The air wing goes to aid a squad of marines pinned down in the hills.
Location: Kannur Province, Canceron
Related Scenes: None
Scene Number: 757
Although the focus of the Vanguard's mission on Canceron has been disaster relief, there's the ever-present threat of Cylon activity from their territory in northern Kannur province, in the hills beyond the flooded lowlands. There was some trouble from the Cylons in that area a few days ago, when a patrol tangled with Marines a few miles from an orphanage. This resulted in the marines and local Canceron forces stepping up patrols in the area.
Today it seems the Toasters are at it again - this time a bit further north than the last engagement. A squad of Marines has reported coming under heavy fire from a Cylon force. They're pinned down and requesting air support. Major Webb was leading the planetside CAP when the call came in. "Righto, let's go help our lads on the ground," he says, aiming his bird north.
It's late evening, just starting to get dark. The weather is clear now, though it's been drizzling off and on.
At first, Kell assumed that it was going to be another Combat Air Patrol where they just flew through the designated waypoints with the Cylons choosing to take another day off. But when their squadron leader receives the request for air support, the Ensign is pleased with the chance to put a hurting on the toasters. Especially after that engagement on the ground with the Centurions, the Libran is eager for more. So when the CAG redirects them north, Kell stays in formation with the flight, adjusting the thrust as needed.
Meanwhile on the ground, the radio call came in that an extraction Raptor may be needed to support a ground engagement of Cylons and Marines tangling it up to the north. Roused from his sleep, Tucker dressed quickly and efficently, already in his flight suit as he moves to get the small exfil team together.
Once aboard, Tucker pulls out the pre-flight checklist, running down it quickly as he does so. Fortunately with them being in the ground, it's a trunciated list as the lights come on around the Raptor, and the engines flare to life, kicking up mud and water before it rises from it's parking lot spot and turns to the north after getting to attitude as Tucker brings up the radio.
"Spider, Flats. Ex-fil Raptor on standby, following you faster birds in to pick up our boys in green."
Cap was at the orphanage, although she stayed behind on 'entertain the children' duty while said marines and other people went and got injured by Cylons. This is another one of those situations where she's conveniently avoided harm while friends got hurt or worse, so... not the best feeling. Still, she's in better spirits of late, which means this is as good of a chance for a little bit of payback, and she's actually somewhat in the mood for it. In formation with Webb and Kell, she does a quick check on weapon systems as the call comes across. "Roger," she calls back to their lead on the comm, while craning her neck a bit to scan beyond the cockpit windows.
The planes streak from the lowlands into the hills, zeroing in on the coordinates given to them by flight control. The hills are pretty heavily wooded, but the marines in question were in the vicinity of a stream and a clearing. Hopefully there will be enough visibility. "All right, coming up on their position." He hails the marines on the CF band and tells them to mark their positions with IR strobes, which show up on the aircraft displays. "There we go, we've got you Squad 67." The squad, it seems, is pinned down with the rushing stream (high due to the rains coming down from the mountains) behind them, a rocky hill on their flank, and Cylons on the other side. The marines are in cover along the base of the hill, so they can't be seen too well. But the Cylons are visible here and there through the trees. "Throttle back. Let's clear the way." Webb leads the first strafing run.
Tucker keeps the Raptor behind the others, glancing to the Marines at the door guns. He knows once the Vipers clear the way, they're going to have to get in fast, land, load up and pull out within a matter of moments, possibly under heavy fire.
Inside her Viper, Cap's eyes light up just a little when the markers appear on her display, making this all a little less guesswork. She may be an old time, atmospheric pilot first and foremost, but these dense forests aren't quite what she's used to from back home, and neither is blasting concealed toasters amidst said foliage. "I see them," she answers, though whether she means the marines or the cylons, who can say. A certain answer may make itself known as she lays a gentle hand on the stick, gives it a slight push, and dips the Viper lower. Er, maybe even a little lower than is wise! But she's the barnstormer, after all! Nearly skimming the treetops, she takes it to the cylons, all close and personal-like, as her Viper's KEW's spit fire down into the trees, shredding wood and hopefully metal.
Night time flying can be hazardous and night time combat engagements even more so, luckily the Colonials have technology on their side so they do not need to rely on their own eyesight. When the IR strobes light up on his display, Kell is already making adjustments to his inbound trajectory. Then when their CAG issues orders to begin the strafing runs, the Ensign answers with a quick acknowledgement, "Spider, Razor. I copy, following you in." Left hand goes to the throttle and he pulls it back a bit, the engines being fed less fuel so its output is cut. With speed decreasing, Razor dips his nose towards where the Cylons are pinning down friendlies, keeping enough space between himself, Webb, and Cap so they all have room to maneuver if necessary. Once in range and Kell feels confident on his angle of attack, he presses down on the trigger stub. The autocannons on his Viper roars to life, spitting out rounds and rounds of projections at the targeted area.
