Another Raptor suffers in-flight difficulties.
Location: Atray Province, Tauron
Related Scenes: None
Plot: Operation: Bullhorn
Scene Number: 717
The duty roster is set. The die is cast. The short straw is drawn? In any case, it's Danica who is assigned the task of ferrying supplies- some medical and some logistical- along with some marines to do the handoff between a surface outpost and Galactica on her Raptor. This isn't commercial flying, Reznik. That's a statement Dani heard a lot in flight school. And as such, there's no passenger manifest supplied in advance. It arrives in the form of Marines piling in through the aft door moments before takeoff.
Dani herself is seated in her pilot seat, running through the standard pre-flight checklist. Buttons are pressed, a clipboard is consulted. And there are other pre-flight rituals. Two fingers of her right hand taps the symbol of Aphrodite on the dash before it presses into the picture of herself and someone who looks like a relative taped to the medal. "We'll be away soon. Pick a seat," she states, her instructions distracted by her pre-flight notes, her gaze not really on the aft door. She's switched the air freshner motif. Oooh cherry!
There is a bap to the back of Dani's helmet as Miko crushes in, in far better spirits about flying when it's not headed straight for the front line. "I'll take a scotch on the rocks when you do beverage service. Can you tell me if there is an in-flight meal?" The medic gives a huge grin, only partially hiding it with the downward cant of his head and a thumb following the crease of his nose before he drops into a seat.
You'd think Aesclepius would rain accelerated healing down on those who try to save His adherents from injury, but no-o-ope. The only thing worse than injured Marines are impatiently healing Marines -- like, say, PFC Lulezim, who's piling into the Raptor with his brethren. The ink on the sheet marking him ready for light duty probably hasn't even dried yet. Likelihood his sergeant shoved him into this Raptor to get Stefan to stop whinging? HIGH. "Frak the meal, send back the dancers," he calls as he drops down into his seat and buckles up.
Danica whips around at the assault of her helmet, only to see Miko there. "Sure, I'll heavily /consider/ pressuring the cabin for oxygen," she replies, looking up at the combat medic before her smile up at him goes wide. She winks at him, briefly before she shoos the clipboard in his direction even as he's already dropping into his seat. "I hear you like 'em as single mothers, Lulu," she continues, sending the zing across the cabin as she leans into the aisle to offer Stefan a grin as well. This time it being of the shit eating variety.
The checks completed, clearance given and the last stragglers buckled in the Raptor spins up and lifts off, funneling out of the Galactica and smoothly transitioning into space as though she actually knows how to fly this thing.
Miko settles down into his seat, his medical kit cradled in his lap with his arms folded over the top of it. Marines treat their guns like children, but when you're a medic, you have an extended family. "Have a little respect, Fish. Someone has to send those poor girls through college. And our laps aren't going to grind themselves."
There's a scattering of whoops to Danica's zinger. Advantage: Officer. "Yeh, yeh, whutever," mumbles Stefan -- no gaining any points with a rebuttal like /that/, soldier -- but he's still grinning. "Cylons need to simmer th' frak down so we c'n get some shore leave."
"I dooooo not want to be the first stripper you all see once they grant us shore leave." Dani states with crooked empathy and a smirk in her voice, her attention routed back to DRADIS and the myriad of mysteriously official looking buttons up there. A few more a pressed and there's a slightly adjustment to the stick in her hand before the Raptor is banking gracefully left, giving all a view of a few Argonaut Vipers off in the distance running through formation manuevers. The craft continues to descend, Galactica pulling further and further away in scope and size. "Where you think they'll let us put our toes in the sand, if they ever let us off the ship?," she asks, threading the conversation forward with an openly posed question.
"You don't have to be the best lover, you just have to be the first. Otherwise you risk being sloppy hundredth. Remember to wrap it and cap it, fellas, because every VD goes on your permanent record." Miko offers of potential hookering during theoretical shore leave. His head is resting back against the bulkhead now, slightly rolling side to side with the subtle maneuvering from Danica. "What's shore leave?" He asks with a snort.
"Tauron even /have/ enny sand?" wonders Stefan. "Ain't never heard 'f no Tauran beach resort." Leave it to the Gemenese to know the nuances of the other Colonies and their geographies. Oh. Wait. "Be somethin' like... shit, I dunno. 'Welcome to Gravel Shores. Free rock with every meal.'" Smirk. He rests his head back, eyes closing for a few moments. "I'd take it ennyway."
As the Raptor heads down to the supply base, something strange happens. The amount that Danica moves the stick doesn't seem to match the amount that the Raptor's course shifts. And then, shortly after, it stops responding completely. The bird is still flying. No alarms, no warnings on the display screens, nothing outwardly wrong... other than the fact that the control stick isn't actually controlling anything.
