Summary: The communications bunker on Scorpia comes to life, and the Kharon's pilots hear their lost crew for the first time.
Date: PHD080 (6 July 2009)
Related Logs: The Dark Before Dawn

Scorpia - Primary Comms Bunker

The haze of smoke cigarette smoke drifting under the ceiling hasn't gone anywhere; Komnenos, Roubani, and Fenix are still doing their level best to smoke up a storm. Thorn is sitting at one of the consoles, contributing to the haze even further with a lit cigarette as he works silently at the keypad, a perpetual frown of concentration on his face. He pauses every so often to give an order, or ask for an update on one thing or another, but for the most part he's absorbed in whatever he's doing.

Roubani is finishing up something on one of the consoles in the second row. Three of them actually, as he moves back and forth among them hitting keys and watching the readouts across the screens. Cigarette smoke coils busily from him, trailing him as he goes. His hairline is wet, face splashed with water a short time ago. If one looks closely at him, that might be the faint imprint of keys on his cheek where he'd indulged in five minutes' of sleep once the drone had finally started working.

Kai, on the other hand, is not smoking as he makes his way into the communications bay. And it's probably not out of respect for the sensitive equipment. "What's our status, boys?" he announces roughly four paces in, angling roughly toward the trio recently finished burning the midnight oil.

Komnenos is facing away from the entrance, so he doesn't notice Kai immediately upon his entrance. "There, Poet, that's as close to the Shannon limit we're going t' get these transmitters t' go. I think that does it— " He spins around in his chair at the sound of the voice. "Captain Marek," he says in surprise. His mouth quirks. "Was just about t' com you, sir. Looks like we're about t' wrap things up here." He disengages himself from the knot of computer consoles, smoking furiously as he moves to greet the CAG.

Roubani's eyes flicker up at the sound of Kai's voice. He watches the Captain a moment before he nods to Thorn. "Locking in that algorithm, then. Data loss looks to be at about .02 percent." He finishes whatever that was on the keyboard, keys clacking rapidly and softly. Then he pushes his chair away from the desk and towards the aisle of steps, rising formally.

Kai's attention is on Roubani at first, while the Ensign still has his back turned. And then Anton, when the Lieutenant greets him. The Captain's chin lifts a fraction— not that it helps him at all in the height department. Both junior officers stand taller than him. "Good news, I hope?" Looks like he's slept off a little of his tension. A little. There's still an edge of it in his voice, but when isn't there?

"I'd say so, sir," Thorn nods in affirmation, standing tall despite his obvious exhaustion. "It's not exactly what we planned, but it seems t' work. We've accessed the communications systems, though we weren't able t' break the encryption on the satellite network." He shrugs; not that he'd really expected to do so in the beginning, though it would have been nice. "Right now, we're just finishing integrating the drone into the system. Ensign Roubani just locked down the last of our interface algorithms — " a quick glance over to Poet — "and the two systems seem t' be talking t' each other with only minimal data loss."

The corners of Roubani's lips twich. Not quite a smile, but better than nothing. His eyes flicker to Thorn and he nods, then looks back at Kai. "Our maximum range appears to be the upper atmosphere, sir." Logical progression to the report, so he just says it. His soft voice is a touch scratchy from the long night and the overkill of cigarettes. "Not far enough to reach the Kharon but powerful enough to contact any of her vipers or raptors." If they come looking, that is. That given, he glances back at Thorn.

Cofusion briefly flickers across the CAG's eyes as he tries to parse Komnenos' technobabble. Viper systems, he knows. Communications.. interface.. algorithms, less so, by the look on his face. "Thank you, Ensign." The almost-smile is mirrored, though it's quick, and doesn't erase the broodsome look from his angular features. His attention returns to Komnenos, the senior officer on this little project. "You can skip the painful details, Lieutenant. When will it be functional, and how assured are we of the signal not being traceable?"

