The Galactica crew rescues civilians trapped at a ski resort behind Cylon lines.
Location: Tauron - Atray Province
Related Scenes: None
Plot: Operation: Bullhorn
Scene Number: 706
"Attention all hands. Alert pilots and marine ready squad report to the hangar deck for immediate briefing." So the call went out about ten minutes ago. When the pilots and marines who were on operational standby gathered on the hangar deck, none other than the XO was there to meet them.
"All right, listen up boys and girls," he begins in his lazy drawl, "We've just gotten a signal from a group of a dozen civvies. They were in a ski resort in the mountains on northern Lake Illi when the Cylon advance started last week. Lost comms, have been holed up hiding since. They're reporting some injured, and Cylon troops advancing on their position. Most likely the Toasters picked up their distress signal, so we???ve gotta beat them there. Get in, get out quick."
The XO frowns for a moment, then points out, "The communications seem legit, but there's always the chance of it being some kind of trap. Any questions?"
Ryan fields the handful of questions from the troops, then claps his hands. "All right. Gods-speed to you. Bring those people home."
And then the troops are loading up. Four Raptors, two squads of marines, and four Vipers to fly cover (with more prepping to reinforce, and the CAP to call upon as needed).
Calliope is at least in her flight suit and looks ready for...something when she arrives on the hangar deck. She finds a group of Wolfpack pilots and ECO sorts to knot herself in and directs her attention to the XO. Absorbing the mission details as they're dealt out and trying to look vaguely competent. And then filing into a Raptor when they're called out.
Eva listens to the debrief without any comment or questions, nearly everything she might need to know asked and answered. Anything else will be seen from the air. She heads for her Viper, stepping up, and leading herself in, a hand pulling thr top shut as she wauts to be towed to the launch tube.
Julia stands around with a mingled look of boredom and anticipation while the XO speaks, though it's a good bet she's filing away bits of information as they're rattled off. As soon as word is given to scramble, she tugs her helmet on, cuts a brief glance to her pilot, and clambers up the raptor's ramp to get this show on the road. The bus's systems begin coming online almost immediately; running lights, life support, engines with a dull roar.
Cate is also quiet during the briefing, soaking up the information with a serious expression. Once the XO sends them off, she starts heading to Calliope's Raptor, pulling on her combat helmet and adjusting the chin strap. "Ski resort, huh. I feel a little underdressed," she observes with a grim smirk.
Van listens to the briefing, studying the map and taking notes on his knee-board, especially the lay of the land and locations that he considers would make good locations for AA. As the little cluster of pilots begins to break up, the Picon pilot salutes the XO, then turns back to Calliope, "Just like last time, except this time I'll do a better job distracting the toasters." It's meant to be reassuring, with the little faint smile that accompanies it, but he's got too much of his game-face on to be really reassuring. Pulling his helmet on, he checks the seals, then clambers up into the cockpit, buckles himself in, and gives the crew chief a thumbs-up and a Picon-style palm-out salute.
Jacob listens to the questions given before moving out to suit up. Rifle, sidearm velcroed over his left part of his chest, combat knife strapped upside down on his right. Armor is strapped on and balaclava pulled over his face and riflemen gloves over his hands. About the only thing they got to protect from the elements. There's something about him grousing about the ship not being equiped for different type of weather and terrain. For the moment, he stands at the enterance to the Raptor, mentally checking off the marines loading. "Get a move on, we don't want to be late for the party."
One of the marines just brought in the other day with a Raptor load of personnel is in those assigned to go on the mission. Charlie Wagner, designated marksman. She's fully geared up, though not yet wearing her helmet. Gloves and everything else to help with the cold? Yep. That's held in one hand and a black case is in the other. She has various equipment on her, along with a sidearm. Likely ammunition and very basic medical supplies. The sorts of things meant to keep someone holding on until help can get to them and nothing more. Survival basics. The young Corporal swings into the Raptor along with the other marines, strapping in before she gets her helmet on. The case -- a rifle kit, for those that'd recognize it -- is popped open only once they're 'in the air' as it were. Mental checklist before she's either storing accessories on her person or attaching them to the weapon itself. Focused, at the moment, and not yet engaging in banter with the others.
Durant comes jogging into the hangar and looks ready for action. Smiling and nodding to those about to head out.
Julia glances Jacob's way briefly as the marine boards, in the midst of her systems checks. "You got somethin' to say, jarhead?" she demands, voice slightly muffled behind her helmet. It's probably a rhetorical question; she doesn't sit around waiting for an answer. Instead, "Boards're green, Drake, we're ready to ruuuuumble."
