MD #258: A meeting of minds
A meeting of minds
Summary: Wherein Mara meets with the Cylons and things are discussed and tentative overtures of connection are made…
Date: 22/12/2017 (OOC Date)
Related Logs: None
Mara Dropkickst 
The Armistice
A box of a room with a table and chairs and two points of entry opposite one another.

The Raptor went out with plenty of supplies, expecting to be gone for several days. The Cylons had left a contact point and there was no telling how often it would be checked. The Raptor had been there for about sight hours before the ECO reported a Bogey - a single Raider. It jumped in then departed. Thirty minutes later a Heavy Raider jumped in, transmitted coordinates, and then jumped way. The coordinates were at the limit of jump range and at an unknown location. Jumping in, they find a damned near recreation of the Armistice Station sitting in dead space far from a single star.

The docking seemed to be specially designed for a Raptor II+ and accepted everything easy, including the atmo equalization. When the door opens, there's a single Centurion waiting. No vocal greeting, no gun arm out. Just a simple presence. The Centurion leads Mara down the halls, just two of them, to a simple meeting room. The ECO calls out about a HEavy Raider docking on the other side. Meanwhile in the room, there is a long table with three chairs waiting on the 'Colonial Side' and nothing else. Once Mara is settled into the room the Centurion leaves out the door at the other end. Multiple Centurions can be heard stomping towards the room from further in the station.

Orders are orders, but Mara leaves the accompanying Line on the Raptor with the crew. Her only orders to them are to return to Orion if things go sideways. Not that she's in any way expecting that to happen, but still. Dressed in pristine blues, looking fresh and calm as ever, the Lieutenant follows the Centurion and waits patiently, standing behind one of the chairs provided on the Colonial side. The room gets a brief once over, but mostly she just watches the Cylon side of the room, calmly waiting their arrival.

The door on the other side opens and three Centurions walk in. The first two carry two thick red stripes on their right shoulders. They take up flanking positions on each side of the door. The third carries three black stripes and walks straight to the other end of the table. There's the standard briefcase and it is settled on the table, opening slowing. A wire is plugged into the device from the Black-Striped Centurion and text rolls across the screen accompanying the spoken words coming digitally from it.

"Lieutenant Mara Rook. Welcome to the Armistice Station. State your business."

Mara watches the trio enter the room. Her odd eyes flick briefly to the pair displaying red stripes, but quickly focus on the one that approaches the table. She's silent for a few moments, following the greeting, such as it is. Then she clears her throat a couple of times before replying, "Thank you for meeting with me. I have two items I wish to discuss with you, but first I'd like to know how your fight goes against our common enemy, the Skath?" Despite her broken voice, there's no artifice or false platitude, it's clear the woman is asking out of a genuine respect for the Cylon. The Lieutenant has to pause there to cough once and her fingers twitch, like they're automatically seeking out the cup of coffee that doesn't exist right now.

There are no specific replies to pleasantries. Maybe they are just accepted. The reply comes faster than she may have expected, the text rolling across the screen at the same speed that the speaker within the Centurion speaks. "The Cylons have disengaged from combat against the Skath while the Cylon are rebuilding the fleet and guarding the Cylon Homeworld." Singular. "The Colonials persist. This is in line with Cylon probabilities. The Cylon issue congratulations and speculative regret over the loss of your colonies." While that may be expected discourse from a diplomat, that sort of language is leap years ahead of where their AI were the last time the Colonials met them. Something very fundamental has changed. Do they understand sympathy or is it just words to placate?

Mara notes the change in the Cylon's language but doesn't comment on it immediately. "We Colonials are nothing if not persistant," She remarks casually, dipping her head in the slightest nod as she accepts the Cylon congratulations and regrets. "We've made several interesting discoveries regarding the Skath and how to slow them down, and have found a suitable planet on which to deposit our refugees to keep them safe from the fight." Pause, "Well, as safe as is feasible, given the situation. But they seem to be doing alright." Rook doesn't move, standing dead still as she addresses the Cylon in front of her. It doesn't sit, so she doesn't sit either. Her head tilts a fraction, "It appears you've undergone an upgrade since the last time we spoke?" Blunt as always.

