AWD #420: Dig Site Progress
Dig Site Progress
Summary: Toby asks Thanos about the dig's progress, and she makes him a very generous offer.
Date: 15/08/2016
Related Logs: None
Thanos Toby 
CIDSR - Piraeus
The Caprican Institute for Deep Space Research has one of the larger buildings on the site and for good reason. Coming inside, there is an automatic badge check for those coming and going from an armed Marine standing post behind a receptionist. The single hallway branches off towards the rest of the office and laboratory access while a single room labeled 'Equipment' is set off to the side and behind the Marine.
AWD #420

Thanos' research and homebase space is one of the smaller laboratories with an open bay "office"; no need for any kind of shielded space for the people who work here. The desk is cluttered; stacked with field notebooks and schematics, dog eared reports—a panel behind it filled with photographs that to the untrained eye kind of look like more accidental photos (of the ground, people's feet on the ground, grid-marked dirt).

In the main part of the lab, there are a number of small isolation units (about the size of baby incubators), with portals and attached gloves for working. And it's by one of those units that Thanos is indeed working at somethingit looks like stuck together yellowed clump of papers, that she's trying to very carefully separate without breakingthough the dust that's scattered around it indicates this is a difficult process indeed. The blonde scientist wears a pair of magnifying goggles, and there's beads of sweat dotted across her brow, the tip of her tongue sticking ever so slightly out of one corner of her mouth in concentration.

Toby has been trying to hunt down the archaeologist for a while, and there's a small look of relief on his face as he's directed through the CIDSR building having been informed that she's in Sheridan. Noting that she looks like she's concentrating he knocks gently on the door he just came through, then clears his throat. "Doc, you got a few?"

The knock stirs her. Carefully Thanos puts down her tools first, and then turns towards the door, squinting, her eyes magnified to alien like proportions because of the lenses. "Yes?" she replies, cheerfully, perhaps a question of who it is or an agreement that she does have a few; and then she realizes she's still got her eyewear on, and shoves the goggles further up on top of her head. She blinks a few times, owl-like, until the rest of the room comes into focus. "Please, do come in." She wipes her forehead with her forearm, at least it wasn't her hand! "How can I help you?" Her smile is friendly and open.

Once she disengages herself from the equipment Toby heads over and offers a hand to shake should she be willing. Not that he's taken his gloves off mind, but he offers his hand nethertheless. "I was wondering if I could talk to you Doc, I know you've likely go everyone wanting to, what with the ghosts and all, but if I could impose on your time I hope it'll be mutually useful."

Toby's handshake is accepted and returned, Thanos' grip firm but not obnoxious. "You were part of the crew that picked me up, weren't you?" She says, after examining him. "It's good to see you again." She gestures towards the office area—and once they're there she'll nudge out the chair for him, choosing instead to park her butt on the edges of her desk, easy lounging for someone as tall and lanky as she is. "It's not an imposition at all. Please, have a seat. Would you like something to drink? I've some water, that isn't reclaimed!" Perhaps that's a joke, but she seems rather excited about it. "What's on your mind?"

"I was," Toby confirms with a faint nod, then sinks into the offered chair, "I'm one of the deck technicians on Orion." At the offer of a drink he asks, "do you have coffee made from it? If not then just water is fine, thank you." As for what's on his mind, well, that takes him a bit longer to frame in speech, but he starts with, "I was part of the initial group that found the dig site, when the Ghosts first appeared. Is there any progress there at all? New information?" He's very much testing the water, waiting to judge her response before he goes further himself.

"Sadly no. I've not quite been able to requisition one, though I think I might have bribed someone with more technological knowhow to fix one up," Thanos admits with a smile. She rummages through the sidecabinet to produce a mug, and then a carafe, that looks to be old-fashioned stoneware, pouring a cool cup of fresh water for Toby and setting it down for him.
The scientist ponders his question for a long moment. "I suppose it depends on what you mean by progress," she says, plainly. "Have we unraveled the true mystery of the people who once inhabited the site, and may indeed still? No. Not in any quantitative sense. But that site in particular, as we've been excavating, it's clear that it was not a military space, but a spiritual one perhaps, and perhaps a living space as well. We've made it down to a sealed network of tunnels that may link to other sites, but probably more likely are the waste pits." There's a smile at that. "Very interesting stuff, regardless. And as I'm sure you know, the entities that have made contact with the crew are not tied /to/ that site, and seem to be quite independently interactive. They don't seem to be mechanically driven. There is a little mystery as to the emotional reactions they often elicit, along with that of the site itself; but there doesn't seem to be an over biochemical marker or hallucinogen that we can recognize that drives it, though there are some possibilities for further investigation. Since there's been more interactions with the apparitions, that's been somewhat branched off into medical, as far as the effects, quite sensibly! So I have been more concentrating on documenting the site itself rather than spending a great deal of time with the residents found there. At least trying to keep some sort of separation of influences. There's something that doesn't quite seem right."

