A SAR mission rescues Rabbit from behind enemy lines.
Location: Atray Province, Tauron
Related Scenes: None
Plot: Operation: Bullhorn
Scene Number: 712
The alert lounge is the place where the "alert" crews (pilots and marines) hang out. There are a few bunks, some couches, a TV, a mini-fridge and a restroom. Everything they need so they never have to stray far from the hangar area. Near the door are some racks and locked cabinets for storing their duty weapons and helmets. Since they need to be ready in 5 minutes or less, they usually keep their flight suits and vests on.
Typically the call for an alert scramble simply comes over the loudspeaker, but today there's no such alert. There's just the XO himself marching into the lounge wearing a flight suit of all things. "Attention on Deck!" one of the marines calls.
Bean is lounging, fingers woven behind his head, eyes half-lidded with his head tilted toward the ceiling. His lips move occasionally, like he's rehearsing or silently reciting something. He is in the zone, however, and almost doesn't hear the sudden snap for attention. He's only a half-heartbeat slow getting off his feet and turns sharply toward the door. He blinks at the sight of the executive officer. In a flight suit. He glances only barely toward the person next to him, and then back to Ryan.
Eva jerks up from where she's laying on one of the couches, a cold pack covering most of the right side of her face. She grunts, something that never quite makes it to a curse, as she sits up at attention. The cold pack ends up in her lap, falling with an unsettling squelch, revealing the most glorious, the most righteous black eye that, quite possibly, there has ever been. her attention snaps to the door, and she rises to her feet, the cold pack now squelching on the ground.
Ensign Mata is at it again, balancing a string of licorice on her leg while she scribbles something obscure in a flight notebook, but at least she manages to get to herself in order before it's embarrassing. She comes to attention with a string of candy hanging out of her mouth, but discreetly spits it down the puffy outer vest of her flight suit. Pretty good aim, too. It catches between the layers of fabric out of sight.
Alert 5 can be terribly dull. Mostly if you've been on it long enough that any adrenaline you let yourself get by being prepared has ebbed away. Niemec has been in her flight suit and largely reading magazines. A recent stock of new ones came in on the last mail Raptor and people haven't torn them to bits yet. Some of them, at least. She looks up as the call to attention is made and blinks rapidly before moving swiftly to her feet and at attention. There is, briefly, a glance towards Eva as the ice pack hits the floor.
"At ease," Ryan says as he strides in, his voice an easy drawl. The ice pack thwapping on the floor gets his attention, and he peers at Eva for a moment. "Do I wanna see the other guy?" he quips. But there's barely a pause for an answer before he's moving over to the map of the province that's plastered up on the wall. "All right, listen up. A couple Tauron Air Force birds just called in. They saw something - looked like maybe someone flashing a signal mirror. Could be our two missing pilots. Here, in the mountains just over the western front lines." He taps the map for emphasis. "They tried to stick around to confirm, but got chased off by a flight of Raiders and Cylon Vipers."
Then Ryan turns to address the crews face to face. "Dust storm's kicking up in the area, so if it is them, it's gonna be a tricky rescue in those canyons. We'll take two Raptors. Niemec, you're primary. I'll be your backup." That's certainly different. It's pretty well known that the XO used to be a hotshot SAR pilot back in the day on Picon, but that was a long time ago. "We don't know if there'll be any resistance on the ground either, so marines - be ready. Questions?"
Bean relaxes at Ryan's orders, and then he glances slightly toward Eva before he looks back to the XO. The news of the signal mirror causes Bean to frown suddenly, but he just nods with the orders. Though the news that the XO is coming along causes the ex-Cop to blink suddenly. While he once worked undercover, it is hard to hide the surprise at being told that the second-to-big-boss is coming along. He glances to Niemec as he indicates her as his primary. He then looks back to Ryan, and just stays silent as an obvious and wordless 'no questions here, sir.'
