A communications snafu leads to a friendly fire incident between CF and Canceron forces.
Location: Over Kannur Province, Canceron
Related Scenes: None
Scene Number: 769
The CF has launched a major push against the Cylon strongholds in Kannur province. One of those is an airfield. The Canceron boys hit it last week and did some damage, but the Cylons have got it operational again so it's time for another pounding. In addition to their regular ordinance, the Raptors have been equipped with heavy bombs. The mission is a simple bombing raid. There will probably be some air cover to take out on the way there, perhaps some AA defenses, but the primary target is bombing the airfield. Major Webb is leading the flight.
Salvae pilots his viper alongside the rest of the formation, "Keep yer eyes peeled," he says, looking this way and that from the canopy of his fighter. "There's reports of cylons using Canceron transponder codes, remember to double check unknown friendlies."
Calliope flies her Raptor in formation with the other Wolves, on course toward the airfield, carrying a big payload in her big bus. "Flight, Soundbite." She's able to say her new callsign without it sticking in her throat now. "Bombs are prepping, and we're monitoring the DRADIS as we approach. On course."
In the seat of his raptor Charles "Lastman" Durant pilots his raptor as his ECO makes a third, fourth check of the weaponry on board. "You're gonna make someone pretty nervous doin that." He quips as his raptor maintains the flight formation. "Flight, Lastman. We're good to go here. Ready for command."
Staying in formation of the triple element of fighters and bombers, Kell is relying more on his own visuals than the DRADIS as they have three dedicated ECO's that are blanketing the area with the scans. Focusing more towards the ground, the young Viper pilot is hoping that the Cylons did not have time to get most of the AA emplacements back into action. If all goes well, this will just be a quick strike and a quick disengagement. Quiet as usual, Kell stays off of the comms for now.
Irene hasn't been on the front lines since the basestars dropped in and the toasters tried to nuke the shipyards. It's been SAR and transport duty for "Iris" and her assigned Raptors since then, but she sounds her calm Virgan self over the coms when she's needed to pipe up. Her bird hangs back of Salvae's much sleeker ride, keeping textbook spacing.
"That's right, any supposedly friendly birds we see we'll assume hostile till confirmed on comms," Webb agrees with the alert. "We're crossing into Toaster territory now, so be alert." It doesn't take long before the Raptors' long-range DRADIS is lighting up with contacts. Friendlies ... or so they say. "Iris, try to hail them."
"Copy that, Spider," Socks answers the alert. "Weapons hot." His viper maintains course as he scans the horizon, his shorter range dradis still reading clear.
Calliope grimaces, at the chatter about supposedly 'friendly' possible Cypers. In her backseat, her ECO continues to monitor comm traffic. And she bites her lower lip, warming her bombs and steeling herself for whatever Iris receives from that hail.
When the ECOs start reporting friendly contacts, Kell can't help but furrow his brow beneath his helmet. Usually friendlies are a good thing but since there was no plan to meet up with additional escorts on the way to the strike, Razor is very doubtful, especially after the last Combat Air Patrol mission. While the Raptors try to confirm whether the contacts are friend or foe, Kell reaches out to pull open the Master Arm cap and flicks the switch. "Razor, weapons hot."
"Copy that, hailing them now." Iris chimes before trying the friendlies with a less honeyed tone, "Unidentified aircraft, this is Colonial Forces Raptor 3-2-7. Respond and identify yourselves." She gives them a three count in her head and repeats the message after checking with her ECO. Nothing? Nothing. She tries once more but adds a ticking clock to the mix, "Respond and identify yourselves. You have 5 seconds to comply." She sounds far less friendly now.
"I don't like this. Vanguard, Spider - we have any Canceron friendlies in this area?" Vanguard CIC tells them to stand by, which makes Webb frown. "You've got about ten seconds to get us an answer or you're going to have some shooting on your hands, Vanguard. Flight, be ready."
