The Wolfpack goes on a bombing run against a Cylon factory.
Location: Atray Province
Related Scenes: None
Plot: Operation: Bullhorn
Scene Number: 716
Arlask. Once a bustling industrial city, it was hit hard by the uprising. Half of it has been bombed to hell, the other half abandoned when the Cylons rolled through. Satellite observations haven't revealed much about the Cylon activity in the city; apparently they're smart enough to figure out the satellite orbits and stay inside when the birds are overhead. Which is why a marine recon patrol was sent here a couple weeks ago to spy on the place. That patrol spotted activity in a factory district on the east side of the city. The damage was markedly less there, leading some of the intel boys and girls to speculate that the Toasters had deliberately spared the area so they could take it over as a manufacturing facility. Manufacturing what, exactly, nobody's sure, but it's probably not great for the Colonials. And so a bombing raid in force has been orchestrated. Two flights - about 30 ships in all - one from the Wolfpack and one from the Argonauts. Their mission: to fight through the Cylon screening forces and bomb the crap out of what remains of Arlask's factory district. (The precise target list is of course little more specific, but that's the gist.) Kallas leads the Wolfpack flight as it zips down from orbit bound for Arlask airspace.
Van is locked and loaded, his game face on. The image of the Half Hitch's famous sliders still sits in an empty section of his dashboard, but the pilot's attention is on his DRADIS, his visual scanning, and his readouts. "Bullseye, Milkman. How do you feel about property destruction? I heard you can get in trouble for that sort of thing on Caprica." For all that the Picon pilot's voice is tight with nervous excitement, he is apparently doing his best to keep the rest of the flight loose.
Behind the Viper fire screen are the Raptors, bearing their payloads. Bombs. It's not often one gets to go about with well and true explosives strapped to their undercarriage. Missiles are fun, but there's a certain 'inner child' glee to knowing you'll be dropping some bombs. For Niemec, it's somewhat stronger in that she's helping rid her homeworld of a horrendous infestation. "Keep an eye on our six," she calls to her backseater, keeping an eye on DRADIS herself. They're not near enough to run weapons hot, but she's got a hand near the switch. "Smackdown, Squeak. Payload carriers looking good." aka Raptors are ready and rarin' to go.
Eva is along for the ride, flying in the tight Wolfpack formation, though she's close enough to the outer edge of their line, that she can keep a weather eye on the Argonauts as they approach from their own flight vector. While it's very likely they're all going to end up at the same place, they seem to be at enough of a distance that they won't all be sitting ducks. "Any reports of SAM batteries in the area?" The recon was a while ago, but the intel might still be accurate.
"Milkman, Bullseye. You have clearly never been to the West Side of Cap City." Calliope's Raptor flies in formation, spaced out from the other Raptors on this mission, and loaded with ordinance. Her ECO monitors the DRADIS from the backseat. She takes a deep breath off-mic, trying to keep her voice steady over the comm. Though she still hasn't lost the nerves and excitement that come with going out to blow stuff up good. "Flight. On course, monitoring payload so it's ready to drop when we reach our target."
Danica squirms slightly in her seat before she throws a glance over to the man occupying the ECO seat. Scratch is probably here because he threw rock instead of paper and the ECO seat in Gameshow's ride went to to his opponent. He points idly to symbol of Aphrodite tacked on to the dash between them and tilts his head at her, eyebrows raised slightly. Danica just shrugs, grins, and then pulls on 4-point again, something digging uncomfortably into her hip. She stays quiet, otherwise- staying out of the pre-fight bravado, this time.
One of the several Viper's coasting towards their destination is Finn, aka Farmboy. Like the others, his focus is on his DRADIS. Unlike most of the others, he's been relatively quiet during the flight and is still quiet now. Farmboy doesn't do a lot of talking over coms in flight when it's not relevant to actual mission. For now, he keeps in formation until the command to break is given.
"Affirmative Cherry," Kallas responds. "The marines pinged a few stationary batteries. That's the other flight's primary target. Bit of luck, they'll clear those out for us, but watch the ground anyway."
