MD #036: It hasn't been done
MD #036: It hasn't been done
Summary: Gunnery Sgt. Knox has a serious conversation with Sgt. Palermo about what is/is not already common knowledge about Operation Cold Forge and what role she could volunteer for.
Date: Sun 14/May/2017 (OOC Date)
Related Logs:
Knox Palermo 
Security Hub - Deck 3 - Battlestar Orion
The beating heart of the Marine Corps' presence aboard the battlestar, the Security Hub is the main dispatch station for all security and armed response personnel aboard the ships in the carrier's accompanying fleet. Staffed to the gills no matter the day or time, there are usually a half-dozen armed Marines stationed here at all times — tasked with keeping tabs on the smaller patrols roving throughout the ship. Mahogany desks line the bulkheads to port, most of which are filled by grunts doing paperwork. In a pinch, Marines use them as benches while gearing up for patrols or raids. At the rear of the room, two flags — one bearing the Colonial Phoenix, the other bearing the Marine Corps insignia — flank a single massive hatch leading aft towards the Armory. To starboard, a smaller hatch leads to the offices of the Battalion's Headquarters Company and to the detention cells beyond. Each wall is lined with pictures of the first and second Cylon war, mostly printouts from helmetcams refined and without blur, mostly action shots without faces discernible.
Wed 29/Nov/2028 (IC Date)

Wearing boots that are still slightly muddy (despite a pretty good attempt to clean them off before getting this far into the ship), and dressed out as though she's spent most of her off time on planet the other's who've been okayed to have a few hours down time, Palermo shows up in a hastily thrown on set of fatigues and a ball cap that bears the logo of the Colonial Phoenix still worn on her head. And a bit of a sun burn to accompany all of the above. Upon arrival she looks around, nice and slow like, eyeing the staff that's on duty and obviously all doing something, and starts to run one hand over her hair, realizes the hat is still on, hastily tugs the cap off and looks sheepish all at the same time.

Yep. He saw that. "Palermo." Its the sound of her Gunnery Sergeant. Cooper steps up from the side and stares at her, then looks down at the ballcap. Then the gaze lifts right up to her face. "The frak you doing walking into Sec Hub in a civilian ballcap with your uniform? Sergeant my ass." His voice is so quiet and look so casual that nobody even bothers to pay attention. They all have bigger fish to fry. He lifts a finger, "I see it on your head again in here, I'mma make you burn it in front of me." Knox lets that hang for a moment before he gestures for her to follow. "That said, I need you for something. Follow me to your reckoning." A smile creaks in there and he moves for a table off to the side.

Palermo is folding the ballcap and stuffing it into one of the pockets of her utility trousers as the Gunnery Sergeant speaks, which is to say 'attempting to conceal the evidence and failing to do so', even though the look on her face is equal parts sheepish, alarmed, contrite followed by apologetic and scared-straight all at the same time. "Won't happen again, Gunnery Sergeant," she says in a low voice, thrown off slightly by the smile that leaves her wondering what the heck she did /this time/ and follows the gunny over toward the table off to the side. Every step of the way she's replaying every damn fool thing she's done recently and making a list of plausible rationale to accompany each.

Cooper leads Palermo over to a planning area at the side of the Hub. There's several desks roped off with a table set up. He moves past the rope by sliding his rump over the desk and swinging his legs quickly over. Leading her to the table, he leans a hand against the wall and gestures a hand down at the photo recon of the site. "Cold Forge. How much do you know?"

Palermo goes under the rope rather than over it, but she gets there all the same, and by the time she's eyeballing the photo recon she's stopped doing the mental shuffle of 'what did I do this time' and shifts to a new gear of 'intel vs skuttlebutt' and answers without looking up fro the photo recon. "Only as much as anyone else is supposed to know, Gunnery Sergeant," in a no nonsense tone of voice.

Cooper watches her through the short answer. "Fine. You're being read in early because I'm recommending to the mission commander that you go with the advance element. I'll be the jumpmaster and Lieutenant Clara Piers will be the mission commander." Two Lines. Lines, aka 'Clerics' to those in Skath territory. Ballsy. Wait, jumpmaster? "How good is your experience with a rifle? I need people who can shoot pretty well and move in combat and the other guys with the vehicles recommended you." Potentially because they didn't want to go.

Palermo's eyes are all for the recon photos until the Gunnery Sergeant starts to outline why it is that he was looking for her in the first place, and when she glances up it's with a startled - eyebrows raised - expression on her face. "I could use more time at the range, just like just about anyone, Gunnery Sergeant. But I hit what I aim at, but most of the targets I'm aiming at from inside the LAV aren't exactly minuscule. Aim small, miss small, and all that," before she exhales a sound that's a short laugh. "Damn right they ought to, who the hell else is going to offer to come taxi up their asses when they're getting shot ask, I'll wonder," before she stiffens slightly. "That was out of line, I'm sorry. I mean, only, that yeah, I'm a good shot and not afraid to dismount and do anything else that needs doing."

