PHD #170: What Needs Be Done
What Needs Be Done
Summary: CAG, CMO and ChEng discuss signs both hopeful and ominous back on the Colonies.
Date: 15 Aug 2041 AE
Related Logs: In and Out; etc.
Cidra Bia Gabrieli 
CAG's Office - Deck 10 - Battlestar Cerberus
Though it's not much bigger than the average ship supply closet, the office of the commander of Cerberus' air group has as much luxury as one can hope for aboard a battlestar: a hatch that locks. It is dominated by a blocky gray metal desk straight out of standard Navy supply. Behind it is the room's single indulgence, a high-backed rolling chair of almost comfortable-looking brown leather. That one, the CAG probably had to import herself. A few other chairs are shoved against the wall, able to be rolled over should visitors to the lair require one, though those are of the standard not-terribly-comfortable Navy offices variety. The aforementioned desk contains a computer that looks rarely touched and an ashtray of greenish glass that is obviously frequently used, as well as the standard office supplies. The surface is usually cluttered with files, squadron reports, flight schedules and other aerial bureaucratic sundry of the day. A metal carafe, filled with water or coffee or tea depending on the CAG's whim, is usually at hand on the desk's corner. The rest of the office is packed with filing cabinets and wall shelves, the latter of which hold various flight manuals and military and historical books. Any decorations on the walls are limited to professional awards and mementos from Major Hahn's past tours of service. It is largely devoid of the personal, save for one item: upon the shelf just behind and above her desk, serving as one side of a bookend to a collection of Raptor manuals, is a wooden statue of a small brown owl with very large eyes. A person might get the feeling of those eyes following him around this confined space.
Post-Holocaust Day: #170

The CAG has had Raptors out to some of the outer-lying Colonies over the past few days. For the most part they've returned. With something interesting enough that she's requested some official face time with the ChEng and CMO. Cidra sits waiting for them now. Her hatch is ajar, as it usually is when she's actually in office. She's at her desc, smoking, elbows on her desk and nose in an octagonal report on something-or-other.

You know it's official when they trim the corners off the paper. Enter the CMO, scrubs swapped for a lightly-more-formal labcoat, with a clipboard that hasn't suffered the same bureaucratic clipping as the papers attached to it. "Miss Cidra?" comes the drawl, a moment after her knuckles rapped the door and a moment before she enters. No real /urgency/, just a lack of standing upon ceremony.

Not long after the CMO raps on the door comes the third face — more than easily recognizable by the burn scars that have started to fade but will never completely disappear. Eschewing formality as usual, Gabrieli's in work fatigues rather than blues, with his usual cap on his head to hide where his brown hair never quite grew back. The olive hat's got permanent marker on it where some of his snipes got ahold of his headgear and endearingly drew on it. Under his arm is a folder of his own, some info he dragged up here to reference. Without so much as a knock, he steps in behind Bia and touches the rim of his cap to both. "Ladies."

Cidra is still in her flight suit. She looks like she's been inhabiting it for awhile, frankly, so she's probably /in/ from some patrol or other rather than about to go out. Blue eyes bright, with that slightly jittery energy of one who's running in good part on large quantities of caffeine and nicotine. "Dominic. Gracious. Grab a chair, please," Cidra says, not bothering to stand. Though her eyes do come up from her papers, and both are given a faint hint of a smile. "I will get straight to it. We have had some renewed reconnaissance efforts out to some of the outlying Colonies. The Colonel did wish to see if, and how, the Cylons have regrouped following some of our recent sorties. For my part, I took the opportunity do some passive sweeps for the possibility of survivors. We have found, in places at least, some things which are highly suggestive there *are* still people alive on some of those planets." She pauses to drag off her cigarette. Then remembers her manners, "Do you mind if I smoke?" The question seems mostly for Bia's benefit. Admittedly, the small space isn't comfortable for a non-smoker with her puffing away.

"Mister Gabrieli," says Grace with an incline of her head to the Chief Engineer. She crosses to one of the proffered chairs and settles into it, taming her labcoat in behind her with a sweep of her arm. "Hain't no problem for me," she assures Cidra, gesturing with one long-fingered hand — or maybe she's whisking the smoke away. That done, she crosses one leg over the other knee and toys with her pen. "Colonies with survivors," she echoes, emphasizing the plural. "Which ones have been searched?"

