2238-01-21 - Tinker Gets To Work

Stirling finds one of the new pilots already hard at work, and they discuss ideas for rescuing their missing people.

Date: 2238-01-21

Location: Tarmac

Related Scenes: None

Plot: None

Scene Number: 1628

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Waiting patiently was never one of Paavo's strong points. He's on the tarmac already engaged in stripping the FSMA from one of the 30MM Thraxon MEC's on a Viper. His once clean uniform showing smudges of lubricant and grime while he's holding a flashlight in his teeth and wiggling his multi-tool back and forth. In his right hand he holds a basic portable Ohm meter and seems to be checking the exposed connections he makes or finds.

The CAP returned not too long ago, and with them was Major Stirling. The CAG's hair is mussed from her flight helmet, her face bearing a serious expression as she discusses something briefly with one of the deckhands. Then she seems to notice Paavo working and wanders over that way. "Keeping busy I see," she observes with a little smile.

"Hmmm? One moment, just need to check for a fault. If the none-gee-seven is going bad it'll spike load and that creates a point oh-two EM variation. Which might explain the LOS-to-OTH drift in this Viper's sensor suite recordings." Leaning in further the Captain seems oblivious to the fact he's being spoken to by a superior. His feet shift on the wing and intake of the Viper with a casual grace that deontes he's spent entirely too many hours doing just this type of work.

Stirling smiles and waits patiently for him to finish his task, not seeming put off that he doesn't know who's addressing him. "If it weren't for the rank pins, I'd mistake you for one of the deck crew," she says lightly.

"Well we can't let them have all the fun." Paavo replies with a chuckle. "Besides, take care of your equipment and it takes care of you. Or the next person to handle it. Since I get into these once in a blue moon." He chuckles and snaps closed his multi-tool and begins wrapping up the cords on his Ohm meter. "It's the None-gee-seven, probably Caprican low bidder factory cra.." There's a pause as he comes up for air and stows his meter away in one of the pockets on his belt. Then straitens into a, well at first he almost falls off the wing when he tries to straiten but a short hop to the deck sees him through, tight salute. Unfortunately the grease on his hand transfers to his forehead giving him a second eyebrow above the first, and a much darker one due to his facial injuries, making him look somewhat like an overly confused cartoon character.
"Sir. Appologies Sir. Was just preforming general maintence. Captain Paavo Ilmendil reporting for duty."

Stirling returns the salute with a crisp, proper motion, but there's no hiding the hint of amusement in her eyes when he dances his way off the wing and into attention. "At ease, Captain." She extends a hand, heedless of the grease. "Major Nyssa Stirling. 'Whisper' if you like. Welcome to the Wolves. I think you've set a new record for getting to work before you've even officially arrived."

"Yes Sir." Paavo says, and fails to 'at ease' at all. He extends his hand and realizes it's almost urban-camo with the patterns of oil, grease and rubber. A quick motion from his back pocket brings up some sheets of paper that he brushes the hand on and then shakes hers. His grip is firm with the common marks in it from an avid shoot as well as the odd feel of what are likely medical pins along the back of his hand. "Captain Paavo Il.. I already said that, didn't I?" He brushes his other hand against the back of his hair as he chuckes distractedly. "Thank you for the welcome Sir." He glances at the Viper and back with a slight shrug. "I have to keep my hands busy if I want to keep my callsign, Tinker, or well Tink most of the time."

Stirling waits while he cleans off his hand, then returns the handshake with a light grip. "While you've got that out, you've got a little..." She makes a vague motion near her eyebrow to indicate the smudge there, but doesn't dwell on it. "You did, yes. Ilmendil." The CAG's accent is the bland almost non-accent of urban Caprica, but the Tauron name flows off her tongue with a correct pronunciation. "Though we don't stand too much on ceremony here so I'm sure will fall into calling you Tinker - or, Tink, if you prefer - soon enough."

