The marines make a return trip to the ski resort to look for more survivors.
Location: Zhota Mountains - Tauron - Atray Province
Related Scenes: None
Plot: Operation: Bullhorn
Scene Number: 708
After de-briefing the civilians rescued from the ski resort a few hours ago, it was determined that there might actually be other survivors in hiding there. The powers that be decided to mount a SAR mission to go and find out. There are actually two flights going out this time, each with 4 Vipers and 2 Raptors. One is set to scout the north face of the mountain - some cottages not too far from where the survivors were rescued. The other flight is bound for the main complex at the bottom of the mountain. Jacob's squad (with a few personnel shifts) has been tasked with checking out the dwellings on the north face. This time, at least, they had enough prep time to secure some arctic gear.
Right back down and right back into it. Honestly, if some one were to ask Jacob his opinion on that, he'd go right back down groundside. And this time, they got the proper gear for it. With barely enough time to get out of the Raptor before it moves off to stay out of sight until they've found the survivors. The squad is smaller than the last, making this seem more like an actual recon than an assualt. Artic gear, night/thermal goggles and other such fear, they down on pillowy snow. "Alright. We go in pairs. Barkley and Martinez, check out the two off tot he right. Ridley and Ibnez, the pair on the left. Rhodes and I will take the center ones. Do not engage any Cylons unless you're seen first. Radio silence unless we find survivors. You got your goggles for finding heat signitures, use them. Stay to the treelines, don't catch yourself out in the open Got it? Move out." Cate gets a glance at before, moving into the trees, making that recon part of his job live up to the name.
At least she's warmer this time around, with insulated pants and a proper coat and gloves. Cate is from a rather temperate part of Hibernia, so this thick snow thing is pretty new to her. She gives Jacob a look when he announces the teams, but doesn't comment upon it. Not aloud anyway. The mild frown is kind of a comment unto itself. But she falls in behind him, ducking down as the Raptor lifts off to search from the air. She's not as sneaky as he is, but she's no newbie either, keeping up with him and moving pretty quietly.
The other marines nod and move off.
It should be noted that down the slope near the lower slope (where the other marine squad is going) the air wing is strafing and firing some missiles at Centurions on the ground. So while they still don't want to make themselves targets, it's not like the Cylons aren't going to know that someone is knocking on their door.
Mild shades of the wedding, with Jacob moves. With combination of the arctic camo and the fact that he's intentionally using the long, growing shadows from the numerous trees. And these others are doing much the same, considering most of these guys are recon as well. He only manages a partial look over his shoulder for Cate, sweeping his white-camo'd rifle past her, making sure there's nothing creeping up behind her before moving forward to the first building. There's pause, perhaps looking in the direction towards the action down below. There's a momentary thought that hopefully that will do more to distract the Cylons and won't think about the recon team up here. Kneeling down next to the wall of the first cottage, he looks at Cate, giving her a series of hand signs. 'Take the back door. I'll take the front'. Message sent he creeps alongside the building, coming up onto the deck. He's kneeling still, even as he turns the know, he's off to the side, not infront of the door as it slowly moves open, the barrel of his rifle sliding through the initial crack before looking inside. The goggles are pulled down from their locked position on his helmet, to see better inside the quickly darkening cottage.
Cate doesn't have her night vision goggles on. Truth be told, she hates the damn things, and it's not that dark out yet. The sun is just starting to go down behind the mountains. It's probably going to be a pretty sunset before too long, but alas they have more important things on their mind. A brisk nod answers his order, and she's moving around to the back.
This cottage is one of the relatively intact ones, though stuff has been strewn everywhere and part of the roof and wall is missing from the back. Fortunately so, since there actually isn't a back door and Cate ends up climbing over the broken wall to get in. After scanning the kitchen area, she moves forward through some snowdrifts on the kitchen floor to the doorway leading to Jacob's room. The place appears to be deserted.
Sliding into the front room, Jacob doesn't make much in the way of sound. The light spilling in from the open down which is punctuated by the neon green of the laser sight attached to the underside from his barrel. It's clicked off when he sees Cate, and the first one is empty. "Clear." he says quietly, starting to poke around and inspect for any possible recent signs of life. He even stands still, just listening. On a possible lark, he kneels down slowly, rapping softly on the floorboards, on the off-chance that someone might be hiding under the floorboards.
