Decoy
Decoy
Summary: Komnenos and Roubani burn the midnight oil on a tactical manuever. Xanthus and Matto get sucked in for the long haul.
Date: PHD 201 (5 November)
Related Logs: About an hour after The Devil's Greatest Trick
Players:
Komnenos..Roubani..Xanthus..Matto..

Naval Offices

Roubani is standing at one of the desks reserved for air wing personnel. There aren't many, pilots not known for being very good desk jockeys. He's in his blues, top of his collar open in that 'off-duty' way, both hands on the desk edge with hunched shoulders as he looks over a huge diagram of some sort of schematics. A mug of tea, frshly made, holds down one edge of the blueprint.

Not very good or simply ill-suited, one of the two. Thorn certainly feels out of place in his own blues, anyway. He shambles into the offices, an uneven passel of folders clutched in his hand as he makes for the desks. "Poet." Somehow, the presence of the younger man isn't terribly surprising. Thorn unsnaps his own collar as he dumps his cargo down onto the desk next to Roubani's. "Having fun?" he asks drolly, sliding into the seat.

Roubani's lips are pursed together in a thin line. His eyes come up at the sound of his 'name', palms on the desk lifting to tent his fingers there instead. "Oh, absolutely," he replies, only a hair drily. "What are you doing desk-surfing at this hour? Whatever it is, it can't be interesting."

"Procrastination rears its ugly head again," Thorn says with a sarcastic sigh as he thumps the pile of folders with a wayward hand. After pausing just long enough to fire up a cigarette, he starts thumbing through the pile. "Most of it's just routine housekeeping crap I've been dragging my heels on for a couple weeks. Plus a few personal projects in varying stages of completion." A short chortle, and Komnenos darts a look over at the Viper pilot. "So, no. Hardly interesting at all."

Roubani's lips twitch, and he nods. "Unfortunate. In the mood to remedy the situation? Or…" He glances at the papers Komnenos brought in, raising an eyebrow. "Are you facing the lash?"

Thorn raises an eyebrow. "The lash? Hnh… no. Not that I know of, at least." He snorts derisively. "But then, wouldn't be th' first time I was in th' doghouse and didn't even know it." A smile that's undoubtedly meant to look cheery wipes the strained expression from the ECO's face. "Anyway. Sure. None of this stuff's all that bloody important, anyway. What've y' got?"

Roubani exhales a little breath through his nose that could pass for a chuckle. He motions Komnenos over to the desk, picking up his tea mug and taking a short sip. The ECO might recognise the schematics; they're for a decoy swallow. "The attack they're planning tomorrow. You've seen the details on the situation and whatnot?"

Komnenos nods slowly. "The basics, yeah. Toasters have themselves a plantation on Scorpia, and we took exception t' who they were using as th' help." He cranes his neck to get a better look at Roubani's schematics; his eyes quickly recognize the depiction of a swallow's innards. "Don't know exactly what they're planning, but then… who does, these days?"

"I would hope that if someone did, they would speak up," Roubani answers, wryly. "Until then, we're on our own." He taps the diagram and leans a hip against the desk edge, sipping his tea. "Marek wants a report as to whether the interference signals that the swallows put out can be modified to jam DRADIS. I told him I thought they might be capable of using a pseudo random noise sequence, but I'm not an expert with these."

Thorn shrugs, frowning slightly in concentration as he looks over at the blueprint. Finally, after a moment, he nods. "Yeah, it should work. They're designed t' be flexible… this isn't quite what they were intended for, but far from impossible t' do." He pulls thoughtfully off his cigarette. "Just reconfigure th' things t' emit a white noise blanket instead of a decoy signal… use enough, an' assuming it works right — " He flashes a wan smile at that; that's always the trick, isn't it? " — they won't be able t' see th' forest for th' trees."

Roubani sips tea while Komnenos talks, one fingernail making a soft clicking noise against the ceramic rim. "Can that signal be changed on the fly? For example if you wanted to put out a decoy signal, could it be adjusted remotely to jamming when the target got close to it?"