"Hmm? Oh." He brushes the paper against his forehead, now the eyebrow has morphed into a close aproximation of a fish. "Uh, problem with engines, friction, so they need uh.. grease .. that. uh. I'm sure you know." He makes a weak smile and then nods slowly. "I'm fairly easy going myself, whatever is fine. Used to working with colleagues rather than ranks and all that. Uh, Sir." He pauses then his eyes widen and he ohs. "Yes, papers. My record and assignment orders." He pats his uniform and then realizes the sheet's he's been using to clean with are what he's looking for. That slow dawning of horror brings up a wince. "I'll uh.. get these reprinted Sir." He finally says sheepishly.

"Sounds like you won't have any trouble adapting to here then," Stirling says. She gestures back toward the hangar. "Everyone gets on pretty well, and there's not as much of a divide between officers and enlisted as you might be used to." When he realizes that the dirty papers were his transfer orders, Stirling's eyebrows lift briefly in surprise, then she lets out a soft chuckle. "That will be fine, Captain. Have you found the barracks already, stowed your gear?"

"Excellent Sir, best to cut through that quickly. Makes getting work done easier if people aren't feeling each other out like checking a bad tooth." Paavo says, with his grease smear on his forehead and bundle of ruined papers in his right hand. Where he stands next to a partially disaseembled Viper's cannon, speaking with Stirling. "Sorry Sir." He adds weakly about his paperwork, tightening the fist on the bundle as he secrets it away behind his back. "Uh, barracks? Yes. Well, got my bag in the hall, didn't quite figure out which berth was mine yet. Want to uh, introduce myself to command and get everything settled first. Or screw it up as much as I can without blowing something up it seems, Sir."

Stirling is wearing her flight suit, her mussed hair testifying to a recent return from CAP. She waves off his apology. "Don't be sorry. Your records matter less to me than the fact that someone thought enough of you to assign you here. Barracks assignments are pretty free-form, two to a room. Since you've just arrived we'll see about finding someone to pair you up with." She offers a patient smile.

Just minutes before, a Raptor came in overhead. Not uncommon. Stirling likely recognized it; she'd recognize her own and those she flies with often. The one that Nova often flies. Sent out on SAR like so many others... and back in without any success, out of fuel. It's time to resupply and rest up. The Scorpian pilot is letting the techs go over the bird while she's raiding the ready room to get some food before going back out. It means now she's wandering with a sandwich in hand, a couple more in her pockets, and a water bottle in her other hand. She's passing not too far from the CAG and the new pilot as she meanders waiting to be ready to fly back out. If her Raptor is deemed good to go; the birds have been put under some heavy stress lately.

"Roommate? Alright." Paavo says. Soon someone is going to wake to the horror of an insomniac workaholic with hobbies like bad harmonica playing, love of solder and other foul smelling triggers at two am. "I pushed for the best Sir, to be on the front and do something. This is where I ended up, your unit has quite the reputation and I hope I can keep to that and do my job." He glances over at Nova, close movement drawing his attention then turns his eyes back towards Stirling. The fingers on his left hand starting to twitch as if plucking at an invisible string.

Stirling probably didn't see the other SAR flight returning, busy with her own post-CAP checks and whatnot. But the lack of good news over the radio didn't escape her notice. Nor does Astraea, spotted out of the corner of her eye. Stirling nods to Paavo. "Well, we're glad to have you." She lifts a hand to get Astraea's attention. "Nova. This is Tink - newly assigned. Nova's one of our best Raptor pilots." She glances to the younger woman. "Everyone make it back okay?" She assumes she would have heard otherwise, but it never hurts to check.

When she's waved in, Astraea stalls and turns; attention caught by movement, but not who initially. She finally brings Stirling and the new guy into view. The jig adjusts her trajectory and ambles over. She looks a bit sheepish when named on of the best Raptor pilots, flinching slightly. Nothing is said on it, but she lifts the water bottle in greeting before washing down her last bite. Nova looks tired, but that's not abnormal in wartime. "No enemy contact in my squad," she explains to Stirling, "but no signs of our men, either. The zone's being marked off as unlikely for future searches." She takes another nibble of sandwich and washes it down in short order. "I think we're tightening the search in other areas. There were signs of ground engagement in a few places."