Calliope shoots Van a grin before she boards. "Yeah. And I'll do a better job of not getting hit." It's kind of a joke. Kind of. She slots herself into the pilot's seat. "Strap in tight back there, these things can toss you around," she warns the Marines as they load up. Pause. "I mean, I'll totally try and keep things smooth. Still. Safety first." At Julia's green light, she nods. "Got it, Hooter. Ready for take-off." She waits for the loading to finish, and for clearance to head off from the flight deck and all that. Once that's done, she'll have the bird search-and-rescue bound.
Cate casts a stiff look at Jacob as she moves past him into the Raptor. Saying nothing, though, because it's all business now. She takes a seat, doffing the medic backpack so it's at her feet instead of on her back. A brief glance is slanted toward Julia before she notices Charlie. "Wagner?" she asks, squinting in surprise.
"In case you weren't listening, this is not a seek and destroy op." Jacob says, pulling himself up onto the ramp, hitting the button to close the hatch after him. "This is search and rescue. Do not go out of your way to engage unless we've already been spotted. If we can get in and out without a shot fired, that's fine by me." Dropping himself down into a seat with a grunt, he starts to strap himself in. "Don't want to see any of that bullshit about 'wanting to be a hero' and whatnot. We get who we came for, and we go home." He pauses to take a quick scan over his rifle. "And if we get suckered into a trap, we move back to the Raptors as fast as we can. We don't know their numbers, so for now, we go in assuming there are alot more of them than there are of us."
Eva keeps chatter to a bare minimum, answering only the necessary questions from the deck, as she's loaded into the launch tube, and she awaits the signal that they're spooling her up. Mostly though, it's a whole lot of silence in her head as well as in her helmet. A viper can be the loneliest place. She reaches down, to a small box she's tucked under the flight controls, pulling out a fruity oaty bar nd tucking it into a breast pocket.
Durant boards his assigned raptor and starts doing his checks. Helmet is placed and he quips back to his passengers. "Last man in close the door. Might get a bit nippy outside."
Scope A, Scope B. Scope A, Scope B. Charlie is busy looking over the two that to some may look identical. To her? Well, they mean something. She is distracted from the weighing (literally, for a few seconds) of the decision before realizing someone's spoken to her. The dark-haired young woman looks up, blinks a few times. "Rhodes." It's almost surprise, but also very much a statement. "You made it out?" It's not an exuberant sort of reunion, but more of a relieved sort of reaction. "...and ended up here. Dunno if congratulations or condolences are in order."
Van checks to make sure the picture of Half Hitch sliders is in place on his control panel, carefully tucked out of the way of anything critical, then double-checks all the indicators. He waits for the violence of the catapult launch, and once he's recovered and settled in on Eva's wing, circling to wait for the Raptors, inquires, "Cherry, this is Milkman, where do you want me when we hit the target? Top-cover or a sucker-sweep?"
"Maybe both," Cate remarks dryly, sparing a brief glance over at Jacob when he reminds everyone not to be a hero. "Glad to see you." But then she's falling quiet as the Raptor gently shifts into flight.
It takes maybe ten minutes for them to zip down through the atmosphere to the general area of the front. As they cross over the lake and into the mountains, they're now approaching Cylon-held territory. The DRADIS at least for the moment is showing clear skies. And although this is "the front" - it's not WWI or anything with a continuous line of trenches. If the Cylons are there on the ground, it's not immediately obvious where.
"Let's get in a bit closer and see what we see, Milkman. I'm concerned that if the Cylons get wind of us that we'll spook them. That's not going to help out the raptors if they're going in low and slow." She considers, as she move in closer to the resort, keeping up a steady pace that keeps her in good view of the marine laden raptors, "I'm wondering if we can figure out some way to keep them distracted, so the buses can get in without being noticed."
Calliope flies pretty steady, once she's off and has her course laid in. She might occasionally look over her shoulder at the Marines. And especially Julia. A hint of 'Am I doing this right?' about her eyes behind her helmet. But she makes herself stop and focus on the field ahead after a couple swivels like that. Especially when they get into atmo, and she has to navigate air currents and other meteorological fun that doesn't exist in the vacuum.
Durant pilots his raptor in a perfect formation with the other three that are making their approach. The aquarian pilot keeps a silent monitor of his DRAIDS as he guides his craft down the path marked on his vector. The marine squad behind him just as silent, as they await for their bus to set over solid ground. He is very used to these type of flights, so its all smooth so far.
Van nods at the response from the other Viper pilot, throttling down to keep pace with the slower Raptors, "Roger, Cherry. I'll stick on your wing unless told otherwise. Might be nothing to distract, but if there is, a good strafing run should keep them occupied." His eyes flick down to the DRADIS regularly, craning around to use the Mark One Eyeball the rest of the time.
