The Wolfpack dukes it out with a pack of Raiders and Cypers.
Location: Atray Province
Related Scenes: None
Plot: Operation: Bullhorn
Scene Number: 713
There have been a number of missions in the mountains on the opposite side of the lake, bombing Cylon ground positions, and a marine hunt-and-destroy raid take out a mobile SAM battery that's been harassing air patrols in the region. And, of course, good old-fashioned 'patrol the skies and shoot anything hostile' missions, which is what their wing is doing right now. Under the CAG's lead, they've been patrolling the front in the foothills near the lake, looking for bogeys. So far, none have been kind enough to oblige them. "You think if we sent Bullseye up front it'd be enough to get them to come out and play?" Kallas asks over the coms, a teasing note in his voice.
"Flight. Bullseye. I see how it is now." There's a note of a laugh in Calliope's voice. And a little thrill, as she actually gets to use her proper callsign over the comms. "I'll try not to paint too clear a target on my hull."
Finally, a fighter sweep instead of CAP -- except it's been a sweep without any hostile fighters. It's enough to drive a blood-thirsty (oil-thirsty?) pilot mad. Still, Van stays tucked in behind the Raptor, covering the tail end of the flight, and maintains his visual and DRADIS scanning with exacting detail. The comments from the other pilots cause a faint smile to settle into the corner of his mouth, however, and he adds in, "Don't worry, Bullseye, I'm just waiting to see what the Chief likes to find out the right bribe to get one painted on your bird." Thankfully, Van is a little too tight-laced to actually bribe the Chief of the Deck to do... well... anything.
Eva's voice comes over the comms, "No paint required, Bullseye. Just wiggle your tail---feathers and they'll come running." I mean, if a sleek little raptor like that won't bring the all the Cylons to the yard, then what will. "Still quiet, far as I can see. We may need to do something drastic." Any heat they're taking means one more mission with less opposition, right?
"I like the way you think, Milkman," Kallas says with a chuckle. "Let's poke our noses northwest a little. Knock on their front door a little. Keep sharp for SAMs. The groundpounders took out the battery that's been giving us grief, but sure as hell that wasn't their only one." He nudges his bird to the northwest, closer to the front.
"Flight, Bullseye. I feel like I need a new tatt. Somehow I never got drunk enough to get a dart board on my ass in college." Calliope swivels her stick to make her Raptor bobs its metal backside at her flightmates. Her eyes stay locked on the terrain, though, and she asks for periodic updates to the DRADIS read-out from her ECO. "Acknowledged, Smackdown. Adjusting course."
"Roger, Smackdown. Milkman following suit." Van rolls his Viper into an easy turn, "Let me know if you want me to try a sucker-sweep, see if we can rile up anyone down below to call in some birds for us to play with." Using a sonic boom as a wake-up call may be a little more direct than waggling one's tail across the sky, but it has the same idea. "Bullseye, I don't know that anyone gets that drunk."
"Copy that, Flight." Eva follows the CAG's lead, dipping down to stay in formation with the small cluster of colonial ships. While she doesn't deviate from th new course, she does dip down so that she can get a bit closer to the ground, far enough that she can see the underside of the raptor and the accompanying vipers.
"Sad to say I've known a few, Milkman," Kallas chuckles. "Man, that's what we should do - squadron tattoos." One can almost hear the grin in Kallas' voice. "That was totally not an order, by the way." Not that anyone was liable to take it that way. "Pass on the sucker-sweep, Milkman, but call out if anyone sees any juicy ground targets we can harass to get their attention?" There aren't any in easy view, but someone down there must've spotted them. Before they can spend much time looking, Callipoe's ECO comes over the coms, "Bogeys incoming. Count six." He gives the bearing and distance.
Calliope laughs over the comm. "Milkman, Bullseye. You've obviously never done spring break in Cap City." Then her ECO sends the call about enemies out, and she ceases bantering about drunken tattoo shennanigans. "We see them, Smackdown. Preparing to engage."
