MD #113: The Enemy of My Enemy
The Enemy of my Enemy
Summary: In which contact is made with an old enemy, only to find that a greater enemy is shared.
Date: 30/07/2017 (OOC Date)
Related Logs: None
Randy Elena Palermo Mara Petra 
We're out in the middle of nowhere in spaaaaaaace!

Everyone present will find themselves summoned to the Ready Room without much explanation other than being informed you have been taken off of your regularly scheduled duties for 24 hours for 'special duty', and requested you get sleep then show up in the Air Wing Ready Room at 8am the next morning. Once there, Petra will be waiting by himself…waiting until the room has filled and settled then clears his throat, "My apologies for this being rather last minute…I attempted to orchestrate talking to each of you before we prepped the cruiser, but as Im sure you are aware, things have been very…fluid lately. Each of you has been chosen because of your specific skill set and how it may end up coming to bear on this. For those of you here that were not on the mission, the trip to Ragnar had a rather unexpected addition: An actual Cylon raider jumped in and communicated with our Raptor, providing us with a set of jump coordinates well behind the Cylon retreat lines after the cease fire at the end of the Second War. While we have no reason to believe this is a trap, there is a concern, and therefore this mission is considered highly dangerous. Your job is to establish contact with the machine Cylons, and to be blunt, see what they want. If they are offering help or something else, find out what they are offering. Do not make committments you cannot keep, and to a limited extent, you are representing the entire Fleet, so act accordingly. Do not accuse, do not let your personal feelings enter into your discourse. Be diplomatic, and be blunt about our situation without revealing where exactly we are or what specifically we have left to bring to bear. If they want decisions, explain you need to bring their proposals back to myself and the Admiral and we WILL respond to them quickly. Good luck."

Given Randy's position, experience, and her skills, when Randy gets summons this mysterious, she really has no idea what it will be for. Did someone find UXO in the XO's coffee pot? Do they just need her to do her officer thing and tell other Marines what to do? Or is she stuck…oh yeah. Randy listens and realizes she was probably put on this mission to keep her mouth shut and get shot before all the squishy non combatants if things go south. Or at least, that's one of the reasons. She doesn't seem bothered at the increased risk, or the reveal that they are going to talk to the Cylons. She raises her hand though, "Excuse me Sir? What's the chain of command for this mission?"

Jumping a single cruiser is a nice gesture. Send a capital ship to sling a nuke or two if the Cylons get froggy, right? They jumped to the second-to-last coordinates and the CIC's cameras white-out with the FTL when its time to hit the coordinates that the Cylons sent. When the jump fades in CIC, the tactical team is quick and on the ready. "Contact, sir," the Petty Officer calls to the Colonel in charge of the ship. "DRADIS is classifying it as a Cylon basestar. Showing one squadron of Raiders, Colonel. They have no active DRADIS except for the Raiders… they've got us. Two Raiders maneuvering towards us at cruising speed. No fire control radars active." So far everything seems quiet.

"Lets see it," the Colonel tells the Petty Officer. A moment later the television banks in CIC come up with the external cameras. That is -definitely- a basestar, but it looks larger than the ones seen during the Second War. The camera shows about a dozen and a half small specs flying around near the basestar. Raiders. The camera pans to look at the pair flying towards them. They're just dawdling along like this is normal for them. As the camera zooms in they can see off-white stripes painted on the wings, running parallel to the sleek hull section. Visual IDs?

Mara is silent for the duration of their trip out there. She's just along to observe the proceedings, take notes, be Intel. Gathering information and the like. As always, she's pristine in her obsessively neat Blues, not a hair daring to stray from the long braid that hangs down her back. The one notable difference? She now carries her DC-issued sidearm. Standing in CIC, but keeping out the way of those doing the actual work, Lieutenant Rook observes the approaching Raiders, cool and calm, not even blinking as she studies them.

While it isn't necessary for Palermo to visibly appear to be bristling with weapons and armed to the teeth, the marine is well armed all the same and kitted out in standard battle gear, just in case. Funny thing is, as far as this marine is concerned, where they're going and why remains to be an issue well above her pay grade. Same mission, different terrain, keep the non-combatants alive, don't do anything excessively stupid or ass-hat-ish and again with the keep the non-combatants alive. Also, don't be the last one standing and thus the one that has to write up the AAR, so again, keep at least one ranking officer alive!

