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 Post subject: Re: Episode 37: Loose Ends/Derelict
PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2016 8:27 pm 
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Luxury Starliner Nimbus
Compartment 7076B
Day 287 Time 1400


Tarran Brown began the careful preparation for her work in the next compartment. This area in Nimbus was drab and Spartan, the ‘backstage’ area of the luxury liner—compartments for supplies and various mechanical workings to keep the ship running. Tarran was glad to be back here, though, after spending long hours and long days helping to clean up and do repairs to the ship after the cylon attack.

This small compartment was little more than a prep room, its function similar to the scrub room next to surgical suites. Here, Tarran drew a one-piece coverall on over her clothing, fastening the front and pushing the sleeves up her arms so she could scrub them in the deep sink. She took her time with the small brush, following the procedure that Dr. Bragg had schooled her on. As she scrubbed, her thoughts went to the time she’d met the doctor and been recruited for this project…


Day 221 2011 Hours

Security Officer Brown left the security office after signing out at the end of her shift. She turned along the passage and stepped through a hatch marked Crew Members Only, continuing along in a part of the ship that the passengers never saw: crew space, bare and lit with long fluorescent bulbs, a stark contrast to the opulence of the passenger areas.

When she turned down to the berthing compartments where the security personnel lived, she was surprised to see someone waiting in the passage. She approached him and stopped, assuming he was a lost passenger, and asked, “Can I help you, sir?”

Luther Bragg gave the security officer an appraising look, coupled with an easy smile that was almost a leer. Though it was evident that Brown did nothing to enhance her appearance, it was still clear that she was female and Bragg held a certain appreciation for a woman in uniform.

"Officer Brown," he greeted her. "Tarran, if I may?" Bragg watched her reaction closely, seeing that she was both guarded and curious. "Former MP, Colonial Army, with the commensurate paramedic training. I have need of an individual with access, determination, and basic medical knowledge. Might that be you?"

"I am Tarran Brown, sir," she acknowledged. She'd seen him on the Nimbus before, but didn't know who he was or how he knew about her. "What is your name?"

"Luther Bragg. Your boss, Mr. Epperson, knows of me," Bragg stated evenly. He paused a moment, clearing his throat. "Tarran, I am offering you the opportunity to spend your off-duty hours doing something far more valuable than re-watching the same movies repeatedly in the crew lounge. Are you interested, or must I seek the next name on my list?"

Intrigued, Tarran replied, "I'd like to know more of what you're talking about before I commit." If Epperson knows him, though, this probably isn't about making cheap hooch or black market drugs, she mused. Anything would be better than those same stupid movies.

"How much do you know about our cylon enemies?"

She reflected a moment. "What the brass wants us to know... or rather, what the brass wished hadn't gotten leaked." She paused. "Not a hell of a lot, really. Now they look human, but are made somehow--not born. There are, ah, copies of them but a limited number of originals... like clones, I guess. There are still metal ones, but those just take directions from the flesh ones. And they want to totally wipe us out."

"Those are the essentials," Bragg said, nodding, "with one twist - dead cylons are resurrected. The military is treating the cylons like a conventional enemy, but the ability to resurrect deceased units makes the cylons anything but conventional. And while that ability seems to be an immense advantage, I believe it may also be an Achille's heel. I have a plan in mind to exploit that weakness, but it is too far 'out of the box' for our leaders so I have no choice but to proceed on my own. Thus, I need a few capable and trustworthy assistants." As Bragg finished, he fixed Brown with an expectant look.

Resurrect! she thought with a jolt. So they come back with a new body but still have all the knowledge and experience of the killed one... holy godsdamned hell! "Exploit a weakness..." she said slowly. That's good military strategy. He must really be working on something weird, or even not entirely legal, if the brass won't touch it. "All right, I'm interested," she said, "but my medical experience is limited to the emergency stuff I learned in the Army."

"It will be sufficient," declared Bragg. "There are individuals involved that have the requisite medical knowledge to guide you. Be ready, and I will contact you when you are needed."


Dr. Bragg had contacted her, and now she was here, continuing to work on his plan to exploit the enemy's weakness. It wasn't very exciting work, but it was a lot better than watching movies she'd memorized months ago. Carefully she dried her hands and arms with disposable toweling, prepared for her shift.

_________________
Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper, about budget cuts for the US’s intelligence agencies: "We're not going to do more with less and all these other clichés. . . . We will just simply have less capability."


