MD #061: Statistically Improbable
Statistically Improbable
Summary: A group of old friends go to see CIDSR Doctor about possibly finding LT Wescott.
Date: 08/06/2017 (OOC Date)
Related Logs: Kelsey Stuff
Petra Elena Randy Niko Dropkickst 
In the set
MD #061

Petra is probably thankful for uneventful trips in Raptors. This one proves to be another. Maybe things are just building towards one epic-bad ride for him. Walking through the proper town of Sheridan is pretty safe, but it seems someone has sensed the amount of rank walking. Captain al Yamoha walks ahead of them in silence, just looking at people as they pass. But she fades away in the crowd as they reach the sprawling CIDSR facility at the very edge of the town. Getting inside doesn't take much for the people who are sitting in the lobby. Requesting to speak with an astrophysics and jump specialist gets a flurry of phonecalls. They end up needing to wait about twenty minutes before a Seven walks out into the lobby, sporting the beard that so many of the line wears. He's wearing a pair of slacks and a dress shirt but has on a black baseball cap as if his own version of rebellion against the khakis. There's a donut and a cup of coffee carefully held in his left hand as he walks in and he looks to the assembled group. He then looks back to the secretary, 'Why didnt you warn me, harlot?!', then back to the others. "Heya. I'm Doctor Pershing. Ya'll are looking for an astro guy, I heard? Sorry, I was at lunch. You all, wanna,.. sirs." Ahem. "I've got someplace we can talk if you all want to follow me."

Third time in a row without something happening. Oh god, that means they're all going to die when they go back to Calumet! Well, at least, thats what the internal voice says. When the group is greeted at the facility, Petra at least pauses for a moment and glances back at the rest of the group before addressing the doctor, "We are, indeed, in need of some help from an 'astro guy'. No apologies necessary. This is important enough that it can wait for lunch so we talk to a fresh head, as it were. Lead on?" Hey, the Scarred One even smiles despite the man's comment. Something IS wrong.

Even if the planet is 'safe', they're here on Fleet business, which means Randy's mind kind of automatically slots into mission-mode. She's just off to the side, walking behind Petra, but she still has a clear view of Captain al Yamoha when she appears. Even inside the CIDSR lobby, a trained eye will notice Randy checking exits, her positioning, and she opts for standing against the wall to wait. Those who know Randy better, know that this is a leftover from the previous war. Go to eat at a restaurant with her? It's going to happen to some extent. She waits for all the rank to precede her before falling in line behind them (when they get underway that is), eyes flitting this way and that. She's lived here all these years, but she's never gotten a look inside. She's in her greens for the trip. No need to get her blues all dusty.

The only problem with Raptors, as far as the CAG is concerned, is that they're not Vipers. Which means he can't fly today. Niko has shown up in his blues, with data pad in hand and a quick grin to greet all the other passengers on this ride. Seeing The Ghost Captian escorting them causes him to do a double take, "Whoa … she looks exactly the same." Niko is fine with letting the ranking officer do the talking once they're inside the facility, content to follow along and listen.

Elena always seems taller when she's in her blues. Maybe it's how she carries herself, her long, red hair secured into a wide bun at the back of her head. If she's here to ask scientists about the impossible, she's going in full Major mode. The corner of her eyes crinkle in amusement at the mention of an 'astro guy'. She's always liked Sevens.

"Well then you won't mind if I scarf this donut. I love these things, Commander. Its like eating a little slice of Elysium. Dip it in some coffee?" The Doctor looks like he is about to continue before realizing what he's saying. He clears his throat. "I've got the rest of my sandwich in my lab." Those eyes glance to the others before he begins walking back. The halls are well decorated with pictures and plaques, lacking the usual groan-worthy office posters which are supposed to motivate. Most of the pictures in here probably do that well, some of them even showing people in battle gear from the first war. One of them shows two young men in their early twenties with painted faces and rifles, attributing the faces to Doctors at this site. But Pershing leads them down a few corridors to a locked door and stops. "Need to see everyone's ID before we go in. Sorry. I don't have my own office yet. I'm new." He'll check each one before buzzing his own CAC card through the lock and pushing through.

