MD # 207: Intercepting The Message
Intercepting The Message
Summary: Log Summary
Date: 31/20/2017 (OOC Date)
Related Logs: If there are no related logs, put 'None' — please, don't leave blank!)
Lukes Idris Petra 
Deck 2 - XO's Stateroom - Battlestar Orion
The XO's Stateroom is not nearly the size of the Admiral's, but the allowance of personal space is not taken for granted. There is a small couch that has been pushed against the wall by the bed at the rear of the room. To the side are several lockers next to the entrance to the personal head and on the other is a desk against the wall.
May 18, 2049

So it probably hasn't been THAT long since the recon team returned and the report was filed, before Petra sent back the tactful equivalent of 'WTF? COme talk, plz.' So whenever both men make it tothe MP guarded hatches of the two command staterooms, Petra's is already open and the Commander is sitting behind his desk reading the displayed after action report for about the fifth time, scarred brow furrowed lightly as he goes over the details and tries to MAKE it tell him more.

When Petra got up in the morning he had the memo waiting, as did Idris. But Petra was briefed by the watch officer overnight that Lukes had requested priority clearance on return — and her return from the Raptor's recon area was over three hours early. The crew had gone directly into a meeting with the CAG. No small surprise there. But the memo likely cleared that up. With the call to meet the XO at a particular time, Shelby Lukes is now breathing air so far outside her paygrade, it might as well be Elysium. When she shows up, she's in her flightsuit — which was in retrospect a bad decision she is realizing just after knocking and entering. 'Shoulda worn blues. Oh Godsdamnit.' In her left hand is a secure pouch that the Air Wing has on hand for these sorts of things and she's holding it like she's never had one before. Given she's JG Nobody, she probably hasn't. The gal's only claim to fame has been the first Colonial aircrew to sink a Skath carrier. "Hello, sir."

The CAG is flying CAP so Idris isn't. The Captain arrives dressed impeccably in his blues with his senior flight wings pinned over his left breast. As always, the strange tribal looking scars cut into his face make a bizarre contrast to his otherwise immaculate officer's uniform that surely was custom taylored to fit him perfectly. The hatch is sealed behind him after he enters and Bloodfeather stands attentively, "Commander, Sir. JG." He too has brought a copy of Luke's memo with him in a thin leather folio as well as his dataslate.

Petra perks his attention up when Lukes arrives first, setting the datapad down and straightening up. When she makes the comment about blues, he smirks faintly, "I am certainly not someone that stands on a formality like that. A flight suit is a uniform. You must be the Lieutenant? I dont think we've actually met before this point, but I've seen you running around." He might even be about to say more when Idris makes his appearance, calling him up short to add, "Captain. Thank you both for making it. I know the Wing has their hands overfull right now with all of the scouting we're doing and defensive patrols. Kick the hatch shut and have a seat? Not sure I want this conversation carrying too far down the corridor until we get a handle on what was going on." There's a pause and then he nods off to one side, "Coffee's relatively fresh if you need a boost, as well. With that in mind, Lieutenant, I think this might be your show to start unless the Captain has something he wants to say first. My initial questions might be about the fighter force that attacked the stealth ship, but I could be getting ahead of myself. Were they coming FROM this facility, or elsewhere?"

"Thanks, sir. And yeah, I'm Shelby Lukes." Pause. "I mean, JG.. Lukes. Shelby. I'm Shelby Lukes." She doesn't actually facepalm but she looks like she wants to. Ahem. Closing the hatch behind the Captain gives her a chance to regroup. She clears her throat and puts the secure pouch on the chair in front of her. "Yes, coffee would be.." Before she faux pa's again, she goes to get herself a mug. "The source of the fighters is unknown, sir." Finally on track. She can do this, yes! She pours her mug and lifts it between the two other officers and herself. "Pretend the planet is on the wall over there across from me. This mug is the moon we hid behind." She other hand pokes a single finger just out from behind the mug. "We stuck out nose and sensors out from behind the moon. The Hater Fighters, the bad dudes that have been dogging us?" She just used 'dudes' with the XO. Lovely. "Those looked like the same type that killed that stealth-looking ship. We couldn't see where they came from because of the horizon of the moon, sirs." At least she remember to say Sir.

