PHD #101: Trust Fall
Trust Fall
Summary: Tillman recieves a report and pitches a mission only a marine would accept. Later, a non-marine accepts.
Date: 2041.06.07
Related Logs: 48 Hour Party, All The Way.
Coll Constin Tillman 
Deck 7 - Map Room
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.
Post-Holocaust Day: #101

Tillman is once again found in the Map Room. Since the Admiral's arrest, he's not shy about people knowing where he is. Its obvious that Things Are Happening. Its been quiet around the fleet since the arrest as well. No Cylons. It bodes well for a coming operation. There's maps and charts of Leonis spread all over the table and the overhead camera is throwing the images up onto the main screen at the head of the room. Tillman is studying a photorecon shot of Anadyomene.

Constin's bootsteps approaching are not hard to hear. The big marine steps into the Map room and voices a level, "Major," in greeting, as he offers a salute. The MP has shed the last of his bandages, but looks to have had little rest since last he addressed Tillman. "Report on the searches, sir, if you're ready to recieve them?"

Tillman looks all healed-up as well. The man stands up straight at seeing Constin approach and nods once, firmly. "As you were, Corporal. Let's hear it." He taps a finger a few times on the table as a cue to approach and join him. "Got something for you as well when you're done."

Constin sets his boots shoulder width apart and hands at the small of his back. "Em-Pee teams went over the CIC, FTL drives, DRADIS array, Life Support systems, Fuel tanks and major fuel lines, and Ordnance bays over the past fifty hours. Used chemical sniffers, Ex-Ray scans of the deck plating, and a visual search." A fresh breath is taken, to voice, "All searches came up clean, sir."

Tillman takes a long breath. "Thank the Gods. Damned glad to hear it. Are there any places left that haven't been checked yet? Anything else vital that hasn't been touched, in your opinion?" A very pointed question concerning his opinion.

"She's a damned big boat, sir," Contin drawls dryly. "But the critical areas are cleared of bombs, as is the Admiral's quarters and office. Still getting reports on the arms locker inventories, but so far it's looking clear." Another beath in thought the nose and out through words. "The bomb search ah call pretty thorough- done with trusted men, and kept as quiet as a full search can be."

"Fair enough, Corporal." There's another sharp nod from Tillman. "If anything else occurs to you that should be checked, consider this a blank check for it. The only thing I do not want searched without my explicit authorization are the crew's bunks. Otherwise, if you need to do it, get it done." There's something about the tone of his voice that might warn Constin not to abuse this trust. "Now.." He gestures the man closer. "Anadyomene. I'm calling a tentative go-day. Next Tuesday. Possibly Wednesday. It will depend on my words with the CAG." He finger falls on the recon photo of Anadyomene. "Look here at the aircraft hangars. Tell me what you see."

<FS3> Constin rolls Alertness: Good Success.

Constin nods curtly once to the blank-check. "Understood, sir," the big man mutters with the nod. At the motion closer, he drops his chin and takes the half step closer, to give a sharper ear to Tillman's words. Eye tick more narrow at the tentative go date, and he draws another slow breath through the nose. Another short nod and he turns an eye to the aerial images. "Hangar door looks blasted out. Clean work. Shaped charges planted on the interior, if ah had to guess. Second door's harder to tell. Rubble, might be a door and might not, sir."

"Exactly what I was thinking. When our troopers went down there, they reported that there were only Vipers. I ran a double-check back through the fleet archives. Four squadrons of Vipers, as we expected." Tillman lifts his eyes and looks to Constin. "And one squadron of Raptors." A smile creeps across his face. "There's no other access into other hangars save for this other one, near the secondary runway. Records show its closed because the runway was under repairs."

Constin raises his eye from the recon images to Tillman as the Major mentions the squadron of Raptors. "Hrm." he comments wordlessly, the Major's creeping smile managing to get an upward twitch from the Corporal's lip. When Tillman mentions the entrance near the second runway, his eye returns to the recon picture, one hand braced to lean a measure of his weight on the table for a closer look.

