A pair of Marine recon go to scout for Cylon positions and find a base.
Location: Kunnar Providence, Canceron
Related Scenes: None
Scene Number: 759
Late in the evening, after the party on the surface ended, Tucker visited with command and got new mission orders. But instead of just grabbing anyone, he was assigned to find the Recon unit specifically. A note was left in the Marines billets looking for two volunteers to go to the surface of Canceron for a recon mission. No other information is given, except a time (early morning) and location - Hangar Deck.
Waiting for them on the deck is one of the stealth Raptors, painted in radar reflective black paint, being prepped to head to the surface, while Tucker is speaking with his ECO as they have a box attached to the ECO station, appearing to be transferring or powering something.
Erin arrives a couple of minutes before the appointed time. The presumption with the billet was that it would be a short-term mission: no need to bring along a large pack of gear. Stick on the issued duty fatigues. Grab gear. Pick up a carbine and a sidearm. Head to the Hangar Deck, tout-de-suite. Which she does.
With no other information, it's about what the average scout would take along with her. And Erin is, if anything, your typical scout.
"Sir." Reporting for duty, with just a word. And then, the Aquarian waits.
It took a while before Charlie opted to volunteer. The con column included Canceron. The pro column included less time being a pack mule. Finally the pro column won out and she's not far behind Erin in crossing the hangar deck with her own gear. Including, yes, the standard duty fatigues, a pack with standard gear plus her usual extras (survivalist; she packs light, but smart), and her rifle case. The woman is recon, but she's a designated marksman. The rifle's a big part of that. So it might make her pack a bit heavier overall, but she's not one to pack unnecessary items all told... so the slim woman, at least, doesn't look weighed down. She settles back on her heels alongside Erin, casting the Aquarian a quick upnod before her eyes go to Tucker... and past him to the box in question. "Sir." A greeting and a report all in one while the mysterious thing garners most of her attention.
Standing up from his work, Tucker turns to glance at the two women that showed up to volunteer. "Corporals. Sorry I couldn't be more open in the note, but here's the skinny - we're going into enemy territory. With the Cylons getting closer to the Tent City, Command wants to hit them at their house and give them something to think about. This will be a day long mission, rations and water are already packed in gear - if you want to transfer it to your own. Grasshopper.." that's the ECO, "...and I will be depositing you on the edge of Cylon territory before sunup and will be back at the same position just after sundown to pick you up. You miss your flight, you'll be down there until the Marine strike that's over two days later."
Gesturing to the crate, he opens the hatches and shows the contents. There's a dozen small discs within. "This is a Firelamp marker. It'll feed the Air Wing planes with information on it's location where you place it. The priority target is air defenses. Anything that can target our flights and shoot them down needs one these. Secondary is the Cylon stations. If we can kill them in their house, all the better to not deal with later. Any questions?"
Nothing. At least, not from Erin. And the team appears to be solid. Who would suspect two young women wandering with guns through the thickets? No one, of course. Those are totally normal in war-zones.
The Aquarian shakes her head. "Understood." Beat. "Air defenses. Then stations. Return to LZ by sundown. Keep the Cylons off our backs." A curt nod follows. "No engagement, unless absolutely necessary, I take it?"
Moving to the crates, Charlie picks up one of the markers to look it over. Seems pretty standard. She slots it back in with a nod before unslinging her pack to start shuffling things around. Water bottles are added, but only a couple rations. Seems she already packed a few of her own. "No questions, sir," she adds finally, nodding after Erin's assessment.
As he's nodding, a member of the Intelligence staff runs down, her Captain pips set on her shoulders. "Lieutenant Carrington, updated mission objectives!" she says as she hands over the paper to the pilot and puts her hands on her hips to breathe in for a moment. Opening the packet, Tucker looks at it and then at the women. "Change in plans. Seems that the powers that be want you two to tag the air defenses after you tag their base. Apparently they can't find where the Cylons are coming from, so keep that in mind, Corporals." he says before he moves to load into the Raptor and take the pilot's seat.
This mission just got ratcheted up just a notch.
Right. Find base. Tag. Then go after the defenses. Erin just looks at the intelligence officer for a second, then the temporary CO for the mission, then to her mission mate. "All right, then." Non-plussed and chilly, as usual. "Ready."
She files in behind Tucker, gets herself a seat to strap into, fastens in, and then gets ready for the inevitable suckage that comes from a sudden, speedy takeoff. Which is bound to happen. Did Erin remember to vacate her stomach before getting onboard? Let's hope so.
