PHD 265: Wingmen
Summary: Willem, Timon, Roubani, and Komnenos convene in berthings and discuss an old tactical plan. Extreme nerdiness ensues.
Date: PHD 265 (OOC Date)
Related Logs: Turnabout, Think Tank

Hestia - Bronze and Gold Berthings

Still in flightsuit from his first CAP since the shooting, Roubani is sitting at the Bronze/Gold excuse for a table. Mug of tea, notebook, pen. Scribbling away, with a calculator on one side and his other recently-favorited toy - a homemade abacus - on the other.

"And here I was about to buy you a slide rule," comes a familiar voice from the hatch, whose opening has been accomplished with a minimum of clatter — truly an accomplishment for Lieutenant Timon Stathis, whose features are hidden as the light from the corridor filters past his silhouette to give him a corona of sorts. The statement is followed by an awkward cough. "Hey, I mean."

Another day, another battlestar. Actually, 'day' is a misnomer in space, diurnal cycles are scarce more than a construct. In a certain Viper pilot's bunk, there is some slow stirring under a blanket. Wake up, sleepyhead. Willem kicks the covers back and slowly starts to emerge from behind the blue curtain.

Roubani hardly needs to look up to know the voice. "I thought I'd take the retrograde path through mathematical landmarks today." He finishes what he was doing with a small flourish of blue ink, and eyes finally lift. "Next stop, the zero. How are you?" His eyes flicker towards Willem's bunk and he lifts a hand a little in hello.

"Evening, Rebound." Timon steps through the hatch and shuts it just as quietly. "Poet. I'm fine." The man steps down on his left foot rather harder than is absolutely necessary, as if to demonstrate the renewed strength of his limb. "I just turned in my third leg to the sawbones downstairs. Upstairs?" His hand waves idly in the air. "I can never remember these days."

"Sounds unpleasant." Willem's throat clears after a lingering pause and he drops this deadpan remark vaguely in Timon's direction. "I think I dodged a bullet when I got hit. Even though I really didn't." He leans upwards and edges past the now-open curtain in his recently-occupied bunk, displaying a mighty crown of bedhead. "Poet. Ivory." He says, with one of his little trademark half-smiles.

"Just a construct of false gravity anyway," Roubani says, as to the ups and downs of their new home. "One day perhaps they'll reverse it, just to keep us on our toes. Good morning, Price. Bunks treating your back alright?"

Hey. That's Ivory's trademark, which he now demonstrates with a wan smile of his own, though one less ragged than usual. Becoming officially un-crippled will do that to even the most pessimistic of men. "With our luck, they'll probably reverse it the next time we have to scramble, just to give the Cylons a sporting chance." With a long sigh, Timon plops himself down in a nearby chair, tilting his brace-free legs onto the base of Rebound's bunk. "Nice flight, Poet?"

"Remind me to start tying shit to my rack." Wil mumbles, making a further wry attempt at humor as he leans outwards and grounds his feet on the ladder before starting to idly shimmy down. "The deluxe battlestar model. Everything's more frou-frou here." He indicates with a lazy point at his bunk, answering Roubani's question.

"Given the hand they've shown now," Roubani says, a touch drily, "I believe sportsmanship is officially out the window. They're cheating." He sticks the back of his pen into his mouth, teeth clicking on it. "Nice flight indeed. Not a ping on the DRADIS. And don't tempt me, Willem. I can supply Persephone with a large amount of lace, and you'll regret it."

The thought of Persephone, Willem, and lace causes Timon to grimace in pain, though: "Good," is all he says, presumably in response to Poet's brief AAR. "Glad to hear it." Ivory scratches the bottom of his chin with his grimy fingernails — it's about time those got a clipping. "Some of the rookies are looking to start their first serious flights soon, and I personally would rest easier if we could ease them into the business without too much — " His free hand whirls loosely in the air as he tries to pick out the proper word. "Drama. If you know what I mean." This is spoken with a meaningful look Wil's way. "Man can dodge only so many bullets." Ivory gestures to his newly-repaired legs as proof.

"I was referring to utilitarian items, only." Willem says, in mid-grimace, lifting a closed fist to his mouth and clearing his throat with way more force than should be at all necessary. He looks between the two other men, and gets 'the fear' by all appearances. "It was my first actual -combat-related incident. Given the number of missions I've flown, I think that hit was just delivered to me as a sign. A reminder, even. Maybe the Gods are keeping me honest."