Cooper mellowed a lot in his years but right now he doesn't look to have any kind of humor to him. Dressed in his fatigues, he's one of the few people who still wears a patch from before the second war, right underneath his airborne tabs. Not many people want to tell a Gunny to take something like that off. Dead brothers and sisters. But rather than point out her wording, he continues on. "Good. I need doorkickers since there's only five of us." Five. Five people total. That might pucker a certain bodypart. "We're jumping on a planet called Calumet. If we win here, we refocus the Skath and potentially buy the colonies ten or twenty years. Maybe. We're jumping on a site thats a storage bunker for conventional munitions. The local resistance forces are trying to move all this armor, artillery, and the supplies out. The Skath don't know they are there, but are going to find them any day now. You're going because I need you to tell the el-tee and I if their operation looks legitimate or are they pulling our leg to try and sucker us into a fight alongside them for no gain." In other words, there will be a massive battle and potentially a lot of dead bodies for the wrong choice. Possibly the colonies. Whats a billion people, right? "Copy that?"

Palermo's expression is briefly blank for a moment while she absorbs all that the Gunnery Sergeant has just said, not just the words - though there IS that - but the meaning behind it. Multiple meanings. Possible outcomes. "Well. Alright. Yeah," she says each word in succession with a bit of a pause between each, shifting her focus back to the recon photos. "Depending on the size of the bunker - the actual contents I mean - and access to same, and the local terrain, actual man power on the ground to be moving everything and get it hauled out, all while keeping it concealed? Can I correctly read into it that we're not talking about a handful of old rifles, a few mags, some homemade explosives and various other elements? I mean, if its' a serious bunker with conventional munitions? There's a real tick-tock time table for supplying one and emptying one. If they're doing it under cover of dark or some sort of covert process, it'll take longer, yeah, I mean, yes," and she leans in now to eye ball the photos even more, frowning. "If they're just hauling out empty boxes and crates and crap to just make it look like they're doing something while it's just a fake out? Or if there's nothing in there in the first place," said in a cautious voice, eyes narrowed still.

"There's some kind of IR stealth netting they have. They can move during the day or night, all weather. It sounds like they have been working on this for some time. But considering what they claim, it would have to be a damned big bunker, yes." The Gunny comes off his lean and folds his arm over his chest, looking down. "According to Fencer these are tanks, armored fighting vehicles, artillery, anti-aircraft, anti-tank, and all the toys that make a group like this go to war. Whomever built that bunker probably had this sort of scenario in mind. Staybehind supply for survivors." He glnces over. "Assuming its true. But yes, that's the idea. We find out if its real. We're just going to have to play close. The Diplomatic Corps is on the ground but we don't know much of anything about these people except one point, and its a weird one." He looks back at the map. "They speak Colonial. Its an odd accent from what I read, but halfway across the galaxy and they speak our language. So if I can get you on this, I want you asking questions and keeping your eyes open. Remove any patches or indicators that you might be attached to armor or LAVs or whatever. Understood?"

"Fuel supply," Palermo murmurs before she straightens subtly and nods, "aye, gunnery sergeant, I'm in. They'd have to have one hell of a fuel supply squared away to feed and fuel that many vehicles to make it worth talking about. And all the stuff they need to maintain and upkeep everything. None of our vehicles are designed to just sit in perfect conditions and be ready to roll out at a moments notice unless they're in a climate controlled environment. But even IF they were, Gunnery Sergeant, everything has to be cycled on a schedule or stuff decays. That's just mechanics 101. Yeah," and there's a fine gleam of excitement in her eyes as she looks back at the photos, "yeah. I'm in. Eyes open, no identifiers carried on me, got it. Odd accent but they speak Colonial?" curiosity there and a flick of a glance up at Knox. "The DC doesn't know much about them, except for that?" healthy suspicion there in the tone of voice.

"No, the DC has been there long enough to trust them, from what I gather. If they didn't, I don't think we'd be going. The problem is communications with the planet surface from orbit. That's my problem as JTAC, but its one of the reasons the DC on the ground haven't gotten a lot of information out. We get the basics. Apparently they've dialed 911 and need help right away." Her knoledge of what to look for has the Gunny's face crack a flat smile. Yeah, she's a good choice. He knows it. And given the smile on his face, she's aware that he knows it. "You airborne qualified at all, Sergeant Palermo?"

Palermo starts to say something, or more likely open mouth and insert foot, but instead just takes the breath, then stops, and only nods around what ever it was that was about to be said but wasn't said. See, the learning curve is real. "Yes, gunnery sergeant," and there's a cautious smile forming on her face in answer once she recognizes the one on the Gunnery Sergeant's face. "If it involves jumping out of a perfectly good raptor or even one that isn't so perfectly good anymore? I'm game." She exhales a half laugh, "911 operator, please state the nature of the emergency?"

