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OOC Date: April 25, 2011
IC Date: February 6, 2128

The alien database retrieved from the derelict Parasite ship is finally cracked. Commander Eisley goes to Engineering to review some of its contents, and discusses what is learned with Monoko and Illyanna.

Lower Engineering - Deck One

A massive, two-deck chamber full of machinery, tubes, hoses, pipes and cables along with more lights than might be entirely healthy. The lower half of engineering is home to the weapons systems, backup energy generators and all of the ammunition for the ship's defenses, including 100 high yield nuclear warheads encased in torpedoes.

In addition to being bright, it also quite loud in here. The engineering crew are almost always seen wearing headsets that dampen the sound and protect their hearing, along with safety goggles that look more like designer sunglasses from back on earth than the old, traditional goggles of days gone by. Ladders abound, giving access to all parts of engineering, but the main ladder at the center of the room leads up to upper engineering, the heart of the ship's energy core, propulsion engines and all of the ship's systems.

Mono turns the com unit back off after calling for Eisley, smirking faintly at Illyanna's joke. "I doubt Parasite porn could be any worse than Japanese hentai. I've probably seen everything by now. Nothing can shock me." She watches the database continue to unravel, entire directories switching from alien symbols to English letters like a stack of dominos falling down. "And porn would at least give us something to watch while we wait for the rest to decode."

Illyanna peers wide-eyed at her own monitor as codes roll down the screen. Parasite porn? Forgotten! "I love you, Rosetta." She gushes as the frantic typing resumes. "Saving decoded results to secured file sectors…." Once that's done, Illyanna stares back at the screen, bringing up a bunch of different vidscreens on her monitor, as file directories begin appearing left and right. It takes a geek to understand the euphoria Illyanna's having. It's like a mental orgasm!

It will be a few minutes before Commander Eisley comes into the lower section of the engineering core: not long, mind, but even with no traffic it takes a bit of time to move between decks. She might possibly even be in a hurry; long strides eat up the floor, adding something brisk to her approach, but keeping it shy of the force of an oncoming storm. This long lines of symbols flowing across many screens draws her to a halt a couple of paces away, and at that distance she clears her throat. "You can read that now?"

"A lot of this isn't going to translate very well," Monoko points out to Eisley when she enters, lips curling with a small frown. "If we don't have a word for it, there isn't much even Illyanna's software can do. The best we can do is take what matches up and run with it. The rest, we'll have to fill in the blanks with guesses." She reaches over and takes a sip of her coffee - iced, naturally - and snorts faintly. "It'll be like alien madlibs. But yeah, we can read some of it, now. Where do you want to start?"

"We can always fill in the undecipherable words with *Bleep*." Illyanna muses, finally looking away from her monitor to peer in Monoko and now Eisley's direction. "If there is a cunning linguist on board, they can try to piece together the missing words, but that'll take a while cuz they'll have to go through the translated text and… well, you know."

"Sullivan can work on it," Eisley is sure. She comes a few steps closer, but perhaps she is wary of those scrolling symbols. They hold her attention anyway; that steady, stark stare locks on one monitor in particular, giving over to dubious interest at the seemingly endless spill of information. "Sadly, at the moment we do not have the luxury of time to wait for a full translation, or for quibbling over nuances of dialect, idiom, or innuendo. So. Can you answer the million dollar question? What do they want?"

"I can send all of this to Sully as soon as it's finished," Monoko offers on the heels of Illyanna's suggestion. "But she's right, it's going to take some time. More than we have. We'll have to use what we've got here for now, as far as prepping the delegation." She nods when Eisley is on the same page. "That might be a difficult question to answer, but I have an idea on where to start. Illyanna, can you bring up their most recent transmissions back home before they were attacked?"

Illyanna nods and turns back to her keyboard. "Transmission logs…" She murmurs as the search begins. Even though the alien numerals may be different from human ones, all it takes is to go from top to bottom to find the right one… or ones. "Got a batch of them here. I'm going to assume it's the latest ones." She reaches over to tap a side screen. "Natasha, run highlighted files with active Rosetta translation with Decode-WIP, and playback in audio. Neutral male, please."

