PHD #116: Way Outside the Box
Way Outside the Box
Summary: After Coll is released from Medical, she meets Marko on the Hangar Deck early in the morning. Ideas are dared.
Date: 22 June 2041
Related Logs: Nothing. Yet.
Marko Coll 
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.
Post-Holocaust Day: #116

Freshly released from Medical, Coll barely looks like she should even be out of there. Word passed around that she and Constin, one of the Marines, took six bullets on the Advance Team. Seeing her ambulatory might even come as a surprise to quite a few. But? There she is. Before the morning crew has even come on duty, she's standing down at one of the far repair bays. Inside it is a Raptor that was pretty trashed-up on the rescue operation. A red 'SALVAGE' sticker is plastered across the canopy, facing out. The Crewman just stares at it blackly in her duty greens. There is a notebook in one hand and a sturdy aluminum cane in the other - which she's leaning on heavily.

Marko enters the Hangar with a cup of ersatz coffee and a thin file folder full of papers on various birds in his squadron he's been asked to run diagnostics on. The rescue effort turned out to be every bit as costly and horrific as he expected it to be, and the proof's in the very shattered Raptor that Coll is taking an interest in. Ambling over, the young ECO gives a friendly nod and offers the young woman a sip of coffee. "Hey there. You sure Medical knows you're here?" he asks, looking concerned at the way Coll's leaning on that cane.

Coll doesn't look up for a second. Pretty much until he's almost standing next to her. Whatever she's thinking about is pretty deep in her brain. Once, twice, she blinks and looks up to Marko. "Sir? Oh- ah, no thank you." She gives him a small smile. "Yessir. Medical cleared me out this morning on the condition that I take it damned easy. Took me twenty minutes to get down the stairs, sir. Just, you know, wanted to come down here and let my brain chew something over. Anything I can help you with there, sir?" The woman was a ghost to the Deck after she got arrested, furtive glances and hurried movements the last week or two. Now she seems fairly unconcerned.

"Eh, not really, Crewman." Marko replies with a little shrug, taking a sip from his cup after Coll demurs. "Got a list of birds the brass wants me to run some diagnostics on, since everybody's here so busy with recovery and all." he explains. "Was gonna ask you pretty much the same question." he adds. "Sorry for not coming to see you when you were…..ya know." he adds, shifting awkwardly. "I should've."

Lauren shakes her head gently, that smile holding. "Bad times. I wouldn't have been much of a conversation partner, anyway, sir. Only people I saw up there were MP's, Fresh, and the CAG came by at my request. A shrink, too." She rolls her eyes a touch. "But its past. Don't worry about it, Ensign. As far as helping me?" She lofts a brow. "Doing diagnostics? You might be just the man for the job. Ensign Weber and I started in on something the night before last. Looking to get your hands dirty with something, sir?" She cants her head a bit, shifting the lean on her cane.

"Sure. Bout time I started earning my keep around here." Marko smirks as he slugs down the rest of his coffee in a trio of gulps, wincing at the acrid, acidic aftertaste. "Ugh…okay….that shit's just…awful." he comments, pitching the cup into the nearest trash barrel. "What is it you're working on?" he asks, cocking his head curiously.

"Psh. I don't think there's a single man or woman in the Air Wing that hasn't earned their keep, sir." Coll lifts the notebook ever so slightly and taps him on the arm gently. She probably can't move her arms much. "Yeah. Navy coffee is like drinking filtered piss. I try to limit myself to one poisoning a day." A flickered grin crosses her - an expression that looks about as welcome to that face as much as its needed. "Well, you know those cruise missiles we pulled off Parnassus Anchorage, sir? We ain't got anything that'll shoot them. And while I was down at the airbase, I spent some time building five hundred pound landmines out of the Mark Eighty-Twos. Started wonderin' if there was somethin' to it, right? Well its not a secret. I got shot up kinda bad." An ironic glance to her cane. "I want payback. I wanna put those missiles to use. Was thinkin' about putting something together that could fire them. Nothing is approved yet. Just tossin' ideas around. Sound like something you want to get your paws into, sir?" She's almost daring him with that playful expression and tone.

