Reinforcements arrive in the jungle and the wounded are evacuated, leading to surprise reunions and tearful goodbyes.
Location: Isabel Island
Related Scenes: None
Plot: Operation: Jungle Fever
Scene Number: 739
[Up In the Raptors]
Nothing like being on a tin can waiting to see if you're gonna make it to the ground alive or end up in a fireball. It's a nerve-wracking descent - nothing graceful about it, just a hard dive down from space. The pilot calls back, "Hang on," at one point and the marines in the back can feel the ship maneuvering, explosions sounding around them. "Frak, they got Magnet," the pilot mumbles as one of the Raptors goes up in flames.
[On the Ground]
The Cylons haven't bothered to reclaim the river village since the raid that freed the prisoners, so the colonials have chosen it as the location for the Raptor pickup. Assuming the Raptors manage to break through the Cylon air defenses, that is, otherwise they'll be waiting in vain. Ryan came himself for this little excursion, armed with a pistol as their little force waits for the ships. Everyone is in the jungle - no need to show themselves in the clearing until the ships are closer. The civilian prisoners and the seriously wounded wait to be evacuated. They can all see the flash of explosions high above them - almost like a grim fireworks display.
[Up In the Raptors]
As the Raptor hits the atmosphere and starts to rattle and shake and grow uncomfortably warm within, Sergeant Beckham Niles grips his rifle tighter, listening to the reports as one of the wing-Raptors goes down in flames and he closes his eyes. There's no need to try to rubberneck to look out the front windows - and there's no window seats to go along with the lack of a movie or food service in the back of the Raptor as well. The combat medic's foot taps in time with a song in his head, bobbing his head along with the beat.
The restraints he's held in tighten to pull him back against the seat and he sucks in a breath to keep it all steady. Everything's zen at the moment. Once they get on the ground, he needs to be clear-headed and level-minded in order to deal with whatever he may come across as the mad descent against heavy enemy fire continues.
[On the Ground]
Standing with the civilians, Aldrich provides moral support and the usual Chaplainy services. Except in this case, he's armed, because duh. He's watching the sky for signs of the expected Raptors when the explosion goes off. He flinches a little, but a young woman among the civilians lets out a little yelp of dismay. Aldrich quiets her with a warning hand on the arm.
[On the Ground]
Tamlin Dorn knows how to roll with the punches. They lost a Marine, so that was bad, but they picked up a Colonel. And hey, he's practically one of the Wolfpack. Or he could possibly be a pseudo-Argonaut, who cares! Those who fly the not so friendly skies are representing today! She's back in her coveralls, rifle in hand, as she maintains her position near the civilians. She's acquitted herself admirably, all things considered, but she's no marine. She'll stick with guard duty until there's no other choice.
[On The Ground]
Miko is stone faced. It's not his usual MO during Ops, the first to be shouting jovial encouragement thinly veiled behind his crude Marine mouth. But not so, tonight. He watches the explosions above with a cold sort of detachment, besides the brief movement of his hand going to a place on his chest like he's touching his dog tags.
[On The Ground]
Cate stands near the Chaplain, glancing over when he tries to comfort the frightened civilians. She mumbles something under her breath toward the fireball, probably a prayer of some sort for the crew that didn't make it. Wondering if it was anyone she knows.
[Up in the Raptors]
"Yeah!" the pilot's jubilant shout signifies their Viper escort taking out one of the Cylon pursuers. A missile detonates out in front, missing thanks to the ECM countermeasures but nevertheless lighting up the crew compartment with the flash of an explosion outside. The Raptor shakes a little but keeps going.
[Up In The Raptors]
The rattles and shake of the Raptor are something Beckham's felt before - usually in the skies over Sagittaron; the sphincter tightening ride continuing it's wild descent towards the surface. Inside the Raptor, the red light above the rear hatch illuminates, warning the Marines that they'll soon be on the ground. Releasing the harness of his seat, the medic's hand moves to grip against the railing, the Sergeant's face set into a thin line of determination. "Remember.." he tells himself, "...we're to get the Raptor clear and the wounded loaded and secured for a hot jump as fast as possible." And then they're staying behind, surrendering their places for the wounded for a hopeful pickup later.
[On The Ground]
Tamlin's eyes move between the civilians and the skies, a wince taking her features every time one of the colonial ships take damage, or worse, go up in flames. The remaining raptors are bare specks, but coming in fast. No prayers from her, but there's no lack of sympathy, as she steps forward to move closer to the civilians.