While friendly aircraft was preferred some small nagging feeling was raised in hope that they were not. Durant remained quiet as per usual while he piloted and his ECO filled up the cabin with chatter out of nerves or something. 'Those frakin toaster won't know what hit them. And after this, this we'll clear the planet and take out all their bases. You think they're gonna win this war? Hell frakkin no.' Durant made the appropriate sounds through his pressed lips as one did when Chatty Kathy's did what they did best. "Mmhm." He was awaiting confirmation from Iris' hail to the contacts on the DRAIDS.
The "friendly" fighters continue to approach. Not making any unusual or threatening moves. Just - flying casual. "Still nothing, Iris?" Webb asks.
Finally, the blips begin appearing on his dradis and Socks looks out that way. "Their current vector will cut us off from the target," he observes, itching to pull his stick and dive into them, the closer they get to the bombers, the more desperate the situation will become.
With each passing second without a response from the 'friendlies', Kell grows more worried as his hand tightens around the flightstick. Though there is no aggressive action from the approaching contacts, Razor is not waiting like last time. When the blips grow larger, he begins to hover his targeting reticule over one of the potential bogeys, finger ready to jam down on the trigger stub.
Calliope swallows hard, blue eyes glued to the viewport. As if she could peer past the distance and zero in on the pilots of those familiar craft. Human or Cylon. Deep breath. "Ready the jammers," she tells her ECO. "We don't want them frakking with us." Quiet, "Just answer the damn hail..."
Iris and her ECO both count down to zero together but there's nothing but silence from the "friendlies" after the ultimatum timer has runout. She switches back to the flight's channel immediately, "No response, sir. Not a peep."
"Figures." Durant said as the window for friendly confirmation passed. "Ready counter measures. Looks we have some new friends to make. How many are out there?" He broke his silence with an inquiry to his ECO.
Webb blows out a breath. "No response from Vanguard, no response from the Vipers. Fraaaak." He lets the word draw out, then says, "Flight, weapons hot. Engage."
"Copy that, Spider, engaging!" Socks answers the call, and banks his viper towards the blips on his screen, they're not even visible to the eye yet, but soon the whole squadron of them appears on his screens. "Wouldja look at that? 8 of em, frakkin toasters stole a whole wing this time." He shakes his head, the Canceron navy really needs to get their base security sorted out.
Once the go ahead has been given by their CAG, Kell quickly shoots back a brief acknowledgement, "Razor copies, weapons hot!" Once the bogeys fully enter engagement range, he is able to see the specs grow larger into actual Cypers, and there is quite a large number of them too. Multiple contacts, which means they will have to do quite a bit of work to regain air superiority. Goosing his thrust a bit to provide some separation between himself and the others, in case anyone needs to maneuver, Kell zeroes in one of the Cypers and sends out a burst of autocannon fire, the bright tarcer rounds speeding towards one of the bogeys.
"Flight, Soundbite. Copy. Moving to engage. Suppression active." Calliope's Caprican accent is clipped over the radio. Engaging 'friendly' ships doesn't sit well with her, but she doesn't hesitate.
Socks zeroes in on the squadron of Cypers as well, not flying evasively, but with their superior numbers, he's not lining up his shots like he usually would. His viper rocks and gets ready to roll evasively should he get locked onto, when in range, he begins painting his target with bullets, blasting away and the silent flight, hoping they're not some secret Canceron commando squad trying to be as cool as the Timber Wolves.
Iris plays it safe, dropping out of Socks' slipstream as the nimble viper roars ahead to engage. It would seem she's going to keep back as best she can rather than try to dogfight in her tub. "Looks like we're in the ditch already." She says to her ECO, adding, "Jam them."
Socks manages to chew up one of the cyper's wings, but the enemy keeps flying and zipps past him and the other vipers, one of them exploding. "Ah, we're in a tilly now, gang! Razor sent one to the rhubarb!" he cheers, pulling his stick to start his circle to reaquire his target, trying to conserve ammo as he trails it snapping small bursts at its tail when he can.
