A Colonial fighter sweep finds some distinctly odd-acting Heavy Raiders trying to escape threatened territory.
Location: Over Kannur Province, Canceron
Related Scenes: None
Scene Number: 774
Fighter sweeps are usually more fun than CAP, but when tensions between Colonial Forces and local forces have ratcheted up, there are fewer ground-based DRADIS vectors to possible targets, leaving fighter sweeps closer to 'boring tours over Canceron scenery' -- which mostly consists of green forest canopy when viewed from above. This time, however, the sweep commanded by Captain "Farmboy" O'Day is either lucky or unlucky, because the powerful DRADIS sets in the trio of Raptors guiding the sweep begin to ping with contacts -- unknown contacts, more than half a dozen, fewer than a dozen, flying low and slow over the canopy still well out of sight.
"Farm Boy to flight, we've got potential company. Raptors, confirm DRADIS contacts." comes Finn's voice over the comm. The Captain's flights haven't lead to an altercation in quite some time, but there's no sense in not being cautious. Because that's Finn's middle name. Cautious.
Socks flies his viper in formation, cruising the spaceways with characteristic efficiency on the heavy combat patrol. "Contacts on Dradis. Unidentified, Tee---Farmboy." Professionalism. Gotta remember professionalism with that hearing coming up.
Lieutenant JG Aubrey Naxos is running on adrenaline at the moment. The news of her childhood friend having been shot down, some six months ago, behind enemy lines, has had her amped up for taking down toasters. The Viper pilot settles in on the other side of the trio of Raptors. "Banshee to Farmboy, acknowledged. Forming up on flight."
"Copy that." Antonie relays what her ECO has, as soon as it's confirmed, but otherwise it's just straight-forward, business as usual. Squeak's Raptor just casually in formaton.
Settled into the rear of the formation, Tucker is quiet, having not said more than a few sentences to his ECO, having lost his usual to missile fire the night before. The two wounds he had taken were minor at best, but there's no music from his Raptor tonight, instead he's flying quiet in memorium of Grasshopper. Next mission, the music will be back. "Flight, Flats. Copy, falling in."
Van Newton keeps his Viper tucked in close alongside the Raptors, his hands ever-moving on stick and throttle to hold station just a little above and behind. "Farmboy, Milkman," even after months with the squadron (however renamed it might be), his Picon-accented voice twists in faint distaste as he repeats his callsign, "Copy. Charging KEWs," his hand leaves the throttle to unsafe the Viper's autocannon, "ready to engage on your command and on your command only."
Calliope is flying with Mince, her oft-ECO, and they are both paying extra attention to comms protocol. "Flight, Soundbite. Copy that. We're with you. Readying jamming suites, weapons systems warming."
When their Raptors begin to pick up the blips below, Kell winces at the number that is being detected. If the hostiles are flying close enough, that number could easily increase. "Flight, Razor, I copy. Cannons are armed, ready to engage." For now, the Ensign's Viper remains in tight escort formation with the Raptors until further orders comes through from the mission leader.
Taking up lead on the flight formation, once it tightens up at the contacts, Finn sounds off on the comms once more, "Farm Boy to Vanguard, Flight needs confirmation on inbound friendlies." And then a beat later, "Raptors, get me a confirmation on those DRADIS contacts ASAP. All Vipers, pair off."
"Vanguard copies, Farmboy. Checking with local forces now." And then Vanguard goes silent, evidently busy on the other line.
Socks flips the switch on his master arm and goes weapons hot as he watches the blips on dradis. They're waaaaay too far away to see by eyeball at the moment, but with vipers and raiders that can change very quickly. "Copy that, Farmboy," he responds, visually taking in the rest of the flight for the moment as they prepare to engage if needed.
Banshee moves off to pair up with Finn since Cherry isn't on the flight. "Got your six, Farmboy."
"Get me a read - and then doublecheck it." Tucker calls back to his ECO. "Make damned sure we know what we have." he mutters to himself as he waits for the read from the DRADIS as he holds his position in the flight, fingers tapping absently against the controls, not arming or warming the targetting computers yet so as not to give off a signature of attack.
"Farmboy, Squeak-" There's a brief pause as Antonie confers with her ECO. "We have... one, possibly two Heavy Raiders along with other contacts." Further quiet on the line. Hey, it takes time to verify. DRADIS can be a mess. The others might come back with further details, but it's something to begin going off of and for the Vipers to start eyeballing.