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 Post subject: Re: Episode 37: Loose Ends/Derelict
PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2016 8:32 pm 
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Luxury Starliner Nimbus
Compartment 7077
Day 287 Time 1405


It was a combination of drab cargo compartment and sterile lab. Bright overhead lights shone down onto medical equipment, glinting off polished metal and glass but leaving the edges and corners of the room in gloomy dimness. The glaring light illuminated the nearest tank like sunlight on a hot tub with an atmosphere that was vaguely malevolent yet scientifically precise, leaving the further tank in murky shadows.

Tarran Brown wore a medical loupe around her head and over her eyes, the instrument greatly magnifying whatever was in the center of her vision. Her attire was the coverall that a scientific researcher would wear, its whiteness accentuated by her dark skin and the contrast of the light and dark in the compartment. Under that coverall she wore a uniform that identified her as a security officer on the Nimbus, but her duties in the unusual laboratory weren’t related to her security job. Tarran was determined to survive whatever life—or the cylons—dealt her, and this project was added insurance.

She stood at the electrospinner, her sterile gloved hands held out from her body to prevent contamination. The machine made a nearly imperceptible whirring noise that gradually died away and then a light on its surface blinked from red to green. Tarran waited another moment and the panel on top slid to the side, revealing a fifteen-centimeter long rectangle of collagen latticework gleaming white in the cloudy nutrient solution. Carefully she lifted the rectangle and let it drip for a few seconds, then turned and took two efficient steps to the nearby tank. Partly dried drops shone on the deck, showing that she’d traveled this same path numerous times already.

Already in the tank was the result of her previous work. The object there vaguely resembled a human head and torso with the beginning nubs of arms and legs; a collagen skeleton covered with pale pinkish-tan tissue, in places covered with additional latticework like a loosely woven skin. The latticework ‘skin’ across the chest had been partly absorbed by the underlying tissues, leaving a smooth surface gleaming in the nutrient solution-filled tank.

Tarran lowered the rectangle of lattice into the tank and gently curled it lengthwise, fashioning a tube-like structure. She reached overhead and grasped the handle of the micro-joiner with one hand while cradling the lattice tube with her other and pulled the instrument lower. It moved easily, held in the grip of an articulated arm mounted on an overhead beam. The micro-joiner’s long, thin needle extended fifteen centimeters from the handle, the wire that supplied power to the instrument protruding from the other end of the handle and coiling around the articulating arm and beam, disappearing into the darkness where it was hooked into the ship’s power.

She pressed the ‘on’ button on the handle and then touched the tip of the micro-joiner needle to the end threads of the lattice tube where they met, the medical instrument making tiny bubbles as it performed its function to link the ends together. Tarran worked like a master craftsman would solder tiny connections on a computer chip, her movements meticulous and exact. In less than a minute, her lattice tube was completely connected lengthwise. She then repeated her actions with the micro-joiner, connecting the tube to another protruding from the shoulder area of the form in the tank.

As she worked, the tissue bioreactor next to the microspinner beeped softly, but she ignored it. Only when she was satisfied with the joining on the beginnings of a humerus-like lattice ‘bone’ did she lift the micro-joiner up out of the way and move to the bioreactor. The bioreactor’s function was to generate undifferentiated tissue, usually used for burn patients to cover and regenerate damaged and destroyed skin. She’d programed the machine to manufacture a section of tissue similar in size to the lattice she’d just used as the basis for bone, although the tissue was several centimeters thick, rather than the millimeter-thickness of the latticework.

She curved the tissue around the exposed lattice ‘bone’, then linked the unjoined ends of the tissue with the micro-joiner as she had for the lattice. Once the length was linked, she joined the top of the tissue to tissue already growing on the ‘shoulder’. This stage of the process was slower than joining collagen lattice, but she’d timed it so that she was nearly done when the bioreactor beeped again. It had produced another section of tissue, and she layered that over the tissue with which she’d just covered the lattice ‘bone’. She only needed to connect the unjoined ends to each other in spots—where tissue touched tissue, it would grow together without the electro-enzymatic encouragement of the micro-joiner.

Satisfied, she paused to program the microspinner for the next latticework segment as she continued to add tissue to the form in the tank. It was a slow, careful process, but Tarran was used to repetitive, boring work. At least this would produce an end product more satisfying than bouncing drunks out of the bars on the Nimbus.