"It involves that, yes. Good, I'm glad to hear it. That means I don't have to jump you and we can carry more gear." Cooper doesn't smile anymore. He looks down to the recon images. "This isn't like jumping out of a plane going skydiving, Sergeant. We're doing MFF - military free fall. Everyone will be jumping in a sealed flightsuit. Given we have no intelligence on air defenses in this area, I'm recommending we jump from 200,000 feet. That's roughly thirty-eight miles. By my math, assuming reasonably close gravity conditions to Caprica, and adjusting for atmospheric desnity, we will be in freefall for roughly 22 minutes. This will be the longest jump in published military history. Nobody has ever jumped from this altitude into combat. Ever."

The smile that had formed on Palermo's face remains there, though slightly altered, and it's a keen look of determination now, not just an adrenaline junky gung-ho smile. "Well then, Gunnery Sergeant, I guess maybe these words do apply?" she wonders and glances down at the recon photos again, ".. just buckle in with a bit of a grin, just take off your coat and go to it; just start in to sing as you tackle the thing that 'cannot be done', and you'll do it." She tucks her hands into the front pockets of her trousers and gives a slow bob of her head in a nod, "It's never been done, until we do it. Then the benchmark will move. Until then, we hit this one, and we land on our feet, and we go get the job done. "

Knox watches the Sergeant while she gets excited. The guy doesn't say anything while she runs through her words and recitation. "Well that's assuming the el-tee says you are on the jump team. I needed to know if you were ready for something like that before I went and recommended you. Last thing I need is the headache of having to throw someone out of a Raptor. It sucks." His eyes drift back to the photos. Plan to go in heavy with ammo. Any exposed skin gets paint. No exceptions. We land, change clothes, haul ass."

"Well," Palermo says in a thoughtful tone of voice, "consider me volunteered all the same, should a list be suggested and names have to be selected from. Not that i'm not already a volunteer, mind, but I'm volunteering specifically for this, to be clear. And," there's a quiet laugh, "no, Gunnery Sergeant, I absolutely would not need to be thrown out of the raptor. I recognize that this is a serious undertaking and not something to be taken in jest or made light of, so should I be selected, I will have all the I's dotted and T's crossed and head absolutely in the game absolutely."

"Good. And I'm sure you think you're one of the most qualified, but that's going to depend on mission priority. Five slots and two are taken, plus we also need a Medic. Final call belongs to the el-tee, Sergeant." Cooper can only say it so many times. "I'm glad you realize the gravity of this because one of the reasons I brought you over here was to see if you took this seriously or not." Or sang songs. Or looked giddy. Uh oh. Knox looks quite serious. "Someone fraks up on the ground on this one and we're all dead and it could cost billions of lives on the Colonies. I dunno if you're religious or not but I suspect that even if you aren't, you don't want that on your soul."

"I'm not religious, Gunnery Sergeant, but I believe in what calls to me," Palermo says quietly, and one hand find the rock that she carries in one pocket, though she doesn't take it out, she just holds on to it for a moment, her expression intense but pensive. "I believe that we're all bound to the things that make us who and what we are, and the thing I don't want on my soul, Gunnery Sergeant, is having never dared to risk it all for the sake of being afraid that I might fail. I'd rather try and fail than live a life safe from danger. As that's no life at all, of any kind, that I want to be part of. You served with my aunt, I think?" she ventures, cautiously. "I believe that she's still here, in some way, looking on when we need it most. That's no fairy tale and that's no ghost story, I believe it and I'm as rock steady as any other marine to put boots on the ground beside. She didn't go off and die a quiet death somewhere of old age, she died doing what she believed in. I plan to live my life doing exactly the same thing, living and doing what I believe in. All the way to the end. Come what may."

It Couldn't Be Done
By Edgar Albert Guest

Somebody said that it couldn't be done
but he with a chuckle replied
that "maybe it couldn't," but he would be one
who wouldn't say so till he'd tried.
So he buckled right in with the trace of a grin
on his face. If he worried he hid it.
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
that couldn't be done, and he did it!

Somebody scoffed: "Oh, you'll never do that;
at least no one ever has done it;"
but he took of his coat and he took of his hat
and the first thing we kne he'd begun it.
With a lift of his chin and a bit of a grin,
without any doubting or quiddit,
he started to sing as he tackled the thing
that couldn't be done, and he did it.

There are thousands to tell you it cannot be done,
there are thousands to prophesy failure,
there are thousand to point out to you one by one,
the dangers that wait to assail you.
But just buckle in with a bit of a grin,
just take off your coat and go to it;
just start in to sing as you tackle the thing
that "cannot be done," and you'll do it.

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