"El-Tee." Paavo nods to Nova, visibly thankful not to be the target of Stirling's attention anymore. He brushes a thumb against his forehead and glances at it, realizing how much grease must be on his forehead. A quick series of thumb rubs transfers the fish into a smeary barcode. "I may end up back seat driving for you soon." The new ECO officer says to Nova. The attempt to clean his forehead causing his collection of pouches and tools to make a series of ringing noises. He grows quiet as he listens to Astraea's report, glancing from one woman to the other as he eavesdrops.

Astraea's report causes the CAG's lips to tighten into a grim line. "That's some good news at least. Ground engagements means at least someone's still alive down there." She glances back to Paavo to explain, "We did a raid deep behind the lines last week. Cylon strength was far greater than intel expected. A few squads didn't make it back, and a few of our pilots." Stirling looks solemn then. "We've been running frequent patrols over the area to look for any signs of survivors."

"I'm sure Pitbull'll appreciate the time off," Astraea notes, shaking her head slowly. She's got a bit of a 'slum' sound to her voice. Some might call it lack of education, but she'd have never made it to pilot that way. It's just upbringing. The poorer parts of Scorpia, that. She nods to Stirling, slowly. "We're narrowing the search, sir. We'll find 'em. We know places they're not, y'know? That's a good sign."

"Oh." Paavo says with a frown. "That's not a good feeling to have people out of sight in danger. Do we know what their kit is? If they've got a field FM7-G or anything with a strong EM we can test for radiation in the upper bands and waves in lower. Using the right hand propogation rule you just plot against six points on a .. uh." He clears his throat, and bites his lower lip. "Fly overs can check for signals from certain equipment. Have an idea if active gear is in the area. Enough passes gives direction, altitude and time over target gives speed and path. It's how we used to find malfunctioning drones during sighting tests when a glancing hit knocked out telemetry." He holds up his right hand and extends the index finger. "Comptrix and Locon optical sights have vestigial Wifi ability for connecting to the ORM-72 athmospheric feed to help adjust for fall off and wind." There's another pause. "Sorry, thinking outloud. Bounce the ball and see what sticks to the wall."

Stirling nods to Astraea. "You're right. We'll find them," she says resolutely. She listens attentively to Paavo talking about the tech stuff, even if some of it sails over her head. "Good ideas, Tink. Anywhere else that would probably work, but the Cylons have built a pretty impressive jamming net over that entire area. It's been keeping us from making contact on their field radios, and the interference floods the more passive sensors. We've fallen back to more low-tech methods. Our marines know to use flares, fires, markings, et-cetera. And we use the recon flights, as Nova mentioned, to look for signs of ground engagements to narrow the search."

While Nova gets some of what Paavo is saying, a lot of it goes over her head, too. She blinks a few times, but ultimately points with the last bit of her sandwich before eating it at what Stirling says. "Jamming's the issue," she finally quips, swallowing. "Whatever you put out there, the chances of picking up the signal are slim to none. Even in the air, we're communicating through lights and all." Their backup methods. "So it's just through visuals, maps, and hoping we see flares or something one day." She gives a small shrug, looking over to the CAG. "Shame Razor and I never got our studies of Edson out to... rescue methods. Just preventative."