Cate watches him for a moment, saying nothing. There's no response from the floorboards. "Next one?" Cate asks, presumptively moving out the back since that's the quickest way onward. The next building on their sector is a larger structure, apparently the building with the restaurant, gift shop, check-in desk and offices. The west wing looks well and truly smashed and charred in places, so there probably won't be much to find there. But that still leaves the east wing.
There's a nod from Jacob, moving out as well. Had to be sure, moving out of the back of the cottage and locking his goggles back to his helmet. The larger building was the next on their list of places to scope out. Again, back to sneaking. Since the half the building has been blown out, there's no worry going through the front door. And the search begins again.
The clatter of cannon fire and explosions continues to echo through the hills from the planes battling Centurions on the lower slopes. But up here, it's quiet so far. Cate stays on Jacob's flank, rifle at the ready as they head into the bigger building. The gift shop is cleared in short order, and then they head into the restaurant. Lots of overturned tables, broken chairs, dried blood splattered by the gallon - but no bodies, strangely enough. Cate's face grows more grim as they proceed in. "This is creepy," she whispers. Creepy, but empty. A set of double doors in the back probably leads to the kitchen.
"Yeah." Jacob doesn't seem to be the sort to talk all that much when he's in 'recon' mode. The wind coming down from the mountain whistles and there's a errie stillness about the place. "They've been here." he says, lowering his rifle long enough to kneel down and inspect the blood. "Could've been recent. Cold air could've dried it fast. Wounded." There's a look over at Cate. "Could one person lose this much blood and survive?" he asks lowly before looking at the doors to the kitchen.
There's a pause long enough for her answer before he signals her to move to one side of the wall next to the doors while he takes the other side, and slowly, like last time, the door is pushed open.
Cate eyes the bloodstains. "Looks like a couple days old." Or so she'd ballpark, given the lack of a forensic kit or anything. She shakes her head grimly to his other question. "There's more over here too. Looks like a massacre to me." They can see bullet holes in things now that they're moving further into the room. "Bastards," she hisses. She nods to him and takes up a position by the door. They don't immediately see anything when they open the door - but the kitchen is not quite as open an area as the dining room was. Their view is partly obstructed by various kitchen appliances and a rack of pots and pans still strung up on the ceiling. And it's kinda dark in here. There are no outside windows, though there is a skylight that makes it at least not pitch black. Cate nods at him to signal her readiness, assuming he wants to go in first.
And as soon as he does, clearing around a refrigerator, he can see a Centurion standing at the end of the aisle. The machine slowly turns toward the new arrivals, its glowing red eye dimming to a pinpoint almost like a human might narrow his eyes.
"Shit." Jacob doesn't like how this sounds. Like they might be too late. And he's looking for bloody footprints, anything to marke the fact that someone might still be alive. And then the bullet holes, eyes trying imagine their trajectory. And that's where they find themselves against the wall to the kitchen, the door moving open quietly. And just that there's a red light narrowing, there's a neon green line of light coming out from the barrel of his rifle, taking a bead on the Centurion's head. Granted, recon equips themselves with suppressors at the ends of their weapons for missions like these, when moving in stealth is the main options. And the whole thing about suppressors is sorta of a misnomer. Cate might remember Sean saying something about that's not how they sound in real life when they'd watch a movie together. There's still sound of gunfire just not as...sharp. No 'pfft pfft!' sound. So sure, it's a sound deterrant, but it's main thing is reducing muzzle flare.
In this case, it won't matter one way or the other. Because he doesn't hesitate to pull the trigger in a three round burst.
There are bloody footprints, including some distinctly Cylon-looking ones, but they're kinda just going randomly. None that suggest a clear path to exodus. Once Jacob is through the door, Cate is right behind him. She moves to the other side of the aisle, crouching down behind a food preparation area, and also fires at the Centurion. It raises its hand, which holds a rifle, and fires back.
Damn thing didn't even get a shot off, the pair of them mowing it down in quick succession. "Shit, our cover's officially blown." he growls to no one in particular, keeping his rifle up a moment, sweeping the kitchen out. "Any signs of bodies, Cate?" Well, he wouldn't call anyone else by their first name on a mission. Lowering the weapon, he presses a finger against the comm that's been taped to his throat. "Shots fired, we have one tango down in the main building's kitchen. Gimmie a sit rep."