"Yeah, yeah." Marko replies, nodding, a hint of excitement in his tone. "I remember those. We never could figure out what to do with 'em." he adds. "Heh, as for payback…I don't think there's a soul on this boat that wouldn't trade some pretty significant portions of his or her anatomy for a chance to give the Cylons even a tenth of what they've given us." he says firmly. "So yeah, absolutely, let's see what you've got worked out!"

Coll's grin spreads across her face like sunlight over the horizon. "I was -really- hoping you'd say that, sir." She turns a bit to look around. "Sorry, I need to sit. Gettin' a little winded." She finds a tool cart nearby and hobbles slowly over towards it, not bothering with another word until she punks herself down into it. "Okay..phew." A moment to catch her breath as she absent rubs at a bandage beneath her blouse. "So, here's what we're thinking.. We need to build something beefy because those things are pretty big, sir. But we want speed. Maneuverability if we can shed enough mass, too. But?" She waggles her eyebrows. "It'll need a pilot and an ECO. We wanna do a tandem seat design, but we're looking for jump capability, DRADIS, and weapons employment. Anything else would be a bonus. So we'd have a pilot up front and a weapons system officer sitting right behind them." She's getting excited just talking about it. "Like, okay..Think about a Viper, right? We build a bigger version or maybe make a hybrid of a Raptor and Viper - minus a lot of the crazy jamming and recon avionics." She looks up at him from her seat, eyes full of life. "What'd you get your degree in at the Academy?"

"Okay….yeah…that sounds about right." Marko nods. "You're gonna want a hybrid, I'm thinking, not that that counts for much." he says, tapping his foot thoughtfully. "I dunno much about the hard points on a Viper, but I know a Raptor could handle something like that." he nods. "Me? Oh, I got my degree in Computer Science. Programming specialty." he replies to Coll's query. "Some of those recon avionics might come in handy, come to think of it." he adds, pursing his lips as various ideas float through his mind. "What kind of guidance system are those birds designed for?"

"Well, see, I was talking about that with Fresh." She's excited enough that military customs and courtesies are out the window by this point. She shifts in her seat and makes a wing out of her hand. "The Raptors probably could be modified to haul them, but there's two problems. The missiles are too big for the clearance with the deck and the other? The wingloading on those hardpoints isn't high enough. Any sort of maneuvering would probably rip the structural supports apart. So yeah, probably a hybrid." She flops her hand as she described it, the bandage on it providing an interesting sight, at least. "Recon might come in handy, but our focus is weapons employment. Do that first. As for the missiles?" She shakes her head. "I need to get permission from Deck, the CAG, and Command to tear one down. No idea yet. But you're good with computers? Really? If you're serious about this and it gets approved, I'm going to need help tearing the TRAFICS system apart. Reprogramming it to work with a custom avionics package."

"Yeah, yeah….I get where you're coming from. Coll." Marko nods enthusiastically. "But what I'm trying to say is that a lot of the recon stuff on the Raptor could be retasked towards guidance." he grins. "I mean, we've got about, what, four, five different systems? ESM, photographics, thermographics. ." he begins, ticking off each system on his fingers. "A properly turned-out Raptor could tell you the temperature of your ass on that cart there,: he chuckles, grinning goofily. "That's my point. The software's pretty flexible, from what I've examined. We could tweak it….use the systems we've already got and save us a hell of a lot of time in development."

Coll decides to finally shut her trap and listen when Marko starts talking about retasking. Her eyes slowly widen and she shakes a finger at him. "You, sir, are a genius," Lauren says concisely. She lifts the notebook and opens it after flicking through a few pages of notes. She jots down 'Flasher: Flexible Software. Recon guidance.' with a pencil that was trapped in the rolled wire binding. "That's a really sweet idea. Damn. Holy shit, we could even do something like extreme long-range IR guidance!" She would probably be dancing around the hangar if she wasn't trapped and wrapped. Damned Cylons - always shooting at people. "I'll still need to get a missile cracked and pull it apart, though. So, think we could really slim down the recon gear? If we keep tacking on more and more gear, this thing will eventually get heavy enough and we're looking at a bomber. It might as well be a Raptor."