Eva's laughter sounds over the comms, "I would be so down for that. Squeak would be so proud of me." As the ECo calls out his reading, "It's six. Always six. Do you think they have lucky numbers?" Eva pulls back up, returning to level with the raptor and the rest of the vipers, as she moves into position. Despite the fact that the raptor pilots in the Wolfpack are incredibly good shots, they still only have limited ammo. "Let's see if we can soften them up for you, Bullseye."
"And I thought we partied hard at the Academy. I guess not." Van checks his DRADIS as the bogies are called out, "I've got nothing on my scope." He glances down again, "Frak... I think my DRADIS is malfunctioning." And he takes up his visual scanning instead, staying high and behind the rest of the Colonial fighters. "It could be their default flight size, Cherry."
"Probably some kind of optimized algorithm or some such crap," Kallas reasons. "Milkman, the rest of your systems green? Pull back if the bird starts giving you too much trouble. Let's head on in. Milkman, on me. Twinkletoes, on Cherry."
Eva's voice chimes in over the comms, as Kallas sets the wing assignments, "That's the best news I've heard all day, flight." She pulls up, moving in to secure Kazimir's wing, before she advances to engage the raider who seems to be heading right for her.
Calliope assumes evasive maneuvers. She's still a newb at many part of this military pilot thing, but she's learning how to slip into those pretty fast. "Weapons hot. Trying to get a lock. Mince's jammers are prepped and ready."
Kazimir urges his bird forward with a tap of thrusters, strafing in for a blindside shot on his wingman's pursuer while she busies herself with one of the raiders harrassing Calliope. "On your six, Cherry," he assures, the Virgan's clipped slub crackling over the wireless after remaining mum throughout the discussion on ink.
"Smackdown, Milkman, everything else is green, and I won't need my DRADIS soon." Van flicks the charging switches on his KEWs, "Weapons hot, I'm on your wing, Smackdown." The Picon pilot nudges his throttles forward to creep up from his tail-end-charlie position, then spots the incoming, "I've got them. Right where Mince said they'd be."
"I never doubted it, Twinkle Toes." Cherry's voice is clipped, as she banks hard to the right to avoid the kew fire trying to light up her nose. She's weapons hot herself, and manages to get a good hit on one of the raiders, before she flips back around to see if she can track it down and finish the job.
Calliope jerks and weaves through the atmosphere, and the enemy fire that suddenly fills it. "Damage report?" she says, sounding a little out of breath, to her ECO when she has a moment. She's surprised to hear they're unscratched. For now. Letting out a relieved "Pffew" before she gets back on the radio. "Flight, Bullseye. Target locked and preparing to fire. Mince is keeping on the suppressors."
Kallas zeroes in on one of the Raiders on Bullseye's Raptor while Van targets the other. "Three on Bullseye. Damn, girl, living up to your callsign already. We're on them."
Kazimir's guns stitch a neat line of fire across the raider's flank, but the end result is insubstantial. He kicks his 'burners and weaves deeper into the fray, switching to one of the raiders still harrassing the raptors. "Flight, Twinkle Toes; switching things up to give Bullseye a hand," he informs the other pilots over the wireless.
When the pair of Raiders and the Cyper come burning in at the sole Raptor in the group, Van takes it as an opportunity. As the Cylons auger in, Van rolls inverted, just avoiding a glowing rope of tracers tracking for his Viper. This gives him a nice shot down at one of Bullseye's attackers, and he lays a series of tracers -- and the more dangerous ball rounds between -- across the canopy of one of the Raiders. Fierce anger flashes across his usually-composed features, even as he breaks out right, turning in behind Kallas again, "Smackdown, Milkman, I think I've picked up a tail. I can run him around long enough to help clear Bullseye's tail."
"Thanks, Twinkle Toes. She looks a little too tasty today. I'll be with you soon." Eva gets in another decent, but not great hit, but she isn't going to let that stop her. One more, hopefully, will do it, "I'll head over to clear you in a tic."