Thankfully, Ryan flows right in to his mission debrief, so Eva doesn't need to answer. She just shoots the XO a grin. She can do that. He did say 'at ease'. The fact that she looks terribly pleased with herself is probably some indication that the viper stick is not that terribly upset by whatever lead to her looking so colourful. She does, however, try to catch Mata's attention, giving the Ensign a thumbs up. They're on the board as wingmates, but one always likes to make sure there's no objections when things like this come up.
Hallie digs out her licorice discreetly and shoves it into her mouth. Her gaze flicks to Eva, now that what's under the icepack is revealed. She gives a less than discreet thumbs up to the other viper jock, who may or may not see it from this angle. Her attention sweeps back to Ryan with the brief.
Primary? Niemec blinks a few times. There's a bit of a squaring of her shoulders as she gives a quick nod. "Yessir." There's a glance over to the others, should they have any questions. She? None. The woman is just relaxing from attention enough to zip up her flightsuit fully. She hasn't moved to go grab her helmet yet, but the woman is close enough to be able to jet off once they're ready.
When there are no questions, Ryan nods to the assembled. "All right, let's head out." To the birds they go, the marines split between the two Raptors. Then up up and away they go... or actually, down down and away they go to the planet's surface. Zooming in on the front lines. A dogfight can be seen in the distance to the east, and some explosions on the ground far to the west mark the scene of an engagement between Tauron and Cylon tank forces. But neither of those are their targets today, as the team crosses over into Cylon territory - unopposed, for now.
PFC Bean is in the Raptor with Niemec. He's currently getting light jabs from a neighboring Lance Corporal about whether or not he rubbed ointment on his joints before they loaded up. The Caprican is too busy going over a small, palm-sized book to really offer a suitable reply beyond a complacent, "Twice." Then he looks up toward the cockpit at some murmurs of dogfighting, and he looks pensive. He gently closes his small codex, and tucks it into his pocket once more.
Eva flies in close formation with the raptors, she and Mata are tasked with primary protection detail on the XO's raptor. Which leaves Kazimir and his wingman with the protection detail for the lead raptor Neimec's flying. "How you holding up, Mata?" The CAP and alert details have been rough, even for the more seasoned pilots. Her eyes move between DRADIS and a visual scan of the landscape, doing her best not to pay too much attention to what's going on far off in the distance.
Ensign Hallie Mata is once again in the cockpit of a shiny Mark II, flying on Cherry's wing, keeping an eye on the XO's raptor. She does spare a long look to the dogfight yonder, the one they're not getting into. "Just fine, Cherry. Stick's a little tight on this bird, but I'm flexible." The ensign's eyes flick to DRADIS. The young pilot sounds pretty cool and collected.
"Keep an eye on that DRADIS." This, to the bear riding backseat. Niemec, otherwise, doesn't seem too keen on chatter with her passengers. Then again, do they expect it? There's the whole matter of weaving their way through the front lines and to the planet below. No alarms of being targeted go off, but the Raptor pilot isn't about to take any chances. "Mace, Squeak," oh it is weird to be flying with the XO. "So far we're clear. Confirming coordinates with Tauran intel." Wouldn't do to land in a wholly different region, after all.
It's Kaz's first official mission since shipping in late last night, and it's possible he's still shaking off the dust of travel and an unfamiliar bird. His Mark II skims along with good lateral separation from Niemec's portside flank, maintaining an overwatch position with his wingman for the time being.
"Copy that," Ryan replies. "There's been reports of SAM batteries in the region, so everyone keep sharp." The hills stretch out below and in front of them, bleak, rocky terrain. There's a lot of brown, but some stretches of forest mixed in. As they approach the target area, clouds begin to obscure the sun, making the lighting almost dusk-like. Strong winds buffet the craft occasionally. Further in the distance to the west, the sky is more brown than blue, from dust kicked up by the storm. But they've got time before it reaches them.
Their DRADIS blips then - six signals heading their way at a fast clip.
The marines around Bean mutter things about Taurons allowing the Cylons to get such a strong foothold, and another Caprican nudges the quiet PFC in the shoulder with a companionable nature that is met with a stoic stillness. "Good thing those Taurons have Caprica here to save their ass," the other Marine says to Bean, and Bean blinks over at him. "Too bad Caprica built Cylons to begin with," the PFC says, tone flat. Colonial brotherhood? Tough love, maybe... He looks up at the blips of DRADIS from the ECO's console.