At the updated objective and shift in mission parameters, Charlie shrugs and finishes adjusting her pack. She hefts it, decides she's satisfied, and zips everything up. It's swung back to her shoulder. "Copy that, sirs." Makes sense to her. If they don't have a positive location on the base, might as well tag it. Even if it does put two very fleshy marines in a rather precarious position. Air defenses are bad enough. The woman swings into the Raptor soon enough, securing her gear before she secures herself. Once settling in, she gets into that well-known position of 'nap during the flight' that involves her head tipped against her straps.
There's no pulling over the Raptor for little girl's room breaks, unfortunately. The flight lifts off with no sudden suckage, Tucker is no slouch when it comes to piloting, and he leads the Raptor into atmo without issue. Going low to the deck, the pilot scrapes along the tree line, hugging to the nape of the ground before finally arriving at a small opening where a stream empties into a small lake to lower on the side of the water, the doors opening to allow the two women to exit.
"We'll be back just after sunset, which is going to be at 19:37 hours tonight. If we're not here by 2100, you're on your own." Tucker says simply, waiting for the girls to gather their gear, the extra supplies, and the firelamps to make their way out of the Raptor and into the brush.
A little green about the gills, but Erin doesn't chuck up the chef's lunchtime delivery this time around. Which is good. She nabs her gear and weapons, along with whatever firelamps she's been given, and hustles out of the Raptor to the ground. Like a busy bunny, she scampers for the brush line quickly, and waits for Charlie there, checking over her weapons one more time before the two gather to form a plan.
"Want to start with high ground?" asks Erin quietly, looking into the forest carefully. Perhaps checking the terrain, as best as she can ken it. A hill; a mountain -- those would be good -- but a tall tree works just as well to get a vantage point.
Once they're near their destination, Charlie preps her weapon so that her rifle is on its sling and over her chest by the time she disembarks the Raptor. The woman works quick and by the time she's on the ground, she's in go-mode. Just in case, you know? Sure, doubtful there's contacts on the ground, but anything can happen in war. Even so, after landing and getting into the brush, she does a quick once-over. Of her self, her gear, and the equipment they were given. Like the lamps. There's an upnod for Erin. "Be a good plan." She's already pulling out a laminated map of the area and a wax pencil to mark off where they landed with a brief notation of their pickup time. "We can start getting an idea of likely targets and a rough route."
As the two Marines hit the high road, the area is not as heavily forested as it would be if they were to have go low, through the brush. However, this doesn't help terribly much with their visibility as the two make their way along. The mosquitos and other biting bugs are out in force in the jungle brush, the gentle caw of native birds and the constant buzz are good signs - it means at the immediate moment, there aren't Cylons around.
It takes about two hours before the first signs of the change are noticed, the grass and broken limbs marking a spot where they have come across where Cylons have been within the last day, it's the first clear sign they've had so far since they arrived that they are indeed in enemy territory.
Upon the discovery of the trail, Erin does what any recon Marine would do: get low, look around, and then check out the tracks to see the likely course of direction. To determine the approximate size of the force that moved through. The speed of their movement. And then correlate that with known information on Cylon tendencies to try to gauge whether the group was coming or going. Because that leads to the conclusion as to where to go.
Meanwhile, her carbine is held tightly. Readily. Although an ambush is unlikely, it could happen in a second.
Once she has some idea as to which we to go -- based on what's observed -- she looks to Charlie. "Think we should start that way." Erin points briefly. "They were going. They probably came from that direction."
With map held against the stock of her rifle, Charlie keeps an eye on their six. She lets Erin scope out the trail initially while she watches behind them, head on a swivel. When the other woman speaks up, she moves closer to get a look over things, following the direction pointed. There's a nod, then a glance down to the map as she holds it up to look over. "Seems as likely a direction as any based on the damage." Because why the frak would Cylons care about the environment? "Lead the way. I've got us covered."
There was at least three. Cylon patrols are generally five or more, but they all look and wear the same, so it's hard to differentiate exactly how many. But Erin's guess on the direction is correct. It seems the path was once a goat trail through the mountains, and as they get deeper, the sound of birds slowly peters off - they're entering Cylon territory. As they go deeper, it's nearing midday when the path veers off into two seperate directions. To the left, it disappears deeper into the brush heading towards a small valley. To the right, it seems to be increasing in altitude as it heads into the hills beyond. The Marines have a decision to make - left path or right path.
At the fork, Erin halts and hunkers down into the brush. She makes a gesture for Charlie to come closer, and then wordlessly points off to the left. It's likely she's seen something there. She makes another gesture for Charlie to scope it out, just before she raises her carbine and points it in the direction in which she pointed.