"Flight, Soundbite. Mince thinks we've got toasters," Calliope pipes into the comms, Caprica City accent all of tension. "Can the other buses confirm?" There's no small amount of relief, at Antonie's words "That's what we're getting Squeak. Several Raiders and a couple of Heavies."
"Flight, Flats, thirding what the others have offered." comes Tucker's dulcet Sagittarian tones. "We have at least two Heavy Raiders and several escorts." he responds. "Don't think they see us, we might be able to get the initial bounce."
The cutter high in orbit above comes back, "Farmboy, Vanguard, local forces are not in the area, repeat, not in the area. You are cleared to engage. Get a visual for final confirmation, but you are weapons free."
When Heavy Raiders are mentioned, Kell sits a little straighter in his cockpit, just a reflex when the heavies are in play. It's hard to mistake one of those flying tanks as a friendly. Then Vanguard Actual chimes in as well and now Razor is fully ready to engage, any hesitation that was in him evaporating. Left hand reaches up to the top of his flight helmet and with a little push, he makes sure it's snug on his head, then the hand goes to the thrust controls, ready to jump the bogeys with the rest of the flight. He is staying off of the comms for now as there is quite a bit of chatter already.
"Farm Boy to Vanguard, roger that. Flight engaging." Farm Boy calls out over the comm and he then charges his KEWs, preparing for the fight, "Flight, we've got a fight inbound. Engage afterburners and let's get down to business. Focus on those heavies first, let's bring them down before their missiles take down one of our raptors."
With the reply from Vanguard showing there's no worry, Socks nods his head. "Razor, with me, I've got your back," he says, forming up with the other pilot. Socks is intent on getting Kell back into the swing of things. "let's splash one of those big boys!"
"Let's bring the pain," Banshee quips quietly, as she checks her KEW ammo readings and confirms everything is good to go. "Weapons are hot." She engages afterburners and follows Finn's lead.
"Razor, Milkman. You know the drill. Turn and burn." Van draws his fighter up to gain a little more altitude and clearance from the Raptors before they enter visual range. The news that there are Heavies in the area and no friendlies, he grins tightly inside his helmet. The call from Socks washes the smile away again, but instead he just notes, "Raptors, Milkman, looks like I'm your milk-maid. I'll stay close and do what I can to keep any Toasters off you."
"Soundbite, Squeak- always so much worry about us and yet they always take the hits." It's an aside everyone can hear, but Antonie's dry humor comes through crisp and clear. Even so, the pilot checks over her missile banks and her ECO gets their station ready to go for jamming signals.
Calliope chuckles soft. Or soft as anything can be, over a live channel. "Squeak, Soundbite. No frakking kidding. Mince is working out jammers. We will spread confusion. I'll get the talons loaded and locked."
As the Colonial forces close on the DRADIS contacts below, they can spot a pair of Heavy Raiders first, and then a pair of Vipers leading the way and four Raiders flying top cover over the entire group. All of them are low down over the jungle canopy, flying relatively slowly, perhaps to try and avoid showing up on DRADIS.
Banshee sets her targets on one of the light raiders, being pretty low on the pilot totem pole and still clinging to the fresh memory of flight school. Thin the numbers by picking off the weak ones fast, so less weapons are returning fire.
While Soundbite and Squeak are going into ECM mode, Tucker is arming a missile and locking it onto the lead Heavy Raider. "Soundbite, Squeak, Flats. Alertnate after firing, I'll jam, you fire." he offers to the two women, waiting for their responses as he prepares to fire.
"Socks, Razor, I'm your wing." Kell says as Salvae makes the decision to be his wingman on this engagement, "Will focus on one of the Heavies with you until its down." The Ensign does glance towards Van's Viper and nods his head, "Milkman, we'll try to down the bigger ones quick and then come assist if necessary." Diving down with the Colonial Forces on the lower altitude bogeys, Razor has already picked out one of the Heavy Raiders as his target for the initial strafing pass.
Doing a slow turnover before engaging his afterburners, Socks' viper dives down out of the cloudcover, streaming with an angry roar towards the flight of raider, drawing a beadon one of the heavy radiers. "Copy that, Razor, targeting the lead Heavy.."
