Tucker takes a couple of Marines on a rescue op on Canceron - it goes sideways in the worst possible way when one father learns his family's lost.
Location: Flood Zone - Cancernon
Related Scenes: None
Scene Number: 752
Martinez is razzing Cate about something as they approach the Raptor that's waiting for them on the hangar deck. "Come on. Never?" He sounds incredulous.
"I'm serious!" Cate protests.
Tucker had been pulled off alert five in order to bring his Raptor into the bay for a rescue mission. The ECO is already moving to get his own gear on as the pilot keeps the engine running as a deck crew is quickly working to open one of the side doors and install a portable wench system to be used to lift a person or persons to and from the Raptor.
As those that were told to come on the duty approach, there's a small look of surprise as the pilot recognizes the tall Marine and offers a smirk of a smile that may belie a bit of emotion. "You know when I asked what you like to do in your downtime, Cate, this isn't what I expected." the pilot offers as he watches the work. "So you're going with me on this fishing trip, I take it? Though I admit.." said casually as he moves out of the way of a deckhand with air wrench to screw the winch into place, "...you make some pretty nice looking bait."
Cate's attention is drawn away from Martinez' dubious headshaking when she hears Tucker's voice. A look of pleasant surprise flashes across her face. "Oh. Hey. Yeah, I guess we're riding with you." She looks down at the compliment, a shy smile quirking up.
Martinez snorts at the comment. "Just make sure she doesn't fall in. Doc here doesn't know how to swim." He nudges her arm good-naturedly, and she then baps him back.
"That's what the life jacket is for, dumbass." She gives Tucker a see-what-I-have-to-put-up-with? sort of look.
"Don't worry, I only bob the bait a couple of times." Tucker teases as he smiles back at Cate, catching her eye for a moment before heading to slip his helmet back on. "But hopefully, neither of you will need to take a swim." he offers quickly. "Residential area that was flooded, they need someone to airlift out the people that were caught in their homes with the levees broke."
Settling into the pilot's chair, he waits for the ECO to call out that the others are settled and strapped in before the deckhands secure the winch and they're given the all-clear to take off.
"Oh, good to know," Cate plays along amiably, her expression amused when he catches her eye. She follows him into the Raptor, Martinez trailing close behind. Their rifles are stowed safely away somewhere - on hand in case things go south, but they're not expecting resistance on this trip. The ECO closes the hatch and he and Martinez get strapped into the back. Before settling in, Cate leans against the back of the pilot's chair. "So how much trouble will you get in if you let me sit up front?" she asks with a smirk, eyeing the empty co-pilot chair. Hard to tell if she's joking or not.
"As long as you can get out in time to make it to your place when we arrive on scene." Tucker offers, offering his hand to Cate to help her into the seat, if she wants. If she accepts, he'll hold her hand until she's settled and strapped in, a small snort from the ECO as he gets into place. Once everyone's settled, the Raptor lifts off the deck and moves to make the trip to the planet.
The scene outside the windows itself is a treat for Cate, possible - the split of the darkness of space and the blue of the Cancereon sky. The soft rumble of the Raptor as it breaks atmo, and the heat that shows as flames and lightening red and yellow hues along the bottom of the glass. Breaking through the cloud-bank, there's a steady rain that is falling over the city, forcing steam from the canopy before he engages the wipers in their drone of back and forth motion.
Banking into the city, the roofs of several buildings are seen - and what seems to be the river and lake that has claimed the city streets running between. Makeshift SOS banners have been set out by those trapped on rooftops, waving up to the Raptor and others from the Canceron Navy that are moving in to assist.
"We're assigned to the southwest sector. We're supposed to pick up and deliver to the hospital, ECO has it on the map. We'll get you into position, you make the pickup. No dawdling, we don't have a lot of fuel for this mission."
Cate grins. She wasn't actually expecting him to say yes, so - bonus. "Deal." She does take his hand to keep her balance so she doesn't accidentally kick a switch or something while stepping into it.
"What the frak are you doing, Doc?" Martinez calls up in incredulous amusement.
"Hey, don't be hating just because you never asked," Cate fires back. A grateful look is shot his way after getting buckled in. "Never been up front before." She's seen reentry from the back of the bus before, of course, too many times to count, but there's something different about experiencing it with nothing but the clear canopy in front of you. Her eyes widen in amazement.
Her mood sobers up when they get close enough to see the devastation along the coastline. "My gods," she murmurs.