The Vipers move in to engage, and the opposing forces break off and take evasive maneuvers. And then Vanguard comes over the coms. "Spider, Vanguard. Be advised there is a Canceron squadron in your area returning from a fighter sweep."
Webb's voice thunders back in the comms, "What? Frakking hell."
And then an instant later the radio crackles on. "Colonial fighters, this is Canceron squadron 724. Break off, I say again, break off!"
"Flight, break!" Webb orders, an understandable urgency in his voice.
"Oh, frak!" Calliope exclaims it before she has the presence of mind to mute her comm and get herself under control. Her voice is choked with horror when she manages to say anything else, a beat later, "Spider, Soundbite. Do any of us need to divert to SAR for...any of them?"
"Those daft suns a bitches!" Salvae spits, and grimaces as he's now got a gobber sticking to his helmet's visor, "Da frak they doin flyin at us in Toasterville?" He says as he ceases fire, and pulls away from the enemy viper.
Motormouth, his ECO howls the comms, "Nice shot Razor! Frak yeah!" Durant is busy maneuvuring the raptor to keep themselves steady while ready to avoid any oncoming heavy fire. Which wasn't happening. She's ready to fire up countermeasures again until they hear the unknowns finally answer the hail. Durant swore under his breath, "You're kidding me. Nice to know after we've taken out one of their fighters." His gloved hands begins reverting back to normal flying rythms.
The order to break was too late for Kell as the burst of autocannon fire was deadly accurate, meant for Cylon hostiles. The unfortunate Canceron pilot finds out how just deadly it would've been for the enemy as each supersonic round that was fired slams into the fuselage of the Canceron Viper. The thin armor did nothing to protect the fighter from the angle it was hit and soon enough, the projectiles find the fuel tanks which results in a rather bright explosion out of the main hull. Pieces of the wing and tail are blown off and half of the cockpit continues its path forward, fire and thick, black smoke trailing behind it's descent. There is no chute, the pilot was dead within seonds. Kell had already pulled up as ordered but when he inverted the roll, he could see the aftermath. "Frak! Frak! Frak!" He yells inside of his cockpit, slamming a fist at the side of his canopy as he angrily swipes the master arm switch to the off position. It takes a moment before Razor begins to bring his Viper back towards the strike team, his comm switched off for the moment due to his need to curse.
Irene follows the order from the CAG, banking to rejoin the Colonial vipers after they've disengaged. She keeps her opinions to herself, just biting her lip as the purple spot in her vision from the exploding fighter slowly fades. Her ECO is equally silent, if more obviously aghast.
"This ain't on you, Razor, this is those silly frakkers bisecting a combat mission," Socks says over the wireless, he watches them fly off, then reforms with the rest of the wing to continue with the mission.
"Godsdamn it 724 why didn't you answer our hails! Are you frakking deaf?" Webb might show a bit more restraint considering they just blew up one of the Canceron pilots, but, well, that's Webb for you.
"We didn't get any hails! You assholes must've been on the wrong frequency!"
Webb mutters a curse. "Stow it 724. We'll deal with this later. Flight, Spider - pull yourselves together, we've still got a mission to do. Back on target, now," he says, voice clipped.
Calliope gulps and answers on the comm, "Spider, Soundbite. Acknowledged. Continuing on course to target area." She cuts her radio then, muttering back to her ECO, "They didn't acknowledge us, right? They didn't...?" Her ECO nods gruffly over his DRADIS but doesn't reply.
Razor's Viper does fall back into formation, still silent for a moment before a quieter, "Razor copies," Comes through their squadron frequency. He will probably have more time to digest just what happened, the consequences of what he did, and how it may even effect the campaign here on Canceron but for now, Kell tries to focus on the stirke mission. No doubt numbness is a good description of how the young pilot feels at this moment.