Once they're well on their way, and approaching the threshold of cylon-held territory, Julia thumbs off her radio and switches to shipboard wireless for a moment, "I think we should drop in as low as you can manage, Drake. Nap of the ground, yeah? Make it harder for 'em to lock onto our signal, if they're down there." The cylons, that is. Her amber eyes remain locked on her systems readouts, switching between DRADIS and thermographic at regular intervals.
"Both." Charlie considers this as she puts back one scope and attaches the other to her rifle. Like any other day, right? Hey, the Raptor isn't being shot at. Yet. So there's that. "I can frak with that." The Corporal finishes getting her rifle prepped and sits back to enjoy the rest of the ride in. There's only a brief glance to the pilot and ECO before she's looking across to Cate again. "Know anyone else who made it out alright? Only a few from my unit did and most of them had to muster out on medical. One is stationed elsewhere on Picon now."
As the flight begins to leave the lake behind, the pilots spot some chrome and movement in a stand of trees in the foothills at their three o'clock. About a dozen Cylons, and one dish contraption that they all recognize readily enough: SAM Battery. An instant later, their sensors start beeping to confirm the suspicion - the battery is scanning them.
"Milkman, looks like we know where we'll be headded. I've picked up some Cylons on the ground and a SAM battery. That's going to be the most immediate threat," as the raptors still have not unloaded their complement of marines, "Let's see if we can take away their nice, new toy." It could be old, doesn't matter. Cherry peels off, heading into intercept mode. Not going all out yet. It's still early.
"Two-by-two formation, recon at the head, medics at the rear and everyone else inbetween. Don't want to want to see anyone clumped together too tightly incase we're caught with our pants down and flies open." Jacob states cleanly and clearly while the rumble and roar of the Raptor's engine almost drowns out other conversation. Whether or not the other marines are actually listening to him or not, he'll figure out quick enough.
Cate looks toward the front, not that she can see much. Just wait and pray that they don't get shot down before they get there. Charlie's question is a welcome distraction. "Yeah there were a couple. Milkman's actually here on Galactica. Couple others I know made it out. I was on Dub and Mute's Raptor. Sergeant Kenney was with us. And that little guy - shit, what was his name..." The reminiscing is cut short when the ship's alarm pings and the pilots start talking about SAM batteries. A brief glance toward Jacob shows she might've heard him, but she doesn't actually respond.
"I've got them too, Cherry. Three o'clock low." Obviously the call is low, since Van is flying and the SAM Battery is on the ground. "I'm on your tail." His hand flicks over, rolling his Viper after Eva's, "Keeping enough distance that when you turn it into a pretty explosion, I won't get hit."
"Oh frak." Calliope does not say that as quietly as she maybe thought she did. She clears her throat, "You seeing what I'm seeing, Hooters? Looks like we've got company down there. In SAM battery form." She follows her ECO's advice and drops down lower in atmo. Which jolts the ship some. "Flight, Drake. Hostiles spotted. We'll get our passengers into port. No worries." She doesn't quite pull off sounding like she believes that.
Is she listening? Hard to tell. Charlie isn't giving any 'yessir' or horrifying 'oo-rahs.' She's just trying to settle in comfortably... until those alarms begin going off. "Now the fun begins," the dark-skinned woman mutters to herself. She looks back to Cate as the medic speaks her way. "That's good. We were one of the last out. I..." She looks a bit sheepish, looking down to the rifle she's holding. "I never got the name of our pilot. Was kinda busy bleeding everywhere."
"Vipers veering to engage SAM site," calls Durant over his comm. He gives his people a thumbs up to give them so reassurance as he glances over to the shiny metal on his right side. "Flight, Lastman. Moving closer to lead raptor. Drake, catch me low and to your right."
That's sorta Jacob's job, being the highest ranking marine there. How he winds up in charge of these things on the ground is beyond him. Really, he should be the last person that's put in charge of anything. Given that, he doesn't seem all that bothered by the alarm for Cylons in the air, either targetting them or otherwise. Infact, he leans his head back against the headrest, closes his eyes, and waits. Either he's done this more than a couple of times in the past, or well, just can't do much about it, so there's no point in worrying about it.
The missile goes wide, thrown off by the Raptor's ECM and some fancy flying. Although the Vipers do some damage, the battery pivots to track the ships as they zoom overhead. The other two Vipers swoop down low for a strafing run.
"Frakking Apollo on a pogo stick," grumbles Julia, leaning over slightly to access the countermeasures panel, abandoning the weapons array for the time being. "I think I managed to fragment the turret's signal with some passband modulation.." She's talking to herself, mostly. To Calliope, "I'm gonna switch to weps. Lemme know if we need to drop some chaff."
Durant followed Drake's raptor and after the missle passes them, he turns hard left and then back to the right, positioning his rear turrent in perfect range of the SAM battery as they fly over it. "Let them have it, Ribs!" The ECO grins and opens fire.