She saw something, that's for sure. Question is: is that thing moving or not? Erin seems content to wait for a bit, to see if the metal thing does, in fact, change positions.
And so did Charlie. See something, that is. She holds up a hand to briefly stall Erin, making a few marks on her map. She moves over to meet up with the other woman, crouching down to pull out the map and show her. "Looks like a missile system," she notes quietly, pointing it out. "Goats around, might have been a farm at one time." But she looks over the area that's being pointed out, tilting her head in a nod. "Just make sure you keep my ass safe. I've got plans for this ass." There's a wink before she takes off, keeping low as she starts off to check things out.
As the recon women make their way forward, there's a single Cylon on patrol of the site, apparently just placed there as a sentry in case any humans stumble across it. As a goat crosses it's path, it simply moves it out of the way with his armored boots as it continues to march along the perimeter of the missile site. Erin's path will cross it at some point, though neither seems aware of the other.
If Erin is watching her, Charlie will lift a hand and sort of gesture and point. Trying to direct the woman's attention to that particular Cylon. She's even frozen in place to help ensure the other marine sees the potential danger before she stumbles across its path.
Right. Got it. Erin stops and adjusts her path accordingly. She even slows her pace a bit to keep the noise down. The plan: head around the lone Cylon serving as a sentry; get to a place of safety; mark the location of the missile silo for later; and continue with the mission -- to find the hidden base. That takes her along the path to the left -- which she'll start down unless directed otherwise.
Able to avoid the Cylon's pretty straight-forward path is a pretty easy task for Erin as she makes her way around. She's able to slip around the Cylon to the left, and eventually, the Cylon passes Charlie's position in order to free up the other woman.
Once the way is clear, Charlie moves on forward. The woman keeps low to the ground, hands on her rifle just in case. Her goal is to case out the missile silo. Just in case it's more than it appears. Or there's more intel to be gained from it to report back. She'll keep in the shadows and to the edges, but try to get as close as she dares to capture any notes, details, or whatever else stands out.
So! There is a way to follow. And Erin heads in that direction until she notices -- crepe, where did that Charlie go? (Not in a Vietnam War Era way.) She finds herself a place to hunker down and remain unseen until the latter manages to find her, heading down the left path. Which, is hopefully, soon.
When Charlie's closer, Erin points down to the ground at the tracks that suggest a vehicle moved the implacement to the location they just scoped. She points down into the valley, and lifts an eyebrow as if to say: "We go down that way?" Looking for agreement. That's what happens when there's no clear CO.
The other marine soon reappears after getting her bearings and properly marine the site on her map. "Lead the way." Since she's largely acting as lookout and scout, she seems content with letting Erin pick the next direction to go in as they make their way along. If it doesn't mesh with what she's got on the map? She'll speak up. During the lull, she does pull out a water bottle for a quick sip, but otherwise just falls in and keeps her eyes open.
The path continues deeper into the brush, but as they go, there are more signs that there was once life here, a few burned out vehicles on the side of the road. There was a fire fight here, if the skeletal remains sitting behind the wheel of a shattered truck sitting on the side of a road is any indication. There's a small sign that is covered in grass and vines along the abandoned roadway reads 'Brighthampton 5 KM'.
The road appears to not have been used since the war began, the area completely overrun with Cylons at the start.
Okay. This is good. This means that the team is on the right path. Right? Because places of long occupation often serve as bases of operations. Yeah. That's the ticket.
Erin presses forward, a little more confident in the path chosen. Not that she doesn't hug the shadows and keeps a low profile along the way. When they get to the sign, she pauses, and then gestures to Charlie. "Guessing that's where we'll end up." A finger is pointed at the village name. "Anything on the map we should be aware of before we hit Brighthampton?"
"Nothing on the map about the town at all really," Charlie offers after a quick glance. She's peeking in the vehicles as they pass. Never know if you'll find anything handy! She gives it up soon enough. "But this might be the place. Middle of nowhere. Definitely not a population center." She tucks the map away. "Stay alert. There was an airfield, civilian use but I'm sure the Cylons noticed. It wouldn't have had any protection when they hit, so it'd've been a good place for them to grab."
Making their way towards the city along the dilapidated highway, there are plenty of tell-tale signs of a populace caught unaware. Burned out and shot up vehicles show up on more than one occasion, a filling station that had stood along the road is no more than a pile of abandoned rubble. Arriving at the outskirts of Brighthampton, the plateau levels out slightly.
