Man and Machine
Man and Machine
Summary: Project Daedalus gets underway. Gooey Raiders are cracked into, and one of the Visser Base cylon probes has a little surprise.
Date: 93 ACH
Related Logs: Playing Prepared

Launch Deck Pandora - Launch Deck
93 ACH 23797 Souls

The docking bay of the Assaultstar Pandora can hold atleast three raptors and a couple shuttles. This is separate from the Hangar Bay which holds the viper squadron.
This area also holds the launch deck elevators, where smaller craft are moved to and from the depressurized landing deck, and the launch tubes where the Vipers are loaded into for launch from the ship.

DECK The deck here is under military guard. If you are thinking about trying anything in this area, contact Staff. No shuttles land here. Raptors are cleared before landing at all.

The Pandora's Marine security bars all but the top cleared from coming onboard this vessel now, the crew reduced to just enough to keep the necessary systems running. In the hangar bay there's little sign of life; most of the sound comes from lab equipment that beeps, whirrs, and glows. Among them is the CMO, waiting for Rhea and Solon as he stands by the Raider's hatch.

Rhea disembarks a Raptor as it drops her and Solon on the Pandora. Even the Raptor had to be cleared by security before docking here. She's carrying her engineering kit, and there's a look of understated anticipation about her as she strides over to meet the CMO by the Raider's hatch. "So, this is our baby," she says, setting her kit down, cracking her knuckles. She looks the raider up and down, faint smirk curving her lips. "Ugly son of a bitch, isn't he?"

Dr. Asenov follows behind Rhea, exiting and descending from the vehicle with some care and continuing across the deck behind her. As they move forward, he's quiet, alternately looking right at the floor panels just behind the woman's feet, or up, randomly, around the bay. When they arrive beside the Raider, he fixes his attention on it and tilts his head just a little to one side, and then the other. "There is a certain grace in its design, I would say, although the appearance is somewhat ominous. Perhaps by intent?" Without saying much more, he wanders away, circling around to one side of the ship.

Zaharis raises an eyebrow at the man he doesn't know by sight. When no intro or salute or anything else comes, he just looks at Rhea and points to the other monstrous ship. "Heavy Raider's over there for the prodding on off-time. The one supposedly with autopilot and other things Taylor may want to mess with." Looking back at the raider, he lifts his chin. "But this is our playground here, yeah. Had a glance underneath a day ago, it's…gooey in there. Feel like taking a giant nutcracker to it. You might want to put on something…protective."

"This is Captain Solon Asenov," Rhea intros, on Solon's behalf. "He's been through the security clearance channels. Captain, this is Major Jesse Zaharis, chief medical officer. He's the primary on this project. Protective?" She wrinkles her nose. "Lovely. They should have HAZMAT suits in the lockers here. I'll glove up."

Its true - he's quite terrible on things like proper protocol, including saluting, or bothering to read rank pins, and other things of that general nature. Reminded that there is someone else there, and that this someone is apparently in charge, Solon turns back from his wandering, day-dreaming like roaming and steps back over to face Zaharis. He manages to remember to salute at that point, but only barely. "A pleasure," he echos after her introduction, but rather quickly turns his attention back to the ship. However the chit-chat about the gooey bits seems to unnerve him a bit. "Ew, oh my. You don't want me to go inside there, do you?"

Zaharis takes a moment or two to assess Solon before he returns the salute. "Captain." The CMO's face is a criss-cross of burn scars down the left side. It's a lucky day when he has a raider right nearby to pull all the focus. Looking back at Rhea, he smirks. "Yeah, grab yourselves some suits. Going spleunking." A look back at Solon and he works on the zipper of the oversized plastic bag that he's wearing, himself. "Cold feet, Asenov? The real interesting sights are inside."

Rhea flashes Solon a crooked, toothy smile. It might be ominous. "This is state-of-the-art Cylon technology, Asenov. I wouldn't dream of denying you the chance to spleunk it. We'll be back shortly." And off she goes to the damage control lockers, to slip into one of those plastic bags Zaharis has accessorized into.

Solon has apparently drifted back to his own little reality quite promptly after meeting Zaharis, and indeed, seems quite distracted by the raider. But this talk of mucking about in the thing's guts are still apparently giving him reason for pause. "Ah, well, I've never really been the hands-on sort, you see," the man answers, in a manner that certainly speaks to less than certain nerves. Nevertheless, he obediently trails after Rhea when they're instructed to go 'suit up'. "I realize, Major," he answers Rhea, once he falls in behind her. "Although I'm primarily interested in gettign a look at the drive." But he -will- start putting on the protective gear, grumble over it as he might.