For this, now, the XO goes silent. Her hands fold behind her, position settling into neutral parade rest, jaw set with tremendously tightly contained focus.

The display that Monoko Works at brings up a number of messages sent by the aliens in the days before the Devourer killed them all. She begins to rifle through them.

The neutral male tone begins. "The _ remains uncooperative. It took a great deal of trial and error just to capture the one live _ we have. Once the _ realized that we could _ them without killing them, they began to mass suicide. They will not let themselves be taken alive. Word must have spread quickly, as they now kill themselves as soon as they see us with our _. If we lose this one, it will be difficult to secure another."

Illyanna sits up and listens, but she visibly winces at one of the main missing words: they could do what without killing? Gah! "I hope they didn't mean 'impregnate'." She mutters to herself. "Otherwise I hate to find out what it is they see that'll make them kill themselves." Pity the folks chosen for the delegation.

"…alien madlibs indeed," observes Eisley dryly. She is close enough to overhear the muttering, and this brings out a smirk, or at least the barest hint of one: one corner of her mouth twists, just so. Still, however, she reserves other comments, watching the screen and listening instead.

Monoko remains silent as she listens.

"Next message: I find it as _ as the rest of you to even think of _ with these _. The _ are our natural _. These _ would have to be forced into it. Still, our _ are fragile, we need stronger _ if we are to win the war, and these _ are our ideal soldier _."

Illyanna shakes her head as the playback continues. "Natasha, replace missing Rosetta translation, index…." She pauses to peer at her monitor. "…index 2300723 with word 'Host', and index 2300659 with the word 'Devourer'." Clearly, some things can be worked out along the way.

Eisley likewise goes silent now, content simply to listen. When supposed clarification is indexed into the translations she lifts an eyebrow, but finds no reason to object to the selection of word choices just yet.

"Replaying messages: The Devourer remains uncooperative. It took a great deal of trial and error just to capture the one live Devourer we have. Once the Devourers realized that we could _ them without killing them, they began to mass suicide. They will not let themselves be taken alive. Word must have spread quickly, as they now kill themselves as soon as they see us with our _. If we lose this one, it will be difficult to secure another."

"I find it as _ as the rest of you to even think of _ with these Devourers. The _ are our natural Hosts. These Devourers would have to be forced into it. Still, our Hosts are fragile, we need stronger Hosts if we are to win the war, and these Devourers are our ideal soldier Hosts."

Monoko continues to listen in silence, a thoughtful expression upon her face.

Illyanna is also quiet, for a change, listening to the messages now that they are clearer. Still, it's clear what she hears doesn't give her warm, fuzzy feelings.

Clarification doesn't seem to surprise Eisley very much, though it doesn't seem to make her any happier about the situation. She is also quiet, waiting and watchful, thoughts about the transmissions withheld for the time being.

"Last message: The Devourer has at last agreed to undergo _. I'm concerned, however, that it may be a trick. We will perform the _ soon, and report to you the results."

"End of recent messages."

"Well," Monoko offers with a slightly arched brow, "I am starting to doubt that they're going to just jump right on our heads. They seemed reluctant to force it on a Devourer, which they have described as their ideal soldiers."

Illyanna frowns at the last message. "Guess they had their answer." She notes morbidly as she leans back in her chair. "What did it mean, to win the war?" She turns to the other women. "These guys are fighting something else out here? That… can't be good."

"And yet, it sounds as if they were not wholly opposed to the idea if it was necessary. And yes, that bit about being at war with something is a trifle disturbing, but not -yet- our concern." It might be item #3 or possibly #4 on the list of Tomorrow Problems. The Commander straightens, one hand rising to rub between her eyes as if a headache had finally hit her. "So they attempted to meld with the Devourer, and it was smart enough to trick them into getting loose, at which point it fulfilled its goal of mutual destruction. Hm."

