During the fall of CNAB //Thalis// on Caprica, Beckham Niles and Tamlin Dorn have a missed connection in the not quite intersecting vectors of their lives, pre //Galactica//.
Location: CNAB //Thalis//
Related Scenes: None
Scene Number: 554
If early November at CNAB Thalis was any indication, the winter of 2235 was going to be bitterly cold on Caprica. Already, there was early frost on the windshields and plants. The cold evening had kept most people indoors, as weekend leave had begun at the airbase. However, at 0200 in the morning, the air raid sirens started to wail in time. There was a few complaints about it being too early for a drill, that was before the first airfield of alert Vipers went up in a wall of explosions as Heavy Raiders, laden with Centurions landed and disgorged their troops, looking to make a quick strike of the base to secure it.
Throughout the morning, the beleaguered personnel of the base knew they were under a siege, with the Colonials dropping off more troops, the decision was being made to evacuate the base, the few hangars that had not been hit yet holding vehicles that were under repair being prioritized to find some transport.
A last push to retake the base came at sunup, with Marines arriving en-mass by Raptor and more antiquated transport, everything being thrown at the Cylon forces to try to drive them back as even reverse sweep R-18 Atmospheric Vipers are engaging the Raiders in the sky, contrails of white intersected with puffs of black where a craft was destroyed, a temporary grave marker to a pilot.
The Marine landing had nearly been disastrous, only half of the forces roughly making it out before the rest of the force was pushed back by a Cylon counter-offensive.
Having landed with the first Marines, Lance Corporal Beckham Niles was with the rest of his small squad, led by a Staff Sergeant as they had set up a temporary encampment for the wounded as the remains of the base food court. The steady firing of a vehicle mounted machine gun was providing protection to the small unit, even as radio chatter was going back and forth from the mall to the fortified hangars that were being prepared as an evacuation point.
Petty Officer Second Class Tamlin Dorn should have known the silence and the peace was too good to be true. The word had come down, that the cylons were being held back, the CNAB Thalis was set to be the new rallying point for the Caprican forces fighting to put down the machine invasion. Not that it was much of an invasion, here, in the colony that gave birth to the cylons, the machine race had been here from the beginning. Which had made the uprising both more brutal and more difficult to repel. The pace, in the last week had been relentless, as ships and personnel were brought in, patched up, sent out in the hopes that a new offensive push was about to turn the tide of the ground war.
And then the sound of the warning klaxons, as if the sound of explosions, the screams of the dying, the sound of metal feet touching down on hard asphalt, the rapid fire of machine guns (their own guns) would leave any doubt that the fall of Thalis had begun. All on hand personnel had been scrambled, but the cylons chose their targets well, the air field first, eliminating the only path to escape from the island base, the out building and officer's barracks next; cutting off the head of the snake. Trapping the last platoons of Marines brought in the defend the base, trapping the few remaining fight able, pilots included, trapping all of the support personnel, including the deck crew, now tasked with the impossible task of trying to bring old, out of service, and in need of major overhaul birds back on the line.
And so, no sleep for the wicked, as the PO tucks herself beneath the wing of an old celestial class raptor, one of the first off of the line, dressed only in her coveralls and helmet, using the frame of the ship to shield her from the bitter cold as she works.
At the food court, the word comes down the pipe quickly. CNAB Thalis is a loss, all personnel are being evacuated. The truck that was firing is being made into a makeshift ambulance to pile in the remaining wounded that are still unable to move to get them out. Carrying a stretcher to the back of the truck, Beckham strips off his blood covered gloves and glances down at his uniform. He had only seen actual combat action for a few minutes, before he, like most of the remaining medics, nurses, and a lone doctor had become the makeshift surgical unit.
Grabbing his rifle, the truck sits at the edge of the loading area, as the Marines deploy, laying down a withering cover fire from their rifles to give the truck cover to head towards the hangar row. Once it is past them, the Marines break ranks to start their own retreat, Beckham sweeps his rifle along, firing a few shots into one of the Cylons on the path as he veers off to clear out one of the administrative buildings to make sure noone's been missed.
The truck itself makes a mad dash across the airfield, taking several rounds into the side of it before arriving at the hangars as the Chief Petty Officer pulls the doors open. "I need volunteers to stay with me to get the last Raptor out of here ready. The Centurions have overrun the last points of resistance, the remaining Marines are withdrawing to us!" she calls out as she directs the truck to start unloading the wounded into one of the few remaining Raptors. "Capirca Air has informed us there will be one more fire mission to spring us, but after that, if we're not out of here, we're going to be here for a while." And captured is left unsaid. "Do I have any volunteers for the last bird out?"
The Chief might be asking for volunteers, but there are no volunteers among her deck crew. The deck doesn't get a choice. They stay until the marines are gone, until the base personnel are gone, until everyone who can be evacuated has been evacuated. They have to. If the deck leaves, there too will go any chance that a ship needing repair will make it off of the base. They'll work until the end, standing to their duty until the last loaded raptor is away. Only then will they abandon their stations.
Tamlin Dorn slides out from beneath the raptor, gloved fist banging against the side to indicate that she's as finished with the repairs as she ever will be. No time to test, they will just need to trust to her skill, and the luck of the gods, such as it still exists. Tamlin jerks to the side, narrowly avoiding the incoming truck, already well past it as it starts to unload its wounded and the marines charged with their care. The crew charged with directing the flight line indicate the raptor, and yell for the Marines to begin loading up.