"Ma'am," Gabrieli responds to Bia, with no hint of it being a stand-in for her rank. Just plain backwater archaic Gemenese reflex. Polite, for the ChEng, the illusion of which he promptly ruins by stepping right past Cidra's desk unbidden, and sliding out her top drawer by her leg. What he was looking for is right on top — a cigarette. His half-there right brow lifts at the outer corner as the talking starts, temporarily pushing his intention to sit aside. "No kidding. Which-…" Bia gets the question out before he does, so he just looks at Cidra expectantly.

Cidra keeps smoking, then. The extent of her good manner satisfied. One elbow rests on her desk, be-cigaretted hand kind of held aloft so she can gesture with it and puff as it pleases her. Gabrieli is allowed to rummage, no real sign of surprise that he's doing it. Her drawers are apparently open to him. Wordlessly, she hands him her lighter. A beaten old metal thing. "Thus far we have sent out Rapors to Sagittaron, Aerilon and Virgon," Cidra replies. "A run is planned to Gemenon as well in the coming days." She tries to keep her tone carefully neutral as she says that. She almost succeeeds. But not quite. "What we have found thus far, at least on Sagittaron and Aerilon, I believe is promising enough thought to move for pushing into more interior Colonial space if we do find people alive there. Tauron and Libran were lighter hit than Leonis - where we did find humans alive in the city of Kythera. And on Caprica many of the cities were left untouched."

"Wasn't one of the larger Fleet battles fought around Virgon?" asks Grace, arched brows mildly furrowed, as if surprised at Virgon's inclusion with the other more… quaint colonies. "Powerful strange that they'd ruin Aquaria the way they did-" And set her homeworld off like a napalm-dipped tiki torch along the way. "-and leave Caprica intact." She doesn't dwell overlong, nor really look to either ChEng or CAG for answers.

There's little reaction on Gabrieli's face as Cidra mentions their shared home colony. The mention of Tauron is when he looks away to light his cigarette, spending a while to make sure it's properly lit. He sets the lighter back down on her desk and leans a shoulder back against the wall rather than take a seat. "Not really," he comments to the CMO. "Not when you consider resources. Caprica has plenty and advanced industry and technology — even fuel — available that might be of interest to them. I'd bet my ass that explains why anything is intact that is."

Cidra's accent is sort of a carnival funhouse mirror of Gabrieli's. Drawl more city girl than backwater, her Colonial Standard both more awkwardly labored in places and more formally academic. Gemenese both, albeit in entirely different flavors. A nod to Bia's words. "Yes. Virgon was among the hardest hit. And we have attempted salvage there a number of times since the attacks. The Colonel was interested in how the enemy has regrouped there - and around Sagittaron for that matter - due to our activities. Anyhow. I did the run to Virgon myself and I found no trace of survivors. If anything, the Cylon presence there was thicker that when we last ventured to that area. My ECO and I jumped into a location where we had previously been able to operate without detection and were set upon quite quickly by Cylon Raiders." She rattles this off quite calmly. On the surface, at least. Well, given all they've faced around Virgon in the past, one could surmise she expected the heat to be there particularly. "This may be of particular interest to you, Dominic. You are familiar with the Virgon Graveyard?" Not the most tasteful way to describe the place where so many Colonial ships now lay blasted, but it's the term that's become popular.

"Caprica City's that much more of a prize than Fleet Headquarters on Picon would've been?" wonders Grace, her dark eyes moving from Cidra over to the spot of wall where Gabrieli leans. "Likewise the Fleet Academy on Virgon, and yet-" She spreads her hands mutely. Gone. "Aquaria won't feed a soul for thousands of years, now, yet they leave survivors on Aerilon, maybe Libran…" A mild shrug, as she relents.

"Fleet Headquarters was a threat," Gabrieli replies to Bia, after a drag off his stolen cigarette. "A communications hub. Not that I claim to know how they're thinking, but if it's anything like standard military strategy then yeah, I'd expect that to be high on the target list. Civilian centers of technology and industry, no. Those can be overwhelmed and used." His light eyes look back at Cidra, partly shadowed by his cap brim. "Familiar…yeah, you could say that."