"I'm no cultural anthropologist," Monoko states with a slight shrug, "But it seems to me that they were waiting for the Devourer to give them permission before doing what ever it is they do. They also seemed to not like the idea of doing it, at all. I'm guessing from what they said that their regular host is their preferred one, and may even have some kind of cultural or religious significance or connection to them, and this whole idea of latching onto other species is only something they are considering out of necessity. None of that means that they won't find a suitable replacement, especially with one hundred thousand of us just waiting to be thawed out and plugged into. But it gives us some idea that they're more civilized and have certain procedures they like to follow than we originally thought."

Adam announces throughout the ship, "Three additional Parasite vessels are now in proximity. Two are the same size and type as the original two. The third is much larger, and would appear to be the Flagship mentioned in the broadcast. Initial scans indicate no weapon or shield activity."

Illyanna seems content to listen to the discussion at the moment, but soon she's turned back to her workstation to continue monitoring the progress of the translations. She stops working when Adam comes up and makes that announcement, eyes peering at the overhead speakers thoughtfully. "And… I'm SO glad we JUST established these guys are more civilized."

Adam's interruption - and Dominic's query over the com - merits a little pause from the Commander; she lifts her right hand to respond to him, then frowns once more at the streaming columns of letters and symbols. "We had already deduced that they were intelligent and highly advanced; these things tend to require -some- form of civilization, though not always in the forms that we recognize. With this new information it is possible that their relationship is more symbiotic than parasitic." Her left hand rubs her right wrist, around the bracelet. "They were not above capturing a Devourer and attempting to persuade it to undergo this process. It might have been distasteful. It might have been necessary. I suppose, then, in a few hours that we will discover just how persuasive they really are."

Monoko looks up when Adam makes his announcement, then smirks faintly at Illyanna's observation. Eisley gets a nod. "If they want to try to talk us into joining them like that, yeah. We don't really know WHAT they want yet. I do have a theory about them and the Snails, though. We know that the Snails sent through one manned vessel, and that it never came back or made contact again. I'm thinking these guys found it, and learned about the Devourers through them. That brought them to our galaxy, looking for these perfect soldiers to host them."

Ivan arrives with food items. Pretty brave him, really, cause Mono ought to have a no food or beverage rule here in her engineering area. You can't go leaving crumbs in the hyper-engine or putting your greasy fingers on pristine panels and gumming up the buttons of all the cool tech things here. "Dinner." He announces as he holds his tray out towards Illyanna. See? That's some thoughtfulness right there. Looking out for his sister and everything. "Ma'ams." He'll greet, and nod - and would salute if his hands weren't otherwise occupied. Any thoughts he has on aliens and that stuff, well, he buries them behind a blank look, the perfect soldier look.

What a thoughtful gesture. Eisley quirks an eyebrow at the Marine and his tray full of foodstuffs, but after a second of reflection nods at him. This might almost be approval of his gesture, though she probably lacks the power to forgive him for the potential of getting mayo between the keys. "Lance Corporal Shevchenko," she greets. Her stomach growls a greeting of its own, but is promptly ignored in favor of more pressing matters. "That could explain the Snail host aboard the ship that we found, yes. Can you dig through the records and find out if that was in fact their first foray into our spiral?"

Monoko has an iced coffee at her station, putting the lie to the idea she has a no beverage rule. She looks over when Ivan makes his presence known, inclining her chin slightly in greeting to the Marine and brother of her friend. Her attention, however, quickly shifts back to Eisley. "I can look for confirmation, but I'm pretty certain that it was. They didn't have much of our galaxy mapped out yet, based on the star maps we got from their systems. I'll double check, though."

The tray gets placed carefully near Illyanna so she can dig in to the totally nutritious stuff Ivan's put on there. Beets? Hell yes. The rest of his menu selections make it clear he's got an iron stomach accustomed to army 'cuisine' and must expect his poor sister to have the same. There is however, two cups of coffee. He offers that spare one to Eisley with a gesture, since Monoko already has one on the go.