The CPO is staying as well, her brunette hair pulled into a ponytail as she comes by to help Tamlin up. "Good work, Dorn. One more to go. Make sure the crew's got the demolition charges set up. We may be losing this, but we're going to make sure the damn canners don't get to use it." she says grimly as she heads towards the fuel carriage to move it to start filling up the last transport craft off of the Island by air.
Outside, the firefight is slackening - not because of any sign of surrender; there just as not many Marines left to return fire. Beckham comes out of the backside of the administration building, rifle raised in a sweeping motion as he continues on the path towards the hangars. There's only a few pauses by a fallen member of the base personnel or a Marine to check. None are found to be alive as he moves along the ground.
The hangars are still over a half mile away as he tries not to fire to attract attention to his position. Now is the time to survive and fight another day. The Marine keeps his rifle to aim forward as he keeps close to the building and within the shadows.
"I'd feel better about that if I wasn't trying to keep these ships flying with duct tape and my good looks, Chief!" It isn't that Tamlin isn't grateful for the encouragement, it's just that it seems every time they're sure they've gotten everyone, someone else shows up and something else needs to be pulled out of their collective hats. A grin, as she hops up on one of the wings to start clambering up onto the top of the raptor, "Although, to be fair, Chief...I am damned good looking." Tamlin scrambles up onto the top of the raptor, pulling up one of the access panels to start getting to work.
The final wave is, hopefully coming in...at least the last that still has a chance of getting off the island. Anyone left behind now will be swimming to their freedom, if they even make ti as far as the shore.
Plans for a naval withdraw had already been considered and scrapped. It was too dangerous to try to get in a ship - the burning wreckage of a destroyer in the harbor was proof of that, the ship half buried in the muck, twisted wreckage blocking the dock area. As the last Marines that got the message to withdraw come straggling in, Niles arrives with a wounded pilot in a fireman's carry, his rifle discarded in return to carry the wounded personnel. As he arrives in the hangar area, he looks around for someone to guide him to where he can go - his uniform is splattered with blood, and soaked through in areas from where he'd been trying to put people back together most of the night.
"Which way?!" he finally calls out to the first orange jumpsuit he sees, standing up on one of the Raptors, the body he's carrying obscuring his face for the time being as he waits for direction.
Tamlin tugs up the panel, reaching down into the body of the raptor, pulling out tubing seemingly willy nilly, unplugging this connector and reconnecting that all while trying not to do like the old children's game where you touch the side of the patient's body and get a shock. Any shock now, will come with a Tylium explosion chaser. The flight suit gets her attention though, out of the corner of her eye, not least because it's got a Marine attached to it at a completely odd angle. That she can parse. His voice, or anything besides the basics...namely Marine, male, medic are lost in the noise of the bombing and the whistle of the wind around her. It's a good job being able to read body language is a trained skill, because she waves him off towards the raptor just down the way, where it looks as though the last of the wounded and the marines that brought them in are being loaded.
"Thanks!" Called up to the pretty girl who really he can only see a shapely rump of while she's within the Raptor, Beckham doesn't have time to admire or flirt as he moves to carry the wounded pilot to the next to the last evacuation Raptor. Beckham was preparing to go out again when the Chief Petty Officer, handing the loading, stops him. "Sorry Corporal, no weapon, you're a medic, you're needed on here!" she shouts at him as he looks towards the remaining Raptor. "What about that one?" he calls back.
"That's mine and Deck's ride. You did your best, soldier, now get out of here!"
Beckham frowns, turning to watch the remaining crew work on the last Raptor after the last soldiers are loaded and the Chief calls out. "Cycle it up!" And with that, she's moving to close the door.
Moving to one of the windows to watch outside, Beckham is determined to make sure that last flight gets out as well. Leaving anyone behind at this point feels like a personal loss.
Tamlin finally manages to extricate herself from the top of the raptor, slamming the panel back into place and securing it as she catches sight of the Chief battening down the hatch of the last troop transport. She begins to slide her way back down to the ground, the rest of the remaining deck crew already scrambling to get to the last ship out. Tamlin, however, will remain where she is, having made it as far as the raptor's wing, eyes turned skyward to the ship even now rising from the tarmac and beginning the rocky road to, with luck, clear skies and room enough to jump to safety. She'll stay that way, focus drawn to the quickly dwindling speck without knowing precisely why, until the Chief's shrill cry wakes her from her stupor, and she'll rush past the deck crew now running to catch the last ride out, doing her final duty, a final check of the demolitions work that will both serve as a screen to cover their escape, and potentially take out a few of the enemy when the last of the fuel and ordinance blows. The hatch is already starting to close, by the time Tamlin dashes back to the raptor, making it inside only through the judicious application of hands on coveralls, as the crew within drag her through to the cabin proper, and the raptor aways.
As the Raptors are leaving, Beckham finds the figure in the orange jumpsuit again. His eyes follow her, concerned really that she makes it out as well. That is until he sees -- no, there's no way that she would be here. She's safely back at the Dorn mansion. Surely Morten had some grand plan to keep his family safe and there would be no reason for the woman he loves with all of his heart to be here, now, ripping his heart out of his chest once again with calloused ease as he presses closer to the window, trying to get a better look.
His eyes have to be playing tricks on him. Battle fatigue, maybe. She wouldn't be caught dead in orange, after all. Rubbing at his eyes, he sinks against the seat on his knees, cursing the gods for putting the idea in his head that Tamlin, of all people, would be here, in the midst of this massacre. Perhaps it was their way of telling him he would be dead soon, and she will be his guide to Hades.
Those thoughts would not get answers as the orange figure quickly becomes a rapidly vanishing dot as the Raptor races away from the station.