PHD #064: Think Like a Machine
Think Like a Machine
Summary: The wireless transmitter research team tries to determine how the two wireless transmitters respectively found in the captured Heavy Raider and aboard the Eidolon work.
Date: 01 May 2041 AE
Related Logs: Heavy Raider research logs
Bannik Laskaris Oberlin Penelope Trask Viae 
Repair Bay - Hangar Deck - Battlestar Cerberus
Post-Holocaust Day: #64
When engines need to be rebuilt or other heavy but short-term work needs to be done, this is where it happens. Large, red hand-mobile cranes are situated along the wall beside stacks of tool chests. Carts with various computers and electronics are dispersed around the area for quick access. A very conspicuous yellow locker at the rear holds a sizable amount of firefighting gear, as well. Sturdy metal stands are available to hold all sorts of parts from gun systems to the FTL drives of a Raptor. Big enough to accommodate quite a few Vipers and Raptors at once, this area sees extensive use and is usually attended by at least one crew at all hours of the day and night.
Condition Level: 3 - All Clear

Port-Side Hangar Deck, the Repair Bay. While technicians run around putting together birds from the most recent training mishap, a corner of the area, roped off and secured for the work of the Heavy Raider team, is much quieter. Nonetheless, a small group has gathered. "Bootstrap," says Crewman Tyr Bannik, gesturing to the work bench where two disc-like items, one from the Raider, and a similar, more intact one from Eidolon is. "I take it you know Specialist Mercer from CIC and Lieutenant Paris from Engineering? This is your show, but if you need me, let me know."

Penelope folds her arms and adopts a comfortable lean, nodding slightly. "Lieutenant Trask. Specialist Mercer. How lovely to see you again," there's a touch of droll formality in her tone and the tilt of her mouth.

"Bannik. Mercer," Trask affably greets, albeit a bit tiredly. It's understandable; he's been following his Air Wing duties with a daily full-time research shift. Case in point: he's wearing the Deckie orange. "Indeed, Lieutenant, even if it's less of me than last time," he smiles with a touch of wryness. "Actually, Captain Laskaris should be along momentarily. He's been invaluable providing a computer science perspective."

Viae nods and waves to both, quietly and shyly. She's on-duty, and that means she has on her serious game-face. She just stands there looking at the Raider, taking it in as if she's seeing it for the first time.

Penelope pulls a PDA out of her toolbelt, thumbing through a few screens and using the stylus to scritch her temple. "Right. Good. I'm missing a few reports and I desperately need to get all the data current. Captain Gabrieli's been unusually forebearing in waiting on an update from me, but I'm beginning to get the vibe that he's wondering just what the frak I do all day. I'll be needing to justify my existence soon."

And, speak of the devil. Laskaris steps onto the hangar deck, but instead of heading down towards the parked Vipers, he angles off towards the cordoned area containing the Heavy Raider. The echo of his steps becomes audible as he leaves the busier portion of the deck, and he ducks under the rope designating the Raider team's work area. He studies the big Cylon ship for a moment, uttering a low whistle. "Big frakker, innit," he mutters to no one in particular. Trask, the one familiar face in the group, gets a terse nod. "Bootstrap."

"I know," the ECO tells the snipe. "The moment you run outta jellybeans to dispense, you're s-o-l. Forward me a copy of your c.v. and I'll see if I can find a way for you to earn your keep." It's about then that Trask hears the low whistle. "I know she's cute an' all, Lasher, but I assure you that the El-tee is more than just tasty eye candy." That quipped, he concludes with, "Captain Anton Laskaris, this would be Lieutenant Penelope Paris from Engineering, Specialist Viae Mercer from CIC, and I believe you might have already met Crewman Tyr Bannik. Ladies and gentleman, Captain Laskaris, Squadron Leader of the Black Nights."

Viae nods in greeting to Laskaris, keeping quiet and feeling a bit overcrowded in the Sea of Commissioned Officers. She stands quietly, waiting for any new information or orders.