"Copy that Milkman. This bastard's slippery," Kallas gripes, trying to stay on the one Raider's tail as it in turn sticks on Calliope. "Good flying, Bullseye. Keep it up."
Calliope looses a missile...which finds only empty air. The Cylons dogging her also just zing at the atmo around her Raptor, though, so she still grins as she comes through the end of that volly. "Flight, Bullseye. Keeping it dancing. I don't want to get a rep as an easy dart board. We're coming about to put some of ours back in their teeth." Her ECO is already working the guns, bringing them to aim at one of the Raiders on their tail.
"You take your time, Cherry," Kazimir replies with a chuckle over the wireless, eyes narrowing as his guns miss by a few feet on his next pass. Instead of upping the pursuit, he pulls back, living up to his name with an almost balletic sideslip beneath Eva's bird, to line up a shot from a different angle on his target. "Bullseye, Twinkle Toes. See if you can pull him into my guns. I'm still on your six."
Van cranes his head to flick a glance at the Raider he hit before, "You've got one coming in from your five o'clock, Bullseye." He has to slide his Viper across the sky, slewing the tail, to avoid another burst from the Raider on his own tail, and he only puts a quick flare of bullets across his target's bow, missing the high-deflection shot. "Not a problem, Smackdown. Keeping your tail clear."
"I have a feeling this is going to one of those days." Eva banks, twisting and turning with her raider. Her tone is not quite as jovial as usual. The raider is still on her and she's still on it. It's a battle to see who dies first.
"Cherry, Twinkle Toes, how're you doing over there?" The viper jock's voice is slightly strained as he's in the midst of pulling a hard turn when his voice crackles over the wireless. The moment his target's in his crosshairs, he rolls into position and fires.
One of the Cypers peels off of Calliope to face the ships that just blew up his pal. If Cylons even have pals. Kallas jerks the stick to the side in an attempt to avoid it while still saying on the tail of the one going for the Raptor.
Calliope keeps dancing. Insofar as a bulky, boxy Raptor 'dances'. She sweeps the bus around to try and play lure to the Raider still on her. And lure it into Kazimir's sights. Her ECO keeps pouring fire out of the back of it. It mostly just adds to the chaos in the air rather than doing any damage, but it's one more thing to chase. "Twinkle Toes, Bullseye. Bringingn her around. Let's see if she tracks..."
"I'm good, I'm good, no need to worry." Eva's voice comes just after the call. Even if she weren't, likely she wouldn't let Kaz ease up from raptor detail.
"Milkman, scratch one." As the Raider banks around for another run on Calliope's Raptor, Van turns into the Cylon fighter, getting a gorgeous top-down view of it. The tracers spray out in front of the Raider, Van letting the Cylon fly right into them. His smile is tight as the canopy simply comes apart, the Raider starting to tumble as it goes. As he's coming around onto Kallas's tail once more, he spots another Viper trying to slide into that same spot, "Smackdown, you've picked one up. Break right on my mark. Three, two, one... mark." There is no hesitation to the Picon pilot's voice, even though he's giving orders to his CO.
Still shooting, and it looks like Eva isn't going to be switching partners any time soon. "He's still going. I'm going to see what I can do with him. Hate to leave him limping."
"Nice work, Milkman." Kallas manages to ding the Raider he's on, but it doesn't seem to do much damage. He breaks right on Van's signal, no compunctions about following the junior officer's suggestion when it comes to a bogey on his tail. It's not quite fast enough to completely avoid the Cyper's cannon fire. His ship shakes, the stick giving a strange little vibration, but it doesn't seem to have done much.
Van rolls right a heartbeat before he calls the mark, setting himself up for an easier shot on the Cyper. His burst of KEW fire barely grazes the Cylon ship beneath the cockpit, but when it staggers under the influence of the Raptor's missile, Van smiles fiercely, "Way to live up to your name, Bullseye." Every second or two he darts a glance over his shoulder, making sure that he's moving about violently enough to avoid the attentions of the Raider still on his tail.