Cate pops off a burst, and between her and Jacob the Centurion goes down in a shower of sparks. She doesn't relax, though. What're the odds there's just one of them hanging out in the kitchen? Not like he needs a midnight snack or anything. "None yet." Cate begins sweeping down the other side, the food prep counter separating them.
A second Cylon appears from around a corner on Jacob's side. This one is a slightly different model than the other. A worker, not a combat Centurion. But there's a pistol in his hand, so safe bet he's not here to serve hors d'oeuvres.
The other rushes out from a side alcove that Cate hadn't noticed. He's unarmed, but looking to fix that by grabbing for Cate's gun.
Jacob isn't relaxed either. While he was trying to get a bead on how the other teams were doing, if they had any luck or found surprises themselves, he was about to start moving to start searching. Then he sees the movement coming at him in the corner of his eye. Too close to raise his rifle, but he also sees the Cylon moving on Cate. And he does have the time to aim on that. "Get back, Cate!" Firing rounds on the one making for her.
Ironically, the less-armored worker Cylon doesn't go down as easily as the warrior one, but Jacob's burst clearly chips some pieces off. On the other side of the counter, Cate hears Jacob's warning and turns just in time to see the one reaching for her. It almost gets a grip on her rifle, but she wrenches it away and then clubs the thing with the rifle butt. It's too close to bring the gun to bear properly, hemmed in by the Cylon and the counter behind her. She's got too little room to maneuver. The Cylon deflects the blow down towards its leg, where it doesn't seem to do much at all.
It's getting too close to use his rifle with the Cylon coming at him like it is, allowing the bulk of some kitchen appliance to mess up it's aim. He drops the rifle, or rather, let it sling to his side, hand reaching up to grip the handle of combat knife that's strapped to his shoulder. Might as well make this a bit more personal, as the initial withdrawing of the K-BAR slashes against the more vulnerable exposed wiring of this non-combat model's neck. He's fought Cylons hand to hand before, this isn't the first time.
Whereas it is the first time Cate has fought a Centurion hand to hand, and she's not particularly liking it very much. Trying to use her rifle as a club, she smacks the thing square in the chest a couple times, but it barely seems to faze it. She ducks its return swing - the thing's using its arm like a metal club - and pots and pans clatter from the ceiling rack onto the counter behind them. But the second socks her in the armored vest. Not doing much damage, but it does elicit a pained grunt.
There seems to be an intimate knowledge of how to fight Cylons like this, or perhaps it's just the boxing trainer, knowing how an opponent moves and Cylons can sometimes be a little predictable. Not always, but often enough to get a good read on them. The slash from his knife causes a few sparks, causing it to hesitate only a for a moment and he presses that advantage, this time trying to outright stab it one of it's central movement servos. These models don't have the armor the combat ones have and tempered steel puctures pretty good.
Cate exchanges a few more blows with the Cylon, including one that's gonna leave a mean bruise on her thigh. In the end, she smashes the butt of her rifle into the Cylon's shoulder, and manages to catch it at juuust the right angle to pop the thing loose. The Cylon begins to flee, some kind of survival programming kicking in now that it's combat-ineffective, but Cate smashes it again from behind and it goes down. Then she glances over to see how Jacob's doing. She raises her rifle to her shoulder and is ready to wade in to help when she catches movement out of the corner of her eye. Two more. "Frak me - Sean, two more this side." One with a rifle and the other another unarmed worker.
"A little busy at the moment!" Jacob states back at Cate, annoyed at the fact that he's having so much trouble with this one non-com Cylon compared to the other military ones that's delt with rather effectively before. Granted, he did sneak up on the majority of those from behind, but he's not saying that outloud. Another stab, he knows he's aiming for something vital, it's just a matter of trying to get in at the right angle.
"Just kill the frakking thing!" Cate hollers back, as if that weren't what he was already trying to do. She doesn't even realize that she used the wrong name before. She trades rifle fire with the armed Centurion. Her burst does more damage, taking down the robot, but not before it wings her on the side with a round that stings through her vest. "Frak," she hisses. The second Cylon glances down and with a jerky movement picks up the rifle and starts spraying bullets throughout the kitchen.