Even Martinez, with his crappier view from the back, shakes his head grimly. "Poor bastards. Look at that."
Cate offers a brisk nod to Tucker when he cues them up for the mission. "Got it," she says, maneuvering back out of the chair and heading back toward the hatch.
Part of Tucker wants to swat her backside as she heads to the back, but there's a mission to tend to, and he's not that brash. Though he does take a moment to check it out before turning his attention to a white sheet spread out on a rooftop that reads 'HELP' in bright blue paint. Lowering and vectoring the Raptor into place, the water around the house ripples away with the warm thrust of the engines of the Colonial bird as he holds it with minimal movement as the ECO moves to open the door so that Martinez can assist with getting Cate into the harness to lower her down. The pilot in the meantime keeps the Raptor steady and tries not to watch her at work.
Oblivious to Tucker's musings, Cate heads on back and gets all hooked in. "Sure you don't want to trade places?" she asks Martinez with a smirk.
"Better you than me, Doc. I like to keep my ass in the aircraft."
"Your loss," Cate tells him, checking and re-checking the gear. And then the ECO is giving Tucker the 'all set' signal and Cate finds herself being lowered by the winch down to the rooftop. The little rescue basket thing is sent down next, and Cate helps to get the first victim - a mother holding an infant - into the basket. A hand signal, plus her voice over the radio, signals the ECO to raise the winch. There are five people in all, including the baby - a family of four and a neighbor.
While Cate is helping the first people in the basket, the neighbor comes over to where Cate is, taking her shoulder and pointing at the house next door. "I was over here visiting when the tremor hit. The rest of my family, they're over here, still in the house!" The house that's submerged, only parts of the roof showing, and no sure sign that there is anyone alive within over the noise of the Raptor.
The ECO starts raising the winch to pull up the basket with the first victims as Martinez waits for them. The rain continues to drive over the scene, soaking everything in the stinging water as Tucker holds his position, the wiper blades wicking away the water almost as fast as it accumulates.
"What?" Cate isn't sure at first that she heard the guy right. That house looks totaled. But he clarifies, and she sees the stricken look on his face. "Okay, okay, hang on. I need to get them up first." It takes some cajoling by both Cate and the girl's dad to get the family's older daughter into the basket. Poor thing is petrified of the thing. But in the end she rides up in her dad's lap. As Martinez and the ECO are helping the dad and daughter out of the basket, Cate keys her radio. "Flats, Rhodes here." Her voice is all business. "After we get this guy up I need you to send down Martinez with some rope. The neighbor says his family's still trapped in the next building over."
"Rhodes, Flats. You sure about that? We're going to be near full with what we got already coming up.." Tucker's already counting the seats, and frowns finally. "I'll get them down. We'll double up if we have to." the pilot offers as he keys the radio one more time. "<<Be careful, Rhodes.>>" he offers in Celtan before his attention moves to call to the back. "Martinez, get the rescue rope and the pickaxe, you're going down to help Rhodes over to the neighbor's house!" he calls out.
The basket arrives to offload the first of the refugees before it is lowered back down, this time with Martinez as well, the ECO taking over the winch duties fully as Tucker continues to vector the Raptor gently to keep the ship in a somewhat stationary flight.
"Can't just leave them, Flats," Cate replies easily, her voice certain. She smiles a little at the words in Celtan, even if he can't see it. "<<I'll do my best.>>" she promises back. Getting the neighbor into the basket is almost as much trouble as getting the preschooler was. The man is understandably reluctant to leave his family. But Cate eventually gets through to him that this is the best way to help his family, and gets more info from him about when and where he last saw them. The fact that they haven't made it up onto the rooftop by now mean the chances that they're alive are slim to none, and Martinez is quick to point this out to Cate once he and the neighbor have traded places. Surveying the mostly-submerged house with the pickaxe, he says, "Come on, Doc, this is nuts. There's no way anybody's alive in there."
"Do me a favor, Martinez? Shut up. We can hop over onto the other roof here. I need you to cut a hole through the roof so we can see inside." The other marine sighs and follows along. They hop over a gap to the other rooftop, and Martinez chops through the roof in short order. Then his voice, not Cate's comes over the radio. "Lieutenant, the whole building's flooded."
Taking in the news, Tucker frowns, but continues on the duty of getting everyone else loaded up. The basket is lowered for Cate and Martinez to return to the Raptor. Martinez climbs into the basket and it starts to go up. As the neighbor starts to realize that the marines are returning with noone from the house, his eyes darken in anger. "They haven't even checked the house yet! My family's in there!"