"Banshee to flight, going in!" Aubrey pushes the stick forward to dive down at the Raider she'd tagged as her first target. She sweeps in at the enemy ship, and triggers the KEW cannon to fire a burst at the Cylon.
Finn checks over his instruments and takes aim at the second heavy as he rockets off at high speeds towards the inbound cylons. He rolls to the right, "Flight, Farm Boy. Engage, engage, engage!" And then he lets loose with his KEW on the Heavy.
"Razor, Milkman, we'll be waiting for you." Van picks out his target, one of the high-cover Raiders, and then wings-over to his right to come diving down on it to try to clear the way for the Raptors. "Farmboy, Milkman, engaging."
"Missile locked, missile free!" Tucker calls out as he releases the missile from beneath the Raptor, sending it screaming towards the Heavy, even as he's preparing to switch to ECM to jam the survivors, alternating with the others.
As the Colonial Forces dive in, the Cylons seem to notice them, the fighters coming up to meet the attacking humans and the two Heavy Raiders... beginning to twist and turn to make themselves harder targets? They don't turn to engage with missiles either, just turn their KEW turrets on their attackers.
"Copy. Switching to Talons for a volley." Antonie's all business over comms and thus far, entirely calm. As if this were some planetside simulation over the holobands, rather than a live combat. But then, nothing's come across her nose or hit her broadside yet. The initial countermeasures appear to have been successful, but the cylon forces haven't come at them yet. Yet.
"Weapoons systems locked in. Soundbite engaged," Calliope says into the radio. Nothing she says can ever be called 'steely'. Her voice is too naturally blonde and piping for that. But she manages resolve as she locks in on the Cyper on her tail.
The Cylons are reacting but it seems like the Colonials have the jump on them for now, Kell is already diving down on a steep attack vector one of the Heavy Raiders. Once in range and the targeting reticule already hovering over the jinking Heavy, Razor presses down on the trigger stub and his autocannons roar to life, spitting out multiple rounds.
As the KEW fire chews into the sides of the Raptor, Tucker's first missile slams home into the Heavy, ripping one of it's wings off. "Hit." And before he considers jamming, he slips for a moment. "Engaging second heavy." he offers over the comms, arming the second missile and sending it sizzling towards the second Heavy.
As the heavy evades Finn's fire and he rolls out of the way of another raiders fire, he continues on the comms, "Vipers, focus fire on the remaining Heavy, then disperse across the raiders. Let's take it down quick and then fan out." He arcs around to come in for another firing run.
Aubrey carves her initials across the starboard side of the light Raider. Not really, but she punch some holes through the armor on her pass. The raider returns fire, but her Viper's armor soaks it all up for her. "Banshee coming around for another pass!" she says over the comm as she banks in a wide arc to come at the enemy again.
"...remind me to handle scheduling next time, Flats," Antonie points out, shifting over, herself. The roll of eyes might be audible. Possibly. Maybe. Either way, the talons sit still full and ready to go, but someone's gotta make sure the countermeasures get out there.
"Arroooo!" Salvae cheers as the first heavy raider goes down in a mess of bullets and missiles, "Nice shooting, Wolves! Straight down to da rhubarb with that toaster!" he grins, his own bullets staggering the thing before Kell and Tucker blow it to bits. He sees a raider coming in at him, "Razor, get on that second heavy, I've got a tail to deal with," he instructs as his viper begin jinking a little bit before flipping end over end to get rid of his tail, blasing an angry burst of bullets at the cylon on his six.
Diving past the Cylons after he unloads on the Heavy Raider, Kell turns his head and looks over his shoulder, only to see the big fish on fire and breaking apart while he is pulling his Viper back up to regain some altitude. "Socks, Razor, looks like you have one on you. I'm moving into try to clear it off of you." The Ensign has already located his wingman as they made the pass on the same target, now he's banking away before rolling back, taking a bigger loop so he can slot himself behind the Cylon Raider that is threatening Salvae.
Aubrey changes course at Finn's orders and comes at the heavy.
KEW rounds carve straight into the cockpit of his chosen target, and then Van is glancing over his shoulder to watch the Raider roll over and fall toward the jungle below. "Milkman, Splash one." Van grunts as he hauls back on the stick, using his maneuvering thrusters and afterburners to pull out of his attack diving just shy of the canopy himself. As he rolls out over the jungle and into a tight turn to come back into the combat, he looks from Raptor to Raptor, "Farmboy, Milkman, clearing Flats' tail, and then I'm with you."