To call Brighthampton a city would be giving it too much credit. Its buildings are clustered closed together, multi-storied shanty affairs along the slopes of the hill that drew apart as if fastidious of each other's squalor until the houses near the top were little more than shacks that have been reclaimed by the forested overgrowth against the shallow hallows of the hillside.
Above the shanty district is the large plateau that served as the city's airpark. Set up as a shuttle hub to the spaceports, there was no space capable vehicles to be found. A dilapidated and thoroughly pock-marked hotel stands next to the airpark, it's large gilt sign a garrulous standout against the overgrown vines and vegetation that have claimed buildings and vehicles alike.
The airpark is dominated by the rusting hulk of an evacuation ship that never made it off the ground. The burned and twisted wreckage still bears the markings of the Canceron Military, a ruined headstone for those that had been within. A hangar to the side has had it's doors winched off, the grey paint peeling away, as a pole on top still waved a filthy and tattered windsock.
On the other side of the hangar are a trio of aircraft, a pair of civilian monoplanes, probably the property of some long-gone sportsman, that has been dismembered, while a first-generation Viper is a shell of itself, long since stripped of all essential parts, left to rust, the front struts collapsed and the nose against the ground, as if bowing to the wrecked shuttle. With all the wrecks, it seems the land is feeding off of the corpses of metallic creatures.
The approach into Brighthampton is no doubt something out of The Walking Dead or The Last of Us, apparently. Which is awesome, in and of itself.
Erin seems unpreturbed by the condition of the town, its buildings, its machines, and its inhabitants. Her eyes remain alert and attuned to her surroundings -- as best as she can possibly be. Her weapon is held at ready, but loosely. Her feet keep her moving as quickly and quietly as possible.
The hotel looks like a good place to stop and take a gander at the town itself. Erin hunkers down there, waits for Charlie to join her, and then pauses to take a long swing of water from her canteen. "Place looks deserted." Except for the tracks that led them here. "Where should we look first?"
The fact that nature is already reclaiming the town does come as some surprise to Charlie. Sure, they're closing in on two years since the war began, but it's still hard to believe sometimes. And on a planet as humid as Canceron? Perhaps not of too much surprise when one really thinks about it. But they've been busy fighting. Busy not dying. To see what happens when abandoned areas are left to nature... She nudges at what turns out to be a can with her toe, shaking her head slightly. There's a slow take of the town once they finally stop by the hotel and the Corporal takes out the map as she leans up against the wall of the building, marking off the air field and noting the distance from the missile site. She balances the map on her knee as she takes out a water bottle, considering. There's a look up into the building as she gestures with her chin. "Let's get to a higher vantage point. See what we can see. They definitely came this way."
As the pair enter the building, they can almost imagine a thousand eyes upon the pair of them as they head through the foyer of the hotel. The chandelier in the middle of the lobby has long collapsed upon the front desk. The elevator shaft has collapsed into rubble, and the only way is up through the stairwell.
Opening the door, there's a sudden flurry of activity as dozens of birds as hornbills, cockatoos, fairy bluebirds, and doves burst through the lobby and out the shattered windows to fill the air with song and color, almost as if a celebration of a return of humanity as the stairway leading upwards awaits.
GODDAMN BIRDS FUCK. Erin dodges out to the side after opening the door, pulling her weapon up and out of the way of the flotilla of feathered fuckers that fly on by. After the scene seems clear, she continues to take point: eyes sharp, barrel up, pausing as trained before stepping out in front of doorways, etc. The goal? Get to the top of the stairs, out into the floor, and finding a way up to the roof. To get that high vantage point the pair probably need to find what they're looking for.
Though Charlie does start at the sudden flood of birds that explode up and outward, the woman doesn't let out more than a hissed "Frak" when they do. She shakes herself out, but gives herself a mental commendation for not wasting munitions at the start they gave her. She collects herself and glances over to Erin. Likely affirming that the other woman is doing alright as well before starting towards the stairs. She makes for a quick pace. They are on a time limit, after all.
With Erin leading the way, the stairs creak and groan with each step, the metal shaking angrilly, as the stench of rust and stagnant water filter through. As they near the top, part of the stairway beneath Charlie gives way, and she's left to barely hang on, as the metal groans and crashes down, leaving the woman hanging on for a moment - but she didn't fall. Above, the door to the roof access awaits.
Erin's ahead, but barely. When the stairs give way, she is quick to turn around and help Charlie back up onto a stable platform. "We're good." And then, briskly, she returns to the task at hand -- getting up to the roof.