Once inside the 'lab' has a lot of tables with laptops and datapads. There is a lack of half-built junk or beakers bubbling. The room is about the size of the Marine HQ, though and gives the guy plenty of space. There are chairs and stools strewn about. "There's mugs next to the coffee machine if yall want coffee." Pause. "Sirs." He goes for his own desk before finishing the donut and washing it down with the rest of the mug. He checks to make sure the door is closed before looking to everyone. "I imagine this isn't something small." There's a half-eaten pork chip sandwich on his desk. "What can astro do for the Fleet's finest?"

Petra at least is polite and offers a terse little smile about the donut comment, but he's not precisely Chatty Cathy for the moment. He seems to pass on the coffee for the moment, instead shifting his attention to glance back at the other three faces, giving the door enough time to close before clearing his throat, "No, Doctor, this isn't precisely small, and it has some potentially dangerous ramifications if we are able to find a working solution for this, so you'll need to understand that for the moment, we would prefer this not make it around CIDSR's grapevine QUITE yet." He pauses, then looks at Elena with a raised brow, "This was your proposal. Want to fill him in and the rest of us can chime in if there's something we need to comment on?"

Elena follows him in, hands behind her back. Despite the lack of overt mad science, gods knows what he gets up to in here. She's afraid something is going to be sticky. "Dr. Pershing, we need you to help us figure out something that's technically impossible." That's dramatic, Elena. Good job. "We need to figure out how to stop an FTL jump in progress."

After providing her ID and following the others in, she mosies over to the coffee machine even as the good Doctor is explaining they can use it. Coffee. Sugar. Cream. After she has her coffee, she looks around the room as she meanders her way back, clearly distracted by all the interesting things littering the room.

Pershing takes up the sandwich and pulls a big bite of it, chewing while he looks at Petra, holding the food down at his side while he chews. There seems to be some understanding before he swallows. "Don't worry. I'm still eatin' in here and not in the commissary for a reason. Seems my fellows don't quite believe a Seven can think like I do." There's a quick wink and half-smile. But there's also curiosity. His eyes travel to Elena while she spools up her own pitch. Something about it seems new, but also not technically new. "Yeah, some Five dressed like a Marine asked me about that a couple days on my way home. Didn't give a name." al Yamoha, likely. "Been thinking about it the last few days. Sure, you could do it. But like you said, its also impossible. At least in theory its possible. But you'd need the exactly precise position of the ship jumping, and that's accounting for stellar and galactic drift. You'd also need the destination coordinates, all eighteen numbers. And you'd have about one tenth of a second to do it, I suppose. Shorter or longer depending on the goal of stopping a jump in progress. …But this is all theory. I'm not cleared to ready the Navy's classified experiments on it." He heads over to the coffee machine after Randy is done, bringing his mug and sandwich. "So yeah, its basically impossible. I'm not a weapons designer, though. I'm working on mapping our Local Group, which is basically studying the orbital point of all twenty-six of our local galaxies and which ones may be viable locations for colonization." He drinks the coffee black. Turning, he sips the muc and looks back at them. "If it were easy we'd have missiles for it. What's the Navy trying to do?"

"I know it's impossible. Can you do it?" Elena tilts her head a little. "If we gave you all of the information, the coordinates, the position — could you do it?" Her gaze is steady and intense.

Petra arches one brow and considers for a second, then starts to say something, and stops himself, pursing his lips. Hands get tucked behind his back while he lets Elena 'drive'. Oh, the Scarred One's gotta question to ask inna sec if she doesnt.

Niko trails along, pausing a moment to look at some of the old photos from the last war. Then he picks up the pace so he can catch the group before they're buzzed into the lab. He gives the Seven a slow shake of his head, indicating serious understatement. But the CAG leaves the details to Petra and Elena to fill in. Then he chuckles for the way Crone opens her explanation. "Way to ease him into it," he quietly ribs Elena. After that his contribution is keeping quiet and trying to follow the conversation.

Doctor Pershing continues eating his sandwich while he looks at Elena, then Petra. He clearly knows who Petra is, too. He washes down the food with his coffee and looks back at Elena. "No. And I don't say No because it can't be done. I'm saying No because I'm not going to tell senior fleet officers I could deliver. Like I said, the precision of timing involved with it is what makes this statistically improbable - or 'impossible' for the intents. You'd have to know precision position on the way outbound, too. Jumps aren't instantaneous like most people think. It takes time to move matter. Depending on the hundredth of a second, what you stop could be the whole ship, some portion of it, the crew, or just part of it on the electromagnetic spectrum." He shakes his head. "But if you want to just plain stop a jump in progress? If you don't care how? An EMP would do it, detonated in the right place within a tenth of a second. But what remains.." Pershing walks back over to his desk. "Like I said, there's too many variables at the speed of electronics. Most ships these days use the quantum computers for their jump drives. So depending on who owns it also matters."