Calliope gets a graze of Cylon fire to her Raptor's hindparts. It seems to serve to make her mad. She comes about as fast as her blocky ship can carry her, weapons aiming for another pass at the thing.
One Heavy Raider goes down in flames, battered and blasted. The other jinks and twists, avoiding fire thus far as its KEWs lash out at its attackers. A few of the rounds strike home, but it seems more concerned with scooting out of the way than hitting hard. The Raiders and Cypers sweep and dart around the Colonial ships, a few nicking their targets but none landing true, solid hits.
There's a slight rattle of Antonie's Raptor as the Cyper's fire ricochet's off the wing, but overall the bird comes out clean and clear. The woman reports nothing because, well, nothing to report. No alarms, no systems in need of repair. Everything is coming up clear. She gets the talons up again and aims as, well, best the things can damn well manage.
Finn rolls away from the blasts of an incoming KEW from a raider and looses off another blast at the Heavy Raider. With help from the others, it goes down. "Nice shooting flight! Fan out, let's mop up the rest."
Banshee barrel rolls to come up and over the top of the Heavy Raider, and empties a burst of KEW fire into its cockpit. She then spirals away, dodging the fire from the light raider chasing her. She looks back over her shoulder as the Heavy goes boom under the combined fire. "Fat bird is down!" she shouts over the comm, before heading back at the Raider she was on prior.
The strobelight of KEW bullets highlights Socks in his cockpit as he flies backwards, using the momentum of his viper to carry him as he fires at the raider on his tail. "Ah! ya'lmost got him, Razor! Nice hit, now lay it on!" he says encouragingly, his own viper continuing to spit out cannonfire at the cylon who seems to easily evade his shots as his ship slows in the atmosphere, there's only a few more seconds he can keep the maneuver up before he'll have to get thrusters going again.
Though his Raptor's taken a few hits, it's in a lot better shape than it was last night. As the other Heavy goes down, Tucker switches control of the fight to the ECO as he concentrates on flying, making sure that the jamming signal is out while he's flying to avoid contact.
Van whips past Tucker's Raptor, going head-to-head with the Raider aiming for the bigger ship. He rolls up and over, going inverted and dipping his nose to plant a tight burst into the other ship's cockpit as they pass by, tracer rounds spilling past his own Viper and just barely missing. "Flats, Milkman, you're all clear. Splash two." Rolling back 'right side up,' the Picon pilot turns back into the fracas once more, picking out a new target, "Soundbite, Milkman. I'm going to try to get the attention of the one on your tail and lead him right in front of you."
The crossfire between Razor and Socks has has the Raider stitched up with some shots, most of it superficial, only one or two of the rounds punching into the rounded wing. "Socks, Razor, copy. Going after the second Hea..." Right as Kell begins banking his Viper away towards the larger target, the others have already knocked it down so the young pilot rolls back in on the Raider that is still after his wingman. "Back on the bogey on you, Socks. Will try to down it this time." Sticking to the Cylon's tail, Kell triggers another burst of autocannon fire.
Calliope trades shots with the Cyper. She still doesn't exactly fly like a fighter pilot, but she manages some pretty turns and sharp course corrections. So it'll do in a pinch. "Flight, Soundbite. I'm good! Totally good! Still dogged by one of the Cypers, but I've got him handled."
Despite its best attempts, the second Heavy gets pounded by a missile and several bursts from KEWs, tumbling down into the trees to break apart, spilling Centurions, heavy equipment, and other debris as it caroms off several trees. One of the Cypers manages a glancing blow on a Raptor, one sparks off Raptor armor, and then the Cylons break up, the Cypers twisting together to try and break free of the Colonial Forces together and the two remaining Raiders trying to free one another as well.
"Focus on the one on Soundbite," Antonie offers up to the others. "And the two Raiders. This one on me can't hit the broad side of a barn." And so far, it does seem to be missing or barely tagging her.
"Good work, Razor!" Socks smiles as he watches his wingman destroy another ship. He engages his thrusters before he finally hits the trees below, and quickly pulls up, searching for the last cylon, "One left," he observes, pleased with how the patrol is going as his viper's engines flare and he closes in on the target at the centre of the hairball of vipers each looking for the kill. He piles on and blasts a mass of bullets its way, his eyes lighting up as the mess of fire fills the air with lead.
