The Air Wing helps to repel a Cylon breakthrough near Kadin Bridge.
Location: Atray Province, Tauron
Related Scenes: None
Plot: Operation: Bullhorn
Scene Number: 722
We join our battle already in progress.
The Zhota Mountain region near the front is arid and rocky, marked with lots of canyons. The Cylons launched an offensive earlier this afternoon. Despite the valiant effort of the Tauron forces, the line folded and the Cylons punched through. Now, as the sun is starts to dip below the canyon walls and the sky turns a beautiful purple-pink, the Colonials are making their stand at the Kadin Bridge.
[[=image https://tinyurl.com/zyhy6sg width="400px"]]
Tauron ground troops, reinforced by Colonial Marines, are spread out on the "front" side of the bridge, intent on keeping the Cylons from crossing and threatening a vital Tylium mine located nearby.
The battle began maybe fifteen minutes ago. A dogfight rages above. Explosions boom on both sides - a combination of Cylon mortars and Colonial ground-attack missiles. The Cylon advance group has closed to within shooting distance, making use of the rocky ground for cover.
The Wolfpack has joined the aerial fray above the advancing Cylon forces. The Cylons have significant air support, so the wing is engaged with the enemy fighters.
Calliope is in the pilot's seat of one of the Raptors sent out to engage the Cylon forces. Biting her lip so hard she's nearly drawing blood, though she hasn't quite yet. Monitoring the comm channels for orders. Listening to the updates of enemy activity on the DRADIS from her ECO. Trying not to die. Another day in the war effort, all in all.
As the milling dogfight grows in Van's windscreen, he gives a low whistle, "Plenty of bandits, that's for sure." There might be a few nerves fluttering behind those considering words. He makes a last few tweaks to various controls in his cockpit, things he won't have time to manage while trying not to be turned into a smear on the rocky ground below. "Smackdown, Milkman. Should we hold a couple of missiles for the bridge?"
Kallas's voice coms over the coms. Not sure if a couple of missiles will do it against that behemoth, but it can't hurt to hold a couple in reserve just in case. Hopefully it won't come to that, or our guys on the other side'll be up a creek." Without missing a beat he says, "Going after the one on your six, Bullseye."
Rocketing onto the scene with the other vipers of Wolfpack (and Raptors of course) is Finn, and almost immediately when they move into the fight he rolls off to the left, breaking away and into the dogfight. "Farm Boy, sounding off. Banking left, engaging hostiles." And without really losing a beat, he speeds off towards a Raider targeting Banger, "Banger, I've got that tin can off your port side."
"Copy that, Smackdown," Calliope pipes over the comms, briefly retracting her teeth from her lower lip. "My tail appreciate's the effort. My backseater's on suppression duty. Weapon racks are warming. I'll try not to spend them all in one place once they get going."
"I'm on your six, Farmb -- " Whatever else Van was going to way is cut off as he twitches his stick over to his left, sending himself into a rolling turn. He grunts against the G-forces, "Milkman has two bandits. Two Bandits. I'll be back with you in a sec Farmboy." Because right now, he's busy trying to stay out from the converging streams of bullets reaching out for him, and trying to get a firing solution on one of his tormentors in return. The Picon pilot kicks his Viper into a rudder-heavy turn, sweeping through the sky sideways for a moment as the Raider trailing him gets a little too close and gets a quick burst center-mass that sends it pinwheeling into the side of the canyon wall. "Milkman, splash one."
"Nice dodging there, Bullseye," Kallas says. He dinged the Raider on Calliope's tail but didn't bring it down. The one that's now on his tail returns the favor with a light hit to the side of his ship. The tragically-named Agony is not so lucky, going up in a short-lived fireball when something hits his fuel tank.
And poor Banger, "Frak - I'm hit bad." One can hear the pain in his voice from the shrapnel that tore through his leg. "Need some help here."
"On it, Banger. Hang in there. Keep dodging, Bullseye." Much as Kallas wants to help the rook, Banger needs more immediate assistance.
"Scratch one..." Finn calls out over his comms a few moments after his KEWs tear through the outer hull of a raider and cause it to spin out and crash into a cliff wall exploding on impact. "Rorger that Milkman, call out if you need me. Clearing Banger's six." a moment later he banks to the right and speaks up again, "Banger, take a hard right, I'm on an intercept course."
Calliope flies as fast as a Raptor can through Cylon KEW fire. Which is a rather jerky, boxy form of racing, but she manages to get through the volley with her tail still in one piece. "Flight, Bullseye. I am OK. Totally OK!" Does she sound a little high-pitched? Maybe. She winces and ceases to talk about how 'OK' she is after Banger's comm. "I'm still flying. And ready for SAR if anybody needs a pick-up down there."