"Corporal, if there is something else down there, I need to know. I remember seeing fleet traffic about a squadron of Raptors transiting off Leonis just before Warday. However, it could have been any one of a dozen bases." Tillman crosses his arms and leans against the table. "I also need to get some Deck personnel down there to get the Vipers hot and ready to launch before the pilots get down there. Also to make sure the Cylons didn't shred them after our team left. We're planning to insert our pilots via a HALO drop the morning of a rescue. But our planes will need to be prepped before they land. Right now, Corporal, there aren't any other Marines on this boat I trust more right now. Ever made a combat jump?" He's dead serious, watching the man's response to this.

Constin's response is to once again narrow his eyes and lift his weight off the table, to face Tillman. "No combat jumps, sir." He pauses only an instant before adding, "Least, none before." The marine's countenance slips easily into the all-business stoneface. "We have any body on the boat qualified to instruct that kinda thing?"

Tillman shakes his head. "No instructors. The only people we have who have any experience with it are the pilots. Every one of the aircrew gets ejection training. This is gonna be a little like that." He takes a deep breath and inclines his head towards the Marine. "Corporal, you'd be jumping out of a Raptor at sub-orbital altitudes and opening your chute less than one thousand feet from impact with the hard surface. Once on the ground, with minimal supplies, you'd have to keep overwatch on our Deck personnel. You'd also have to find a way to get that door open if you can. You won't be able to pack enough explosives for a drop like that. The risks of something like this are enormous and the drop alone could kill you if its done improperly. Think you're up to leading a six-man team with only three Marines?" Apparently he wants an answer now.

By the time Tillman voices the risks, Constin has cracked a tight smile. "Sir, you know what happens when you tell a marine the odds. Not in much of a spot to wait for better chances, are we?" A breath drawn through flared snotrils and he concludes, "You show me a bigger prize on top of a bigger mountain, and ah'll jump off that one too, sir."

Tillman's smile grows, something wolf-like jst below the surface. "That's what I like to hear. Alright." Tillman clears his throat. "Select two other Marines and three personnel from Deck on your own. Keep this quiet so make sure these people aren't blabby. Find an aircrewmen with experience to give you instruction on how the chute systems work. Pick your kit carefully, as well. If you can find a way to bring along one of those microwave transmitters, do it. Our rescue op includes plans for orbital bombardment, Corporal. I hope to Gods you've been reading Fires and Support because we'll be dropping six-foot shells down from five-hundred thousand feet up. I'll give you details about that later, though." A pause. "Any questions so far?"

"Chapter Seventeen, section seven: infantry movement, coordinated with artillery in hostile territory. Can't recall the page number offhand," Constin answers dryly. "Don't think Colonel Alrando touched on that scale of bombardment, either. Might have to add a footnote or two, sir." Getting the the meat of his answer, the marine restates, "Covert insertion slash exploration. Light comm. No heavy explosives. Ah'm with you so far, sir."

The XO gives a short sound near a laugh, but it isn't really one. "Fair enough. Okay, you guys will be dropping in from one hundred ten thousand feet. You'll be in freefall for approximately five minutes, fifteen seconds. That should put you at about one thousand feet on the nose of five fifteen." Tillman is back to serious tones. "It'll be done about twenty minutes to dark at Anadyomene so you'll be jumping in twilight. You won't be able to trust your eyes so watch you altimeter and jumpclocks. I'll have the deck outfit each of you with flightsuits for this, too." He drums his fingers once across the table. "You leave here Monday night at nineteen thirty hours. Be on the flight deck at nineteen hundred. Oh- and one more thing. Bring night vision. You guys will be working in the dark."

That's a whole lot of numbers that register as extremely important, and the narrowing of Constin's eyes and faint frown that tugs at his expression reflect the brainpower spent to keeping those numbers. "Five and a quarter minute drop," he repeats, surprise registering briefly. "Monday, nineteen-hundred. Sir, you know offhand what the weight limit ah'll be looking at for full kit? Or is that something to take up with whichever aircrewman handles the jump training?"

Tillman shakes his head. "That'll have to do with drag ratios relating to your chutes. I don't have that kind of information. You'll have to talk to the aircrewman. I would suspect that max loads will be somewhere around three hundred pounds. If you have smaller team members, might consider loading them up with your gear, Corporal."

Constin nods once along with a wordless sound of grudging consent. "Damned shame loyalty weighs so frakking much," he mutters next. A breath drawn and released. "One hundred thousand- what was the precise altitude, sir?" A mental review of the essential details finds a blank, which requires prompt correction.