Marching on a little more carefully, Erin readies her weapon with one hand, and then opens the door slowly and as quietly as possible. When the entrance is opened, she exits to secure the roof. Barrel moving around quickly, from point to point. Presuming that the coast is clear, she carefully tries to make her way to the edge while staying low -- and hopefully not causing the roof under her feet to collapse.
Almost, almost Charlie loses her footing. Only the woman's quick reflexes and Erin's aid saves her as the step gives way. She's left to cling to the wall once she has solid ground beneath her, catching her breath. It takes her a few beats to finally move on ahead, looking just a bit peaked under her otherwise dusky skin. "They don't make 'em like they used to," she finally mutters, by way of trying to laugh off the near mishap. Once they make it to the roof, she does tighten up on her rifle. She takes the opposite side to Erin, surveying both roof and the land below, taking it in from a near-to-far angle.
Once they get to the roof, the few birds that were on the building evacuate, taking flight. The roof has seen better day, but one can move across the roof easily. However, when they arrive at the edge of the roof where the air park is.. beyond the small pool at the ground level of the hotel, and beyond the park itself. That's where they'll see it. Stretched out in the forested area are several metallic buildings, the forest and the former city providing cover. It's a base. The way it's dug in on the side of the hill, it's going to be a hard target to hit.
Right. As Erin and Charlie survey from where they are, the Aquarian points out what the other scout likely has seen too: the base. "There." She gestures. "They are going to need to approach from that side; and that'll be dangerous. Also -- " She gestures towards the hillside that curves inwards. "There are one, two -- three. Three more sites over there." Beat. "So, we have to cover those. Maybe use the lamps to outline the base, then mark the air defense sites." And there's not much time to get it done.
"Got it," Charlie says of the base. She's already got the map out and is marking the location on it. She's scribbling a few things down, along with the other sites that are being notated. "Not sure we have the time to get it all done," she admits, glancing up to Erin, "having to get out of here." With the lack of proper stairs. "But if we don't have time to get the markers out there? We can at least get the map back to intel. That's better than nothing."
Erin thinks. And then she murmurs. "We get the intel back, and we still have a day or two to get a full unit out here." Beat. "Except for that site we found, seems to be a clear way in." She shoulders her rifle. "We should talk to the Captain on pick-up, and get a better deployment if they want to hit the sites accurately. Or, we can just use the map." Another beat. "Maybe even bring a full unit of Marines in to assault the base after it's hit." Pause.
"Let's head back now, then. And we can debrief everyone about what we found."
"Don't know what they expected, sending two of us for a frakkin' area this big," Charlie mutters, looking over her map. She finally tucks it away carefully after sighting off the building for their return route. She moves back to the door, shouldering it open to allow Erin through first. Possibly to make sure the other woman is there in case she loses her footing. Again.
It's approaching four in the afternoon as the two make it down the hotel back into the lobby. There's only the matter now of the two of them making it back to the pick up point at the lake so that they may be withdrawn.
Moving. Fast. Erin and Charlie aren't just good -- they are damned good. That's why the Timber Wolves picked them. And that's how they made it for hours without saying more than, what, twenty words to each other? Pros.
In the end, the two of them probably make it back to the site quicker than expected. It might be a minute or two before Tucker shows. "Great work back there," says Erin quietly, hunkered down in the brush. "And thanks for covering me."
Unfortunately, they didn't manage to place the markers. But then, they'd have missed the pickup if they did. Charlie wasn't going to risk spending the next couple of days in Cylon territory with just a day's rations each for some markers. Not with a map. They want more? They can send another recon team out wth the map in hand to go straight to the sites they did find. "Of course," she answers Erin, flashing a brief grin. "Thanks for catching my ass in that hotel. I'd hate to sit the next raid out because of a broken leg."
Just after sundown, the Raptor returns with Tucker at the controls. The doors open, and the lights flicker once to alert the Marines that it's clear to load up before settling on the ground. There's a glance towards them as they return with the firelamps. "Run into trouble out there?" he asks in concern. "..nevermind, save it for the el-tee over at the Marines. He'll want to know what you found post-haste." he offers. "Buckle up, door-gunners saw a patrol nearby." Apparently one of them got some attention drawn towards them.
One need not tell Erin twice. She literally launches herself into the craft, and then straps herself in. And now there /definitely/ isn't food in her, so the chances of yakking up are minimal.
Once the two Marines are on board, Tucker is quick to buckle up the Raptor, sealing it up before the ship turns and rockets off into the twilight sky to avoid detection from the Cylon patrols.