PHD #404: Under the Gun
Under the Gun
Summary: Circe Lagana is placed in its sights.
Date: 06 Apr 2042 AE
Related Logs: Cost of Business
Circe Kincaid Kepner 
Radiation Chamber - CEX Areion
Spooky and radiation-filled.
Post-Holocaust Day: #404

The Areion's radiation chamber is built into a secured area of Engineering, containing the small (as such machines go) but powerful core reactor that serves as the ammunition for anti-Cylon radiation weapon. Better known as 'The Gun.' Out in space, at full power, it's been shown to fry Raiders in mid-flight, and disable Centurions behind the thick shielding of Foundries and basestars. For all that, the chamber is an innocuous room. Walled off from the rest of Engineering, controlled by technicians from outside, and usually unoccupied and empty apart from The Gun reactor. Save today. Today it also contains a chair, bolted to the floor, equipped with arm and leg restraints. And being led into the chamber by a pair of Areion MPs, unrestrained for the moment for under tight guard, is Crewman Circe Lagana. "Sit," they order her tersely as she's led to the chair. The technicians stand ready behind the wall that separates The Gun from the rest of Engineering. What's going on inside it projected on a grainy video monitor set up above their workstation. They can see her. She can't see them. At the controls. Ready to fire it up on the mark of Commander Kepner.

And the man himself stands behind them, next to his Master at Arms, who is very much ready to get down to business. And one Daniel Kincaid, invited along from Cerberus, to see the fruits of this possible 'Cylon detector' on one of its initial subjets. "Whatever questions you've got, Lance Corporal, speak into the wireless microphone. We want to keep the chamber uncontaminated of other personnel," he says. "Besides, it's a sound interrogation technique. Keeps the subject off-balance. We've found it tends to get a more honest response if they're reacting to the wireless. Like they're being spoken to from the word of the gods on high." He smirks, though it's unclear whether that was a joke or not. He adds, "Don't worry. If she's truly one of us, this won't hurt a bit." He sounds almost fatherly as he says it. Almost.

Within for Circe, the chamber is still silent apart from the words of the Marines. The wireless inside yet to be activated.

Having been caught after her training bit with Vandenberg, Circe is still dressed in her t-shirt and camo pants. To the Areion she goes and as she enters the room with the chair fitted with restraints and is told to sit, the crewman gives it a long look. Her hazel eyes wander and she starts to tense as she hasn't quite decided to sit yet. "I am sorry, but why have I been brought here?" Her brows furrow and she doesn't take to the seat. Frak that. A tick enters her jaw and she eyes the room a bit more. "What is the meaning of this?" Agitation starts to show as the chair is looked over thoroughly, the restraints given fair consideration in her decisions not to sit.

"What was it like when you went through it?" wonders Kincaid, glancing over to Kepner. It's an idle question, but one that is perhaps laced with some greater meaning. He then looks through the one-way glass and to the woman found there. "I am not certain what to ask; 'are you a Cylon?' The Gun will tell us that soon enough." He's in his Marine MP uniform, with the brassard on one arm, gunbelt and holster with his service pistol at the side.

"I've still got all my hair, Lance Corporal," Kepner replies. Smoothly, but that *doesn't* sound like a joke. "After the skinjob was discovered aboard our ship, we needed to be…thorough in weeding out possible threats. If the Cylons could penetrate this vessel, clearly they could've penetrated anything within the Fleet. But yes. We'll know soon enough. Her vitals will be monitored throughout her exposure. One session today, another tomorrow, and we should have enough recorded to tell what she is. One way or another."

Circe and the Marines are, indeed, followed not long after by a Medical technician armed with a cart bearing an EKG and other biological recording equipment. The technician, a tall and very slim woman, waits while the Marines deal with Circe. To her they reply, "You've been brought here, sweetheart, to see whether or not you're a toaster."

As the medical gear is wheeled in, Circe takes to alarm and she shakes her head. "What the frak is this? This can't be cleared." She eyes the MP's and tries to take a step back. As she does there is a twist about and a attempt to get past them and for the exit to the room. The corpsman is at least familiar with what the machines are for and how they operate, this doesn't look well for her and she isn't about to stay somewhere. It may now look like she has something to hide but godsdamnit she's not going to stay to try to clear her name if it means through methods she is pondering.

"Enough recorded?" Kincaid sounds idly interested. "I thought you knew because she would go crazy if she was a Cylon. It's based on the readings?" At least the ex-reporter doesn't have a pad out. He watches what's going on through the one-way glass, trying not to wince as Circe makes her stand; this isn't going to end well for her and he knows it.