Looking back, Tucker frowns, "I'm sorry, sir, they checked.. the house was flooded.." he tries to offer gently, but the neighbor is having nothing to do with believing that. "No! They're alive!"
Just as the ECO is moving to pull up the two Marines, the neighbor lunges, grabbing the ECO's sidearm and before the ECO can protest, the civilian shoots him twice and then puts the gun against Tucker's helmet. "You tell them to go back there, or I shoot you and we all die!"
Cate was still crouched over the hole in the roof, frowning down at the water below when the gunshots rang out. They cause her to jump up, hand instinctively going for her own sidearm. "Tucker? What the frak is going on?" There's an edge of alarm in her voice. She presumes he's alive, since the Raptor hasn't dropped out of the sky, but beyond that... who knows.
"Rhodes, Flats.. the neighbor wants to be sure that the house is cleared. ECO down. Repeat. ECO down." He keys the comm over so that the Vanguard is on comm as well. Tucker feels the warmth of the gun against his head and looks up into the rear-view, the anger and determination in the neighbor's eyes. The fear and panic on the family's faces. "Please, just put the weapon away, and we can get a proper search and rescue team down here to help with your family.."
"...I want to know their status, now!" the man says, his voice distraught as Tucker draws in a breath, feeling a tremble. "<<May have to put off that movie, Cate..>>"
"What are you saying to her??" the neighbor demands angrilly, butting the barrel of the gun against his head.
"We had plans later, I was telling her we're going to have to wait to make sure we know what happened to your family.." There's a pause as he considers. "Sir, I need to have someone operate the winch. I still have a man in the basket, and one on the ground. I can't get you a rescue team if we're like this." he offers steadily, "I need someone to work the winch."
Cate can only hear Tucker's side of the exchange, but it's enough to set her heart pounding, her mouth tightening in frustration at how little she can do down here. Can she reason with him? No, he's already shot one of their men, and there's a whole family up there at risk. In Celtan she says, "<<Tucker, tell him to lower Martinez so we can search the house. He goes to the winch, I can take the shot. Unless you've got a better idea.>>"
Martinez meanwhile is cursing up a storm in the basket (off-mic, thankfully) and trying to figure out if he can climb up the hoist line to get back into the Raptor.
Hearing Cate's suggestion, Tucker nods. "The red button the winch. It lowers the basket. Get my man down, and he can help Rhodes search the house and find your family." he offers, hands trembling around the stick as he hears Cate's voice in his head, and swallows.
"<<Heard about your luck at the shooting competition. Here's to hoping it wasn't a fluke.>>" he explains as he looks up into the mirror. "Giving Rhodes instructions." The neighbor frowns. "Next word out of your mouth I don't understand will be your last." he comments as he moves to stand in the doorway, looking down at the two Marines as he presses the red button to start to lower the basket, keeping the ECO's pistol aimed at the pilot as he lowers the basket.
"<<Here's hoping,>>" Cate agrees, not having the heart to tell him just how much of a fluke she believes it to have been. Worried eyes watch the Raptor hatch. She keeps her pistol tucked away in the crook of her elbow, arms folded to conceal it until the last possible moment. When she sees the man appear in the hatch, she raises the gun and fires. It's nowhere near the calm, careful aim of the firing range. It's rushed and anxious. On the upside, she doesn't miss. That would've been very bad - having a bullet ricochet all over the interior of the Raptor cabin with civilians around. But she only wings him in the shoulder. "Frak."
As soon as he hears the shot, the shooter turns, hit in the arm. He screams out and aims at Tucker as the pilot suddenly jerks around with his own sidearm drawn. There'a a pair of shots as the pilot is hit in the shoulder, but the neighbor takes a hard hit to the chest and stumbles out of the side of the Raptor with a scream as he falls to the ground, smashing against the side of the basket, nearly knocking Martinez out as he falls to the water with a splash.
Grabbing the stick, Tucker fights to keep the Raptor aloft as he lowers the ship. "Someone work that damn winch, get my people up!" he cries out as the male of the family is quickly up to lower the basket down. "Green for up!" Tucker calls out as he waits for Martinez and Rhodes to be loaded before retracting the basket.