Just as Cate says that aloud, there's a grunt of exertion, and the clear sound of hardened steel cutting and puncturing through thinner metal, and the sound of something clearly getting snapped and broken. The Cylon's eye goes falling limp on his blade, to which the Sergeant unceremoniously pushes it off of, letting it crumple on the floor. That's when he snaps his rifle back into his hands, seeing the last remaining one. "Get to cover, damnit!" he barks at her, before pulling the trigger on his own weapon.
"Where?!" is Cate's initial response to Jacob's suggestion to seek cover, as she fires a burst at the last Cylon. She's standing in the middle of an aisle, nowhere really to go. But then she has the idea to slide over the counter, like an action movie character sliding across the hood of the car. It gives her some cover at least from the mad bullet-spraying workerbot.
"Oh, now she figures it out." Jacob drawls, tilting his rifle just enough to see the counter on his magazine, checking. "Where the hell are you guys?" he remarks into his comm. "Anybody out there? We are under fire. Repeat, under fire!" So much for backup. If they're not dead, they better wish they were. "Damnit!" Affirming his grip on his weapon, he leans out to take fire again before another volley peppers the kitchen.
"Taking fire here too Sarge," Martinez's voice comes back over the com, the sound of gunfire echoing in the background.
Then a moment later, there's Ridley. "Sarge, we've found a couple civvies. Escorting them back to the pickup point. You want us to divert to your position?"
There's a furious exchange of gunfire, both Cate and Jacob peppering the final Cylon with carefully-aimed bursts. The Cylon just sprays wildly until it's out of bullets, and then it finally falls.
Cate stays in her position behind the counter, breathing hard, half-expecting another one to appear. But none do, and she just looks over at Jacob finally.
"You all right?" she asks.
Jacob holds his breath for a one hot minute, waiting for the next barrage to come down on them. It's only broken by the sound in their ears. "Rodger that. And negative, just finished trashing five tangos. Make a final sweep and then rendezvous back at the pickup point. Think we've done all we can here." It's only then that he allows himself to relax just a fraction. "Yeah, I'm alright." Finally coming out from the serving counter he had been taking cover behind, he notes the last downed Cylon. "They found a couple of people. But what bothers me is all this blood and nothing to show for it. I don't like not finding bodies."
There's a fleeting relief in Cate's face when he says he's all right, and she nods. "Yeah, I don't like it either. Are we going to sweep the rest of this building or are we pulling out?" It suddenly strikes her as surreal, standing here talking to him like this. Like he's just her sergeant, the same as any other marine. But of course he's anything but. Her breathing is slowly starting to return to normal, but she's still obviously amped up after that fight.
"I want to at least find bodies. At least we'd know. I don't want to leave and leave it my head that we left someone behind." Don't think either of them of could really deal with that well. "Told the others to make one final sweep. If we don't find anyone, even bodies, then I guess that's just something we'll have to live with. Check that walk in freezer over there, I'll see if there's any other room around here we might've missed. And then we'll pull out." A sigh. "I don't like this." he repeats again.
"I don't know if we will," Cate says, taking this moment of quiet to change magazines in her rifle. "Saw it in Hyperion. Streets empty after the attack. Frak if I know what they do with the bodies." Cate's face is grim, her eyes alert as she moves over to the freezer he indicated. "Clear," she says briskly upon opening it and scanning the darkness with her flashlight. Jacob finds a hallway around the corner that leads down to another part of the building - offices, it looks like. And there's a door in the back - maybe to a storeroom? - that's where those last two Cylons had come from.
"Saw the same on Virgon. A lot of people got out, a lot didn't. A lot of people, bodies, unaccounted for." Jacob is sheathing his K-BAR back into it's should sheathe. "And nobody knows where they go. As far as I know, it's a big mystery. So, if we can shed any light on that, I'd like to know what they're doing with human remains. Head a lot stories. Rumors, scuttlebutt an shit, but I'd rather see hard evidence." Tight hallways he doesn't like, not a lot of room to maneuver his rifle around, but if there were going to be more Cylons, he suspects they would've shown up by now. So might as well investigate the last place they haven't really checked. Switching the torch on the end of rifle attachment(next to the laser sight), he opens the door to check inside.