"A spiritual space?" Toby repeats with a faint tilt of his head, that's clearly something he hadn't been expecting, but it does interest him. "Hang on though," he adds with a grin, "isn't saying a site has 'ritual significance' just archaeologist talk for 'we haven't a clue?' What makes you say it's spiritual if you don't mind me asking? It didn't look much like a colonial temple but I guess there are indicators you look for? I guess some sort of alter would be a dead giveaway?" He tries to remember what he can of the layout, but neither of his two trips to the site were in the best of circumstances for getting a good idea of the layout. "Do you mind if I take a look at the ground plan? Too see how it's changed from when we found it?"

"It's not," Thanos shakes her head, though she doesn't seem to be offended, and indeed wink at the Tauran. "My conjecture is based partially on what it /doesn't/ have, but also some of the things we've found." She scoots her rump off the table, and then reaches behind Toby to get out a document canister, popping one end off to roll a large piece of paper across the table, nudging over a stack of journals and also Toby's mug to make room. First, she gives a layout. "Black and solid line indicates mostly intact sections of exterior wall, with the dotted sections being projections of what it looked like pre-disturbance. The locations and shape of found rubble is indicated in solid red lines. Damage on the still standing walls is also noted in red. Interior walls are drawn up in solid green." But there are barely any of those, making the room rather bunker like on first appearance. "The interesting thing are the lesser degraded interior furnishings, marked in solid blue—as well as those suspected to be rubble of the same, marked in dashed blue lines." She points to what seems to be a large, and indeed rather altar-like block at the far end of the building from what's marked as the entrance doors. "We found some personal artifacts behind it, as if cover was taken behind it, as well as what may have been frames for decorations behind it. But thousands of years in the open air does not leave much. There is evidence that despite the fact that the floor is now poured concrete, there was an overlay of wood, or something else decorative. It is one of the reasons why I think this was not necessarily a storage or utilitarian depot. Most of the time, people don't bother with that, or choose surfaces that would be easy to clean and would take a great deal of wear and tear. That doesn't seem to be the case here. We did find some metal and plastic that perhaps is degraded military equipment, somewhat unsurprising if this was an area of last stand: and from artillery marks on the exterior part of the walls, and the bullet marks both exterior and interior it certainly seems to have been. But there were very few effects and virtually no bodies. To me that tends to point to the vast majority of people who died here did not have armor or other protections. In this environment fiber and flesh would have long since been moved to dust. It is possible that there was some scavenger activity, but usually there's some evidence of that in scat or scatter around the site, which we've not found. There's no burn marks, so I don't believe that whoever attacked this place tried to immolate it or destroy it to the ground, just the people within it. But as to their numbers, it's very hard to say. This could in theory be the site of a massacre of civilians or just a small unit's last stand. I am hoping that further investigation into the tunnels may lead to more information about what the site was used for pre-attack, or immediately post-attack, and there is a chance that more protected areas might yield slightly better preserved things.

Toby shifts a little so he can glance at the diagram as it's provided, reaching to reclaim his mug and keep it out of the way at the same time. "Any markings on the walls?" he asks, "I mean, I guess frescos and such would be long gone, but carvings or statues?" Details of the building's outline are given careful consideration, particularly around the 'alter' before he leans back again and considers her last words. "When we found it there was the sounds of an intense firefight before the Ghosts first appeared. I'm not an expert, but to me it sounded like there was resistance and it wasn't just one sided." He shrugs faintly, "are the tunnels extensive? I can imagine this is taking a lot of time and resources. It's fairly big isn't it? I mean, you must need a lot of people, and wasn't it set below the ground level? Or was that just the ground level building up around it do you think?"

"I believe that there were wall hangings," Thanos nods. "We found some evidence for frames, but as you say, with that much exposure to the elements, they're long gone. We were able to find a pack of some sort under one of the intact walls underneath a window. The fiber disintegrated as soon as it was disturbed, but the contents were wrapped in more durable plastic, in two batches." She nods towards the isolette she'd been working in. "That is the larger one, which seems to be a journal of some sort. We're currently working to open it and photograph the contents without too much breakage, but it's slow going. We'll be opening the smaller one next week. It's a little more complex, as there seem to be several solid objects inside of it, but working with the current one is giving us a better idea of how best to control the environment to minimize damage." She studies him for a long moment, then offers a half smile. "It's more of a bother usually to have observers than it's worth, but I think I could make an exception for you, if you'd like." She laughs, gently. "A great deal of time, yes. Resources -much more once we start removing the seal to the area below. Truth be told, there was so much damage from the elements in the main structure, it was more an exercise in mapping and clearing- it's when we find actual artifacts that can really slow things down. There just simply weren't that many above." She nods at the mention of the resistance. "Thousands of spent shells inside the building, and that's just what we found that hadn't disintegrated. The altar is at the 'floor' evel of the building. So not underground per se—though over time there's been some buildup. The areas below don't seem to be extensive from the very little we've gleaned from imaging without breaking into them. My theory is that it's the waste area, but once we break the seal I suppose we'll see. The seal hadn't been breached; perhaps that means that the people hadn't had a chance to try to get into it, or they knew it wasn't an alterative escape route. There seems to be some evidence of tunnels, which I'd like to follow, but my prime suspicion is refuse treatment."