Does Tauron have sand? Strictly speaking? Who knows, and you shouldn't be googling that because the Galactica doesn't have those kind of bandwidth resources. But it's a nice thought all the same. "Well. I know what I'm going to do...," Danica states in reply, looking briefly over her shoulder upon which a smile is rendered for Stefan and a stinkeye is wrought for Mikolas. "First, I'm going to take the looooongest shower ever. Then, I'm going eat a cheeseburger. Then, I'm going lay out in the sun, I don't even fraking care if there's no beach. Then, I'm going to drink all their alcohol and eat another cheeseburger." Dani's plan spoken like someone who hasn't burned a great amount of calories thinking up the exact scheduling of this mythical 'shore leave'. "I might ev-"
Her voice comes up dead short and silent. Her hand tries to correct back, with a coaxing tug to the stick like you're trying to avoid scaring a bear. Her head jerks up and looks at the altimeter, her hand knocking on the display panel before she's pushing other buttons with an escalating force. "What the frak." It's not a question and its not doing a great job of hiding the blue streak of fear creeping in.
As a service member, Miko is wise to grab shut eye whenever he can. He must've just been drifting off in the midsts of their conversation, because he doesn't catch the stink eye from Danica and almost misses the curse word as it rolls off her lips. "What's the matter, Fishstick? Did you suddenly remember as an Ensign you get the shit shift when it comes to shore leave? By the time you hit planetside, all the cheeseburgers may be wiped out within a two-jump radius." He mumbles out.
"Still got them fancy officer's pins," Stefan's quick to remind Miko. "Short stick for her's still gunna be seven steps up the peckin' order fer us. Prolly all /we'll/ get is pictures of the cheeseburgers, little 'Mmm, wish you were here, they were so-o-o goo-oo-ood' written underneath." He lifts his head from against the backrest, looking toward Dani and her ECO. Maybe her WTF moment didn't sound as chill to him as it did to the medic.
Scratch is savvy enough to recognize the change in his pilot's bearing. "What's wrong?" he asks, an edge of concern in his voice.
Dani has no reply to Mikolas' teasing and Stefan's pile on. She's silent, her gaze instead on her ECO and the finger of her free hand jabbing right at her speedometer screen, "Are you seeing this? It- The stick won't-" Danica states, in a lower mutter to Scratch. The pilot equivalent of not scaring the natives. Her hand jerks a little more firmly on the unresponsive stick in question to illustrate her point before she opens up her comlink. "Galactica, Gopnik. Do we have any reports of electromagnetic interference?" Her finger drifts to the speedometer screen, jabbing at it in the air. "Were at speed. We're not stalled," she attempts in her best stage whisper, her eyes drifting back towards the marines in the back for just a moment.
"Electromagnetic interference." Is the bit that Miko hears, in his haze of half sleep. "That'd be a great name for a band. Or is that like, on the secret menu of the burger joint? I know if you order the 'animal' it comes with their secret sauce and onions."
"Know all about them Taurans and their special sauce, yeh?" Stefan's smirk grows to properly slappable levels as he lets his head loll back against the backrest. "Just sittin' there, daydreamin' about it. What kinna Pican slang is /onions/, enny- wait, don't even wanna know. Last Pican news I saw was someone gettin' busted fer a sex dolphin sea-ranch."
"Negative, Gopnik," Galactica responds.
Scratch has no idea what she's talking about at first. "Seeing what? All my panels are showing green." When she demonstrates the unresponsive stick, he blinks. "Whoa, what the hell." He starts fiddling around on his console, but gets nowhere judging from his frustrated frown.
The Raptor, it should be noted, is still showing absolutely no signs of flight distress. It's happily flying along on a steady course. Just, y'know, not the course that Danica's stick demands.
"Gopnik copies. Galactica, we're-"
Scratch's frustrated declaration cuts off Dani's attempt at a reply, her head swiveling to observe Scratch's own flailing at his controls. She squirms in her harness, it suddenly feeling less secure and more vice-like. Dani's fingers run through a series of buttons on panels, a flurry of training activity drilled into her tiny pilot brain as her other hand pulls back on the stick in baffled frustration and gets... nothing. "Galactica, Gopnik. We're experiencing an... anomoly," she states back on com, her words measured if a little a flummoxed. "Diagnostics is coming back fine but I think... I think it's the auto pilot? We're having course correction problems but the system isn't showing it as engaged...?" Dani swivels in her seat once more, her eyes looking down the center aisle and beyond as if the back of the Raptor might solve the riddle of what exactly is fracking happening.
"Man it's the best when the sauce is hot and it's all sliding down your chin..." Miko starts making a very specific gesture in his crotchal region, his open-holed fist pumping vigorously, "C'mere, I'll give you demonstra..." A sigh. "What's going on up there, Ensign? Marines are trying to get a jack and nap in before we touch down." He asks to Danica as she swivels around, but suddenly all humor is gone and the medic is sitting up out of his slouch.