"They really have it in for us don't they?" Whether Eva means the gods, who choose just this moment to have the dust storm kick up, or the Cylons, well, "Mata, look sharp. They're going to try to use the oncoming storm to frak with our visibility." She pulls in close, still following Mace's lead. She double and triple checks her weapons systems, "Weapons hot. On your lead, Flight."
It's a small mercy that Mata can't hear the marine cross-talk inside that raptor over yonder. "Reminds me of home, Cherry, and half price drinks at the local hole." With a couple of switch flicks, she's weapons hot, all other systems green. Sometimes it's good to fly something with fresh parts and pieces. "Young eyes, fast hands." Definitely doesn't sound nervous.
It's likely a good thing the Tauran pilot can't hear the chatter of the marines in her bird. Or, if she can, Niemec is politely ignoring it. For now. However, when her ECO chimes in about the targets, she's too focused to worry about inter-colonial banter. "Hold tight," she calls back to her passengers and makes for evasive maneuvers. "Flight, Squeak. We got incoming. Any reads on what we're looking at?" Repurposed colonial ships? Raiders? Something else? The woman is more keeping an eye on not getting hit than taking any out; that's for the Vipers.
"Master arm on, weapons hot," crackles Kaz's thick Virgan slub over the wireless. "Squeak, I have your six." There's little else from the viper on Niemec's wing at the moment, though someone perceptive may spot caution in the way he flies.
Eva heads into the fray, not focusing, for the time being, on the cyper who seems to be bearing down on her. As her primary mission is protecting the raptors she instead moves in to engage with the one that seems to be moving in to attack Mace's ship. "Oh no you don't." That is said to herself, and then on comms, "Moving in to intercept, Mace." No instructions for the Ensign. Mata knows what to do.
Ryan's calm drawl comes over the comms, "We're coming up on the area where the Taurons saw the signal. Toasters'll probably be on us about the time we get over the coordinates. Alpha-Two-Nine has eyes on the ground." True to his word, he's letting Niemec take the flight lead, trying to act as just another Raptor in the pack.
Mata's got her sights on anything cylon-shaped bearing down on Cherry. "Cherry, Mata. Covering you." When the field livens up, the young pilot's chatter dies down a bit. Shoot-distracting the enemy off of your wingman is serious business.
Kazimir has one job, and that's to keep the hooligans off the raptors. Like a power forward in a pyramid match, he launches into the fray with a burst of engines, cutting power to number three and hauling on the flight stick to whip his bird around into a firing position. "Squeak, Twinkle Toes. Intercepting." If that little T-bomb of a name wasn't enough, he depresses the trigger and launches a volley of heavy fire at the raider chasing his charge.
The ECO riding with Niemec is preparing the rear-firing KEW, just in case. The Captain has switched her missiles to active... again, just in case. However, much like their XO, she's aiming for the target site. Focused more on evasion and getting to their destination in one piece. "Hold on," she calls to those in the Raptor. "Might be a bumpy ride." The comms are switched back to the flight as a whole. "Twinkle Toes, Squeak. Copy."
"You call this bumpy?" Bean's voice can be heard as he crosses his arms at his chest, trusting in his appropriate belting. "Back in my day, this would have been called a leisurely jaunt." They do call him Gramps after all, but he's probably taking the whole callsign thing a bit too seriously. A younger Marine who is a step or two above him in rank starts to get a little green around the edges. "You puke on me, Reynolds..." That's as far as his warning gets.
A solid, and entirely useless hit. She can see her fire rock the cyper, but nothing more, perhaps because she couldn't get a good angle, flying as she was trying to avoid the fire all around her. "Damn that colonial shipbuilding technology." She's not letting up though. Not while that raider is still dogging Mace.