"I find the sparing of the Caprica cities *very* strange," Cidra agrees with Bia. She doesn't actually drag on her cigarette but watches the smoke curl up as she talks of this, rather than looking at either of them. "Especially given how hard Picon was hit. The two most powerful arms of Colonial government were Caprica and Picon. Particularly, the city of Delphi on Caprica escaping unscathed largely troubles me. Sight of the great temples of the Caprican faith." 'Caprican' faith. Mainline Colonial, technically, but the distinction is made firmly without much thought by her. "Meanwhile, on Gemenon, early reports showed our holy sites nuked to cinders in ways that seemed quite pointed." Again, she fails in keeping her tone neutral. She clears her throat. Pressing on with business. To Gabrieli, "Perhaps. The Cylon's plans confuse and unease me more the more we learn of their movements. Anyhow. To Virgon.

"I find the sparing of the Caprica cities *very* strange," Cidra agrees with Bia. She doesn't actually drag on her cigarette but watches the smoke curl up as she talks of this, rather than looking at either of them. "Especially given how hard Picon was hit. The two most powerful arms of Colonial government were Caprica and Picon. Particularly, the city of Delphi on Caprica escaping unscathed largely troubles me. Sight of the great temples of the Caprican faith." 'Caprican' faith. Mainline Colonial, technically, but the distinction is made firmly without much thought by her. "Meanwhile, on Gemenon, early reports showed our holy sites nuked to cinders in ways that seemed quite pointed." Again, she fails in keeping her tone neutral. She clears her throat. Pressing on with business. To Gabrieli, "Perhaps. The Cylon's plans confuse and unease me more the more we learn of their movements. Anyhow. To Virgon. I was only able to get in for two minutes before I had to return to base, but I was able to get some footage that is…intriguing. Raider and other Cylon debris appears to have been largely cleared from the area in high orbit. This squares with activity we saw elsewhere, particularly around Sagittaron. It is almost as if they are cleaning up after themselves. Or harvesting. I managed to get some photographic footage of Centurions and what appeared to be the abominations…" Humanoid Cylons, if non-fundy terms. "…in spacesuits working around the Colonial ships remaining their. Salvaging, like vultures on the husks of our fallen ships. Extracting the useable metals, though for what purpose I cannot begin to speculate now."

"Logical as machines in their tactics when it comes to some of the colonies, and then on others, as black and grudgeful as you'd never want to see." A little shake of her head, as she uncrosses and recrosses her legs. "Hain't possible that they're low on resources…" Good Gracious trails off, the unspoken …is it? hanging in the air.

Gabrieli's head is tilted downwards just enough that his cap brim keeps his eyes hidden while Cidra describes the destruction. He lifts the cigarette back to his mouth, chin coming up as he regards Bia, then Cidra. "I can't say anything about them being low. But regardless it says to me that they're building, whether military units or some other plans." He scratches the edge of hsi thumb past his nose, frowning. "Did you see anything that looked like construction going on up there? Anything being pieced together? Or just taking apart?"

"I suppose it is possible but I must admit I do not easily believe it," Cidra says to Bia. "On the one hand, yes, we dealt them a heavy hit over Sagittaron not long ago. Eight basestars destroyed, and countless Raiders and Heavy Raiders, not to mention their orbital base. On the other hand…they have access to all the mines and resources upon the Colonies, and have for months." She shakes her head. "Though, we have certainly been scrambling for resources. Gracious, I do not know. It is fearful strange to me. They seem to be regrouping for *something* but what it is, it does not reveal itself to me. For while their forces around Virgon were stronger than we have seen, Cylon presence on Sagittaron and Aerilon was…" She pauses. Searching for the right word. The one she lands on is, "…gone."

"May well be they realized by splitting themselves across all the colonies, we're able to worry at 'em, here and there. Hain't nothing we can do with our numbers against all of them in one place." Grace shrugs again, mildly, though a frown remains trapped between her brows. "Best in and out, where survivors may be, before they finish whatever they're planning."

