AWD #487: Delivering Presents
Delivering Presents
Summary: Colonial forces return the drive and message they found in the bunker hatch to Major Gray.
Date: 21/10/2016
Related Logs: Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers, Return To the Truth
Angelis Gray Elias Kapali Kelsey Randy 
Command Bunker
They start inside. See the log…

Kelsey in the lead, it takes them even longer to ascend the stairs to make sure Randy's package doesn't get jostled. Nearly foty minutes looking at those bodies, their faces staring back. But with each one they look at, there's almost something different. Less foreboding. The sadness isn't there as much anymore. Instead, as they climb, there is the feel of tasking. Something driven, like the souls around them know something has changed. Even as they get tired with the climb, they can feel the souls with them, brushing their shoulders. Through the difficult sections each single one of them can feel hands on them, helping steady them. Unseen hands keeping them upright, working them further. When they reach the top, though, the hands stop but the feel of shoulders brushing doesn't cease.

In the lead, Kelsey looks a pale shade in the light. Her pistol is up and out, though, walking through corners with the thing up and aimed forward. She hasn't said a word since the orders to depart and continues on the way, leading them towards the airlock.

Randy knows this feeling, perhaps better than any of the others. The feeling of the hands of the unseen guiding her. As such, no alarm comes with the sudden sensation. She smiles in the darkness of the stairwell, her eyes glittering from the stray light off their tools. She doesn't say a word the entire way. With both realms of protection in place, she ascends…with the help of her brothers and sisters then and now. Emerging from the staircase, she pulls her pistol again, just as ready to chuck it and protect the case as she is to shoot anyone who threatens it and it's contents.

A lot more white around the eyes than she wants to admit, and exerting more self control than is at all pretty, Kapali moves at Randy's side every bloody step of the way. Every inch, in fact. Keeping hold of the case, maintaining the perimeter around Randy as well, just in case. The more they get company the more she goes pale, which makes her all sorts of patchy splotchy looking with the sunburn she's still sporting. Catching sight of the airlock up ahead, finally, has her taking a hasty step forward and hauling up, again, to make herself keep pace, despite a clear indication on her face that this IS her preferred next step.

Gray is in the rear, as ordered. The hands guiding him…somehow they both comfort him and give him the willies at the same time. He's careful, following in the others' footsteps lest he accidentally disturb the dead. He's also still focused…or at least, as focused as he can be, considering the flurry of bombshells that just hit him, alongside the feeling here which is slowly becoming more familiar than he ever expecred it to be.

Angelis falls in with Gray, also watching her step. Fingers run idly over her weapon. Not about to start firing or anything, just her way of thinking about something else other than the unseen hands. She keeps her gaze mostly focused forward, probably /not/ thinking about the same things as everyone else, a slight smile, a largely calm air. Like something was just confirmed for her.

Once at the airlock, Kelsey waits for everyone inside. She watches them closely, wordlessly, then shuts it with a button. The air cycles over them and the opposite door pops open. As they exit, each of them can feel the comforting shoulder-rubs fall away almost immediately… like they left brothers and sisters behind. Like they are leaving the wounded in there, but the voices are telling them to run. They need to get out of there. To carry the word.

Walking down the tunnel, Kelsey has her sidearm carried in the palm of her hand, ready to use at a moment's notice. Once they clear the tunnel to the open skies, she reaches to input the code into the hatch, opening it and climbing in first. Easier to get into the seat before the Marines board. She plops down into the pilots seat and begins an emergency start. The turbines begin to whine almost immediately. Rather than pulling on her helmet, she puts on the radio headset and clicks it over right away. "Orion, Raptor One-Zero Six."

The speaker is on in the pit so all can hear. "Zero-Six, go for traffic."

"Orion, Zero-Six. Clear channel for traffic." The other voices suddenly die on the radio. "Zero-Six, priority clearance into Orion break. We are hot inbound with cargo. Security detail aboard. I pass Word 'Comstock' with guns on deck two. We are departing. Zero-Six, out."

The Raptor begins to lift and suddenly there is a flurry of activity on the radio. The air traffic officers suddenly start denying every bit of airspace and telling people to hold who were already requesting take-off. The sheer amount of radio chatter and urgency to it indicates a lot.

It is the single fastest flight any one of them has ever had from the surface to Orion.

Randy boards and straps herself in. She doesn't let go of the case. Instead, she holds it close to her chest, close to where she stows the trinkets of her past, arms wrapped around it. There's a fresh sadness that shifts into her eyes, but it doesn't dull the grin she's had since the stairwell. "Rest well," she whispers as the bunker slips out of sight when they rise out of the valley.