Banger breaks right as Finn suggests, bringing the Heavy Raider on his tail into a good shooting position. That doesn't stop him from getting rocked again by the second Raider. "Frak me, this thing is coming apart at the seams. Got a fire in the engine. I'm punching out." And so he does. The ships that were on him then turn their attention toward their assailants.
Kallas says, "Coming your way, Milkman. Hang tight. Bullseye, it looks like Banger's going down over our line - let the Marines get him."
"Smackdown, you've picked one up." Van cuts high over Finn's course, casting the element lead a quick glance, flashes across behind Kallas, KEWs blazing. The bullets wrack the Raider behind the CAG, and he slews his Viper around to avoid the fire of the Cyper still on his own tail. "That should slow him down. And I'm good so far, Farmboy, Smackdown." Coming back around in time to see the missile impact a Viper in Colonial colors, he adds, "You got this, Bullseye. Fly within yourself."
Calliope's eyes follow Bangar as he ejects and drifts down over the terrain of Tauron. It's a beat before she answers, "Smackdown, Bullseye. Copy. We'll try and keep a bead on his transponder. Trying to get a fix on those heavies now. I'll fly within...something." Mostly, she just tries to keep her hands from choking the controls while she dodges. And fiddles with her missile targeting to get a line on the Cylons.
"Frak. Rescue ops, we've got a pilot down. Mark Banger's beacon, send a rescue boat for pickup." Finn barks out into his comm and he rolls after his KEW blasts slam into the heavy radier but down bring it down. "Smackdown, Farm Boy is engaging heavy head on. I'll be back in the fight in just a sec." Just a sec. Riiiight. And so Finn engages in a dogfight with the heavy raider, barrel rolling left and then pulling skyward to draw it away from the ground elements.
Kallas manages to do some fancy flying, dodging around the two that are gunning for him and still hit the one on Van. He's maybe not the best pilot in the air wing - that's not required for wearing the CAG hat - but the dude has skills. "Don't stray too far, Farm Boy," he warns.
On the coms, Nails comes over in a panic after taking another missile hit. "Frakking thing just too my wing off. Going down, I say again going down. Think I can bring it in for a hard landing on the friendly side of the bridge."
"Copy that Nails," says Kallas. We'll try to keep them off you."
Van stays one step ahead of the Cyper on his tail, "I saw a Viper breaking up. Was that a friendly or a bandit?" Evidently, he didn't see Agony get turned into a fireball. He whips his bird around to go head-on with Kallas, giving them each a clear shot at one of their pursuers, "Nice shooting, Boss." Rolling his Viper over to twist away from more tracers lashing past him, he adds, "But these Toasters are stubborn." Nails' call causes him to grimace, "Stay safe, Nails. We'll try to cover you."
Calliope intakes a sharp, soft breath when another of their squadron sounds off about going down. She tries to keep her eye on the job. Which is trying to shoot down Cylons, at the moment. She can't suppress a soft, "Frak!" when her missile goes wide. She aims another at the Cylon heavy, holding her breath as she prepares to loose.
"Roger that, Smackdown. Keeping close." Finn replies over the comms and his shots breeze by the Heavy raider he's attacking. They cross paths and he evades by breaking right and loops back around to re-engage with the raider. His flying is tightly controlled, but aggressive. Sharp turns and fast paced, he's not leaving himself a lot of room to be defensive.
There's a break in the fighting over the airspace on the far edge of the canyon, or maybe the vipers that have been pulled out that far have finally managed to force the cylons back towards the main group. Whatever the reason, the result is the same. A number of the air wing who haven't really been close to where the CAG has been leading his troops are finally returning to the roost, as it were. "What did I tell these frakkers about attacking my CAG?" Clearly, Cherry is one of the pilots returning, her angle, high above the clump of cylons giving her a good vantage point from which to see, partially, whose attacking whom. Or at least the two raiders bearing down on the former foreign legion pilot.
Rush's ship comes apart under a rake of KEW fire from one of the Cylon Vipers, but the pilot manages to punch out before the ship explodes. That dosen't save him, though, as the Cyper that was on his tail follows him down, circling around him and strafing at his ejection seat and parachute. Whether the bullets hit the chute or hit Rush himself, it doesn't matter. The seat plummets toward the ground like a rock.
"Son of a bitch!" The hissed words from Kallas could apply equally well to the Cylons on his tail, which he continues to dodge, or the Toaster that just strafed his man. But it's the latter that gets the CAG's attention now.
One of the Raiders peels off of Kallas to face Eva after she tags it with a solid hit.
Nails manages to get far enough away that the heavy on him diverts away from Colonial lines and returns to the fray, seeking out another target.