"Yeah," Cate agrees softly, an odd note to her voice when he mentions the rumours. She joins back up with him, on the opposite side of the door when he opens it. Outside, the sound of explosions and cannon fire from their air support seems to have tapered off, and the ensuing quiet allows them to hear some rifle gunshots - one might presume from the other team that ran into opposition.
The door leads to a store room, indeed, and a partially-collapsed wall leading outside. Fresh snow tracked in on the floor leading from that opening might suggest that latecomer Cylons had come in that way from outside. Roving patrol, maybe? Who knows. No bodies, though, and no Cylons.
"Think that admin area is the last place we haven't checked yet," Cate says, jerking her head back towards that hallway where one of the Cylons had come from around the corner.
"Huh, so this is where they came to get the drop on us." Jacob muses darkly, taking a look at the wall open to the outside before turning back. "Alright, let's checkit out and then get back to meet up with the others. Honestly, I don't think there's anything else left to find. I can't see anyone else having survived in here that hasn't already been found." There's a snort after a moment. "Reminds me of a book I read in high school."
"Looks like," Cate agrees. "Must've heard the gunfire. Or the first ones signaled them. Guess they don't need to talk to do that." She moves with him as they head down the hall to the admin area. As they're sweeping down that hall, opening doors to various offices, Martinez' voice comes over the coms again. "Sarge, Martinez. Took out three Toasters in the woods outside one of the cottages. The fourth fell back. Barkley's hit bad, though."
"This is usually why we go radio silent on stuff like this. I don't want our signal being picked up and listened to." No, it's not wireless, it's short-band radio, while it can't be tracked per se, it can be localized to a particular area. Jacob pauses while in the midst of their sweep. "Roger that. I'll send Rhodes ahead of me to take care of that. We leave in ten." Then he's looking back at the other. "Cate. Barkley got hit pretty bad, I need you to go on ahead of me and make sure he survives the trip back to the ship. I'll finish the last of these offices, see if anyone is left alive and meet you back at the pickup point."
Cate hears the call over the radio too and frowns. "You can't sweep them yourself," she says, sharp disapproval in her voice. It's drilled into every marine recruit that room-sweeping is at least a two-person job. At least, safely room-sweeping is. "What if more toasters show up. We'll get him out faster if we go together."
"We need to know if there's anyone else alive here. And we need to know why there's so much blood and no bodies to show for it." And more than that, the whole missing bodies thing is bothering him. But this is what being in charge is all about, having to make that call. He looks away, down the hallway to the rooms they haven't yet gotten to. "Damnit." The whole idea of leaving someone behind because of their own is injured chews at him. But at the end, he can't ignore someone who knows needs help as opposed to someone who may or may not be dead. And would knowing happened to bodies later one be any real benefit. Though it might be worth the intelligence gathered. Then again, it might not. For as much as the man seems to say how much he doesn't care, clearly he still does. And while it might look like he's about two seconds away from making that request to Cate an order, it relents. Because in the end, apart of him knows she's right. Can't let a soldier die just for the sake of his own curiosity. "Alright. We head back."
"You said it yourself - there's probably nothing else here to find." But even so, she sees the turmoil in his face, and that prompts her to call out down the long hallway. "Colonial Marines! If you're here, call out! Boat's leaving!" She waits a moment, rifle ready in case some Centurions decide to answer the call instead. But there's only silence. Then she looks at him with a disappointed frown. "Worth a try."
Jacob doesn't like calling out like that, but it's not like their presence wasn't pretty well known a little bit ago. "Nothing doing. Well, let's just go. Barkley needs you to prevent him from bleeding all over himself." The blown out wall in the storage room will be the next destination, and the meeting point beyond.
"Yeah, okay," Cate answers, letting out a little sigh. He wasn't the only one whose curiosity wanted to see what was down that hallway. Rifle ready but pointed at the ground, she follows him out of the building towards the pickup point. On the way they get a report from Ridley. "Sarge, Ridley. Civvies safely aboard the pickup bird." One Raptor is just taking off when they get within view of the area, snow swirling everywhere, and a second one is landing. Ridley and Ibnez are there providing security on the landing site.
Martinez is hurrying this way from his position, Barkley slung over his shoulder in a fireman's carry.