The good news about orbital mechanics is that they don't have to fly across the front to get to where they're going. They can make a beeline straight from orbit. The bad part is that this area is considered "Cylon Territory" as much for its air superiority as its ground presence. It isn't long before both flights are reporting inbound bogeys - a couple dozen of them in total. The Argonauts must've drawn the short straw today, for their share of the opposition is a little greater at the moment.
"All right, Flight, let's clear out as many of these as we can so our Raptors have a straight shot in," Kallas reports.
"Clearly not, Bullseye." Van leaves it at that for now, drumming his fingers against the instrument panel just beyond his throttle. As the bogies start to show up on DRADIS and contact reports come in, the Picon charges his KEWs and calls out, "Milkman copies, Smackdown, I'm weapons hot."
At Kallas' response, Eva looks away from the Argonauts, and back towards the direction in which they are flying. Just a few seconds before they get the call and their DRADIS starts showing contacts. "So the usual then. Look for death coming in from all sides." She banks, pulling in closer to the Viper formation, falling into her slot in the screen to protect the Vipers.
Danica opens up her com. "Flight, this is Gopnik, Scratch is going on KEW," she informs, watching Scratch do this very thing from inside her Raptor, "...just in case the Vipers need support." Is... is that just a hint? Just a wafer thin application of sarcasm? Maybe its the grin in the words.
Calliope winces at the reports of the level of hostility the Argonauts are facing. She eases back on the throttle as the Vipers move to engage, keeping a close eye on the status of her bombs while her ECO continues to monitor enemy positions and preps their jamming suites.
On the word from Kallas, Finn flips a few switches to charge his KEWs and speaks up for one of the first times since they launched. "Let's not overreact, Cherry...Severe maimings from all sides." Because that's better. "Farmboy is on your wing, Cherry. Break right before engaging. I'll be low and on your left."
Kazimir's viper swoops in from the tip of the viper formation, falling in on Eva's opposite side to provide a screen for the overburdened raptors. He flicks the master arm switch and gives his shoulders a roll; one, then the other, as he prepares for the imminent fight. "Keep your eye on the prize, Gopnik," his thick Virgan accent crackles over the wireless, where he's been characteristically quiet thus far. "I'm on your eight o'clock."
Drawing her hand back from the switch to unlock the bombs, Niemec tightens up on the controls. "Get that gun ready," she calls to her ECO, pulling into a tighter formation with the other Raptors. Easier for the Vipers to protect them if it's harder for the Cylons to get into the gaps. "Flight, Squeak. Keeping on our target." At least someone trusts the Vipers to keep their company busy.
Kallas takes a look at their opposition. "Even odds we're going to need it, Gopnik. Let's get to work people." And so Kallas angles his bird to meet the oncoming force.
Cheery does indeed bank right, watching the incoming cylons, and the spread between the old Mark Is, Raiders and the Heavy Raiders, "Looks like we've got some work to do, Farmboy." She doesn't bother telling Finn where to go. The pair have flown together often enough that they can usually anticipate each other's movements. She advances with Finn towards one of the incoming heavies. Best to take out the missile carriers early.
"Flight, Bullseye. Forming up. Jamming suites engaged." Calliope tightens up the formation of her Raptor with the other craft, following Niemec's lead.
Van settles in at the left-rear of Kazimir's Viper, staying a touch high as well, "Twinkle-Toes, Milkman is at your seven-high. I'll try to keep your tail clear while you find a target. Good hunting."
With things about to turn ugly, and Danica clear (for now) of pursuers, Kaz takes the opportunity to peel away and seek a better angle of attack on the fast-approaching furball of cylons. "Milkman, Twinkle Toes; let's play this fast and loose. I'll keep the fire off our raptors, unless things are going south for you, yeah?"
While Niemec's backseater gets the KEW warmed up should anyone slip around tail-side, he also gets moving to start suppressing targets. The first three blips to appear are the focus of his work. Squeak, on the other hand, just focuses on keeping aligned to their destination. If they have to do a bombing pass before evacuating the area? It could still be a mission success. "Nothing unexpected so far," she offers to her ECO. "...maybe a little hotter water than we thought." Maybe. The first pass goes by and the Tauran pilot manages to pull up and away just enough o avoid a shot that comes down the line. "Raptors, Squeak. Everyone good?"