The Viper cannons tear up the trees and ground around the enemy positions. Several Cylons topple after being struck by the KEW shells. A few of them start shooting up at the aircraft, causing Webb to chuckle. "Think we've got their attention now. Coming 'round for another pass." Then out of the blue he wonders good-naturedly, "How the hell did a Rook get a cool callsign like Razor? Babyface, I think we got the short end of the stick here." He does a little loop and comes around for another pass. "Flats, you see a place you can put that thing down?"
Glancing behind him to the the ECO who gives him a nebulous shrug, Tucker frowns to himslef and grits his teeth. "Fine, I'll eyeball it." he mutters, waiting for the Viper's to finish their second pass before he cuts in perpendicular to the strafing runs as he lays down his own covering strafing fire as he finds a small clearing. "...tighter than a frog's ass down there and just as squirrely." he mutters, before queing the radio.
"I see a hole, dipping in to pick up the squad!" he calls out before he starts to move the bulky bird into place, the doors flying open so that the door gunners can provide inaccurate but withering fire as he moves to barely to settle the Raptor's skids so they just barely kiss the ground --- and hopefully he doesn't live up to his callsign.
There's a bit of a high-pitched, appropriately bumpkin-ish victory whoop on the comms- do Aerilonese say 'yee haw?' Who knows, but something equivalent. Either way, Cap sounds like she's enjoying this bit of a throwback to her old flying days a little too much, buzzing the treetops and shooting tin cans like her brother probably shot actual tin cans off the fence. At the end of the attack run, she pulls into a banking turn and then rolls the Viper level with the ground again. "Coming around with you." And then, a beat later, she joins in on the chatter: "Hopefully it's 'cause he cut himself shaving in basic or something like that, sir. And I dunno, there's a lot worse things they coulda called me." Not that she'll elaborate overmuch on that!
The training that Kell received back at Libran Flight School is paying off dividends as the young rookiee is showing that he paid attention in class and to his instructors during live target practice. Though it may be night time, the Ensign's KEW shots find their mark due to the sparks and electrical zaps that result from the Centurions being shredded by his strafing run. The LMG return fire appears to be a futile attempt in trying to get the Vipers to back off as Kell's speed in his fighter is too quick. At the comment by the CAG, Razor can only smirk under his flight helmet, but when Cap chimes in, that smirk is quickly wiped off his face. He does acknowledge the order for a second pass though, "Razor copies, banking around for another pass on the hostiles." His eyes do peek down at the DRADIS display as he angles his Viper around, to make sure they aren't being surprised by Raiders that decided to jump in and reinforce the Cylons. On this second approach, Kell grows a bit more daring, perhaps seeing how well Cap made her first more aggressive approach, he tries to do the same.
Webb smirks at Cap's remark. "Hah. Is that so, Razor? And that sounds like the beginnings of a good story for another time, Babyface." Not that anyone can see it, but the CAG is grinning as they skirt the edges of the trees to blast the Cylons. There's some return fire, but it's ineffective. Hearing Flats' report, he says, "Copy that. I'll tell the marines to move their asses. Razor, Babyface, let's make one more pass to keep those bastards' heads down while our people move."
Even with the Vipers flying strafing runs, there's still a few Cylons that are attemting to fire on the Raptor itself, bullets pinging off the armored service and spiderwebbing across the glass of the cockpit. That is until Webb comes in, laying down a withering amount of metal rain across the treeline, cutting through the Cylon squad.
It gives the Marines in the Raptor a chance to stop firing for the moment to work on loading up the ground squad. "Last taxi out! After this you find your own ride home from the bar!" With that, he waits for the last Marines to be on board before starting to cycle the engines to life to start to rise off the ground, the Marines firing again to keep any remaining Cylons from targetting the Raptor's engines.
Cap is, indeed, having too much fun with this, weaving through the treetops, blowing away cylons with uncharacteristically accurate bursts of fire, crushing others beneath fallen lumber as other rounds shred tree trunks, really causing all manner of havoc below. And then... "Oh frak tree!" It's fortunate that a Viper has maneuvering capabilities vastly beyond those of her trusty old ride, as even when one of the abovementioned and until this point no-cause-for-concern trees sneaks up on her (?!), she's able to tap one of the maneuvering thrusters and throw the ship into a rapid roll. She passes with just a gentle caress of leaves, and nothing more serious. Still, the young pilot gets her ship back under control with more or less miraculous timing, and continues laying down impressively accurate fire across the forest floor. "Oh I'm just full of stories, sir." And once more, into the breach! (Or straight into the next tree?)
IT is evident that the air support that has arrived, both Vipers and Raptors, is dealing heavy punishment to the Centurions on the ground. The targets available decreasing less and less as the tracer fire from the Centurions are harder to come by. The second pass by Razor didn't seem to be as effective as his autocannons push through tree trunks and sprays up more clumps of dirt than chunks of toaster parts. But superior firepower is the name of the game here, even if it is in the form of suppressing fire. Kell is of course radio silent on how his callsign came about, despite Cap nailing it like a bullseye on a dart board. When one more pass is ordered, the Ensign pulls left and then back on the flightstick, his Viper banking back and then once again he sets up for possibly the final strafing run. When in range, Kell depresses the trigger stub and his autocannons starts spitting out projectiles again.