_________________
Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper, about budget cuts for the US’s intelligence agencies: "We're not going to do more with less and all these other clichés. . . . We will just simply have less capability."


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 Post subject: Re: Episode 37: Loose Ends/Derelict
PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2016 1:14 pm 
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Catalina - Pressurized Cargo Area #15
Day 287 1456 Hours


The reaction from the President and the Military to the letters Russ Ryan had delivered was swift. Marines from Libra and a team from Taurus' Military Criminal Investigations Team (MCIT) arrived on the giant space liner within an hour.

Pressurized Cargo Area #15 was in the belly of the Catalina, aft of the shuttle bay. It was the largest of the liner's cargo bays, located at the end of a wide internal passageway. Access was via a set of large pressure doors. While a Catalina crew member moved a propane-powered fork truck away from the door, the combined MCIT/Marine team took positions. Major Dedrick conferred with MCIT's Corporal James in the Catalina's security office. When the security cameras inside the cargo area showed no movement, Major Dedrick directed Corporal James to open the pressure doors.

Sergeant Warndorf quickly deployed her people within the cargo compartment, first verifying that it was clear of personnel then locating the container in which the PLA had cached their weapons. Ryan's letter had specified the intermodal container's markings down to the ID number, and the team found it easily.

CPL Devlin Reed, the EOD expert, approached the doors leading to the storage container, dressed fully in his explosives safety suit. He examined the large metal doors for any hints of explosives and trip wires. Satisfied that there were none, he tapped a button to a wireless transmitter on his belt, "Container is clear, sir. Request permission to install ordinance."

[Acknowledged, Corporal Reed. Seizure team, fall back to the passageway.] As the search-and-seizure team withdrew beyond the pressure doors, Major Dedrick continued, [You are cleared to place breaching charges.]

Reed acknowledged and went to work. Working quickly but cautiously, the EOD specialist finished in just under twenty minutes. Reed turned on the remote detonator and then contacted Dedrick. "Ordnance in place and armed. Falling back to the safety zone, sir. I'll await your order to execute detonation."

[Acknowledged, Reed. Stand by for evacuation of atmosphere.]

"Copy that and out".

Once Cpl. Reed had reached the safety of the other side of the cargo hatch, Catalina's captain, Marc Cota-Robles, closed the cargo area's pressure doors and decompressed the entire bay on the orders of the military. Once the 'go ahead' from the bridge came, Dedrick informed the Catalina's captain that the charges were about to be set off. Cota-Robles confirmed that Catalina's damage control crew was standing by as a precaution. When Dedrick finished on the wireless, he met CPL Reed's expectant gaze. Dedrick simply nodded.

"Aye, sir." Devin produced the remote control that would detonate the explosives. "Executing detonation in 5...4...3...2...1...EXECUTE".

With no atmosphere remaining in the cargo bay the explosion made no sound, though Devlin and his team felt the blast reverberate through the Catalina's deck. Once the bay was re-pressurized, Devlin entered. After a few seconds, he confirmed the explosion had happened as planned and turned off his remote detonator.

"Breach complete, sir. Area is secured from any explosive threats. You are go for entry."

Over the next two hours, MCIT and Colonial Marines carefully examined and reviewed the contents of the storage container against the list they had been provided. Everything checked out: every gun, every knife, every bullet... everything.

"Sir, it's all here." Cpt. Ramona Neuman said to Maj. Dedrick. "Well, the PLA folks were truthful. Makes me wonder what else they are hiding."

Dedrick nodded, his face grim. "What worries me more, Captain Neuman, is the PLA folks themselves... hiding in plain sight."


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 Post subject: Re: Episode 37: Loose Ends/Derelict
PostPosted: Sat Sep 09, 2017 4:43 pm 
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Agricultural ship Demeter
Day 287, afternoon

Brad Carnes knew that a posse of engineering types from the Taurus were going to be on the Demeter today, so he’d made a point of staying out of the way. He had a suspicion that the news about the ship’s engines wasn’t going to be good, and he was equally worried about the ship’s crew and his crops. He knew next to nothing about engines, so he turned his attention to his crops.