Calliope swerves hard port-side to jerk around oncoming Raider fire. She manages to get through it with her hull unscathed, with the Vipers covering them, turning her head to exchange a tight smile with her ECO. "Flight, Bullseye. In one piece and on course." She checks her ordinance again. Not that much has changed since the last time she reviewed those read-outs, but she's keeping a close eye on her bombs.
No joy on the first go around for Cherry, but the Heavy is still coming in, and that's where she's going to keep her focus. "Raptors, sing out, I saw a missile flying out there." Eva spins as best she can, trying to get a look at the damage that's been done to the incoming wing of fighters and flyers, but with her target still in her sights, she can't get a good look at everyone.
Kallas zeroes in on one of the Raiders, pressing down the trigger to loose a blast of cannon fire. The enemy craft disintegrates in a hail of debris and flame, but not before loosing a missile that slams into Bunker's Raptor. The Raptor immediately begins trailing smoke, clearly hard hit. "How you doing Bunker?" Kallas asks, an edge of concern in his voice.
"Uhhh... not so good boss," comes Bunker's reply. "Shit, I've got two coming at me. Little help here."
Kazimir threads his viper between a pair of slower-moving raptors, belly to one and cockpit glass to the other before he corkscrews out the other side. Tracer fire is sketched just ahead of live KEW, which does some damage to his target - but not nearly enough to take it out of the fight. "Bunker, Twinkle Toes, you all right in there? Looks like you took a pretty bad hit. I'll see if I can pick off that big boy that's all over you."
Eva says, "Farmboy, going to help Bunker. Hold down the fort."
Van does not respond to Kazimir right away, focusing on the oncoming Cylon ships. He sprays bullets ahead of several of the enemy ships as they close, but scores no hits. As they turn back into the enemy, he sticks on the Captain's wing, "Milkman copies, Twinkle Toes." There's a moment's hesitation, and then he adds, "You've picked one up, break left... now." Van slips in behind the Raptor, using his knowledge of his element leader's movements to run the Raptor right into another burst of fire, "Milkman, scratch one." And then his Viper shudders, and he glances behind him, "Took a hit, but not too bad. This one's a little feisty. Twinkle Toes, I'm still with you."
Rolling right, Farmboy opens up on the Heavy raider bearing down on him. Several red bolts skim the surface of one of the raider's wings, but it doesn't seem to do much to the advanced armor on the heavy. As no one else manages to light up the raider, Finn banks left and kicks in afterburners to rocket towards the incoming heavy. "Roger that Cherry. I'll keep this rustbucket busy."
Kazimir keys his mic briefly to reply to Van, "Copy, Milkman. Nice hits. Going to try to clear Bunker's six, then I'll be back to mop up your friend."
Danica holds formation, as Kazimir adjusts his to link up with Van. The situation opens up, the hull of her Raptor vibrating with proximity from the bursts that going back and forth but she seems to have evaded going concern for now. "Flight-- Gopnik and Scatch - we'll try and keep the mob off Milkman, Bullsye, and King," she advises, eyes switching from DRADIS to visual to DRADIS again.
"Just hold on a little longer, Bunker, we'll get you clear." Not that it looks like they're doing a good job, as Eva can see the poor raptor take another hit, but this raider is a slippery cuss. "Now they're making me angry." You won't like her when she's angry.
Calliope keeps her course as straight toward their drop zone as possible, minus the occasional jerky weaving around Raider-delivered KEW. Her hands are (reasonably) steady, if very tight on the stick. In her backseat, her ECO keeps pouring out electronic interference on the Cylons.
Between the two flights, it's easily the biggest dogfight the Colonial Forces have ever seen. Explosions dot the sky as missiles dodged of diverted with ECM explode harmlessly. Kallas jerks his stick to avoid crashing into one of the Raiders on his way to assist Bunker. "We've got your six, Bunker. Keep up that fancy flying," he assures the other pilot. So far it seems to be working. Bunker takes another little hit, but he's hanging in there.