"I'll assume that's a no," Gabrieli says to Cidra. He rolls his shoulder, reaching across the CAG's desk to ash his cigarette into whatever looks useful. He nods to Bia. "I'm not sure I'd bet on 'gone'. They may have moved military forces away, but it doesn't mean their…" He gestures absently with the hand holding the cigarette. "Ones Of Flesh" — his tone seems to capitalize the words — "Aren't still there." His tongue runs along the backs of his lower teeth. "Do you have those pictures, Cidra? Of the salvaging? I'd like to see them."

Cidra nods slightly to Bia. "Perhaps. They irradiated the Colonies. If mere destruction was their aim, in part, they succeeded. None will survive for long down there. Anyhow. I agree. In and out. Pick up what survivors may remain, extract, and go." Go where? She does not specify. It is quite likely she has not even thought that far ahead yet. "Anyhow. As I did say. While Virgon seems a lost cause we did find indications there might be humans left on the others. In the wilderness, mostly. On Sagittaron we got our best signs in the planet's southern region, their temperate jungles. In Aerilon our Raptor team spotted what appeared to be campfires in the mountains. The cities are gone, blasted, but it is at least indicative that some managed to flee and hold on." To Gabrieli, a slight shake of her head. "I only saw traces of salvage, not construction. And we do have photographs. I can get you all of them." A grim nod to Gabrieli. "Again, perhaps. While the Cylons *appear* to have deserted those two colonies, we also found evidence they were engaged in *something* there not long ago."

"A fair point, Mister Gabrieli. I wish I could say we were any closer to finding a way to test for the Cylon infiltrators than we were before," admits Grace with some grimness of her own, on matters of abominations and Ones Of Flesh. "But we're still trying. If there's a way, we'll find it. I wouldn't doubt the /something/ they were engaged in was more of the same bad news as Kythera and the research station in Sagittaron orbit."

Gabrieli nods to Bia, and then once to Cidra. "Let me get some people analyzing them and see what we can come up with. What materials they're concentrating on, what ships or even what kind of vessels they're using to salvage…that can potentially shed some light on what they're doing."

Cidra nods short. "I shall have them delivered to Engineering prompt, Dominic. Along with what photographs our scouts got of the surface during the recons, Gracious, of possible locations for survivors. We already have a possible line of communication open on Sagittaron. Our Raptor there picked up evidence whoever was left down there was making use of wireless channels, on neither Colonial nor Cylon frequencies. If Intelligence can decrypt what they are saying, perhaps we can use those channels to open a line to survivors down there. If, indeed, that is what they are." Her enthusiasm is carrying her away a bit, but the prospect of this all being a trap does still live in her mind. Another nod to Bia. Grimmer, this one. "That is…likely. We found many…bases that had been built by the Cylons in isolated areas of Sagittaron and Aerilon both. Though 'bases' is not really the right word. They did not appear to be military installations. While there were anti-aircraft guns around them, there was no weaponry or sign of offensive capability other than that. I can forward you the photos but they looked more like…prisons. Or holding pens."

Holding pens. "I see," says Grace, with the tone of voice of someone who wishes they didn't see at all. "It could follow that these prisons you saw were to hold their human resources-" If she says it quickly, and continues past, the concept won't be so appalling. It's what she tells herself, at least. "-for whatever they were working on in that station in orbit. If there weren't a similar station in Aerilon orbit, may be that they hadn't had time to collect the survivors yet." It's good news, if you squint and tilt your head just right.

"Then I'd bet whatever the frak they were doing on Leonis on that tower, they're continuing there." Gabrieli lets the cussword slip like just another beat in the sentence, barely noticing. "They've had enough to research how to copy our frakking…genes…whatever." He makes a colorful gesture at Bia, as if to ask the medical person's help on terminology there. Though he doesn't wait to go on. "Maybe they're making new Flesh Ones. Who knows, but fact is we can't be surprised if they're doing something like that down there. Problem is what to do about it, if anything."