"What about our own fire?" Paavo drifts his thumb back towards the Viper he was working on earlier. "It's plasma, which is atomic clouds of electrons but it's still like gas. We can jerry-rig a vent that would channel some down over a oxidizer." He holds up some fingers in turn as he lists. "Iron, Copper, Zinc, so on." Then makes a cutting pass motion. "Plasma super heats material makes smoke as the material burns away it hangs in the air as a dark cloud until it seperates and falls. Close the vent, smoke stops. Cylons would see it as well but you could make something that might not mean anything to them? Be visible in the sky over head for a bit. Instead of looking for them, make it so they can see your message by just looking up." He shrugs. "Be even easier in a Raptor, replace ordinance with a canister of colored gas. Like the old time air shows with the rainbow trails." He nods towards Nova and raises his right hand to point a finger at her. "Exactly, like lights we can leave shapes or designs in the sky. By adjusting particle weight and cohesiveness we can balance it against wind velocity and moisture. Short term, long term sky writing that could direct the unit to do certain things or respond at a specific time. Only trick is figuring out what they'd know and making a big enough or frequent enough sky scene that'd be visible over a large area."

Stirling bobs her head in agreement with Astraea, then clarifies to Paavo. "Short-range comms work for in-flight, but the jamming makes things dicey when you're any distance away." She shifts her attention to listen to Paavo. "It's pretty easy for them to see us flying overhead if we're in the right area. The issue is more us seeing them, or them signaling us safely without drawing Cylon attention before we can get to them. Or us even being able to get to them, with as many SAM batteries and air patrols as they have in that region. If you want to pitch some ideas for some different kinds of visual signaling, by all means work something up."

Chewing on her lip, Astraea fiddles with the cap for her water bottle. She twists it into place before shoving it into the thigh pocket on her flight suit. "If we could get a message down to them... maybe. I think it's a two parter, maybe?" She looks between the two of them. "Figure out what sorta message they could send to us and then how to let 'em know, right? Maybe drop off care packages in key zones. Supplies, plus the intel." The woman rocks back on her heels with a shrug. "But I dunno what they could do. Other than flares and us looking for 'em. But it's still risky all 'round."

"Yes Sir." Paavo says, shifting on his feet. "I may be able to do something for the downward facing camera. Standard camo is a mathmatical progresion dependant on colony of manufacture. That way it can be churned out by machine cheap and easy to meet requisition bids. Building a targeting system to sift environment, locate the patern and aim at it was the next stage of the Ephiras Robotic Eye project. The ERE-eye would have made.." He pauses and purses his lips growing quiet as he realizes what he just said. A mix of shame and pain on his features. "I'll uh, get on that Sir, if I'm relieved to get on with things, still have to get this part requisitioned before someone blows a fuse I left it opened up like this." He juts his thumb at the Viper he was working on earlier. He pauses listening to Nova and clucking his tongue he clears his throat. "If you said light works for distance communication that could be a method if we could get them a care package. It's relatively easy to do point to point communication down a single laser beam, even at distance. You can only tap it by being inbetween the beam and the targets. Which is noticeable because then one side isn't getting the message anymore. You could put a tight beam projector in your care package then all they need to do is aim it up at the right point. With some general modifcations an orbital unit could pick it up even."

Stirling nods once more to Astraea, "That's the rub, indeed. We can drop care packages, but the Cylons are bound to notice and set up a trap if we don't get them into the right area. It's worth exploring, but there are more than a few obstacles." She gives Paavo a patient smile as he starts going on about technical details. "I appreciate your enthusiasm, Tink. Let me know what you come up with." With a glance between the two of them, she says, "If you'll excuse me, I need to report in to the Colonal. Tink, I'll get you a bunk assignment asap, though you're free to just pick one if you find an opening."

"All a matter of what the brass-" a brief glance at Stirling and sort of a smirk, "wants in the end." Astraea pulls out another sandwich from anothre pocket, beginning to unwrap it. "I'd better see if they're ready to ship me back out." She takes another bite, lifting a hand to wave to Paavo. "Welcome the team."

"Yes Sir." Paavo says, giving Stirling a quick salute. Then he nods towards Astraea with a weak smile. "Thank you, good to be here." He steps back from the conversation then and pulls a well worn black leather case from his pocket and opens it to show a few stubby pencils and writing paper with numbers and designs on it. Then vanishes into the realm of the engineer and his doodle-notes.


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