"One hundred ten thousand. On the nose. Do not step off that wing until you have verified that altitude personally. Your life and the lives of your team members rely on as many checks as possible." Tillman says it all carefully. "Anyhow, that's what I've got for you. I'll cut you a memo with all the details of it this evening. just make sure that only those directly involved with this operation see it. So unless you have anything else, you can head out at your leisure. But if you have more questions, fire away."

"Ah'll be having a few requisitions to make," Constin muses aloud. He draws a short breath, nostrils flaring, and voices steadily, "Sir, if ah were any less aware of how serious this business is, ah'd have made a frakking joke about gravity, sir." He salutes again, having no more immediate questions.

Tillman, rather than saluting, extends his hand. "Submit your requisitions to me and I'll see that you get what you need without any questions. Best of luck, Corporal."

Constin lowers his hand from forehead to meet Tillman's. "Thank you, sir." One again, that tight smile peeks back through his reserve, and he offers in parting, "Semper Fi, do or die."

Later that night…

Hangar Deck - Port
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.

Mere minutes until the arbitrarily assigned 'midnight'. Reports given, shifts cleared, and the tally of hours since sleep has climbed several higher. Constin is looking for Coll and at this hour, the list of likely locations is not where on the ship she is, but whether she'll be half under a Raptor or Viper when he finds her.

Half -in- a Viper is more like it. And she's been here for enough time to have gained a fine layer of grime across almost her entire upper body. The front end of a Viper has been unbolted and her ass is hanging out and legs kneeled on a small platform. But its her voice alright. She shouting something about her flashlight not working while another Deckie looks on with mild amusement. This other female nods to Constin on his approach but doesn't say anything to him.

Constin shakes his head with a smirk. No surprise there. Eyeing the bemused deck hand he nods once, with an upright finger held across his lips. Regarding Coll's state for a moment and listening idly for the telltale beat of Lauren's favored music, the techie at work gets a solid smack squarely on the protruding ass. Arms crossed afterward, he waits calmly.

-BANG!- "AWMOTHERFRAKKER!" she shouts. The Viper's sheetmetal on the tops of the nose even bounced with that hit. "You bitch! I'ma string you up like a cat!," she hollars. Her voice doesn't carry much further than outside the Viper as she wriggles her way back out. Yep, she dirtay. The Deckhand just walks -away- trying to keep from snort-laughing herself into a fit. When Coll finally gets out she has a flashlight in one hand and a swing ready that may or may not have actually gone anywhere. Her face is smudged left and right with dirt when she spots the hulk standing in front of her. She sneers a bit before it peters out into a bit of a twisted smile. "You -ASS!- I oughtta smack your ass around and shove you up the boogerhollow of a Viper!" She lays a smack towards his shoulder. Its not that hard. Not really, anyway.

Constin's throat stirs with a chuckle by the time she leaves a smear of grease on his shoulder with the light smack. "You think for a second ah'd fit up there, you hit your head harder than ah thought," he drawls back, dryly. "What's the word?" the marine asks a moment later.

"Don't mean I cain't try and shove a boot up yer ass to squeeze another few inches of your Marine hide up a nosecone!" she crows back with a slowly building smile. Seems when she gets the sass, the country girl comes screaming right out. "Shit.." She rubs a hand over her own hide. "Damnit. That's gonna leave a mark." A sigh and she shakes her head at the Corporal. "Any case, we've worked through a couple of Vipers. They're not as slow as the Raptors but there's a whole bushel more. Figure.. three? Four days? Nothing yet. I've been doing just like I said. Wiping the ECUs and reflashing memory. There's only so many places on a Viper that you can stick a bomb for awhile without someone finding it."

"Heh heh," is Constin's unapologetic commentary on the marked state of Coll's backside. "Well good. This is one search we all want to come up clean. Finished the search of your frakking Ordnance bays, by the by. Came up clean. Once complete inventories come in, every body will be sleeping a bit easier." He pauses a moment, tilting his head to a slight angle to inquire. "So. What's the stupidest thing you've ever done, just because there was nobody else to do it?"