The coffee plants were growing nicely under the ship’s artificial lighting—it was the lighting that was partially responsible for the accelerated growth schedule of the plant. Still, it would be about another hundred days or so until any beans would be ripe enough to harvest. He walked up and down the paths between the meter-and-a-half tall bushes, the leaves brushing against his legs. He inhaled the green loamy aroma and stopped to examine one of the bushes. Dusty, the Golden Retriever who’d decided that he was her human, stretched out her neck and sniffed the leaves.

“What do you think, Dusty?” he asked the young dog. “Smells good?”

The dog looked up at him, seeming to grin with her tongue hanging out of her mouth, wagging her tail.

“Yeah, that’s what I think, too,” Brad agreed.

Just then, the overhead sprinklers came on, spraying warm mist over the crop—and over the human and the dog. Dusty began racing back and forth on the narrow path, nose down, tail still wagging, and happily she snatched up a small twig, prancing back to present it to Brad.

“Here you go, girl, I think you’ll like this better,” he told her, taking a worn ball from his pants pocket. He lobbed it down the path and the dog raced after it.

“It’s a good thing I don’t mind getting wet,” Brad murmured to himself, wiping water from his face.

Dusty returned with the ball but didn’t want to give it up, backing away when Brad reached down to take it. “I’m not going to chase you,” he said. She wagged her tail but followed him as he finished his tour, stepping out of the ag compartment to the adjacent workroom.

He took an only slightly dirty towel and wiped his face and hair, then he pulled off his wet t-shirt and rubbed his shoulders and chest dry. Dusty watched intently, the ball still in her mouth, and when he was done, she shook herself vigorously. Water droplets flew everywhere, along with fine gold hairs.

“Thanks, Dusty,” Brad grumbled, but he smiled, wiping his face again. “Your turn!” he dropped the towel on the dog’s head and then rubbed it over her back. She kept the ball in her mouth the whole time, wagging her tail.

_________________
Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper, about budget cuts for the US’s intelligence agencies: "We're not going to do more with less and all these other clichés. . . . We will just simply have less capability."


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 Post subject: Re: Episode 37: Loose Ends/Derelict
PostPosted: Sat Sep 09, 2017 9:58 pm 
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CAG’s Office
Battlestar Libra
Day 287; 1524 hrs. CUT

“It’s an unfortunate situation were in QuickDraw, but we need her right now. You can’t expect me to make a decision to remove her completely from flight status and not have some type of repercussion,” Captain Rudnik said in a sparsely decorated office with his fingers intertwined. Across the desk from him QuickDraw was seated in the only other chair in the room. The office was small, with nothing adorning the walls. The only furniture were the two chairs and the desk. A locker set next to the hatch and held Rudnik’s flight suit. His flight helmet sat neatly on top of the locker.

“Come on CAG, I hate to admit it but she was a marginal pilot at best from the beginning. I overlooked a lot because I thought she was something she actually wasn’t. Hell, she even got up one of our own pilots killed in the last engagement with the cylons.” QuickDraw fought hard to hold down his temper. Upon finding out that Divot had been assigned as a flight instructor to the new set of pilot trainees it made his blood boil. They should’ve stripped her of her flight status and assigned her to the refueling ship as a bilge pump maintenance tech or better yet flushed her out of the nearest airlock, he thought.

Rudnik stared at the young Captain seated in front of him. He could sense QuickDraw’s anger and the fact that he was doing his hardest to hold it down. “So that’s what this is about? The fact that Divot was involved in Draco’s death? I understand that losing Draco was hard on you, hell it was hard on everyone. But what happened out there was not an act of premeditation. It was an accident and you know that.”

“Just because it was an accident doesn’t mean that she should be forgiven. Her stupidity got one of my best pilots killed. Draco was my friend and Divot killed her. How long is it going to be until she makes another mistake and someone else gets killed?”

“Are you more concerned about someone else getting hurt, or is this some type of revenge kick you have going on QuickDraw?” Rudnik was growing tired of the conversation. He had watched QuickDraw, over the last days since they left Oasis, brooding like a 12-year-old school boy. Despite his growing irritation Rudnik’s voice softened. “Come on QuickDraw, you know it as well as I do. Everybody on this ship has lost someone close to them.” QuickDraw opened his mouth to speak but Rudnik raised his hand to silence the squadron leader. “Admit it. You know this is true.”

QuickDraw wanted to stay angry, he wanted to stand up and scream to anyone that would hear him, but the CAG’s words gave him a slight shiver. He was right. But he was damned if he wanted to admit it. “I understand Sir but mark my words, she’s going to get someone else killed. It’s not a matter of if but a matter of when.”