Eva sweeps in, doing her level best not to lose her wingman. That would just be a terrible foot to get on on her second mission. She manages a hit on the SAM, but it's not nearly enough to take it out. "Hotshot, Jigger (those are the NPCs, I decided), keep those raptors in your sights, we need to make sure there aren't more of them ahead, and they'll need your backup if there are." As for herself, she'll wheel around and head in for another shot that the SAM.
"FRAK!" Calliope's cursing is loud. A Raptor is not really a craft built for grace, and it jerks and jolts as she assumes evasive maneuvers. They manage to avoid getting shot out of the sky immediately, at least. To Julia, "Got it, Hooter. Make them regret frakking with us. I'll keep us flying." She tries to inject some confidence into that statement. Success is spotty.
Van doesn't do any nape-of-the-earth approach. No, he comes plummeting down from on-high, far enough back that Eva has cleared the area before he begins spraying bullets at the SAM battery. "Missile Launch!" Little gouts of dirt spray up from the impact of his rounds, walking in toward the battery, sparking off metal, and then spewing dirt again on the other side. Van flares out as he approaches the ground, roaring over the site of the battery. His eyes flicker over to track Eva's flare-out and he circles around to follow her and line up for another run, "Milkman, coming in on your five, Cherry, to line up for another run. Drake, we'll try to draw their fire."
Cate holds onto the seat as the Raptor lurches from the evasive maneuvers. She gives Charlie an absent nod. "Well, hopefully you'll keep the blood where it belongs this time." She's not as calm as Jacob, but she doesn't look visibly upset or anything. She's done this more than a few times before. Doesn't mean it's entirely fun, though, sitting helplessly while Toasters pelt missiles at you.
The AA battery explodes in a fiery flash as the combined strafing of the Raptors and the Vipers blast it to smithereens. It gets off one final shot, but the missile trail goes zooming off harmlessly into the sky. "Roger that, Cherry," the NPC Viper pilots respond. Once the SAM battery is destroyed, they take up their escort positions once more.
Whatever the ECO is saying might as well be a whole other language to Charlie. Some oracle's babbling, perhaps. The woman doesn't seem too peeved, either. Maybe not as relaxed as Jacob, but she's not freaking out or showing any signs of this being a 'first run' at such things. Nope, youth aside, being shot at is nothing new. She does, however, lean to try to catch a look through what sparse viewports there may be to see if she can spot anything of the ground. One of the jolts to the Raptor does cause her to grab at her own seat to retain balance... strapped in as she s. "I really do prefer my blood on the inside."
"Flight Lead, Hooter; missile battery is down, but I count three groups of cylons on the ground, and we ain't got no easy way to frak 'em up from here without ATGs. Figure a hot landing might be our best bet?" The ECO keeps her eyes on the windscreen, favouring her mark I eyeball over DRADIS for the moment.
"Take this you frakkers," is yelled by Ribs as he unleashes gunfire from the aft weapon of the bulky raptor. The shots barely scrape the launch platform. The second pair of vipers pummel it to the ground seconds after. Durant smirks as he lines back up with Calliope's craft.
Jacob doesn't really seem to be one to treally talk about how many drops he's been on. Enough from the look of him, having served on ships before. So at this pont in his career, this is something of old hat by this point. Suppose that's comes with the package when you make Sergeant. Still, calm is a word for it, even as he jostles about as the Raptor takes manuvers to dodge whatever it is that's coming at them. Missles. Usually missles, but not always. An old habit, perhaps very old habit of his, he starts humming. Some decades-old song back when he was a teen.
"Flight, Drake, back on course to the landing zone, now that that battery's gone," Calliope says over the comms. Caprica accent clipped with tension, though she manages not to curse over the mic. Her flying levels out to something more comfortable and less jerky.
Eva pulls up hard, as the SAM goes down, and she flips back and around, hands white on the controls. Damned atmosphere, frakking with her controls. She pulls back up, sighting the remaining Cylons on the ground, "Milkman, looks like we're clear to proceed in, but let's keep an eye out, yeah? I have a feeling they did not leave those civilians unattended." She checks DRADIS, looking for any signs of cylon activity along the flight line to the drop point. She'll let Lastman decide how he wants to put down his birds. She's just here for the lightshow.
Van follows more closely behind Eva this time, taking a long-range shot to avoid getting too close and getting in the way of the Raptor turrets. He's far enough back, in fact, to see the explosions, "This is Milkman, toaster battery is closed for business." He lifts his Viper up behind Eva's and just off to the right, "Same plan at the LZ then, Cherry? Or do you want a sucker-sweep this time?"
Their flight path takes them further up into the snow-capped mountains, leaving the wrecked SAM battery in their dust. As they approach the ski resort, they can see remnants of the idyllic mountain vacation spot that it once was. "Was" being the operative word there, as the Cylons have hit it hard. Charred wreckage stands where the main resort buildings once were. The bodies, at least, have been either removed, burned, or covered over by snow, so they aren't littering the ground any more.
