The marines charge across the battlefield to rescue a downed pilot.
Location: Atray Province, Tauron
Related Scenes: None
Plot: Operation: Bullhorn
Scene Number: 723
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.
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Tauron ground troops, reinforced by Colonial Marines, are spread out on the "front" side of the bridge (closest to enemy territory), intent on keeping the Cylons from crossing and threatening a vital Tylium mine located nearby.
First Platoon is holding the middle of the Colonial line, near the road. The bridge is maybe a hundred yards behind them. Geoff, Spencer, Cate and a couple other guys are behind a couple of cars that were brought up to make a hasty roadblock. The rest of the platoon is spread out in the rocky terrain and behind a hastily-erected sandbag wall.
Spencer is the driver guy. The driver guy who can shoot, but still. His primary duty is to get people where they're going and to fix the ground vehicles when they hiccup. He's been in active combat against Cylons before, but it has been awhile. He sits with his back against the vehicle, rifle in hand. He's being uncharacteristically silent. The motormouth is nowhere to be seen.
Geoff is equally grim, but he does tend to get pretty serious when the chips are down. He's got his rifle ready, a spot picked out where he can pop up from behind the cover with a good vantage point but plenty of protection. He squints at the beautifully-painted horizon.
Cate has seen entirely too much active combat. She's leaning against the front of the car, rifle in hand and her medic bag on her back. "See anything?" she asks the others.
There's not much to see at first. Perhaps a glint of metal off of something in the distance, some dust kicked up. Then all of a sudden it becomes a stupid question as mortar rounds start raining down on the colonial positions, explosions shaking the ground and kicking up plumes of dirt and rock all along the line.
Less than a minute later, Cylon aircraft can be seen approaching in the skies, with Colonial and Tauron fighters coming up from behind them to meet the badguys.
"Ohhhh, frak me," breathes Spencer as he feels the concussion blasts rattle his chest. He grips the rifle and rolls over so he's facing the right way. He hefts it up and looks through the sight, trying to see if he can suss out just what in unholy hells is tromping their way.
"Frak," Geoff hisses, almost in time with Spencer's oath, flinching at the mortar fire. But he looks ready to roll, lifting the barrel of the rifle over the trunk of the vehicle. "Aircraft," he says. "That's all I see so far."
There is a moment when the cacophony of the battle starts that Miko just closes his eyes against the sound the reverberates along the canyon walls behind them. His hand reaches for his chest, laying over his armor just at the apex of his collarbone and his head gives a quick shake like he has to bring himself back to the here and now of things. Like it could be ignored. He's blank faced by the time he peers out over the car barricade.
The battle is engaged in the skies above, just a few craft at first, then more join in. It'd be quite a thing to watch, were it not for the occasional air-to-ground rocket being launched by a heavy raider at the colonial positions. Death from above and all that.
Cate flinches, ducking down a little as pebbles launched by a mortar explosion ping on the hood of the car and their helmets. Her knuckles are white around the grip of her rifle, eyes scanning the terrain ahead.
"Here they come!" shouts the sergeant, and sure enough - a line of Centurions can be seen approaching, coming up from behind a rise that covered their advance. It's rare to see Centurions jog, but they can do it - and here is the proof as their metal legs pound across the open ground. "Hold your fire till they're in range."
Spencer moves to just below the curve of the hood of the vehicle. He can see up and over. He grips white-knuckled on his rifle, ready to lift the weapon and brace it against the hood as soon as the order is given. He looks paler than usual (which is a feat) and is having to concentrate to steady his breathing. This may not be his first time in combat, but he's still only twenty three.
"Coming fast," Geoff warns, then adds, "Frakfrakfrak," to himself much more quietly. He lines his gaze up with the sight.
"We only want our freedom." Miko mutters the words that echoed through the docking bay as Centurians killed half their deck crew not but a week ago. "Bullshit." His rifle is braced on a piece of twisted metal and held in place with one hand while he tightens his ballistic glove with the other. "C'mere pretty pretty pretty." His tongue emerges, licking a droplet of sweat from his upper lip.