"Thanks for the cover, Gopnik." Van puts a little more attention into avoiding the Raider on his tail, getting off a high-deflection shot at the Raider attacking Bunker, but not able to line up a better angle without exposing his own tail to his pursuer. "Twinkle Toes, Milkman, not a problem. Mission first, my ass second." From some pilots, that would be sarcastic, but Van sounds entirely sincere. As he continues to swoop along behind Kazimir, he cranes his head around to look behind him every now and then, keeping an eye on the ship trying to perforate his Viper.
As incoming fire from the Heavy Raider screams towards Finn, the viper pilot rolls right, and executes a bit of textbook evasive flying. Nothing fancy, but efficient. Recalculating his vectors, and arcing around to the left, Finn repositions to come in on the Heavy Raiders port side, low. He opens up fire and several of the blasts from his KEWs slam into the body of the raider. Once more Finn kicks in the thrusters and rockets past the Raider, then flips a 180 to come back in for another attack run. "How's everyone holding up out there?" he calls out over the comms.
One of the Raiders that was on Bunker's tail pulls off to face the Vipers that have gotten on his, spinning around to come at Van's ship.
"Got one on our tail," calls Niemec's ECO. The woman just sort of grunts an affirmative- she sees it on DRADIS. "Go to the gun," she calls back finally, tightening up on the throttle. "Too many out there to rely entirely on the Vipers." The Raptor rattles a bit with the repeat of the KEW as the Cyper on their tail finally comes into range. There's a few chirps in the Raptor's cabin, but nothing too alarming. Not even that shot that -- thankfully -- misses them. While the man running ECO for Squeak does hit their aggressor, it doesn't seem to slow it down.
Kazimir's guns find their mark again, the pilot's teeth briefly bared as he tries to score solid hits without inflicting any friendly fire on his wingmates. He breaks a little sooner than he'd like, and is forced to peel off onto a new target with a quick wingover roll. "Milkman, Twinkle Toes, you've picked up another friend. What do you think about a Sandwich?" He's probably talking about the dogfighting technique, not lunch. Probably.
Van watches the second Raider twist toward him as well, shaking his head in his cockpit a moment, "Milkman copies, Twinkle Toes. Call the break." He doesn't fly precisely in a straight line, because that would be suicide, but after turning in to try for another burst on the Raider that was previously attacking Bunker, he settles into a twisting, turning proximity of a straight line to let Kazimir get into position alongside him. When the senior pilot calls the break, he rolls hard away from the other Viper, aiming to draw the two Raiders along behind him and open their tails up to Kazimir. Unfortunately, one of the Raiders precisely predicted the movement, and KEW rounds scatter through Van's cockpit, shredding several dials and gauges and sending a shard of shrapnel cutting across his right shoulder. Crying out in pain, the roll becomes all the sharper as Van flinches with the impact, wind whistling through his shattered windscreen now.
Danica mutters into her hot mic. "Godsfrackinshitfrak," she mutters blackly, her attempt at keeping the Raiders off Milkman and King less than ideal. "Milk - you alive in there?," she asks, with that tone of voice that's trying too hard to not be concerned and therefore is.
The initial woop from Niemec's ECO is drowned out and quickly squelched by the alarms going off at his station. "Frak, frak frak-" it's sort of a continuing chorus as he quickly tries to get things back in order. The pilot is watching the other Raptors as best she can, even if there's a clear scorch where KEW tore across part of the underbelly of her bird. Not near the bombs, thank Kobol. "Nails, Squeak," she calls into the comms. Her voice is a touch frantic. "Status." She saw either that hit... or the aftermath of it.
"Bunker? Milkman? Nails?" In the mad pace of the firefight, Calliope sounds out of breath - and definitely fretting - as she tries to track all the red-blinking blips on her DRADIS screen. This is the biggest dogfight she's ever been involved in, and the madness around her seems to make her Raptor looks smaller. Her ECO gives her a gruff 'Keep it together,' and she checks her ETA to their target.
