On the hunt for answers to the trouble with raptors, Danica and Tamlin take one out for a ride.
Location: Space, Above Tauron
Related Scenes: None
Plot: Operation: Bullhorn
Scene Number: 721
Two days is not enough time to recover from the carnage of the cylon attack on Galactica, but time and the need to protect the ship and the crew waits for no man. And so, two days our from the firefight on the hangar deck, Danica and Tamlin have been given the okay to take a raptor out in an attempt to replicate the problems experienced by Rabbit and Echo when their raptor went down. For Tamlin at least, this seems to have even more urgency, given that Rabbit's raptor chose the night of the cylon attack to spontaneously self-destruct. There's a hell of a lot she wants to say about it, but for the time being, she's keeping those thoughts to herself as she goes through a final check on all of the equipment she'll need to monitor, calibrate and repair the raptor should it decide to pitch a fit like three of its predecessors.
Danica is seated in the borrowed raptor's pilot seat, no ECO necessary this time since they can just come back to the barn if things get super weird. Her fingers are going through the usual pre-flight sequence, a button here and a button there. There's a slightly staid effort to it, likely still sore from the attack and made worse by having taken no morpha for it in the last 24 hours in anticipation of this very exercise. In fact, the officer rips open another packet of Med Bay issue Motrin and dry swallows it before putting on her flight helmet, all of it done in subdued silence.
Tamlin trusts and leaves Danica to do what she does best. Once her tools are in place, she starts a walkthrough of the, admittedly small raptor main compartment. "Let me know when you're in position. I think I have an idea for how to start stress-testing the systems once we go dark." The words seems to remind Tamlin that she'd probably better put on her own helmet, and she heads back to the ECO's seat, picking it up and setting it onto her head, securing the capture ring, before she moves back to the bench seat. A last minute check of one of the storage compartments, as she makes certain she has some medical supplies in place, before she sits.
"Just need to get clearance from CIC...," Danica says, leaning around her seat to look at Tamlin putting on the ECO helmet before securing her point harness. Clearance from the CIC comes fairly easily, the usual dry radio traffic before they're cleared. The Raptor powers up and lifts up, shooting out the launch strip and banking a gentle right as it turns towards Galactica's stabbord side. They're apparently not going far at all. "Alright," Danica signals, her hand on the stick and her eyes on DRADIS for craft traffic near the Galactica. "We're on, I think, Tamlin. Let me know what you'd like me to do, first?"
"Well," Tamlin considers, rocking back and forth slightly on the bench seat, "We know from the black box, that they were operating a certain set of controls during their flight...before they turned on the autopilot." She hops up to her feet, reaching out to hand over a tablet. Actually, she almost hands it over, and then, instead, put it on the stand next to the pilot's station. Might not be a good idea to ask Danica to drive one handed in a potentially deadly situation. "If we can set the system up exactly the way we knew it was immediately before the autopilot started to malfunction, we can then start looking at potential systems which might have caused the error which the box doesn't record." Because, normally, the box only records mission and system critical systems and radio traffic.
"Yep, no problem," Danica affirms with a brief smile. "Just no sudden moves...," she grins at Tamlin, the reason to avoid perhaps obvious by the slightly pained pull in the corners of her expression for how sudden moves feel today. She appraises the tablet's screen, the list of up systems during the flight. "So, I'd say that we should do this in sections?," she states seeking consensus by looking at Tamlin once more. "If we just bring up all the systems at once, we might get what we're looking for but we won't get the sequence..." Her fingers reach up to to press and depress two buttons on the panel above her, in preparation. "So, start simple, build and then... hope we don't explode?"
"I promise to take things easy on you. Unless it looks as though we're going to die. And then I did promise to pretend to be a Marine for you." Tamlin's smile is genuine, but there's something of understanding in the expression as well. They're both hurting. "You know it was Rabbit's raptor that went up during the attack." Since that could potentially be important information, "Yes, exactly. And I'm going to need your help here. because I'm neither a pilot nor at ECO. Being able to build one of these things, to repair it or break it down...that's not the same as living in it. So more than just flying, it would be good for you to be thinking about the sorts of things you do in the ship when you're underway, especially when you're cruising." As one would imagine they must have been, to have put the ship on autopilot.
"Yeah, I heard later," Danica confirms with a slight grimace. The finer details of the who/what/where/when/why of the deck attack now finally sifting down through the ranks. "At the CAG's debrief. I guess that's one way to scrap a Raptor...," she comments idly before quieting do listen to Tamlin further. "I think we'll be fine. My situation didn't trip until we were well way from Galactica. We're in EVAs, so we could just go for a space swim and hope that Wolfpack's up for fishing."
That potentially harrowing thought aside, Danica nods and powers Galactica forward a little, they're going to just do laps around the ship it seems. "So, flight school's pretty rote. You do something a thousand times until just don't think about doing it at all, in terms of flying the ship in actual. You'll panic less in bad situations if you know where your hands are supposed to go.... sooo.... let's say we're on a regular fly down to Tauron and we've just left Galactica- which we have.... we want to hit these four buttons, first- this one locks our landing gear in place, this one secures the panel, this one disengages take off automation, and this one... is like a pressurization echo... it's just asking the ship to confirm that we are not going to pop like a grape-" Her fingers hit each button in sequence.