Cate glances over at her fellow medic. "Think if we tell them they're already free they'll go frak off and leave us alone?" She jumps again a little bit as another mortar goes off not too far from there position. Maybe some get used to that eventually. She's not there yet. She readies the rifle, taking aim at one of the incoming toasters and taking a breath to steady herself.
"FIRE!" The sergeant gives the order, and the line opens up, single shots and bursts and suppressive fire from the machineguns causing a deafening din to echo off the canyon walls. The hail of fire breaks up the Cylon advance. Several Centurions in the topple, while others take cover behind rocks and depressions in the uneven terrain. More come up behind them. An armored vehicle of some description advances along the road, spitting a blast of lead from its cannon at one of the sandbag positions.
Spencer exhales slowly and pulls the trigger, aiming at the line of Cylons. This is familiar. This is like the siege of Themis Spaceport. That was the first time he ever saw Cylons attack humans. It clearly wasn't going to be the last. When he spies the vehicle, he pauses in firing to take a look through the scope. After a moment of scanning its body, he fires off a series of deliberate shots designed at stopping the forward roll of the armored vehicle.
"Get frakked," Geoff invites the first Cylon that goes down, though it's far from Geoff's work alone, bullets from several angles eventually knocking the thing over. He glances at the vehicle, but for not concentrates on working to put down another Centurion.
There are few times that medics are actually have the opportunity to shoot, and the beginning of the battle happens to be one of them. Miko is enthusiastically taking the opportunity, peppering the metal opponents with a satisfying tinktinktink. So what if he's using the time to work out some aggression too, with colorful expletives yelled in the process. It's not long before he's reaching to reload, slamming in more ammo before the shell casings around him even get a chance to cool.
Cate opens fire with the other marines, careful bursts aimed at the shiny chrome. Like Geoff, she helps to bring one down. The moment of satisfaction is short-lived as one of their own goes down an instant later. Cate stops shooting and scoots over to check him, but she checks his pulse and rolls him over. One look at the big hole in his helmet shows that there's nothing she can do. "Frak, Bennett's gone." A grim look of sorrow is leveled at her dead comrade, but only for a moment. There'll be time to grieve later - for now it's back to the firing line.
The armored vehicle grinds to a halt as Spencer's rounds damage its track. But it's still shooting - a blast takes out one of the sandbag defenses further down the line, injuring several marines. (There are other medics down thataway.) The dogfight rages above, the firefight rages below. It's quite a din. But at least the Toasters are being held back - for now.
Spencer murmurs a little 'yessss' as the vehicle stops rolling. It's short-lived as the heavy shot blasts out a section of sandbag. He holds up an arm to protect from the spray of sand and other debris. He doesn't allow himself to look at the downed comrade. He takes a deep breath, then reloads and resumes firing. He takes a moment between shots to see if there are any other weaknesses he can exploit, but none jump out at him.
Geoff doesn't check on anybody. Does he even hear that someone's down? He gives no sign of it. Only reloading takes him away from that intense focus down the barrel--and briefly.
There is a glance to the side, nothing more, as Bennett goes down and Cate goes to tend to him. He doesn't even wait from the prognosis - or lack there of - before he goes back to firing. There will be time enough to get his hands dirty with the blood of humanity, but right now he's busy emptying his gun into the enemy.
The combat wears on, more marines taken out up and down the line. Overhead, there are explosions as planes are blown up. Friendly? Enemy? Hard to say in the swirling chaos. But at least one of them manages to eject - his parachute visible as he floats to the ground... towards a ridge in the Cylon-held area.
Cate glances over at the other squad, making sure everyone's all right. Manning has a gash on his arm but it's not slowing him down. So she continues firing.
"MOVE! Move MOVE MO-O-OVE!" As part of the sandbag line gets blown away, there's a ripple effect of squads scrambling for fresh cover. Under the loving verbal abuse of a Sergeant, more Marines pile in behind the barricade of vehicles, including one Private First Class Lulezim.