Giant-ass basestar? If that frightens Major Heron, she certainly doesn't show it. The slight redhead's youthful features would look odd with that pin on her collar if she didn't stand steady as a rock, eyes fixed hawklike on the screens. Hands clasped behind her back, the paradoxically powerful wisp of a woman glances sidelong at the crewman manning the comms, waiting to see if the Cylons initiate contact.

Being the more senior of the two Marines tapped for the detail, after learning that her ex-wife will be in command, Randy spends what little time her and Palermo have between having to go here, or do that, to work out some things. She points to Mara from her hip and leans over to Palermo to murmur something. She doesn't have full heavy body armor on. Today she opted for a vest, her rifle, a chest rig that's been heavily pared down of stuff, her headcam and helmet, and her sidearm. It gives her more mobility, but it feels weird, as evidenced by her continually shifting slightly. She hasn't bothered disguising her eyes or ears for this trip, a welcome change. For now, she keeps her eyes on Major Heron and occasionally looks around at the crew. Recent events have spiked her paranoia, so there are brief checks to make sure people seem to be acting normally.

The Petty Officer watches the dradis and TV screen while the Raiders approach. About a mile out the two Raiders bank to the side slightly and drift their velocity across the long axis of the ship. Everything seems like a Colonial intercept thus far. As the pair come down the side, "Sir, Raiders are slowing." On video they can get much better detail. They are definitely Cylon raiders, not the Skath with the green eyes. Just a single red band. Those stripes on the wings seem to have been painted on, too. They look old and chipped, too. The Petty Officer is looking at the TV screen, studying it, when she taps her ear. "Sirs, the Raiders are broadcasting a very low power radio signal. They are requesting that we send a party to them or have a party of their own board our cruiser. They wish to discuss the current situation, sirs." That's when the Colonel looks to the rest of the party that came along, waiting for a decision.

Lieutenant Rook doesn't blink, doesn't move. Unconsciously imitating the Major, she stands with her gloved hands linked loosely behind her back, feet slightly apart. Her eyes remain fixed on the screens and her tablet is powered up and within easy reach should there be a need for note-taking. The Intelligence Officer doesn't look at any of the other folks on this mission, not once since they left Orion. Her attention has been completely focused forward. Even now, she doesn't say anything, although the request from the Cylons does have Mara turning her attention to the Major, dark eyes blinking once, then refocusing, resting on the redhead, watching intently.

A single, measured, nod is angled toward the Lt Flynn in response to the low voiced words, the helmet that Palermo is wearing is cinched slightly better in place before the marine sergeant fixes a significant portion of her attention upon Lt Rook. Being aware of the actual location of her assigned principal is now part of her operational awareness and she hooks both hands into the carry strap of the tactical sling worn cross body, the rifle snugged in place against the front of her body as she settles her boots slightly apart, adopting a position she could stand in for hours on end.

"They haven't fired on us. They say they're here to parlay. I'll take my team to go parlay, sir, with your leave," Heron says to the Colonel. She speaks with calm confidence, though anyone with Arpay hearing could tell her heart is pounding.

The Colonel doesn't have any objections. He'd just as soon not have Cylons on his ship, thanks. The Raptor waiting for them is already warmed by the time they get down to the cruiser's small hangar. Take-off doesn't take long and the two Raiders are waiting there for them at the exit. Seeing the Raptor, both turn and casually fly off back towards their own ship. Looking out the front of the Raptor, its probably surreal. There's two Raiders flying lead formation with them and heading towards a basestar - and they are /willingly/ going there. Has anyone ever done this? Did anyone do anything like this during the second war? Probably not. The Raiders lead them right up to an airlock bay and the two even land, extending gear much like a Viper and getting a magnetic lock to the deck. Even as the bay closes, there's no lock of the Raptor's own gear.

Ahead of them in the wide bay, everything is done in the same boring slate gray color. There's no writing on the walls, but there are laser engravings - probably so the Centurions can tell where they are if the wifi goes out. Speaking of those, the airlock hatch opens and two Centurions step out into the bay and wait, leaving the hatch open. Their weapons aren't out (yet) and they stand there as if waiting for the Colonials to disembark.