There's the tiniest of snort laughs over the Mata's open comms. Despite the tense moment, that sound is pure joy. As she engages the enemy, KEWs firing, it seems like everyone takes evasives, because she misses, but so does that frakkin' cyper. Most everybody misses everything, except, of course, for Twinkle Toes. "Cho." She mutters to herself in Tauran, "Come back here, enemy fighter. I have something for you."
Kazimir squints as all of that sound and fury resolves into some scratched paint and sparking flight controls on his target.. and little else. No time to sit around and think about it, the viper stick whips his bird around in a full immelman with about as tight a turning radius as is possible in a mark two, and takes another run at the pesky raider. Tracer fire lights up his canopy once he's lined up a shot; the intent is to disable, then move in for the kill.
"On the one that's on your six, Mace," says Hotshot as he angles his Viper after the one targeting the XO's bird. Ryan shows that he's not entirely out of practice, though, as his evasive maneuvers keep the enemy from getting a lock.
In the back of the Raptor, one of the other marines, Lambert, fires back good-naturedly at Bean, "They even have Raptors all the way back then, Gramps?"
"Keeping 'em from getting shot down and they mock the flying." Niemec might've left her comms open. Can you blame her? There's six bandits floating around out there. Still, no hits cross their hull and she's angling in towards the landing. "Mace, Squeak. I think I've got the landing site. Nothing else on DRADIS yet." There's a bit of a stress to the 'yet.'
"Uh huh," Bean says as he settles back into his seat. "But we called them Pigeons." Get it? He made a bird joke. And everyone dies of laughter. The ex-Cop glances ahead, watching Niemec from his spot in the back. "You're sounding old and bitter, Cap'n... welcome to the club."
As the fighters continue to dance in the sky above, the two Raptors focus their attention on the ground. There's nothing at the precise coordinates that the Tauron boys had called in, which leads Mace to say, "Seeing nothing here. You got anything, Squeak?"
Hotshot does a little damage to the Viper on the XO, but there's one chasing him and he says, "Got one on my six. Anyone able to get him off my ass?"
Frak. Another hit, but that damned Cyper is still flying. Thankfully, Mace is doing most of the hard work, and avoiding the fire coming in on him, "Almost clear, Mace, coming back around." Eva twists and dives, avoiding the cyper she now does notice is on her tail, trusting Mata to have her back. "Coming in again, pulling in on your right, Squeak." best to avoid the potential collision.
The satisfying impact of KEW to cylon mk I hull is a delight, really. Mata's aggressive flying style eases off only for a beat to check on her wing. Looks like this particular Cylon viper is still after Cherry, which means the Ensign's still in this dogged pursuit. She throttles down, easing back into her seat a little bit.
"My joints ache and I haven't had my vitamins," Niemec calls back. She may be joking, she may not. The Raptor does swing a bit wildly as the Raider continues to chase their tail. Still, she does notice the hit from Kazimir. "Nice shot, T-T." A pause and she evens out the craft, beginning to adjust for the landing. Or to make a pass over to get a better look. "Copy, Cherry. Mace, nothing yet. Getting in lower for a better look."
"Negative, Hotshot," Kazimir replies over wireless, voice slightly strained as he fights G forces intent on bringing his viper to the ground. "Suggest you juke as best you can until our raptors are in the clear." And he promptly noses in for a sharp dive, KEW stitching a path across the flank of the raider still chasing Niemec. Meanwhile, his own bogey is left trying to play catchup as it tries to score a hit on him.
That's it, now Eva is really mad. And, perhaps getting a bit reckless. But gods damnit, she is going to take down this damned raider that's doing their level best to take out the XO. She swings back around, twisting into a tight spiral before she shots back, now with added thrust. She'll take whatever the consequences are.
"Frak me! Arrgh." Hotshot is in trouble, one hit peppering his cockpit while another damages his craft's side. "I'm in trouble here." He abandons trying to get the one on Ryan and takes evasive maneuvers.
Niemec and Kazimir both notice something off on the edge of a stand of trees to the west -- smoke! A closer look shows that it's coming from a small bonfire at the base of the trees. And near the bonfire is a humanoid figure, frantically jumping and waving a hand. The signal mirror was kind of a bust given the overcast skies, so he had to improvise.