Spencer falls into the terrible rhythm of combat. His weapon is hot in his hands, but he keeps firing. He's not paying too much attention to anything that isn't the clanking approach of the enemy, though the sudden pile-on of Marines does turn his head for a moment. He takes that time to reload his weapon, then resumes firing. He can't stop to think too much. He'd freeze.
Geoff isn't hit yet, making good use of his cover. Reloaded, he unleashes another burst at the tin cans. One at a time.
"Poor bastard." Miko's eyes trail the descending parachute until it disappears, losing precious firing time to watch him or her fall to their certain doom. There's no way they can recover that person, and wouldn't risk the bridge anyways to try it. With a new grit to his teeth, Miko returns to shooting, this time shifting to wear the break in the sandbags just occurred.
The parachuting pilot at least has the good fortune to not land in a nest of Cylons. But he has the bad fortune of coming down on the lower slopes of a ridge overlooking the 'front line' of the Cylon advance. Almost immediately, puffs of dust show the Cylons taking shots at him. The pilot is not visible, probably ducked down behind some rocks. Maybe dead.
One of the joys of being the squad sergeant is being tuned into the radio frequency that connects you to the higher-ups. It is not very reassuring with the Sergeant keys his radio and says, "You've got to be frakking kidding me, sir." There's a pause. "Yes, sir. Understood." Hopefully he cuts of the mic before muttering the last bit, "Frak me." As the gunfire and explosions continue around them, he addresses the band at the cars.
"Listen up. We're going to move to the cover of those rocks over there, then leapfrog to that ridge and cover the pilot's escape." Yes, apparently he means move ACROSS the ground being peppered by gunfire and mortar fire. Insanity.
Cate pauses her shooting long enough to slant the sergeant a look, jaw gaping open a bit in shock. Not what she expected. But she shuts it and doesn't protest. Though she does grip her rifle a little tighter, anxious.
"We're gunna WHAT?!" This from Stefan, hazel eyes wide beneath the brim of his helmet, as he looks from the squad sergeant, to the expanse of naked hills where the pilot landed, and back again. "MotherFRAKKER," he mutters, fingers white-knuckling on his rifle as he bounces on his haunches, preparing for the worst game of dodgeball EVER.
"Frakking /what/?" Geoff asks at that order, finally something breaking through his concentration. "Apollo's nuts, what do you want to kill us all for? That pilot's frakkin' dead!"
"I don't know strategy," calls Spencer over the sound of gunfire, "...but that doesn't sound like a very good plan." Still, Spencer prepares to move. Orders are orders. "Don't suppose anyone's got any grenades? If we can draw their fire away, we'd probably have a better chance of making it to the rocks."
'Move to cover' 'leapfrog to that ridge'. Yeah, sure. And Miko is going to shit a brick of gold and piss diamonds. The tip of his rifle dips a moment in disbelief, but he's not about to disobey orders or try to argue them. His chin tips up and he inhales sharply through his nose, but he prepares to move out with the rest. "You heard the Sergeant. Move, move, move."
The sergeant may not like it any more than they do, but chain of command leaves no room for waffling. "Orders are orders Courtois." There's a brief pause while he coordinates with the other section leaders over the radio. Covering fire, don't shoot us when we run out, etc. "Like Bernhard said, if you've got grenades, toss 'em as we go - anything to keep those frakkers' heads down. Air wing's gonna cover us too. Everyone ready?" It's more of a ready-or-not-here-we-come type rhetorical question, for he soon utters, "Let's MOVE."
Cate meets Stefan's eyes, silently agreeing with his muttering. "Try not to get killed," she says, ever so helpfully. Then when the sergeant tells them to go, she goes, breaking from cover at a full-tilt run towards the nearest available rocky cover in the direction they're going.
"Better be the frakkin' CAG went down over there, all 'f our necks out fer just one 'f theirs," mutters Stefan, giving the distant hills the stinkeye. Louder, pitched to carry: "Hollar when yer throwin', we got yer coverin' fire here!" No grenades in his loadout, it looks like, but he's shooting a glance around to try to spot who'll be needing the overwatch. No time to make a full tally, though; they're here, and the rocks are there. Gods willing, they'll be there, shortly, too.