Tamlin listens with intense curiosity. Not only because she needs to keep track of everything that Danica is telling her, filing it away in her knowledge bank, but also because this side of being in a squadron simply isn't a side she sees from any other angle than that of an outsider. "I know what you mean, I think. When we're doing maintenance, there are times when I get so comfortable that I zone out, and I wake up and the works done and I don't really recall doing it." She stops a moment, "Maybe I shouldn't admit that." Another grin, before she grows serious again, watching the Galactica through the windscreen, "So what do you do to pass the time when you're that comfortable? When you're so comfortable that half of you is doing the job and the other half is free to think about other things?"
Danica lets out a small laugh. "Crash twice, you suddenly pay rapt frakin' attention to every little thing on a Raptor. You'll be fraking cured of thinkin' about last night's Pyramid match...," she states, the conversation dropping out mid-way for her to review the tablet list. "...okay, going for the next three down." Buttons pushed: one, two, three. The order seems to have some kind of meaning, perhaps? But whatever the case, it doesn't... cause anything to blow up or the Raptor to shudder even a little. 5x5 as it ever was. "...I dunno that I'm ever comfortable, lately. War's weird that way. I don't know... I guess I think about... stuff? Like what's for dinner in the mess and maybe my next care package from my brother will have something I asked for from home...?" Her expression a little staid. "Just... it's hard to really want to get into a mode of thinking about more than that."
"Maybe now, yes, with two bad incidents under your belt. But for Rabbit and Echo, this would have been business as usual. Nothing but a normal, as normal as one can get near the front, routine scouting mission. So are they moving around the ship? Taking turns flying, getting things in order before they engaged the autopilot?" Tamlin herself is moving from system to system, plugging in and getting readings every now and again, once Danica lights up a console from which she CAN do that sort of thing, "I know the feeling. Not about the care packages from home, but war has a way of narrowing your focus, until you can't really focus on anything but the things that are the most important things."
"That...I don't know?" Danica response is tempered by her focus on DRADIS as the ship banks to the right once more and they turn a curve, floating by the ship's upper decks. "Ideally, both the ECO and the pilot should be seated the whole time. The ECO might get up and do stuff if they need to access another panel but that's not usual. So I'd say at least, ideally, I don't think Rabbit and Echo were playing a Pyramid in the back..." She looks up briefly at another panel before craning her head in Tamlin's direction. "Yeah, I think it's just... you think about the next ten minutes more than you do the next ten months as a way to manage your expectations," she says in agreement before she looks at the list. "Okay, next two buttons."
"So if those records," here Tamlin means the data the tablet is showing Danica from the black box, "and those timestamps match up with what you know of how the ship should be operating, with no unusual gaps or lapses in activity, then if we get to the moment where they engaged the autopilot and we don't have any errors, we might be able to hypothesize that the lock must have occurred because of something they did after it was engaged, and not necessarily because of something they did before they engaged it that conflicted with the autopilot system."
"Right," Danica confirms with a nod. "The timestamp and UTC coords basically are your roadmap and any sort of com traffic and internal chatter that's recorded is another layer of context. I haven't looked at their flight recorder transcripts but its probably just 'your momma' jokes and rating how Ensigns look in their EVA suits...," Danica shrugs briefly, pilot chatter can't all be golden philosophy. "But if you think the sequence after the autopilot is maybe the hot spot, I can engage it and see if we drift into Galactica or not..."
"That might add a bit of danger to our situation, for sure." Although, unlike Rabbit and Echo, they could completely cut power to the raptor and drift off just fine. Being in the vacuum of space has that advantage. "Well, I am sort of thinking that it has to be. You're not seeing anything glaringly wrong in the records, and neither did anyone else. If they had activated a critical system, we'd know about it. If they had activated a system that the box wouldn't record, you'd have seen it in the timestamps, so we'd know there was missing time to try to account for."
"Worth a shot," Danica states by way of agreement where not having a better idea comes to it. She swivels in her chair a little, adjusting the stick and checking their relative velocity to the ship once more. "Okay, so.... engaging auto pilot," she announces, perhaps for the benefit of the flight recorder before her fingers go through the right sequence. "And... engaged." Her hand drops off the stick, with a mildly expectant air.
"Okay, so we're still running on the timestamp for critical systems." Tamlin moves back to the ECO's station. "Okay, so we're on autopilot, which means, in some ways, we have more free time to lay off of the critical systems controls and focus on those that aren't going to show up in the log." Tamlin ponders, rising again and starting a slow circuit of the ship. "So...what I'm thinking we should do, is turn each system on one at a time. Once the system is up and running, you try to disengage the autopilot. If nothing happens, we turn that system off and move on to the next. If that doesn't work, we start again, this time leaving one more system on at a time until either something happens...or we lock the autopilot."