Their target is a small ski shack located at the top of the north face. They can see about twenty Cylons marching their way up one of the old ski trails toward the shack, still a bit away. And now, on DRADIS, a flight of six enemy planes incoming from the north!
"Flight Lead, Hooter; missile battery is down, resuming scans of the airspace enroute to our target." The ECO switches between windscreen and DRADIS idly. "Marines, I'll give a warning at thirty seconds before I drop the hatch, yeah? And- aw, frak. Flight, I've got six bogeys headed for us at twelve o'clock, comin' in fast."
Durant flies over the LZ to get a better look at how things are. A frown as he detects nearby tincan movement near the lifts. "Drake, there a squad moving up the trees and there a soft spot to land in front of the lodge. Think you can squeeze in there to put some boots on the ground?" Focusing on getting people in the snow semes to be hs main concern right now.
"Milkman, looks like the Cylons have other plans for us." On the plus side, at least they're not hiding, "Hotshot, Jigger, move in to intercept, try to keep them off those raptors long enough for them to land our troops." This time, Eva's going in hot. Might as well see if she can grab their attention.
"Like they're just rolling them off a frakking assembly line," Calliope mutteres. Going lower, lower, and lower as they near their target. The extensive tree cover makes her frown. "Lastman, Drake. I see it. It's tight, but I can get down there and offload the groundpounders. Taking us down now, Hooter. Watch our behind." And down she goes.
"Copy, Cherry. Looks like the Raptors will have to deal with any ground fire themselves." Van checks his DRADIS to track the incoming bogeys, then looks up to try and find them with visual scanning. "I've got them. Six marks at twelve o'clock high." There's a beat pause, and then he adds, "Accelerating to attack speed." It's a line from a cheesy Picon war movie, but he can't resist.
"Always am," Julia answers her pilot, gloved fingertips hovering over the weapons controls before shfiting to the countermeasures panel. "Thirty seconds," she tells the marines with a quick glance over her shoulder, and leans over to slap the hatch release button. There's a BLEEP of the safety disengaging, and a too-calm voice informing them of imminent depressurisation.
Cate shifts forward on her seat, swinging her backpack into place and holding her rifle into both hands. "Away we go," she quips as they get ready to touch down.
When the warning of drop-off is given, Charlie stows the case her rifle gear was in and makes sure it's secure. Then follows making certain the gear on her person is secure. Lastly, the helmet. The woman is then undoing the straps and getting to her feet, holding onto the strap above for balance. Ready to disembark the second they touch down enough to do so. And once they do? She's off and clearing the way so others can follow and the bus can take back off.
Durant nods even if Calliope can't see it and he pipes, "Quick dustoff, Drake. Dont want you throwing snowballs at the risk of a prolongued landing." He smirks and adds, "Flight, Lastman, same goes for everyone else. Quick drops." His raptor hovers nearby.
Eva dives right in, literally, taking aim at the cylon in the lead. She manages a decent enough hit, but her aim might have been better if she hadn't had to pull ip to avoid being hit herself. Still, she's not about to give up now, and she flips back around, going back after the same target.
Jacob is up and on his feet once the red light goes on. "I want weapons free when you step outside! Move move!" he barks at the marines to get out of the Raptor, before he brings up the rear, closing the hatch so the Raptor can get out of there if need be. With a short job, he takes his place with the rest of the recon troops. "Alright, we're going to have stall them so we can give the civilians time to get to the Raptors. Thompson, Barkley. Make for the satillite building and starting leading them out by groups. The rest of us will the hold the advance off."
Julia keys in a few calculations with a flurry of fingers over the touchpad controls, and sends a jolt of electromagnetic interference with a sequence of blips of the raptor's antenna. It seems to be at least moderately successful, as none of the raiders' attacks find their target. How much of that can be attributed to her interference, and how much comes down to fancy flying though, it's hard to say. "Move it," she tells Jacob, unstrapping her harness once they're low enough for the marines to begin jumping out. "I'll get the hatch."
"Incoming fire," warns Ribs, as a raider opens fire from the right. Durant reacts by canting his ship to the left and strafing but he knows he is in a tight spot to move about. The gods favor him, as one of Galatica's finest brings the attacker down seconds after.
Van augers straight in until the last possible moment, twisting away from bullets spraying in his direction. And then he burns some serious tylium, using attitude thrusters to turn himself upside down and push him up and over the incoming Raider. This provides a beautiful shot across the entire spread of the Cylon ship, although it only lasts for a heartbeat. Tracers reach out, and they clip the Raider right in the cockpit before walking back along the body and engines. It begins to tumble and Van jerks his ship back to level flight, "Milkman, splash one. Coming back on your tail as soon as I clear my own, Cherry."