Rhea doesn't seem effected by Solon's grumbling. So long as he's doing as he's told. "You won't be able to get into the engine without getting your hands dirty. Besides, I want you up there with me to try and find the nav components, while I sort through the electrical and mechanical controls. We're going to get very hands on, Asenov. Don't worry. I'll see that you're toweled off after." She laughs, zips up her suit, and heads back to the raider.

Zaharis is ready to go, and once Solon starts getting his butt into gear he moves over and ducks down, crouching at the Raider's side. "Here, you can see the hatch here." He has to twist a little to point where he means. "Comes open easy enough." And with that little bit of preamble he heads for it, fiddling with the metallic thing until it makes the appropriate THONK sound. Someone's been in here before, if only long enough to scream like a girl at the drippy stuff. Drip, drip. Gooooo. "Batter up."

Grumble, grumble. Eventually, after discarding his coat, and even his uniform jacket beneath it, Solon gets his gear on. He seems slightly fascinated with the gloves, lifting his hands and wiggling his fingers in front of his eyes for a few moments, before turning to catch up with the others beside the ship. "Towel? I fear I will need a very long and thorough going-over with a hose before this is done." Once Zaharis gets the thing open, he huddles in a little closer to try and peer inside, get a look at what he's getting into before he does, but he's certainly not going first.

Rhea laughs at Solon's comment about the hose. Actually, it's more of a cackle. She grabs a palm light from her engineering kit, though she leaves the rest on the hangar deck floor, open. "I may need you to play nurse, Jesse. I'll tell you which one's the scalpel." And, in she goes. There's a soft, wet 'Squish' as she slips through the hatch.

The insides of the Raider look as if someone took a body and turned it inside out. Not only is it rather gooey and juicy, there looks to be actual veins, arteries and a blood system that runs through the biological system. Ropes of muscle like tissue are connected from the top down to the electronics that are housed within the head. But even that is covered in the fleshy substance. It was alive…

Zaharis brings a small kit with him as they go through this particularly sickening reverse-birth sort of entrance. Things slip and slide in ways he won't want to think about later. His breath seems to catch for a few seconds as he stares around, only starting again when his body remembers that oxygen is necessary for continued staring. "Good lords."

"Oh, it looks rather crowded in there." Yep, Solon would still rather avoid going in there as long as he can. But eventually there's no putting it off, and he proceeds to get very friendly with the lot of them - the Raider and his two crampedin coworkers alike. "Urg. Oh my. I… didn't quite imagine it would look like this, when we were speaking about it the other day, Major." He looks around as best he's able. "Its remarkable that this is… well, that they've managed to integrate the tissue with the ship systems to the degree they have."

Rhea a low "Ughmmm" sound. Equal parts disgusted and intrigued. She tries not to breathe. Inhaling air mixed with raider goo is not appealing. She's not shy about poking around in it, though. "It's fascinating, in a grotesque way. Living tissue grafted seamlessly with electronic components…Hrm." More squishing sounds as she moves around with her elbows. "I'll trace through these electrical cords for you, Captain. See if I can find what connects to the nav system. Maybe the engine as well."

"Remarkable," Zaharis repeats under his breath, as though he could readily substitute a few more choice words instead. He breathes shallowly, setting down his kit on the least fleshy surface he can find and popping it open. His head makes a slight shake as he starts working on getting samples, frowning tensely. "Why. Why the frak would they do this? Tissue is so delicate compared to machinery. The parameters it needs to survive and function are -tiny-."

"Alright… is there anything I can assist with, Major?" Of course, Solon would be happy to just wait until what goes where is all sorted out and he can find those components he might actually know something about to poke at. But he's got plenty to take in, and beyond the initial repulsion, the smell, the gooey ness, he does seem rather intent on looking around, shifting and turning to try and see different parts of the ship. Zaharis' comment earns a bit of theorizing: "Well, what I proposed to Major Zimmermann, and still believe is most likely, is that the use of some components was a necessity in terms of advancing beyond the basic restrictions of our current electronics, particularly in terms of highly-parallel computation? In terms of FTL navigation, it might provide them some of the advantages we have observed."

