AWD #322: Points of Failure
Points of Failure
Summary: Skyler delivers her report to Elias on what happened in the nebula.
Date: 09/05/2016 (OOC Date)
Related Logs: The Linten Incident
Elias Skyler 
Map Room
You know the place. Except Elias is there, so it's pretty smoky.
Thu Nov 24 2005 (AWD #322)

Elias appears to have reacted to the Linten incident with all due speed, and is interviewing the members of the raptor crew as soon as they're available. Whether this summons reaches Skyler before she heads to the Map Room on her own initiative is an open question. Regardless, she finds the young Major ensconced at the map table, an empty chair across from the one in which he sits, and a pall of cigarette smoke surrounding him. The tiny remains of a half-dozen butts litter the ashtray at his side, indicating he hasn't been out of the compartment much lately. Head down over some paperwork, Elias is smoking and reading, forehead propped in one hand.

A little of column A, a little of column B. Skyler had to stay in medical a bit longer than the others. Not just to check over potential radiation from all the nukes set off between the two corvettes, but because of how the whole experience affected her leg. She'd ended up in the Raptor sans-brace and the jump and resulting spin did not do good things. So it's with some mild pain killers, anti-inflammatories, and a promise to be in bright and early for physical therapy that the woman was finally released (after a few scans and the like) back to duty.

It means it's someone just down the corridor who notes: "The Major wants to s- oh, you're on your way already. Good." The Lieutenant raps her clipboard against the hatch lightly before making her way through. On the cane, yes, but moving a bit more gingerly. The door is closed, but not completely. Just most of the way. "Sir." The greeting is noted as she makes her way towards the table and into that empty chair. Nope, no standing unless necessary for her at the moment.

Elias normally doesn't normally stand on ceremony, and this is no exception. So he glances over as Skyler enters, eyes narrowing as he catches something different in how she's getting around, and simply nods her towards the open chair. "One moment," he mutters around his cigarette, then goes back to reading for a few seconds. Elias then takes a deep breath, exhales smoke, and looks up to settle his gaze on Skyler. He doesn't betray much emotion, as usual, but there is definitely a grim determination on Elias' face. "So. Tell me about the mission, Lieutenant."

It's a good thing, really. Skyler's never been the best at the trappings of officer-dom and Air Wing itself tends to be somewhat lax about such things. So standing and waiting at attention? Not in her wheelhouse. Not when she's distracted by pain, either. The woman settles and gets her leg stretched out. Carefully. "The Captain of the Pulse High refused to let me remain on board. Said I either leave of my own volition or he'd make certain I left." Which might lead to why she was so paranoid about things in the first place. "Which is how I ended up on the Raptor with Lieutenants Stavros and Vashti." She shifts a bit straighter, setting her clipboard on the table and removing the stack of paper and folders from it. It gives her a moment to shuffle through and find what she was looking for.

"I see," is Elias' response to how she ended up on the raptor, and then he takes another purposeful drag off his cigarette. There's a rather sharp exhale, through his nose this time, as the man's lips compress into a tight line. "What happened on the rest of the flight?"

"The Pulse High's Captain relayed and confirmed the coordinates. They were supposed to be to an area of empty space." Skyler looks towards the cigarette and for a moment, seems like she might ask for one. Instead, she takes a pen from a pocket and taps it, restlessly, against the re-shuffled pile of paperwork in the clipboard. "Strangely, however, and I'm not certain if note was made of this… We heard arguing over the radio as the Captain signed off. Not loud enough to make out what it was, but something was going on in their bridge right before we jumped."

"Mmmm." There's a silence that stretches on for a few seconds, uncomfortable at least for Elias' part. Then he draws deeply on his smoke before releasing it in a heavy sigh. Digging into the jacket pocket of his blues, the man produces a half-empty pack of cigarettes and carefully taps one loose, the butt end extending out of the foil, and leans across the table to offer it to Skyler. "Given your time aboard the Pulse High, did you find the arguing unusual? Was there anything else of note before you jumped?"

The newer of the Intel officers is unable to hide the relief and appreciation when the cigarette is offered. She even already has a lighter on her. Just no chance yet to poke around Sheridan for a supply of her own. Busy schedule and bum leg, well. Free time falls to the wayside. Skyler shrugs as she lights it, taking a long drag before answering. "I did. I wasn't on the Pulse High long, but the arguing definitely seemed heated and I felt the line may have been cut a bit early as a result. But there was no call for us to terminate or change our jump." She looks to her notes and the few clips of gun cam footage she's printed off that show the 'fleet' they saw at a distance. These are pulled free and slid Elias' way. In case he hasn't seen them yet. "Right before the jump, in the instant she hit the switch, Lieutenant Vashti seemed concerned about something. Whatever went awry, she didn't notice until it was too late. We ended up in a part of the nebula and… I'm not sure if it was the strange gravity of the area," birthing stars does weird shit, "or something else. We came out in a spin, despite having been still at the outset. It was like no jump I've been through before. I've seen system errors and the like. This wasn't one that I've experienced."