Scratch fiddles with some things, then looks at Dani, spreading his arms in a frak-if-I-know shrug. "The autopilot isn't on. Tried toggling it anyway, but that didn't do shit."
"What's your status, Gopnik?" Galactica comes back when the anomaly is reported.
Then Scratch realizes, "Ah frak... we stay on this course, we'll be heading into Toaster-Land."
"Stay in your seat, Kovac." When was Mikolas ever out of his seat? Dani's tone is leaden, her gaze falling on him for a moment with a forceful look that perhaps offers nothing reassuring. She unswivels, facing front and her fingers go right back to punching the buttons through another diagnostic check and shake of the stick like poking a dead man. Nothing. Still nothing. Except Scratch's pronouncement. Danica's head snaps front, a few more buttons pushed that go no where in their outcome even as she's back on mic. "Galactica, Gopnik. Pan pan. Instruments are responsive except my stick, which is dead. No known cause. We're unable to course correct and on a bearing that's headed for occupied territory. Advise."
Both of Miko's hands fly up in capitulation, this is her boat after all. "Hey, I'm just saying, when we hear fun things like: Galactica, we're in a giant torpedo headed straight for bigger deadlier torpedoes, I get a little worried. I'm too good looking for that sort of fate. Throwing that out there. Did one of your wiggly jiggies come loose from the swirly doohickey? Check the plugs and if all else fails kick that shit. Worked for my stereo back home."
There's no response from Galactica. No static. Nothing.
"Wait, whut?" What happened to the cheeseburgers with a side of sexual innuendo? Ares really doesn't breed 'em smart. Stefan sits up straighter, pushing forward on the edge of his seat to try to crane his neck enough to see clearly into officer territory at the front. As if he'd understand any of the readouts up there, anyway. "Occupied territory?" He slaps at Miko's chest. "Don't be a frakkin' smartass, I'm tryna listen."
"Galactica, Gopnik. Repeat. Pan pan. Pan pan. Dead stick. Instruments responsive. Bearing towards Cylon territory. Cannot correct. Advise." Dani's second pass at the message economizes, the highlights unspooled for Flight Control. Her head twists for a moment to look at Mikolas' for his attempt at sarcastic levity but he gets nothing back for the effort save for a too concerned in the eyes to actually look peevish Dani. "What's our timing, Scratch? How long until we're in range?," Dani's question posed towards the ECO, even as she's still punching buttons and toggling at the flight stick with sisyphean results.
"I fix people, not machines." Miko jostles back against Stefan. "But I know if a your arm looks fine but suddenly stopped working, first thing I'd check are your nerves."
Nope. Still nothing on comms. Scratch tries his com too for good measure but no dice there. "Can't raise them." He shakes his head to the question. "To the front? Five minutes, maybe. Assuming we hold steady speed. What the frak do we do? We can't just coast across the line." A glance to the marines. "Can't bail out." Well, maybe he considered it for a second but...that would just be rude.
Stefan slaps at Miko again, adding an eyeroll for good measure. It's really hard to fight like idiot kids when you're both harnessed in to individual seats, but it doesn't stop him from trying. "Whut'd happen iffin we deliberately overbalance to one side? Steer us off one way 'r the other?" he wonders aloud, raising his voice a little -- because that's definitely what the pilot and ECO need right now, back-seat drivers.
"We...," Dani's response to Scratch as to what precisely one does in this position pauses. "We...," she begins again, distracted by more futile attempts at diagnostics and nudging of the stick that results in the ship's equivalent of 'I can't do that, Dave'. She looks briefly down the aisle at Stefan's murmuring about overbalancing, squinting at him for a moment quizzically. "We can't stop either," she states, looking at Scratch and adding to his already accumulating 'This is a Problem' pile. "... can we attempt to use the lower atmo drag to slow down?," Dani asks, the question as half baked as 'can you just unplug it and blow on it?'. And then there's passenger problem, also known as the 'you can't just eject' problem. "Marines," Dani raises her voice to be heard. "Make sure you're fully secured and strapped in."
A boot is aimed at Stefan's shin, tethered as Miko is, it's rather ineffectual. "Or cut off an engine on one side until we spin a 180? C'mon, Gopnik. You've got this. Remember your training." Yeah, sure, they're strapped in. It's all that's keeping Miko and Stefan from a bitchslap fight over a Barney's flash sale purse back here.
"Engines aren't responding either. Shit," Scratch complains. "Atmo drag?" His incredulity attests to the unlikelihood of that working. Then, with a glance back at the Marines, he says, "We could turn the engines off the hard way."