Rhea grunts, with some irritation, as she traces her palm light along the vein-like cords within the Raider. "Could you boys back up for a moment?" she asks. Giving Solon his wish, for the moment. "I need some elbow room to get a wider view of some of these connections. Major Zaharis. Give me some anatomical insight. This is a body, sort of. Where would you start looking for the controls of the central nervous system, if this thing were pure organism?"

Zaharis attempts to give Rhea her room while he continues what he's doing. Everything's getting carefully sampled and placed into its own dish, just the goo and 'flesh' for now. He hasn't touched the veins or blood yet. Solon's comment gets a frown. "Must be one hell of an advantage scale if they were willing to risk this much fragility. I mean my gods, even a minor temperature fluctuation could disrupt something like this, theoretically. Maybe they've altered the tissue, I don't know yet." He looks over at Rhea, then back at the insides of this thing. "The brain. But…" His eyes narrow, following the lines of blood vessels and tissue. "This isn't enough like human anatomy to be able to tell immediately where the 'vitals' are. We'll have to map these vessels first."

When he's told to clear out, Solon does just that. With gusto and enthusiasm. He scoots back toward the hatch, and those passing (if anyone else is actually on the ship) might be treated to the somewhat comedic sight of the man's legs and posterior poking out the back of the hatch. Dignified! "Well the advantages in terms of computation are certainly substansial. You, as a medical doctor should surely realize how the human brain surpasses our most advanced computer systems… at least in certain measures of performance."

Squish, squish, squish. Rhea gets her elbows and gloved hands right into the disgusting mess of raider. Now that she's got a little more wiggle room she's able to shine her palm light around at a wider area, to get a fuller view of the connections. She makes no attempt to fiddle with the electrical connections. It's what they connect to, the mechanical parts themselves, that she's most interested in. She follows on vein, squishing toward the head, raising a gloved hand to trace along one vein/rope/cord. "I think I'm going toward the brain, at least…" she mutters, giving the thing an idle squeeze. Then, suddenly, she comes to a dead stop. Holding completely still. "Major Zaharis. Are you *quite* sure this thing is dead?"

"And you as a scientist should realise that doesn't change a word I said," Zaharis answers Solon, drily. "And I should note we haven't even seen -any- brain matter yet, at least how we understand it. This is tissue and blood vessels; that there's an organic brain as we know it somewhere is an assumption." As is, apparently, that the thing is dead. He looks up at what Rhea's touching, raising an eyebrow. "It's been sitting here for 24 days. No recorded changes in readings from outside." Standing carefully, he steps over to what she's touching. "Why?"

"Well, you were talking about the advantage scale… My point was only that it's rather large. And we can probably assume that these developments, on their part, are not mere idly folly." Solon is contemplative, "There should be purpose to it. These are - or were at least - machines, after all." Although the point about the lack of an identified brain is certainly noted. "That should be a priority, I would think. Blood and goo and sinew aren't particularly educating." At least for him. The talk of it not necesasrily being dead encourages him to extricate hismelf completely, squeezing back out but remaining near the hatch and just looking in through it.

"It's…responding to me," Rhea replies. Her tone a mixture of wariness, surprise, and a certain amount of fascination. "I don't know how to explain it, exactly. It's like it squeezed back, or tensed or…something when I got my hands on it just now." Her hand still retains contact with the ropey cord, though she doesn't squeeze too hard. "You might want to get a feel of this. I don't know if I've got a pulse or…what."

Zaharis isn't listening to Solon at the moment. "There's a dirty comment in here somewhere, but I just can't do it." He mutters to Rhea. Tense moment of humour passing he puts his hand down where Rhea's is, going silent and very still to feel. Pulse? Peristalsis?

Solon steers clear for now. He knows nothing of pulsing body parts, and wants nothing to do with them, presumably.

Rhea snorts at Zaharis. "Don't even *think* it, Jesse." But she's quiet after that, letting him get a feel for…whatever's going on. Her hand doesn't move. Not that she looks pleased about staying put, but she doesn't want to lose track of the connection she's found, either.

Zaharis pushes his fingers harder against the gooey tissue. "Electrical activity. Not necessarily 'life', just activity." He keeps his hand where it is and kneels down to mess through his kit. "You guys have anything capable of reading the electrical output in the area? Set it up and start monitoring. Could give us some useful data later, kind of like body temperature does for an autopsy."