"No joy on this bastard," Kaz quips over wireless, starting to sound a little salty. "Hopping back on your six for now, Cherry." He manages, once again, to avoid being hit by the raider relentlessly chasing him, but does only minimal damage to the one on Calliope. Feeding his viper more tylium, he streaks upward to help out his wingman.
Calliope fires another missile at the cyper on Kallas. Letting out a "Frak!" of surprise as it actually hits the thing. Even if the thing is still kicking, maybe it's a moral victory for her. "Milkman, Bullseye. Doing my best. Thanks for getting one of those frakkers off me, flight."
Rocked by solid hits from both the CAG and Twinkle Toes, one of the Raiders - trailing smoke - turns to disengage from the fight and flee back to Cylon territory. With the Raider clear for now, he goes after the one hassling Cherry.
"Good to hear, Twinkle Toes, maybe you ca finish this one off. He just keeps wanting to hang around." Eva flips her bird around, trying, with any luck, to catch the raider between her fire and Kazimir's. The things is going to die some sort of way.
Van rolls his Viper high again, getting a nice top-down shot on the Cyper on the CAG's tail, even if there's a good deal more deflection than his first shot. The tracers impact dead-on the cockpit again, and that fierce grin returns to Van's lips, "Burn you metal bastard." That's not intended to be broadcast, but it might get caught by the comms anyhow. "I don't see any smoke, Smackdown, I think you're clear on that hit."
"Flight, Bullseye. My tail's clear. Looks like that frakker's running scared. Mince is back on the jamming suites." Calliope stays focused on her target, but her ECO returns to plugging interference into the air as the Raider does a runner.
Quiet over the wireless for now, Kazimir fires, pauses, fires again, and whips his bird around to reposition himself for a fresh barrage on Cherry's pursuer. All the while, his own attacker still seems to be having trouble landing a hit. Though that could change, of course, at any moment.
"Thanks for the assist, Twinkle Toes. This one is a real bear." As her wingman can see. "Nine lives, I swear." A flash of light hits her from the left, as Calliope's target explodes. Missile strikes are hard to miss, "Nice work, Bullseye!"
Van splashes a few rounds across the damaged Cyper again, then it takes another blast from a missile, "That your first kill, Bullseye?" Evidently, he's quite willing to ignore the fact that his own burst clipped the Cylon ship. He checks Kallas's tail again, following after the CAG on another run, and then spots the Viper on Kazimir's tail, "Twinkle-Toes, Milkman, if you go vertical, I think I can get a shot on your trailer."
"FRAK!" Calliope neglects to do her swearing off-comm that time. She sounds more surprised than celebratory, and there's a laugh at Van's question. "Was at that, Milkman. Wow, these things can make shit explode, can't they?" Her flight path levels out now that she has some freedom from KEW fire.
"You or him, Cherry?" the CAG wonders as the Raider jerks out of his sights. "Bullseye got one?" he catches Van's traffic with a note of pleased surprise in his voice. "Nicely done."
"Copy that, Milkman," Kaz notes brusquely, and urges his viper into a sharp climb. In order to keep from hitting stall velocity, he goes full throttle with a burst of speed that brings him within spitting distance of the sound barrier.
Eva says, "A bit of both right at this moment, Flight."
"Nice shot, Cherry. You okay?" Kallas' concern is obvious as he sees her ship take a hit during that last pass.
"You have to get something fun if you're going to drive a bus, Bullseye." Van sweeps into a turn that has Kazimir rocketing up in front of him... and there's the Cyper, following neatly behind, right into Van's gunsight. A tight burst of bullets clip the ship's cockpit from behind, punching through the armor of the body but not hitting anything critical. And then Van is flashing past, craning his neck to follow the enemy ship, "Damn it, I only clipped him." And then the flash of tracers past his own cockpit reminds him that he still has someone trying to put holes in his own Viper, and he cranks his stick over in the other direction, looking to check Kallas's six and then re-acquire the Cyper on Kazimir's tail. "And she certainly did, Smackdown. Missile to the face."