A flurry of KEW blasts impact the heavy raiders hull and smoke pours out, but it still flies straight for him. The missile launched is evaded as Farm Boy rolls left and then right a moment later. He flies past the raider and loops around for another pass, "One more pass and I should back in the fray, Smackdown. I've nearly got this one." At least he's keeping in contact, right?
Not the best angle to get a good hit in, but she catches a piece of something, as Cherry angles her bird down to take herself into the middle of the firefight. She's either being angry or reckless, who knows, but she's diving in, rather than staying outside where it might be relatively safer, given that most of the enemy is already set on their targets. "Nice shooting, Milkman! Farmboy, you still alive over there?" But any answer they might give fades once she sees the Raider turn towards her, "Oh, I am so not in the mood. Come on." Not that it can hear her egging it on, but whatever.
Calliope beams as more Vipers - on their side - join the fray. Though her smile gets a bit less sunny when the heavy she's trailing still hangs in the sky. And it falls altogether when Rush's ship comes apart. "Come on, come on, come on, gods come on..." she murmurs, as she aims another of her racks at the Cylons. She half-prays, half-implores her weapons off-mic, at least.
Both ships push in on each other, and both get in some KEW fire. But once the firebal clears, it's Cherry that comes out of the firefight, and the raider that ends up scattering its bits and pieces down towards the water. Not that she has much time to think about that, as the next wave comes barrelling in. With her sights free, she goes hunting for a new target, this time moving in to see about freeing up the raptor that seems to be getting some unwanted attention.
Van wings the damaged Raider on Kallas' tail, then looks back as Rush punches out. "Splash -- " And there goes the Cyper strafing the ejecting pilot, "Mother Frakker." Van doesn't go hot, he goes ice cold, nearly standing his Viper on his nose to turn toward the Cyper, a maneuver that works better in space than in atmosphere and leaves him fluttering for a moment, clearly outside of his ship's standard flight envelope, "That toaster just strafed Rush." Despite his wobbling Viper, Van manages to wing the dastardly Cylon, "Come here, you asshole... you're mine." He hasn't noticed the Cylon reinforcements yet, sparing the Cyper on his tail the only bit of attention he can divert away from the cause of his ire.
"Yeah Cherry, I'm good." Finn calls out over his comm before he unleashs a final volley of fire at the heavy raider and it's final missile is loosed. Despite the final shot, the damage inflicted by Farm Boy causes the heavy raider to catch fire, and then careen towards the ground, exploding on impact. "Scratch two." Finn calls out and then he speeds back off towards the fight. "Milkman, call out your position...Wait...scratch that. I've got a new rust bucket on my tail, moving to engage."
Calliope barely has time to celebrate getting one heavy off her tail. There are more Cylons. Always more Cylons. She makes some hasty adjustments to her weapon's systems to shift targets. While continuing to dodge incoming fire. While monitoring the terrain, and her instruments, to keep a bead on her squadmates. There's a lot going on, life or death changing by the second.
Kallas doesn't really notice the success of his flight, focused on the Cyper that got Rush. "We'll get him, Milkman," Kallas promises.
The dogfight continues to swirl around them, Colonial and Cylon fighters duking it out while the Marines engage the ground forces below. Looks like quite a furball down there too for anyone who could spare a glance. Explosions, people running, general chaos.
"Splash two." Not that Cherry sounds happy about it, as she clears the raider in Calliope's tail. Or that she remembers that she didn't actually call the first raider. It doesn't matter. Counting it a thing, but it's not that much of a thing when you're trying not to end up being the next pilot falling out of the sky. She just got back to the business of trying to take down the cylons faster than the colonials can be taken down.
"You're damned right we will, Smackdown." Van's conscious mind focuses on the killer Toaster, his unconscious mind keeping his hand on the stick moving to make it hard for the Cyper on his tail to get a clean shot. His first burst misses, and then a second rakes the rear of the Cyper's fuselage, and Van bares his teeth in triumph, boring in hard and fast before he rolls up and over, looking to get a shot down into the Cyper's cockpit, a dangerous move this close to the ground, especially with semi-random ground fire flashing around.
"Cherry, I hope we get some shoreleave, because I totally owe you a drink," Calliope says as she gets a little more breathing room to fly. There's a soft "Frak" as her racks click empty. Without downing another Cylon. Her flying shifts, in an attempt to line up a decent angle for her ECO's rear guns, but for the moment her boat just pores interference out into the atmosphere.
It only takes one pass for Raider9 to get its cockpit blasted apart by Finn's KEWs. "Splash three. Milkman, I'm coming up on your six, you've got a hostile tailing you." He speeds up to catch up with Milkman, and slows to line up a shot on Cyper2.
