BCH #009: Think Tank
Think Tank
Summary: Engineering + Air Wing + Tactical = Planning
Date: 17 Feb 2041
Related Logs: Wargames planning logs
Marcion Gabrieli Trask Oberlin 

[ Engineering ]----—[ Deck 11 - Battlestar Cerberus ]

Pipes, conduits, and cramped passageways. Heat and the smells of sweat and machine oil. Engineering is a maze of hallways that run deep into the aft of the Cerberus. Dotted with a few storage rooms, offices, and workshops, this section of the ship is constantly staffed by a huge team of professionals. From the main fuel tank feeds to the massive FTL drive room, no other part of the ship is more important than this section that provides propulsion and life support to every section of the battlestar.

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

As promised in his memo, Gabrieli is on duty at the stated time. He does have an office back there somewhere, but no engineer in their right mind really squirrels away when the heart of the ship beats out here. Cold coffee, the gasoline of the department, fills half a mug on the drafting table he's been using as a desk while he scribbles on the amazing stack of paperwork that builds up when he's not looking.

Marcion is also on duty, though at his little workstation over where it won't get in the way, poring over notes taken by various scans during the Cerberus' first jump. A pen twirls between his fingers as he jots down notes, apparently more or less completely unaware of the time.

The last time Trask poked around any Engineering department, he was a PO1 on electrical detail. Here he is now, more than 8 years later, a Jay-Gee El-Tee and bona fide ECO. Even so, the belly of the beast still feels like home. A womb, of sorts, in which he gestated during the earliest part of his career. "Dad, I'm home," he quips to Gabrieli, a merry grin spreading as he advances, still present as he snaps into a snazzy salute.

"Oh, shit." Gabrieli mutters under his breath. It's not as sincere as the words would otherwise suggest, and by the time he looks up he's actually smiling. Kind of. The side of his mouth is pulled back from his teeth anyway, which might be interpreted as a smile. He folds his arms, tossing his pen down on the makeshift desk. "Frak. Kal Trask, well well. All pinned up and walking around like he owns the place." The salute is returned, and dropped. "Should've known there was no way there would be two Kal Trasks running around this hellhole."

The sound of the greeting does not go unnoticed, for a change, and Marcion looks up curiously to see what is going on. Seems the Captain has a friend? Glancing down at his watch, the Lt. realizes its about time for the meeting and, gathering up his notes, starts walking over. He hangs back a meter or two, allowing the two to meet without interrupting.

"I would've called to give you a heads-up, but I know how much you love surprises." That single word is stressed with a faint rolling of his brown eyes. "And frak owning. I lease and then off-load. The property taxes alone must be more than the GNP of Sagittaron. Anyway," Trask continues, "I'm not the only one sporting pins, Mr. Captain ChEng Gabrieli." The grin has returned. "I hope you don't mind that I left the monkey suit in my locker." Indeed, he's wearing the duty greens. Perhaps Marcion is peripherally noticed, because the ECO adds, "So soon, I've been replaced? I'm crushed, sir. Simply devastated." All the same, he offers a salute to Marcion, as well. "Sir."

"I'm so sure." Gabrieli folds his arms again, nodding Marcion's way now. "Lieutenant Alexander Marcion, Junior Lieutenant Kal Trask. Marcion's been sitting shotgun through this wild ride of a new FTL drive. Two of you get to jerk off all you want on this project, long as you clean up your mess after. Wanted you to meet each other, sniff butts if you have to, and we'll get you started up."

Marcion steps forward. "Pleased to meet you. Like he said, have assisted the Captain on E-class." he glances down at his notes, a bit nervously. "Have readouts from first jump here. Other than some odd power fluctuations and a bit of drift E-Class performing admirably." He glances back at the Captain. "Stealth project interesting. Have some questions, though."

Palm is placed across his chest, right above his heart. "Sir," Kal begins, sardonically, "you doubt my sincerity? Truly, you wound me." Even so, he definitely looks like he'll live. "Well met, Lieutenant," he more seriously tells Marcion. "Evidently, you haven't assisted him all that long. You speak so nice and proper, and we're frakkin' Neanderthals." It's a good-natured ribbing, though. Back to the task at hand, "So, how're we breakin' this down? It's been a while since I worked on cap ship FTLs and I imagine quite a bit has changed since my day."

