil samples. That place is hot. The air is just tolerable but the soil is being saturated with radiation. It won't be long before they're ingesting lethal doses of radiation from the water table, grown produce, and local wildlife. The children will be the first to die horrible deaths. Like it or not, we have to move soon to get those people out of there."

"That's concrete numbers," Elf returns to the talk of soil samples. "That's shit I can get behind. A mass evac is gonna be a mess, but there's so many folk on the ground at Lampridis that even if it is a trap, we might have to consider springing it. Just saying.. it's gonna be one clusterfrak of a shitstorm if we get lured into another 'hostages for artifacts' mess. Cause that ain't a thing we can afford to repeat."

"I've said before I will trade hostages for artifacts. But Elf, that's a line you may end up having to arrest and execute me for. Artifacts are religious at this point and that's crossing your own line. At the first sign of a trap being sprung? I'm all about watching the mushroom cloud over Lampridis." Its deadpanned. Vandenberg, despite her concern for those children, is a stone cold killer when she has to be. "But we need to get those kids out of there at least. And we need to verify those strategic assets the Threes are building plus find out what kind of nifty toys those 'pascifist' Elevens are holding onto. "Estimate three hundred civilians on the ground. Ten to a Raptor. Plus Marine fire support on the ground to organize.. That's roughly forty Raptors on a round trip. Helluva logistical nightmare, yeah."

"Not to mention however long this business with the Ark and the temple is gonna take," Elf notes flatly. "Call me a skeptic, but I got this nasty feeling it ain't gonna be a nice clean in-and-out affair." As for the former matter, "For the record? I ever get caught, you damn well better not give the cylons anything they ask for to get me back. Anything the enemy wants is damn sure something I want to refuse them."

"I'm speaking specifically to getting those survivors off Gemenon. Anything else is extraneous. Putting boots down there to investigate this stuff is way over my paygrade.. but rescuing survivors should be a no-brainer. If they want boots on the ground?" Van takes the pause to pull on the cigarette. "Its gonna get nasty. We both know it. We're going to need anti-aircraft out the ass, armor, anti-armor, artillery.. even armed watercraft." Then something dings in her mind. "Waitwaitwait.." Elf can probably almost see the lightbulb come on over her head. "We- we need to check on what this battlegroup salvaged. Everything. Every piece of offensive or defensive weapons system we've got." To the last, she shrugs. "I'll see about rescuing you, but I sure ain't handing anything over. I'd expect the same of you. Let them torture me to death. We've been shot up enough to deal with pain effectively."

"Damn right," Elf agrees to Vandenberg's last sentiment. "Shit, Nat. Any kind of defense we could put up presumes they ain't just gonna nuke us from orbit. Ain't an anti-aircraft system I ever heard of can knock out basestars before they launch." As th lightbulb goes off above the diminuative captain's head, the big sergeant drawls, "You got something specific in mind?"

Vandenberg leans forward. Uh oh. "Actually… I do. Something that can knock down a basestar in orbit before it launches a nuke. Or could even, in theory, shoot a nuke down during its atmo entry." She grins. "Those pacifists down there have a Forge and some Foxfires. If we could get ahold of some of their Saber systems? The ones we think have nuclear capability? We would be able to not just put up some credible air defense of the space above Lampridis, if we have enough we might even be able to hold one off for a bit." She lifts a finger, absently shaking it in the air. "Plus, we have anti-ship space mines and autodefense turrets."

"Hell Nat, that shit's about thirty miles over my head," Elf drawls with a shake of his head. "If it can get done, might be we need to do something like that, but it'll be Fleet and engineering what do it. Smarter folk than me, anyhow. Depending on what these skinjobs we got on board say, might need to be pulling this shit sooner than later."

Vandenberg nods a few times. "Eames would know we would need verification the Threes are building this crap. The idea that we would just trust them on blind faith is something I don't think anyone is dumb enough to swallow. It shouldn't be hard to verify. Once that's done, though, its time for the Corps to kick things over. But yeah, we need to verify our stockpiles. After I'm done here I'll start looking over. You want to start talking to people about recon? You're our Marine S2, buddy."


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