As much as the feelings were making him feel odd inside, it's almost stranger having them vanish. The absence actually makes him feel a bit sad…but as he approaches the Raptor and climbs in behind Randy, that also makes him feel odd as well. "What the frak is with that place…" he mumbles, almost incoherently, as he takes his seat.

Angelis settles into her seat, still silent. Her fingers running idle patterns over her rifle, examinging every nook and cranny, short of stripping the thing down. She's still got that weird little smile on her lips, head tilting back, resting against the back of her seat as she stares at nothing in particular. Still fairly relaxed, though clearly thinking about something.

Kapali had stepped out into the light, into the open air, with a gasp for breath that was both loud and not terribly well masked. She also, from the way that she is sweating visibly, doesn't terribly care that it wasn't as marine cool as she'd have preferred it to be. She climbs aboard with the rest, buckling in beside Randy, but she doesn't or maybe can't ease back from her grip on the rifle until the Raptor lifts off. Not even then, to be fair. She is breathing, carefully, though her teeth at this point, face set in a neutral mask.

The Raptor is flown fast. Kelsey seems to have a total disregard for protocols, or at the least they have been waived. There's a hard bank into the flight pod and she skids onto the elevator. Brought down, she says only enough to confirm that they have touched down. It feels every bit like a combat landing. The jar of the elevator hits and they descend. Hitting the bottom on the Hangar Deck, there's a PO1 ordering people back from the Raptor, keping everyone at a wide berth. It only seems to draw more attention. "Hatch open! Marines out!" she calls, throwing off the headset.

Once everyone is out and onto the floor of the deck, there's an eerie silence. Word has already spread it seems. The sounds of the deck are distant, tools not being worked within 50m. Every single Deckie within that area is held at the perimeter.

"Did you go to the bunker??"

"What did you find?"

"Tell us A Truth!!"

"Was She there??"

Kelsey exits after and has her pistol back out, held at her side, leading the way. "Make a hole! NOW!" she screams at everyone in her path towards the stairs.

Everyone stares at the Marines like they had touched the other side of the Styx. Word has certainly gotten out. Each one of them has at least two people try to get their attention to ask about seeing their relatives. …This is no longer contained. Its exploded. Subtly.

Randy moves to the edge of the hatch opening and actually gets down onto her knees, then rear, one leg at a time. Then she stands up and lifts up her sidearm as if to show everyone she's wielding it /in/ the Hangar Bay. She has her other arm wrapped around the case like someone tucking a pyramid ball, her hand threaded through the handle. Once they are ready to move and in formation, she lowers her sidearm, but keeps it in hand, armed. She moves forward in time with Kelsey, keeping her comms channel open, but clear, just in case she needs to communicate with any of the others quickly. Eyes sweep her thin perimeter as she moves.

Rifle held ready in both hands, hands that are more steady now than at any time between entering the bunker and exiting the bunker, Kapali keeps the weapon aimed at the floor and the selector toggled accordingly. She may not be much taller than Randy, but as her designated escort and mobile guard, she's doing her part to help clear the path and keep everyone away from Randy and the precious cargo that she's carrying.

Gray glares at the Deckies. He stops short of screaming obscenities at them; though his weapon is on safety, he's hit with a torrent of feelings and emotions: Irritation at the barrage of questions being shouted like so many tabloid reporters; shock at what he saw there and some corner of his mind processing it; a wave of indignant anger on behalf of the questioners as he hears them and understands where they're coming from; a realization of how powerful what is down there is to people; and a certain despair that he /can't/ answer them…that as much as he'd /like/ to give them answers, he's powerless to. And that just makes him want to explode even more. The press of the crowd, even held at bay, means that he's suddenly /very/ twitchy, looking at the crowd and trying to assess it, glancing around in case someone tries to rush them. Yeah, orders be damned, the rifle is /definitely/ staying on safety.

Getting her head back out of whatever cloud it was floating in, Tabi steps out of the Raptor ready for action. Her smile is gone and she's looking all kinds of serious. Though perhaps still not quite as twitchy as her fellow marines. She's solid, automatically checking over her rifle before flipping it over to red and standing ready to move when the go is given. Angelis gives the crowd an assessing once over, then another one, before focusing forward. Deceptively relaxed, she brings up the rear, once more falling into step with Gray, her rifle pointed at the ground, but held like it's ready to be brought up at any perceived provocation.