"She will or she won't," Kepner says. "Soon enough. With 'Fields,' as our pet abomination called herself, the process took repeated exposure to crack her. Unlike the metal toasters, the skinjobs don't break down right away. Brains are closer to ours. Indistinguishable in standard testing. Takes longer to get down to what's synthetic. Almost a week of sessions under The Gun before she was gone. There should be signs she's breaking - or not - sooner than that if we monitor her, though. If she's human, she won't register much of anything beyond stress, and we can turn her loose in forty-eight hours. If not…well, we'll cross that bridge when we come to it."

The Marines, for their part, make no effort to really hurt Circe, but they will if they must to get her down and strapped into the chair. "You're here by order and authorization of Commander Laughlin, Commander Kepner and Fleet Security, Crewman," one says. A burly man with a few days growth of beard. "You've been named as a skinjob suspect by Cerberus personnel. Hold still, and if you're innocent, you can go home before you know it."

Attempting to try to stay out of arms length, Circe looks rather upset by this news. Despite her attempt to get free, she hasn't gotten very far at all, snagged back into place. "Who? Who named me?" She asks, eyeing that chair and the machines. "So I am supposed to just let you hook me up and do what you want? Those are to monitor me. Whatever you plan on doing is of ill intent." She says, her hazel eyes turning to steel but there is some fear in her. The hybrid plays back in her mind and she shifts uncomfortably. There is not proclamation of being innocent, but that instinct to preserve herself remains.

Kincaid leans forward and depresses the button for the microphone. It is time to make himself known, it seems. "I named you, Crewman. It's Lance Corporal Kincaid." So she can match a name with the voice, despite her inability to see him. "The Hybrid looked right at you in the second foundry." He puts it plain. But then his voice is a little more uncertain: "Areion tells me that all of their personnel have been tested. People came out just fine." Despite his lack of assurance, he tries to reassure her. His finger comes off the mic button. "You guys having any trouble with that virus we have on Cerberus?"

"A few cases. An engineer, and a couple of our pilots," Kepner replies to Kincaid, standing back as the lance corporal speaks to Circe over the mic. He's not for broadcast. "The engineer had worked on coordination the ECM linkage, to bring Cerberus into the Gun's amplification system over on your boat. Pilots both spent a lot of time in your berths. Standing orders now are masks and gloves whenever on of yours sets foot on Cerberus. For the moment, it's contained. Heard your doctors think it was bio-engineered. Sounds like Cylon work." His eyes flash as they fix on Circe's image on the monitor. "Little medic is well-placed, to spread something like that."

Meanwhile in the chamber, the Marines go silent and harsh as they deal with Circe, endeavoring to get a grip on her and force her to sit, and fix her into the restraints. They're less gentle now. "There you go, little girl," one scoffs at her. "You see a friend in there, in that frakked-up Cylon factory? They recognize your toaster face?"

That alone causes her to falter. Circe loses some of her strength visibly as she hears the familiar voice and the fact a fellow Marine had marked her. It chills her to the point of finding herself a little short of breath. The medic tries to tear her arm free and is suddenly tugged closer. Despite her own doubts after the Foundry, she is still fighting the clamping of her person down into the seat.

The corpsman is unable to pull free of either of them, cursing them with her breath. "Is this how you treat your own?" she asks them sharply, trying to make them fight for every fix into place but soon enough she can't fight any longer and she is left held into place. "Kincaid…" She says, not knowing where he is exactly. "Let's hope you are right.." She says to him.

"Yeah. A lot of that infiltrator talk going around." Kincaid is clearly a bit off his balance now, rearranging his prior assumptions in his head. He lets out a heavy puff of air, watching Circe get tugged down. He keys the mic once more. "I'll be here the whole time, Lagana," he promises her. "I'm one of the good guys. I'll be keeping an eye on you the whole time." He glances over at Kepner, as if to inform him that as well.

Kepner nods to Kincaid in an almost encouraging manner. The lance corporal's presence doesn't seem to bother him. "We all just want to protect the Fleet, Lance Corporal. "Fight the enemy any way we can. War's not pretty. But if she's human, she's go nothing to fear." Calm as can be, though intensely interested in what Circe's displaying on that monitor.

After some struggle, the Marines get Circe strapped in place. With her restrained, the technician finally gets to work hooking her up to her machines. She'll endeavor to place electrodes in place to read heart-rate and neural activity. And record he responses to the questions she's put to during all this. The woman tries to get through the job quickly and silently. Expression neutral, hands cold. She is not a comforting presence. The Marines linger to watch over the tech, but they look as if they'll vacate the room once she's done.

That assurance from Kincaid draws a faint smirk across her lips. Circe's face sours a little though and she watches the woman who hooks her up, not releasing any more frustration or resistance. After all, the medic wants to watch her vitals too. "So tell me, Lance Corporal..what are is going to be done to me to ascertain whether or not I am as you suspect?" She asks, her gaze staring forward, through those about and obviously dwelling on something.