"Presuming… one can read it through the skin. We should have a standard voltmeter, but the probes are meant for open wires, for proper electrical connections. I suppose we can skewer it and see what kind of reading that offers." Since Solon is outside the stinky-pinky, he will go rummaging through the extra equipment to acquire the device being discussed. And once he has it, he returns to the hatch and pokes his way back inside.

Rhea nods, releasing her grip on the cord and easing back out of the raider innard. With a soft squish as she goes. A nod and "Thanks" is given to Solon. "I'll set up the voltmeter up to monitor before we're through. Leave it running, see what it picks up. I've got an electrical technician, Stephanos, attached to this project now. He'll do a better job of reading whatever it gathers than I would. I've always been a clanker, not a wirer. Asenov, I'm not seeing any separate engine compartment. You got any theories on where this thing might store its FTL components, now that you've had a look at it? Or how it'd manage jumping at all, without a traditional engine structure."

Zaharis shakes his head to Solon. "Not for the skin, I have medical equipment to monitor that. For the mechanical components and surrounding area. I want to know if there are correlations between impulses passing through the organic matter and the inorganic matter." Onto the gooey matter he presses several suction cups, pushing carefully on the centre to encourage them to stay put. "If the electricity is originating in the inorganic matter, it'll tell us something different than if it's originating in the organic. And it'll illuminate pathways between them." He nods to Rhea at mention of Nigel. Not someone he knows, but he trusts the ChEng.

Solon will pass the equipment over to his superior as he gets back inside, and simply nods at Zaharis - she can handle it, in any case. He, of course, is more fascinated with the question the Chief Engineer poses in regards to the engines - and the FTL in particular. "The listed weight for the entire ship suggests that there is plenty of inorganic material - presumably in the areas other than the 'head'. There's no way this… stuff could possibly supply the power necessary for FTL function, let alone actually create the field. And the engines provide standard thrust, I believe, for it to function both in space and atmosphere?" This segues back to Zaharis' commentary, perhaps: "There must be an actual generator. Whatever the living parts do, there's simply no way -this- is accomplishing everything we've observed the raiders to be capable of."

"Sounds like we need to crack this thing open. Dissect it proper to find its propulsion system," Rhea says to Solon. She can't help but crook a grin. The ChEng loves to dig her hands into engine parts. Even if they are connected to creepy organs. "Maybe they've combined a sort of…heart with mechanical components. To perform engineering functions biologically. That would be…astounding. No way to know until we *really* take it apart, though." She eyes the voltmeter, brow furrowing thoughtfully. "It's picking up readings, but they're on the low end. It's pumping but barely pumping, if you grok me."

Zaharis finishes twiddling with the suction cups. If there's electrical impulse going through the tissue, machines outside are now recording it. "I agree with Asenov, there's no way. Body tissue isn't like wires and cables that can be readily adapted from one function to another. I think whatever all this is, it has a definite point. But it's not accomplishing everything, it just can't. We need an analysis of whatever is going through these vessels, presumably it's some manner of nourishment. And a full idea of where these vessels are feeding. That'll tell us where the hotspots are that require the nutrients, and there you'll have someplace to dig." He moves towards the hatch, presumably to go grab something else to get samples with.

"I would agree that we need a better look around. With this 'head' area in the front, the weapons housed in the wings, and the location of the main propulsion, I imagine that the majority of the 'heavier' components would be contained in the aft section, including whatever sort of system they use for FTL." That statement itself acknowledges the fact that their technology might be fundamentally very different from what he's familiar with. Solon nods once more. "It is a great feat. Although one must consider that what you have described is not far from the model used in our own technology - machinery piloted by flesh and blood." The man begins to extract himself again, although he acknowledges Zaharis. "Indeed - and of course we must be very careful in taking it apart. Without understanding the fundamentals of their technology, it would be easy for us to damage an important component without even understanding its relevance."

Rhea nods to Zaharis, pursing her lips as she watches the voltmeter. "I'll restrain my dismantling impulses. Depending on the readings we get, they might give us an idea of what specific points of this thing do. Some systems take more energy to run than others. Given all the electronic attachments running through this thing, I suspect that's the case here as well. We might be able to extrapolate the location of navigation, life support, perhaps other functions as well." She looks to Jesse. "Security's keeping a constant watch on this thing, aye? The fact that *anything* is still running in there makes me leery."

