MD #125: Recovering the Testers
Recovering the Testers
Summary: Petra meets with the Cylons to collect their missing aircrew and discuss things. The news is not all rosy.
Date: 11/08/2017 (OOC Date)
Related Logs: Testing Testing
Petra Lukes 
Cylon Rendesvous Point
Desc of Room
IC Date

The Orion makes its own jump to recover and the wounded are treated. But there is still that big string left hanging. Six hours. The ship jumps to the location right on time and… There's a single basestar. Raiders are out on patrol. When the ship jumps in, though, there's no visible response from the Raiders. They continue their patrol pattern. For almost a minute there is nothing from the Cylon ship, but then there are four Heavy Raiders departing. There's no raider escort. No sign of nuclear weapons on the Heavies. They fly off and when given clearance, they touch down in perfect harmony on the flight deck of the cruiser. Doors close to seal them inside while two dozen Marines take up a firing line across the rear decks of the ships. But it seems these Cylons have learned how to be cool customers. One boarding deck drops at the rear of the first ship…. And aircrew begin walking out. Most of them look pretty distraught. Some are wearing helmets, others are not.

Petra THOUGHT about armor. But no, in for a penny, right? So he's out on the deck when people start coming out of the heavy Raiders, along with at least a couple of folks from Medical. His first concern is stopping a couple of people when they get off. His attention is focused on the distraught faces, directly addressing a couple of them with 'welcome back, Lieutenant…" He's not really TRYING to stop anyone to get the whole story out of them, though he does ask a couple that look more upset if they are okay. Maybe it's just Luke's luck that he arches a brow at her, "Lieutenant. Good to see you again."

Once the rest of the ramps drop and the other crew are released, there is clearly something else happening. There were no Cylon escorts for the three other Heavy Raiders. But the fourth one drops its ramp and the people are pushed out in handcuffs. Two Cylon Centurions stand by the exit to watch them exit before ducking back inside. But Lukes was the unlucky one. The words from the Commander had her stop, watching the rest. There's no helmet on her but she looks shell-shocked. There's not words. Her eyes stay focused on the Cylon ramps, the expectant expression paying off. The Cylon Centurions from the last ship drag, carefully, four bodybags down the ramp and line them up carefully.

The Marines, as a group, look like they are about to engage and there are rifles poised. Anger roils through the bay. But just as it seems to quickly hit a zenith, it stops. The two Centurions bring down a Colonial flag. Each one stomps heavily, but the flag is draped over the bodybag. And as they watch, the other three bags each have a flag brought down and placed over them.

Standing beside Petra, Lukes just stares without reaction. She has no helmet on, but there's blood flecks on her face. She looks healthy otherwise.

Petra tenses up a little when arms go up, but apparently doesn't feel the need to get to the point to order a stand down, when the Centurions bring flags down for the bodybags. A small sigh escapes the scarred old fart, his lips pursing for a moment. He shoots a glance at Lukes, then perhaps with a few words exchanged with Robin, steps forward to approach the Centurion guards. He slows down well short of the machine, and straightens up, "Do you have a specific representative I should address, or is speaking to you acceptable to address the whole? Your assistance is appreciated. I would like to ask if the Collective wishes to take its leave or if they would be open to working with us on further actions."

The Centurion he approaches stops and turns to face him. The others continue beyond. They work to bring down other boxes with open tops. Those… Gods. Those are jump computer drives. Anyone in tactical would know what those are. The Centurions just drop them like other cargo, and then retreat to their ship. But the one in front of Petra listens. It aits until he finishes, then walks away. It might be a draw of a sick feeling, but the Centurion walks into the Heavy Raider closest and then returns carrying a briefcase. The open side shows a screen. The words on the screen make the whole thing very clear:

The Cylon made a treaty with the Colonial Navy. You are Colonial Navy. The Cylon uphold the terms of this treaty.

Petra is silent while he watches the boxes come out, arching one brow as its an aspect he didnt think about right away, but he says nothing. When the Centurion turns and walks into the Raider, he stays right there and waits, breathing slowly and deeply. The briefcase is displayed and he looks down to read the display and slowly nods his head, "Most of the people we have now were not here for the end of our hostilities and they do not understand as clearly. Treaty or not, the lives the Cylon have saved today are appreciated. If there is something we can offer, beyond the terms of the treaty, let us know and I will see if it can be done."

The screen scrolls quickly in front of him,

The terms of the treaty do not dictate reparations for losses incurred in combat with joint conflict against Skath forces. Per terms, Commander Marcus Petra, the Cylon are engaged with Skath to mutual ends. Self determination. The Cylon desire no harm to humanty. The pilots in bags were killed by their own. We deliver those who are no longer among you and uphold the terms of burial at sea-space.

Reading the words, Petra's attention gravitates to the bodies for a moment, then up to the 'face' of the Centurion holding the case. He considers that for a moment, then nods, "Then if the Cylon wish to…maximize their impact in their own conflict with the Skath, we intend to hit them again very soon, in a much larger engagement designed to destroy all orbital forces present over a specific colony, while we accomplish another goal, then leave again…it is entirely possible we will be leaving this sector for a long period of time. Are you interested in joining forces for one more strike?"

