AWD #361: Points to ponder
AWD #361: Points to Ponder
Summary: Dr. Nadir invades the Major's works pace with a stack of files and a list of topics to discuss.
Date: 17/June/2016 (OOC Date)
Related Logs: None
Elias Samtara 
Map Room - Deck 2 - Battlestar Orion
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.
Mon Jan 02 2006

As usual, Elias is holed up in the Map Room. The newly-promoted Major has pulled a chair over to the central map table, and there he is busy pouring over a scattered set of papers. There's a thin haze of tobacco smoke in the compartment, indicating he's been there a while and smoked more than one cigarette, even if he doesn't have one going currently. There's a faint frown of concentration on Elias' face as he reads, though he's absently spinning his pen through the fingers of his left hand — a sort of dexterity exercise that he seems to be doing on autopilot.

Carrying a handful of files with her as she moves through the ship, Sam approaches the Map Room with the brisk pace of someone on a mission. Or at least with a schedule to keep, a list that needs to be checked off, all things ready to be made tidy and right with the universe. The thin haze of tobacco smoke that she picks up in the corridor outside the map room makes her pause, ever so briefly, and exhale a mild breath of resignation. She squares her shoulders subconsciously, straightening to her full height before she raps the knuckles of her free hand against the hatch, "Major, do you have a moment?"

His pen stops twirling immediately, but it's a second or more before Elias looks up to see who is at the hatch. "Ah, Doctor." He straightens in his chair, sliding papers aside into a stack even as he asks, "What can I do for you?"

Stepping over the hatch and into the map room, Sam spares a single glance sent 'round the room before she joins the Major at the central map table, resting the slim stack of folders on the edge of the map in front of her. "Sorry to intrude, Major. I have a few items on my desk that I needed to clear before pushing forward, and certain things need to be cleared with you before I can push." She opens the top most file, casually extracts her reading glasses and settles the wire frames in place so that they're perched just so, and skims the short hand notes before glancing up. "In no particular order, but all with a similar theme, this first one is tied to a certain experience that Sergeant Ynyr had with a cylon skinned model. He mentioned 'projection' and compared it, as a base for analysis, against the memory projection that the non corporeal inhabitants of Pireaus have used to impart memories and communicate." She glances as the notes again, "When this topic was explored, he appears to have gone into some sort of fugue state, which is jargon really for re-experiencing the incident again with the same emotional and sensory associations tied to it, and required physical stimuli to be withdrawn from the experience feedback memory loop. When pressed, he expressed a need to spend more time in the chapel and excused himself, presumably to do so. He also noted that he could not discuss this more without clearance from yourself or presumably who ever is handling his incident or encounter in your division, data gathering wise. Thus," and she taps one fingertip against the top most page again, "this being one of the items on my list today."

There's no one else present in the Map Room at the moment, and to judge by Colonel Petra's coffee pot being empty, the TACCO is not on duty. "Quite all right," Elias makes a polite reply to the Doctor's apology, then gestures towards a nearby chair. "Sit if you'd like." And then the Intel officer settles back to listen to the items on Samtara's list. 'Projection' causes his lips to compress into a tight line, and then Elias blinks. "You slapped Sergeant Ynyr?" he guesses, looking vaguely amused. It's a fleeting expression however, as he gets back on topic. "Projection is not something we clearly understand. It exists, and appears to work as advertised, but that is about all I can tell you for certain, Doctor." There's a moment to consider, and then Elias continues. "But I'll speak to the Sergeant and give him clearance to discuss it with Medical, as needed. Just keep me apprised of the results?"

Gathering the folders again with a sweep of paperwork, a single tap of the edges to align the pages precisely, Sam takes the indicated chair with a tip of her head in a nod before a look of first surprise then amusement forms on her face, eyebrows raised subtly. "I should think not," said in that crisp tone of voice that is, all the same, edged with that fine thread of humor. "I merely tapped him on the wrist then had to rest my hand on his wrist for several moments before he was able to short circuit the loop, so to speak." She exhales a half breath, almost laugh, "Really. You can't think I'd have slapped the sergeant just to close down the fugue state," sounding half incredulous before she waves her free hand, "apologies. Moot point. But yes, that would be beneficial. He is unwilling to discuss it without clearance, and I can't further investigate his comparisons between the two events until I have more data to work forward from. Thank you."

"No, of course not." Was that a hint of disappointment? If so, it is brief and well-covered by Elias as he nods and moves along with the topic. "I would have thought people would avoid physical contact with unknown entities as a matter of course, even before the information about Projection was released. But I suppose that's why we have to have regulations, isn't it?" The Intel officer sighs. "There does seem to be a similarity — sharing memories via contact — but if there's a connection between the Cylon ability and these ghosts on Piraeus, it must be a convoluted one at best."

