AWD #136: Known Unknowns
Known Unknowns
Summary: Lt. McBride and Lt. Gray discuss the upcoming mission to scout beyond the Armistice Line.
Date: 23/05/2013 (OOC Date)
Related Logs: None
Phin Elias 
Map Room
Dominating the room is the large bottom-lit map table in the very center. Ten feet across and eight feet the other way, the table can gather a large number of people around it while still accommodating enlisted and support personnel in the small riser seating behind the table. The risers are done in single-piece desk sections that run the width of the seating area and have small reporting displays built into them along with communications ports for headphones. At the head of the room are two very large LED displays that can have almost anything put on them, including projections of what is on the map table. A single computer at the support seating controls this and in the rear of the room is a large, locked case that holds maps and table models.
AWD #136

Messages have been sent from Lt. Elias Gray, the new Intel officer, requesting a meeting with Lt. McBride about the proposed operations beyond the Armistice Line. Asking near the CIC would quickly get Phin directed to the map room, which seems to have been set up as a sort of make-shift headquarters of its own. A few enlisted personnel are working at the desks around the room, while Elias has claimed a corner of the main map table. Bulging folders and stacks of loose papers are set out in front of where he sits. And he seems to be reading, or perhaps comparing, three sheets at once. Bent over, elbows resting on the table top, Elias' eyes shift intently back and forth as he reads. An unlit cigarette is dangling from his lips. Did he forget to light it?

Phin has been back from the Air Wing's mission over Aerilon long enough to debrief, shower, and be located and told Lt Gray wants to see him. And here he comes. Pulling himself to attention, straight as an arrow, and crisping off a salute to the Intel officer. "Lieutenant McBride reporting, sir." Blue eyes can't help but flit to the papers. Curious.

Elias's eyes lift when Phin approaches, and at first he looks a bit blank. Still, he rises to return the salute, and clues in when Phin introduces himself. "Ah. Lieutenant. At ease." He gestures towards a nearby chair, and moves to sit back down himself. "Lieutenant Colonel Petra asked me to have a talk with you about your mission proposal. He told me to make sure you have what you need to make it happen ASAP." The papers are obviously recent AARs, to judge by the format, but they don't look like they're from the Orion. Elias, noting Phin's interest, offers a wry smile as he gathers the papers up and slips them in a folder. "After action reports from the Blackjack group. They destroyed five Basestars."

Phin relaxes and heads over to where he can rubberneck the AARs in a more official capacity. "For the initial bit of it I think we're good to go, sir," he says as he skims. "Got a pilot and an ECO who volunteered for the first recon out beyond the line, should be able to jump off tomorrow. From there, I figure we can bring back whatever data's available, and you guys can help decide where further investigation with something like a carrier is warranted." He takes the chair, still reading. "Five? Nice. Where? I mean, are they operating over Picon, or hitting other spots on the colonies, or…?"

Elias reaches up as if he's going to take a drag off the cigarette still held between his lips, then is reminded that it is unlit. He flips the smoke around in his fingers and reluctantly sets aside on the table top. While this is happening he nods along, listening closely as Phin describes the current state of the mission. "I see. Good." He considers a moment, lips compressed in concentration. "So you're planning to take a Raptor? How far are you planning to go?" Elias finishes tucking the papers away, and answers the question about the Basestar kills in an off-hand manner. "Picon. A few weeks ago now."

Phin's eyes follow Elias' motions with the cigarette, head tilting slight. He makes himself straighten it once he realizes what he's doing. "Initially, yeah. The intention is to start with a a jump out to the line itself, check out what's become of the location of the old Armistice Station. Then head across it. A few clicks at first. One of the intel officers, Captain Rozzen, identified a few coordinates that might prove worth surveying. Based on spacial activity and what little information we've got on the old charts, I guess. Get in and out quick. Given how little the Navy knows about what's over there it's kind of blind wherever you go, I figure. Mainly, I'm hoping to see if we can establish, like, a baseline so anything that goes in deeper will…have a better idea of where it's going." He nods a little, about Picon. "Do you really think we can do it, sir? Take back the planet, I mean. And…I mean, not just take it, but hold it if we did."

Elias's eyes flick aside to follow where Phin looks at the discarded cigarette. "Last cigarette," he explains in a subdued and unenthusiastic tone. But he brushes off his cigarette shortage to listen with a singular focus as Phin explains the mission. He's silent for a thoughtful few seconds before commenting. "It's true there is almost no information on anything beyond the Armistice Line. So I suspect we may need to make a second trip and go a bit further. But your plan does sound like a good first step. Careful around the station, though. The Cylons could have left some sort of trap there." The question of defending Picon causes Elias' to pause, and his expression goes carefully neutral. "We're certainly going to try. What we don't know is how much of the Cylon fleet we've seen, and how much is still out there .. somewhere else. That's what I'm hoping your mission will help us find out."

"Why?" Phin asks, when Elias calls it the 'last' cigarette. He nods at the bit about the station. "In a lot of ways it's kind of an arbitrary place to start. It seems worth checking out what became of it, though. Even if the Cylons were ignoring the place for forty years, it was still theoretically the only point of contact they had with us. It's creepy to think about, isn't it? The idea that they were just sitting over there for all those years doing…gods know what. Getting ready to do all this, I guess."