Just a little late to the party, but still in time to catch some of the free booze. That's Lt. Oberlin for you, making his way into the repair bay dressed for something resembling real work rather than a desk job. Depending on who you ask. He's in his Duty Greens, clutching a steaming cup of coffee and some notes, presumably on this case, but it's not like he's ever caught without them.

Trask's patter about finding uses for Penelope's tasty self — is given an amused and tolerant smirk. ANYways. She tucks her PDA under her arm long enough to give the introduction the applause it deserves. "Another auld sod boy! Stellar." She flashes Laskaris a smile. Aerilon FTW! "Good to know you." Flick of the wrist, the PDA's back in hand. "Seriously, though." Because Serious Snipe is Serious. "I've got Hay's Centurion analysis? But not the electronics report. Seen nothing at all from Marcion about the FTL drive. Last report I saw from your team, Kal, was… on 5th April. I know our communication channels were crossed, a bit back — have the teams been reporting in to you, Bannik?"

"Yeah. I'm getting some good reports," confirms Bannik. "I'm sure Lieutenant Marcion was just tied up with the repairs Engineering's been going nuts with. Seriously, we're just getting the Raider project back on track." He nods politely to the new officers.

Perhaps sensing Viae's discomfort, the JiG stage whispers to her, "It's s'ok, Mercer. I'm really one of the enlisted. I just have to pretend being an officer so I can be chauffeured in a Raptor for 4 hours every day." Back to the business at-hand, Trask reveals, "Lieutenant McQueen won't be joining us because (1) he's on CAP, and (2) he's pretty much deduced all that he could — which is that the transmission is digital in nature." Somewhat anti-climactic, but he rolls with it. "The Captain is a recent addition." Which means nothing really there, in all likelihood. Oh, but there is the OTHER Cal. The one with a 'C'. "How 'bout you, El-tee?" All eyes on Oberlin, kids. "Got anything to top Paris' report about Parres' findings?"

Lasher's smile at Penelope is a little warmer than his usual demeanor allows for; after all, she's a fellow countrywoman, and Trask certainly has a point about her looks. "Lieutenant." A nod for the pair of enlisted. "Specialist. And no, Boots, I haven't met the Crewman, actually." He doesn't join the conversation immediately, as he walks a half-circle around the Raider to get a better look at the thing. He didn't exactly have time for a good look the last time he ran into one of these ships, after all.

Viae chuckles slightly and blushes, trying to not be so stiff. She nods again to Laskaris before she begins to walk around the Raider slowly, running her fingertips lightly along the hull. She lets out a faint hum, a low frequency. She stops as Oberlin appears, returning to her spot at the front and center of the Raider, listening.

Penelope nods at Bannik. "Can you forward me what you've got? I need to at least bring Cap Gabrieli up to speed on what progress is being made, even if I can't report anything salient yet. Truly. I can hear him grinding his teeth decks away."

"I'll get you the copy of the findings from Medical on the goo inside the Raider," confirms Bannik, nodding over to Penelope. "And hopefully we can find some stuff on these devices today to get back to Command." He nods to the antenna.

"Right. Digital." Oberlin seems a bit slow on the uptake, rolling a shoulder back and managing to stow the coffee cup under his arm as he scratches at his hair absently. Looking about from person to person, he starts to name names, as he opens his mouth, and then snaps it shut, shaking his head. "People." That greeting must suffice. "Anyway," waving the issue off, he starts to pace a bit as he searches for something to set the coffee cup down on. Pulling a spare maintenance table, he glances over at the side of the room where a great patch-job has been done. "So this is where the Cylons shot through." Clearing his throat, he snaps back to the topic. "Crewman, um, that is a bit more helpful than you might think. Remember, we're dealing with a digital signal. And I was on that Centurion detail when Parres and I cut that thing up." He smiles a thin smile. "I'm tired of Centurions. By the way. Did I mention that?"

"I've got medical's report," Penny shakes her head to Bannik. "I need all the rest. You assigned sub-teams back on 11 April — biotech, engines, electronics, and communications. Since I have biotech, I need the most recent reports from the latter three." She shoots Oberlin a wry, sympathetic look for his lament.