Arching just one eyebrow subtly at the Major, Sam pauses for a moment before she shakes her head subtly and presses on with words of agreement, "Logic would dictate such, yes. Experience, however, provides ample evidence that all the warning labels, lectures, emplaced procedures and strict guidelines set forth will absolutely NOT prevent a distressingly overwhelming percentage from actually reaching out to do precisely that. Granted, that is how we experience and explore the world as infants, it appears that this is a phase that some individuals never quite grow out of. Fire, hot! Don't touch. Simply can't be learned until people burn their fingers themselves often enough for the lesson to sink in." She taps her fingertips against the file for a moment, "Similarity that should be explored and properly quantified before it's dismissed. We have another pair of enlisted who had physical contact with one of the entities upon Pireaus," she has twice now refused to refer to them as ghosts, "and both reported the experience as a memory sharing event and a tactile one, that being," and she opens another folder, skims before nodding. "A handshake, exchanged, that is, with the entity. Leading to the projection of the memory, emotional ties within the memory to other individuals within the memory, locations within the memory, etcetera. We have drawn blood samples from these enlisted marines to further aid in the research that Dr. Thanos is conducting. The connection, if there is one, is tenuous at best. It is akin to suggesting that a motion picture is the same thing as seeing a live musical production. Yes, it's a conveyance of image and sound and other facets of perception. One however does not equate the other. Similar is not the same. That said," and again she taps the file with one fingertip, "it does not negate entirely the correlation. Further study is warranted."

"Mmm," is all Elias has to say for hard learned lessons. Then he listens quietly as the Doctor discusses the experiences on Piraeus. There's a thin frown from the Intel officer, but all he says is, "Study away, Doctor. I'll leave the scientific work to you." He studies the CMO's file folder with some curiosity. "You said you had several things to discuss?"

Nodding as she sorts through to the next folder, Sam extracts a pair of print outs that appear to be highly magnified cross sections of brain tissue. "You'll recall our conversation with Captain Hoshi?" asked as she leans forward and extends a copy of the images toward the major.

"Yes," Elias says with an arched brow. It doesn't sound like a topic that holds a great deal of interest for him, but he complies by sliding the images closer. "Is this his brain?" Now the Major looks both more interested and more concerned. "What am I looking for, Doctor? A device?"

With a firm shake of her head to negate the Major's question, Sam leans forward to tap first one image, "This was the image of his brain when he was initially inducted into service. And this," she points to the second image, "is the one that we just finished on the Kildare." She frowns at the image before glancing up, "The section of his brain that usually deals with perception and hearing has been deformed or damaged," giving the basic data without dragging the Major through technical jargon. "The damage is slight, major, but if Captain Hoshi had had this when he first took his Fleet medical evaluation, he never would have been allowed to wear the uniform. What ever caused this damage," she taps the image again, "I'm confident that this damage, this alteration - this is new."

The mention of the hospital ship causes Elias a moment of distraction, but he is quick to catch up as Sam points out the differences in the two brain images. "I see," says the young Major. "That is … unfortunate for the Captain." An unfortunate situation he ponders for a second. "What could cause this sort of damage, Doctor? Is it reversible?"

Sam shakes her head as she leans back, "This, I do not know. I'll have Dr. Forrester review these images as well and determine what, if any, sort of treatment may be possible. This said, the intense hallucinations that the crew of the Galactica were experiencing right up to the moment they docked at Ragnar . ." she pauses then makes a small grimace. "Without more samples to draw upon, this is speculation only. But it could be something that affected the entire crew. That said, if we consider this to be a thumbprint, so to speak, we can identify others that may have been either A: members of the same crew or B: exposed to the same sort of damage. In either case, the same intense hallucinations would be experienced and reported."

"Mmm," Elias makes a guarded sound. "At least we have an explanation. If you can rule out airborne chemicals or something like that, it would be helpful, Doctor. I'm leery of sending people to salvage the Galactica if there's some danger they'll be exposed." Which brings another unpleasant thought to mind. "And let's hope this isn't the same sort of thing that is causing these … entities on Piraeus."

Tapping one fingertip against the copy of the scan that she has in front of her, "Which leads to another line of query," Sam agrees with a mild nod, a brief expression of pensive consideration before she takes a pencil out of one of her pockets and jots herself a note. The flat edged carpenter style pencil she prefers moves across the page for a moment, "I'll arrange some scans of those who have spent time on planet, in various degrees of continued exposure to the planet that is, against those who have not yet set foot on planet. Likely from any of the new civilians we have in processing. Who knows, we might find something useful."

"I would imagine Doctor Thanos has the most exposure at this point," Elias muses. "Unless this is something that's been going unreported in Sheridan for some time." In which case they have thousands of civilians to draw upon. Hopefully not. Though another thought occurs and Elias makes a rather sudden change of subject. "Speaking of scans, Doctor, what's the status of our skinjob detection system? Do we have something functioning and reliable?"