Something noticable about Willem in these past few months. He's had a history of not being a vocal 'FAN OF THE LORDS' but in the last half-year or so, there's been a slight, marked change. He's not lighting candles and danging prayer beads all the time, but if one watches, he's become less of a vocal agnostic, as it were. You all know what they say about foxholes.

Roubani may have noticed, maybe not. He's not one to comment unless someone asks him to stir the religious pot for them. He smirks at Willem's throat-clearing, then quirks a brow and glances down at his paperwork. "If we could predict the coming of drama, I suspect we'd all be better off. Sometimes a baptism by fire can't well be avoided. One simply must get up and do it, and deal with the consequences."

Ditto re: Timon — not like he's been around much to notice, to be honest. Designing syllabi and lesson plans seems to be far more up his proverbial alley than flying itself, and it's a far more invigorated Ivory who's pulling those all-nighters, if that makes any sense whatsoever. "That sounds like something you once told me," is all he says, smiling wryly at Poet, "and like something I once told you. How boring our advice column would be."

Komnenos arrives from the Pilot Berthings - Deck 12.
Komnenos has arrived.

"We could have our own paper." Willem declares, lightly. "Fulfilling some adolescent dream after all. The advice column could just be recycled every week." He adds as he pads on towards his locker at a meandering pace. "That's quotable, Nadiv. We could even have Squadron motto. - 'We deal with consequences.'"

"Imitation is the sincerest form, blah blah," Roubani tells Timon, waving a hand. "So either I'm flattering you, or my ego's just trapped in its own expanding gravitational field…well. Actually, that would be an imitation of you, too." He zings a teasing half-grin at Timon, then chuckles quietly at Willem. "You get to proofread it though, my friend. The sheer amount of semi-colons alone would leave me a broken man."

"Don't forget the footnotes," adds Timon, who shrugs off the zinged grin with a self-effacing shrug. Yeah, he's heard it before. Scarred hands rise to thread themselves into his curly brown hair, lacing themselves against the back of his head as he tilts back in his chair. "I shall rain the very fire of Hephaestus himself against he who first italicizes the name of an article from a journal."

Thorn enters the berthings, leaving the door open behind him. He's obviously just gotten off shift and was doing some technical work on one of the Raptors, if his general state of disheveledness is any indication. A crooked smile forms on his face as he sees Timon. "Well, well," he says, as he joins the group. "Come back t' hobnob with th' proles, have you?"

"Semicolons. Oh, for the love of—" Wil's exclamation is cut dramatically short as he fiddles with his locker dial and wrenches the door open. Looks like he's transferred all his packrattishness to this new ship. "Grad school suddenly seems less appealing than I remember." He looks away to eye Thorn's arrival. "He's making a token appearance. Maybe we can get a two-show day in. Tip your cocktail waitress."

"I believe that's Hermes you want, Stathis," Roubani corrects, offhandedly. "The very inventor of writing, so the scrolls say, for the missives of heralds. The 'Babelonizer' of humankind." And there's Thorn, just in time to prove the point. "Good morning, Anton."

"When Zeus wanted hellfire, he charged the Ugly One with the task," Ivory parries. "I'll take Cyclopean lightning bolts over the caduceus any day of the week." And to Thorn: "Good to see you too. If you must know, winter term's just ended," says Timon lazily, tipping his head back as a hand ventures out from behind his head to wave to his former ECO. It's a wonder Ivory has managed to retain his balance. "The final paper's been assigned, the problem sets are in, and the CAG seems set on giving me tenure. My lady Academy, the fruits of your loins are sweet indeed."

"Hah." Thorn utters a short, barking chuckle as he pulls up a chair and lights a cigarette, Timon's feelings on such things be damned. After expelling a pungent cloud of smoke, he smirks in Timon's direction. "Is it everything you always dreamed of growing up as a little girl on Tauron?"

"Oh, come off it. I know you're baiting me for a 'pen mightier than sword' comment. I'm not going to take the bait." Wil says towards Timon, pentulantly. Of course, by 'not' taking the bait, he does. He continues to fumble in and out of his locker. Boots. Duffel bag. Fatigues. All neatly stacked on the floor next to him.

"You'll have to settle for rubbing your feet on the carpeting for a static shock, I'm afraid. The universe is growing steadily more underwhelming." Roubani presses the end of the pen against his lip again. No cigarette for him today…QUITTING?! "Speaking of baiting, however, I'd been meaning to catch you about something, Anton. All of you, really, scarce as you've insisted on making yourselves."