"Go down you motherfrakker," Kallas grumbles as the Cyper is rocked by another hit. The Cylon gauges the odds and flips over to head back towards its own lines. Kallas gives chase. "Oh no you don't."
"Yeah, he's been bothering me all..." Van curses as the deadly Cyper takes a pounding from Kallas's guns and ducks away from his own shot, "...engagement. Thanks Farmboy." The Picon guides his fighter up, above the swirling melee as the the Cyper darts off, and then dives on him, "Oh hell no."
Eva comes in hard, flying with her hands tight on the controls. She leaves the Cyper for Kallas and Van, and turns her attention to the raider that's on her own tail. She might as well try to do herself a favour.
Calliope moves into a position to cover the Raiders as they cut through the Cylon forces. Another sunny smile comes to her lips, this one with a nastier edge, as she watches toaster wreckage fall to the Tauron countryside.
The Cyper that was on Van's tail is blasted apart by Farm boy's guns after a series of well aimed shots to the cockpit. "No worries, Milkman. You're buyin." A beat pause later and he engages his thrusters and moves off after the raider that's attacking Eva, "Cherry, coming in high, you go low, let's get rid of this tin can."
"Gotcha, you bastard. Good shooting, Milkman," Kallas says as Van gets the fleeing Toaster. He spins his Viper back around to rejoin the main fray then, which is now starting to thin out considerably. The Cylons have begun to retreat, both in the air and on the ground.
Eva doesn't answer Finn's instruction. There's no need to. As soon as she hears the order, she pivots into position, moving seamlessly with her go-to wingman, as, between the two of them, with Calliope's help, they bring down the raider. With the enemy down, she gets a quick visual, looking for the next likely target. Thankfully, they're all target today. "Bullseye, thanks for the assist." Missiles are nice, so it the gun turret, but ECM is a viper pilot's best friend. "Am I allowed to use that drink to get someone else drunk?"
Van's high approach pays off, giving him the speed to catch up, and the angle to take off the top of the Cyper's cockpit, a heavy burst entering the back right quarter of the windscreen and tearing out the bottom-left of the body. "Die you murdering scrap metal." That... doesn't sound much like polite, proper Van. He flashes below the faltering Cyper, steadying out, and for a moment he watches the enemy fighter as it begins to lose control, clearly and obviously considering going after it to pour more fire into the ship. Instead, he starts to turn back to the fray, watching out his cockpit until the Cyper impacts on the rocky ground and comes apart. "That's for Rush, you bastard." And then he's looking for another target, "Thanks, Boss."
"You can use all the drinks for anything you want, Cherry," Calliope replies to the Viper pilot, with an exhausted sigh as the skies clear up some. It's not really a relieved sound, though. She does some more lip-biting as she monitors the Cylon retreat on her instruments. And keeps her ears sharp for word on their comrades who had to bail during the fray.
"I don't need any help getting drunk, thank you Cherry." Finn calls out over his comm as the last Raider goes down. He eyes his read outs for a few moments, slowing up his viper. "Enemy contacts bugging out. Smackdown, should we give chase, or let them run?"
"How else am I going to take advantage of you, Farm Boy?" Cherry moves away, falling into position above Calliope, guarding the raptor, as she waits for Kallas' order, "I'm all for chasing, but they might need us to keep them clear on the ground."
"Maybe we can go strafing, Smackdown?" The cold anger in Van's voice is still crisp and clear. "Hurry them on their way?" He brings his Viper back into a slow circle above the battlefield, checking his DRADIS and then asking, "Do you have beacons from our guys, Bullseye?"
"Hang on, trying to get a fix," Calliope says, as her ECO does just that in the back of her Raptor. Attempting to isolate the signals from the downed pilots. "They were still transmitting when their planes went down. So...there's that." She looks in no hurry to chase, for her part. She maintains position, hovering and scanning for her flight-mates.
"Well...I guess you'll have to get me drunk then, Cherry." comes Finn's response. "Bullseye, let us know when you pick up those beacons. Let's focus on bringing our own home for now I guess." Still, he keeps his weapons armed and his viper ready to rocket off after the raiders.
"You see? Exactly, Farm Boy." With the skies relatively clear, Cherry moves away from Calliope, moving in closer to where the ground forces are position, getting in a good visual of the bridge, checking it for structural damage, at least the physical kind, "It's not going to be my winning personality, that's for sure."
"Flight, Bullseye. I'm heading closer to the ground to help with the retrieval effort," Calliope says over the comms, before her Raptor dips lower into the canyons. To join the clean-up effort that inevitably follows a dogfight of this magnitude. "Medics found some of our guys, from the sound of it. Gods willing, they'll be back in one piece."