"Ha! It's about time somebody acknowledged it in this lifetime." Marko chuckles. "Yeah, once we know what we're dealing with as far as the actual weapon's concerned, we oughtta be able to find a system on a Raptor that'll do the job." he nods slowly. "MOD code's pretty basic. Has to be, 'cause they use basically the same stuff for similar systems on both Raptors and Vipers, hell, I'm betting the Cerb has some of the same code rattling around in her noggin." he chuckles. "First Rule of Coding : When you get something right, don't futz with it."

Coll shifts a bit in her seat and uses the cane to adjust how she leans, trying to get comfortable. "You know? That's also not a bad idea. I wonder if some of the Cerb's guidance systems for the..Ooooo. Wait a sec." That grin turns a bit devilish. "The Praetorian. She's a missile slinger. I wonder if that might work? If we get this approved, think you'd be willing to parse some code on that ship? See what they use for guidance packages?? We might be able to slave or salvage some of it to what we can pick off a Raptor…Or you think the Praetorian might be a little too different??"

"Oh…shit, dude….That's a _great_ idea!" Marko says, standing bolt upright as what Coll's telling him filters through his head. "Damn right, the Praetorian's what we oughtta be looking at!" he nods repeatedly, almost robotically. "Cripes! Why didn't I think of that? Of course she'll have the code we'll need. She's a flying flak barrage……If we could get a sample of her code, if they're willing to give it to us, that is." he notes, frowning for a moment as the recent tide of paranoia among the fleet flashes through his mind. "Yeah…that would be just the thing…."

Coll looks like she wants to cackle at Marko's reaction. Frankenstein! She rocks back in the seat a little, grinning until it looks like her face might fall off. She probably knows better than to laugh. "Well, see, we just gotta get it approved. Fresh is working on schematics and a basic design right now. Said he should have something by today. But who the hell knows right? I'm just glad there's some real interest in doing something like this." She flashes her eyes at him. "We're probably going to have to go through the CAG. I still have to talk to Damon about this, too, since its his Deck. If he axes it, there isn't much we can do. Which- oh, yeah." Coll smirks. "When Fres hand I were talking maneuverability, we were talking guns. We're talking about completely dumping the thirty millimeters that the Vipers use. We're thinking about uploading a pair of those twenty milli miniguns that we carry on the Raptors. Store the munitions drums internally. Whatcha think? Yes? Scrap the guns? Go with the thirties?"

"Eh, me, personally?" Marko replies, eyebrows twitching up. "If I were in that beast, I'd want the thirties, frankly." he replies simply. "I mean, don't get me wrong, the centerline gun on the Raptor's righteous, but we're talking about a bird that's mostly a missile flinger. You're gonna need all the point-defense you can get, cause those big ass cruisers are going to _eat up_ weight…that tends to frak maneuverability right in it's ear."

"Hmm. True. But those wingtip guns for our Raptors? They hardly ever get used, too. There's thousands and thousands of rounds on the ordnance deck that are just gathering dust. But once those missiles are fired? You drop a lot of mass - which is key." Coll shifts once more. "See, with jump capability, this thing is going to basically either operate alone or with Raptors. I guess the main question about guns is going to come down to what kind of mass we can really trim. If we've got something split between a Viper and Raptor about fifty-fifty? We shouldn't even bother with cannons or miniguns."

"Well, that's a good point." Marko nods. "Hadn't thought about that. The Vipers do tend to eat bullets….Raptors..not so much…So yeah, okay…use the Raptor gun pods…They're pretty effective, especially at close range. Hell, mount three of them, two on the wings and one centerline and dial them all into the same sightline….It'd be like attacking the Cylons with a buzzsaw." he grins malevolently. "We had this routine we used to do in flight school, the last parts of it when we were doing all kind of war games in the simulators? The Viper jocks would come at us like bats out of hell, and we'd kick-turn our busses over and hose them down with centerline fire. We called it the 'Raptor Stomp'. Worked pretty well…The Vipers were going too fast to evade it, and if we all did it at the same time, it was like flying into a buzzsaw."