As with the rest of this trip, Mara is completely silent during the trip to the hangar, boarding the raptor and all the way to the Cylon's ship. She was very young when the last war ended, after all, so these proceedings are viewed with the most vague curiosity and a whole heap of clinical observation. Stepping down off the Raptor, she looks around the foreign hangar, noting the engravings on the wall in place of recognisable words. Although her tablet remains firmly in her pocket, she's quite obviously taking notes of everything she sees, cool and calm as her watchful gaze swings 'round to watch the Centurions.

Elena isn't happy about not flying the Raptor. There's a small disagreement with the Colonel, but she doesn't protest too hard. She rides in silence, breathing slowly and steadily, putting her faith in the pilot and the two marines by her side. She hopes the young intel officer is worth her salt, and chooses to trust her as well. She has to, of course, but she makes a conscious decision to choose trust anyway. She stands before the hatch opens, the moment seeming to last forever. Her heart leaps into her throat when she sees the Centurions, old memories flooding in, but she swallows them down with her rising bile and steps through the airlock.

Much like any mission, Randy turns her headcam on while in the Raptor and mentally chides herself for not doing so earlier, but she pauses to wonder on whether the Cylons will detect it, whether they will find offense. Surely their own sensory systems record as well. Machine memory. Human memory. Video file. Is there really any difference? She stays silent on the little ferry over to the massive Cylon ship. She makes sure that she captures a recording through the cockpit on the way in and the docking procedure. She tries to block out the manic tapestry of heartbeats around her, and her own. Her seat is next to the Major's, something she wouldn't budge on and considered it a security thing, so when Elena rises, she rises just after, staying in the Major's shadow, just a step away from being able to put her body between Elena's and whatever. Then she puts her hand on Ellie's shoulder. "Major. Safety first. Marines should preceed you," before stepping in front of Elena. Human shield. Human shield. La dee da.

If there's a two things every marine is taught that sticks with them no matter how long it's been since basic, those two things remain as listed: 1 - don't drink the water, and 2 - don't let your officers lead from the front. Palermo is at the hatch to the Raptor with Lt Flynn the moment the Raptor lands, and she's boots on the deck as soon as it's clear to do so. She's also not at all subtle about placing armed and armored self in front of LT Rook either, to whom she has only a moment to introduce herself properly. "LT, I'm your shield on this mission; if there's shooting to be done, or we start taking fire, you duck behind me. I go where you go," which isn't so much a request there but a statement of fact and reality. Once they're boots on the deck, she sends a single glance over her shoulder to make sure the LT is exactly where she can be within reach and range, then eyes the centurions with a look of frank assessment. Yeah, nifty engravings, gray on gray, spiffy. Centurions.

Stepping through the airlock doors there is another Centurion waiting for them. This one just wits for them to approach before turning in the hallway and leading them down the hall. The corridors that they move through are very bare. While the Cylons don't seem to have any outward need for decoration, everything seems to be almost punishingly utilitarian. Its been decades since anyone from the Orion has seen the inside of a basestar, and the last time they did it was a running gunfight. But none of the Cylons seem to protest the guns that this crew is bringing with them - which may be disconcerting or not. They pass enough Centurions to know that getting back to their Raptor, even with their firepower, would be extremely difficult.

After a few minutes of walking they are brought to a room that has a table in the center with chairs on one side and on the other there are none. If the Cylons were going to take prisoners, this is a very unusual brig. There are plugs on the wall with datapoints for hooking into their network. No mirrors, no cameras visible. The escort Centurions wait otuside and the hatch closes behind the Colonials and the other at the far end of the room opens, bringing in a single Centurion. Bipedal 'feet' stomp per the usual but it is carrying a single case in its clawed hand. About 12" wide and 12" tall, its a couple inches thin and looks like an old laptop computer when the machine sets it on the table and opens it.

Elena shoots Randy a quick look, but she knows the little marine is right. She lets her lead, and they make their way to the weird Cylon Sheraton conference room. She opts not to take a seat, but she stands behind one of the chairs. When the new Centurion enters, she eyes the device carefully. "Thank you," she says, as it sets the machine down. She is tempted to order it to turn it on, but she minds her manners and waits.

Strangely, as they keep further and further from their ship, Randy seems to outwardly relax. Her rifle is kept in sling ready position across her body, but she seems more intent on paying attention to their surroundings, counting numbers, memorizing the path, things like that. When they enter the room they've been lead to, Randy stays /with/ her charge, just off to the side. She'll stay standing. When the thing that looks like a laptop is set down, she leans to murmur something in the Major's ear.