The Cylon clearly, or maybe not, hears what Petra is saying. That red dot scans across the view without interruption. There's nothing on the screen to read, just a blinking hex marker for what might come next. Behind him, Lukes stands there waiting. But even as she might be a point of consideration, the screen blinks and the marker begins scrolling text.

The treaty dictates that when orbital combatant forces depart the original Twelve Colonies, the non-aggression pact with the Cylon is null. Until that fact has been established, the treaty holds. It shall hold if the Colonial Defense Forces return. … … … … … … The Cylon have limited resources. What is the goal of this kinetic action?

Petra files that information away in that inked head of his and nods once in acknowledgement, "If we leave, we will not be leaving for good. We cannot continue sustained contact in our current state, or we will destroy ourselves. We will be hitting a Colony to retrieve a small group of people important to our continued survival as a people. So it will be necessary to cripple orbital forces and hold aerial control while a landing team performs the rescue, then we will be leaving. We understand your forces have been signficantly reduced from where you were at the end of our hostilities, and if that means this presents too high a risk to commit, then I understand."

The Centurion still makes no movement, that red eye scanning heavily over his head.

The Cylon can commit between one and three basestars. The Cylon have no construction capacity to create more. Such task will require 31.6 years for first construction given requisite materials available. The Cylon will honor this treaty but ask Colonial Navy Commander Marcus Petra to consider cost the cost to the signed alliance. The Colonial Fleet did not honor their initial terms. The Cylon do not anticipate the current Colonial Fleet will make the same decision. The Cylon will support, pending contact with Cylon consideration of variables.

Petra arches one brow at the mention of the Fleet not honoring their terms, and really, he can't let a statement like that go untouched, "I was not informed the Fleet did not uphold its end of the bargain. As I'm sure you've seen, the rest of the Fleet was destroyed while we were out of system, so we were not aware that they had not made good on terms agreed to. What, specifically, was not done, and can that be rectified?" There's only a momentary pause before he adds, "We will send an envoy to this meeting point with the details a few days before, and will welcome the participation of the Collective decides it has forces to assist. If you cannot, then I am sure we will speak again when we return."

The response from the computer is quick.

The Treaty of Arcturus was signed in secret. When the Skath found the Cylon first, the Colonial Fleet did not respond according to terms of support. This treaty was signed upon all members of the Colonial Fleet, present or not. However, the Orion was not party to this treaty to its signing and therefore holds nor accountability to such ends. The Cylon hold no responsibility to the Orion. However, the Cylon uphold of this treaty because of the Orion. … … … … During hostilities of the most previous war to Skath invasion, the Orion encountered statistically unlikely advantages. The margins and their frequency has been calculated. The Cylon have determined that this treaty aligns with the success of the Orion. To find hostility against the Orion is not in the statistical advantage of The Cylon. Such has been discussed at length with Major Elias Gray. It is Major Elias Gray that suggested code that would support such an effort in alliance with Orion.

Petra is actually silent for a long moment after reading that, a brow arched, as he looks back up at the Centurion, "Really." Well, yes, of course really. He knows that. "I hope I am able to thank him for that, but the chances of my being able to run into him again are…small." With that said, he hald turns to look behind him at Robin and the rescued personnel, then finally turns back to regard the Centurion, "We have no interest in fighting the Cylon. I need to speak to the Lines that are among us and see if they would wish to ask for the return of one resurrection ship, if that is possible, but I do not claim to speak for them right now. When we send an envoy, I will know. Is that acceptable, to meet again before the strike, at these coordinates?"

The Cylon's response is quick.

Major Elias Gray, by our calculations of his respiration output, died more than thirty Colonial years ago due to lung cancer. Your pursuit of thanks are not advised due to effort wasted. Your intent upon speaking to the Lines is your own consideration. The Treaty holds. However, the treaty bespoke nothing to the withholding of resurrection ships. The Cylon have protected two as last recourse to action with the potential return of Orion. There is no request for negotiation. The Cylon will leave these ships at desired coordinates."

Petra looks like he immediately has more to say to that, but then stops himself. His brow furrows and he rereads that screen. He glances up at the Centurion's scanning dot, then down at the screen again, and chooses not to ask, "I'll..inform the people in our ranks and will bring personnel for the ships then. We have a lot to take care of then. We will send someone in a few days and exchange information about the attack and go from there. If there is nothing else you wish to communicate, then again, we appreciate the treaty being upheld."

The Centurion keeps its position.

The treaty was singed in the absence of Orion but with the intent of holding this position with the Orion. Your appreciation is not required. This is a treaty of preservation signed with intent of statistical success. The Cylon will offer between one and thee basestars for support, and four human cargo cars. All will be held at present coordinates. The Cylon hold a gracious understanding for your approach to this matter.
… … …
The Cylon regret your personnel felt the need to kill each other.

Petra continues his light frown as he reads, processing the description on the screen. Its when the last part is read that he stops and purses his lips, and is quiet for several seconds. When he speaks again, his tone has dropped a bit as he nods, just once, to acknowledge what was said, "Regretful, yes. We did not adjust as quickly as we should have been able to, with a rapidly shifting battlefield condition." He takes in a short breath and seems to file that away, "In a few days then." and gives the case holding machine a moment to make sure there is nothing more to say, before he starts to take a step backward and turn away.