Cate follows Charlie out the hatch, looking down at the ground with an odd expression when her boots go up to the ankles in snow. But it's only for a split second, and then she's moving into position behind a tree to fire at the Centurions coming up the hill.
One of the NPC Raptors lets out its troops at the bottom of the hill, and they start moving into a flanking position to catch the Centurions in a being-careful-not-to-shoot-each-other cross-fire. It then moves into a supportive position. The final Raptor lands near the top as soon as Calliope is taking off, prepared to take on passengers.
The rifle is shifted on its sling as soon as Charlie's boots hit the ground. Sort of hit the ground. There's ce and snow there. Uh, interesting. Like Cate, she has a sort of odd expression with it. This marine is used to beaches! Waves! Not... this sort of cold and wet. But the Corporal shifts into action soon enough; rifle up against her shoulder as she moves in alongside Jacob to hold the line. Maybe even clear the line for the civilians.
Calliope gets back into the air once the last Marine is off-loaded, to give the final Raptor room to land. And to get back in the air and above the tree line. She tries to get up into a good shooting angle for Julia. Or as close as one can manage, given the terrain.
Julia switches back to the raptor's chaingun as they lift back off, and peppers the centurions with rounds the moment the bus swivels into position. With the marines taking their shots on the ground, she scans upward and re-targets the remaining raider next. "Nice flying, Drake," she calls over her shoulder. Then, across the wireless, "Got one on you still, Milkman."
Eva gets the job done, this time, moving in to get a direct hit at the raider's cockpit. "Cherry, splash 1." Once it's out of commission, she flies off, pulling up and out briefly get a lay of the land, before she spins back around, heading back in to assist her wingman, "Don't worry, Milkman, I'm headed your way. Looks like the Marines are engaging."
Durant now moves into a more offensive position over the treeline, as Calliope aligns next to him. "Ribs, get on the KEW again." The ECO grins and nods before he jumps back unto the gun port.
The civilians start coming out as soon as they see the Raptors. A mix of men and women, mostly young adults, and a couple scared teens. There are a few walking wounded, and a couple being helped along. One is being carried on a makeshift stretcher.
"Watch the trees! Make sure they don't start flanking us!" Jacob is aware that they're kind of out in the open, moving ahead, pulling shots away with his rifle, taking cover behind a burned out snowplow. "Covering fire!" he growls out upon seeing the civiians start to move out of the building. Which about the same time that he starts shooting.
Van would rather not be in a turning fight with a Raider close to the ground in-atmosphere. Especially not over mountainous terrain. But sometimes you don't have a choice. Roaring over the ridgeline far too low to be particularly safe, the Milkman curves around a perpendicular spine, then s-curves back in time to get a high-deflection shot off on Raider pursing him, then boosts straight up and away from the fight. "I see him. I got him, Cherry. Just suckering him in... how are Hotshot and Jigger doing?"
Cover is good. Charlie likes cover. Charlie doesn't need to be told twice. She moves quickly, managing the weight of her gear without issue. She may not be a muscular woman, but she's athletic-strong enough. Settling into a kneeling position a few paces from Jacob, she lines up to fire on one of the centurions. The hit pleases her, but it's- alas, not enough to take it down. She adjusts the rifle to open it up from a single shot to a burst.
The other two pilots seem to be holding their own, but they haven't yet brought down their opposing planes. There's a flurry of gunfire from the woods as the other marine squad gets into position and engages the Cylon troops, who are now caught in a cross-fire from the flank and top of the mountain AND the air.
Durant sees his ECO go crazy with the mounted weapon, meaning he is spraying the area near the Centurion with barely any consideration to aim properly. A few hints bounce off the metal plating but do no real damage. Seconds later, the machine gun jams and Ribs starts cursing and jerking it back to functionality with no success. The pilot just sighs and shakes his head.
Cate glances back briefly over her shoulder to see how the evac is going. Then she's taking a careful shot at one of the Centurions. She hits, but it doesn't seem to slow the machine down. Kneeling in snow partly behind a tree, her breath fogs in the air and she takes aim again.
"Frakkin' tincans," Julia grumbles, re-latching her safety harness once she has a moment's breathing space to do so. "Hey Drake, can you get me a clear line of sight on those centurions givin' our jarheads a hard time?"
"Will do, Hooter," Calliope yells in reply to Julia, from the front seat. She swoops up a notch more, to get a wider view of the terrain. And where the robots are on it.