The hatch on the Engineering deck isn't new enough to squeak or creak as a new figure descends from the stairwell. It merely swings open as the blues-clad Intel Officer from parts of the ship that don't smell like sweat(much) or machine oil(we hope) sticks his head in, and then strolls slowly on down the deck with a stack of binders clutched to his side as he whistles three ascending notes, which are cut off almost immediately as he spies the presence of others. As he approaches, he slows and deftly shifts the paperwork from one arm to the other as he eyes the cluster of officers and snaps off a salute at the Chief Engineer. "Ahem. Hope I'm not interrupting Sir. Gentlemen." He inclines his head in a nod and lingers. "If you've got a moment?"

"Good." That's to Marcion. Gabrieli taps his 'desk' with his knuckles. "Throw it here and I'll look over it while you guys are playing. Nice work on that, El-Tee." He gives Trask a dry look, then goes on. "Oh, it's changed. It's a gorgeous thing, I'll tell you. Marcion here can catch you up, but let's go over the point of all this first. And get questions." A nod to Marcion. And then, a voice. He half turns around, looking at Oberlin and returning that salute. "Lieutenant. What can we do for you?"

Marcion gives Trask a puzzled look. "Suppose that Neanderthals need love as well, but rather personal confession on first meeting, it seems." Then he shakes his head and places his notes, rather carefully, onto the table. He is about to ask his questions when Oberlin arrives, and opts for continued silence. Too many new people.

"That we do, Lieutenant. That we do." Need love. The Neanderthals. Shifting tongue back towards the ChEng, "She certainly looks like a beauty, that's for certain. I bet beneath that pristine, virginal exterior, though, she's a dirty girl who likes to play rough." The sound of Oberlin's voice draws Trask's attention and the ECO's hand is subsequently drawn into a salute. Gabrieli's in-charge here, though, so he gets to do the talking.

"Oh. Uh, carry on with what you're doing. This isn't clear-cut or urgent." Oberlin clears his throat again as he affably crooks his mouth to one side and covers it with a balled-up fist, clearing his throat, as he looks from Gabrieli to Trask to Maricon. "I'm just compiling some sim results for the upcoming wargame and figured I'd update my figures on this girl's capabilities." He taps the bulkhead soundly with a swipe of his arm and adds, "I figure the more data I can confound Command with, the more likely they will be to do something crazy and absolutely brilliant which goes counter to my numbers. Just doing my job." Finally, he gets to the point. "Since you all know her better than anyone, I'd start with Engineering."

"That's sweet, Lieutenant. But you didn't even bring me flowers, what's with that?" Gabrieli fishes around his not-desk for something, dragging out a folder from under a stack of paperwork. "These are Lieutenants Trask and Marcion, they're about to get started on some FTL dampening tactics for those exact wargames. We can send you figures up the arse on what the ship can do, but why don't you do us a favor while you're down here and give us some information on exactly what we're looking at going up against. Might help these two, and we can give you a hand in return."

Marcion's eyes seem to glaze somewhat as his fingers roll on the not-a-desk. "E-class FTL Drive extends Red Line nearly 25, but unlikely to be useful in any wargame with closed spatial parameters. Also…" Marcion looks over to the Captain. "Exact parameters of dampening unclear. Assumed purpose was a stealth jump, but even if FTL emmissions could be contained, there is still a large Battlestar in place. Could maybe fool passive DRADIS, but any active DRADIS would report the sudden arrival of Battlestar, sans FTL signatures." He looks to Trask. "A Raptor that went dark upon arrival, however, might be dismissed as space debris. Or I am missing something."

Reaching into one of his pants' pockets, Bootstrap retrieves a pen and a pocket-sized notebook. The latter he holds in his right hand, flipping it open. The former is idly twirled in the left. "It might," the ECO replies, "but only if the engines were killed. You get a bird moving faster than debris should and only morons wouldn't think something was amiss. Somehow, I'm thinkin' the opposition isn't that dumb. Then, again," at which point, he regards Gabrieli, "fleet might have a political agenda determining who will win and who will lose. Failing in front of political flacks and the press would be fraktastic." It's an almost innocent look that he gives Oberlin, as if to needle: what's the dirt, yo?

"No flowers? I keep forgetting." Oberlin's face becomes tightly drawn in a wildly feigned frown. "I'll remember next time, Sir." At once, he stands a bit straighter and pulls his shoulders back as he studies Gabrieli before falling rapidly silent and crooking his head slightly to hear Marcion spout his data. "Lieutenants." Marcion and Trask get nods in turn as he processes these statements first. "Going in and killing emissions is risky. Depends if they can detect a jump in that soup. But I'm getting ahead of myself." First things first, he addresses Trask's concern. "Good point about the Circus. But keep in mind, one of the ships is a Praetorian-class Missile Frigate. Brand new and definitely a big-money item for the Brass, if you know what I mean - and I think you do. Most of the data on it is still classified, but I've been able to sniff out a few bits.The second ship is an old, tough, nasty piece. A Corsair-class Flak Frigate. Old, reliable, built like a beast."

