Chapter 6 : Checking the box

12 hours before the attacks

Peter Finch was an enlisted man from Aerilon. Not highly educated, he had joined the fleet to escape poverty and a possible criminal conviction. He was a mechanic. He followed instructions. Sometimes they were complex script sometimes not.

He walked into the maintenance shop in the morning and picked up his clipboard. The list was long. He had to hustle if he was going to finish this list by dinner time.

There were some special orders on the top of the clipboard. He was not a fast reader and he had committed important rules and procedures to memory. He flipped past the orders to his list.

 He flipped through the list again. It was computer sorted to minimize the amount of walking. Halfway through the pile he’d be near the mess hall. That was when he would break for lunch.

With a sigh he went to his first assignment of the day. A power transfer pod was burned out and needed to be replaced. Yes the part was boxed and in his toolbox. He was breathing heavily by the time he had reached wiring closet 92A.

His keys opened the door and within ninety seconds he had switched out the hotswappable part. There was a checklist. All the right lights were green. He took out a probe and measured the power flow and resistance.

No time to think. The numbers were meaningless to him. There was a printout and the numbers were good. He stood up and scanned the room. This checklist was memorized. There were four network routers in the room and they were all shut off. 

That was not right. The checklist said all network routers were supposed to be on. He flipped on the power on all four. He was supposed to wait 4 minutes and check for green lights. Dead network hardware required he fill out form. With an old style pencil and filled it out. Then he attached it to the right part of the clipboard.

Lock the closet. Look at the clipboard. Turn towards his next job.

He did not realize that he is behind his daily orders. The orders explicitly stated that all network hardware was to be left turned off into a software issue that will be resolved at a future date.

20 minutes later a program loaded into resident memory of the router. It was benign. Just run some diagnostics and talk to the next router.

What was unusual about this program was that it turn all the indicator and power lights of the router off. This program was aware of the general order concerning network hardware and most specifically designed to working stealth mode.

An hour and half later a third the network of the Battlestar Mercury was awake. The indicator lights showed power down status, but this was simply not the case. Every 15 minutes the broadcast antenna was activated and a short lightly encrypted message was sent out, toward the Cylon frontier.

It was a status report.