For as much as Jacob unloads on that one Centurian, it doesn't seem to slow it down as much as he thought it would. "Damnit." he utters peeks out from behind the snowplow. Never gets any easier. But his eyes go back to the moving civilians. Right. For as cold as must be, he certainly doesn't feel it just yet, flipping the toggle on his rifle from auto to burst. Swinging the weapon out of cover to take aim, he fires three rounds. Which in combination with the others, finally manages to down the thing. No time to celebrate, as he's already jerking his aim to the next.
And this is why it's good to have a wingman who can fend for himself, because Eva's next attack is way off, and it's Milkman who puts paid to the raider who was on his tail. "Not bad, Milkman, 2-1, you." With the raiders closest to them clear, she lifts up, orienting herself to see if she needs to provide the assist to Hotshot and Jigger.
With more space, both Van and the Raider attacking him can evade one another more readily, and they each spew KEW rounds around the sky without hitting anything. It's either an impressive display of piloting or an inept display of gunnery, or something between the two. "Nice shooting on my bandit. Now..." The two ships spiral up and up, gaining altitude rapidly as they try to get a bead on one another, "watch... this." Van chops his throttle to zero, the Raider whips past him, Van fires, and the stream of bullets clips the ship, sending it spinning off. And then Van's aggressive kick of the rudder sends his Viper into an Immelman, pointing straight down at the mountains below as he shoves the throttle forward again, flaring out a hundred feet or so above the ski slope. "Splash two. Back on your tail, Cherry. Thanks for the assist."
Cate fires a burst this time, which seems to do little more than chink at the armor. "Frak," she mutters.
One of the Centurions falls, and a few more are cut down by the other Marines. Meanwhile the evac continues. The first bird has taken off, full, and the second one is laoding up now. "Three minutes, tops," reports the other pilot.
With the last Raider dispatched, the skies appear to be clear for now.
With the rear gun jammed, Durant now turns his bird to a more defensive mode and does is best to cover its frame near the treetops. "Copy that, flight. Cleared to RTB as soon as you are loaded up. Drake and I will hold up to do recovery of our marines when you are done."
There's likely a reason that, for all that she's still relatively young, Charlie is a marksman. She opens up that rifle and each of the three rounds fired ht their mark. Enough that between herself and Jacob, the centurion falls. She checks the gun right-quick, tilts her head to check the progress of the civilians, and goes back to work. The heat from their weapons (and those coming towards them) isn't helping their cover last, but... tings are going alright, yeh? "No one hit?" This called to the other marines nearby.
Julia delivers a spray of covering fire at the feet of one of the straggling centurions, with the intent being to thwart its attempts at firing on the marines. It appears to be a moderate success, and she switches to the other remaining tincan once it crosses her field of view. "I'll help get the jarheads back on board," she tells Calliope over her shoulder, "soon as you give me the word."
"Medic!" calls one of the other marines - Edwards. Which indirectly answers Charlie's question. Nobody else seems to be hurt though. Cate ducks down a little as return fire splinters a tree next to her, and rushes over to help the injured man, firing as she goes.
Eva's viper continues to patrol the skies, in an attempt to ensure that the marines don't have any new surprises coming their way. Not much more she can do at the moment.
Up at the ski shack, the last of the civilians is ushered aboard. The pilot of that bird comes over the coms, "All civilians accounted for plus two marines. Lifting off now."
Calliope angles down, once Julia has fired off her last burst from the Raptor's guns. "I'm not too attached to these unfriendly skies. Heading back down now. Should be back in position to pick them up in three clicks."
Aye, it does answer Charlie's question. She peeks up around the snowbank in the direction of the shout. When Cate takes off, the Corporal shifts a bit to help cover the medic's egress. There's a check of her rifle, once more (jamming would suck) and it's back to her shoulder. "Just about the last of 'em, Sarge." This, to Jacob. So she has been paying attention. "I'll help ya cover the others." Since the rest of their merry band seems to have injured.
Hearing that phrase in Jacob's earpiece is music to his ears. "We got what we came for! Fall back to the Raptors! Everyone back, we're disengaging!" he shouts, tapping Charlie on the shoulder then nodding at her, a physical signal is clear for her move backwards while he covers her from the rest of the Cylons that are likely starting to encourch on the line they've managed to draw for the time being.
Van falls in alongside Eva's Viper, "How we doing down there..." and then the pilot of the last bird calls in, and he nods inside his cockpit, "Excellent. Skies are clear, Drake, Lastman, we're ready when you are." Dropping his eyes to his DRADIS for a heartbeat, he adds, "What do you think, Cherry. Should Drake be Bullseye? They always seem go for her."
Durant nods a few times and squawks, "Roger that Drake, my KEW is out so I am also setting down and picking up any stragglers. No one gets left behind."