"Slippery little..." Mata's still dogging that cylon that just won't shake off of Cherry, no matter how many times the ensign swats its nose (or weapons array, as the case may be). Her adjustments are minute but constant, throttling back a bit to line up her shot. She clenches her jaw and squeezes, Hotshot's call inspiring some urgency.
Raider1 takes a serious hit to the cockpit area, peppering the Cylon pilot with shrapnel. (Yes, these old Raiders have actual pilots - they're not the organic meat-brain tech that will be seen in the second war.) Proving that Cylons do have some measure of self-preservation built in, it turns and tries to make a run for it back towards the Cylon side of the front.
Kazimir swings his viper in for a high-speed reverse immelman, gunning once more for the raider harrassing Niemec. And this time, his shots do more than superficial damage; they blow sizeable chunks out of the machine, rendering it (one would think) nearly inoperable. How it's still flying when he's done with it.. he doesn't stop to ponder. Instead, with his first target incapacitated, he goes after Hotshot's bogey aggressively.
"Hotshot, Squeak. Wave off. Back to Galactica if you can make it, land if not." It's not like they aren't already landing for a rescue mission. Then, on a lower pass, Niemec spots the fire. "Mace, Squeak. I've got them. We're sending the location now. I think I see a place nearby I can land." She twists a bit to look back further into the Raptor. "One of you-" to the marines, "get on your radios. See if they've got anything." Because if the 'missing' pilots have anything, it'll probably be shortwave. And then it's back to evading that stubborn Raider that refuses to go boom.
Eva hears Hotshot's call, and she opens the comms, "Mace, you're going to have to do the work for a minute, I need to clear those vipers on my pilot." The last thing they need is another viper shot down, especially when they're already trying to affect a rescue. Hopefully she won't regret this in the morning.
"Copy that, pulling out," Hotshot says, disengaging from the battle.
Once Niemec points out the signal fire, Ryan says, "I see 'em. We've got you covered. Be careful - winds are picking up." The marines are unable to make contact with the pilot, but as the Raptors circle in closer they can definitely see that it looks like Rabbit. He's a bit beat up, his flightsuit tattered, his arm in a makeshift sling using a strip of cloth.
"Squeak, Twinkle Toes, your friend shouldn't be bothering you much anymore. But we're taking a lot of heat up here; what's the status of things down there?" Kaz's rounds slice through the raider he's targeting, shearing off bits of metal in a chunky trail of debris that he swoops into a barrel roll to avoid. He fires again, and again, determined to knock it out of the sky.
Mata is glued to the cyper on Cherry's six. As long as the beastie can't plug her wing, that's all that matters to the ensign. "Cherry, Mata. Still dancing with your friend back here."
Bean, being the lower ranked one, just waits to be given an order. He gets one, after a heartbeat, from the baby-faced Corporal who tells him to lay down coverfire when they land and the hatch opens. He nods, offering a gruff reply, and then glances to Niemec before unbelting, and hauling to his feet.
"Copy," Niemec answers Ryan before angling in for the landing. She does hover, just briefly, to make sure Hotshot has cover on his way out. They're already pretty busy rescuing here. No need to risk another. The Raptor comes in for a landing, the ECO hitting the button for the hatch even before they've touched down. The pilot? Remains put. Quicker exit that way.
Hotshot and Raider1 have both successfully disengaged from the battle, one heading into Cylon territory and the other back to Galactica. Ryan continues to dodge the one Raider on his tail, circling around the landing site. "Looks like there's some ground troops closing in from the north," he reports. "Laying down some fire." He focuses on there. With Bean ready to provide covering fire, another marine stands ready by the hatch to go out and help Rabbit up as soon as the Raptor touches down and Niemec gives the signal.
"What is it with these guns? I'm shooting like a rook." Silence, "No offense, Mata." She swings back around, having barely gotten a hit on the cyper still hounding Hotshot, the whole body of her viper shaping as she takes a hit herself, "I'm alright...heading back around." With Hotshot now clear, she still has that raider to finish off. Before it finishes off Mace.