“Unfortunately, we don’t have the luxury of pulling a pilot off of the flight line and assign them somewhere else. We need pilots and she has an instructor rating. It was a twist of fate that her rating had not expired,” Rudnik placed his thumb and forefinger at the bridge of his nose, squeezing. “If I had the ability to take her off of flight status I would but until we get people trained to fly we can’t do it. You’re down five people in the Black Crows. The other squadrons aren’t faring much better.”

“So that’s it then,” QuickDraw slowly stood. “There’s nothing we can do?”

“Until she does something that’s going to change my mind, no. I’m sorry QuickDraw. I really am.”

QuickDraw came to attention. “Request permission to be dismissed Sir.”

“Permission granted, go get some rest. The Gods know you deserve it,” as QuickDraw turned and opened the door to the hatch Rudnik spoke. “QuickDraw, take my advice. Continuing down this path will only tear you apart.”

As he exited the CAG’s office QuickDraw began to involuntarily clench his fists. Tear me apart? It already has.

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 Post subject: Re: Episode 37: Loose Ends/Derelict
PostPosted: Sun Sep 10, 2017 10:04 pm 
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Pain…

Thirst…

Hunger…

The figure on the floor laid as still as possible, fearful of the pain that would return if the body moved. The ringing in the ears had subsided somewhat and was replaced by the deep rhythmic throbbing of heavy engines. They were on a ship, a big one.

A wetness was felt on the lips, causing the right arm to move. A sharp pain shot through the body like an electrical current.

The arm… broken.

The sound of a door opening caused the eyes to open. A silhouette entered the room and came to stand a mere few inches away.

“Ahh, I see we are awake now,” Cavil said. He displayed no hint of emotion. “That is very promising indeed. I have many questions for you my friend… many questions indeed.”

Another sound and the figure could see two centurions enter the room.

The only sounds the figure could hear, were screams…

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 Post subject: Re: Episode 37: Loose Ends/Derelict
PostPosted: Fri Sep 15, 2017 7:35 pm 
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Civilian Refinery Vessel Necromancer
Day 287 1600 Hours


"Sergeant Ryan reports that repair teams are secure from EVA," the communications officer stated. "Ryan is continuing work on FTL drive number one."

"Helm, sublight engine status?" Bill Ekkers, the Necromancer's commander, watched as one of the helmsmen consulted his system readouts.

"Sublights ignited and idling, sir. Maneuvering thrusters at the ready. We are go for throttle-up."

"Confirm ARM system is offline."

"Confirmed sir, Augmented Reaction Mass system is offline."

Executive Officer Anthony Kinkade had been standing aside, carrying on an unheard conversation over his headset. He now turned toward Ekkers. "Libra Flight Control has cleared us to approach the Harvest Moon."

Ekkers nodded, then faced the helmsman again. "Sublights at two percent. Turn us toward the Harvest Moon."

"Aye sir, sublights at two." The second helmsman grasped a joystick, adding, "RCS maneuvering now, sir."

"Comms, alert Harvest Moon," Ekkers ordered. "We'll be alongside in about five minutes."

When the Necromancer began to slip beneath the Harvest Moon, Ekkers studied the hardware on the exposed underbelly of the great station. He spotted the four armored hull panels that marked the location of the reactors. Nearby were emergency heat exchangers - idle now, since the Moon was using every bit of heat its reactors could produce. Here and there he picked out other features - maintenance hatches, antennas, viewports, waste vents - the mundane necessities of a space-going habitat. With his background as a security officer, Ekkers grimaced at the challenges the station would present to someone who needed to prevent a hostile infiltration.

The refinery ship was now completely beneath the Harvest Moon. There were easier points where the Necromancer could dock, but Ekkers needed the refinery ship as close to the reactors as possible. The molten tylium salt they used as fuel wasn't something that could simply be pumped aboard the station. It would be transferred in pressurized tanks built to withstand the heat and radiation. Ekkers didn't want to move such material far, or through civilian areas.

The Harvest Moon's traffic controller had cleared them to approach and marked their target with external lights. Though the station was roughly five times as wide as the Necromancer was long, it was still a painstaking task to position the refinery at the docking point. As the minutes stretched on, the voices of the command crew remained subdued.

"Clearance 10 meters starboard, 15 overhead."

"RCS braking starboard."