"Frak. Knock it off." Stefan says this -- and somehow, miraculously, doesn't kick Miko back in a snowballing he-hit-me-back-first scenario. He sounds more than a little tense, actually, this eyes flicking around the interior of the Raptor like there might be an 'In Case Of Cylon Hijack, Break Glass' panel located somewhere. "Remember how many emergency chutes they got on these?" he mutters at Miko, sounding fairly certain the answer is /not enough/.
Danica lets Scratch's look of incredulity go. Well almost. Her head tips just slightly in a meaningful jerk. /I'm trying/. Dani's gaze flickers towards the back of the Raptor and the bickering taking place back there It's a momentary drag on her concentration, considering Scratch's proposition. "Fine. Lets open the panel," she nods, decisively, time being not on their side. Her fingers are already running through buttons, in preparation before those same fingers hit the button that releases her own harness. "I'll be back," she informs Scratch, heading for the back.
"You're so cute. Emergency chutes. Even if we were in Atmo and HALO jumped we'd still be in enemy territory." Miko actually leans forward and checks Stefan's five point harness, then gives the man a little pat on the cheek. "Just a shame I gotta die looking at your ugly mug. I'd rather be balls deep in something pretty." He may be talking smack and cracking wise, but there is a line between his eyebrows that wasn't there before as his eyes trace Danica when she comes back into their territory.
"We ain't dyin'," Stefan shoots back, the tension still ratcheting up in his voice as some internal tally keeps adding more ticks to the wrong side of the 'ARE WE ABOUT TO DIE, Y/N?' equation. "Ain't here to die in a dogfrakking hijacked Raptor over Tauron." His eyes snap to Danica as she leaves her seat, watching her approach for a step or two before he says, "You got extra hands back here iffin you need enny."
Danica skiffs by Miko and Stefan, moving quickly down the aisle. She grins at Stefan through the screen of her helmet, it going for relaxed and confident but the fear in them really messes the whole thing up. "What? Y'think I don't got this, Lulu?," she says through her troubled grin as she goes. But the tips of both her hands brush over the tops of each man's knees in a subtle show of acknowledgment, unable to linger any longer than that. She throws the latch that opens the panel with a hard yank, followed by an equally forceful pull to get the panel open. There's probably a reason why they don't make these super easy to pop open in flight. Her eyes and fingers trace through the organized rows of wires. "Scratch, I'm going to kill Engine 1 and re-route to Engine 2. Might... slow us enough." Comforting. "Shutting down main engines," she continues, her hand gathering the correctly labeled wires and yanking before she jams the connective ends into the other row.
"Ain't sayin' that at all. Sayin' us lunks can hold yer beer while you got this," mutters Stefan. He grins a little, but the expression doesn't reach his eyes. "Frak," he mumbles when Danica starts pulling wires, and unconsciously holds his breath while waiting to see what happens.
There's a shower of sparks from the panel as Danica jams the wires in the wrong bank. The lights are still on, thanks to the backup battery, but the reassuring hum of the engines is now not-so-reassuringly gone. Well, mostly gone. There's still a sick sort of high-pitched whine from the starboard engine. The Raptor nose dips down, no longer able to hold a level flight path.
The touch to the knee gets a reflexive lift of Miko's hand as if to take Danica's but it lands down on his medkit instead. He can't protect her from this. This is the look of resignation. It's the shower of sparks that gets him flinching back, arm thrown up over his face. (Not the FACE) At a stage whisper, he asks of Stefan, "To late for that mail room assignment?"
Danica jerks away from the sparks, the lose of flight path further trundling back and she stumbles back into a Marine at the end of the row. Steadying herself by use of his shoulder, she wheels around and lopes down the downward tilting aisle back to her seat. "BRACE. BRACE. BRACE. BRACE." More comforting proclamations even as she slithering back into her harness and connecting it shut. She throws a glance at Scratch and grabs for the stick, testing it but without much hope.
"Frak a bunch of this, let's /all/ work in the frakking mailroom," Stefan throws back to Miko. "Both 'f you's all pretty in yer cardigans. Grow yer hair out, put it inna bun, bet Dani'll show you." Because it's easier to babble about ridiculous things like boring mail-room assignations instead of thinking about BRACING, and BRACING some more with a side of BRACING, because there's a planet at the end of this Raptor.
Scratch mutters some combination of, "Frak, frak, oh shit." as he does the bend-over-and-kiss-your-ass-goodbye crash position. The Raptor continues to lose altitude, but still beelines towards the front like a dog with a bone. It's well short of the front lines though, still in friendly territory when it finally hits a rocky outcropping on one of the mountain region's foothills. That lurches the ship HARD, but takes some of the velocity off. The Raptor twists. Its stubby port wing hits next, dragging it around like an amusement park ride before it's finally tossed into the ground with a SMASH.