Elena casts a pointed look to Petra and Niko — how much can we tell him? "I appreciate your candor, doctor. We are talking the original Raptor-B. No quantum upgrades."

Randy blows on her coffee as she listens from off to the side.

Petra considers for a moment and listens to Elena, then lets a breath go and sets his jaw, "HYPOTHETICALLY. If you had a situation where a jump was caught in a time dilation, and relativistically speaking, only maybe a second had passed in real time, to the point the actual jump wave had only just begun, such that you had, to overexaggerate, all the time in the world to prepare as specific and targetted a remedy that you could manage…Can you, or can you not, come up with a way to stop the jump effect from completing, and leave the jumping Raptor at its origination point? To essentially collapse the wave without destroying the craft?" His lips purse. Apparently the commander is tired of mincing.

Niko gives Elena a shrug, looking unconcerned. He can understand the Seven being gun-shy, given their group and the crazy nature of their request. What's to hide? And after Petra's clarification, the Lieutenant Colonel adds, "And without killing everyone inside." Another important point.

Pershing looks to Elena and the humor in his face leaves, growing more serious. It seems to merge with the mood of the room. He looks to everyone else in the room, then back to Elena. "That gives you more time, yeah." There's distinct hesitation there and the sandwich goes back to his plate. Dropping into the leather chair, he looks to Petra and his brow lofts. "Whoa. Ya'll are serious." He scoots forward to his desk and nods a little, looking down as he listens to Niko. "In a situation like that? Yeah, you could do it. Sure. Now, what comes out the other side would depend on how far through the jump they are." He lifts his eyes to look at them. "A Raptor-B. Unmod.." He sips his mug and looks to the Marine with new appraisal, then back. "This is about that pilot that was killed about twenty years ago, ain't it?" The mug is set aside and he clasps his hands in front of him. "If it ain't, it sounds damned close. To hit a time dilation like that, your destination would have to be damned close to a very serious and known gravity well. Galactic Core sort of thing. If that's the case, its possible. But getting the ship back may not be feasible. At least not in one piece."

Randy sips on her coffee, eyeing the doctor over the edge of her cup. She doesn't show any recognition when he pins the very reason why they are there. No 'top secret' stuff or anything. "Or a black hole I'd imagine."

Petra clears his throat and looks vaguely caught off guard by Niko's clarification, "As the colonel specificed, its less about saving the craft and more about saving the pilot. Dont tell my deck technicians I said it, but frak the Raptor if we can get the person out of it alive." The pilot, not the ECO, which could be a curious omission for anyone not already familiar with the situation.

"Let's say, /hypothetically/, the destination coords were zero repeating." The center of the galaxy. She gives a slight nod to Randy at her comment. "You say the ship might not make it back in one piece. We can deal with that. What about the pilot?" Elena glances at the coffee machine. She's gonna need a bigger buzz.

Niko gives a low chuckle for Pershing's guess, but he leaves it for Petra to decide whether they're going to confirm anything. And seeing the Commander and Crone both staying on the hypothetical, he simply gives the Seven an apologetic sort of shrug. "Sounds like we've have a pretty good idea where the ship would come out of jump? I mean, if it worked."

