Niemec pitches a plan to Kallas, but he thinks it requires too many dominos to fall.
Location: Ready Room
Related Scenes: None
Scene Number: 915
Being the CAG isn't all dogfights and fancy flying. There's a crapton of paperwork involved too. Kallas has some space somewhere in one of the shared office areas, but he prefers to stay in air wing country. He's co-opted one of the desks in the ready room, and is scribbling notes onto a tablet with a stylus.
It took just a quick inquiry with a Lieutenant to find out where the CAG could be found. Niemec is in her duty blues, with a binder tucked under her arm. In hand, she's got a pair of coffee mugs. It's with one of these that she presents herself to Kallas after entering the room and crossing towards the desk the Viper jock occupies. Coffee out, other arm pinching binder to her side and holding her own. "Do you have a few minutes, sir?"
Kallas looks up when someone approaches the desk. "Yes," he says, a little over-eagerly. "Please. Rescue me from supply requisitions and transfer authorizations." He touches something on the tablet and the screen goes dark. "What's up?
The coffee is set there for Kallas to partake of should he wish. Niemec takes a sip from her own before pulling the binder out from under her arm. There's not much in it yet, but it looks like the beginnings of a project. "Don't you have a deputy for that stuff?" It's a bit of a teasing tone as she moves to settle in a nearby seat, binder resting on her lap. "I was... thinking about that whole problem of how the Cylons can just keep building more and I had a thought."
"Oh, thanks," Kallas says, taking the coffee. He shrugs to the comment about the paperwork. "Part of the job, sadly." He sips at the coffee, nodding for her to go on.
"Guess that's why we had to do all those essays in Academy. Prepare us for spending the latter parts of our tours of duty bent over desks still yet." Niemec does smile, but it's fleeting. She lifts her coffee for another sip before setting it aside. The binder is opened and she glances over the notes she has. Lots of scribbles of various radio equipment. Some like the stuff JTACs use, or one-way radios. "They may have production facilities on the planets they've occupied and that's just a matter of intel on those planets getting back to us... The big question is... those basestars. Were'd they manage to assemble one of those? So I was thinking..." Here she sounds a touch uncertain. "Well... what if we managed to find one and attach some sort of signal to it. Just a basic radio. Something really trimmed down, no computer to it. Just something sending out the occasional signal that we could have scout raptors listen for."
Kallas nods, listening. "Well, we know they've captured a lot of manufacturing facilities. That's actually our op tomorrow is to hit one of them. Damn things can crank out Centurions way faster than we can train up replacements." A tight frown there before he's going back to her plan. "It's an interesting idea, but what makes you think the base star would lead you back to its assembly area? I mean, Centurions and Raiders don't wander back to the factory once they've been built."
"I'm all for dropping some bombs on one of those facilities," Niemec offers, flashing a brief smile. She shrugs with the last, looking down to the book. "Just that it's a possibility. It'd be a massive place to assemble those things. Look at the work it took at Scorpia for the Galactica. I wouldn't be surprised if it's some sort of base of operations. At the very least, if we managed to tag a basestar, we could use it as a way to mount an offensive. Once we could track it, at least the time of an engagement would be ours to decide."
"True enough, they aren't going to be building those planetside," Kallas agrees. He takes another sip of his coffee. "Problem I see is that any radio powerful enough to transmit across systems is probably going to be too big, and have too strong of a signal, for them not to notice. And that's assuming you can get close enough to a base star to plant it in the first place - which is practically a suicide mission in and of itself.
"It's why I've been studying the equipment some of our recon teams use," Niemec offers, lifting out the desk attached to the chair she's in to set the binder on. "We could keep it a low or infrequent signal... and talk to the various colonies. Ask them if they can adjust satellites to just listen for it. It wouldn't take over the satellite's other operations, but they could alert us if the signal pings off of one." As to the latter, there's a sort of smile. Almost lopsided, but not quite. "That is the trickiest part. The only thing I can think of there is to get involved in a sortie with a basestar, jump in with a Raptor and someone in EVA gear... attached it and jump the frak out. But it'd still be a suicide mission, yeah."