Kazimir slams his fist against his console when his shots miss - thankfully a sound that doesn't carry over the wireless. Agitated, and perhaps a little bit pissed, he firewalls his thrusters, lancing his viper under trails of KEW fire, to give chase to the pair of raiders on Van's tail. Battlefield awareness dictates he not fall into the tunnel vision trap, but in a clusterfrak of this size, keeping his wingman clear might be the best he can do for now.
"Milkman's still functional." Van's voice is tight with pain, but controlled, even as blood trickles down his arm inside his flight suit. "I won't be going extra-atmospheric any time soon though." He has to speak loudly over the howling of wind through the cockpit, and the picture of sliders stuck to his cockpit dash flutters once, twice, and then whips out of his cockpit on the airstream.
Kazimir taps his wireless transmitter, "Milkman, Twinkle Toes, hang in there. I've got you. Bullseye, Squeak, eyes on the prize. Eyes on the prize. Keep it together out there."
Rushing is how you make mistakes. Finn rushed. He was too quick off the trigger during his 180 degree turn into an attack run. His KEW shots miss by a few meters and he quickly banks and rolls to evade incoming fire. Stuck with a heavy raider on his tail, Finn hasn't been able to keep track of most of the fighters. "Cherry, get me a status check over here. Holding my own just fine, but these heavies are beasts."
"Bunker!" Kallas was right on the Raptor's wing when he sees the craft turn into a fireball. No ejection seats, no debris big enough to suggest any survivors. "Shit. Bunker's gone." Kallas continues tracking the heavy raider that fired the missile that got him, his expression intense. Payback time.
Nails also takes a nasty hit, a Cyper making a strafing run across his bow and raking cannon fire across his cockpit. There's some unintelligible groaning over the coms. "Frak me. Boss, Rudy." That would be Nails' ECO. "Nails is hit bad. I'm taking over. Bird's limping. Gotta pull out."
"Roger that, Rudy. Who's closest to cover him?"
In the end, even the combined power of four of the vipers isn't enough to save Bunker. But such is the frenetic nature of combat, that Cherry doesn't have the time to mourn the loss of one of the raptors. All she can do is try to save the rest. She spins back around, catching a single glimpse of her still intact wingman, as Finn keeps the spirit alive, while she darts in to try to clear Nails, the raptor in obvious distress. "We're down, but we're still fighting, Farmboy, I'm on Nails."
"Flight. Bullseye. Eyes on the prize. Got it." There's a tremor in Calliope's voice as she says it, but she manages to keep it in check. Over the comm, at least. She does some heavy blinking at the ground of Tauron below her, as she trie to fix her mind on it. Not on battered Nails, or whatever's left of poor Bunker as his Raptor goes up in flames.
Eva's entire ship shakes, as she takes a solid hit to her tail, but the engine still hasn't given out, and she still has a target. With Nails still hanging on, but not yet clear of the fight, she has to keep on the target. "We lost King." In case that was missed in the blitz of DRADIS blips. "Farmboy, you still flirting over there?"
"Milkman, get out of the hot zone," Niemec is hitting some controls. Trying to ignore the screaming in the back of her head. The SAR in her wants to go after the wreckage of Bunker's Raptor, to try to find him. "Send coords in you have to land, we'll get you." Or maybe Nails' ECO can handle that. Get both of them the hell outta dodge. Without a clear chaser in range of their gun, Squeak's copilot returns to suppression. If they can, at least, keep the rest of the flight a bit more clear.
Danica says nothing. A few audible exhales over her open mic but otherwise nothing. Nothing where King was. Instead, inside the cockpit the 4-point harness that won't stop digging into her hip gets released at its lower attachment point. There's a few muffled noises, like someone has chosen this moment to start some DIY project inside her Raptor involving a hammer.
"Milkman, Twinkle Toes; splash on bogey one, let me see if I can pull two off you." Kazimir's guns, this time, appear to find the raider's fuel tank and blast it to pieces - taking the rest of the cylon ship along with it in a violent fireball. Rolling quickly to dodge the wreckage, he jerks his head toward Nails's raptor as it careens past, then refocuses on his wingman's pursuer. "Nails, after this pass, I'm coming to give you a hand. Juke, juke like you mean it."
There's a garbled scream over the coms as King's Viper goes up in a fireball. "Frak, we've lost King," laments Sweatpea, almost in unison with Eva.