"First and foremost," Sam beings, "the skinned cylons are /not/ silicate-based lifeforms. The -only- verifiable difference between human and skinned cylon bodies is an unknown element at the molecular level that bonds elements together. That's it. For all intents and purposes, they are carbon-based lifeforms. Otherwise their bodies would be rejecting blood transfusions and even baseline medicinal standards would fall apart due to chemical composition of the bodies. The autopsies that we have performed revealed absolutely nothing that would hint at the body being anything except human. There are no wires, no transmitters, no receivers, nothing that would indicate that this individual was a skinjob. Tissue samples and DNA examination indicates that right down to the structure of said DNA, this life form appears to be human." she pauses as she organizes her own thoughts, "In our studies, and these are not quick flip processing, it actually takes several days as the actual test itself requires processing of nuclei. The test results indicate that these lifeforms are not carbon but silicate based in -some- of their cellular bonding -and- contains an unknown element similar to that found in the chemical weapons residue recovered off the Roland Reese. This said, DNA testing takes several days and is generally a thorough science, but the problem is that at the nucleatic level, its very difficult to test for some simple things. Resources are pretty limited and there are probably enough supplies, presuming absolutely no margin of error and no mistakes in test samples, it takes 4-5 days to show results, that's approximately sixty people a month."

Elias seems to sense that a full and complete answer to his question is forthcoming, and so he settles in to listen. There are a few nods and 'mmms' to show he's following along, but he doesn't interrupt. And once Samtara has finished, he's silent for a second to take that all in. "So, yes. But not something we can sweep the Fleet with. I see."

"Tests are being done," Sam notes as she glances up again, tipping her head in a nod at Elias. "At present supplies, it would take 43 months to test every single person on Orion, at this precise moment. That's just Orion, not the rest of the fleet. Taking the entire population of the fleet into consideration, and we'll use 35,000 as around number, and the math works out to 583 months. That's about 48 years, at the current rate of testing," she glances up from the page where she's working out the math in long hand division. "That's just the fleet. That's not Pireaus. Yes, we have tested the Admiral, and Faulkner and of course Spree. The rest of the tests are being drawn from blind sampling, there is no slated schedule. Samples are numbered, bar coded, assigned to personnel files, and drawn accordingly. Blind sampling to prevent biased priority based testing."

After absorbing the current progress, Elias gives a slow and thoughtful nod. "I see … I think we might want to focus on new personnel. It seems unlikely that we'll find a new skinjob that's been sitting idle for over a year. But it is good to know that senior command has been vetted." After a second he adds, "Has Colonel Petra been tested?"

Sam glances up again, the math actually having distracted her for a moment, "I can't change the blind sampling, Major, that would negate the purpose of the blind sampling. New personnel have labs drawn, their samples are numbered and inserted into the equation and it continues apace." She shares a mild nod then, "He has been tested," she confirms. "But I can't tell you if you have or myself, for that matter. If the team that does the testing finds a positive sample, protocol is in place and would be enacted accordingly."

Elias looks less than convinced that the sampling has to be blind and random, but he doesn't argue the point. "I see." There's a small nod for the confirmation about Petra, which is a one less thing to worry about, and he seems less than concerned with either of them being skinjobs. "I would hope 'protocol' involves a sufficient number of Marines. But thank you, Doctor. That's good to know."

"I am positive that appropriate elements have been drafted into the protocol parameters," Sam replies then exhales a small sound that is almost a laugh. "Marines, most certainly. And any other personnel who happen to have adequate training for this sort of situation. Sufficient numbers, I would presume so. I don't know, as security protocol really isn't something I can draft. Personally, I'd be more inclined to prepare a heavy round of sedation tranquilizers, prepare a cell in advance, and THEN have the marines go have the necessary dialog. It doesn't have to go badly, but it could. I would prefer to plan for badly and hope, just once, to be pleasantly surprised."

"Very reassuring," Elias says with a bit of a deadpan voice. Though he doesn't actually seem to take issue with what little Samtara describes of the protocol. "And yes. I've been hoping for a pleasant surprise for the last year, though so far it hasn't …" It sounds like he was going to claim it hasn't happened, but something abruptly occurs to the Intel officer, and he trails off. "We haven't had particularly helpful Cylons," he corrects himself, and then moves quickly on. "Was there another topic you wanted to discuss with me, Doctor?"