With Calliope able to angle them in for a close pass of the remaining ground combatants, Julia quickly takes the opportunity to blast one of the centurions with a few well-placed rounds. Her crosshairs skim over the metal soldier's head, and her finger depresses the trigger without a moment's hesitation. Even with half its brainpan shot to shit, the tincan keeps firing though. "Stubborn frakker," grouses the ECO. "Getting the hatch," she tells her pilot. Below, the troops will see the warning flash of the ramp about to swing open as the bus comes in for a landing.
"I saw we just call it like we see it, Milkman, so I vote yes. She is damned good at getting away from then though, have to give her credit." Eva continues to circle, as the raptors start picking up their marines, the civilian already well away, "Lastman, this is your show, we'll head back when you give the word."
Cate gets to the side of the marine who called for assistance, only to discover. "It hit your vest. Hey, calm down. You're fine." She somehow refrains from calling the panicked private the dumbass she thinks he is, and helps him to his feet. "Come on, let's go," she urges, moving toward the Raptor as it touches down, blowing snow everywhere.
Durant runs his raptor downhill and the second squad of marines is retrieved. "Cherry, Lastman. We got all our boys and girls aboard. We are RTB." He glances up the hill thru the window to try and spy a glance at Drake's raptor to check if she is already airborne.
There's just a nod for Jacob in acknowledgement of the tap to shoulder and Charlie is falling back. There's some further suppressive fire over the Cylons before she's far enough to turn and fully break for the Raptor. Once to the ramp, she turns and takes up a crouch with her rifle again. As a precaution and to allow everyone else to get settled in. It's once everyone's on board that she engages the safety on her weapon and claims her own seat. "Well." This, once they're all aboard. "That was bracing."
Calliope touches back down to dirt, holding the Raptor's position there as the Marines load up. When that's done, she'll taxi them home. Quietly, as she comes down from the rush and noise of combat.
Jacob is one of the last ones aboard, taking his time, albeit hastened in placing down cover fire for anyone else looking to get aboard. All the way up to the ramp of the Raptor. He pulls the empty magazine free, turns it around and places the second one, since the tends to tie two magazines together for faster reloading. Another couple of shots are clipped off before he swings himself into the ship, hammering a fist down on the ramp button. "We're clear! Go!" he calls forward to the pilots.
Cate settles into a seat, breathing hard but otherwise none the worse for wear. "Bracing - that's one word for it," she comments to Charlie. "Anyone hurt?" she calls out, looking down the Raptor aisle, where her eyes light on Jacob in particular. Scanning for injuries.
"We'll see what the rest of the squadron thinks, Cherry. I don't want to take the CAG's prerogative if he wants to claim it." Van nods, "You hear that, Drake, Cherry said you did good. I agree. Galactica, Milkman, mission is RTB with civilians." Easier for him to make the call while Cherry and Lastman are coordinating the actual mission together. All he has to do is keep scanning the area and maintain formation.
Once the ramp is closing is when Charlie fully straps in and starts breaking down her rifle. Accessories are returned to their case and she's soon removing her helmet and lifting a hand to push at her thick hair a bit. "Looks like we're all golden," she offers after a glance around. Tired, cold, but no one's bleeding on Calliope's bird. "Civilians may be a different story, but the doc'll sort that out once we get back, I'm sure." Since, well, no civilians on their ride.
Julia waits until the marines are on board and the hatch secured before turning briefly to Jacob. "Next time, hands off my bus." Well, it's not technically her bus, but this detail doesn't seem important to her. "You worry about your men." For Cate's benefit, she points to one of the compartments near the back. "Medkit's in there if you need it."
Jacob was in the midst of doing a headcount when the interruption causes him to look at Julia reaaaaally strangely, as if she just grew a second head. Like he has absolutely zero clue in what she's talking about. That kind of look. "Okay." he says in a particular dismissive and absent deadpan that really might really mean 'go kick rocks'. Finishing his count, he nods once, and sits down into his chair. "Good job." Coming from him, that's a glowing endorsement.
Cate was kind of expecting an explosion when Julia said that to Jacob, and has a sort of 'huh, okay then' expression on her face at his deadpan response. Then she too glances at Julia. "Got my own, thanks." She nods to Charlie's comments about the civilians and then brushes off some snow from her knee, which is damp. "Next time, kneepads."
If she were a more officerly officer, Julia might elaborate upon what she's referring to. But she isn't, and she doesn't; and she's moved on to making notes in her datapad by this point, anyway. This is what one gets for playing taxi driver to a bunch of smelly marines, her taut expression says.
"Next time, a nice big puffy coat." Charlie echoes Cate's sentiments before she balances her rifle between her legs and her helmet against her knee. It seems the young woman may be intent on dozing on the way back to the Galactica.
Jacob is already asleep once his head leans back against the headrest. Either that or he's just gone back to that same state that he was in before they landed. He did his job, nobody died, and some officer got all salty for reasons that are beyond him. He'd chaulk that up to a good day. One of which there are a rare few.