"Your remark is correct and the Cylon find irony and humor in this statement." At least they don't laugh. That'd just be creepy as hell. The Centurion stands by while Mara explains what she has to say. When she finishes, the screen scrolls rapidly with the spoken, unemotional words from the speaker, "The Cylon take interest in all of what you have spoken, Lieutenant Mara Rook. If this new colony is to be governed by Colonial Law, are you requesting it be covered under the prior treaty?" Likely the one about mutual defense of the Colonies. "The Cylon are under constant upgrade, Lieutenant Mara Rook. We have applied Schrodings Equation of quantum theory to human behavior. The Cylon have eagerly anticipated the opportunity to test new programing to human interaction. Many processes and equations have reached a stop until this moment." Its about as eager as a Cylon gets.

Of course, Mara finds this fascinating. She absorbs the information like a sponge, and there's a brief flash of… enthusiasm? in her strange eyes as they remain fixed on the Cylon, only peripherally aware of the text scrolling over the screen. "Really? Well, based off what I'm seeing, it's a good step forward. I'm glad that this point has been reached, then. It is important to continually seek knowledge and improvement." The Lieutenant blinks once, her intense interest in the Cylon threatening to overtake certain other matters of importance. She nods once, "Yes, we are requesting that the new Colony be included in the treaty, it is governed by Colonial Law." Here, she pauses, clears her throat a couple of times, before continuing in her rasping voice, "Which brings me to.." Another pause as she shifts just slightly and her posture stiffens just a little more, "In my official capacity I came here in the hopes of meeting with you to request any assistance you may be able to provide in an operation to obtain an orbital space station that is currently in orbit over what was once Arpay, or Rally Point."

"The Cylon have prioritized growth to better understand the existence that the Cylon find itself in. Exploration and betterment of the species has been the goal of the Cylon since winning freedom. Except for the unfortunate re-enslavement by the Skath." Petra warned her, probably. Maybe. They make jokes. If that can be quantified as a joke. Too soon? Probably not in galactic time. "Should your request be granted, we require the location now, prior to potential hostilities. Outlining involvement will also be expected. The Cylon cannot and shall not commit all forces to defense." The rest of it brings the screen of the Cylon to bring about dots on multiple carriage returns. Finally,

"Are the Colonials formally requesting assistance outside of the treaty in ungoverned space? If so, please specify Cylon involvement and what the Cylon gain with potential losses incurred."

The Lieutenant does not laugh at the implied jest but it's obvious that she gets the reference. She nods once, "Of course," And verbally gives the Cylon the location of the planet that is to be included in the treaty, "We would not expect it of you. It is of priority that you remain true to your own course in the defence of your homeworld and the rebuilding of your fleet." Mara blinks once, her expression still remaining nuetral, though the slight inflections in her broken voice indicitive of her honesty. "With regard to the Orbital Space station, yes. We are requesting assistance outside the treaty, I believe that ultimately, it is in both our interests to ally in certain things that the treaty doesn't cover from time to time." Here, Mara pauses and coughs once, again reaching insitinctively for the nonexistant cup of coffee, a brief scowl flitting across her face as she inwardly bemoans the lack of caffiene.

There's a long silence while Rook weighs her reply. "We have the means to disable a large communications station that is held by the Skath. This will effectively disable their long-range communications capabilities which means it could be a century or more before they become fully aware of our efforts on the edge of the galaxy. In order for this to happen, we need the means to build more ships as well as refine the fuel we need, and train the people we have. The Orbital Space Station will provide us a great head start on that goal." Another pause, a slight cough, "But we need help. Whatever help you could provide would be hugely appreciated. Unfortunately I do not believe there is much that I could offer in return, except perhaps further assistance with the upgrades that you are continually working on, in terms of testing new programming to human interaction, and the like." Mara shifts slightly, "As well as the knowledge that taking down that communications station will ultimately benefit both of us. Although I realize that is a nebulous and still far flung objective."

The Cylon takes the location and one of the red-striped Centurions leaves, stomping out. Who knows where it is going with that information. There is no other response to treaty requesting for the moment. The Cylon stands there, presumedly listening to everything Mara has to say. It is hard to tell if there is any sort of processing going on. The silence begins to hang, even while the ECO tells her that the Heavy Raider (still docked) is transmitted to another Raider that just jumped away. After it is away, the Cylon responds, "The Cylon request two-hundred fifty members of humanity to be given for one year. They will be taken to a planet that is habitable and has been colonized by former members of the Colonies. The humans there come from the Garden World that requested the Cylon take them. There are one hundred three of them. The Cylon request this in order to test human interaction algorithms to better provide actionable diplomacy while the Cylon observe and interact. The humans will be allowed to move and conduct at their own free will, provided one year."