Thorn had in fact opened his mouth to start going over all the gory technobabbly details when Kai stops him. "Ah… right," he says instead. Sometimes he forgets that not everyone can fluently speak technology, especially after he's spent a sleep-deprived night in the company of fellow techies. He puts all mention of Shannon limits, interleavers, and concatenated coding schemes out of his mind as he answers the question. "I'd like t' run a few low-power tests first, but assuming everything works, we have communications capability as of right now. As for tracing the signal… we'll be using a burst transmission with high signal rate t' achieve… t' avoid interception or detection." It takes noticeable effort to keep the nonsensical technotalk out of the last sentence, but somehow he manages.

Roubani has nothing to add to that as Komnenos wisely makes the Ensign's role as interpreter unneeded. He watches the Lieutenant talk until he's done, then his eyes shift back to Kai for the return. Techno-tennis.

"Elucidate, please, on what you mean by 'avoid'?" The Captain's still watching Komnenos closely, hands tucked into his pockets and posture somewhat relaxed. His expression, as usual, is bland. "This bunker is all the resistance has left. Compromising its security is not worth getting a message out to our people at this time. So start giving me numbers, Lieutenant." He pauses. "Meaningful ones."

Thorn sighs, spreading his arms helplessly. "Captain, I don't know if I can give you exact numbers with this shit. Not before running those tests, anyway" One of his arms waves around to encompass the computer consoles in the room. "I can tell you for sure, though, that th' only way the Cylons will be able t' detect a burst transmission from this location — and successfully trace it — would be t' have a Raider flying in the atmosphere directly over us. And if I may say so, Captain, if that happens, we're likely t' be frakked anyway." There's an edge of confrontation in his voice, but his words remain respectful. Well, mostly, not counting that last bit. Thorn eyes Roubani. "Ensign Roubani's been doing a lot more with the hardware than I have — I've been dealing with the software issues — so he might be able t' elaborate better than I can."

Great, thanks Thorn. "Leaving the channel open, as with colonial channels," Roubani explains for Kai, "Would allow the cylons to get a lock on the origin of the transmission. We have to use the channel in limited bursts, like making a phone call and hanging up before it can be traced. We've calculated the exact size of the data packets we can transmit, and the length of time that's safe." He details some numbers for Kai at that, as accurate as they could calculate. "There is always a risk. But unless they have receivers that are incredibly more advanced than ours, they will not be able to intercept. The issue is that we're limited in how much we can say at any given time."

Kai looks entirely unruffled, despite the tone in Komnenos' voice. Maybe he likes a bit of snap in his officers, so long as they remain respectful. "That's all I wanted to hear, Thorn. Hard facts. Don't give me maybes or sort ofs." His eyes flicker away from the pair, and over the bank of consoles behind them, wires spilling out of some and panels stacked hither and thither. Then back up to Roubani. He listens to what the young man has to say, and nods firmly at the end. "Thank you, Ensign. Well, let's fire her up and see what she's got then. Tune in to Colonial frequency.. 2499 mhz." The ChEng Marek is not, but they don't have the luxury of a CO who knows his way around electrical systems right now.

Right about then, there's a clattering of boots from down the hall as someone comes careening around a corner. "Sirs, sirs!" It's the intrepid Private Parts, who remembers his salute once he's ground to a halt just inside the hatch. "The Kharon's got vipers in atmo, one just went down into the trees a mile from here, sir."

"Right, then," Komnenos replies, immediately back to business. "Cookies, what's the story on that secondary bus?" A silent reply from the junior ECO draws a nod from Thorn. "Right. Tie it back in, then. Power us up, Chief. I'm bringing the interface program on line." He taps a sequence into the computer, and nods with satisfaction shortly thereafter. There's a soft whirr and humming sound as the bunker's communication systems come on line for the first time in months. At that moment, the marine bursts in with his announcement. "Quick — Poet! Can you get anything?"

Roubani is already moving, shoving the rolling chair out of the way to hit keys. "Patching…green one, green two…go comms. Burst one, active." His eyes flick to Kai and he points to the mic sitting out on one of the consoles by the CAG. Showtime, boy, go for it.