"There was the time I bought my first brassiere," murmurs Timon, his brown eyes crinkling as he stares past the cloud of smoke to a dot somewhere above Thorn's head. "Mother was so proud." His smile widens incrementally, showing the barest flash of teeth, before he reaches for one of Wil's rolled-up socks and chucks it in Thorn's general direction. Then: "I'm listening," he says to Roubani, smile lingering. "Try not to underwhelm."

Thorn snorts amusedly at Timon's response, ducking away from the chucked sock as he exhales another cloud of smoke. "What, Ivory, you traded your flight status for a sense of humor? Raw deal, y' ask me." An eye turns to Roubani, and Komnenos waits expectantly.

"You don't want to know where that's been." Wil warns, cheekily, the faint grin flashed quickly at the other men as cheeky as his tone. "The sock, that is." He -almost- gets the tasteless joke off without stumbling as he continues to gather his goods.

"I've heard of 'padding one's flightsuit', Willem," Roubani says, arching a brow at the socks. "But that's going a bit far, don't you think?" He spins the pen over his fingers, over a knuckle and then back. "Anyway. Now that it seems the cylons are determined to play dirty, I rather feel the need to do the same. Anton, do you remember that tactical project we picked up some months ago, running our birds at low power?" Timon might not have been there.

Timon winces, making a show of wiping his hand on Wil's bunk — first the back, then the palm, then the back once more. But no — no speaking, though the rustle of fabric hints that he's still listening.

Thorn nods, leaning forward and propping his elbows on his legs as he gives Nadiv his attention. "Sure," he affirms. "Had a hell of a time finding a power configuration that worked, too." He's intrigued, now.

In response to it all, Willem merely waggles his pale eyebrows in a charming, if tasteless manner and goes to retrieve the sock sluggishly, scooping it up. "Chrome sons of bitches never seen anything like this." He holds the sock aloft for a moment before losing interest in the joke, slipping it on, along with its mate and listening intently to the conversation taking a more serious tone. At least, topic-wise, looking between Roubani and Thorn in turn.

Roubani nods to Thorn. He settles back in his chair, crossing his long legs at the knee. "Exposition, if I may," he says to the other two, hand with the pen making a circular gesture in the air. "We had - have, I should say - enough data from the Raider we semi-reassembled long ago to discern exactly what the parameters of their scanners are. Heat, electromagentic sensitivity, so on. Thorn and I calculated the exact number of amps that a Raptor or a Viper could run on to stay 'below the radar', so to speak, on a scouting mission or even an ambush. It was the method we used when we defeated the Odysseus in training before warday. Anyway, in preliminary testing, it's worked. The entire thing stalled with the coming of the Hestia and all the chaos surrounding it, but all the work is still there. And quite ready to move to second-stage testing. If any of you are interested in putting some brainweight into it, it could be a work of art indeed."

Thorn listens to Roubani, then slowly nods his head as the Viper pilot finishes. "Count me in." That crooked smile appears once more. "Put in enough work on it already, would be rather stupid of me t' wash my hands of it now, what?" He puffs away in between words, his mouth a veritable chimney. "So where d' we go from here, then?"

Timon purses his lips together as Roubani goes into presentation mode. "I think the little ducklings are more than ready to fly without their mother helping them along," he says at last, shucking his hand against Wil's sheets one last time to clear it of all possible contamination. "I've more than a few moments to spare."

"Oh. Right. I remember the engagement. Go in with systems cold. Vipers dark." Willem recounts, suddenly shifting topics as he latches on to the current topic with aplomb. He gives Timon a -look- as the mangoes through his wiping motion, scuffing his foot languidly against the floor. "We need to practice some kind of system at getting the jump on them. Now that we've got another ship - Hell. Same CAG. Every couple of months, some Marine goes apeshit and frags an officer, it's just like home."

Roubani was there both times a Marine went apeshit and gunned down the CAG. Bad luck. A slightly wry, crooked twist of his lips there, and he nods. "Next step would be live testing. Vipers and Raptors. Send them into the tubes with the programmed startup sequence and test the speed from that to combat-ready. We have it in theory, but theory isn't good enough. Step three would be a versus operation. Convince CIC to reprogram some of their sensors to the Raider parameters, and see what our real range is to get in close. All of this is going to have to go through Marek first; you all know bureaucracy. But if I can say I've got the backup willing to push it forward…or if any of you might be willing to go with me to lay it out, I think we can get somewhere."

"Might want to keep in mind their workaround, you know." Timon returns the look with another shrug, setting his feet down on the deck as he speaks. "Otherwise known as our step four. The first time we try it, say, it works. The second time, say, it sort of works. The third time, all of us go — well — " His left hand forms a balled fist that explodes into an open palm: silent, like space. "My opinion, Poet, since you asked for it? If we go to the CAG with a plan to operationalize this little trick, we propose something big. Make sure command understands we've got to get maximum return from our investment before the Cylons reprogram the Raiders to blow our darkened birds out of the sky."