"Recon teams are only trying to get a signal to a satellite in orbit, not one from Gods-knows-where to a relay sat." Kallas taps the stylus lightly on the tablet, frowning in consideration. "Look, Squeak, I think you've got a nugget of a good idea there, trying to go after their orbital shipyards. I mean, they've got to be somewhere, and I think if they were around any of the Colonial-held systems we'd have noticed. But trying to tag a basestar and hoping it leads us somewhere interesting... that's too thin for me to send a Raptor on a suicide mission."
There's a sidelong pull of lips. Not a grimace, no, but something more of a pensive look. "It just feels like right now, it's looking for a straw in a haystack. There's got to be a shipyard they're using out there, somewhere, and it'd be a greater blow to them to hit that than to go after facilities pumping out centurions. The Galactica is just the right ship for it, too." There's a look to the binder as Niemec reaches for her coffee, lifting it for a long sip. "There's got to be... some way. I'd say tag a Raider instead, but that's even less likely. And dressing one of our Mark Is up to read as one of theirs or capturing one to fly in is even more of a suicide mission."
Kallas makes a 'there you go' palm-up gesture towards her. "I'm not disagreeing that it would be a good target IF we could find it. But you're talking about a razor-thin chance of success here. You've got to hope that one -" he starts ticking off fingers. "You manage to tag the basestar before you get killed. Two - they don't notice and don't pick up the signal. Three - the signal has enough juice to get picked up by a relay sat to get back to us. Four - that it goes back to the assembly area. That's just too many dominos that have to fall to justify risking a bird and two pilots. Right now, we're fighting a war of attrition here, and we're losing that numbers game. We can't afford to be throwing our people away needlessly."
"But I wonder if... we could make the other aspects more certain. If we could guarantee a tracker they couldn't easily notice, but our sats could pick up... If that were possible, wouldn't the risk be worth it? A couple of lives to save the colonies?" Niemec looks at the binder, lips pulling into that pensive expression again. "Don't worry, boss. I'm not about to go do something like this without the go-ahead, I'm just trying to come up with options that are better than sending Raptors on recon missions. The only other idea I'd had was requesting use of a light cruiser to do some extended missions out to various known asteroid belts. But that's way over my pay grade to ask for."
Kallas shrugs. "I don't know how you could guarantee something like that. Seems like any tracker with enough juice to reach the relay sats from a distance would be pumping out a big enough signal for them to notice. But if you wanna talk to the tech types and see if they can wrangle some kind of magic, that would be one domino off the list." He lifts the coffee cup to his lips once more. "But it's still a long shot, Squeak. Even if we found their construction facility, that ain't going to win the war for us. Every little bit we do helps to save the Colonies."
"We have only two battle stars," for now, "versus... we don't even know how many basestars. If we can shut down production of them, wouldn't it be easier to do an all-out assault on them?" Niemec lifts a hand to push fingers into her hair. Forgetting it's in a ponytail. Some of the locks come loose around her face. "We're losing so many pilots. I just... want to find ways to try to slow that tide. At least a little."
"Two battlestars and hundreds of other ships in the combined fleets," Kallas points out. "And like you said, we don't know how many basestars they have. Or how many other orbital construction platforms they may have." He grows more serious then. "You think I don't? I got no problem risking lives on a mission with a decent chance of success, Captain. We do that every day around here. Come to me with something more solid, and we'll talk."
The brunette takes a slow breath and nods, reaching out to close the binder. "I'll see if there's any better way to make a tracker. One there's be less risk of them picking up. I'm not sure on... delivery methods, but I'm sure something could be done." No, Niemec's in no rush to give up the idea of being able to at least track a base star, if not have it lead them back to its origin. She starts to push to her feet, picking up her coffee as she does. "Good luck with the paperwork, sir."
Kallas gives a brisk nod. "Good hunting, Captain," he offers, before returning to the dreaded paperless paperwork.