It's a very faint and strained smile that Elias offers as 'welcome' for the cigarette. Then he settles back, listening keenly as Skyler describes the events immediately before and after the jump. He does lean forward enough to collect the print outs, but doesn't turn his attention to them right away. "In your opinion as an experienced raptor pilot, is that sort of mis-jump something Lieutenant Vashti could have done on purpose?"

At the question, Skyler has to consider for a moment. The woman goes quiet, setting the pen aside as she leans back. The cigarette is finally bobbed this way and that as her hand tilts from side to side. "I haven't seen the results of any testing done on the console yet. The only method I could imagine, in the window we had, would be simply inputting the coordinates wrong altogether and I don't see her doing that as a mistake or on purpose. This was something else." Cigarette back to mouth, her own gaze falling to the print-outs as they're resettled nearer to the Major. "But I don't think it was purposeful, no. Even if she put in the wrong coordinates, the ship shouldn't have reacted as it did. It's almost like we were physically yanked off course, to end up in that spin."

Elias' eyes narrow again, peering at Skyler though the growing cloud of smoke over the map table as she answers. Although he accepts her response with a simple nod, he purses his lips and thinks for a moment before moving on. "The raptor is being evaluated," the young Major confides. "We shall see." Not that he holds out any great hope of enlightenment, given the way everyone is confounded by what happened, but at least there is a chance. "What happened after that?"

It was the 'way' it went awry. Going to Libran, they just popped in at a bad spot. This, well… The gun cam footage will show the rapid and difficult spin the Raptor was in when they appeared in the nebula. Skyler props the arm not playing host to a cigarette on the edge of the map table, fingers tangling in hair as she leans her head into its support. "Once we got our bearings, we found ourselves to be…" she looks to her notes, "fourty-five miles off course, approximately. Lieuenant Vashti noted on scans six basestars and roughly between twenty and thirty squadrons of Raiders. There shouldn't have been anything present. We were able to orient ourselves to where we had line of sight on it." Hence the print-outs. "Mostly we kept instruments cold to avoid notice while we took stock."

A glance goes to the print out as Elias listens to Skyler relate their discovery, eyeing the images of the basestars captured against the nebula backdrop. Another silence ensues as he continues to stare even after the Lieutenant has finished speaking, lost in thought. Unproductive thought, to judge by his vexed expression. "I see." After another drag off his cigarette buys a second, Elias prompts her to continue. "About how long were you observing before the Corvettes arrived?"

The woman draws a long breath as she considers. It's not every day one gets to witness a nebula from the inside. Distraction abounds. Skyler has to think back and consider the length of time. "Two, maybe three minutes. Not long. I can't say why they appeared or who sent them. I certainly doubt they knew what they were getting into. Two Corvettes against that size of a Cylon force?" Even the Baker Bay would have struggled. She scratches at her scalp a bit, burrowing fingers further. Hair, not being bound back in any way, rather falls to shield her features. Not the cigarette though, which earns another drag. "We had full view of it all." Which means the footage does, too. "It was clear the Cylons were aiming to disable the ships rather than take them out entirely. Just as we began to feel concern over anyone being captured, we noted the ships turned their armaments on each other and let loose a full compliment of nukes."

They're not large ships, but the total loss of the Pennibaker and Saloo together is still plenty of death to go around. Elias simply nods, lifting a hand to his face and taking his own cigarette between his first two fingers. "Do you see any indication of the Pulse High coordinating with the Linten Group while you were aboard?"

"No, sir. I wasn't on board very long and the Captain mostly seemed quite keen on getting me off of his ship. Didn't matter where the assignment came from, he didn't want me aboard, let alone on his bridge." Skyler's frowning at her clipboard. She turns the cigarette in her fingers. "As far as I knew, it was just us helping with recon and the mapping process. But the desire to have me off the bridge, coupled with the arguing we heard in the background… Once the radiological alarms began going off, I suggested we come back here to the Orion. I don't know if the Pulse High is compromised, but I didn't want to take the risk."

"Mmm," Elias makes a disapproving noise for the uncooperativeness of the Pulse High's Captain, and then he nods slowly for the decision to return to the Orion. "Yes." It's a rather neutral tone, but could be taken for agreement with that call. "Did anyone aboard the raptor oppose that decision?"