"MAKE A HOLE!" is shouted every ten seconds like a snapcount. Kelsey walks them right off the Deck and into the stairwell. There's a walk back to the main corridors, too. Even a Chief stands aside. The pilots on their way stand aside, giving weird looks. It isn't until they get back into the main corridors that things get more real. A JG up front yelling with a gun in her hand, MP's meld in as they pass the security hub. Two of them, both armed with rifles and grenade launchers, walk out ahead.

They climb the stairs to Deck Two and Kelsey shoves open the hatch. "GUNS ON DECK TWO!" she shouts at the top of her lungs. That, right there, seems to cut the path like a hot knife through butter. Every single person looks at the group marching, pushing themselves to the wall. Even as they pass by, there's a Lieutenant Colonel standing aside and watching. Up here, nobody asks questions but every single person can feel the tension in the air. Nobody, ever, brings a loaded fireteam to Deck Two, Fore, for any reason. But Kelsey walks them forward. Anyone who can see her eyes can see someone scared shitless.

Reaching the hatch, she hauls the lock back. "Secure weapons forward, defend the hatch once inside. All in. Go." She hauls it back and opens the door.

Gray keeps his position in the formation, but he's glancing over his shoulder about every five seconds just-in-case, and wishing he had eyes in the back of his head right now. He's never seen Kelsey like this, never been in a position where it feels like he's /storming/ Deck Two, Fore. When they get to the hatch, Gray follows the rest of the squad in and then takes up a position to hold the hatch against… "…Sir? We 'specting anyone to storm in behind us?" he asks as he swings into position.

When they start to climb the stairs, Randy safeties and holsters her sidearm, but leaves it unsnapped. She shifts the case to both hands so she can hold it level and concentrate on absorbing any shock. It takes them longer during this part, and the only warning Randy gives people on the approach to the stairwell is, "This will take longer," into the open comm channel. Once she makes it to Deck 2, she shifts the case carefully and pulls out her sidearm again, flicking the safety off. The Lieutenant Colonel looks a little unfamiliar, and Randy shifts her trajectory slightly to give herself more buffer room from the stranger. She's not just walking down a corridor. She's scanning for potential threats, things out of the ordinary, even someone dropping something she could trip on. Now is not the time to be a klutz. She steps in through the hatch.

Angelis files through the hatch behind everyone else and silently takes her position to the side and opposite of Gray. Still not a word from the usually chatty Marine. But then, no words are really necessary. Instead she watches her fellow Marines and the Pilot, and everything else too. For now though, her face is completely impassive, any thoughts she may or may not be having kept well under wraps. Now that they're stopped, she takes a moment to check over her weapon again, making sure it's still good to go, which it is, and then her fingers just keep moving idly, back and forth, though careful not to wander too close to the trigger.

Maintaining proximity again, Kapali has one hand about half an inch at the most from the back of Randy's jacket every inch of the way. She moves in a sidelong fashion, stepping so that she can scan behind and around, watching Randy's back and the rest of the arc from this angle as she moves. The furthest away she is hapepns when they go up the stairs and then, equally, when they step through the hatch. She wears the expression that suggests invading her personal space or offering violence will be met with equal if not more. This is one of the BEST times to look like a trigger happy marine.

Elias would have been made very well aware that the mission to return to the bunker was to take place about 90 minutes ago. Given that there was so much speculation about what exactly was to be found in the bunker's locked safe, and if it was even a safe or a self-destruct device, there were several Codewords that were drawn up for passing to CIC on take-off. About ten minutes ago a yeoman had entered the Map Room and walked over to the Major and saluted before passing a note. One word: 'Comstock.' It means the team found something of extremely high value and would be returning under fully armed escort, proceeding direct to the Map Room and waiting there if nobody was to meet them. Elias is probably expecting them if he's still there when they arrive.

Elias is waiting, and has taken the precaution of moving the usual MPs into the CIC proper with orders to observe only, and to stay out of the Map Room. The compartment has been cleared of all the fleet staff and planning people as well, leaving the acting TACCO alone to greet the returning team. His sole presence, in rumpled blues with only a clipboard and a smouldering cigarette, might remind of easier days before he was 'promoted' to Tactical Officer. It does for him at least, as he uses the calm before the storm to smoke in momentary peace. The sound of the Marines' arrival on deck two are clear, however, and the young Major pushes off the map table and stands, waiting patiently to see what's been found.