"Well, /I/ haven't seen or heard anything about any reports, an' I showed you mine, so… y'know." Idly folding his arms, Trask leans against a support beam, waiting to be enlightened.

Laskaris comes back into view from the other side of the Raider, a slightly quizzical expression on his face as he looks to the engineering lieutenant. "Wait. Paris? Parres? Doesn't that get confusing?" He shrugs, turning back towards the Raider and running a hand lightly across the hull. His 'inspection' completed, he makes his way over to the nearby work bench.

Viae has nothing to do with reports at the moment, so she just takes the initiative to walk over to the table where the parts have been taken off the Raider and laid out. She picks up the piece from the Raider and checks its weight, assuring that she won't drop it like a klutz. She looks it over, and then looks at the one taken from the Eidolon, looking for differences or similarities.

"Nah, it's not so difficult to tell 'em apart as long as you remember that Parres in Trask 2.0 with tits and class." That would be for Laskaris, as is what the ECO next says. "So, Lasher. Any ideas? You've been over my structural notes. Any theories you wanna test out?"

Penelope ambles over to join Laskaris and Mercer at the bench. "It gives Gabrieli fits," she confirms of the similarities between her name and Hay-Hay's. She lifts an eyebrow at Trask. "Tits and class," she echoes, rolling her eyes slightly and turning her attention to the antenna components. "Which I guess makes me just 'tits'. Faboo."

"Digital." Oberlin seems sort of lost, here, continuing to scratch at his head, mulling something over as he then reaches for the coffee cup, again. Suddenly, he smirks at Penelope for some reason, probably acknowledging her look. He rounds about, turning towards the two discs. "So, I think the challenge here is, 'think like a Cylon.' Because that's what they're doing, you know. Thinking, rather than talking." Pausing a beat, his lips start to quiver upwards. "Tits. Class. Well shit, guess I'm down two."

Viae blinks as she barely notices something from running her fingers along both discs. "Wait a tick…." She says as she reaches over and looks for something to pry with. A screwdriver and some probes. "There's something… here…" She says, as she tries to pry it off of each of them, the one from the Raider being cracked.

Penny snrrks softly at Oberlin, swallowing a grin and glancing sidelong at him. She digs into the pockets of her coveralls and pulls out a tin of Altair's Flabbergastingly Powerful Mints, offering it to him without a word. Her eyebrows perk up at Mercer. "Tick? Like… it made a sound?" she leans over, curious.

For those at the bench, Viae seems to found a compartment inside, some sort of small reservoir that might have been overlooked before in inspections of the disc. The cover pops off easily, revealing — well. Nothing. The reservoir is empty on both, even on the intact one from Eidolon.

Viae grumbles. "Frak…" She says simply. "Someone else wish to take a look?" She says as she slides over a bit, giving room for someone else to look.

"Hnh." Lasher snorts in amusement as he bends down to squint at the pair of transmitters on the bench. He cranes his neck to get a better look at what Viae uncovers, even if it's only an empty compartment. A look over to Oberlin. "Think like a machine. That's the real trick, innit?" The man's highlander brogue echoes slightly in the cavernous hangar deck. "Not before I get a closer look at the bloody thing, Trask."

"Probably why you aren't me 2.0," Trask tells Oberlin. Then, to Penelope, "Oh, you're much more than tits. You're charm and tits. Since I'm the prototype, smarts and good-looks are a given." Yes, he really said that. With levity. In public. In front of enlisted, no less. Oh, higher-ranking officers, too. Not even Altair's Flabbergastingly Powerful Mints will clean his filthy mouth. "Ooh," he says, the mint fiend catching a whiff. Big brown eyes widen and he whimsically zooms tinward, as though tractor beamed. Pluck. Never mind that he wasn't on the receiving end of the offer. A smile of pure boyish delight is flashed at the snipe. "How darling of you." Mmm. Mint. "Knock yourself out, Cap'n. Just keep in mind that the XO might air lock you if you damage 'em."