Kincaid turns his head towards Kepner, depressing the button on the wireless microphone. "You're going to get hit with the Gun's radiation. They'll have to keep you awake for some of the testing, but it won't be any worse than the Crucible." The Crucible being the multi-day test that all Recruits are put through at the end of Boot. It's tough, but people make it through. Right? "It drives Cylons nuts. It leaves humans normal."

When the technician finishes, the switches the machine on and, without even a look back at Circe, strides out of the room. The Marines behind her. Leaving Circe alone, strapped to the chair, in the Gun's reactor chambe.

"Fire it up," Kepner orders. And on that signal, the engineers get the thing online. It heats slowly but surely, the room becoming sweltering, the core glowing a ghostly green as whatever specialized, anti-Cylon radiation the thing puts out floods the chamber. Nothing near powerful enough to take out a Foundry, but for the little medic it will do. "We'll need to let her sweat for a few hours to make sure she's gotten a good dose of it," Kepner says to Kincaid. "Now, let's see how she takes to it."

Radiation. Circe seems less than thrilled as she closes her eyes finally. "And if I am not a cylon….what are possible side effects from exposure.." But the three in the room with her go to leave and she starts to panic a little. Her heart hammering in her chest, she tries to remain calm but the sudden life given to the reactor causes her to still and the eerie color in the room makes her close her eyes. The corpsman sits back, unable to do anything despite the flexing of her arm muscles and attempts to test the restraints. She lets out a long breath, the heat building in the room already causing a faint sheen to gather along her forehead first.

Kincaid takes his finger off of the wireless microphone's transmit button. "Don't make a liar out of me, Commander. Or —" Danny leaves the threat unsaid. Perhaps because he can't think of one. And so he just watches.

The light from the reactor glows brighter and brighter as the heat intensifies, settling around a point of Very Bright and Very Hot. Circe will indeed want to keep her eyes closed. Kepner finally steps up to the wireless, once the reactor is up and running. Apparently he doesn't intend to leave this entirely to his underlings. "Had a little personal time with the hybrid in the Foundry, did you, Crewman? Why'd it single you out, if you aren't one of its skinjob masters?"

The air is seering to breathe and by this time, sweat is starting to gather and drop. Thinking this the only part of the test, the voice that cuts through her attempt to slip away. Her eyes open a little and lashes quickly shut again against the brightness. The corpsman flexes her fingers, sweat gathering beneath the straps. "I was hoping you could answer that..I don't know." she says, in complete discomfort. "I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time." She says, trying to remember the moment in detail despite the brain frying heat.

"Wrong place at the wrong time." A low "Ha" escapes Kepner at that. "Like those billions of people back on the Colonies were in the wrong place at the wrong time. You think it's hot in there, Crewman Lagana? That won't do more than make you sweat if you're not a toaster. It's nothing compared to having your skin burnt off by the heat of a nuclear blast. You're from…Leonis, aren't you? Where'd you grow up, Crewman Lagana? Who were your parents? Or what story did the toasters make you memorize before they put you down as a spy in the Fleet."

At mention of Leonis and the derailing of the first topic, Circe attempts to follow despite the stifling heat. "My parents..-were- Aetos and Lissa…Lagana. I was born on leonis in the province of Ilium..the small town of Tusculum…" She explains. "I had one sister, Alceda…a brother in law and a nephew." SHe says, letting her life unfold for them. She knew them all. "They all died on Leonis." She says, her brows furrowing. "I was engaged…to a Viper pilot who was stationed on the BS Athena…" She adds, shifting to try to clear her throat, but doing so burns. "What else do you want to know?" The heat is something she isn't acclimated to and the burning light behind her eyelids is getting to be almost too much.

"Did they die in the blast, Crewman Lagana?" Kepner asks, almost softly, into the wireless mic. "Or later, after you toasters took over the planet. Not everyone died when the planets were nuked, you know. You ever take a look at those images Cerberus brought back from your Leonis? Kythera. There was a Tower there. Rutger Tower. Damned ghastly stuff, couldn't stomach it when I read it. They took humans there, conducted experiments on them. Dissected them like animals. You know anything about that, Lagana? Which've you skinjobs thought up that one?"

Circe is quiet at that part, her face darkening some as her had bows. "I am glad I didn't see it." She finally says, "I would like to think they died quickly.." She intones. But at his continual reference to her in proximity to the skinjobs makes her then state, the heat driving her to as she can't even scratch the itches that are slowly sprouting dow to the sweat that is gathering across her entire skin, her shirt starting to soak through a little. "I have served loyally for over a year..I have lost like the rest of this crew and those still living on the colonies and you stick me in this damned chair!" She intones. Her outburst doesn't help and she soon quiets, finding no peace.