Idris makes a gesture, "No, Sir. I can wait and listen. You have already hit the nail on the head with one of my own questions, Sir." Captain Bloodfeather will take a seat, open his folio, and cue up his dataslate as the Lieutenant begins to fill them in. Oh boy, Idris listens but then he lifts a brow, "What can you tell us about this stealthed ship they destroyed?"

Petra ahhhs softly when Lukes describes the moon being in the way - clearly this was the detail he wasn't grok'ing from the initial report. He looks thoughtful for a moment before opening a new notes window on his datapad and starts typing idly with one hand while he's listening. When Idris asks about the Stealth ship, he nods slowly, "An immediate question I had after confirming who the fighters were, and unless you're psychic, you probably DON'T know this, but Im throwing it out there…I'd like to know if this facility belongs to the, well, Haters…it would make tactical sense if this was 'theirs' and this stealh ship was trying to sneak in and get recon…just like you. OR, it could be the other way around and this ship did not have adequate defenses to be out on its own…the fact that a swarm of fighters took it out would attest to that. We have a big question mark over our heads as to who the 'players' are in this area of space, so it leaves me with a lot of questions and Im frustrating Mara with ones she cant answer yet." There's a faint smirk to that, but he settles, "When you left, what was the status of the stealh ship? Destroyed? Is there a hulk we MIGHT be able to try jumping back to, to get a closer look?"

Lukes moves back over to the chair with her pouch and sips the mug of coffee on the way. The mug goes to the desk and she opens the satchel and removes her datapad. "Not too much, sir." It's going to take a minute for her to get logged in. Hooray for being prepared. "Sorry. One sec." Hand scan then iris scan, and its booting. "I can tell you that it was an a very, very high elliptical orbit. I did the math last night. The orbit was designed to cross its highest point over the source of the microwave transmission. I've worked out the orbital path and when the next transmission times would be and the exact positioning to be at, too." Just a side note. Obviously not important. Her pad boots up and she shows them a photo from the Raptor's camera. The object in the photo is black and an odd, angular shape. "It's a bit bigger than a Raptor." There's no detail, though. The shape is backlit by the planet surface. The photo is showed to both of them, too. When Petra speaks, she looks to him, feeling more in her wheelhouse. It does require some thought. "Hmmmmm!" Eyes look up while she considers, hip out to the side. "I guess, yeah. Like, okay.. See. Stealth is a defense system, right? But stealth is hard in space due to the unknowns with vectors of approach and the way dradis works which is super fascinating but-" She flits a hand away. "Just before we saw the Hater Fighters, it lit up its engines and tried to run. They shot some missiles at it, but blew it up with guns. When we left it was in little pieces. I've got video of the whole thing. I don't think the Stealth ship was a hater. Hold on, sirs." She starts tpping her pad to bring up something else.

Bloodfeather looks at what Shelby shows to them and he studies it, looking for similarities to Arpay manufacture but there may be none. Idris flips his memo paper over and quickly sketches the stealth ship's profile to reference it, even though he can probably request access to the Raptor's footage. It gives his hands something to do while he listens, thinks, and while Lukes brings up something else. The Lucky Strikes Squadron Leader doesn't ask anything else just yet.

<FS3> Idris rolls Drawing: Good Success.

