Cate and Tamlin venture back to Edson, to ascertain the status of the base.
Location: Jungle, Isabel Island, Canceron
Related Scenes: None
Plot: Operation: Jungle Fever
Scene Number: 731
Once they actually have the go ahead, and Cate joins her, Tamlin wastes no time in getting moving. She hasn't really stopped moving since the bombs dropped, always trying to find something to keep her busy, and now walking seems to be it. She's not inconsiderate though, and she does match Cate's pace, helping the doc whenever she can. She is the grunt worker in this particular equation.
Cate is happy to let Tamlin take the lead, making use of the deckie's makeshift compass. Though an accomplished hiker, the graze to her leg does slow her down a little. The medic has been pretty quiet and withdrawn since they escaped from the base, and shows no signs of changing that on the trip back to the base unless Tamlin is inclined to chitchat. At least they don't have to worry about getting lost. It's a straight shot north to the ocean and then they can follow that west to the airbase. Well, as much of a "straight shot" as you can do in the jungle, anyway.
No, Tamlin isn't chatty at all, once she's away from the group, and doesn't have much besides the jungle and more jungle to distract her. She takes breaks, leaving time to give Cate's leg a rest, but they're on a mission, and she doesn't want to be out here hiking in the middle of the night. She makes certain to always stick close to cover, and any weird noises means another stop, to ensure that they aren't being tracked or about to be caught.
If her leg bugs her, Cate doesn't complain about it. She keeps her rifle ready, scanning the jungle as they walk. Eventually they come to a little ridge where they can see the ocean to their north. To the east, the mouth of the Dhara River is just barely visible through the jungle canopy maybe ten miles away. At least, one hopes it's the Dhara or they're hopelessly lost. "So the base should be a couple miles that way," Cate concludes, gesturing toward the west. The hilly terrain and jungle keep them from actually seeing it though. The sun is starting to dip down, but they've still got some daylight left.
"If we try to stay close to the water, even if we lose the light, we can still have some sense of where we are using the reflection, maybe." Tamlin gives a light shrug, as she resettles her own weapon, her expression darkening. "I'm not seeing any raiders flying overhead. I don't know if that's a good sign or not." Once Cate indicates that she's ready, Tamlin starts off again, "Just a few more miles." She'll probably keep telling herself that the entire way.
They set off again. "I used to love hiking," Cate mumbles, a soft lament. Barely ten minutes after Tamlin commented about the lack of Raiders, a flight zooms by overhead. Cate crouches down instinctively, though there's little chance of them being seen in the undergrowth. The Raiders appear to be heading east.
"I used to love these boots." Tamlin looks back down, still rather despondent, at her sweats. "Actually, I still sort of love them, but I'd love them more with clean socks." At least she's trying to be funny. It's not really working. Tamlin too, crouches, as the Raiders pass overhead, eyes marking the direction they're going in. "Going to the city is going to be a dicey proposition." Not that they have planned that far ahead, but they can't stay in the jungle forever.
"Yeah those look uncomfortable as hell," Cate commiserates. She waits until the Raiders have gone before getting up and moving on. "If there's even a city left." She's just all sorts of rays of sunshine.
"They're way better in climate controlled areas." A quick smile, before Tamlin starts on again, the miles eaten up relentlessly by the pace the two women are setting, "That's true. There could not be. But the cylons aren't particular about junk removal, so there'll still be salvage."
"I'm sure," Cate agrees, and nods about the salvage. "That's true. They clean out the bodies but not the wreckage. Always found that weird."
"Well, I don't imagine they need anything from the wreckage. But I couldn't say what they do with the bodies. I mean, I've hard rumours, everyone has." She might be about to continue, but she chokes off her next words, and reaches out to bar Cate with her arm , crouching in place. She lifts a hand to her mouth to indicate silence, then points towards a trail up ahead. It's just possible to see the glint of metal through the trees.
Cate ducks down when Tamlin does, any response about the rumours dying on her lips. She squints through the trees and then holds up three fingers to illustrate the number of Centurions she sees. They appear to be moving along - a patrol maybe. Their current path will take them in front of the women's position, possibly dangerously close. But they've got good concealment here at least.
Tamlin does not speak, but she does look towards Cate, as the only certified marine on this recon mission. She chucks a thumb behind her, as if to say, "Should we go?" But she won't move until Cate gives the yes or no. She just tries to crouch down even deeper into the jungle clutter, which is not as easy as one might think, given she's also armed, in clunky boots...and also a greasemonkey.
Cate shakes her head, deciding that they'd be more likely to be spotted if they moved. She hunkers down, trying to become one with the big tree trunk she's crouching behind. The Centurions make a soft little clacking sound as they move, getting louder and louder. There's one heart-stopping movement when they stop nearby, but they they keep on moving further down the trail, without having noticed the two crew members.