Komnenos nods, pursing his lips in response. "Sure. That, at least, wouldn't require any special tricks… you can do that in the default software modes, switch back and forth from decoy mode to emulation mode." His head tilts to one side. "Just making sure you have th' bases covered, or are you going somewhere with this?"

Roubani gives Thorn a thin half-smile. "A little of both, perhaps." He puts the mug down, now leaning back against the desk and folding his arms. "The overarching thought was to activate a decoy signal, mimicking something large…large enough to get their attention and lure them away from the site in force. Then when their forces arrived, switch the signal to jam. That may not be the case…it might also be that we simply deploy the swallows and jam their DRADIS without trying to divert them first. That's a command decision, if they even decide to use the particular tactic."

There's a grunt from Thorn as that slow nod resumes, and the man scratches speculatively at the stubble prominently displayed on his cheek. "Well. The former sounds like a better plan than th' latter…" He shakes his head slightly. "Can't afford t' be haphazard about this. 'Sides, seems a little foolish not t' use the bloody things what they were designed for, what?" At Roubani's last, Komnenos sits up straight, fixing Poet with a skeptical look. "Well, I doubt they'll be able t' come up with a better one."

Roubani chuckles softly. "Well. Our problem is assuring them it works." He rolls his shoulders, arms still folded. "Alright, let's think about this. A PRN would work, in theory. What about a multiple-antenna jamming system? Or an in-seeker system? Does in-seeker only work on APS missile guidance systems? I can't remember." He gently rubs his temple. "I feel like I'm back in school some days." Roubani is standing at a desk with Komnenos, poring over a big, unrolled set of schematics.

Another eyebrow creeps skyward as Thorn considers the younger man. "I'd keep it as simple as possible. PRN is a good place t' start, at th' very least." The ECO exhales a pair of hovering smoke rings as he speaks; he gives off another thoughtful half-frown. "Multiple-antenna isn't a half bad idea, either. Though I think you might be right about the in-seeker. Bloody in-seeker system's a headache, anyway. Especially if we're going t' have t' jury rig these frakkin' things t' make them do what we want."

"Is it meant to be ironic that the programmer is telling /me/ to keep it simple?" Roubani's tone is dry, but goodnaturedly so. His pinky scratches at the side of his neck. "Of course you're right, though. Multiple-antenna might make it easier to reduce shadowing effects than PRN. Although PRN would be easier to synchronise. I mean, with the modulated noise signals and whatnot."

That Xanthus is here has a lot more to do with paperwork involving his viper's wreck than engineering, and he's got the long face to prove it. Pilots get callouses on their hands from holding the flight stick too much, so all the paperwork shouldn't bug Xanth too much. He looks like he'd rather be in the beaten-up viper than handle any more red tape. What comes out of his mouth is semi-automatic, a subconscious desire to pay attention to anything but what he's doing right now: "High spectrum interference can dance all over a clustered array. I hear they're a bitch to attenuate."

"Ironic? Probably." Thorn smirks at the younger man beside him. "It's a mistake I've made before, though. Simple was never my strong suit." His finger taps on the blueprint as his mind goes back to work. "I don't think we'll find a perfect solution, honestly." His head jerks to one side as Xanthus reveals his presence, chiming into the discussion. "Yeah, there's that, too," he murmurs in response to Xanthus' contribution. "He's right," Thorn says to Roubani with a tiny sigh. "Like I said, none of the alternatives look perfect."

"We don't need a perfect solution. We need to be able to tell them what will work by tomorrow and what the strengths and weaknesses are." Roubani's hand slices the air, making a physical point of the words 'strengths' and 'weaknesses'. His dark eyes glance at Xanthus, with passing recognition. Not enough to dredge up a name, apparently, as the next place he looks is the man's collar for the pips. "Of course, you're right. PRN would account for that more than multiple-antenna. No?" He asks Thorn. What the frak the JGs are talking about is anyone's guess. Unless Xanthus can recognise the schematic diagram on the desk - a decoy swallow.