[On The Ground]
Aldrich glances between Tamlin and Cate, then to the civilians, before looking back up to the sky. If he's praying, he's doing it silently, but knowing him, there's a pretty good chance he is, even if at a casual glance, he just seems to watch solemnly as the aerial drama plays out.
[On The Ground]
Miko's lips thin out as he glances over his shoulder briefly, as if trying to count the people in the trees with one quick sweep of his eyes. There is a little shake of his head, harsh. Bitter. Like he might throw up if he didn't have a more stern stomach. It's then that he moves around towards the back of the fanned out congregation of hopefuls, waiting for the cavalry to arrive.
[Up In The Raptors]
The trip down in the Raptors is...mildly unsettling for Chance. He spent most of his career in the clan militaries engaged in ground based combat. He's been in ships before, but usually they've been planetside the whole time. Not breaking atmo. The shudder and shake of the raptor is enough to cause the big man to hold tight to the straps keeping him in his seat. When the lighting indicates it is time to land, Chance gets his game face on, the Staff Sergeant having jumped into combat enough to know how this goes. He undoes his harness as soon as they hit ground and is quick to move out of the raptor, heavy rifle at the ready as he does so.
The Raptor pilots certainly earn their pay today. After the harrowing gauntlet through the Cylon air defenses, they then have to pull to a stop like a bungee jumper, as close to the ground as possible without smashing into it. There's a rush of air on the ground as the Raptor thrusters heat up the atmosphere and kick up mud and loose grass. Three birds set down. One less than expected, and one of them damaged, but still not bad for a day's work. The Vipers patrol overhead. Then it's "Go! Go! Go!" time, because everyone on both the ground and the Raptors know that they have only precious minutes before the Cylons launch reinforcements.
Cate was chewing her lip tensely the whole time the Raptors descended, letting out a breath when they finally touch down. Then she's slinging her rifle over her shoulder and picking up one end of a stretcher. Yeah, it's not great for her cracked rib, but such is life.
Tamlin skirts the circle of civilians, moving to approach the tall Marine, Mikolas seeming oddly lonely, waiting there by himself. Almost strange to see him standing there without half a platoon behind him. But before she can get much further, the raptors break through, and eyes quickly accessing their condition, she shifts gears. She has her job to do. She moves immediately for the ships, skirting the disembarking Marines. That raptor isn't going to repair itself, damnit. She even knows the drill, running forward, an arm raised to shield her eyes from the dust and debris.
As the Raptor hits the ground, Beckham feels himself thrown around, and glances back to the pilot and ECO. "Thanks for the lift, sirs! We're taking your extra medical packs and sidearms, we may need them!" he calls out, hoping that the two officers will voluntarily give up their own gear as well so that they can have it, just in case.
"Go!" Glancing to Chance, Beckham calls out. "I need you to help me secure those wounded that are not ambulatory for travel!" he yells as he is nearly thrown against the wall with the sudden stop, leaving the back of the Raptor to find the wounded and the medics on the ground. "Taxi back to Galactica! Fare's an arm and a leg and maybe a spleen!" he calls out as he notices the medics on duty, particularly Cate.
Noticing the slight movement of pain in her side, he asks her quickly. "You going up, Lance?" the Sergeant asks as he keeps his lower scarf in place over his face to protect him from the muck and dust being thrown up by the Raptor's engines. Welcome to the swamp.
"Take the medical packs, but we may need the sidearms too," the pilot tells Beckham. "Godspeed," he offers though, because one probably needs it when being dropped off in the middle of the jungle surrounded by Cylons.
Colonel Ryan ushers along some of the civilians. "Come on, come on," he says in his fatherly tone. "Don't want to miss your bus. Next one's not for awhile." Fortunately someone planned ahead enough that there's enough room for everyone even after losing one Raptor. Just need to squish a bit more into them. Good thing they didn't lose two.
Once enough of the marines are off of the raptors, and just before the civilians start piling in, Tamlin scrambles into the damaged raptor, heading for the small repair kit usually stowed with the rest of the emergency supplies. "Get you patched up in a jiff." See Deck Monkey. See Deck Monkey run. She scampers back out, just as Ryan starts loading them in, scooting around to get to where the raptor took the worst hit.