To this, Oberlin's response is simple and direct. "Think like a machine." He repeats, dully, reaching over to take one of those mints, clutched in his hand tight and popping it in his mouth. This is a futile gesture, as he starts to wash it /down/ with the coffee cup. Ick.

"All right, good people. Let's have a look. First of all, power source? Obvious hook-ups? Connections?" He stops, just making a sour face at Trask.

Penny takes the disc in hand, squinting at the tiny reservoir. "Gods, look at this. No contacts, no connections, but there's circuitry just outside… it's staggeringly small." She hands the disc on.

"Mmm." Lasher doesn't seem terribly impressed by the mention of the XO. Lasher's all business now, the banter behind him ignored as he focuses on the disclike things on the bench. Finally, he accepts the more pristine of the two transmitters from Penny, turning it over in his hand. He does, at least, seem to be taking care with the thing. There's a contemplative frown, as he suddenly looks around. "This is supposed to be a bloody wireless transmitter, right? Anyone tried scanning the things for signals?"

"Someone scrounge me up a diagnostic scanner," Lasher murmurs a moment later, his attention still locked on the transmitter. "I'll do it."

Penny takes the damaged transmitter in hand, inspecting the little compartment in that one, as well. "Can I get a swab over here? If there's 'goo' residue in these reservoirs, I'm going to have a geekgasm."

Bannik makes his way over to Laskaris with a diagnostic tool in hand. "Here you go, sir. You know how to use one of these things?" asks the Avionics technician, regarding the Viper pilot.

"However it works, I'm making a rough estimate that it's not in active communication with anything at the moment. Does anyone know if the Centurions paid attention to these things when they attacked? Any real correlation to their positions? I know they came through /here/. But they hit several other places as well." Oberlin tosses out a few questions as he leans over Penelope's shoulder to stare at the device. "And yeah, they make them efficient, don't they? I don't want to look like I'm admiring their work." He takes another sip of his coffee.

While some of the others are geeking (and maybe even freaking) out, Trask is pretty much business-as-usual, enjoying that mint. "The nanites, you mean? Yeah. Hella cool. Light years beyond anything Colonial. If we had a state-of-the-art lab staffed by top minds, maybe we could reverse-engineer something in a decade or so." Drawing closer, he notes, "I'm wagerin' that these itty bitty chips are a basic building block, though." To Laskaris, it's added, "I attempted that but couldn't figure out how to hook-up either of them to the diagnostic device. I'm not even certain the technology is compatible."

Viae shrugs. "They're not connected to any power source at the moment, so I'd just assume they weren't transmitting." She looks to those gathered, "Has anyone taken a look at where they connect? On the Raider, that is?"

Penelope snorts faintly, bagging her sample. "If y'don't admire work that advanced, you're either blind or so technologically backward y'can't flush the crapper."

"But if it is transmitting," Bannik pipes up from where he's holding the detector. "This would at least pick up the transmission? I mean, aren't we worried this thing is a homing device leading the Cylons to us?"

Lasher accepts the scanner from Bannik, quickly flicking it on and calibrating it. "Yeah, Crewman. I know a little more than just how to break planes for you deckies to fix, hm?" He'd hope so, at least, otherwise that CS master's was a huge waste of cubits. A humorless smile crosses his lips as he starts scanning through the range of frequencies. Another look to Oberlin. "It's professional work, Lieutenant. Professional work by a pack of cybernetic bastard sons of bitches, but professional work nonetheless. Frak all if I didn't wish we had tech like it." He frowns slightly in Trask's direction. "If it's a wireless transmitter, it shouldn't need to connect to anythin'. Should be able to pick up at least a slight background hum, if we can find the frequency — and provided the frakkin' thing has power." Another nod to the Specialist at her concern. Then, to Bannik, "Right, Crewman."

Penelope takes several more swabbed samples, bagging each individually. "It's just a hunch, but I'm guessing it's got no power. The empty hole we're looking at is a compartment for the batteries, and whatever juice was in there's used up. We can test for the goo and radioisotopes, all that good shite. See what was making it go — then we might be onto something." She seals her last sample baggie. "That's where I'm puttin' my cubits."