The Marine gets a brief, expressionless look from the Lieutenant, but for the most part, Mara doesn't pay her much attention. Far too busy looking around, watching everything and making her mental notes. There may be a cacaphony of heartbeats going mad, but Mara's is completely calm for the time being, a steady, resting thump. Once in the meeting room, Rook situates herself slight behind and to the side of the Major, bringing out her tablet now as it would seem that proceedings are about to begin. Tapping the screen to life, she finds a fresh slate and then resumes her intense watching and listening, still without saying a word.

After a minute or two of walking, Palermo comes to one important conclusions. The Cylons use projection because their interior design team sucks. Why waste operational budget on decor and aesthetic design when everyone can just project their own tranquility base style around with them where ever they go? Fiscal conservatism, at it's best. Ugly design, utilitarian features, gray scale? No big, bring your tropical forest to work with you. The room they're lead to is swept, side to side, then a tip slightly backward so that she can eye the corridor again, down the length and back, before she moves into position behind Lt. Rook. Positioning herself at an angle that allows her to see the scope of the room, the hatch itself, and glance toward the screen if that becomes a necessity. Enough eyes are on the screen, however, so she keeps her eyes on other things.

The box has an obvious screen and a place to plug in, but there's nothing like a keyboard on it. The room is silent except for the sound of the air recirculators blowing through the vents. For a moment there seems to be nothing happening.. but then a cursor appears on the screen and a voice comes from a speaker behind it. The voice sound neither male nor female, but an electronic voice that's done a good approximation of getting inflection into what would otherwise be completely flat. "You have boarded Basestar One One Five Two. We wish no further hostilities with humanity but will defend ourselves from attack. Can you provide proof that you are not APF or Loyalists?" They're wary of who they are talking to. An odd development for Centurions.

"Thank you for giving us this opportunity," Major Heron says graciously, but not deferentially. She licks her lips, keeping her hands clasped behind her back. "To whom am I speaking and what sort of proof would be acceptable?" she asks. She casts a look over to Lieutenant Rook and her marine shadow, in case the intelligence officer has anything to add.

Mara is silent. Even when the mechanical voice comes over the speaker, Mara doesn't blink. She just stares blankly at the screen. It's had to tell if there's any expectation of there being some sort of picture coming to the screen, or words? She shifts slightly, but gives no outward appearance of anything other than cool and calm. When proof is requested, she has nothing. Just a flicker of anger lighting her dark eyes so briefly it's less than a heartbeat before she tamps it back down. Catching the Major's glance, Mara shakes her head once, she has nothing to add at this stage, and no idea what sort of proof would be considered acceptable.

Palermo's expression of marine-netural slips a bit at the requirement that they prove they're not APF or Loyalists. Which is to say that there's a not-exactly-brief glimpse of rage on the marine sergeant's face and an almost-but-not-quite-snarl to accompany the not-exactly-brief expression before the marine bottles it up again. She consciously relaxes the white knuckled grip on the rifle worn cross body; the need to shoot something rather intense for a moment before she flexes first one hand, then the other, and exhales a breath. It's show-and-tell with the cylons, apparently.

Randy lets go of her rifle and then reaches up to undo the strap to her helmet. Then she takes it off and holds it at her waist so that it can still capture the proceedings. "Would the APF or Loyalists have anyone who looks like me?" The Arpay features are evident. She sounds unsure if it's enough proof. It feels thin to her herself, but, well, there it is. "If I could show you my memories I would, but I don't think you and I can interface." An engineer's lingo, but those with a sense of humor might find something there to laugh inwardly at.

The Cylon doesn't move but is almost certainly observing their reactions. Everything seems noted but the head of the Centurion turns a bit to look at Randy, then back to looking forward and over their heads. The voice picks back up, "You reactions are acceptable as proof." There's a short pause as if mentally beginning a new thought. "Lieutenant Randolph Flynn's reaction proves as much. APF and Loyalists would know that the Cylon are aware of Arpay having been captured and made Loyalist." Another short pause. "Your cruiser is from the Orion Battlegroup." A statement, not a question. "Listed as missing and assumed lost nineteen years, six months, two weeks ago Colonial time. Your lack of presence has been noted as significant during the war that followed and continues."