"I'm with ya, Corporal." Coll takes a long breath and steps back to lean against the Viper's nose. She stuffs those dirty hands in her pockets. "Good to hear about the bays. ..Gods I can't wait to get back down there. This shit is drivin me up the wall." Though she looks a little perplexed. "Uhm. I had to fly a group of Marines down to Caprica once because they had the worst case of food poisoning we'd seen in awhile. Thought I'd help em out because nobody else wanted to do it. ..That smell? I had to throw away my flightsuit. Nobody would fly that Raptor for months. It was the longest two hours of my life. Why?"

Constin chuckles dryly at the case of the vomiting Raptor cargo. He turns a short look around the deck, makes sure Coll's partner is still out of earshot, before returning an eye to Lauren. "Yeah, well. Good news is ah've been entrusted with command of a team, for an operation coming up soon, of the highly hush-hush nature. The other news is it involved a five and one quarter minute stretch of falling."

Coll is getting used to that glancing look around. Something is afoot. Again. She tuckers her elbows a little closer to her side as if some sort of security reflex. The Deckie doesn't say anything until the end, but it takes a second. A chortle of a laugh. "I'm sorry, fall for five minutes? How- why in the frak would you do something stupid like that?" A light smile still sits on her face.

"Five and fifteen seconds. Seems those last fifteen seconds are pretty frakking important," Constin notes with a shrug. "Ah'd do something stupid like that for three reasons. One: like ah said, there's no one else to do it. Two: ah got asked to. And three: there's four squadrons of Vipers and one of Raptors in it for the boat if this gets pulled off."

Coll is still smirking, looking a little amused by this whole prospect. "how a few seconds could make a diff- How in the shit are you supposed to fall for five minutes? Gonna build yourself a windtunnel?" she laughs, tilting her head to the side in disbelief. But the reasons have a lofted brow finding her. "Well I'd say the last one is worth it. Not so sure about the other two. What're you talkin about doin, Const?"

"Yeah, well.. you ain't a jarhead," Constin notes to her uncertainty as to the value of his first two cited reasons. "Ah'm talking about a High Altitude, Low Observatory jump out of a Raptor at a hundred-ten thousand feet, to bypass heavy ground defenses, just after planetary sunset with a small team of psychotic frakkers to take and hold an airfield to prep squadrons of birds for launch by morning, while defending against any counterattack." He pauses a moment. "So, yanno. A Monday."

Coll stares, that smile on her face slowly melting into a blank expression. "You're insane."

"Probably," the big man answers back with wan grin. "But it needs doing. Boat's getting short of birds already and we aren't likely to get another chance like this." A breath drawn in and let out.

Another sigh from Coll. "True. But our Viper facilities are back up and running. Haven't made much progress, but I guess you got a point. We could use the ships." She still doesn't look comfortable with the idea. "Who're the other people insane enough to do a jump like that? Or is this something I shouldn't be asking?"

"Don't know yet," Constin returns. "Volunteer only, obviously. Need three techs, myself and two more marines." It's a bit grim, but he cracks a smile by the end. "So maybe you'd better not ask. But either way.. Gonna need a crash course in jumping. Never done a combat drop before." The lunacy of the whole thing is apparent even to him.

Something that Coll probably missed in the description earlier was his mention of jump-starting Vipers. "Three-" Oh. It comes back to her. "You want three knuckledraggers to make a frakking combat jump." Its not a question. "You want three people who lived their life on a deck or working on a hot tarmac and probably haven't nailed a rifle since basic to do a night-time drop to a Colony in a combat zone. And you need someone to teach you how to survive a fall like that. Only people who know how to do that on boarrr.." She slurs the last as she realizes something. Even behind those grease smears, her face pales. There's a brief flash of fear in those eyes. Okay, maybe not so brief. Lauren tries to swallow but suddenly her mouth is pretty dry and her eyes close involntarily to help force it down. "D-do you.. are you asking if I want to do this?" She knows she's already got this training.

"Any of the aircrew can put us through the jump basics," Constin states at first. "Need three knuckledraggers, willing to jump and to prep a whole mess of birds overnight. And they need to be able to keep this shit quiet," he tacks on as an afterthought.. because discretion has become something of a knee-jerk addition to any list of requirements. "Ah expect you'll say no, and there's nothing wrong with that. But yeah, ah'm asking."