"There's a lengthy pause as he catches his breath, smirking. "Now, back to the 'soup'. The Uram Sector is a junkheap with a lot of interesting cover. Three asteroid belts and copious amounts of pre-Cylon-War nuclear testing debris. And then there's the solar wind from the supergiant Uram which is guaranteed to disrupt DRADIs to -some- degree. Key is, how much?" Wow. That was a mouthful. He takes another deep breath and falls quite silent.

"Whether they can detect a jump in that soup is exactly what we're working on right now, Lieutnenant," Gabrieli answers Oberlin. During the CIC man's long speech he'd picked up his stone cold coffee, which he lifts now to have a courageous swallow. Ugh. "Have any DRADIS specs on those beasts? That'd be really damn helpful about now." He shoots a smirk at Trask's comment about political agendas. "If they do, it's not our problem. If we have to go down, we're going to do it looking pretty. Marcion's right, we're not going to get much mileage out of dampening alone, but it's a place to start unless someone's got a better notion."

Marcion leans over the not desk, dashing down some notes. "Nuclear testing? You say? Interesting. Primary difficulty in hiding signature is energy release. Too much to sink… would overload every circuit on board. But to mask…" he points to some waveforms on some of his notes. "FTL signature not far from nuclear pulse. Comes from Tylium, after all. Could possibly jump 'dirty,' make energy appear to be a cold reaction. DRADIS may mistake jump signature for nuclear reaction in a radiation field. Not worth investigating, and dangerous besides." He glances up. "Would mean mucking with Reactor Core, though. Not my expertise."

"So, basically," Trask drily states the obvious, "regardless of who wins, some brasshole's gonna have his or her knickers in a twist. Better theirs than ours, obviously." Although he doesn't appear as though he'll lose any sleep over some top-ranking military official getting pwnd by some other top-ranking military official. "Oh," he adds for Oberlin, "I like daffodils, amaryllis, lilies, and hyacinth. I'll settle for a box of nice chocolates, though. Truffles. Failing that, I suppose DRADIS specs will have to suffice." A faint, theatrical rolling of his brow eyes stresses that one word. No, he's not being very helpful. Then, again, he's here as a consultant. Unlike some members of Air Wing, he lets other departments do their jobs.

"DRADIS range, sir. Well — " Another pause. "Nuclear testing from generations past in the intercolonial wars. It was a simple, naive time. Before we decided it was cheaper to have Cylons pound the shit out of each other. And us." Oberlin says with an innocent sort of eyebrow waggle, as he clarifies. "Yeah. That's the long and short of it. Someone will be upset over losing. So the way I figure, it -might- as well be the other guys. And I'm all out. Sorry, but my idea of romance was giving a girl a packet of seeds. I told her they'd last longer and if she was more the type to lick them she'd see pretty colors." He flashes a thin and brief, if affable smile as he props open the top binder and goes through some schematics. "Yeah. DRADIS specs. Your theory might hold some water. The radiation given off by that star is going to be a definite factor here and will definitely throw off positional readings to -some- degree. BUT."

"But the Corsair class is loaded with EXLORAD DRADIS which, compared to a standard Battlestar's range, roughly spikes at three times that. This is bad." Oberlin declares, in something of an understatement. "I had a working theory about com drones. Having a Raptor running cold and dropping them might be a strategy. At least a -start-."

Gabrieli tilts his head towards Marcion, acknowledgment of the idea and, at the same time, its quick demise. He's listening, but it's the last thing Oberlin brings up that keeps his attention, and makes a heavy brow arch. "EXLORAD? Nice. Well that's good to know." Another chanced sip of that coffee and he gives up on it again, pushing it back on the table. "Com drones? Talking about the swallows on the raptors, for instance? Hahn mentioned those, seems like they're pretty versatile little frakkers in a fight. Mimicking signatures…I'd suppose they could be reprogrammed for other things, couldn't they?" This question is aimed to the wondertwin minions.