Their collective hands freed up, Danica's just busy checking off the rest of the list. A button here. A button there. A button everywhere. And nothing nothing nothing in return, which is probably dispiriting for Tamlin's proposed methodology. "Yeah, I mean... I dunno...," Danica says, in that way that hedges up to disbelief that maybe the answer is found in this checklist. Ready, to accept that its a case of squirrels in the wires. "All that's left is this stupid environmental control sequence...," she mutters, hitting the buttons. "Who gives a frak if your Raptor is heated."
"Nobody, if you're flying in the atmosphere." Tamlin waits for the final system, and then sits back. Still nothing. "I feel as if we just spent the last two hours doing nothing but pushing buttons and missing a meal." Which is not usually a problem for Tamlin, but both she and Danica are supposed to be on strict schedules as part of their recovery. "And I wouldn't even mind that, if I could grab some coffee. How do you people manage meals in this thing?" Because that seems to be the one thing this ship actually is lacking. "They don't make you eat those MREs, do they?"
"Uh, MREs or protein bars, if you can't wait until you're back on the ship," Danica acknowledges with a shrug before offering her a brief grin. "I think the white glove service is for commercial liners," she adds, with an air of uncertainty that may propose that Danica hasn't jumped from planet to planet in anything like style before even if she's related to someone who has. "My broth-" And that's as far as she gets before the Raptor give up a tiny shudder and the autopilot appears to go off the rails. No alarm goes along with it, nothing that might indicate a problem other than the suddenly soupy situation with Danica's unheld stick. "Shit."
"Depends on the liner. If you have enough money you can get the 'feed me peeled grapes' treatment. It might be getting cold in here, what with the HVAC system shut off, but you certainly can't say that Tamlin has noticed. Deckie vac suits are even worse at holding in heat than flight suits. But what does get her attention, is the raptor pilot's sudden expletive. And the the Galactica, whch she sees as soon as she looks towards the pilot, which is getting closer in the window. "I'm not sure whether to be happy or sad about this." Tamlin looks away from the looming ship, back to the pilot, and then starts checking off systems on her pad. "Locked?" Just to confirm.
"Yeah-," Danica states with clipped confirmation. Locked. It's harried, as well as her fingers are trying to run back in opposite order the buttons that might have caused this since engaging the auto pilot. Her hand on the stick ineffectual, as Galactica starts to draw nearer and the chatter from the CIC immediately breaks in. Something about proximity and warnings, as Danica's pushing buttons in the opposite sequence. Her fingers go for the HVAC button before she jabs at the autopilot sequence again like its about to explode. And then ever, so casually it unlocks. Her control of the stick once again actual, she guides the Raptor away from the ship.
Tamlin looks through her tablet, as Danica's hands dance over the controls. She doesn't try to assist the pilot at all. Her own skills at piloting are rudimentary at best and thus no help at all. So, she does what any good squadron-mate would do. She trusts Danica to bring them home safely. Or at least do her best to keep them from sudden and immediate death. What she does instead, is scamper over to the floor panel that opens up to the main electrical system, ready to physically cut the power on the ship if Danica gives the word. It's a near thing, and she almost does pull the main cable, when she feels the ship come back under power, "Thank you." Because as matter of fact as this mission might have been, or at least as it was pretended to be, you'd better believe she's going to thank the woman who just saved her life.
"Motherfrakin' Zeus bangin' Hera...," Danica mutters, slumping in her harness and perhaps living up to the impetus for her callsign once more once they're guided safely away from running into Galactica like a bad impression of a pinball held hostage by the laws of astrophysics. The CIC still mid-chatter on the com link gets a reply. "Gopnik actual copies. We had a nav system problem, we're heading back to the barn, now." Danica states back, her mic open for the moment. "Someone might wanna tell Walsh to post up on the hangar deck mid-ship, we're bringing her the answer to one problem."
Danica looks over at Tamlin with a nod. "Yeah, no problem, always happy not to get sucked out into space with you," she grins, acknowledging Tamlin's 'thank you' as she steers the Raptor through one more banking turn, en route back to the ship.
Indeed. One problem solved, two more to go. But for now, being still alive and all, Tamlin will take it. "Knowing the Chief, she'll have Kallas order a couple of pilots to run this test a few times, just to be sure, but I'll make sure she doesn't put you on that detail." Least Tamlin can do to pay Danica back for her life, "And now we get to look at the systems overlap to find out how to reroute the HVAC system, just in case someone forgets, or the system fails if the HVAC loses power rather than being turned off." If she and Danica were in better shape, she might even suggest that they do that now, but sometimes you have to admit your limits. "Drinks in the berthings after hours?"
"...S'long as we can keep it off the higher radars, sure," Danica grins over at Tamlin, where drinks are concerned. Any victory worth celebrating at this moment. "And yeah, I'm guessing they'll need to run a few more confirming checks further away from Galactica about this one but at least we have some answers, now." And perhaps more questions.
"If I didn't know how to do that, they'd pull my enlisted card. Probably make me an officer for my sins." As Danica pilots the ship back to the barn, Tamlin does a final round of checks to the systems, getting a final set of readings on the system post error correction. All's well that ends well.