Adrenaline surging, engines screaming as they're pushed near the physical limits of their engineering, Kaz completes his climb and corkscrews around to swing back into the fray. His guns light up, blasting the raider who's chasing Van.
Calliope makes some fiddly adjustments to her targeting systems as she tries to get another lock. As if newly aware she can actually hit stuff with these things. Mince snorts at her and just keeps on keeping on with the electronic suites. As the CAG asks after Eva's status, her eyes skim the skies to make sure she's got a bead on the other woman's Viper.
Eva's luck only lasts so long, and the raider, even as it finally finds eventual its end, has enough gumption to rock her ship. The nose is smoking, but the engines are holding, and Eva tries to do a quick dip to help put out whatever fire's started up there, "I'm still alive, thanks you for the assist!" Whether or not the fire's out, at least the smoke isn't blowing right back into her cockpit and she can see the raider bearing down on Milkman, "Coming to you, Milkman, hold tight."
Only one Cylon remains. Facing five against one odds, he decides to turn tail and run. "Run him down, flight," Kallas orders, turning his Viper to pursue.
"Nice shooting, Twinkle Toes! I knew they made you CAG for a reason, Flight." Eva's viper has finally stopped smoking, but there's no rest for the wicked, as she spins around, moving into follow the CAG's lead. "Maybe we'll get lucky and we'll meet a few more of his friends." Like the one that got away earlier.
"Flight, Bullseye. Just spent my last missile." Calliope's Raptor stays out of the path of the Vipers as they jet after the one remaining Cylon, jamming suites still engaged and blanketing the thing.
With his attacker yet to land a single shot, Captain Fairchild seems happy enough to lay off the guns, and take off in hot pursuit, giving his wingmates a chance to take a few potshots as they mop up the last of the raiders.
Van just makes sure that his own trailer isn't going to get an easy shot, and otherwise trusts his fellow Wolfpack to deal with him. As the Cyper turns away, Van crosses its tail and makes a beauty of a deflection shot straight into the bird's cockpit. Sure, it doesn't look as pretty as the missile hit from Bullseye's Raptor, but it certainly does some damage. "Oh no, you're not getting back to base to get repaired. You're going to be scrap metal."
"We have got to find out what they've been eating for breakfast." Eva keeps on going, exchanging precision for speed, trying to catch up with the quickly disengaging cyper. Added bonus, still no smoke in her cockpit.
Van firewalls his throttle for a moment, blazing in close behind the fleeing Cyper and then chopping it back, doing his best to maintain the exact same speed as the damaged bird. His KEWs speak again, vomiting forth tracers and ball rounds that just spark off the wing of the frantically fleeing Cylon's ship. "No, no, no... you're not getting away..." the words are spoken low and quiet as Van leans forward on his seat.
"Damn but those things can dodge and weave," Kallas complains as he can't get a good bead on it. He glances down at the ground below, noting their position. "Flight, Smackdown," he's got his business voice on now. "Can't pursue for much longer. We're getting too far into their territory."
"Acknowledged, Smackdown." Calliope sticks with the Vipers for as long as they can chase the thing, though.
"Copy, Smackdown. Twinkle Toes disengaging after this pass." Kaz thumbs off his mic and firewalls his thrusters in preparation to slot in for a killshot.
The Cylon Viper continues to lead them on a merry chase, getting its paint scratched but not taking any serious damage. "Frak," Kallas grumbles. "Flight, Smackdown. Take one last shot then disengage and head back for our lines." He adjusts his aim, preparing to do just that.