"I'll be your wingman, Poet," Thorn chimes in. "Marek doesn't scare me," he says with a thin, sardonic smile. After expelling more smoke, he turns to Timon with a thoughtful frown. "Go big or go home, eh, Ivory? I like it, but…" He trails off, foot tapping softly against the deck plating as he thinks. "… might want t' try something not so ambitious at first. If something goes wrong, we'd be frakked. An' trust me… something always goes wrong." He pauses for a moment, considering. "If we do this right, I'd think we'd get at least a couple of engagements with th' element of surprise mostly intact. Assuming we can pull off a second strike quickly after th' first, I'd say th' first try would be better spent as a proof of concept operation. Hit something important, but small. Like… a tylium refinery, or something. Something that we could easily blow th' frak out of, leaving no traces — and no survivors — behind t' tell their toaster buddies how we did it. Maybe pull off a minor strike or two where we don't use th' stealth configuration. Then, once we're sure it works… then hit th' real target."

"Damn Murphy and his Laws," Ivory interjects with a thoughtful nod. "My point was merely this: two tries is all we have."

Willem may have caught that little note with Roubani. Or not. It's hard to say. He goes barrelling along. "Well, this is all going to be a gamble either way because we flat-out don't know how the Raiders communicate. Or how they sense. We can only go by the limitations of DRADIS, I'd guess." He offers, helplessly. "Yes. We should choose the 'testing ground' with care."

Roubani nods a bit to Timon. This is what the NerdTrust(tm) is for. "There is the assumption that this is a one-strike run, once it's used in an ambush scenario. It may be reuseable if it's only used for scouting without detection." To him and to Thorn both then, he comments, "I suspect I know Marek well enough to predict what he will say, and that is 'make it work and leave the application to command'." He nods to Willem finally. "We have what we have from their systems. We /do/ know how their remote sensors work, enough to be confident. It may be all we have, but then again a new tactic will push them on defensive, and that is valuable when their sleeves are the ones with all the tricks right now."

"I had a witty rejoinder rattling about in my brain somewhere," Timon notes, "but it'd probably mix that metaphor beyond repair. Or something." Yet another shrug. "I'll leave the computer stuff to Thorn, but if you need a test pilot — " This, with a sidelong glance at the wannabe stick jockey. "I'd be more than happy to be virtually exploded as many times as you need. Can't be worse than the real thing."

"Yeah, yeah." Thorn rolls his eyes and leans back in his chair as Roubani predicts Kai's response. For a second, he even sounds like Marek, just a little bit. Must be the Sagittaron thing. "I don't think they all have a modem in their heads, if that's what you're getting at, Wil. After all, if Krauss or Jules could've sent a message t' the Cylons themselves, without comm equipment, we'd have all been dead a long time ago." He takes another pensive drag as his eyes swivel back to Timon. "It's not as though they could just turn a knob t' turn up their DRADIS gain, Ivory," he says mildly. "I mean, this isn't some fancy ECM trick or something. Think of it this way… you're not going t' be able t' hear someone whispering from across a large room, no matter how 'hard' y' listen. You have t' move closer, and that should give us a little time before they adjust. Assuming command doesn't have its head up its arse… this shouldn't be just a bloody one-trick pony."

"There's too much about -that- that doesn't make sense. I think I'm going to give my brain a rest from speculating." Willem says in quick, clipped tones towards Thorn as he strolls back to his locker and retrieves his towel. He shifts to look back at Roubani and nods his head, wearily. "Oh. Right. I forgot we'd gathered that information."

"I don't know about that," Roubani crooks a finger slightly at Thorn, when he mentions they would've been dead ages ago. "Remember our friend the transmitter. Over one-hundred days that animal was active. The intelligent predator lies in wait and learns his quarry's movements." He draws in a breath through his nose that moves his shoulders, then they sink back straight as he lets it out, slowly. "Consider yourself taken up on that, Stathis. We will definitely need a Raptor crew that knows what they're doing. And Viper pilots, for that arm of the law." That last towards Willem, the experienced jock in the room. Thorn gets a nod at that point, then. "Well-met then, wingman. I will be leaning on you quite a bit. Programming is not my core 'thang'." Fingerquotes made.