Pershing looks to Randy, nodding. "Galactic cores are always black holes. Its the only gravity well large enough to sustain larger orbits. Supermassive BH's." He slowly reaches for his mug and sits back in his chair, swiping the datapad off his desk. An ankle crosses over his leg and he taps at it before putting it onto his lap. "If you want maximum chance of getting the pilot back? That complicates matters. The jump cannot have already overtaken the pilot through the sequence. If it has, the pilot would exit the jump missing what has already been sent." He taps a few more times and looks over what he has on his screen. "You'd need something to trap the pilot of equal mass. ..Basically another Raptor." Pershing looks at his screen and turns on a hologram above his desk, coming from the tablet. It shows a basic jump line from the colonies to the core. "Zero, repeating, as the destination. Here's how it looks." He blows up the view down to the colonies and zoom in on a generic location. "when you witness a jump, you see the electromagnetic spectrum wipe itself from the bottom, up. Visibly, your pilot and craft is no longer there. That generates the first field to protect the ship during the transfer before its disassembled. Jumping to the Core, I would say the ship is still there - in theory." The tablet is tossed to the desk and the hologram lags with the movement, settling above it. Pershing rises and gestures with his mug. "You'd need an EMP detonated as close as possible to this location to stop the transfer. Now, there's no guarantee that the ship will come out in whole. But whatever is left will reassemble at the exact jump point. Biological matter is the last to leave and first to arrive. But its so fast that it isn't noticable. Unless… you want to do this." Pershing starts laughing. "Ya'll are nuts. But this is workable. You just won't like how."

Elena hands Pershing her own tablet. "I've been doing the legwork to calculate twenty-two years of drift." So that's the math she's been mathing. "I hope this is helpful in bringing her home." She thinks for a long moment. "So how do we do this without knocking the life support in her flight suit out?"

"Oh…yeah." Randy gets mixed feelings about thinking in the right direction, but obviously flubbing up on her knowledge of the stars. What? She just hops on things that fly around in it. Space. Yeah. Randy sips her coffee as she decides to cling to happiness that she was thinking in the right direction. "You need to have someone check your work Major Heron." Then she looks back to Pershing and says, "How?"

Petra listens, maybe a little TOO intently, only stops long enough to look back at the other three and see who has a look of understanding, or a look of confusion on their faces, before refocusing on the Doctor. He adds only to Elena, "I can't recall if she had her helmet on yet or not, Major. We should be sure of that." Then to the doctor, "Assuming she was not ready for sudden exposure to hard vacuum…"

"She had her helmet, sir," Crone assures Petra. "One of those camo helmets. I remember, clear as day."

"Yeah, you're going to want to check the math. I can do it. But we are talking down to a meter of difference and this pilot and ECO are in space. Not many other people here are qualified for it, but I cannot make promises that even I could be accurate enough." Pershing is careful to put that out there. "Zero guarantees." And if she comes through that far, who knows what happens if she's half inside the wall of a Raptor. He looks to Randy, "You want a Raptor at her exact position. You would have to detonate the EMP first. As soon as the detonation reaches the Raptor, you've probably got two or three one-ten-thousandths of a second to jump away. That would be the best chance to trap your pilot or anyone else inside. Its way too fast for a jump specialist-person," ECO, "to do it by hand. It would have to be automated. And detonating an EMP is serious business. Anyone within thousands of miles is going to get a nasty, bloody nose."

"I'm flying it," Elena says bluntly, though she'll let Niko or Petra overrule if necessary. "I'm the only one I trust to get it right."

Niko crosses his arms, listening to the scientist explain. Some of the details may be lost on the viper jock, but enough of it is clear that he frowns and looks at the others. The quesiton of Kelsey's flight suit or helmet may be putting the cart before the horse, so instead Niko nods to second Randy's question. How. The answer doesn't seem to help the CAG much. "So … what? We stop the first jump and catch them in a new one in the split second before the rest of their raptor shows up?" Just to make certain he's following. Then his brows shoot up at Elena's sudden declaration. "Like Hades you are. The Doc just said it had to be automated anyway."

"That whole ship needs to be automated if possible, to create the kind of precision necessary…and it should be tested in another location, rigorously," Randy almost insists, but shifts her gaze to the others.

Petra shakes his head slowly as the Doctor goes into more detail about what is needed, then takes a deep breath, and lets it go. He glances at Elena when she insists on flying it, then murmurs, "Not so damned fast, Major." Sorta echoing in on Niko's heels. Addressing the Doctor, he lowers his voice, "Alright. The Orion Battlegroup no longer has CIDSR craft assigned to it after the close of the war, so we don't have our own people to work on this. I need help to work this out…a working plan. Complete with automation software built onto the hardware, ready to go. Consider this a priority request from the Navy, and if anyone from fleet tries to stop you, you tell them this is authorized with internal memo Dated December 23, 2008, #34-567 (That would be 2 weeks before War Day for anyone quickly running math in their head) and if they have a problem with that, they can address me personally. I'll make sure the expenditures are authorized. Can we work with this?"