Tamlin remains as Cate directs her, though she still tries to keep her body between the doctor and the Centurions. The group can survive without an opinionated deckie. They can't without a doctor. And she doesn't try to look at anything but whatever she sees in front of her as she waits, only listening, and not praying, but waiting. They'll either be found or not. She won't even look up until she can't even hear them anymore, and then, only enough to try to catch Cate out of the edge of her sight to see the woman's order.
Cate scarcely moves, scarcely breathes until the Centurions have well passed. Then she lets out a shaky breath. "OK that was a little too close," she whispers, still not taking any chances. "We can't be far now." She motions for Tamlin to move and starts that way herself.
Tamlin nods, following Cate's direction, and starts back along the route they've chosen, making certain not to go anywhere near anything that looks like a path. She also starts trying to be more considerate of where she's walking, so as not to trample too much. "Now we know for certain that they're still in the area. Trying to flush our survivors, I have no doubt."
Cate nods slightly. "Probably yeah." Avoiding the paths makes the last stretch slow going, but soon enough they come to the edge of the treeline with a view of the airbase. Or what's left of it. The fires have burned out, but most of the buildings are rubble or seriously damaged. The fence is still there, but there are bomb-induced gaps in it now. Another unwelcome addition is the quantity of chrome, for it seems that the Cylons have occupied the base. Worker models and Centurions alike move through the base.
Not a welcome sight, to be sure, but an interesting one, at least for the deckie. Tamlin hunkers down, as they come as close as it is safe to do, eyes scanning what they can see of the base. "A lot of cylons, but do you see any survivors?" Tamlin seems particularly interested in what the worker models are doing. "Anywhere they could be holding anyone who they rounded up?"
The worker models just seem to be crossing purposefully. It isn't immediately obvious what they're working on. Something over by the airfield maybe? Cate frowns, murmuring, "I don't see anything. Do you?"
Indeed if she peers just the right way between to collapsed heaps of rubble in what used to be the enlisted barracks, Tamlin can see where there seems to be a new structure of some sort. They can't get a really great look without binoculars, but the metal slats lining the outside make it fairly reminiscent of a cage. And when they watch it for a few minutes, it looks like there's movement within.
Tamlin doesn't move, though you can see from the tension in her body that she really wants to. Man, if they could only get a few feet closer, "Do you see, over there, by the enlisted barracks. Prisoners. I can't see who or how many, and I don't think we want to risk trying to circle around the base to get closer." But she looks over to Cate anyway, in case she does think that's a good idea.
"Where?" Cate asks at first, but then a soft 'oh' shows that she sees it too. "Frakking bastards," she mumbles. When Tamlin brings up the risk of getting closer, Cate chews her lip in consideration. Finally she sighs. "If we don't, who will?" Cate starts moving to the left, staying low to be a smaller profile, but she leaves it up to Tamlin whether she's coming too.
Tamlin's not letting Cate go alone! No sir, she's moving right along with the other woman, trying to mimic Cate's movements. She's not so set in her ways that she can't learn new tricks. As she goes, she's looking for not only what's going on at the base, but for anything that might be useful that's close enough to pick up. Maybe another radio, or another weapon, though that hardly seems likely.
They do stumble across another soldier, but the stench identifies him as dead before they even reach him (jungle speeds that along... yuck). Looks like one of the Canceron troops, not one of theirs, but Tamlin can add another pistol and belt with clips to her collection. There are a few close calls when one of the Cylons inside the perimeter seems to be watching the jungle or patrolling along the fence, but they get around the base unscathed to a point where they have a better view. Yes, the Cylons do seem to be working on the airfield - setting up air defense batteries and mechanical equipment that seems to be their version of deck crew stuff. And yes, there's a ramshackle metal pen that appears to house two dozen or so Colonial prisoners. They're alive, but that's about all the women can tell from this distance. "Wish we had some binoculars," Cate mumbles.
Tamlin is not above scavenging from the dead. Mostly because she doesn't want to end up dead herself. She tries to do her best to look at everything, if the swiveling of her neck is any indication, "Strange that they're not removing the prisoners to a more secure location, don't you think? I mean, they could easily get some sort of transport in and take them to one of their bases. Instead, they're setting up defenses here. Maybe expecting rescue troops." Tamlin nods, at the comment about binoculars, before she starts looking around again, "Or a rifle scope."
"Unless they figure this /is/ a secure location," Cate muses, a grim frown at what that would mean for their overall situation. She watches for a few more minutes before sighing. "We'd better report back. Nothing we can do for them now." Much as she might want to.
"I'm afraid of what that might mean for the city. All we can hope is that Kona hasn't fallen yet. Because if it is, we are seriously screwed." The journey to the mainland would be close to impossible. "Yeah, we can come back, if we have to. They'll just have to try to fend for themselves until we can figure something out." She'll start back, as soon as Cate is ready, still scavenging and scurrying as quickly as she can.