Xanthus blinks. If it was not clear that he was completely unconscious of the fact he was entering into a conversation at all, let alone this sort of conversation, the perplexed and somewhat startled look on his face might provide a clue to that extent. The second thing that strikes him is the fact that he's having this conversation with other pilots. He's stayed somewhat in the background, keeping his nose to the flight stick, so he doesn't know people all that well. Still, this isn't exactly pilot talk. "What, what is that? A signature swallow?" Brows furrow. he counts the pips as well.

Smoke wafts lazily upward from Thorn's cigarette as he takes another pull. A speculative sound comes from the man's throat, but he doesn't reply immediately. "Yeah, it would," he answers a moment later with a nod, his eyes briefly flicking over to the other blond pilot and his rank insignia. "And yeah," the ECO adds for Xanthus' benefit. "Just seeing if we can make an unpleasant surprise for th' toasters."

Roubani's hand absently hunts for his own cigarette pack in some pocket. His eyes turn down to the diagram, pensively, then back to Thorn and Xanthus. In second confirmation to the latter, he nods. "They can jam the guidance systems of cylon missiles." Raptor pilots would know that; who knows with Viper people. "We want them to jam cylon DRADIS instead."

"No shit." Jester speaks the statement appreciatively, "We know enough about their DRADIS to do that? What are the response characteristics like? I mean, is this based on backscatter emissions from Raiders, or did someone get ahold of Cylon hardware and keep himself from jizzing all over it long enough to get the shielding open and play with it on a bench?" To say he's suddenly interested would be an understatement, though the viper jock is attempting to hide it. He's failing miserably, and a smirk is crossing his features. The glib, cocksure geek tone is a little hard to miss, as well. "If they changed it, I'm curious why. Decades of smugglers wanting to be real damned invisible haven't exactly kept the Navy eggheads from taking too many coffee breaks."

"DRADIS is DRADIS," Thorn replies with a diffident shrug. "But yeah, we've gotten some info on their systems. In principle, it's not that different from ours. I'd say theirs is rather more sensitive, but ours has slightly longer range. As for the jamming bit… well." Again, he interrupts himself for a taste of sweet nicotine. "Technically it's not supposed t' work that way, but DRADIS can be blinded just as well as weapons guidance systems. Just have t' get our swallows t' put out something what can do th' job."

There's a nod to the details the ECO gives, and then Roubani crooks an index finger upwards. "Ah!" If he'd been wearing a monocle right then, it might've popped off. Abandoning his cigarette search long enough to snag up his clipboard, he tugs a folded piece of paper out from under a butterfly clip. "Marek said one thing must be present. A time division duplexing signal for a sliding correlator examination. A little messier than standard, but given what we're up against I can see why."

Xanthus glances at the plans on the table. This is a lot to take in for him, apparently, "Huh. You know, if you go with the multiple source approach and need a duplexer, you could just let the thing run for a while, analyze what your interference patterns look like, then shove a repeater with a microcontroller up it's ass, play the numbers, and kill your interference problem that way, I mean, what? Use a cluster of four and you're down, what, 11.224 decibles? It's the interference that's the problem. In theory. In theory you get grant money too and aren't you cats air wing?" The surreality of it all finally dawns on him.

Thorn raises an eyebrow as the words begin to spill from Xan's mouth. Puffing away as the other man speaks, he replies a moment later, accompanying each component of his answer with the tick of a finger. "Sounds good, if we had time t' let shit 'run a while'. This has t' be ready by tomorrow, so we don't have time for extensive testing, just figuring out something that works. Marek is a terrible provost, and yes, we're air wing." The last is accompanied by a slight, pointed smile, and a jab of his thumb at his chest. "Thorn. Black Squadron ECO and resident computer expert. Roubani here did a stint as a snipe not long ago."

"Aren't you?" Roubani asks Xanthus in return. One dark brow makes a faint arch, on the same side as the one corner of his mouth that twitches. He looks back at Thorn, considering, then back to Xanthus. "I'm sorry, how rude of me. Nadiv Roubani, Red Squadron. 'Poet', if you prefer the callsign business."