'Holy lords of Kobol. Are we gonna get grounded for shooting at our own?' Motormouth asked with her comms muted. 'We didn't do anything. We didn't even hit one. Well we hit one but we really didn't hit it. Frak. Is Razor gonna--' Durant cut his ECO off, "Shhh. Let's just do what we've come here to do. How far are we from the planet? We need to deal with this before we loose our cool, right?" Motormouth took a deep breath then drew her eyes back onto the DRADIS monitoring systems. Durant unmuted his comms, "Flight, Lastman. Copy that. Enroute to target."
Socks' viper does a few little bumps as he tries to get enough Gs to make the mess on his visor dribble down more quickly to soak into the chin pad before things get hairy and his vision becomes more important. "Iris, what's our ETA to the target?"
"Copy that, Flight Leader." Iris answers, raptor already cruising along in the back of the reforming wing. She shoots a look over her shoulder at the ECO once the sailing is smooth. It's a withering one. "Roller, what's the frequency for the Canceron forces?" She asks quietly in a flat sort of tone. He's given to reply while she answers the Aerilonian pilot she's back to trailing behind, "ETA is... just shy of ten minutes at our current speed, Socks - barring further incidents." Roller turns tomato red in the face, swearing he had the right frequency.
"Copy that, Iris. Let's head on in," Webb says, as the flight continues on - leaving the battered Canceron squadron behind them.
Calliope flies onto the target, her hands clenched on her flight controls so they won't shake. Her bombs go off without a hitch, but she's quiet for the radio for the rest of the jaunt.
Flying escort for a bombing mission goes pretty quietly... Too quietly. "looks like the cylons have bugged out of this airfield," he observes, watching the raptors level the bunkers and buildings from thousands of feet up. Those canceron frakkers probably shot down all the raiders in the area, he thinks to himself, whoever planned this mission is probably going to get a severe chewing out later on.
During the flight towards their mission target, Razor was quiet as usual, not one to join in on the banter in mid-flight though on this particular mission, it is doubtful there is much banter. It would be hard to determine how much this has effected the young Ensign but everyone knows what transpired earlier. Kell is still mission capable, as long as too much isn't asked from him for the duration of the mission.
The temperature in Iris's raptor gets awfully chilly as the mission goes on, but at the airfield the bombs are dropped without a hitch. Targets go up in a satisfying flash and bloom of fire and smoke. Very smashy. Despite the success, Roller's obviously expecting a small reckoning when they get back to the Vanguard. He tries a few excuses and explanations on Irene on the way home, but she's not buying them - if her stony silence is anything to go by. Not even a single bad joke is cracked.
Webb is also uncharacteristically silent throughout the rest of the mission, chatter gone in favor of just the bare minimum of mission direction. As soon as they land though, he's all but dragging Roller off to the ready room for what one can only assume is the chewing-out to end all chewing-outs.
Not so quiet was Motormouth, 'Geeze. That was pretty awesome to watch. There's a sick kinda beauty in watching your enemy explode into a gazillion bits of nothing as firey hell rains down upon them.' She's back to her gleeful self then suddenly pales, 'Not that it was beautiful blowing up another colonial fighter.' Durant raised his gloved hand to rub against his forehead but was stopped by the flight suit helmet. Motormouth further explained, 'I mean it was fraked up. But the explosions on their base were cool not the fighter exploding. Well it was before we know it was a friendly.' Durant shook his head. "Good work down there Motormouth. I think for the time being you should steer clear of Razor. He probably has a lot on his mind and your praise of admiring explosions will be ill timed." Motomouth made a sound of agreeance as they were returning back into formation after the mission completed. "Flight, Motormouth. We're all set here. That's a hell of a sight down there. Pretty awesome in fact it's damn near majestic. Blowing up your enemy. Not the one earli--" Durant was too slow to cut off their comms before his ECO started rambling.