I would like it very much," Toby replies quickly once the offer to observe is made, "thank you." Taking a drink he considers all that's been said for a few moments, glancing back to the work she had been doing when he arrived as it's mentioned. Then, making his mind up, he continues, "this isn't for public dissemination Doc, but just so you're aware, I've been speaking with The Captain and we ended up talking about her faith. it turns out her's is a lot similar to mine, much more so than the Lords and Ladies of Kobol are, so when you said the site was spiritual in nature I wondered how close that might be as well. If you'll have me there though, when the seal is broken, or even if you want me to look over anything pulled out so far, then I'd be more than willing."

The scientist listens, uninterrupting, and then is silent a moment more as the Captain is mentioned. "There is a danger, that I've observed," Thanos observes. "One must be very, extremely careful in order to not read more into something than is there; though neither is it good to dismiss it out of hand." Blue eyes rest on Toby's for a long moment. "From what I have observed of you, while of course we are none of us perfect, you are able to control your impulses, and not be blinded to anything but what you believe you've seen. It's important that as we unearth things, and look at things, that the people involved are capable of doing that, even in observation. There have been some…troubling incidents. While sometimes the stars align, and far be it from me to dash hope…sometimes when things seem too good or too perfect to be true, it is good to maintain boundaries. At least until further evidence is brought in." But then her somewhat solemn expression is gentled by a warm smile. "It will be useful to have someone both from Engineering and from Deck there when we do, I believe. I'm less worried about radiological contamination than I was, thanks to Captain Tremaine's assistance with both shields and detection devices. But I'll warn you, what we may drop into is less a monty haul and more, well, quite literally fossilized or desiccated shit!" Her smile is bright, as if that doesn't trouble her either way!

Toby listens carefully, nodding in a couple of places. "If it reassures your Doctor, their faith is not mine, the conversation established that much clearly. That one might have grown from the other though, that is possible, for their's retains elements of mine that have been diminished and incorporated into a new narrative." Because obviously his spawned their's, couldn't possibly be the other way round. Nope. "Do you know when you are likely to break the seal?" he then asks, "so I can warn my boss." More drink is taken as he considers something for a while, then asks, almost cagily, "are there other sites waiting to be investigated?"

"There's been some interest in trying to engineer a way to scan for them from the air. Due to some residual at this location, plus the toxic levels of radiation at the very first site found, I'm given to understand, we've been able to isolate a specific isotope. To my knowledge we've not found any other sites, but I do not see how there couldn't be. Perhaps the tunnels, once explored, may hook into a dwelling area or…launch, or something. But it may also be a dead end. Doubtless there are other sites, but if any more have been found, I've not been informed." She smiles. "My plan is for next week at the end of the week, as long as there's nothing catastrophic that happens between now and then. There's some wiggle room there of course, but the plan is for a smaller group to oversee the breach, and should everything be safe, then over the next few days the trained excavation volunteers can assist. But for that initial breach, while I don't anticipate there being any issues, I'd rather keep it to a minimum to safeguard both personnel and the structure."

"Raptors can scan for many things," Toby notes with a slow nod, "it's how we found the dig site in the first place after all, altering a raptor's sensors." It's not his field of expertise though, and if people are looking into it then he'll leave it to them. There's another moment of consideration, then he drains the rest of his drink and offers the mug back. "Thanks Doc, I meant what I said about looking over anything if you think it'd help, but I think for now I've probably taken up enough of your time. It's been very informative though, and I hope next week will continue to be."

"It's been a pleasure," Thanos assures him. "You're welcome in the lab at any time. Thank you for stopping by—if there's anything that looks interesting, especially from a religious practices standpoint, I'll be sure to message you; I think we're close to getting the papers separated, and then we can get to work on the second parcel we found in the ruins. Perhaps that will have some interesting items in it as well." She rises, offering another shake of the hand, once she replaces the mug. "Be well, and I hope to see you soon!"

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