Geoff is fuming as he grabs his rifle. He finds himself jostling nearer to Cate and Stefan "Spoiled-ass flyers." He gives a burst of suppressing fire, then runs after Cate.
While everyone's debating the relative non-merits of the entire plan, Spencer's checking the truck for grenades. He pulls out a crate and grabs a few, then follows behind with the others. He pulls the first grenade's pin, shouts, "Fire in the hole!" then lobs it as far as he can towards the Cylons. With any luck, even if it doesn't impact any Toasters, it'll disturb the ground enough to make it harder to get a clear shot.
Miko brings up the rear of the group headed to give the downed pilot relief, perhaps to ensure that everyone is herded along properly and they are all following orders - even if they are bitchy about it, him included. Loaded down with a medic kit, he doesn't have the pleasure of having heavier munitions, so he'll help suppress enemy fire until he needs to do his other given duties: making sure if someone is hit, that they don't necessarily die on that godforsaken ridge.
And they're off. Boots beating across the reddish ground, trying to neither put a foot in a hole and break an ankle nor get blown up by mortars. Fun times! One poor sap doesn't even make it out of the car barricade before being gunned down. A couple others take bullets as they dash across the open ground, but it's not enough to stop them. Only one - Masri - falls on the way, shot under the arm and missing her vest. "GO GO GO!" the sergeant yells. Motivational speaking at its finest. Grenades go off, sending more rocks and dust into the air. The air wing provides cover as promised with some strafing runs and ground rockets - only fair since it's their boy everyone's going after.
Cate glances back at the yelps of pain. She sees Masri fall, but Miko's closer. There's a brief pause to make sure he's going to get her - and Cate will hang back to help as needed.
It's difficult to provide covering fire while also running for your life -- but it's the sort of thing they all train for. As Spencer and a few others call out their grenades, Stefan's among those lifting their rifles to lay down extra bullets in hopes of keeping them safe. Well. They're in a war, running from perfectly good cover to not-so-good cover. Safe-ish. "Shit," he mumbles as he skids to a stop behind the jumbled boulders, slapping at bits of KEW-splintered stone dusting his battle kit.
Geoff doesn't look back. He plasters himself against the rock to catch his breath. "Frakkin' brass aren't the ones who're gonna have to dream about this shit," he mutters.
Spencer is slowed by the pause to toss the grenade, but he makes up ground after it goes off. He's lagging towards the back of the pack, but still he makes it behind the rocks. He drops behind cover, panting hard and clutching his rifle like a lifeline. "Dreams? Who's going to dream about this? Nightmares, nightmares," he murmurs, then laughs nervously.
It's not as if Miko is going to drop right there with Masri and tend to her wounds. Instead, Sergeant Kovac goes down long enough to get her arm wrapped around his shoulders and helps her back to her feet to scramble over the rocks for cover. It's there that the medic will treat her, but the journey there is a long and agonizing one. When he finally is able to lay her down near the others, he gives a quick furtive glance to Spencer. "You alright, Candyman?"
"Maybe we oughta make them try it sometime," Cate huffs breathlessly as she throws herself down next to Geoff. "Switch places for a day, like on Boxing Day. Can you see the Captain doing this shit?" Spencer's comment about nightmares gets a nod of agreement, and her eyes drift over the others, looking for wounds that can't wait.
Speaking of not waiting, the Sergeant doesn't give them much of a respite before saying. "All right, half of the element stay here - including you two -" That would be Masri and another marine with a bullet in his leg. "Cover the rest of us. On three... one... two... THREE."
"Picon'll freeze over first," throws in Stefan to the thought of Galactica brass swapping places with the groundpounders, teeth flashing in a wide and utterly mirthless grin. "Or maybe we'll tan our asses on Aquaria-" His adrenaline-giddy laughter squeezes off as he pushes back up to his feet to bolt for the next scant patch of cover.
Geoff elects to run rather than cover, despite his reluctance about this whole mission. Of course, if the cover group has to move forward, it might be safer to go in the first group. Whatever the case, he doesn't make any more smart remarks, just goes pelting off with his rifle.