Sam closes the folders then rests both hands on the closed folders. "Last three items," she notes with a nod. "First, if you will recall, some months back we acquired the components necessary to assemble a MRI unit. With the pieces now acquired, and no safe way to assemble and use the unit aboard ship, I would like permission to have a structure built on Pireaus to house and use the unit. Granted, we can't use it on the 'jacked' individuals, as it would tear the actual components out of the human, which is not the goal. But. We have the unit and it is a waste of the expenditure of energy and effort if we do not build the structure necessary to house it." She laces her fingers together then says, "Secondly, now that we have the facility on the Iron Pilgrim, I would like to know if there is a time table already in place to acquire some of these jacked individuals so that we can determine if there is any way to extract the parasite and components around it. Unfortunately, one individual will not be sufficient, scientifically speaking. we would need several to work with. Lastly, and I know this is something that we've discussed before, but I still think it's a priority to attempt to gather enough composite pieces of dismembered centurions so that we can study, dissect really, the body itself. I'd like to say that I'm positive that it would be safe to have the pieces as long as they're not assembled, but I don't honestly know. Which is another reason that the cells on the Iron Pilgrim are so constructed."

After listening to the list, Elias is quick to respond point by point. "I certainly don't object to building what you need on Piraeus, Doctor. I can cut an order for the Colonel or the Admiral to sign, though I can't technically order it myself." The question of the jacked humans is a little less cut and dry, and there is a tight-lipped frown from Elias as he answers. "Caprica is the only place we've confirmed jacks operating in significant numbers. And given … other operations, I'm not sure we'll be able to mount a mission to capture some in the near future. I will keep it in mind, however." And then he settles back in his chair, a more relaxed posture as he discusses the third point. "As for Centurion parts, I'd recommend a scavenging trip to Picon. Santos Ridge, specifically. We destroyed several hundred of them there. There is also a workshop down on Piraeus, where the current Centurion … samples are under guard. Chief Rutlii was heading up that project, but I haven't been able to replace her since she was transferred."

"That would help, thank you, Major," Sam replies with a nod. "Now that we have a neurosurgeon on staff, it's more important than ever to ensure that she has the tools that she needs to do her job. My abilities in that area are limited to general knowledge and knowing that it's not my skill set, and fortunately it is Dr. Forrester's." Another measured nod is given, "I don't imagine that it's any where near the top of the priority list, Major, but I wanted to make sure to voice the importance of this work. If we can find a way to neutralize these parasites and extract the support mechanism then we can offer hope, hope that is crucial, to those who have lost family, friends, loved ones to this invasion." She exhales another breath as she nods once more, "Fortunately, we have Captain Tremaine, along with individuals like Petty Officer Diomedes who exhibit exceptional technical aptitude and engineering expertise. I'd like to take part in this, if possible. Understanding how they function, how they can be disassembled, how they're actually part of the cylon war machine, is another vital aspect of intel gathering. I'm no mechanic, but while the universe is infinite and evolution is endlessly creative, the cylon's chose to take the base model that was originally produced and continued in that line of evolution must mean that it was the most logical, bipedal, concept to work with. Dissecting one would offer key insights."

Picking up his pen, Elias scrawls a quick note to himself regarding the building project. "Yes. As I said in the mess, we have no shortage of projects for her." And then there's a cautious sort of noise for the work with jacks. "Mmm." He sets his pen aside and settles back into his chair again. "I'll leave that in your hands, Doctor. My only idea for forcing the Cylon program out is rather drastic." And not one he's keen to employ, by the sound of it. The Centurions he has more certain ideas about, though. "I believe the gross mechanical aspects of the Centurions and their built in weapons have been fairly thoroughly explored. I know metallurgical analysis has been done on their components. What we needed to move forward was a software expert. And those are in rather short supply I'm afraid."

Arching a curious glance at the Major, Sam pauses for a moment then elects not to inquire into the Major's idea for forcing the cylon program. She makes a sound that is neutral and noncommittal at the same time before she nods again. "Then acquiring a software expert is a key component to the strategy to move forward. So. I will keep an eye out for one, should we be lucky enough to encounter one in the incoming wave of personnel as we acquire same. And, when we get fortunate enough to acquire one, I'll bring this individual to your attention." She rises to her feet, folders neatly tucked against her side, "Thank you for your time, Major."

And nothing is offered by Elias either. With luck his 'drastic' idea on expunging Cylon control programs from people will remain forever a mystery. "Yes," he agrees on the personnel front. "I have been looking. The closest we have are some ECOs with computer experience. And I think this might require a bit more than that." Glancing up as Samtara stands, Elias slowly does the same. "Of course, Doctor. I'll let you know when I'm available to talk with Doctor Forrester."

Moving toward the door, Sam pauses to turn and glance back at the Major. "Sir, if you recall, we've had conversations about this before. I just wanted to reiterate one thing," she offers a almost glimpse of a smile, a glance sent up at the haze of tobacco smoke that drifts lazily in the corners of the room. "Do consider the smoking thing, Major, the stopping of, that is."

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