Making their way back, Jacob nods. "Good deal, we'll be there shortly. Make sure to tell Barkley he's can die on is own time." Perhaps taking more of a risky run, through the open area infront of the building in route to the Raptor. Once getting he points out the man being carried. "Get to it, Rhodes, go do your thing"
Cate gives him a sharp look at that, though whether it's because she doesn't need to be told, or because she doesn't like the sound of him calling her by her last name - that's debatable. Either way, there's work to be done. As soon as the Raptor hatch has opened, she's hopping up into the bird, setting her rifle down on the ground and unslinging her medic pack. "Set him here, on the floor," she tells Martinez. "Ridley - hold this light up for me." And then she sets to work, acting like she's done this a hundred times before. "Didn't you hear the Sarge say no heroes?" she teases, forcing a smile even as she starts cutting open the trousers of his injured leg, the white arctic camo now stained a deep crimson.
Once everyone is aboard the Raptors, Jacob calls forward to the pilots that they're ready go, making sure to say out of Cate's doctor work. "Alright." he looks at Ibnez, especially while the other are occupied either helping Cate or being wounded. "Sit rep. What happened with the rest of you? How many civilians did you find? Found nothing on our side. Save for five Toasters."
"Found a family holed up in one of the cottages," Ibnez reports. "The rest were empty."
Martinez is huffing after the mad dash carrying his buddy. He watches Cate work with a worried expression, shaking his head. "We didn't get to check all the ones in our zone. Ran into a patrol coming out of the woods, got pinned down. Then Berkley got hit."
"We didn't find..." Jacob pulls the balaclava that was hiding the majority of his face beyond his eyes, especially now that there's no need for it in the warmer Raptor cabin. "Well, we found something, but we ran out of time trying to follow up on it. A lot of dried blood. Couple days old. But no bodies." Maybe something that the other marines haven't heard the first time either. "There were a couple offices the Cylons came out of, was in the middle of checking them when we came back. No survivors, not that we could tell, but..." he shakes his head. "Felt like there was something back there." A scratch at his cheek. "I dunno, maybe nothing, just a feeling."
"Yeah, we found the same," Ridley chimes in. He's hunched over on the bench, holding up a flashlight for Cate. "Blood in a couple of the cabins, but no bodies." He looks at Jacob then, curious. "You think there might've been more survivors?"
"No." Jacob shakes his head. "As far as I could tell, there wasn't. Nobody loses that much blood and walks away from it, even if it was more than one person. Reminded more like a slaughterhouse or...an ER room that hadn't been cleaned up yet." He leans back in his seat, jostled slightly from the transition from lower atmosphere to upper. "I think the Toasters killed them, then took the bodies somewhere else. But see, that's the thing. Why. Even back on Virgon, I saw that. At first, I figured it was just some bleeding survivor, patched themselves up and moved on. But started seeing more and more of that, in larger amounts. Like...I dunno, they're either torturing people or cutting them apart after they're already dead. Still doesn't answer why we can't find any bodies. And I feel like, if we had had five more minutes, we could've found something on it."
"Who the frak those things are thinking," Ibnez says with a dismissive shrug. "Maybe they got some butler-bots stuck on cleaning detail." He gives a snort of laughter at the thought.
Cate looks up at him with a narrowed gaze that suggests she didn't find it particularly funny. She gets an IV started on Barkley and the bleeding stopped and reports to Jacob, "He's lost a lot of blood, but he should be ok once we get him to sickbay."
"Hey, ElTee," Jacob calls up to the cockpit. "Radio ahead to Medical, tell'em we got an injured man coming in." Then back at the rest of the Marines. "Just a thought I've had in my head since the war began. Something's not right. Just don't know about what. Never really gave all those rumors any credit but, I dunno. Think there'd be some kind of valuable intel if we could figure out what they were doing. Might give some real insight." The whole 'knowing your enemy' thing. Cat gets a nod. "Good work, Corporal."
Cate gives a little nod in response to his words. She sits back then, removing her helmet and then checking the other marines for injuries. Fortunately nothing major.
The Raptor pilot acknowledges them, and radios ahead to alert sickbay. Having completed the sweep of the ski resort and picked up the marines from the other part of the operation, the CAG gives the order to withdraw.