Kettle? This is the pot calling. "Hey, hey, hey!" Jester raises his arms in mock-defense, "I tell people I'm a viper nerd and they ask me if I got any lunch money. This world ain't fair." Both men are given a quick once over, "Xanthus Spiros, Red Squadron. Jester. I have a big mouth! Now I've seen you." He points to Roubani. "And I've seen you." He points to Thorn. "And what do you mean by tomorrow. One hell of a frakking deadline. I joined the frakking Navy to escape this shit. You want a hand? World ain't fair, like I said. Why tomorrow?"

In response to Roubani's question, Thorn's head makes a tiny nod towards the wings on Xanth's uniform — but then, Xanth did just answer the question perfectly well on his own. It's the first time Thorn's been introduced to the blond viper pilot himself. Komnenos tilts his head to one side in amusement as Xanth introduces himself. Big mouth, eh? "Oh? Never would've noticed." He smirks slightly. "As for the rest, well, I don't know frak… I just work here. They say we've got an op tomorrow, I prepare for an op tomorrow." Thorn gives a philosophical shrug. "However bloody daft it may be."

Roubani chuckles under his breath, not altogether a sound of mirth. "As Thorn says. It's being submitted as a possible tactic for tomorrow's strike. As such, Marek wants it ready yesterday. Grant money will come in the form of coffee and tea tonight, gentlemen, IVs optional. We'd welcome the hand, Spiros."

"I can't believe I'm actually offering to help with this shit. I swear to the Gods I joined the Navy to put off graduate school. Now there is no frakking graduate school and I'm on a carrier talking about how to jam robot DRADIS." Xanthus snorts to himself, "Sure. Sounds like a hoot. So, after all that, you guys got a plan? Come on. Let's get on the horn, call some freaky people, and make a scene. What's our operational radius? What are the design parameters? Hit meh!"

Matto arrives from the Hallway - Deck 2, Fore.
Matto has arrived.

Thorn's snort echoes Xanth's. "Don't talk t' us about plans. We're th' ones command comes an' talks t' when they have a problem that makes their brains hurt, nothing more." He shrugs indolently, jerking his head at Poet a moment later. "This one's been talking t' Marek; he might know more'n I do. Then again, most people do." Thorn pauses long enough to work at his cigarette some more, eyes moving back to Xanthus, a sardonic, thinlipped smile taking form on his face. "Surreal, eh?"

"I've told you the bulk of what Marek said to me," Roubani says, shaking his head as he moves towards one of the computers. "We know this. They believe there to be ground forces. Cylon air support is approximately eight minutes from the base, which is what this is being developed to deal with. Diverting them long as possible and preventing them from hindering ground's efforts, again, as much as possible." He nods to the diagram of the swallow on the table. "Command hasn't explicitly said they'll use this. It's just been proposed." Couple keytaps, and he gestures Xanthus to the chair. "There, have a look if you haven't seen it."

Xanthus takes a seat, setting his paperwork, which is legion, on the table next to him, "I'm going to regret this, aren't I aaand yes, I do." He peers at the screen, "So it's not close to ready, the deadline is tomorrow, and we have to fly around and get shot at. You know, the CAG's not thrilled about his pilots flying around on sleep dep. Too bad this has all-nighter written all over it, huh?" He shrugs, "So, since you've had your eyeballs on this for a long while, what's the plan? Multiple radiation sources and a best-guess destructive interference emitter shoved on the back end of a duplexer, or what?"

Matto sneaks in through the hatch, the forefinger of one hand hooked in the plastic handle of a large thermos, the first two fingers of his other hand clutched around the three grouped handles of three mugs. He peers down the banks of workstations and, spotting Nerd Squadron, gives a bright smile and saunters in that direction to play tea wench for the boys. "How's it coming?" he asks them quietly when he draws within easy earshot.

"That's what stims're for," Thorn replies with a twitch of the head. He smirks a moment later. "Consider it a taste of what grad school would've been like." He pauses for a smoke, giving Xanthus a slight nod. "Something like that. Though I think we're still considering a couple other options." Komnenos looks back down to the blueprints for a moment, then back to the other two pilots. "The multiple radiation idea looks best overall, but it's going t' be a handful." He snorts again. "Ask me, I wish we could just flood the whole bloody place with enough EMP to fry their DRADIS for decades. That'd frak us up as much as them, though." He looks over to the approaching Kissybear. "It's coming, at least."