Aubrey dives down and loops back up to settle her Viper in behind the Raider that had been chasing her. She fires and blast straight through the ship's port side, igniting something inside which explodes. The young pilot lets out a WHOOP! Over the comm as she flies through the sparks and debris. "Another one down, Flight!"
With the field thinning, Tucker makes sure that his ECO has plenty of room to work. "Almost wiped the board, flight." he offers over the comms.
And then the only ship left is the Cyper that Finn is after, which he only managed to graze in his last pass. Maybe he needs glasses. "Flight, form back up, let's clear this last ship and finish our patrol."
Calliope manages a hit on the Cyper playing tag with her. It does not come out the better, of the two of them. "Flight, Soundbite. My tail is splashed. Coming about, targeting remaining bandit."
And again, nothing. Is that last Cyper even firing? Maybe they loaded its cannon with blanks. "Flight, Squeak." Looks like we're in the clear. DRADIS showing no new contacts. Antonie does, smoothly, draw back into formation.
Once more, working with his wingman, Kell is able to assist in bringing down the bogey that was threatening them. The Raider tried to surprise the Ensign but after taking salvos from both sides, it doesn't come close to tagging him. "Socks, nice shooting, he didn't get to touch us." Looking around the zone of engagement, Razor sees that everyone is having success in removing the threat from the air and from what he can see, everyone is visually in the green. Finally a patrol that goes right again. "Flight, Razor, I copy, moving in on the last bandit."
Van flares his tail in front of Cyper chasing after Calliope, twisting away. He gets the attention of the Cyper, but not enough to keep it from darting and dodging. Luckily, Calliope still manages to hit it, and Van nods in his cockpit, "Soundbite, Milkman, nice shooting." He draws his stick back, climbing about the fast-scattering furball, "Flight, Milkman, climbing to provide top cover, sing out if you see any more bandits."
As its fellows fall out of the sky around it, the last Cyper dives for the very top of the canopy, low enough that it has to dart around the tallest trees as it tries to escape.
Aubrey fires at the remaining Cyper and does little more than scratch its paint, but the rest of the group sends it to the scrapheap. "Whoo! Nice shooting, Flight!" Banshee cheerleads over the comm.
Socks gets a decent track on the raider, but his cannons miss their mark, he'd telegraphed his shots and the cyper had pulled up just in time to evade, leaving a mass of ruined trees in its wake, but as it pulls up, it goes straight into the sights of the rest of the wing..
"Farm Boy to Flight, bring it in. Good work!" Finn says over the comm after his shots land on the Cyper's hull. Between his shots and Antonie's, the remaining cyper is taken out.
Van continues to spiral upwards, gaining more altitude over the low-level dogfight. When Finn calls the flight back together, however, he noses over and begins to descend again, "Flight, Milkman. Time to get out the brooms. Any ideas on why those Heavies were bugging out?"
Even though Kell joins the others and approaches the remainig Cyper, it appears the rookie is unable to bring himself to fire on the bogey that is flying a captured Viper when it isn't threatening a friendly. He hovers the targeting reticule over the target but his finger is unable to press down the targeting stub. Luckily, the others in the group is able to shoot it down, Razor silent for now as he moves to rejoin the others in patrol formation.
For all their difficulties in being aimed, Antonie doesn't have too much trouble in the general targeting of the talons. She gets them in 'that there general area' and they help in taking the Cyper down, despite it being low over the trees. Or, heck, maybe it helps. Gives a broader sort of area for them to rain upon. Either way, once the DRADIS map is clear, she peels away with the rest to aim back towards Vanguard. "Might be a good idea to review the footage later."
"No idea, Milkman. We'll need to review the gun cam footage to figure it out. They came in low too. Even that Cyper tried to bug out. Cylons don't run often." Farm Boy comments over the comm, before the flight continues their patrol.
Calliope adds to the fire on that last Cylon. For all the good it does. "Flight, Soundbite. Mince's DRADIS is reading clear. We'll continue to monitor, but I think this sector is good."
"Maybe send some Marines or local ground forces to check the crash sites?" Van falls in at the rear of the formation, "I have to say, that's the way I like my fighter sweeps to go." There's a pause, and then he adds, "Minus the mystery, of course."
"Agreed, Milkman. I'll request a ground operation to follow up and investigate in my report." Finn responds and then the flight goes on.