"Fine, fine! Who wouldn't be fine with all these explosions popping around and Toasters firing at you. It's so peaceful, it's a frakkin' walk in the park tra la la." Spencer laughs nervously again and reloads his rifle in a smooth, practiced motion that is in contrast to his nervous speech. Then again, he talks in spurts like that when he's not in imminent danger. "That sounds good," he says to Cate, "But I hate paperwork. Geronimoooo!" and then he's off and sprinting with the pack.
"If you say so, kid." The medic responds to Spencer, reaching over to give the other man a reassuring slap upside the back of the helmet. Now it's time for the leapfrogging part, it seems. Miko only has time to pack Masri with some gauze and give her a quick shot for pain, leaving her with some supplies once he's sure she'll survive there in cover and then presses on with the rest.
They all make it up the ridge in one piece. Someone must be looking out for them given the hail of gunfire thrown their way. Technically it's not the top of the ridge, since the pilot landed on the slopes, but nonetheless part of the ridge. There are rocks here too, providing cover. "Holy shit am I glad to see you guys," the battered pilot says breathlessly as the marines approach. His parachute has blown away, and he's just there in his tattered flight suit, pistol in hand, bleeding from a bad gash in his leg and a few other wounds.
The Cylons pepper the ridge and the other group left behind since they've ever-so-helpfully put themselves out in front of the rest of the colonial forces. "Dig in and let's give 'em a taste of their own medicine boys and girls," the sergeant urges, bringing his own rifle to his shoulder and firing down on the forces below them.
Cate looks back at Spencer briefly. "Walk in the park? Frak, Kovac, how many times did you hit him in the head?" Maybe she missed the sarcasm there, or is just responding to the laugh. "Here, let me put a dressing on that," she tells the injured pilot, ducking down as a bullet whizzes overhead.
YOU'RE GONNA DIE. No. Wait. You're okay. Time for the next charge. YOU'RE GONNA- Rinse and repeat. To each their own method of dealing with the risk of sudden violent death; for Stefan it's currently a weird, mirthless giddiness. "Yer in luck, man- we're prolly /in/ a park right now!" he laugh-shouts over the bulletfire, presumably to Spencer. "First National Heap 'f Tauran Granite, shit, we got shit like this back home-" He's wrestling with his rifle, back against a rock as he's jamming some mechanism back and forth to try and clear it, giving him time for his soliloquy.
"Whoever your daddy is, I'm guessin' he's gonna be real happy to see you, too," Geoff says to the pilot as he rushes for, what do you know, another rock, stumbling behind it just before incoming fire glances off the front.
"If you hit me in the head too much, I'd probably get smarter," says Spencer with wry self-deprecation. After a moment of catching his breath, he reaches for one of the grenades he brought with him. To Stefan he says, "Aw, man. I didn't pay the entry fee. I don't want a ticket!" And then he flings a grenade towards the pack of Cylons. Kid's got a decent arm. He follows up the tossed grenade with a spread of rifle fire. "ONLY YOU CAN PREVENT CYLON TAKEOVERS!" he shouts over the noise.
The pilot doesn't look like anything special at first glance from Kovac, he's not sparkling with fairy dust or have a beam of sunlight tracking him like some demigod from Kobol, so maybe he's a booty call for some higher up or a family member like Geoff suggested. Either way, no doubt that Pilot is going to catch some shit in the days to come for the amount of lives risked to recover him. Take about thrilling heroics.
Cate actually looks up from her pilot-tending long enough to give Spencer a little smirk for that shout. Then she looks to Geoff. "C'mon, Court. No man left behind and all that jazz." Which it almost sounds like the medic believes. Closet idealist or something. She ties off the bandage and gives the pilot a shot of morpha. "There, that'll hold you, assuming we don't all die on this ridge here." Cate then moves to the rocks to join in the defense of their position.
With the pilot secured and the squad in cover, now it's just a matter of holding out until the battle is over. Fortunately for the marines, it doesn't take more than another ten minutes or so (a loooong ten minutes) before the air wing gets the upper hand and starts assisting the ground forces in driving the Cylons into a full-on retreat.