Coll grooves her head back and forth. "Coooool. That is a bad-ass maneuver, Flasher. Makes me wish I had flown the damned things rather than just sat my happy ass in the ECO's bucket." That grin is more than a little feral. "So okay, we'll tentatively plan for the minis. Now we also want to see if we can get this thing to sling anything we carry. Bombs, missiles, refueling pods, you name it. That's why I'm thinking we might have to rip apart a TRAFICS system. We want to be able to fire just about anything, down to a tactical nuke. Think that would even be remotely possible?"

"Eh…." Marko replies, pausing to scratch his scalp thoughtfully. "Can't think of a particular reason, I mean, pending the results of what we find when we break that TRAFICS system down." he adds. "Now, the question is, what kind of a ship are you aiming for?" he asks. "Because a couple of seconds ago, we were talking about some kind of fighter, now we're talking about some kind of bomber….Not that that's a problem." he adds quickly. "Should've had something like this from the frakkni' get-go or we might not have got cut up so bad on Warday." he grouses, frowning sharply. "But the whole design and whatnot depends on exactly what we aim to do with this ship.

Coll thumps the pencil on her notebook's open page. "Yeah, I suppose I'm not listening to myself, am I?" She sighs, eying Marko for a moment. "Well let's settle it down to a classification. Call it maybe a Strike Fighter? Battlespace Support Craft? ..Heavy Fighter?" She offers the last like it comes out of thin air. "Once we have a classification down, we can aim for a wing loading on this thing. However, our main goal is going to be cruise missile delivery. But yeah. This would've been nice on Warday. Though they probably would've installed the CNP into it. Woulda ended up like so many other Vipers."

"Well, no way of knowing how any of it would've worked out." Marko shrugs. "But Battlespace Support Craft sounds about right." he grins slightly. "It all hinges on weights and measures and so forth and so on." he adds, letting his voice trail off. "But all in all." he says, brightening. "I think you are _really_ on to something, Crewman Coll." he says formally. "And I am damn sure putting you up for a commendation for it." he says firmly. "You're doing exactly what we all need to be doing…thinking outside of the box and using what we've got to do it."

Coll nods a few times and jots down his suggestion into the notebook. The other ideas are put off to the side with question marks. "Yeah. Mass is going to be key, here. Okay. So our focus is still on cruise missiles, jump capability..then maneuverability? Or do we want to go with speed being our third goal?" With the rest, she grins and shakes her head, gently waving the pencil in the air. "Nono. I had an idea. You and Fresh? This wouldn't even be happening without you all. It would take me months - if ever - to think of what you two have come up with in the last few days. You put a commendation in for me, you put one in for Fresh and yourself. But I tell you what? You get that CAG of yours to lighten up? Maybe get me an honest chance to prove that I'm worthy of a flightsuit again? We'll call it even. Then I'll tell her all about how it was the idea of brainchild of two Raptor Ensigns." That dangerous smile returns. "Think that's an even trade?"

"Ha!" Marko laughs, beaming happily "You have yourself a deal, Coll." he says formally, offering his hand. "Trust me, The Major's going to be _very_ interested in this little notion." he says, nodding again. "And I wasn't kidding, by the way. Coming up with the idea for this is no small thing, Coll. It's a big damn thing and I'm very happy you chose me to tell about it." he smiles. "This could be our big chance to make a difference."

Coll offers her bandaged hand. "Careful. That still has a hole through it." She winks, taking his for a weak shake. "I didn't choose anyone, sir." Back to military protocol, apparently. It was probably the topic of the Major. "You walked up. You've got some good, valuable knowledge under the hood, too. I would have probably sought you out, regardless. Just.. Yeah." She twists up her smile. "I don't think Major Hahn likes me very much. I'm afraid that if I take this to her she's going to give it a little less credence because I'm involved. I mean, Ensign Weber thinks I'm wrong about her. What do you think? I don't have a problem with it as long as it gets a fair shot. Should I do it or let you guys do it?"