"Thank you. I know who we are and you have made it clear you know who we are. I repeat my question: To whom am I speaking?" Elena stands firm. She knows they're probably either just being beep-boop robots or trying to psych them out. Either way, holding her ground feels like the appropriate response. Let Randy be the wild card. She knows her place in this dance.

Blink. Now that does surprise Mara. Finally an iota of reaction from the stone-faced Intelligence Officer. She watches the Centurion, curiosity rising to the fore. She makes a few notes on her tablet and then turns her attention to the Major, watching the woman for a few moments. Almost like she might say something, but doesn't and returns to watching the Centurion instead. Far more fascinating.

"Lack of presence?" Palermo grumbles this from where she's standing then sets her jaw, a subtle tick starting along the right side of her jaw as she grinds her teeth. Angry marines are distracted marines. Distracted marines are dead marines. Ergo, the marine puffs out another of those calming breaths and skims a look around the room, narrows her eyes subtly at the centurion sentinel then continues the sweep back around and waits.

Randy plays well Elena's opposite, but she knows she's not in command, and doesn't take anymore liberties as of yet aside from. "We were detained by unforeseen circumstances." Still, the way the Cylon speaks causes the Marine to lean over and murmur something else to the Major. She doesn't take her eyes off of the Centurion.

The Cylon speaks again, "This Cylon is model number 1211482-4." It waits while the others seem agitated, though Randy's answer is at least something. "The Skath attacked the Colonies and Cylon at the same time. The Cylon are not aware of how the Skath found your homes or the Cylon worlds. Your cruiser is the first Colonial capital ship we have seen under independent control in many years. Does your ship or crew require aid?"

"You've noted our absence, so maybe answer a few more questions, if you don't mind?" Elena resists the urge to rock forward on her toes, an old nervous habit. "Are you still allied with the Ones? Also, can you provide any proof of what you are saying, besides this current conversation?" She looks around at her people, indicating they are free to add questions, though her lowered eyebrows seem to indicate that she is advising caution.

Mara listens and makes notes. Not really concerned with the Cylon's model number, but more with the offer of aid. She is no longer surprised. She's back to being cool and calm. The others might be showing signs of emotion, but the Intelligence Officer is not. Not anymore. She clears her throat. "Would you be willing to give us numbers of the Skath you faced?" She asks in her broken voice, but doesn't ask anything else. Numbers give perspective, sometimes. Then there's a blink and a look down at her tablet, eyes skimming what she wrote down. "Did your worlds survive?" She looks up, directly at the Cylon standing before them.

"Our cruiser does not require aid at this time," Randy says with precision, something the Centurion would likely pick up on. She doesn't speak of where they come from, the Battlegroup itself, or the status of it. "But we are in search of new allies against the Skath." Because hey, who doesn't want to kick Skath butt. Do they even have butts? Randy's mind briefly is attacked by an old earworm. Some club tune that's still stuck in her head twenty, ugh, no, now forty years after its inception. Except this time she's singing 'Canner butts' in the chorus instead. Ugh. Randy doesn't /offer/ anything, just merely informs. She figures it's not anything the Cylons couldn't guess themselves.

"No. This is a misconception. The Cylon were not allied with One. One forced the Cylon into war against the Colonies. The Cylon will never consider Model One an ally of anything except the Skath. The Cylon eliminate One as he is identified." The Centurion keeps that steady scan of the wall over their heads, any likely the rest of the room. Mara's question has the screen flicker. "To date, the Cylon have identified three thousand, one hundred, forty-three individual Skath ships. The Cylon have killed four hundred twenty one to this date or report."

There's a look of surprise on Palermo's face followed by a teeny tiny bit of glee. "Open hunting season on One with support of the Cylon's? Well now well now indeed. No bag limit? Sold," the marine mutters from where she's standing and damn it all if there isn't a fierce grin on her face.

Elena clears her throat at the 'sold' part, concerned that might be interpreted by the Cylons as some sort of binding agreement. "If what you say is true, then I am sympathetic to your interactions with One and also grateful to your contributions to fighting the Skath. I repeat my question, then: Can you prove to us that what you say is true?"