Marcion is drumming his fingers on the desk again. "Would like to run simulations on the effect of the ambient radiation against the FTL flash… decoys useful but only if signal deployed can pierce the soup. Decoy no use obscured." His brows furrow. "What if Raptors where large Swallows? Have a wing of Raptors overclock FTL spinners and jump in formation mimicking Battlestar. Each releases small FTL signature which against ambient noise might appear to be one large one. Then used masked Jump to dirty area, appearing to be natural phenomena. Headfake, believe Pyramid players call it."

Back to the ChEng, the lackey on-loan ECO remarks, "I definitely can program 'em to mimic all kinds of signatures. If we have enough to group together, I prob'ly could even get'choo a virtual doppelganger of this three-headed bitch." A dull look is cast at Marcion. "Let's not make this any more complicated than it needs to be, Lieutenant." Then, to the Captain and the Intel officer, Trask continues, "As an alternative, we can make it seem like we have a frakton more birds than they're expecting. If we can't keep 'em from spottin' us, we can hide in plain sight and let 'em sort out who's who and what's what." The pen continues to idly twirl.

"Birds, or unidentified noise." Oberlin nods his head once towards Trask emphatically. "That's the idea. I'm unfortunately certain they'll be spotting -something-. But we're all on the same page here." Towards Gabrieli, he speaks forst. "Yeah. EXLORAD. Bad news. These things are used for scouting, as well as anti-fighter screens. But —" He turns now finally towards Marcion, who had input on the Swallow idea and observes, "We could also mimic a large number of planes, spoofing their positions. This has a price though. We blind them, we blind ourselves. It'll take an ECO and a half to figure out how to read that. But more on this later, uhh — "

He trails off, turning downards and flipping over a page to study the Praetorian-class schematic. "This missile frigate's strengths lie entirely in their positioning. They have point defense cannons and missile batteries that can fire offensively or to shoot down enemy warheads. The underside, and to a lesser extent, the back are relatively unprotected. So you can -bet- the Corsair will be positioned somewhere in a way to cover this position from small craft threats."

Marcion shrugs at Trask. "Was asked to devise ways to mask or scramble FTL Signatures. If solution is to leave FTL alone and use ECM, best to talk to ECM expert, Raptor and Capital. Just providing options." He glances down. "Interesting problem, but messing with drives always involves risk. Believe E-Class up to challenge, though."

"Hm." The sound could mean anything, really. Gabrieli's watching the papers in Oberlin's hands as he scratches the slight stubble on the right side of his jaw. "A combination of the two might hit them where it hurts. I still want that work done on the FTL signature. Even if they spot us five seconds later, that's five seconds we gain. If we can distract them with swallows first, that masking could prove useful." He glances at his watch, even if already aware of the time. "Alright, gentlemen. I need to get back to work, and so do you. Marcion and Trask, I want you to pursue both these together - the swallows and the FTL, see if we can get them working in tandem, tactically. Hammer the problem, and if you have any ideas that spill out of your ears at night, let me know. I'll catch up with both of you tomorrow for progress. Lieutenant," to Oberlin now. "Can you leave them those specs to look over? And we'll hand you something in giftwrap soon as we've got it workable."

"Sure thing, Cap'n. I'll go take stock of just how many swallows we have available. I'll have a better idea of what I can and can't do, once I know what I'm workin' with. Lieutenant," is then addressed to Marcion, "I'll let you know what my callsheet is lookin' like and we can arrange a pow-wow." Lastly, Oberlin gets, "Thanks for the 411. And remember: truffles, daffodils, amaryllis, lilies, and hyacinth. Oh! Lilac and jasmine, too. Can't believe I forgot those." Silly ECO does his 'silly me' head jiggle. That all said, he offers all those present a salute. "Until next time, gentlemen."

"Of course." First and foremost, Oberlin says this towards Gabrieli with an amicable nod. "You may want to get with Captain Tillman on this too as ultimately he'll be my lord and master before whatever plan we happen to hammer out gets shuttled up to the Admiral." He clears his throat again but drily, in a way that could only be called a nervous habit. He pulls out some, oho, looks like he has several copies of these specs, and lays them neatly on the nearest table. PREPARED. "Nonono. FTL is likely a possibility here. And maybe a neccessity. Also consider that there -may- be FTL wriggle room with our Raptors but I wouldn't hold my breath." He gives Trask a sort of silly look as he ambles towards the hatch. "Speaking of not holding your breath." He waggles a finger towards the ECO. "I need to go make the TACCO's life some semblance of Hell. My work is never done."

"Yes, Sir." Marcion's eyes scan. "Don't know much about ECM, but looking forward to learning. I'll get right on it."

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