Kelsey waits for the Marines to enter before she follows them in. She's wearing her full survival kit and is just putting her sidearm back into the holster, a sound of the gun being safetied with it. The JG looks pretty nervous, especially considering she's only ever been up here once or twice before. "Sergeant Flynn, have two Marines on the door please. Nobody enters until the Major grants permission. Those two remain armed, please. Everyone else safety weapons." She then takes a breath and turns to the Major and snaps a salute to Elias. "Jay-Gee Wescott and Sergeant Flynn returning from the bunker, sir. I apologize for the guns but I wasn't sure how to handle this, I just knew you needed it right away, sir."

Stepping through the hatch carefully, Sergeant Flynn is completely surrounded by the original crew of Marines and the Wing officer that left on said mission not 90 minutes ago. With Angelis and Anderson in the rear and Sergeant Kapali mobile and on guard, and a few extra to plug the holes. In one hand, Randy carries a smallish black shockproof, fireproof, everything Colonial-scientists-can-think-of-proof case. In the other hand she has her sidearm, safety off. Her rifle is slung over her back and by the looks of it, she hasn't stopped to take off any of her gear. Neither have any of the others. Eyes scan for threats and some of the Marines look a little twitchy. As soon as Randy's through the door, "Angelis, Anderson, door now." Randy then safeties her sidearm and holsters it. Kapali safeties her rifle as well, keeping it pointed at the ground. Randy steps forward while Kapali sticks behind her, the newly minted Sergeant abandoning her duty to be Randy's extra hands, eyes, and everything else should Randy get klutzy. Sergeant Flynn nods to Major Gray in greeting.

Elias returns Kelsey's salute in passing, most of his attention on the case Randy is hauling along. Despite the armed Marines and the possible 'big find' on Piraeus, the Major's reaction seems rather calm. Yes, he's clearly curious about what they've found, but without some idea what it is or how useful it may be, he's guarded about it. No hopes raised here. "Mmm," he says for Kelsey's. "By your entrance, I am going to guess you have some idea what it is." Then he turns towards the Sergeant, nodding her toward the map table. "Sergeant? Assuming it's safe, why don't you put that down here."

"We were told what it is, sir. We were told more than I think any one of us was ready to know, Major." The hand drops the salute and she gestures for Randy to move the box. "Supposedly its a hard drive. Sergeant, can you brief the Major?" The JG takes a step back and approaches each Marine, "I need all helmet cam sim cards in the palm of my hand." Her gloved hand is held palm-up in front of each Marine.

"Yes sir." Randy moves towards the table and lays the case down carefully enough that it wouldn't even disturb a fly. A closer look reveals the case is combo-locked. "It is a drive. I don't believe it's of the 'hard' variety if it lasted this long. I won't open it here, only in a clean-room with a faraday cage and the guarantee whatever environment it is in isn't going to be jumping or experiencing any Gs. In short, although it has survived this long, short of dissecting it, which we shouldn't do, there's no guarantee how long it will last. I would recommend transferring the data to a secure air-gapped storage device that be kept…safe," because 'safe' is the best word to describe all the measures that would be needed. "As for what is on the drive sir." Randy keeps quiet, even in the Map Room itself. "Sir. When we opened the hatch, we were given a message from the a high ranking officer in the Piraean military. I would assume the file that played is on this disk and the proper codecs to play it. The message told us of the origins of the lines, that they were designed to protect humankind against rogue AI. That this has all happened before, even before their time, and they suspected it would happen again. He spoke of some refuge and mentions that this drive contains pertinent coordinates to the rally point. This message was recordced as a failsafe for possible future humans when they realized that their struggle was lost. The Piraeans were not originally from here and had fled to the planet 2 millenia before the recording to hide from their enemy. The Lines were created by humans to protect humanity against rogue AI. They are the digitized sums of past Piraeans that volunteered. He said that in time, they came to live among the people, have children, integrate with societies. He said they were /mothers/ and /fathers/. The Piraeans made a fleet of them and sent them out into space to find a new home should the machines find them. The fleet found the rogue AI and the rogue AI found Pireaus. The AI nuked them and then finished them with a heavy ground invasion, but not before the Piraeans were able to make this data arc. Sir," Randy's head turns slightly. "This drive? It contains /everything/ they have on the enemy. Star systems, capabilities, everything they have. There are coordinates for the refuge sir…Sir, when I was on Libran, at that abandoned mine shaft turned whatever the Librans did to it…Sergeant Kapali and I overheard a Five talking about how 'they' mistranslated a word all along. That it's translation was /ark/. Sir, that was no mine. I believe, as crazy as it might sound, that it was a ship, or part of a ship…something or at the very least, they're looking for this rally point or something. It might not be related, but I thought I should say something. It looked like they were doing archaelogical digs on Libran."