"Eh…Honestly, I dunno, Coll." Marko replies simply. "There's been so much weird shit going down on this boat in the last few weeks that it's hard to tell what anybody's gonna say about much of anything." he admits. "Tell ya what, I'll run the idea by Captain Quinn first." he says. "I know she'll listen to me, no matter who's idea it was at first." he adds simply. "If I can sell _her_ on the idea, then we'll take it to the CAG, and she can take it up the chain."

Lauren nods a few times. "Okay. I'm game for that. That's a good idea. I didn't even think of Quinn. She.. Yeah. I think she think's I'm a little cuckoo." Another twisted smirk flashes. "But whatever. I like it. Anyhow, in the meantime, I need access to a missile. See, that's a little problem." She slows her talking towards the end and clears her throat. It looks like it hurts a LOT. A hard grimace sits on her face for a moment before she looks back up. A deep breath. "Okay. Sorry. But JAG ruled I was negligent on Raptor three-oh-five. I'm banned from working on ordnance until the Deck Chief says so. I can talk to him but I might need support fires. When you go to Quinn.. Frak, it might be better if I go with you to talk to her." A sigh. "If I do that, then maybe I won't have to talk to Major Hahn."

"Hrm…" Marko replies, rocking back on his heels a little and frowning thoughtfully once again. Oh, sweet paranoia….what a fraktard you can be…. "Okay, I'm gonna ask you a question, and before I do, i want you to know that I believe the answer to be 'FRAK NO!'. But I still gotta ask it…just to keep things straight in my own head." he adds apologetically. "They cleared you from all of that Cylon crap, right?"

Coll turns her eyes from him and looks to the deck floor. The pencil stops bouncing, too. "Not completely. I have my version of what happened. So far evidence is supporting everything I'm saying. But JAG ruled that because I left a warhead out it allowed saboteurs to gain access to explosive material. They were unclear as to whether or not I was guilty beyond that. I got demoted. I'm banned from ordnance. Annnnd? I'm not allowed on the Deck except for official duties." Which means he could have her arrested right now. Before the first crew has really started to trickle in at the other end of the Deck and she's down here alone? This definitely isn't official. Lauren looks back up to the younger officer. "I didn't do anything wrong, sir. If you have any concerns about me? Ask Corporal Constin of the Marines. He was my detaining officer. I made the advance jump to Leonis with him and Lance Corporal Maragos."

Ah, Frak….nothing like scoring off the top four or five layers of someone's slowly healing wound to make you feel like shit. "I believe you, Coll." he replies simply, reaching out to lay his arm on the woman's shoulder. "If you were a Cylon sympathizer, you had a hell of a lot more chances to cause problems than what you've been accused for." he adds. "I just haddda know the lay of the land." he sighs, shaking his head at the rifts developing within the crew. "Abbot _was_ a Cylon." he says. "Quinn knows it, she saw the video…I'm not supposed to talk about this, so you can forget about it soon as my mouth stops running off." he chuckles. "But, in all honesty, me, personally? Shit…. you're no more a Cylon than I am a Sasquatch…"

Coll winces a bit at the pressure on her shoulder but she smiles through it. Shot up pretty good apparently. "If I was a cylon sympathizer, the last thing I would want to do is build something to frak them up, sir. But I read you. Don't blame you, either." The part about Abbot gets a blink from her, though. "You saw it? So then its true? They look like.. like you and I?" She looks around him to the crew slowly filtering in at the other end of the Deck. "Sir, I find one?" She looks back to Marko. "I'll kill 'em. But I won't say a word, sir."

"Who's one what?" Marko asks, cocking his head a little to fix his eyes on Coll's warningly. "It's like the man said, all I know's what I read in the funny pages." he says with a grim smirk. "Me and Captain Baseball Bat Boy….Gods damn Bicycle Helmet Girl." he chuckles.

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