"Godsdamnit, those big guys just won't go down," Kallas mutters as another solid KEW hit still fails to bring his down. Still, he stays on it even as the big ship seems to peel off to head for home. Out of missiles finally? One can only hope.
Rudy (flying Nails' ship) angles for orbit, taking a light hit that doesn't slow him down. The Cyper that was on his tail breaks off, not intending to pursue the bird back to Galactica, and searches for another target.
Another flurry of blasts slam in the heavy raiders cockpit from Finn's KEWs and while the heavy looks to be in bad shape, it's not out of comission. Once again, Finn is able to evade the missile that said heavy raider fires off at him. A quick roll and the missile flies past him. "Yeah Cherry, but he doesn't seem interested. Too much viper for this tincan..." Still, when the heavy raider doesn't go down he grumbles, "Frak..." over the comm. "These are some tough bastards." Another ship picks Finn up in his sights and he banks right immediately, "Got a new friend it seems..."
Fish manages to score a good hit on one of the Raiders. Trailing smoke, it joins the two heavies in turning tail for home. Kallas hits the damn heavy Raider again but it still won't go down. "Frakking hell, what are these things made of? Flight, Smackdown. If they're pulling out, let them go." Much as it kills him to say it, and the frustration is probably evident in his voice. "Clear the rest so we can get to the target."
Calliope's Raptor is thrown sideways as Cylon fire hits it. It barely scratches the paint, but with the wind of flying in atmosphere, it takes her a moment to correct. "Flight, Bullseye. I'm OK. Systems still green, still on course." She tries to sound calm and steady, but it doesn't quite track. So she gets off comm and just concentrates on flying, trying to keep her eyes as straight ahead as possible. Her ECO has gone entirely silent, absorbed in concentration of tracking targets with his ECM and keeping an even closer watch on the Raider on their tail.
Well, Nails is safely on his way. If one can be safe with your ECO driving your bus. Eva's still on the cyper she had in her sights, and her voice comes over the comms as she sees it turn towards Finn, "Not my wingman. I'm the only one allowed to frak with him." This cyper as clearly personally offended her.
"Nice shooting, Twinkle Toes. Milkman, Squeak, I can keep my bird in the air." And then Van is nearly proven wrong as he takes additional hits, trying to twist and turn to give Kazimir the best shots possible on his pursuers. As his tail is cleared, he breathes a sign of relief, "Milkman is back on your tail, Twinkle Toes, although my attitude control is acting up, and I'm happy to take coords to a local friendly base after we're done here."
"Milkman, Twinkle Toes. Your six is clear for now. I'm going to give Cherry a hand. Do you need to head back to the barn?" There's a blip as his wireless cuts out, and Kaz streaks in on a new attack vector to help out the beleaguered Eva.
Eva says, "Negative, Twinkle Toes. Keep those raptors clear! Milkman, if you can't clear atmo, head back across the line. Today's not the day you die."
"Be happy to, as soon as I have a firing solution on one of them," Kazimir replies to Eva over the wireless. For now though, he maintains his target.
It takes a bit, but Niemec is able to help her ECO get most of the alarms under control. They're still flying and their bombs are still intact and ready to be delivered first-class to the cylons on the ground. "Flight, if you lead anyone by my tail feathers, I'll see if we can knock them out for you."
"Negative Twinkle Toes, Cherry. Milkman can hold it for now." It's an odd thing, speaking about yourself in the third person, but after a while it becomes second nature for a pilot, simply for clarity's sake. Apparently, Van has reached that point.
"We're closer to Galactica than we are to any friendlies, Milkman," Kallas points out. "If you're in trouble, head back to the barn. Last thing we need is you going down over enemy territory." But ultimately he leaves that judgment to Van. He takes a moment to scope out the status of the other planes and then goes after the one on Bullseye's tail.
Kazimir stitches a few rounds across the flank of the raider chasing Eva, then strafes in on the cylon targeting one of their raptors. He waits until his crosshairs line up, then slots in on its tail and hammers on the guns. "Milkman, Twinkle Toes; nice shooting. Trying to clear Gopnik's six, then maybe we can double-team one of Cherry's friends, if you're still flying."