Kai is about to head over and join the pair at the console, when Parts comes rushing in like someone lit a fire under his ass. After a brief sitrep from the young man, he dismisses him to inform the marine CO, untucks a slip of folded paper from his pocket, and tosses it atop the switchboard in front of Komnenos. He then starts for the hatch briskly. "Do whatever you have to, to get it working, boys. Sounds like we've got company." In the form of a downed viper, no less! "If Kharon's got the wing in atmo, now's our chance to talk to them." And he's out.

As Kai charges out of the room after the marine, Thorn picks up the paper and studies it curiously. It appears to be a script, of sorts. He quickly takes it over to the microphone and madly punches keys and toggles switches before speaking into the mike.

Roubani mans his place at the keys, monitoring the transmission and watching the cutoff algorithm kick into gear. His fingers head across the keys quickly as Thorn starts talking.

Kai heads through the exit labeled <RH> Rear Hall.
Kai has left.

[TAC3] "Thorn" Komnenos says, "Krypter, Krypter, Krypter, this is Colonial mission recon. Present position on Scorpia 54 12 North 115 32 West. Request rendezvous at 53 49 North 116 11 West. 2200 Jul 09. AA batteries 56 01 North 115 99 West, 51 50 North 113 83 West. Raider flybys at 20 min. intervals in region of rendezvous."

[TAC3] "Rabbit" Hale there's a moment of silence before the crackling voice can be heard. "Colonial Mission Recon. This is Rabbit. Repeat again if you can over."

[TAC3] "Thorn" Komnenos says, "Rabbit, this is Thorn. I say again, krypter, krypter, krypter. Colonial mission recon present position on Scorpia 54 12 North 115 32 West. Request rendezvous at 53 49 North 116 11 West. 2200 Jul 09. AA batteries 56 01 North 115 99 West, 51 50 North 113 83 West. Raider flybys at 20 min. intervals in region of rendezvous."

Roubani grabs up a portable unit off the console table, nearly lobbing it at Parts as the Marine leaves the room. "Give that to Marek or McTiernan!" The other wireless turned on, this little room has suddenly become the entire communications hub of the place.

[TAC3] "Mooner" Eddie says, "THORN! Frak yeah!"

As Hale's voice crackles over the com, Thorn grins with excitement as he repeats his message. His hand slams the console in exultation as the voices begin to pour in.

Roubani closes his eyes for a moment, unable to help the look of relief on his face. He exhales hard, looking back at the screen and swallowing. "Sir, seven seconds to end of burst."

[TAC3] "Rabbit" Hale says, "Thorn, this is Rabbit. We've got your coordinates. We're coming back for you. Repeat We are coming back for you"

[TAC3] "Thorn" Komnenos says, "Good t' hear your voices, people. We have t' keep transmissions t' a minimum t' avoid detection, but will resume contact when wwe can. And thanks."

[TAC3] "Rebound" Willem says, "Oh frak. Umm, nobody tell me you saw that."

[TAC3] "Jester" Xanthus says, "Damn. Don't you people have the good sense to stay dead? Glad you're with us. GUess that means we have to unshare your stash."

As Thorn finishes speaking into the mic, he shoots a questioning look over to Roubani. He doesn't say anything, but given Roubani's previous statement, his question should be plain.

[TAC3] "Rainbow" Mars says, "I saw it, Rebound."

[TAC3] "Mooner" Eddie says, "Rabbit, Mooner. Looks like this pig needs a bit more lipstick before she'll go to the big barn party. Permission to do a second run at the facility?"

Roubani clasps his hands in front of his mouth, pressing his fingers against his lips. As the alert cutoff gets dangerously close, he signals to Thorn with his hand cut across his throa, shaking his head. Time's up. He reaches for the smaller portable. "Spider, Poet. Transmission successful. Thorn reached Rabbit and relayed the coordinates. We're shutting down. Next burst in three hours, eighteen minutes."

Komnenos nods, suddenly weak with relief. He slumps back into his chair and lights a cigarette, blowing smoke rings for all he's worth. Finally, he takes a long, measured look around the room and everyone in it, and says softly, "Well frakkin' done, everybody."

Roubani has a fold of his prayers beads clasped tightly in his bandaged left hand. He doesn't say anything for a while after Thorn speaks, just breathing. Hard to convince himself he hasn't just hallucinated the last five minutes of his life.

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