Pershing watches the group for a moment, but confirms to Niko. "That's the short 'n skinny of it, yeah. You're playing catch at a scientific level. Just keep in mind I said biological matter transfers first. There's no promises she will be in her suit." Which complicates the idea of the jump. "The good news is that a new Raptor will have the quantum system necessary to jump faster than re-integration. If you're late, or someone is standing in place of where the pilot or anyone else aboard arrives? …Shhhhhyeit. Look, I'm not going to put it in scientific terms. You are re-integrating matter in the same location as other matter. Nobody knows what happens there, but it ain't good." He sips the mug and looks back to Petra. And stares. "Damn." Pin drops and echoes. "Uh, yeah. But I'll need to be apart of the working crew if you guys leave. I can't just transmit you information that's three hours old when you get it. Hell, everything I'm doing here? I can just bring it with me if you all…" He looks around. "Ya'll leavin' anytime soon?"

"We should strive to automate the entire process. It could be initiated nearby if necessary." Nearby is such a relative term. Randy looks back to the doctor and then back to the others. "That would diminish the risk of reintegrating in a bad spot. People would still get some bloody noses, but they could be nearby and respond with a medevac team," Randy suggests. "We leave in 22 hours for Calumet," she offers to the doctor.

Petra sets his jaw when the doctor says he would be better just going, then mutters softly, "Io is going to burn holes through my head with her stare." He levels his gaze at the Doctor, "If its just you and possibly one other, then we can do this. You're going to be bound by a Colonial secrecy order about where you're going and I can't promise you how much of a kitten the Admirality is going to have once you get back. YOU wont get into trouble, I will…but they might still make your life uncomfortable. If you don't mind that risk, you'll at least have an ancient Commander's personal favor in your back pocket."

Elena crosses her arms, thinking. "So I take it packing a bag and leaving on a Raptor in an hour wouldn't be a problem, then?" she adds to Petra's statement.

There's another short laugh from Niko when the scientist is suddenly on board and ready to go with them. There are things he can appreciate about the Sevens. There's a nod for Randy's statement about needing to automate the whole thing, and test it. And listening as things proceed, he has a moment to flash a grin at Petra. "Good luck with the Admiral, sir. Maybe I can help with a distraction. There's other stuff coming up the chain."

Pershing looks immediately to Randy. "Calumet? …Wait, the rumors are true?" He gives a dangerously low chuckle. "Ya'll are out fightin a war, ain't ya?" He doesn't wait for a response. "Oh hell yes." Leave it to a Seven to have that reaction. Looking back to Petra, that mug gets sipped while he evaluates. "That's fine by me. Doing something like this will make a career, even if it fails. I'm game. I can be packed.. in.." Elena speaks up. An hour? "Give me two hours? Hey, If I can bring another person, I know another Seven. He goes by 'Rance' and lives way outside town at the Line city. Guy just plays with rifles and shit all day. He'd kill to just come along. I mean, he understands some of this stuff, but he's a great shot…" Rance. The same initial Seven that broke ranks and started blowing heads off behind the lines? Could be. "Even without him, count me in. Frak this place.. their sandwiches suck."

Petra murmurs at Niko with a wry smile, "The Admirality will shut up as soon as they hear that memo number. My career might see a rapid sundown after that point, but they'll shut up." Then the Doctor is sounding agreeable, so he chooses to cut in, "Understand this means you /absolutely/ will be staying on my boat and the only reason you are okay to leave it is if I utter the words 'Abandon ship' or we get back to the colonies. There are many, many reasons why one of the Lines should not go anywhere abroad where we are, but that's not a discussion for right now. As for the sandwiches sucking…well, you havent had Battlestar mess hall food, have you? You might change that opinion…" He glances at Elena, "We miss anything?"

Elena presses her lips together, in thought. "I think we can give him access to the gym and rec rooms," she says with a nod. "Thank you for your help, Dr. Pershing."

Pershing holds up both hands, including the mug of coffee, in surrender. "Hey, sounds good to me, Commander. I've got no interest in going anywhere to dangerous. But I'd sure like the rights to making sure we could get this as close as possible. I'll deal with restrictions." Hands drop and he sips his mug, moving to shake hands. "Thanks for the opportunity. For your pilot's sake, I hope this works."

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