Eva simply cannot win today. And this cyper is really ticking her off. She manage yet another hit with no appreciable damage beyond more smoke, but she'll just take it as it comes, going back in to give it another go.
Van spots another Raider trailing along behind Fish out of the corner of his eye, and smiles tightly through the pain, "Tunnel vision, you toaster bastard." He checks Kazimir's six again, "Twinkle Toes, Milkman, Target of opportunity." And then he peels off for a moment, sending a burst into the body of the Raider and then turns past again, leaving a nice swoop of smoke in the clear sky, "Milkman, splash one. You're clear, Fish." And then he curls back toward the other Viper, relieved that the man's tail is still clear. The CAG's words cause him to frown slightly, "I'll need time to get a patch on my flightsuit, Smackdown. I'm not exactly... space-safe at the moment." Kazimir's words cause him to nod, "Roger Twinkle Toes. Milkman will help out where he can while keeping your tail clear. Watch out for friendlies around Bullseye's bandit, you're swarming."
Arcing back as the heavy raider tries to evade and bug out, Finn's last set of KEW blasts slam into the cockpit of the heavy raider and it explodes, breaking apart into fiery wreckage. With that done, Farmboy rejoins what is left of the formation, engaging thrusters to get back near Cherry's wing. As she's been helping with the next fighter that's been firing on him, Finn takes a moment to flip his viper over and roll to the left to line up a shot on the Cyper. "Back in the mix...let's do this Cherry."
Calliope tries to keep her tunnel vision in-check, and tune out the chaos of the dogfight that's unrelated to sticking to her flight path. She bites her lip as she listens to Van chatter with the other pilots over the comm, eyeing the blip on her screen that is his plane.
Danica remains silent over her mic left hotly open. "Flight, any idea how much further out we can be for those targets? Any chance we can revise the minimums upwards?," she asks, trying to masque the note of frustration in her voice when it comes to dropping things from on high and hopping they land where you want them to. There's a pause before Danica's voice, muffled and focused elsewhere comes back on. "...hey doesn't hurt to ask-...." Another Pause. "...yeah, well, whatya gonna do right? Harder than a Pican whor-" Conversations in flying fox holes. It's what this military is about, right?
With the cyper that was attacking Finn and nearly did in Nails finally destroyed, Eva finally banks back around to try to clear the cyper that's been trying to use her for target practice for the entire encounter. Once more, into the breech.
"We're not even in the ballpark, Gopnik," Kallas says when she asks about the bombing distance. But as two more raiders go down, he says, "Raptors, you should be clear enough to start the run now though. Vipers, cover them."
It only takes a a few moments to take out the Cyper that was attacking Finn. Eva's hit is first, his comes next, and a moment later the Cyper is no more. 50/50 kill? Probably won't count. "Cherry, covering your six, let's finish cleaning up." He banks to the right to get a better angle.
"Copy that," Niemec responds to Kallas' orders to head down to the target proper. "Weapons hot." And by that, she means the bombing racks. "Keep an eye on our tail," she calls, off-coms, to the ECO. "And be ready for pickup after we drop our payload." In case Nails or anyone else in the flight isn't capable of spaceflight. The woman kicks up the speed a bit; focusing on the destination rather than evasion at this point.
Calliope continues her awkward aerial dance with her Raider tail, swooping her Raptor sharply up to avoid the latest batch of KEW fire, then angling back down into formation again once the air is clear. "Copy, Smackdown. Bullseye moving in." She definitely still sounds weird when it comes to talking about herself in the third person, but she muddles through, for radio clarity. She angles her bus down toward the target zone, following Niemec's lead.
Van's Viper bucks and twists, and he struggles with the controls as the thin upper atmosphere continues to whine and whistle through the holes in his cockpit. He spots another fighter trailing Eva, and he turns in behind it, sending a burst into the Raider's cockpit. The neat hit causes him to grin tightly again, more skinning his lips back from his teeth than actually smiling. "Milkman, splash one." Wrestling his smoking fighter back under control, he throttles back, "Milkman copies, Smackdown. I don't trust my bird in close to friendlies, I'll hold off high and watch all of your sixes while you finish off the last bandits. Might give me time to patch my suit."