"That's quite a pair of assumptions, Thorn." Timon's not disagreeing, but somebody's got to play the pessimist. "About Command and the Cylons both, but mostly about the Cylons. Remember we still have no idea how Raiders are made — born? Made." That word's more comfortable. "To assume that the toasters have reached the absolute pinnacle of their technological advancement is to court disaster. I have a sinking feeling that they can refit their planes by hitting the little red 'Evolve Now' button in the corner of their base ships, and if they do — " Ivory's smile turns grim. "Well, I suspect I'll soon be demonstrating what'll happen if the tactic fails, so."

"Well." Thorn shrugs in response to Wil and Roubani. "That's command's issue. Nothing I can do about that." His head cocks slightly to one side as he looks to Roubani in particular. "Yeah, th' transmitter. Perhaps we should propose an operation t' search th' ship for any, if it hasn't been done already." If it has, no one's told him about it. An eyebrow is raised in Timon's direction. "A little red 'Evolve Now' button? Really, Timon? An' here I thought you were above such wild alarmist fantasies." His cigarette is tapped lightly, flecks of ash fluttering to the ground. "I'm not assuming they've reached the pinnacle of advancement by any means. But we've found nothing t' suggest their DRADIS technology is any more advanced than ours. If they haven't advanced much beyond us in th' last forty years… I have trouble believing they'll make some sort of quantum leap within th' next few months."

"Add it to the dockett for Marek," Roubani says to Komnenos, nodding. "I'm sure CIC has communicated with our personnel about that particular…incident. But it is always good to be proactive on our side, no?" Agreement there. To Timon, he chuckles drily. "I suppose if nothing else it'll teach us just how swiftly they /can/ adapt. Hopefully not, but who knows. We'll hang your portrait under a picture of Darwin just to make it worth it."

"Ta, Poet. As a far wiser man than I once said, the absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence," offers Timon, his smile sly. "But more seriously, look at it this way: if you're right, we win a few victories, morale across the fleet skyrockets, and we get to paint cute little silhouettes on the noses of our planes. If I'm right, all of us get to find out whether a lifetime of atheism will condemn us to the lair of the Hekatonkheires." Hands make mock scales that tilt towards the left: how sinister. "I exaggerate, but only just. Tighten up the expected values and you'll still have an ironclad argument in favor of caution."

"Caution is fine. But being too alarmist is just as bad as not worrying enough," Komnenos volunteers, again with a thin-lipped frown. He gestures idly, tracing a circle of smoke in the air. There's a crooked smile as Timon references the hellish hundred-handed creatures of legend. "Well. If nothing else, better that than th' tender mercies of th' Cylons, eh?"

All of us, Timon? No comment on that bit from Roubani, who waves a hand. "Well, then, Stathis. For once in your life, don't be right." He scratches his temple with the pen back. "For all we know, command here could be so conservative with their tactics that they may be unwilling to try. That part isn't really within our scope right now. Our goal is making a tactic that works."

"I've got nothing new to add on this, gentlemen. You already know -my- thoughts and you know how redundancy is." Willem interjects as he finishes straightening his belongings and gingerly slips the locker door shut.

Timon nods briefly. "Another excuse not to sleep," he mutters, rubbing his eyes with the back of his palms as he looks toward his bunk — unused for at least two nights. "I liked my old mattress better, anyway." The former pilot grunts, shaking his head to clear it of fog. "Let me know when you have an operational simulation. In the meantime, I'll start looking at old sector scans — see if there's anything worth hitting that fits our mission parameters."

"It's redundant, yes." Department of redundancy department. Roubani gives Willem a small smile, and nods to all three. "Then, I should say, we have a plan." To seal, he even leans back and steeples his fingers, drumming the tips against each other.

"I'm pretty sure we can scavenge another one. If it would help. Don't mention it around Leda, I'm sure he'll end up stealing half of the panties in engineering to trade you for a 'new' one, Ivory." Willem declares as he swings the duffel bag over his shoulder. "Still. I'm in. This ship's too pretty to get blown to Hell without our involvement."

"One favor," Timon says, levering himself to his feet with much more confidence than he has in the past: ah, the beauty of being uninjured. "No drones." And mock-serious admonishment finished, he's off to his bunk to get some shut-eye, reluctant though he might be. "Good night, gentlemen, and good luck."

Roubani raises an eyebrow and snorts. "Those worked, you know." He picks up his pen. And his abacus. No better way to plan complicated things.

"We'll cede them to a pilot who actually -has- a martyr complex, Stathis." Willem says, with a sort of smile that manages to be both gentle and sardonic at the same time. "Yes, they did, Nadiv." With that, he ambles towards the hatch at a brisk pace.

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