"It still needs a power supply," Trask idly points out. "Whether it's a built-in battery, or somehow plugged into something, for lack of a better term, the juice has gotta come from somewhere. Just because we can't comprehend where or how doesn't make it not so. 'course, with the biomechanical goo, I can't help but think of piss power. Could be a biochemical reaction translating into current."

"Or the nanites floating in the goo," points out Bannik, standing near Lasher as he toys with the diagnostic device. "Who knows what they might power or do."

"Just because we don't see it doesn't mean it's not there," Lasher points out to Trask as he fiddles with the diagnostic tool. After another few seconds, he scowls and puts the thing aside. "In this case, though, it's lookin' like the lieutenant's right on this one." As usual, Lasher sounds like he's getting a tooth pulled when he admits he's wrong. "I'm not gettin' anything from this thing. Which leads me to agree on the lack of power." He shrugs. "If it is some kind of homing device, it's doing a shite job."

Penny sees Lasher's sour expression, unable to resist a little jibe as he notes she might be right. "It's a curse, luv."

Meanwhile, Oberlin draws back, turning back over his shoulder to listen to people as they give out observations here and there as he walks over towards another diagnostic table, picking up a laptop and bringing it back to the table with the samples. "I'd venture a 'no' on it being an active beacon. But you see, that little tidbit about 'digital' got me thinking." He stares down at the laptop as he plugs it in, flipping it open.

Viae thinks. "What if we put some goo in that compartment?" She shrugs. "It may not be the power source but it may be a conduit TO it?" I'm not the tech expert, I'm just supposed to see if I can get it to work." She chuckles. "I can see why so many of you deck and engineering people have to smoke."

"Oh?" Penelope leans, peering over Oberlin's shoulder. "Do tell." She grins at Mercer. "Oi, that was my first impulse, too — let's make it work!" She laughs. "Maintenance and repair, for the win. Still, we'll want t'see what really belongs in that reservoir before we go stuffin' stuff in, no matter how likely. An' if we think we can power it up, do it under slightly more controlled circumstances."

"Er… that's what I said, Captain." Just because they can't comprehend it, that doesn't mean it doesn't exist. Even so, Trask leaves it at that. "I'm more or a circuits and transistors guy. Wireless? Yeah. Not so much. All the same, I have a small list of far-fetched ideas. After going over all this stuff for the past few weeks, my concept of 'impossible' has been obliterated. Anyway, I need to make a pit stop. Just fill me in when I get back." With that, he's off to unleash some electrolytes of his own.

"How intuitive." Oberlin suddenly stops cold, turning to one side, eyeing Viae with a careful sideways tilt of his head. "Heh. Couldn't hurt, right?" He then glances back towards Penelope, nodding again as he starts setting up a few cables on the laptop. "I have no damn idea how to rig this. But maybe we can craft some kind of adapter. It was just zeroes and ones, at the end of the day, with some kind of encryption package."

Viae nods to Penelope. "True. If it *does* work, we don't want to be 'phoning home' accidentally." She looks over to Oberlin and his thought process.

Penelope watches Oberlin fiddle with the computer a moment longer, then blinks. "Wait. Rig? That's practically my favorite word. But… what exactly are you on about, Cal?" She tilts her head. "Are you trying to hook up to the disc itself?"

Viae nods and wipes her hands on a nearby rag. "I'll be in touch. I need to run and change before I take my shift at the CIC." She waves off and heads for the hatch.

"Fair 'nough, Specialist," Oberlin says, cheerily, before he rounds on Penny again as he hooks up a peripheral interface cable, frowning slightly. "That is /exactly/ what I'm trying to do." His mouth flickers to one side as he begins to chew on his lower lip. "We need to come up with some logical way to pull telemetry from this thing. Oh, circuit monkeys."

Penny purses her lips, examining the computer's inputs, then shaking her head over the near-featureless disc. "I don't know. I think… with a little time, a scavenge through engineering and maybe some of the bins here in repair… I could rig something." She shakes her head. "Not with anything we have on hand, though."

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