Petra nods slowly, "A million years ago, I heard the CDF was trying to make 'stealth' technology…making your structure able to absorb radiated energy waves and disappate it or use it, so even sunlight would not be reflected. As far as I know, they never even made so much as a golf ball vanish, but maybe these guys have. We could really frak some Skath up if we could pull that off…" and then he realizes he's drifting off into another train of thought and shakes his head slightly, "If its small. MAYBE…MAYBE…we can task a light cruiser to jump in, grab the wreck, and jump out with it to a safe location. Let a couple engineers loose on it with tools and documentation and see what they find. But anyway, my brain is already leaping forward with Intel questions. So from what you can tell, the message seems to be on a repeat and might not have been triggered by the presence of that ship? Were you able to capture what you believe is the entire recording? I saw your note that its in a language we don't recognize…and we can keep working on that. We have enough brainpower on this boat that we WILL figure that out. Im curious to see, if we go 'capture' another broadcast, if its the same thing, indicating a repeating beacon, or something new, like an interstellar relay station. That would certainly take the kinds of power it seems to be drawing…"

Shelby does her tapping and brings up the view of the planet from the top down. The moon is there and Lukes' Raptor position is a yellow dot peeking around behind it. There's a single, solid line in red passing outbound to a high elliptical orbit from the planet. It stops. "The red line is the stealth ship. It stops where the stealth starts its engines and started to run. Right? See? Okay. So. If the ship had continued its orbit." Red dashed lines continue in a really rough animation, but the math seems to work. They continue and then stop. "Right here. This is important. This is where the stealth ship would have been if it had continued its orbit, right?" She taps the screen and a green line appears from the planet and shoots directly from the planet surface to where the stealth ship WOULD have been, and the line hits Lukes' Raptor perfectly. It intercepted the signal MEANT for the stealth ship. "Okay, so, like. This makes me feel weird. But this line? The green one? This is the microwave transmission we intercepted. The odds of this are.. okay, its weird. Really. But it hit my Raptor perfectly. Whoever was on the surface was trying to contact the stealth ship through microwave. The people on the surface didn't want the Haters to know they were there." That's her conclusion and she's apparently sticking to it.
Looking back to Petra, "Stealth is sexy like a slinky dress with a short skirt, but hard to pull off." She realizes the double entendre too late and coughs. "Right. But I dunno if a cruiser is a good idea. I mean.. fighters. These people needed stealth." She shrugs. Moving on, "The transmission didn't come from the facility, sir." Which may be ominous. "It came from the mountains directly east of it. Mountains which look like they have a clear line of sight to the facility. Here's the recording…" She taps a few more times, then it plays. The language does not sound like the one from the Haters. It certainly isn't Arpay. The first twenty seconds he can imagine Lukes trying to lock in on the signal. The last 28 seconds? The words are crisp and clear except for where datapackets are lost at regular intervals. The person SOUNDS military. He sounds like he is trying to make contact with someone to relay information. She plays it three times. 48 seconds.

Petra furrows his brow as he listens, looking thoughtful for a moment before offering, "Like a ground based recon team trying to radio for pickup, you think? Or relaying their findings? Maybe they still have people down there, in those mountains. INTERESTING." He trails off there and falls quiet, then asks, "Okay, before my brain goes all crazy with ideas, is there more you wanted to cover or elaborate on from what's in your report? Any details that might not have been included that seem relevant now?"

Lukes finally smiles like she knows something. "Two major points, sir, yes." She reaches into the secure pouch and removes a piece of paper and hands it to Petra. "I need that back. But thse are the CMC microwave satcom frequency offsets and bandwith charts. Those are the sets we use." She reaches for her tablet and taps it again to bring up an ECO readout. "This is the incoming frequency chart. It matches up with our own sets, sir." She puts the pad down and takes a long breath. "Annnd the second part will probably not help your head, sir." Lukes sips her coffee before she says more, needing to solve the nervous drymouth. "I want to be very clear about this, sir: My decrypt gear in my Raptor did not hack this signal encryption algorithm. It came through like it was meant to work with our own microwave gear." She finds it hard to look at him, but powers to it. "Sir, the Super Raptor microwave gear was modified and installed to work with current Arpay encryption algorithms. They gave it to us because their algorithms are, like WOW, extremely good. We never modified them because of the quality." She points to the sheet Petra is holding with all the Marine frequencies. "Whoever transmitted that signal is using the exact same modularity and frequency hopping that the Arpay used. …But they aren't speaking Arpay, sir. The scatter in the recording isn't due to decryption, its because we were out of focus of the microwave beam."