Illyanna digs in! Coffee to wash down beets? She's totally there. Her gaze doesn't leave her screens for long, as new streams of directories pop up left and right, and she's clearly loathed to miss anything.

Coffee makes an exceptionally good offering for XOs. Eisley takes the cup that is offered and nods to Ivan again by way of thanks, but she is largely preoccupied, still, with those screens of meaningless stuff. "I suppose it does not matter. They have our database, and evidently had no trouble spilling it open to take what they needed." This brings her to a different - but related - matter. "Did we have any success pulling anything off of the ships parked yonder?"

Mono makes a so-so sort of expression and turns back to the display, bringing up more information. "I've got a basic breakdown of the ship as far as floor plan, though I couldn't tell you exactly where every door is, or which ones would be locked. I couldn't even really tell you what each room is for. I have an idea of where their engineering section is, as well as where they probably live out of, but the rest is pretty much a mystery. Adam detects close to five hundred life forms per ship, at least on the two that we've been scanning, which would mean that they have a crew of about two hundred and fifty parasite and host pairings on each ship. Ship is about three corps of the size of Genesis, and by the looks of it that new one, believed to be the flagship, is about one and a half times our size."

Ivan squints at all the stuff on the screen, totally deciphering it all. Or, maybe being hypnotized by the moving symbols. It's probably more the latter, unless the xeno-linguistics training he took wasn't recorded in his files or he's a savant.

"Uhm rumn ree ood…" Illyanna turns back to Eisley and Mono, but her words come out a muffled mess thanks to the meal Ivan brought. Hurriedly she chews and swallows, so that she can speak properly. "Just a thought, we should probably give these guys a different name than 'parasite'. I mean, they have our database, so if we can translate their language, I'm betting they can do the same to ours, and I dunno, 'parasite' isn't something you want to call someone you just met." She offers with a shrug.

"Brain crab probably is not more diplomatic, either, is it." This is not a question. Eisley lifts her cup to sip from, savoring the taste. In space, any coffee you can get is good coffee, so. "Perhaps we should refer to them as symbiotes, then, until we can fine-tune our definition of their existence." The token Marine on the deck gets a glance. "At least in all written communications." Then? "Hmm." This last sound is very thoughtful, but unfocused, unfixed. Whatever thought provokes it is not shared, just yet, unless it has to do with her next question. "Is there any way for us to monitor their communications?"

Monoko snorts. "Too late for that," she tells Illyanna. "If they have our database, they already know that we have them tentatively titled as parasites. I'm willing to bet that, since they haven't told us anything about themselves yet, or even what to call them, they'll understand the accurate if not entirely flattering descriptor. But yeah, I wouldn't go calling them that to their faces. If they have faces?" She looks back to Eisley and shakes her head. "It seems they use the black boxes for all of their communications, and since we just barely figured out how to use the one we have, hacking into theirs and spying on their conversations isn't exactly feasible. Even if we could, I don't know that we would understand a word they say. We're just now figuring out how to read their written language. We don't even know if they talk, or what they sound like if they do."

"Skull humpers." Ivan says like he's just decided that's what he's going to call them regardless, and hopefully for everyone: unofficially, off the record and out of earshot of said skull humpers. Sloooowly, he tips his head as if something on the screen has made sense to him, but only when viewed askew.

It is Ivan's idle comment that draws Illyanna's attention. "And /that/ is why you are not a diplomat." She deadpans, before slowly reaching for Ivan's tilted head and pushing him out of the way. "Sorry, it's not in Cyrillic." As soon as she said that, Illyanna narrows her eyes thoughtfully…

Eisley nods, unsurprised. "I supposed that was too much to hope for, though even this helps us be not totally unprepared for this meeting. If the vessel we found was purely a scientific probe, then it may not contain much in the way of useful personal information, and not in time for it to be of value aboard the alien ship." Her fingertips tap out a thoughtful rhythm against the side of the cup, maybe giving a beat to her wandering consideration, maybe just echoing her heartbeat. Even so… "Well. I am glad that you managed to crack this much. This puts us several steps ahead of where we were to begin with."