This is either going to end well, or spectacularly badly, as Eva give her viper full throttle, trying to get in and get one last shot on the cylon. "Maybe we need to start finding ways to use these Mk IIs again." The ships taken a LOT of hits and is still going.
Van grimaces at the CAG's voice in his cockpit, but he still responds, "Milkman copies, Smackdown." His left hand continues to tease the throttle, responding to the Cylon's evasive maneuvers as he tries to keep right behind the Cyper. Squeezing the trigger gently, he starts to lift out of position, only for the CAG to amend the orders in the wake of the glancing hits and near misses. The fierce smile is back, and Van drifts slightly above the Cyper, angling for a shot down into the cockpit.
Calliope slows her throttle, ready to adjust her course once the Vipers take their last shot at the thing. "Come on..." she murmurs. Crossing her fingers and willing her flightmates to scrap the thing.
Kazimir steels his jaw and goes in again for one more pass, after hearing the CAG's voice over the wireless. His acrobatics are a treat, but he's nothing special on the viper's guns, and seems to be struggling to land a decent hit.
"Now's when the real danger pops out." Eva knows how this goes. "Just when we turn to leave." With the final, visible, cyper now one of the dearly departed, she moves to disengage and angles to return to Tauron airspace. But that doesn't stop her from keeping her eyes on the skies and on DRADIS, just in case something else pops out from the woodwork.
Van rolls his Viper one more time, getting off a good long burst into the Cyper's cockpit. He's far from alone, however, as the rest of the flight tear into the fleeing Cylon's ship as well. The Picon pilot pulls back on the stick to turn the roll into a dive, pulling out lower to the ground, where he's pretty sure he'll be out of the way of his fellow Colonials, and then starts to regain altitude, headed back for friendly lines. "Scratch one more. I really didn't want that one to get away."
"Flight, Twinkle Toes. Skies look clear from here. Good work." Kaz's voice cuts out, and he brings his bird around to fall back into formation, for a presumed RTB.
"Good job, everyone. One less we'll have to take down tomorrow." Kallas' satisfied voice comes over the coms when the last Cyper gets gangpiled by everyone. "Let's head back to the ship, let the deckies check out the birds." Since a couple of them got dinged and Van's DRADIS was acting up.
"I can hear the wailing already." Eva continues to fly back, falling into drogue position behind the main flight. No point in getting another viper hit if something does come up from behind at them. "I think they're still livid we lost Jigger's Viper and didn't try to tow it back. One of them offered me some cables and a couple of grappling hooks.
"Flight, Mince's DRADIS is reading clear, too. Course set for home," Calliope says, grinning ear-to-ear as she watches that last Cylon blip out on her read-outs.
"Milkman copies, Smackdown." Van draws his ship back up to level with the others and brings the throttle back to cruising speed, settling in high and to the left of the formation, "Milkman is going to try percussive maintenance on his DRADIS, hold one." WHACK. Van smacks the console just above the DRADIS screen with the heel of one hand, waits a moment, then shakes his head, "No joy on percussive maintenance. Screen is still frozen. You feeling any breezes, Cherry, or are you still alright?"
Cherry (on comms): "I'm still in one piece, Milkman, appreciate the concern. Figured I might as well hang my ass out there for a while. Give Bullseye a rest. She showed us all up today." There's no small amount of pride in that comment. Always good to see an Ensign do well.
"So she did. Nice job with those missiles, Bullseye," Kallas agrees, as he leads the flight on home. "We'll have the deck gang do a shakedown on that bird when we get back, Milkman."
Calliope laughs into the comms. Shaking her head. Not that Eva can see that. "I didn't get my ass blown up, at least. But I'm still thinking about the dart board tattoo." There's a sizeable grin on her face as she takes her Raptor back to the battlestar.
"Someone has to shake it for the Cylons, Cherry." There's a pause as Van focuses on scanning with his Mark I Eyeball, and then he adds, "Can I get a refund on my Viper, boss? Or does the Colonial Fleet not have lemon laws?"