"Spotter requests 5 meters aft, 1 meter up."

"Frak me," one of the helmsmen muttered as he nudged the million-tonne-plus ship backwards.

"Patience," Ekkers cautioned. "We're too big for the docking clamps to square us up. Just take it easy and do it right, so we don't have to do it over."

"Aye sir."

It took nearly thirty minutes to get the Necromancer mated to the docking port. The first attempt at hard seal failed, despite the appearance that everything aligned. When the spotter had no suggestion for tweaking their position, Ekkers simply waited briefly and then tried again. The second attempt held, and a brief cheer sounded in the control room.

The Exec, Kinkade commented, "We sure could have used a couple of Trafford's one-man shuttle things to fine tune our position."

"True," Ekkers replied, "but it would have taken this long to get construction shuttles over here." Ekkers punctuated his observation with a shrug. "In any case, we're tied on now, so let's get the nuke boys over there. And Exec," he continued, pausing a beat for Kinkade to look at him. "Make sure our RSO tags along."
__________
RSO: Radiation Safety Officer


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 Post subject: Re: Episode 37: Loose Ends/Derelict
PostPosted: Fri Sep 15, 2017 7:46 pm 
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Battlestar Libra
Starboard Flight Pod
Day 287 1632 Hours


Robert Rand watched as an electric fork truck delivered a pallet of small parts to the maintenance bay. The driver had skimmed the wooden pallet just inches off the deck, dropping it with a metallic thud when he arrived. He'd backed the truck until the forks were clear and then stood at the controls while Specialist Pasco Milan signed for the delivery. As the fork truck whirred away, Rand looked at the assortment. There were metal bins with angled sides - those would be from the Necromancer and would contain small items like springs, nuts and bolts. The bins would be nested, stacked for return to the refinery ship when they were empty. There were cardboard cases, banded with reinforced plastic to prevent bursting - those would be from the fabrication shops on the Tauranian Titan and might hold anything from a single RCS control nozzle to hundreds of identical precision small parts. Uncased but bundled in twos and threes by metal straps, there were cast metal parts like Raptor landing struts and autocannon barrels for the Vipers.

Milan grimaced at the paperwork and then tossed it aside, then pulled a partially loaded freight cart closer to the pallet. Fatigue evident on his face, Milan still managed a mischievous smile as he looked at Rand, asking, "You are watching, or helping?"

Rand huffed in reply but said nothing, moving to the pallet and picking up a pair of flat, elongated metal pieces. "Landing skids, Viper Mark VII" he read from a label.

"Those are for the production line," Milan answered Rand's unvoiced question, gesturing toward the gun barrels on the bottom of the pallet. Rand laid the skids aside, to be set back on the pallet once the rest of the parts had been gone through. He grabbed the first of the bins, rattling its contents as he picked it up. "Patch panels," he read.

"Keep those here," Milan directed.

Rand nodded. "Patch panel rivets," he read from another bin. "Here, too," he added, cutting off Milan's response.

"One hundred forty four self-sealing stem bolts," Rand said flatly, then shot Milan a look that clearly said what the frak?

"We'll send those to Quark's bar," the specialist stated, deadpan.

Chief MacLean had seen the arrival of the pallet, and heard Milan's last comment as she quick-stepped over. "Those are needed to make the reverse-ratcheting routing planers," she said without hesitation. "Don't send them to Quark's bar, put them in my office." She gave Milan a level look; he raised his eyebrows, then nodded wordlessly.

Mac picked up the paperwork that the specialist had put aside, scanning the inventory list quickly. She glanced up from the list at Milan and Rand and said, "The gun barrels, rails, and armatures are needed on the production line as soon as you can get everything sorted out... let me know and I'll take them over there myself."

"Chief," Rand said, acknowledging Mac with a nod. "There is much heavy material here - more skids, landing struts, dampeners... you will need a fork truck."

She nodded and straight-faced said, "I know how to drive a fork truck." When Milan guffawed, she gave Rand a slight quirky smile. "Are you volunteering to help, Mr. Rand?"

"Am I not already helping?" Rand asked, emphasizing the last word. His brow gathered slightly in evident confusion.

Mac chuckled, used to Rand's tendency to take things literally. "Oh, you're helping a lot, Robert," she said, "I thought maybe you were hinting that you wanted to drive a fork truck."