As the Vipers begin their next strafing run, the marines leave their positions in the rocks and hurry over to Tucker's Raptor as best they can. Three are slung over their comrade's shoulders in fireman carries - another two are injured. The last two join the Raptor door gunners in providing covering fire. After a few moments, the squad is all aboard the Raptor ready to go.
The strafing run is quite effective this time. The pilots seem to have found their zone, and the Cylons are being driven back, leaving quite a few of their metal brethren behind. "Look at that, they're turning tail. Good shooting. They're going into the trees - it'll be hard to track them, but let's give 'em a little parting gift. Pepper those woods."
The two door gunners work with to help the squad on board, but there was one of them that Tucker wasn't expecting as he hears the voice of familiarity calling him to direct to the civilian hospital. His eyes widen for a moment as he recognizes her. "...Rhodes, you didn't tell me this was your neighborhood!" he manages - trying to mask the worry in his voice at seeing Cate as one of those coming on board. The co-pilot's seat is available for the medic to drop into as he brings the engines to full power. His lips draw into a thin line, fingers tightening on the controls as he opens up with a full-on blitz of the Raptor's KEWs amd doorguns into the treeline, ripping it to shreds from ground level as he pulls back on the controls to start to pull away.
When the Raptor finally begins lifting off, Kell feels a bit more relieved that the Marines were able to make it to the extraction transport, that things were apparently going well on the ground and in the air. The strafing pass he just completed was better than the previous one, his KEW tearing up a couple more Centurions on the ground. When the command from the CAG was to commit to one more run on the toasters, Razor was more than willing to oblige. He angles his Viper back towards where the Cylons were shooting from, this time giving a wider cone of fire, as if to blanket an area with projectiles instead of just focusing on the source of the tracer fire coming from the LMGs at ground level.
Blessedly, Cap avoids close calls with any more trees, living up to her various boasts of ground-buzzing mania. Instead, she seems to have a good grasp on the local terrain, and indeed, after the amount of ballistic fire they've unloaded on the poor cylons... they probably have a bit less cover by now. So now it's a bit of a turkey shoot! Some do run for the treeline, but she has a good eye on their movement from this angle of approach. So her final volley is rewarded with a few satisfying mini explosions, metal shrapnel scattered about as KEW rip into the retreating cylon horde. "Yeah, run!" she hoots on the comm, the exhuberence in her tone still obvious, and quite a contrast to her mopey moods in days prior.
With the marines on board, Webb joins the others in making one last strafing pass on the retreating Cylons before they're lost in the thick jungle foliage. "Wish we could run those bastards down. No sense wasting ammo though for targets we can't see. Let's bring it home. Flats, all the marines tucked in safe?"
Safe yes, but not doing well. Though surprised to see Tucker flying the bird, Cate stays in the back trying to stabilize one of the marines who was carried in. Several of the other marines are bleeding all over the Raptor, but at least they're alive. One of them wasn't so lucky.
As he hears the reports from the back, Tucker taps his radio. "Spider, Flats. Evac Raptor is not RTB - heading to civilian hospital, heavy casualities." With that, he's not even really paying attention to firing, a glance into the mirror to look behind him where Cate's desperatedly working and he opens the tyllium lines to full to get them back to the city just a bit faster, already switching frequencies to alert the civilian autorities to have medical teams on standby.
Once they are pulling away from the combat zone, each second separating them further and further from themselves and the retreating Cylons, Kell releases a long sigh of relief. They unloaded a heavy dosage of damage on the enemy and all of their birds are still in the air. Hearing the update from the Raptor over comms, Razor knows that even though they did well in the air, there were still casualties onboard that transport. He does maneuver back into formation with the other two Vipers as the adrenaline slowly begins to ebb away.
"Aye, sir, copy RTB." Cap chirps back, particularly on the ammo count. "Chewed through plenty of it as it is. Not normal that we have such a nice, target rich environment like this, so many targets neat, lined up, and barely moving." Compared to the relative velocities of two ships in space, they might as well be lichen growing on rocks. She'll take a glance out one window down at the site of the destruction below, as well as a swinging glance back toward the Raptor to make sure it's in place behind them as they make for space.
The Raptor is not following the Vipers, as it's redirected to the city and it's more prepared hospital for the wounded that are on board.
Webb's jaw tightens at the report. "Copy that Flats. We'll see you back at the barn later then." He shifts his Viper's nose up to take it back to Vanguard before acknowledging Cap's comment, "Just like target practice, eh?"
Pulling back on the flight stick, Kell's Viper rises in altitude as he directs his fighter towards the Vanguard as well with the other two in the flight. "Looks like we made it just in time. I hope the hospital patches up the Marines and they weren't too banged up." There is a glance towards the Raptor that is moving in another vector. "I am close to bingo fuel, definitely worth it though."