Assuming the Raiders take their leave at that point without further trouble, the rescuees will be squared away, Petra will make sure the CO knows to follow the usual minimum 2 jump home security procedure, and then will grab Lukes and drag her to the COs stateroom. Well…politely usher. Finding the Commander's bottle of, well, lets hope this is whiskey, two small glasses are poured, and one handed to Lukes while he points at one of the stateroom chairs, "Have a seat."

Lukes follows in, someone having handed her a towel on the way. Maybe people get where she was going. The woman doesn't seem particularly damaged, but maybe that's why she's being taken up there. There's no visible reaction to being brought into the stateroom, either, until she takes the seat. With a glass in hand it seems to wake her back up and she look back at Petra. Still dressed in her flightsuit and survival gear, its visually like she'd been pulled out of a fuge state. "Yesssir?"

Petra finds a spot on the CO's desk to park his butt for a moment, and swirls the liquid around his glass, "Tell me what happened with your bus, and what the Cylons did. I've taken a risk and I'm trying to get a better idea of if that risk is bigger than I was planning on." He lets that hang for a moment, before adding, "Its good to have you back, incidentally, Lieutenant."

The girl sits there like she is still trying to figure something out. Confusion about what she is supposed to say, but she eventually smells the glass and sips it. "We caught a missile, sir. We weren't supposed to go out with the strike, but…" She looks up at him for a moment and he can see that aircrew. Its not a weakness. Shelby Lukes didn't get coerced into orders. She went voluntarily. "We went after a Viper pilot and a missile took out the engines. Both." There' a growing enthusiasm but the girl looks down, hands rubbing on both sides of the cup. "Cylons picked us up. They grabbed my pilot and I. We were shoved into a seat into the Raider at gunpoint. The Canners just made us sit. Even when we had other pilots and ECOs pulled in." Six hours seems to have done a serious job on her. "I don't know what kind of deal you made. Whatever, sir. But the Cylons didn't kill those four ECO's. They didn't even question me. We killed them, sir."

Petra purses his lips again and glances down at his glass. FINALLY, he lifts it and downs about half of its contents in one go, wincing at the bite and burn. He's not really LOOKING at Lukes for a moment, "It was a judgement call. If we stayed longer, there were going to be a lot more dead. Apparently while we were on Calumet, the CDF here struck a treaty with the Cylons, and that's why they did what they did, so given the choice of more of us dying, or letting them sacrifice themselves to save you, I made a choice that saved more of our air crew. I'm assuming this was following the standing orders to not allow ECO capture by the enemy?"

Lukes nods slowly. "Not going to question staying, sir. We went out there for a reason." She looks down to her glass. "I know I'm not a combat pilot or anyone special. But my instructors at the academy told me that when you feel that your orders aren't in the best interest, then you have a duty to ignore them." She still doesn't drink anything, mostly just looking at the cup in her hands. "But things are drilled in, sir." There's obvious turmoil and upset coming, but she holds it professionally in the back. Its evident, but she isn't shedding tears here with him. "Two of the ECO's killed themselves. The other two were shot by their pilots, sir. The Cylons didn't hurt us." She finally lifts the cup for a small sip.

Petra nods slightly, "In this one rare situation, you made the right call, Lieutenant. Unfortunately at the time, we could not actually warn ejected pilots that the raiders picking them up were friendly. They told us about it." He purses his lips at that, "Its a call I made, I'll live with it, but it also is a standing order we might end up revising, depending on what happens moving forward. We're going to be hitting Piraeus soon, and it sounds like the Cylons are going to help us kick the Skath's ass one more time, so you'll be seeing them again soon."

Shelby looks down at her drink. There is a moment where it looks like she might sob tears out, but she stops it somehow. Instead she nods and looks back to the Commander. "You don't know, sir. It was desperate. I'm not sure I should be here. But here I am." She looks at the brown liquid in her glass and she holds away from the drink. Petra can see it, though. She's hard. On the surface this ECO is a soft spot. But here she is coping and not looking at the booze for a solution. She was only supposed to be here for 28 days. "I know Caprica is gone, sir. I flew on that recon. I saw the clouds over it." She swills the glass and looks back at him. "If we have people on Piraeus we can rescue, I'm okay. I think I need it. If the Cylon are there, I'm not going to have a fit." She looks at him. "Its not about us anymore. I get it, sir."

Petra takes a moment to down the rest of the liquid in his glass, then sets it beside him on the desk, "We're rescuing who we can…Piraeus gives us an advantage in that the Y'sreli are able to pick off the traitors for us, so we can be sure the people we ARE rescuing are safe." He pauses and slowly straightens up, "I'm sorry about Caprica. I watched my homeworld be destroyed by the Cylons at the start of the second war, so while I'm sure it doesn't help, at least you know I understand. Try to get some rest, Lieutenant, and thank you for the information. Its going to be a very…busy couple of weeks, for everyone."

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