"Told?" Elias arches a brow at Kelsey. "I take it The Captain made an appearance?" The question of exactly what they were told is left for later. And while the Raptor pilot is making the rounds gathering data cards for the helmet cams, he takes a long drag on his cigarette and focuses on Randy's explanation. His attention is focused, his eyes narrowed, as the Sergeant begins the story. Then as she gets into the details of the timing and history of the skinjobs, Elias takes a puff on his smoke and appears to be mulling things over, only half-listening, well before she's finished. "Mmm." And then the young Major is silent for a moment, staring fixedly at the ancient device. "That matches some of what The Captain told me. We'll have a look at the information and see if it can help us deal with our own Cylon problem." He exhales smoke, then shakes his head. "It seems unlikely there's a direct link with the ship on Libran, but …" He waves a hand. Not enough information to know for certain.

Kelsey finishes collecting the cards and brings them over to the table, placing them down by the lockbox. "No, sir. The officer we saw was on a large display screen. It was a recording made before the end of the war. The voice- It was in the room with us. In my head. I'm not sure what our cameras recorded for audio." She glances to Randy, then back to Elias. "Libran? They both used the same word?" Eyes to Randy, then to Elias again. "The recording said specifically that the Piraeans had no way to get off the planet to get to the refuge anymore, but didn't say that nobody had, Major. He used a very particular term: 'Rally Point.' He said its very, very distant but they had confirmed enemy space between here and there. I doubt he's referring to Libran… But if these people fled to P from another planet five thousand years ago? It's like Corporal Andersen said, sir. The math is a little disturbing to consider. If the scrolls are accurate, sir, then this place was being nuked about the same time the thirteenth tribe left Kobol. Where did the thirteenth go? Where did the Piraeans come from before all this? Sir, he said we're not alone. …What if we have allies out there somewhere?"

"Yes …" Elias says to Kelsey, sounding a little lost in thought still. "Whatever their translations technology is, it is quite … efficient." And the TACCO can only offer a vague sounding "Mmm" for the pilot's conjecture. "If it's true that there have been multiple cycles of destruction, we're more likely to run into enemies than allies. Possibly what happened to Galactica. Though after thousands of years, the galaxy /should/ be be wall to wall robots. So … who knows. Let's find out what they've actually left for us before we go too far afield." He inhales from his smoke and slowly breathes out, then adopts a more definite tone. "I want you all to keep quiet about the details, for now. That is an order. We'll make an announcement to the fleet shortly, but I want to see exactly what we're dealing with here first." He indicates the case with a wave of his hand.

"To clarify sir. I don't believe what this Rally Point is /is/ on Libran. We know they're looking for something. It's highly probably they are looking for this if they know of it. Ark is a term for a refuge from obliteration. This Refuge or Rally Point seems to fit that bill, though, to my knowledge, we have no way to confirm that they know of it still. It's all just hypothetical sir and a bit of a stretch, but how many ark like places could there be? My guess is they hoped something they would find on Libran would point them to the true location." Randy nods to Kelsey and then to the Major. "Yes sir. Absolutely sir." No extra commentary is given.

Kelsey considers that and looks down for a moment. "That's assuming the Piraeans and humanity even came from this galaxy, then, doesn't it? I mean, on a big time scale I guess what you're saying makes sense, though." Hrm. She then looks back to the Major and nods. "Aye, sir. But if that's a drive, isn't it going to take time? I mean- they're technically an alien race." About to continue, she stops herself and forces her mouth to stop running that direction. "Understood, sir. We'll only discuss it with each other for now."

"We know One is looking for something," Elias agrees with Randy. "If it is this 'refuge' then we'll be a step ahead of him, for a change. If not …" The officer shrugs a little. Kelsey's point is given the same sort of dispassionate consideration, and then a slow nod. "I hope we are from some other galaxy. That would greatly simplify our current problem. Which is why I'm not holding out much hope of that." And then he gives another small nod for the issues of interfacing with the device. "The information will take time to process, even if it's all directly transmitted like their speech. But we know enough to inform the crew about Piraeus, and the skinjobs. It's a question of … crafting the message." This bit is given another moment of thought, then Elias frowns to himself and turns to the away team. "Lieutenant, Sergeant. Well done. Unless you have anything further to report? That will be all."

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