Lauren is impossibly still as she stares up at him. Those elbows tucked against her side and back against the Viper, she almost looks wax. She takes a shakey breath finally, blinking. "I'll go." Its barely loud enough for him to hear. "You're leading this? I'll follow, Const." her mind races a thousand different directions as soon as the words leave her lips. Did she mean it? Did she actually even say it? What the hell just happened?! "I've been through jump basics. I can help. Some. Only had to eject once."

Constin hears out her answer without interjection, and without much altering his expression. "You have six days to reconsider, Lauren. No shit, ah won't blink if you happen to come to your senses before it's time. You don't owe me this." Again, a deep breath is taken in through his nose. "We got six days. Seventh is prep, and go time.

There's a very short and rapid shake of her head. "I said I'll go? I'll go." She finally turns her eyes from him and looks to the gun of the Viper beside her. "I'm doin' it for you, Const. As much as I should, I'm selfish on this. I go and don't make it? That's okay. I go and I make it? Maybe I can earn some more of that trust back. Just know that I wouldn't go if it wasn't you." Coll turns her head a touch to look back at him. "You weren't kidding about Monday. That mean the rescue.. right after? You said its an overnight?"

"Yeah. Right after," Constin answers, with a slow nod. "And yeah, it's an all nighter." As she looks to the Viper's gun, the big marine eyes the waxen-faced deckie for a moment longer before turning another slow look around the largely empty hangar bay. "Thanks, Coll," he offers after a long moment, bringing his eye back to her with the words. "No shit, thanks."

Lauren looks up at him and nods slowly. "If its okay with you getting Viper grease all over your spit-shine uniform.." She edges a bit of a smile and turn of her lips. "I'd like to give you a hug. Sorry if I'm kind of a mess right now. What else is new between you and I?" An impish shrug of her shoulders.

"Eh, call it revenge for the ass-slap," Constin consents with an only slightly forced snicker. He doesnt have the on-duty shirt on at the moment anyway. Her short lived fury at the initial prank brings a grin back to his face with the recollection.

That gets Coll to smile again and she approaches him slowly. Its hard to get your arms around someone his size, though. She leans her head against his chest for a moment. "You don't have to thank me for this, Const. I admire you. Its why I wanna do this." She pats his back once and backs away. "I wish we had fifty more just like you. But we don't. And I'm not letting you do something this stupid without a witness."

Constin's chest stirs with a chuckle as she leans against him. "Shit, Coll- you trying to make me blush?" The back of her shoulder gets a clap in return before releasing the short embrace as Lauren steps away. "So. Now you'll have another answer the next time some body asks you 'What was the stupidest thing you ever did because someone asked you to'?"

"I don't have to try. I'm just good at it. All I hafta do is just slide some truth at you." She looks up at him and hugs herself this time. Its something she seems to do a lot. Especially when she's nervous. "Trust me, I've got plenty of stories about stupid shit. This is just going to add to them. Uhm.." She takes a breath and twists a bit to look at the Viper. "What should I pack? Anything I should, I mean? From your end? Dunno if they'll give me a gun if I'm still under investigation and technically in custody."

"You kidding me?" Constin snorts back. "Depending on what the weight limit is, you might have to carry MY gun down," he states with a shake of his head. "The target's an airfield, so most of the heavy gear should be available, but any small or crucial gear you can carry with you is a good idea. We're gonna need to lug down a microwave transmitter, on top of the standard drop gear and combat kit, so the skinniest one in the bunch might get saddled with that. Ah can requisition whatever we need direct, so don't call in any favors getting shit."

Coll shakes her head, getting the impression that no, he is not joking. "Okay, I'll draw up a list of stuff I might need. See if you can get me a report on what kind of state these Vipers are supposed to be in. That'll change what any of us knuckledraggers bring." A sigh and she looks to the floor. "Well, let me know what else I need to bring. My kit probably won't weigh too much. Just remember that when you pull that ripcord? All that weight is going to jerk against you. More of it that you have attached, more likely it is to just.. poof.. go away."

"Yeah, ah'll see about losing a hundred pounds or so by Monday," Constin deadpans. "Will check on that, but from what ah gather, they havn't been touched since Warday. Frak, ah've got a lotta shit to chase down." The logistics mounting in his head start screaming for a pad and pencil, and the big man spends a moment on thought, before glancing back up to answer the notion of chutes failing with a bone=dry grin and the words: "What kind of life would it be without a bit of anticipation, yeah? Be seeing you, Coll."

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