"How did you end up aboard Cerberus, Crewman?" Kepner asks, returning to almost conversation now. Voice oddly amplified by the wireless system in that bright, sweltering chamber. It may well seem to be coming from the heavens. Or hells. "That must have been a plumb assignment for such a young officer. Newest battlestar off the Navy line. Your parents must have been proud. Or did the skinjobs get you there, somehow? Ideal place to put a Cylon, Medical. Trust of the entire ship. Treating the crew when they're most vulnerable. You must've been able to do some real damage there…" He pauses, and then abruptly swings topics again when he speaks again. "Tell me about this virus, Lagana. This…engineered virus we've heard so much about. Spreading like wildfire on *your* ship, isn't it? Tell me, Crewman, who discovered the first member of your crew to come down with virus?"

"Assigned.." But she is drowned out, each stack of evidence making even her doubt bloom in that heat. Circe is becoming disoriented and somewhat edgey as she can't seem to stop the itching. It's like something was crawling all over her. Letting out a slow breath, even that is seering. "The virus…I am not sure, it doesn't seem to spread from's to do with something people are near, I think." She then pauses. The mention of Laramy causes her to tense. "I did." She says. "I found Laramy celebrating with several others and noticed her symptoms before she went into the convulsions." The crewman speaks up then, "I had never met Laramy before that night, I never knew her."

"You found Laramy." Kepner repeats that. "And what happened to Laramy, Crewman Lagana? After *you* took her to Sickbay. What happened?"

"She got worse.." Circe swallows. "She was too far into the symptoms, we didn't have enough information and she died. DeMaratus and I attempted to resuscitate her with no result. She is the only victim thus far to the virus…" Thus far. She then adds, "Because of Lieutenant Duncan's refusal to check in with medical team, his symptoms have placed him in a coma. Others are recovering and being released." She intones.

"She got worse." Kepner repeats it, hard tone echoing in the chamber. "She died. Died of a Cylon virus, didn't she, Crewman? Did you bring the virus aboard that battlestar? Do you know which of your toaster friends did?" He exhales and, when he speaks again, his tone is pitying. Almost fatherly. "Maybe you didn't know what you were doing? Is that it. They say some of you don't, you know. They wipe your mind, make you think you're human, but there's something in your programming deep down that makes you…turn. Sooner or late. On all your friends, your comrades in arms, your patients…how much longer do you think it'll be before you're switched online, Crewman? Maybe it's happened already. Maybe that hybrid activated your programming in that Foundry. Maybe you brought that virus on board without even realizing it. If you talk, if you cooperate, if you tell us who the other Cylons are, we can make this easier on you."

The pressure of the heat along her skin, that self doubt starts to eat at her conscious thoughts. Circe shifts, listening to that disembodied voice that rings out in the chamber - unaffected by the heat and the constant knowledge of the radiation leaking around her. The medic shifts, her dogtags starting to burn beneath her shirt, starting to hurt. She winces as she tries to find some relief and can't. "I don't know any Cylons!" She let's loose. She strains a bit, her heart beating faster as even she is beginning to believe some of the accusations. Of the great grand possibility that she is a cylon, sleeping, waiting. Maybe she did. Maybe her fears of that hybrid is why she couldn't sleep for several nights. "I didn't bring anything to the Cerberus. ALl the others there can attest to that. I was with them the whole time." Despite her fears, she protests yet.

"They can put whole memories into your head…" Kepner continues to talk in that soft, almost sorrowful way. "Parents. Siblings. Lovers. Give you a whole human life you think you've lived. Only it's all invented. All programming. Just stories encoded into a Cylon brain. That hybrid looked right at you, Crewman Lagana. Maybe it saw something you didn't know was there. Saw that you were like it, that you were a Cylon." And on that note, he cuts the mic. The chamber goes silent, save for the faint beep of the machines taking Circe's vitals, and the even fainter hum of the Gun reactor.

"Let her sweat for awhile," Kepner orders the engineers, stepping back from the wireless. In that hot near-silence, Circe is left in the chamber until the hour runs down.

There is no reply to that, for how can she reply? Circe sits there, unable to find peace or relief of any kind and as those words are hammered into her through that inhuman electronic transference, she could almost believe that she were a Cylon. But her life can't be a lie. Can't. It is a stout belief despite her own questionins that still linger. Swallowing, the medic strains a moment more and then soon gives up. She sits back but then pulls away for the want to find some movement of air - still nor relief. Finally she remains hunched forward some, staying still in order to minimize discomfort, her body aching from the held position until the move in to get her out, skin hot to the touch, dog tags having left a nice red mark upon her skin and she barely responds, entire body scorched and parched.

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