"Get 'em in," Niemec calls over her shoulder, shifting to angle the missiles towards the north. Just in case. The ECO sits on the KEW. Similarly... just in case. "Medkit's under the bench." Then she's leaning, watching the sky and the surrounding area through the cockpit window.
"Splash one, and looks like Squeak's bogey is breaking off," Kazimir notes over the comms, arcing his viper up and over the landing zone as he hunts for another target to train his sights on. The cylon-piloted viper harrassing the XO will do nicely. Never mind that he's gained another tagalong of his own. Scowling, he backs off his attack run slightly and tries for a high side pass across Eva's flank, to try to lead his pursuers into her guns.
As soon as the word is given, the marine rushes out to help Rabbit. Bean and Lambert cover them, dinging up some Centurions coming out of the woods, while Ryan causes some nice fireballs in the forest with his ground rockets. "Got more blips headed this way on DRADIS," Ryan reports. "Soon as we've got our boys in, we should beat feet." Not entirely an order, given that he designated Niemec primary, but more of a firm suggestion.
With his good arm around the marine's shoulder, Rabbit is hauled up onto the Raptor. "Echo's dead. Rabbit's safe aboard," the marine reports to Niemec.
"Scratch that, I am most definitely not shooting like a rook." With Kazimir in her sights and with both of them aiming at the same cyper, the only pilot left that could have eliminated the one on her tail is Mata, "Nice shot, Ringer." Because clearly, Mata is only impersonating an Ensign rook. "I'll try to clear the one on your tail, Twinkle Toes." Eva banks around, using Kazimir's position to allow her to, hopefully, slot in between him and his tailgater.
"That was the longest date in the history of my life," Mata intones, quite series in her inflection. "Cherry, your admirer's been dumped. With you riding in to cover tee-tee." She breaks off to hone in on the raider, one of two apparently after the brightly nicknamed jock.
Behind his helmet's faceplate, Kazimir is - inexplicably - smiling just a little as he gives chase to the pair of raiders. Maybe this is his idea of a good time. "Breaking to starboard in three, two.." One, and he firewalls his portside engine and kills the starboard engine, flipping end over end a couple of times before reigniting all three thrusters at full burn. Hopefully his lunch is still where it should be.
"Mace, Squeak. We've got Rabbit. Echo was KIA." It's quick, clipped, and almost too devoid of emotion. No one likes losing a pilot... but there isn't time right now. Niemec glances back to get a look at Rabbit before she nods to the ECO. The hatch is closed and only Rabbit gets enough time to be strapped in before she's taking off. "Flight, Squeak. We're up and away. Let's get clear and back to the barn."
The Raiders aren't inclined to pursue the Colonial ships, especially after that last round of licks. So with Rabbit getting tended to in the back of the Raptor, they're able to successfully head on back to Galactica.
One hit. Not the money shot, but if it kept the cyper from getting a bead on Kazimir then Eva did her job. Not really, but maybe that's what she'll tell herself on the way back. With Niemec giving the order to withdraw, she does as ordered, moving back into position with Ryan's raptor, trying to provide covering fire if required, until they can get far enough away to declare themselves clear. "Nice flying, Ringer. Even better shooting."
Of course it's in defense of Twinkle Toes that Ens Mata incapacitates an incoming raider (before it can put a dent in the most lethal colonial of the day). "Twinkly, Mata. Got your six too." She says that with the utmost in sincerity. Not one to leave a wounded bird flapping, she prepares to take another shot and finish the job.
Kazimir launches a few salvos of KEW fire at the cyper giving their XO shit, and scores a solid hit across the mark I's flank. With the call given to break off, he waggles his wings once and noses up, climbing away from the fleeing cylon. "Copy, Squeak. Initiating RTB immediately. Hoser, form up on me." There's a pause, and then he taps his radio again to add "Nice shooting, Mata."
The crews are able to return to Galactica without incident. "Nicely done, everyone," Ryan says before heading off with Rabbit and the med crew to sickbay.