Dorn and Niles pass each other as Beckham is grabbing the medpacks. For the moment, the two of them don't see each other directly, and with his scarf up, it would be harder for him to recognize anyway, especially with how years on Sagittaron has muddled his accent. "You're the ones flying back up into that frakfest, sirs, Gods be with you both as he tosses the medical bags to a patch of dry land as he starts to help with the loading. "Least wounded to the back, let's make it easier for the docs to pull out the most wounded first to get to them! he calls out as he makes sure that everyone has a stretcher bearer for when they get back to the Battlestar.
As everyone bursts into a flurry of activity, Aldrich is no exception. He knows his part, as well as the rest, and he herds the civilians toward the ship, keeping them together with a gentleness befitting of a Chaplain. He helps the youngest of the group, a skinny girl with eyes too big for her head, up into the ship, but he doesn't follow them in. "I'll be right behind you," he promises. "I just have some people here that need me, too. They'll take good care of you..." And that's all there's time for. With his group loaded in Aldrich moves to get out of the way, keeping an eye peeled for anyone who might need an extra hand.
Cate doesn't completely hide the grimace as she helps lift the stretcher up into the Raptor. Beckham gets a curious look, not recognizing his face, but then she shakes her head. "No, I'm good to go." She then looks to the little girl that Aldrich helped up. "Don't worry, these pilots are gonna take you to a nice safe place. You'll be fine." She even manages a weak little smile for the girl before helping up the next wounded person.
Chance Hoisting his machine gun up onto his shoulder, Chance glances to Beckham. He brings his machine to a sweep and clear position, muzzle pointed towards the ground and begins to check the area around the raptor before nodding to Beckham, 'Yeah, yeah, gotcha. Let's get a move on. You point out who you need help with, I'll do the heavy liftin.' Because...Chance is large.
The civilians are being moved. The wounded are being moved. The noncombat personnel are being moved to the Raptors and traded out. It's almost as if Mikolas has to remind his limbs how to move so that he can do his duty, but his legs are bit wooden as he reaches for the arm of one of the civilians to help them onboard. It's not until he hands the woman off to the crew on the Raptor that he feels the sting of tears on his face as they cut paths through the dirt and grime on his cheeks.
Tamlin hasn't got time for the civilians, so that's bad. But she is working the hell out of the toolkit and the patchwork job is coming together. So thumbs up! The raptor would probably make it back out without it, but there's no taking chances when the thing is full of civilians. And certainly not when the cylons are still up there. She scoots out from under the raptor, giving it a rap on the side so that the crew know she's clear, before she moves around to inspect the other raptor, keeping low to the ground, the movement learned from long years on the deck avoiding the heat exhaust from viper engines. She didn't see any damage, but you just can't be too careful.
Aldrich passes by in an abundance of haste, helping another stretcher-bound patient into the Raptors. He catches Mikolas' face as he passes, and frowns a little... But that's it. His feet carry him past and to his destination, without pause.
Cate offers a hand to the last of the civilians in this little group. That just about fills up the Raptor, but then Cate notices Tamlin scurrying out from under the other Raptor. "Dorn! You staying or going?" Despite the question, her eyes drift past Tamlin to notice Mikolas, and she frowns in concern.
"Thanks, Staff!" Beckham calls up to the very large man with the very large gun. "Check with the medics on the ground, they'll know the assist list better than me - I'm just as much of a tourist here as you are. We need to make sure the supplies are pulled free as well, Sergeant. Thanks for the help." he points out with, before he meets Cate's eyes. "If you're sure, Lance." he offers to the woman before he moves to finish helping loading the evacuees as he gathers the rest of the medical packs as he moves to clear out of the Raptor's landing area so that he can wait for crew to give the all clear for them to lift off.
"Don't see any engineers in this lot, Doc!" Not that she really had a chance to look at any of the Marines, "Who's gonna blow your shit up if I go?" Tamlin Dorn, comedy queen. Actually, almost a flattened queen, as the big Marine with the really, really big gun barely misses her, as she scoots out from under the raptor. Damn those deckies. Always under foot. Another rap to the side of this raptor, before she comes back around, tossing the kit back into the first raptor and getting down with the business of packing civilians and wounded in like sardines in a can.
Ryan has been watching all of the bustling activity with a keen eye, popping up on the wing of one of the Raptors (not Beckham's) to speak to the pilots. He suddenly hops down and bellows to the people on the ground. "All right boys and girls. Buses are leaving. We've got Raiders inbound. Clear the area!"