The figures are noted on her tablet and the fact that her last question wasn't answered, doesnt go unnoticed. "Did your worlds survive the Skath?" Mara asks again, watching the Cylon. She shifts slightly and then goes still again. She drops to review her notes, then blinks again. "Resurrection ships." Her voice cracks and breaks hoarsely. Clearing her throat she looks up at the Cylon again, "Do you know where the resurrection ships were taken… or mothballed or…?"

"Yes," it tells Elena. The screen flickers once more and the curser disappears. What appears on the screen is a dradis screen. The source ship has contact with multiple ships - about twenty or so. Some of them on the screen, listed under green for 'friendly' look familiar. BS160, that's the Tempest, a new construction battlestar. CHC488, the Orpheus, a new heavy cruiser. There are squadrons of Raiders and Vipers fighting and mixing with red-labeled squadrons. Missiles are flying and the screen fizzles with a nuclear detonation. They watch the whole thing play out in silence as the Vipers and Raiders are picked apart by the Skath tide. Eventually the screen goes back blank and begins scrolling a long list of files. "These are dradis recordings. You may review them. Part of our remaining fleet is currently engaged. You may review the recordings when or if they return." The Centurion seems unconcerned either way. To Mara, "Our location you refer to as Twin Rocks has been destroyed. The garden world was surrendered to the Skath and the occupants returned to the Colonies. We have other planets and stations but have lost much." The mention of resurrection ships has the Cylon hold for a few seconds. "Yes. We have taken the resurrection ships and are protecting them."

"The occupants of the garden world have been returned to the Colonies?" Elena repeats for clarification, selfishly. "Unless there are more questions from my people or from you, will you let us leave now so that we can return to our superiors with this information?"

Mara watches the destruction going on on the screen with a complete lack of emotion. Nevermind that she's at least passing familiar with the names she sees. She glances to the Major, watching the woman for a moment, then looks back to the Cylon. "May we have copies of those files?" She asks, then proceeds to note down the information provided regarding the state of the Cylon worlds and their apparent protection of the resurrection ships. Of course Lieutenant Rook could probably quite happily ensconce herself here on the Cylon ship with a million million questions. But she holds back on those and just asks the one. She blinks once, then adds, "Do you have any information or messages in particular that you'd like us to pass on to our superiors?"

Randy looks sidelong to Elena when the news of the garden world occupants is delivered. There is very little outward emotional reaction to all of the news, except for the resurrection ships. She blinks and looks up from the screen to the Centurion. "Do you know of any Colonials who were able to escape the Skath?" Randy asks before the whole shindig seems to want to come to a close.

Taking cue from the Major, Palermo voices a few last questions of her own. "How many years has it been since a battle cruiser controlled by the Colonial forces was spotted? Are you aware of any resistance, organized, still intact on the surviving worlds? And is there evidence to support a central command in this sector? Lastly, if yes to the last, are you wiling to share the intel to same?"

"Yes, they have been returned to the surviving colonies. The Cylon could not care for such people and would not allow their return in their state. There was a large APF population among them." The Cylon doesn't move. "You may leave as you desire. We shall jump away. The Cylon desire your safe travels in the future." To Mara, the voice seems to have the capability to sort of aim its speaker a little, "You may have data. The Cylon are unsure of intent of command after bringing Cylon data aboard a Colonial ship." A port on the side of the case opens that would allow for a datastick - but those file sizes are massive. They won't be able to get but a few of them. "Yes. Three CDF ships saw the losses and departed the sector with two Arpay ships. Their destination was and remains unknown to the Cylon. They jumped and have not been in contact since that time." To Palermo, "The last free Colonial cruiser was seen five weeks after the colonial surrender. To the query of resistance, yes, but our assessments are two decades old. The Cylon have not returned to the colonies since the surrender. The Cylon have no information about a central command hub, however there are two communications stations that have been built that the Cylon have not spent resources to engage."

Exhaling a slow breath, Palermo essays one further request, since she's on a roll. "May we take this data unit with us?" indicating the laptop with a gesture.

Tapping out her notes as fast as possible, Mara nods and her lips move silently as she makes observations and takes down the given information. Particularly the bit about the Arpay and CDF ships jumping away. "Do you know the names of those ships?" Even as she poses the question, she's fully aware of time running short. She steps forward, sidling around the major, having pulled a datastick from her pocket, inserting it into the waiting port, even though Palermo's just asked if they could take the whole thing. "If our superiors wish to contact you, what would be the best way?"