Elias smiles tightly when asked about his 'last' cigarette. He hesitates to answer the question, but eventually just tries to shrug it off with a murmur about "Supply issues." And he does actually seem more interested in the idea of going beyond the Armistice Line. "It is unsettling, yes. I actually spent several years as part of a top secret recon group along the Armistice Line. Do you know what we found?" He pauses just long enough for dramatic effect. "Nothing. Not one contact. I thought it was a brilliant career move when I signed up. Then I just thought it was a mind-numbingly boring dead end. Now, given everything that's happened …" He looks a disgusted. "It just seems a bit pathetic." Oh, screw it. With sudden decisiveness, Elias grabs that 'last' cigarette and pulls out his lighter, lighting it up.

Phin wrinkles his nose a little at the smoke, but he doesn't complain about it. "I haven't smoked since I was like fourteen," he says. Randomly, and half to himself. Elias' description of his old job along the Arm Line definitely gets his attention. "Did you guys ever see anything? Any activity or…anything?"

Now that's he given in and lit the cigarette, Elias seems a bit distracted. He puffs a few times, and has the good grace to exhale away from Phin. "Sorry. I quit on Picon, but…" Elias responds about smoking, just a little defensive. But as for his past career, he gives only a slow shake of his head. "Not a thing. Not a frakking thing …" Another drag on his smoke forces a pause. "It's like there wasn't anything over there. But now? Who knows. If you don't turn up anything in the Raptor we can get you something with more range, and better sensors."

"I don't think the Raptor'll be able to stick around long, even if it does find something. At best, maybe it can point us in the direction of a spot where we can gather better data with more ships, or sharper sensors and stuff." Phin says no more on Elias' smoking, when he mentions he quit on Picon. "What'd you guys think was over there? I mean, before the war and everything. Our intelligence services must've had theories, even if now it seems like they were wrong."

Elias looks sidelong at Phin's question and takes another puff from his cigarette. "The Gods truth, Lieutenant, is that … as far as I know … we hadn't had a single confirmed contact with the Cylons since the Armistice. We were doing analysis and predictions based on 40 year old data. The same data we'd been looking at since the end of the first war. There wasn't much new left to find, and you can only extrapolate so much before it becomes pure guesswork." He tucks the cigarette between his lips and inhales again. "I wish I could tell you something helpful, but once you go on this mission, you're going to know more about what's beyond the Line than I ever did."

Phin seems not exactly comforted by this idea. But he nods. "I hope we can bring you guys something you can use, at least down the line. I guess what I'm most worried about is just getting out there and finding…nothing. Given how huge space is. It still kind of amazes me that the Navy even found a place like Piraeus to build all this, so off from the colonies."

Elias mmms guardedly and gives a grudging nod of agreement. "I'm not an astronomer, but I expect they were able to narrow down the search for a habitable planet based on star sizes and spectral class. That sort of thing. Still, it does seem like a bit of luck, doesn't it?" He exhales slowly and refocuses on the task and hand. "As for your mission, I can send you out with a bigger ship, if you're prepared to go further past the line right away. But if you've already planned out your mission based on the Raptor team, I understand not wanting to change plans now."

"Luck or…" Phin shrugs. "Luck. Right." But Piraeus isn't a subject he dwells on now. "I'm frankly not sure if we're prepared at all for whatever's over there, given how little we know. And it seems like, might be best not to commit too many resources to what could end up being a waste of time. Or…a jump into the Cylon homeworld that's just going to get something blasted." A possibility he's clearly spent some time dwelling on in the back of his mind. "And yeah, the Raptor's ready to go. I know it's probably low-risk, low-reward type way to launch it. But my hope is, if we do come back with something, and it's worth committing a bigger force to, we'll be able to better prep to send those people out into the whole dark territory thing."

Elias looks vaguely amused at the notion of bumping into a Cylon planet by accident. "If only the Cylon homeworld were that easy to find…" But the moment of gallows humor passes quickly and he's back to business. "It's your mission, Lieutenant. I'm just here to make sure you have what you need. And if you don't find anything this time, we'll just have to try again." He inhales from his cigarette, then shoots out another stream of smoke to one side. There's quite a nice cloud drifting in the middle of the Map Room now. "The only other suggestion I have is that you might want to check out the area where the Roland Reese incident occurred. I rather doubt there's anything there now, but we do know the Cylons were there shortly before War Day."

Phin nods, grimly. "I remember the Reese. I'd just got my assignment here when the Orion jumped out to take a look at it. I didn't really understand anything that was going on with it at the time. It was seriously creepy, though. And I heard they found some of the personnel from it with, like, Cylon implants or…" He shudders. "Seriously creepy. It's a good idea, though. Merits another look, if they were messing around there before. Anything else, sir? I'll get you a proper report on whatever we find out there, soon as we find it. You sound like you'd know best how to break down whatever data's recovered."

A very guarded and uneasy "Yes…" is Elias' only comment, confirming the rumored fate of the Roland Reese's crew. He clears his throat behind one fist. "That's all I have. Other than to wish you good luck. We'll debrief when you get back and then I'll get someone …" He pauses to look around the room, then smiles tightly. "… Probably me, look over your data."

Phin speaks no more of the fate of the Reese crew. Though he'll probably dwell on it privately in the night to come. "Thank you, sir. We'll try and bring you something useful." That said, he extends his hand to Elias, for shaking purposes. He's a righty.

Elias reaches out to take the offered hand in a firm, if brief, handshake. "Nice to meet you, McBride. If there is anything else you need for this, just let me know." He pauses to study Phin for a moment, nursing the very last of his cigarette and looking the other officer over thoughtfully. "Good hunting out there," he finally says, as a farewell.

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