Mikolas doesn't lift a hand to stem the flow of quiet tears that leave his eyes, focused as he is on seeing the last of the exchange loaded and helping to unpack what other supplies they are to be given that couldn't merely be dropped. They're staining the collar of his shirt now, and he's blinking rapidly to keep them from blurring his vision and as the call for clear comes, he backs away without taking eyes off the Raptors.
What Cate yelled filtered into Beckham's ears, and the medic's brows furrow under his helmet. It's not until the little underfoot deckhand nearly gets flattened by the Boulder when he reaches to pull Tamlin back. "Careful, you might get sq--" and then he sees her face. "...shit." he hisses, the medic reaching up to tug down his scarf, surprise utterly on his face is completed with the fact that he's looking at the one person that in a billion existent, he'd not expect to find on a mudhole like this. "Tamlin." the name is half whispered, half utter bewilderment as the medic is gobsmacked.
Cate smirks at Tamlin's response. "We'll make a marine of you yet," she calls back. Being a little distracted, she doesn't actually answer Beckham's question. But she must be sure, because when the Colonel makes last call she shows no sign of heading for the ship. Instead she heads over to Mikolas, coming up behind him and reaching out to clap her hands on his shoulders. Saying nothing, just lending a bit of moral support.
"Hey!" Tamlin lets out a squawk, as she's lifted bodily to her feet. I mean, on the one hand, helpful, on the other, element of surprise. She finally gets a good look at the marine manhandling her, and she sort of pulls up short, having one of those moments that lasts half a second, but seems to stretch on to infinity. Finally, Ryan's dulcet tones break through, bringing her back to reality, and she uses Beckham's distraction to slip free, "Surprise." And then she's gone. Because she doesn't want to got blow up. Again.
Chance starts to check in with the various people on the ground, helping to get the wounded onto the raptor, lifting them by main strength where necessary to get the job done. It's not like wasting time is going to help anyone. Clear the area sounds pretty good. Shooting Cylons sounds better, but they don't play fair, what with the raiders they have.
While some people reunite with old friends and others tearfully say goodbye, Aldrich simply heeds the warning to vacate the area and departs at a trot. Okay, maybe he does give /one/ glance back over his shoulder... But then his attention is on the path again as he makes his way back to the cover of the trees.
Miko reaches up to lay one hand on Cate's, folding the rough of his palm over her knuckles as he sees the Raptors prepare for departure, just barely out of the danger zone of them firing up and lifting back off. His fingers squeeze once, and then he turns away from the sight, eyes dried by a hasty sweep of his sleeve.
He'll have to find her later. "Surprise indeed." Beckham intones, before he's moving to clear out after the Colonel's call, and perhaps realizing they should be preparing for their own incoming - after all, in his mind, these type of drops tend to pinpoint your location to the enemy, and the longer they meander, the more the chances rise of enemy contact.
Scant minutes after the XO's call, the Raptor hatches close and the birds lift off from the vacant clearing. The incoming marines are directed to different groups by squads - one going with Ryan's group and the other with a sergeant heading off in a different direction. "Let's get the hell out of here before any more of our metal friends show up," Ryan orders. "Break up and we'll meet back at the mine." This was part of a pre-arranged plan to avoid leaving one bee-lined trail made by fifteen people all heading to and from their camp.
"He's better off than we are," is about the only words of consolation Cate can think to offer Mikolas. She leaves her hands there until the other marine is turning away, then releases his shoulder. While the other medic is wiping her eyes, Cate looks around for Aldrich.
Every the resourceful deck monkey, Tamlin scans the ground as she moves, on the off-chance that something was dropped that they might need later. She manages to find a medical kit. Of course they got quite a few in the drop earlier, but you can ever have too many. Easier to do as she's been doing, focusing on moving from objective to objective, than to focus on the fact that what could be her worst nightmare is following behind her.
There is nothing but a snort from Miko in response to Cate, more in surrender than brusqueness as it normally would be given. Then this particular male medic is melting off into the jungle to scramble with the others.
Aldrich has been busy making himself scarce, so Cate might or might not spot him. When the order is given to scatter, he doesn't hesitate to head off on his own, picking a path into the jungle seemingly at random.
Worst nightmare? No, that was waiting on the ground for Beckham to arrive as he finishes loading up his supply laden ruck and moves off after the others into the jungle to meet up at the mine rendezvous. And if he somehow ended up in Tamlin's group, it's going to be an interesting walk indeed.