Monoko glances sidelong, eyeing Ivan with a curious and vaguely amused expression as he begins to tilt. "Maybe it's like those abstract paintings, the kind where you have to unfocus your eyes and look at it just right to see the hidden picture. Hidden Indians, I think they used to call them." She considers the Ukrainian man thoughtfully for a moment, glancing briefly to Illyanna and back. Eisley's words snap her back around to the business at hand. "I'll let you know if we find anything else, Commander. I have a few other ideas for places to look to find useful information in their database."

Ivan steps aside as he's pushed, pretending to reel just a little. That Illyanna is stronger than she looks. It does throw his squinting off though, and if he was close to spotting the hidden image, he loses it then. "You would be amazed the insights I have had staring at things." He says offhand to Mono, smiling only a little tiny bit. Of course, he doesn't elaborate further and keep the officers from talking business.

Illyanna rolls her eyes at Ivan's alleged code-breaking stares, but does reach for her coffee again for another long sip - it's been another 14 straight hours of work! "Insights on how to make them explodey." She points out helpfully, then glances over at Eisley and Monoko. "I haven't seen their weapons or defense files yet, but I'm sure they're in here somewhere. /Then/ we'll have some real fun."

"Corporal Delane has already suggested liberal use of explosive decompression," provides the XO with stoic sobriety. "I will have to meet with the Captain in a few hours for marching orders. Anything else you can glean from these files in that time would be greatly appreciated." Eisley lifts her cup at the lot of them in a kind of salute. "Good work, both of you."

"Thanks, sir," Monoko offers in reply before turning back to her work and beginning the process of digging for further information.

Explosive decompression, eh? Now that's something Ivan can think on and pontificate about, that must at least spark the question, "Do you know what materials they have constructed their ships from? It is good to know the tensile strength and melting points of these things…" For purely, um, not explodey reasons.

"Ma'am." Illyanna gives Eisley a salute. She's clearly still hasn't gotten used to the idea of calling a female officer 'sir', so 'ma'am' is it. Ivan's question brings her attention back to the brother, but she's clearly not the engineer. "It's some kind of weird biological shell. I'm not sure we took enough readings on its exact construction, but you'll have to check with the engineers." Pausing, she turns to Eisley. "So, ma'am, has the captain decided who's going to be the vic… on the delegation?"

Eisley responds equally well to both 'sir' and 'ma'am' and so far has given no indication as to preference. That is a good question for engineering, not for her offices, and so she glances at Monoko before shaking her head. "A final delegation party has not been settled on; it is one of the things that he and I will have to discuss. Ideally we will have members of both our science and technical teams along, but no volunteers have been chosen yet."

"You might want to send robots. Because of the.." Ivan suggests before reaching up and grabbing the back of his head like that hand of his is a parasite. Yeah, kinda like that. But, given that it's not really his place to say, that's all he does say. Besides, he's got to take a moment and think about what works good on biological shells.

Note that Illyanna has not volunteered for the delegation; she's a computer wiz, and is entirely content to deal with aliens on remote access rather than face-to-face. And she clearly wants to keep it that way, so the girl merely nods to Eisley's words, instead of bringing attention to herself as a potential candidate. "Try to, uh, pick the polite guys." She offers. "Some of the folks here you won't even want to bring to meet your parents, let alone an alien species."

Also note that Eisley didn't say they were accepting volunteers but rather that they were choosing them. It's the military's way of picking people most of the time, it would seem. "Noted," says she, "and… noted." Mono probably falls into that latter category, huh. "I do plan to keep the Genesis off the menu, even for possibly-benevolent alien face spiders. Remember that in this case above all information is power; the more we know about them going in, the better off we will be. I know you have worked hard on this for days, but you're nearly done. If you find anything else of interest, please forward it up to me."

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