"We've been worse than sleep-deprived," Roubani's soft voice points out. His arms fold again, and he takes a pacing few steps left. "At this point they're already in the command meeting to make plans." He nods towards the Ward Room door at the far wall, then nods to Xanthus. "That's what we are thinking, yes. Convert the swallow system to pseudo random noise sequence to jam their DRADIS sensors. Combine that with their mimicry signal of a larger ship to lure them away. It's the former that needs the work, as it's rehashing a good deal of the circuitry. Do me a favour, Spiros, and bring up the schematics there on the terminal. It'll be easier to work through this if we can see and manipulate it." His shoulders turn as another voice comes in. Another Raptor person, and one bearing tea at that. "Kisseus. You've got a sixth sense, I swear."

Xanthus glances up at Matto and sinks inward just a touch, "I'm either petrified or relieved to find out I'm not the only stick who knows this shit… hey." He points to Thorn, "There's an idea, too. Set the squadron totally passive on DRADIS, attenuate everything down to a whisper, then blow the place out like you said. Deploy a satellite and have it do DRADIS for us, bounce the signal off of the Kharon like a big repeater. Import our S-A data after we fry out theirs." He listens to Roubani, "Yeah, sure. I got you covered." He leans back and types onto the terminal, bringing up the schematics. "Looks like my first girlfriend." Dubious.

Matto sets out the mugs on a spot of bare table, uncapping the thermos and looking down at one of the mugs as he fills it. "I thought there might be a need tonight," he smiles at the liquid he pours, "Anyone else, or shall I cap it for later?" he asks the other two.

Thorn grunts. "Hnh. Sounds messy. I don't like messy." Nevertheless, he's tapping his chin. "Could work… but sounds bloody complicated… y'd have t' attenuate shit just right… an' the whole flying blind bit…" By now, Thorn's only half talking to anyone else, having discovered a new problem to set his mind to. The mention of tea, though, snaps him out of it, if only for a moment. He shoots a disbelieving but teasing look at Kissy. "You have t' ask?" Anton reaches out for a cup.

Roubani hehs quietly. "I wish you'd brought all this up to the CAG before he walked in to lay out a plan for the wing." Another glance at the ward room door. Fates being decided. He rubs his temples, glancing at the screens Xanthus is pulling up. "Alright, now. We need steps, that we can then take upstairs and apply to a real swallow. Kisseus, have you ever worked with a PRN jamming suite?" His hand's come out for a mug, groping in empty space.

Xanthus tilts his head to Matto while leaning back in his chair, "Might need some. I didn't know I was being an engineer tonight. If I had, I'd have brought my own caffeine… or something." He sits forward again, "Thanks, though. So… what. How many people know Captain Stoneface wants an ace up his sleeve, anyway? Uh… any energy in liquid form would be pretty cool, yeah." To Thorn, he nods, "A bit. But you want mass, The Boat's got plenty of mass. Can bounce a pretty frakkin huge signal off of this if you had to. Just keep mama bird near her flock and you've got that. ANyway, you guys have been at this. I'm just a walk-on. You tell me what you got."

Matto just manages to finish pouring Toes' tea before he snatches the cup, shooting him a sly chuckle so laid-back one would never guess what he'll be flying into tomorrow. The cup he'd poured first gets lifted cautiously and handed over toward Nadiv, wrist twisted to allow him to hand it off to Nadiv by the handle. "Sure thing," he mentions to Xanthus by way of a 'you're welcome,' and while he's pouring the third mug of tea he wrinkles up his nose at the question posed to him, "Like… twice or three times. I wouldn't say I'm proficient with it at all," he gives an apologetic half-shrug and hands off the third mug to Xanthus.