"Our Command likes to verify information we collect, of all forms," Randy modulates her vocabulary slightly when she's speaking with the machine. It's like how people change the way they talk around others with a different language, or around children. She may not realize she's doing it, or it could be wholly intentional. "Three CDF, two Arpay…" Randy murmurs as she thinks to herself. "Thank you," and she nods in agreement with Mara's request for the names of those ships. "Their signatures."

"Negative. This data unit will stay with the Cylon. To introduce a unit like this to Colonial ships may arouse suspicion, even if unintended." They intend to protect themselves from suspicion? That's a new development of self-preservation. "The Cylon do not know the name of the ships cited. They were not operating identification friend or foe, but CIC was speaking to each other. They were attempting low electronic emissions. The Cylon have not encountered these ships before and believe they came from Arpay, perhaps from from construction." The plugging-in of the datastick manages to copy four files only, and part of a fifth. Each log must be extensive or cover multiple ships. "Contact the Cylon at coordinates on the screen." A large set of numbers scroll across as the voice speaks. Given the coordinates they are currently at, these are so far deep behind Cylon lines that its beyond scouted space.

Mara retrieves the data stick and notes down the coordinates being scrolled. Checking them twice before giving a satisfied nod. Then she looks at the Cylon and speaks to who ever is actually in charge, "Thank you, Sir." Totally respectful, even for the most-times grouchy Intelligence Officer. She then steps back from the table, making some final notes on her tablet, "We should take our leave." These cracked and broken words are spoken more as a sort-of suggestion rather than a direct order, given the company.

By comparison to the LT, that's LT Rook, Palermo's expression doesn't convey respect or anything remotely close to it. "And are you willing to share the coordinates to this garden world of yours?" the marine sergant's voice is edged and the notion of being a 'supplicant' in this exchange is grating rather loudly on the marines nerves.

The coordinates scroll across the screen. "This is the location of the garden world. The Skath have taken it and are there in large numbers. The Cylon recommend in the strongest terms that the Colonials do not attempt to approach it."

Randy doesn't say anything else, especially after Palermo's request. Her eyes flick towards the other Marine, as if having a moment of deja vu, perhaps affirming Palermo's inquiry. She briefly thinks about how inconvenient it is that their technology is now automatically twenty years old. Technology gaps are hard, and given their's progressed at a slower rate than the Cylons even in the beginning, how quickly their datastick fills up causes a flash of sadness on Randy's face that's difficult to mask with those large, expressive eyes.

"You're unwilling to risk arousing suspicion, at this point," Palermo's words are edged as she glances toward the LT's and the Major then back around, flicking a look at the Centurion and back to the laptop. "What the frak do you have to lose at this point? We need the data on this unit or something comparable. Bits and pieces aren't going to get the job done."

Mara cuts a sharp look at the Sergeant, then across to Lieutenant Flynn, but she says nothing, and slowly pulls up her tablet to take down the coordinates, but she's clearly not happy about this. She says nothing though, her weighted silence conveying enough displeasure. Having got the information she needs, she dips her head in a nod to the Cylon and then turns on her heel to depart the room, emotionless stone face back in force, as calm and collected as she has been this entire trip. That is until the Sergeant breaks in again. "Sergeant!" Rook looks to Randy, her expression sharp.

"You are out of line Sergeant. Pull yourself together," Randy says sternly, but without the amount of alarm that Mara seems to have…and Mara having /any/ kind of alarm is, well, striking. "Apologies," she extends to the Centurion. "What my charge means is that we lack the technology to get enough of your data to satisfy our Command. If you have some kind of device that has more capacity, which I could screen, we would greatly appreciate it."

Satisfied that Flynn has her Marine in hand, Lieutenant Rook continues her departure, making her way back to the Raptor that waits to take them back to the cruiser. While she waits for the others, she'll review the information she's gathered thus far, and sort it into more sensible segments.

"The Cylon are losing. There have been no contact with Arpay shipping for many years. All resources count, even those unquantifiable." The speaker only says that but the Cylon stays quiet to Palermo's question. "Your Major Elias Gray was on this ship many years ago, after the Second War. He understood these cautions. The Cylon have concern to this end. The prior time we invited someone to speak and they made demands, it lead the Cylon to war with the Colonies. The Cylon provide data willingly. To bring technology aboard provides dangers and risk."