Petra gets quiet and just stares at the paper while he listens, and doesnt LOOK at Lukes, but she certainly has his attention. He's silent for several moments after she finishes, "I was Signal Intel for about 4 years before I got assigned to a Battlestar group, but I think I still remember most of the work. So, there's a good chance, way too damned good to be a coincidence, that this is another race the Arpay had contact with. A friend of my friend certainly has a really damned good chance of being our friend as well." With that said, he finally DOES look up and slowly hand the paper back, "Make sure Mara gets everything you just told me. If you want to keep working on it with her, you've got my authorization to do so, but don't take it as a second job and be exhausted for flight duty. Now I REALLY want to find these people."

"I'm not even going to venture a guess, except that whoever shot that beam off the surface? i don't think the Haters like them very much. And yeah, I think its probably a good chance they've met the Arpay. But, like, didn't the Arpay not know of anyone out here?" She shakes her head. "Uhm, Mara? Like the lady in Intel? Yeah I can give that info to her." There's a bit of nervousa with that. Maybe she's afraid of Mara. Or the responsibility. "But, uhm, last thing.. and this gave me nightmares." She chugs the last of the coffee. "Those people on the ground? If their support ship got blown up… what happens to them? If they might be our friends? I mean their next contact window is in, like, twenty minutes. We can't get there. Next one is in a few days. Are we gonna talk to them?"

Petra taps his fingers on his desk as Lukes asks the forty thousand credit question, and he doesn't answer right away, "If the Haters…" Is he REALLY going with that nomiker now? Sounds like it, "REALLY don't like people mucking around there, that's going to be a risky proposition. Sounds to me like we have about a day and a half to come up with an answer." He pauses, then smiles, "How do you feel about gravity well jumps? Like jumping out in the middle of one?" Oh, he's not EVEN thinking about trying to recover them…is he? "I mean, if you asked the Aerodyne manufacturers about it, they'd laugh their asses off and tell you their equipment wasn't designed for that, but we all know we've pushed a Raptor well beyond what they or the Arpay had in mind…"

"Well, actually." She checks the time on her datapad. "Missing this window in the orbital pattern? We've got.. doot doot. Uhm, Friday night?" She glances back to him, then the screen. "Yep, Friday overnight." She then looks to him and eyeshifts. "Grav- Uhm. Well. I mean I could. I wouldn't like it. But I guess we're kind of at our limit. I think a more skilled ECO might be better." That actually seems like an honest assessment. "But, uhm, if this is a ground team like Marines? I mean I did my survival quals. If we had Marines on the ground and we were fighting APF dorks, then some rando other humans show up and offered our Marines candy? How would our Marines respond? Like.. Shouldn't we talk to them first? I sure don't wanna fly a mission to go pick up a bunch of scraggly recon people who think I might be an enemy ..thing." Right?

Petra mmms softly, "I think a few steps ahead of where we actually are, so you're probably right. But lets see what we can figure out in the next couple of days and if we can unravel their language enough to make rudimentary communication, we can at least sneak someone out into space to broadcast back at them, see if they respond, then run like all of Hades was after us." Well, its a start, certainly? He pauses for a moment or two longer, then adds, "As for Mara, she doesn't bite, much. She just has some, ah, personell relationship issues she needs to work on. I'm working on her." He smiles at that, then adds, "Anything else you can think of you think I need to hear or consider?"

"Uh, no sir. I'll try to keep it in mind about Mara. Rumor is she can be a bit scary so.." Way to talk about a senior officer. Very professional. She catches herself and lifts a hand. "Sorry, sir. Uhm. But, yeah I think that's most of it. If there's anything else I think of, I'll let you know."

Petra chuckles softly at the scary comment and slowly nods his head, "Don't worry, Lieutenant. I get it, and I didn't hear anything." He pauses for a moment and considers, then slowly rises to his feet and nods, "Alright. Thank you, Lieutenant, for making the time and for the excellent recon information. Lets see what this pans out to be."

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