Rand bent to pick up another bin of parts, saying as he did, "It is for small people to drive the fork trucks." As he set the bin aside he cast a surreptitious glance at Mac to gauge her reaction.

She laughed outright at his comment and responded, "You got me that time, Robert! How about I drive the fork truck and you and Milan load?" He's a lot more capable than doing this sort of work, Mac thought contemplatively. I wonder if he'd want to work on the production line...


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 Post subject: Re: Episode 37: Loose Ends/Derelict
PostPosted: Mon Sep 18, 2017 9:28 pm 
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Luxury Starliner Nimbus
Day 287 Evening

The blonde listened carefully, her expression attentive. Theron wasn’t used to anyone actually paying attention to him, and it made him feel important. Made him feel needed, so he related his new knowledge of the Harvest Moon in as much detail as he could while still trying not to take up too much of Toni’s time.

They were meeting in a small passenger lounge, an alcove with just two chairs with a small table between them. From where Toni Seda sat, she could see anyone coming down the passage in either direction, but she couldn’t be easily seen. From size of the area and the arrangement of the furniture, it was clear that there had once been a short couch or another chair in the alcove. The cylon damage to the ship hadn’t been just to the dome.

Or maybe someone had transferred the extra seating to a private cabin. It didn’t matter to Toni—this was just a quiet, out-of-the-way place for a meeting.

When Theron was done with his briefing, he put a lime and two lemons on the table between them. He’d saved half his supply to use in trading, but he felt he owed her part of his profits. It was Toni, after all, who’d believed in him and given him a job to do.

Toni looked at the citrus fruit with amusement, letting only respect show on her face. She touched a lemon with one elegant finger and gave an approving nod. “Did you see Captain Kalrk when you were there?” she asked him.

“Only a glimpse,” he said honestly. “I didn’t want him to see me, but I did see his back and the side of his face when he went around a corner.”

“Very good,” Toni told the boy. She’d specifically told Theron not to let Kalrk see him. She wanted no connection between herself and what she planned for Theron to do on the agricultural ship. She re-crossed her legs, the rich fabric of her trousers gleaming in the light. “Did you find out where his office is, though?” she questioned.

He nodded confidently. “It’s down a passage that looks kind of boring and doesn’t really go anywhere—it’s not like a normal route to get from one place to another. There weren’t any guards that I saw, but the hatch does have a security lock.”

“Did you see anyone go in or out?” she asked.

He started to nod, but then hesitated. “Not exactly see,” he explained. “That’s when I saw Captain Kalrk. I was inside the stairwell, er, ladderwell, a little down the passage, and I had the hatch opened just a crack so I could hear what was going on. I heard the hatch to his office open and close, and I waited a few seconds… to make sure he wasn’t going to walk past me… then I looked out. And I saw him when he went around the corner at the other end of the passage. So I didn’t actually see him, but I heard him go out.”

She nodded. “And you understand how the ship is laid out?”

“Yes,” he said with confidence. “The decks are all pretty similar with where the crops are, and the work compartments, and where people live. I could hide out there for months and no one would know I wasn’t supposed to be there.” Then he added, “They don’t let anyone in the engine areas. The security was really tight there.”

“Well done,” she said to him, seeing his almost-private smile of pride. “What was the security like on the hangar deck?”

“There’s lots of places for shuttles to land,” Theron said, “and there were shuttles going in and out almost all the time. Everything was busy, and they did have security guards there, but… I think, not enough of them.” He paused, and amended, “Probably enough if there was, like, an attack or something, but not enough to notice every single person who looked like they were doing a job.” Which was exactly what Theron had done; found a box light enough that he could carry but large enough to conceal his face.

“You’ll be able to get back on board without getting caught, then,” she commented.

“Oh, yes, even easier now that I’ve seen what it’s like,” he assured her.

“Good,” she said, smoothly standing. “Stay alert, I may need you to go back there with little warning.”

Theron leapt to his feet, and shook Toni’s hand when she offered it. She gave him a quick kiss on the cheek, flustering him, and she said, “Keep the fruit, you earned it!”

He nodded, breathing in deeply, and watched her as she walked away. A part of him knew that she was using him, but he was using her, too. Isn’t that how life works? I do something for you, you do something for me. He collected the lemons and lime and strode buoyantly down the passage.

_________________
Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper, about budget cuts for the US’s intelligence agencies: "We're not going to do more with less and all these other clichés. . . . We will just simply have less capability."


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