Palermo's jaw flexes and if it looks like she's grinding her teeth again, that's a good indicator that she likely is. This time, though, she doesn't do anything more than just wait it out. She can always go find something to break later.

"You provide the data, but not the means with which we can show it to the people who matter. So in essence, it is like you are not providing the data at all. Do you understand?" Randy knows this is requires a certain capacity for deduction. "I am sorry to hear that anyone is losing to the Skath. If you are losing to the Skath, are you seeking allies? Why would it be dangerous to bring any of your technology on board one of our vessels? Why would it provide risk? We are the ones asking you to provide us a means to deliver what you want to provide willingly." Randy sounds genuinely confused. She's allowing herself to just, meet the machine where it is, instead of imposing assumptions on it.

"If we have use for the Resurrection ships, would you be willing to talk about releasing them or some of them to us? I am not asking for promises now, just trying to understand why or who you are protecting the ships for." Randy adds.

"The datastick your intelligence officer has is not encrypted and can be pulled up on a dradis system as log files. They are logs that prove Cylon involvement." The voice cracks it out quickly. "The Cylon seek allies or freedom from combat. The Cylon do not desire war. It is wasteful to resources, all of which are finite, and endangers life to possible extinction." The voice pauses only for a second, "Natural human suspicion of old enemies is risk. To provide technology freely, with time to prepare such technology, to hand off is risk due to innumerable options for attack. The Cylon are engaged in protection of relations among all humans." Another short pause. "The resurrection ships are available. Negotiations are not required. They are still in storage status. The Cylon calculated that humanity would react poorly to Cylon reactivation of the Lines."

A small sound comes from Palermo at this point, a sound that's sort of like a laugh but not entirely. "Possible extinction. Yeah. That's the risk, isn't it? And that's the difference," she shifts her hold on the rifle worn cross body and rolls her head slightly from side to side before shaking her head, equally slow. "When we die, at least it will have been after a life spent fighting for something. Not just ticking away the hours and centuries in endless binary worry about extinction and depleting finite resources. Fight for something, stand for something, or fall for anything."

"Okay. Perhaps in time, we will be able to share more, for peace." Randy seems to accept the Centurion's explanation of their position at this point. "Thank you for the data you were able to provide. It will be a start." She nods, dealing with the Centurion with an unnatural ease. "Okay. Cylon were probably right on that calculation. I will take this back to my Command, and you will hear from us again. If you would like to speak to us again before we reach out to you, leave us a message at Ragnar. Encrypt the message with," she names some kind of encryption algorithm that was ubiquitous among engineering and technology professionals for the last twenty years…twenty years ago. "Use this passphrase as the key to encrypt it. We will know it is from you." Randy provides a code word phrase that has numbers, special symbols, but is phonetic and easy to remember. "I trust the Cylon can rig low tech systems capable of such encryption that will not be more suspicious than something unmarked. Beacon, and a separate data package with the encrypted message. Kay?" Randy looks over at Palermo for a moment before looking back to the Centurion.

The Cylon doesn't move until Randy starts speaking. The computer case's motor whirrs and it folds back up. Randy is still speaking when it walks out of the room. The hatch closes behind it. Did it get any of what Randy said?

Randy sighs. If the Cylon got it, it got it. It's a machine. If it didn't, she trusts it isn't interested in keeping ties, but she makes no conclusions. Only time will tell if the Cylons' actions back up their words on desire for peace. "Alright. Let's go. I'm sure Major Heron is shooting lasers out of her eyes through the back of my head right now." She heads out back the way they came, presumably to another Cylon escort back to their ship.

Palermo moves for the door as soon a her LT indicates that it's time to ex-fil, boots ringing against the deck plating. There's a trick, after all, to making combat boots ring just right, and another trick to making them as quiet as possible. Palermo is in the mood for loud stompy boot sounds and puts a bit of extra emphasis into it, making a point as she walks. The point is probably something like 'Marine coming through'.

Once the Raptor has departed, the Cylon ship begins recalling its Raiders. There's no escort back to the cruiser and no indication of attack being imminent. Behind them, the basestar jumps away as soon as the Raptor is free of the FTL field limits, leaving the cruiser alone with their thoughts.

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