Cate ducks instinctively when the Raptor lurches. She sees the neighbor fall into the water, and stares out at him. She still has the rescue rope. Seconds tick by in agonized indecision. What is the more humane thing to do here? To drag the guy out of the water and throw him in jail for years - without his family? Slowly she lowers and then holsters her pistol. The man bobs for a minute and then sinks beneath the water.
The father of the other family manages to work the winch enough to haul Martinez up, and then the marine takes over to send the hoist (not the basket, since Cate has the rescue harness on) down for Cate. As soon as her feet hit the deck, she's unbuckling herself and moving over to the fallen ECO. "Anyone else hurt? Tucker?"
"I'm hit, but we'll deal with that back on the ship. I'm already calling for another Raptor to transport our rescues." Tucker responds as he waits onely for a few moments for Martinez to seal the door before he's moving the Raptor out of position to head back towards space, using his good arm to steady his hands. It hurts. It hurts alot and he's already starting to sweat and his blood is staining the leather of the pilot's chair as the ship darts trans-atmos and towards Vanguard on priority clearance for a combat landing.
The civilians are freaking out a bit, especially the little girl who's clinging to her mom with her head buried against her mom's shoulder. Cate ditches her helmet so she can work better while Martinez hits the button to close the hatch. She tries to offer over a kind look. "It's going to be all right, <<Celtan: sweetheart>>. Everyone's safe now." Everyone except the ECO, that is. Cate sets to work and the prognosis is grim. Cate drags Martinez into action. "Start compressions." Cate then is moving toward the cockpit. "Let me see. Bad form to let the pilot bleed to death on the way back to the ship." The words are light, almost bantering, but her tone is off. Strained. Worried.
"Only if you call me <<celtan: sweetheart.>>" Tucker manages, but he doesn't move to be too helpful with her checking the injury as the pilot is more interested in getting his bus full of civilians and military back home as he's already requesting priority clearance to land on Vanguard as he offers a weak smile to Cate. "Thought you wanted to enjoy the view."
"Maybe next time." Is that in regards to the name or the view? Or both? Who knows. Cate offers a weak smirk and quickly checks the wound. "Lift your elbow a little." Not easy to do when his hand's on the flight controls, but Cate does her best to get a pressure dressing over the injury, even if the maneuvering is a little awkward in tight quarters. "That'll keep till we get back. Tell Vanguard to prep sickbay - he'll need to go straight into surgery."
"How's the backseater?" Tucker asks, trying to keep at least one hand on the controls as Cate works on the other, a grimace of pain. "Frak." he hisses as he looks over to her. "At least you didn't try to patch it with bubblegum." he mutters as he meets her eyes for a moment before turning his attention back to keeping them from crashing as the lane is cleared. "Buckle in, Cate - everyone, we're coming in for a fast landing. Won't be soft, so settle into crash positions."
"Sorry," Cate mumbles when the bandage is tightened and he hisses. "Not good," is answer enough about the ECO, without going into details. She squeezes his forearm once in a light show of support and then heads back to the back. For the rest of the ride back, she does her best for the ECO, but there isn't much one can do for a bullet to the heart. They trade off doing CPR and Cate gets an IV started. When Tucker tells them to prepare for a hard landing, Cate calls back to the front, "Take us in easy. Extra minute or two won't make a difference for him, but it might for us." She sends Martinez to his chair, but stays knelt down by the ECO herself, holding onto the seat with one hand while continuing CPR with the other. Not a great position to be in if they smash into the deck, but she's not abandoning her patient.
Listening to Cate's advice, Tucker nods, flaring the engines to slow them as they approach the landing area, taking it easy, before there's a dull thump of landing skids impacting with deck as the Raptor is quickly taxied to the elevators to be lifted so that medical crews and MPs can work to clear the ship of wounded and the family they brought back with them.
Once they were safely back on board and he was sure that the Raptor was secured from landing, Tucker grinned up at Cate for just a moment, and reaches up to touch her cheek and meets her eyes. "Always make sure to walk the lady to the door at the end of the night, Cate." he manages, pale from blood loss and the shock of the wound before he slumps into the seat and slips into unconsciousness, his hand falling away from her soft skin and into his lap.
"I'll keep that in mind," Cate replies, bemusement mingling with the worry on her face. When he passes out, she taps his good shoulder, "Tucker?" Then checks his pulse for good measure. Whew. Still alive. Then the rescue crews are coming in with a portable stretcher and Cate says, "Help me get him out of the seat..." And then they're getting the wounded to sickbay.