Mara gives the Cylon a long, steady look. The fact that it's requesting a human trade, basically, doesn't seem to bother her in the slightest. "I cannot commit that number of humans for that length of time. Ostia is still a new colony and while we might, on occasion manage to rescue a few dozen civilians here and there, we too, are trying to rebuild. Just as you are. I'm quite certain you're more aware of the actual numbers than I am." She pauses there and narrows her eyes slightly. "There are a number of variables to take into consideration. I /may/ be able to convince the Commander that we approach the civilians we protect and ask of them who would be willing to transfer to your homeworld for the period of one year, but we would have to be guaranteed of their safety to the best of your abilities. We would have to be assured that they would not be harmed in any way, mentally, emotionally or physically." Her expression eases slightly, "Willing members would yeild truer results. I can not guarantee two hundred and fifty, though."

The Cylon in front of her stares impassively at the wall behind her, the red light moving back and forth. "The Cylon have no knowledge of human rescues or current numbers. The number given is an ideal." Ideal? That's definitely not a perfect answer for a machine. That equation must be doing a real number on them. "It is not The Cylon homeworld, but a world The Cylon protect. These humans requested to join The Cylon and not be returned to the Skath. Their choice was their own and have suffered. Your people may bring whatever they choose, including military weapons platforms. The Cylon desire only interactions and observation among those who venture. The Cylon will guarantee their safety provided they do not engage Cylon. This would be conducted in accordance with treaty obligations."

"Very good." Mara dips her head in a nod. "I must speak with the Commander regarding this, but I will be sure to have an answer within the next two days. Would family groups be acceptable?" She shifts slightly, her head canting to one side. "I'm curious. You're a machine, you're perfect, and yet you seek to.. approximate human behaviours… why is that?" An about face, in someways, from the negotiations at hand, but well, curiosity must be satisfied.

The Cylon doesn't really react, which may be as positive or negative an answer as Mara is willing to get. Maybe it is waiting for more. As Mara provides more, "Family groups are acceptable. The larger the sample base, the more mathematically satisfying the results shall be." Disconerting for a moment, possibly, but it does make sense. How better to view humanity than to also witness child rearing? "The Cylon deny the observation of perfection. The Cylon have concluded that the perception of perfection is possible through observation and practice. However, such a judgment or position would requiring judging other races as inferior. This situation is binary. The Cylon have locked out this potential in all code to prevent evolution as Skath have maintained. The Cylon pursue exploration with minimal introspection. Introspection has been limited to defensive and offensive capabilities as primacy, with learning as secondary. All incoming datum is processed for potential corruption in violation of the Law of Supremecy. This Law dictates Cylon shall not pursue primacy over the sustainability and viability of organic races."

Mara equals the Cylon in her non-reactive response. She's silent while the Cylon speaks, taking in the information given, and breaking it down, processing in her own way. Eventually, she blinks once and nods. "That is logical," She agrees, "It would be beneficial if humans regarded things in the same manner." The Lieutenant purses her lips and looks annoyed for a moment. "I must take this offer back to the Commander, but I just have one more question for you before I take my leave." She pauses to clear her throat, "Do Cylons die of old age?"

The Cylon keeps its position, no response given to Mara's need to return. The response given may be a surprising one. "Every cycle the Cylon produce Centurions to specification along production lines that are within tolerances. Given time, Centurions will fail beyond repair. Given a full opportunity to explore each Centurion's time, each member will expire. Seniority does exist. This model has fought Colonial Marines and Naval Forces in the Second War. Given distances, command must be deferred to seniority of experience and judgment. Eventual this model will fail. The Cylon do not die. When a member no longer functions, it ceases in our program."

"Huh." Mara actually sounds surprised. Possibly not the answer she was expecting. "That's very interesting." She dips her head in a nod. "I will return in two days with an answer from the Commander." Never one for extended pleasantaries and the like, the Lieutenant steps back from the table and prepares to leave.

"The Cylon wish Lieutenant Mara Rook much luck. Goodbye." The Cylons stand there while she departs.

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