"Abominations…" Cidra spits it under her breath with a cold sort of hatred. Another drag is taken off her cigarette. She has to ash it. She's smoking it far, far down and there isn't much left to puff on. Head tilts at Bia. Gaze sharpening. "Perhaps. That does seem likely, in fact. The 'bases' we photographed on both planets were very similar. But as I did say, we found them apparently deserted. They are, by at least appearances as I did say, cleaning up. As it were. The power out and deserted in their facilities on the surface. Sagittaron orbit picked clean where they should have been absolute metal carnage…" She shakes her head. "I understand it not. If the planet truly is deserted, you and yours may have a chance to get a closer look at those bases. You do agree with me, at least, that we must press for a rescue mission for possible survivors?"

Frakking gene whatevers. The CMO's mouth twitches, ever so faintly. A smile? A scowl? She ain't saying. Instead she drums her pen — still capped, no notes jotted down — against her leg. "If they were low on resources, they wouldn't have left those facilities abandoned. They would have dismantled them as well. There must be some other reason they were cleaning out the space wreckage." It's musingly said, and at least half to herself. "Barely needs to be said I'm in agreement, Cidra. If there's a chance of survivors, it's what needs to be done."

"Or just that the materials they got from the wreckage were the most fit for what they needed. Not all material is the same." Leave it to the ChEng to be pedantic about that. Gabrieli gets a final drag off the cigarette burning down to his dirty fingernails, and reaches over to stub it as he exhales over the top of Cidra's head. "Abso-frakking-lutely we should go for the survivors. Not talking barreling in — we have to know what we're up against. I know I'm preaching to choirs there. And I do want a look at those bases. Deserted or not."

"Excellent," Cidra says. Faintest of smiles curving her lips. "For my part, I am surprised we have not done it before now. But, well, I admit I have not pressed the issue. In any case, I know Major Tillman to be amenable. We spoke of this briefly and he did say he would support such an endeavor if we had a plan to go forth with it. We have the beginnings of one, at least, I do think, that we can take to Colonel Pewter. That man…" Her lips quirk wryly. She drags the last drag she can on her cigarette. "…I have no idea what that man is thinking at a given moment." Said with annoyance and no trace of irony whatsoever, from a woman who's so pointedly inscrutable most of the time.

"I'm certain the Cylons are particular about their alloy…whatevers," agrees the CMO with the ChEng, her expression perfectly, perfectly serious. She runs a hand over her hair, adjusting a strand that wasn't out of place to begin with, and says, "That man's playing a shell game with us all. Hain't the foggiest how to set about figuring him out yet."

"I do think he is trying to keep us off-balance," Cidra continues to complain about her CO. Again, no trace of irony. She clears her throat. "In any case, Gracious, I am sure your people have experience with humanitarian efforts. We should coordinate most closely, particularly with my Raptor personnel, as they will likely be handling a good part of any extraction effort. Dominic, I shall get you all the information I can both on those bases and the Cylon salvage efforts we photographed post-haste. As I did say, Intelligence is working on that transmission we picked up from Sagittaron. I do suspect we can have plans together to return there, and to Aerilon, within the coming days." Blue eyes bright with something resembling enthusiasm. Or just desperation for something to throw her energies into. Either way.

"I've a few what have assisted in such situations before," Grace agrees, nodding once. "I'll send what collection and preservation kits there's room for, as well, in case there's better luck finding botanicals than we had on Leonis. We've a few green thumbs aboard what'll know what to look for. If-" She pauses for just a moment, then smiles, faint and wry. "Well. We'll see what we'll see."

"The jungles and mountain forests, on Sagittaron and Aerilon respectively, did appear to have some surviving plant life," Cidra says. "If the Cylons truly are gone from these places perhaps we can linger to search and grab. Though I cannot say I would like to say overlong. It all still feels…fearful strange." She has no better explanation for it than that. "In any case, I have more work to do and I am certain you two do as well. I thank you for your time. We shall see what we shall see."

"All we can ever do, anymore," affirms Grace, that faint, wry smile still on her face as she straightens. "I'll be in touch regarding crew and cargo recommendations and…" Again she pauses for a beat, before finishing: "…I'll hope for some good news on your Gemenon reconnaissance." An incline of head to Gabrieli, another to Cidra, and she takes her leave, labcoat fluttering to catch up behind her.

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