"My timing sucks," Thorn says drolly to Roubani. There's a look between Roubani and Matto. "That's what your ECO is for, Kiss," he adds with a small, wry smile. "You fly. We fry." Komnenos looks back to Xanthus. "Personally, I'm leaning towards the original idea, using Roubani's PRN sequence." Eyes flick to the other two as he takes a drag from his now-short cigarette. "The multiple-antenna idea would have been nice, but we don't have the time I'd like t' make it work properly. As for the EMP idea… again, could work, but I foresee too many potential complications. This plan should do what we need it t' do without being a wanker t' get running."

"Like Spiros said, a destructive interference emitter with multiple radiation points slaved t' a duplexer an' mounted on th' swallows should be able t' provide what we need. It won't be pretty, but hells… show me a project of mine that has been." Thorn adds a moment later.

Roubani shakes his head at Xanthus. "I don't think we should count on the Kharon being near the whole time. I would wager Cortez will be very conservative about letting her get too close, given that that FTL drive is the only way back out for most of us." He nods to Thorn at the mention of the multiple-antenna scheme, glancing at his watch. And just now noticing Matto's delivered tea, for which he shoots the Raptor pilot an incredibly grateful look before sipping at it. "Well then, let's get to work."

Matto settles in, screwing the cap back onto the thermos and then leaning back in the chair, lifting his arms to fold behind his head. "So after we jam them… how are we going to get the people out of there? I mean, what's to say they don't notice that something's going on, all turn around on their watchtowers and open fire on that little ghetto they've got in there?" This, not petulantly. Just posing one of the difficulties that'll need to be overcome.

Xanthus peers between all three men, then down at the tea. He looks a bit perplexed, like a mouse who just discovered the maze really does have an exit… and it leads to another, larger maze. "Probably not. But it's a fun idea. This DRADIS coverage brought to you by Kharon. Kharon: Because Cylons Suck." He smirks a bit, "Sure that would work, too, but you're right. It's a really bad idea." He leans back and peers at the ceiling. "Well okay. So what's the PRN sequence you were talking about?" He turns towards the screen, "You've got 204.8 gigajoules of clearance if you want to keep it under the detection range at a frequency we can all live with."

"Hate t' sound insensitive, Kiss — " Ah, good one, Thorn. " — but that's really not our problem. Command didn't ask us t' plan th' whole bloody rescue. I'm just trying t' get us in… worrying about the welfare of 400 civilians, that's above my pay grade. If they were even paying us still." He makes a derisive sound. "Let command worry about that."

"Mmm. That is undoubtedly what they are planning as we speak," Roubani replies, quietly. Door to the ward room's still closed, command all holed up in there. "As it falls to both Air and Marines to handle. I told Marek that we could adjust the swallows' signals to a DRADIS jamming signal and use it concurrently with their ability to mimic a ghost vessel, and so that is what I want to accomplish. Granted, they may not use it, but it will be ready." He looks back at Xanthus, raising an eyebrow with a mild expression that's both impressed and amused. "204.8? Did you cheat and memorise the partition charts before you got here, Lieutenant?"

"Well— if that's what they want us to do, that's what we'll do, I guess," Kissy murmurs with a grin, scratching at the back of his head for a moment, letting those whose expertise lies more in that area discuss the particulars of the jamming, for the time being.

"Advisor told me I had my head stuck up my ass, so I had an entire cheat sheet tattooed on my prostate." is Xanth's cheerful reply. "Wanna see it? He put one of those 'Mom Hearts' in there too as a freebie." Matto's concerns bring him down to 'earth', so to speak. "And pray they actually have a plan, or it's going to get pretty ugly down there. I'd rather not even think about that."

Thorn can't help but chuckle at Xanthus' response. "I'll take your word for it," he replies, voice dry as sand. There's a look at the other three as he steps aside to thumb through his own folders. "Rescuing 400 berks from a Cylon work camp? Yeah, one can only hope there's some kind of plan involved, anyway. Because I don't like how that scenario's going t' end if we go in without one."

"It won't be clean, whatever it is. This is going to be a mission of sacrifices," Roubani murmurs. "Our job is to lessen them. Let's do everything we can." He nods to the three and settles in for the long night's programming haul.

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