Danica punches a few buttons and adjusts her stick, the Raptor tilting forward and stairstepping down in a descent as order. "Gopnik, copies. We'll stay on surpress until we're in weapons range...," she acknowledges, banking her Raptor slightly to the left to avoid an errant Kew shot.
As the Raptors begin their bombing run, one more Raider goes down and the last remaining one heads for the hills. "Let it go, Flight," orders Kallas. "Stay with our birds and watch their six."
"Looks like I'm the girl left behind at the party." Eva manage to get a good hit on the cyper who was gunning for her, but she still can't take it out. When it turns tail, she almost considers ignoring Kallas' order, but after a moment's hesitation, she spins back and heads down to cover the raptors.
Finn, being a good wingman, stuck to Cherry's wing while shooting at the Cyper tailing her. He gets in a decent shot. When she turns to cover the Raptor's the flips his viper and follows suit. "Cherry, I'm gonna pull back on the throttle, when that tail you got fly's by, I'm gonna try and finish him off."
"Cherry, Squeak, good to see you out there." Maybe Niemec noticed the Viper pilot's hesitation. Or, more likely, she is just glad to have the other woman on the mission and watching her tail. The Tauran pilot adjusts angle and speed just so as they near the target. "Target acquired," she notes over comms, slowing further to ensure proper delivery. No longer as much a nose dive towards the factories, but closer to a pass in the airspace above them. She counts, silently to herself, watching her controls until she's satisfied with her positioning. The release of the bomb racks is somewhat anticlimactic, but the explosion left in her wake isn't. "Smackdown, Squeak. Calling that one a hit."
Danica falls out of stairstep descent, banking sharply to the right and then leveling out as she wrestles with the manual and auto marriage of line up and targeting. Her Raptor continues to descent, now keeping in prescribed bombing formation with Bullseye and Squeak. The marriage of targeting, altitude, and line-up successful there's a dull, loud chirping that the time to press the button is nigh. "...Flight, Gopnik's payload away...," Danica murmurs, just as her thumb depresses it. A flat, manual whir followed by the briefest of vibrations is the banal signal of release in the lag between release, fall, and detontation.
Van spirals down above the clutch of Raptors and Vipers, taking his left hand off the throttle as he does to work the patch kit out of his thigh pocket. Thankfully, it's designed to be used with limited capabilities by a wounded pilot. It's still not as quick a process as he would like with ever-increasing wind whipping around the cockpit and one hand still on the control stick, to say nothing of the need to keep watching for enemy fighters coming after his squadron mates -- or himself.
Down Calliope goes, practically holding her breath as her Raptor descends. "Flight, Bullseye. Bombs away." And so they are, when she reaches the drop point. She pulls up again as soon as they're loosed, leaving it to her ECO to confirm if they hit. Even as she flies away from it, she can't help but turn to look down at the explosions - Niemec and Danica as well as her own - raining on the factory district.
"No trying to preserve my dignity now, Farmboy. We're almost clear to go home." Eva doesn't sound angry anymore. She just sounds tired. "No place else I'd rather be, Squeak." She keeps good control of her viper, as she watches the raptors deliver their payloads. "Let's hope the reward for this is worth the cost." A lot of good people lost today.
The bombs do a number on on the factory district, leaving even more of the city - and hopefully a bunch of Cylons to boot - in ruins. "Confirming visual of multiple hits," Kallas reports. "Good shooting everyone. The other flight is coming in for their run now. Let's clear the area and head back to the barn before more Toasters show up." With that, he angles his Viper back up toward orbit.
Van waits until the Raptors have finished their runs, not jostling their metaphysical elbows. The pretty fireworks keep him quiet a few moments longer as he appreciates the pretty fireworks. "Flight, Milkman, any signals from King, Nails, or Bunker?" Or the ECOs from the Raptors, of course. As the Raptors and Vipers catch him back up, he too tilts his Viper nose-up, giving the patch on his right arm another (painful) slap just to make sure.