"Lieutenant Stavros did try to argue that we should go to Piraeus itself instead, should the Orion be compromised. I pointed out that the Pulse High is CIDSR and if it is, we should consider the possibility that there's something amiss deeper in the organization. I made sure to press the point that the Orion is the safest bet in such a situation." Skyler takes a final drag on the cigarette and removes her hand from her hair to brace on the table. Between the balancing hand and her good leg, she's able to leverage herself upright to lean across and stub what remains out in Elias' ashtray. "I approximate we were seven full jumps away at the time. Vashti added a few more on our return, just in case."

Elias listens carefully to the answer to that question, confirming his understanding with yet another, "I see." Once he realizes she wants to put out her cigarette, the Major slides the ashtray closer to Skyler, leaving it in mid-table. "It seems we have a mole on the Pulse High or within the Linten Group somewhere. Possibly both. Someone privy to the jump coordinates of a rendezvous, and with both the time and capability to informing the Cylons." Elias looks at those printed images of the Cylon task force and shakes his head slightly. "Unless you can think of another explanation?"

"Who chose the coordinates?" This, after a moment of thought once Skyler is settled back in her seat. "We were told it was empty space. What if it wasn't? What if it's been a staging area for the Cylons all along and somewhere along the line… Someone lied, to attempt to throw us into a trap?" She reaches down, scratching at the edge of the brace. "Either way, I think we've managed to narrow the source of our leak. Potentially. I hope to frak there's not another one."

Who chose those coordinates. "That is the question," Elias agrees, "yes." Then he nods again, looking grim. "The odds against a chance encounter like that in interstellar space are effectively zero. So either there is a leak, or the Cylons have some other way to intercept our signals or otherwise predict our movements. Given operations in interstellar space, light-months away from anywhere, that seems highly unlikely."

"If it had been one, maybe two basestars? I'd be willing to run numbers on the probability. But six? They either knew we were coming or we were given really bad intel." Skyler lifts a hand to rub at her face a bit. "And somehow, the three of us were saved from being caught up in it." The woman is not too fond of how frequently she seems to escape death, all things considered. War Day. Just a few weeks prior. And now. "I honestly doubt they'd be intercepting our signals and not have found us out here. I agree on unlikely. I think we need to find the source of those coordinates and go from there." Pause, and just in case. "Sir." Hey, former pilot. It's easy to go off on a marginally ego-fueled spiel and forget one's place.

"I don't know that there was any intel to give," Elias notes, "good or bad, on what would be expected in empty space. Because the answer is going to reliably be 'nothing.'" He finally crushes out his cigarette, which has smouldered down close to his fingers while they've been speaking. Then Skyler's deliberate use of 'sir' draws Elias' attention back to her, and he gives her a curious look. "Anything else to add to your report, Lieutenant?"

The look doesn't help. There are times that Skyler gets lost in the job, appropriately. And there are others where she recalls that she is very much the small fish in the big pond that is CIC and its surrounding territories. The woman lifts a hand to push through her hair, giving a small shake of her head. "No, sir. Nothing else. We made it back and went to medical." As a just in case for radiation for the other two. To check her leg, in her case. "I advised both Stavros and Vashti to report only to Intel and the Colonel for the time being. I wasn't certain if you'd want their direct command to be aware and I wanted to err on the side of caution. I apologize if that was the wrong call to make."

Elias tilts his head and refocuses, perhaps focusing in on any signs of discomfort Skyler might have shown. "At this point I hope our 'leak' thinks you're all dead. At least that is something we can use to our advantage. For now I want you to return to normal duties. Keep all information related to this incident between us. I'm ordering Vashti and Stavros to do the same." He's on somewhat thin ice with an order like that, given that Intel is not in the chain of command, but Elias doesn't seem concerned. "If you run out of things to do," he says, perhaps half in jest, "there's some talk of the Marines seeing ghosts down on Piraeus. You might discuss that with the Colonel and interview the witnesses."

"I was thinking something like that. If we were meant to end up in that mess, best to let whoever did it think we're dead and gone. Even a sliver of advantage is something." The woman does seem relieved that her request to the pilot and ECO that they keep mum was not a bad one. And that it's been reinforced by the Major. Line of command or no, sometimes people listen when a spook says jump. Skyler does sit up a bit straighter at the mention of ghosts on Piraeus. She blinks. "I very well might. Sounds interesting, at the very least." Her clipboard is grabbed, as is her cane. It takes a moment to get to her feet. "If you see him, let him know I'd be interested in what I can provide there."

"If I have a chance, I will pass the word," Elias says with a small nod. "But I recommend you start with getting some sleep." It is a simple and rather clinical-sounding observation, and while it is a recommendation and not an order, the young Major sounds serious about it. "That is all, Lieutenant." Debriefing concluded and free to go.

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