"Shem's got security," Zaharis slides out the hatch, voice following him as he disappears back into the hangar bay. "Got this place wrapped up tighter tha-…" A sudden silence for a few seconds, and his tone's changed when he speaks again. "Rhea? This probe. It's ticking."

Once he's out again, Solon takes to shaking off a bit of remaining goo, sort of a wet dog routine. "I hope someone has looked over the weapon systems and either unloaded them, or… has taken some other precautions to make sure they remain inactive?" Even if he's not the one being warned, mention of something -ticking- certainly puts him a little on edge. He shifts and turns about. "It's what? Oh my. Has it been, or did it just start?"

"Frakking lovely…" Rhea murmurs softly, hefting her tool kit and heading over to confront the probe. She nods to Solon. "Should've been done already but I'll double-check it before I head back to Genny. Ticking?" She kneels by the probe. To get a better idea of what she's dealing with. Nothing is poked at yet. "I didn't hear anything, but I've had my head up Cylon entrails. I suppose it *might* have something to do with whatever's still churning inside that Raider…"

"Don't know how long. I just noticed it," Zaharis is standing there peering at the probe, while raider goo drips off his HAZMAT suit in clumps. "You hear it? Sounds like the second hand on a watch."

Solon shakes his head and steps just a little closer. There's really no point in backing away - if its a bomb, there's nowhere he's going to go that will really make him any safer. "Well I assume everyone was scanned for radiologicals, yes?" At least the fleet will be safe! "These are the probes they collected in the vicinity in the base? Its really quite eerie to think about it, how long they might have been up there, watching me, while I went about totally oblivious to their presence. Although I suppose I was oblivious to just about everything, down there."

"Step back a moment…" Rhea says. Encouraging. Though she still sounds more intrigued than wary. She still sounds wary, though. "…I need to get a closer look at this. I don't think it's going to explode. It's…yeah…" She, experimentally, puts a hand on the thing. "…it's pulsing, more than anything else. Rather like the Raider."

Zaharis has a few moments as they talk about explosions, and he swallows back nausea. "From the base, yes." That to Solon, then to Rhea: "What do you mean, 'pulsing'? How does metal pulse?"

Solon backs up a step or two when instructed, but seems to mirror the Cheng's curiosity, to a degree, and stays near enough to watch her work. "Outside of a weapon, which I imagine they might well have activated already, I imagine the biggest concern would be if it was transmitting any sort of signal back to the other cylons. Is the bay insulated?"

"It is, but even through that it's still a concern. I'm going to stay here. Dig further into this thing. If it's transmitting *anything* it needs to be shut down, ASAP. If not…I want to try and figure out *what* it's doing," Rhea says. "This thing's mainly mechanical. I can babysit it myself, unless you two are interested in watching me swear at Cylon technology for a few hours."

Zaharis nods to Solon. Insulated six ways to Sunday. He still looks a little off, swallowing again and clearing his throat. "I need to get these bio samples going, and update Regas and Shem. We'll meet tomorrow, decide next steps."

Solon is likewise happy enough to leave Rhea with her new-found friend. "No, no, nothing I can really help with, I imagine. Until we can get a look at the engines on the raider, really, or at whatever actually controls it… I imagine I'm a little out of my league." He shakes off a bit more goo. "My… I should go clean off before I even think about going back. I'd stink up the Raptor."

Rhea nods to Zaharis. "I'll have a work-up on whatever's going on with this probe by then. I may end up bunking here tonight, depending on how long this takes me. Captain Asenov, thanks for your efforts. And don't worry. You'll have plenty more chances to get your hands dirty inside this thing." Ever enticing, is the ChEng.

Zaharis shrugs at the mention of bunking here. If the ChEng really wants to sleep in a hangar bay with dripping guts, who's he to say no? "I'll be back around for more samples in an hour or two. Either of you need anything where the big boy's concerned, just buzz my office."

"Oh, I'm not concerned. Just very eager to get a look at what really makes it -go-," Solon replies. Zaharis receives a quick nod. "I'm going to find the showers on this thing, then."

Rhea stays with her probe, tool kit coming out when she's reasonably sure the thing isn't going to explode on her. She nods vaguely to the both of them, giving Solon a cursory, "Dismissed," but she's already half into the ChEng-zone. Playing with her machines.

Zaharis spends some time getting his kit back together, full of samples of things that go squish in the night. When everything's locked up tight, he heads for the shuttle back to the Genesis. As brief as the stopoff will be before Round Two.

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