On the edges of Picon's orbit, the Wolfpack descends to defend it.
Location: Picon Orbit
Related Scenes: None
Plot: Operation: Cat and Mouse
Scene Number: 786
The Picon defense satellite network has taken a beating since the war began, but the sats that remain still provide a vital early warning system when the Cylons jump into near orbit for one of their periodic air raids. The warning went out a few minutes ago, and the Vanguard pilots hurried to their ships while the ship itself spun up its drives to jump from their current position deep in Picon's system to near orbit. There's the usual fluttery vertigo of the ship jumping, and then the deck crew chiefs are clearing the landing deck so the airlocks can be opened and the squadron can launch. Stirling is in command, her first combat flight since arriving on the Vanguard.
Van's stomach lurches, and he presses his lips together tightly to control his natural reaction to the jump. Drawing in a slow breath, he murmurs, "I'm coming home, everyone." And then he activates his comms, "Whisper, Milkman, do we have any count on the bandits, or any reports of friendlies in the area?" While he waits for a response, he flicks through the last couple of points on the launch checklist.
Tucker finishes running down the checklist with Priya, and there's a double check of frequencies. Despite the issues with communications with Picon command, the pilot, in the wake of Canceron, is making sure that his Ensign ECO is going over the frequencies and they have each one set. "Primary tonight is Frequency Beta, secondary is Delta." he reminds as he listens to the chatter - and lack of, on the main frequencies. "Make sure as soon as we can, we hear from Picon forces in the area so we don't get mixed up. Double flash of light answered with a single and a double flash is the response for non-radio IFF." he comments as he finishes the flight checklist to wait their turn in line before VTOLing off the deck to fall in behind the Vipers.
Already settled into the cockpit of his viper, Alain goes through his little pre-launch ritual, a quiet, murmured prayer as his gaze flickers over his instruments, habitually checking that all is in order. And then there's the worst part, the waiting for launch.
Fighting from a non-superior position will be a new experience for Kell as it is hard to accept for the Ensign that a colony can be considered deep behind enemy lines. There is a slight nervous tension in Razor as he sits silently inside his Viper, having gone through the pre-flight check with the deckie that was assigned to him, all systems green. He also double checked the joint taskforce frequency, making sure that it is set to the correct channel. Now all he can do is quietly wait for the jump into near-orbit to be completed and a scramble launch to proceed.
Aubrey goes through the preflight checklist one more time as she waits for her turn in the launch queue. The Picon brunette has a much more serious expression on her face today, because this is home she's defending. Her father is down there. The people she also considers parental figures are down there. And somewhere down there, Addison Walker may still be alive, her childhood friend and first crush. She sets her primary frequency to Beta, secondary to Delta.
Time is, as always, of the essence, in combat. But no moreso than now, when that the Vnaguard cannot risk delaying in near orbit to allow her pilots to take their time launching. Eva, already set and prepped for takeoff, sits tapping her foot, the only sign of her impatience, as she waits for clearance depart the ship. As soon as she's give the okay on her comms, she'll launch, setting up and moving into position to form up on the raptors.
Speaking of people that's in their first combat flights since arriving, a certain Leonese Viper pilot makes his way inside, hurrying over to get inside the Viper he'll be flying. Nodding as he hears the freequencies, Paquette gets through the preflight check, nodding a little to himself as he's ready to launch. Muttering something to himself.
Priya is a quiet echo as they run through the frequency double check pre-flight, she'll be verifying it with CIC command once they get into the air. She's silent on the comms, focused on the task at hand, the console lit and glowing.
Gwyndolen goes through her pre-launch checklist humming quietly to herself, already in pilot mode. Once finished, she waits in her cockpit for launch, double-checking her frequencies. It keeps her busy.
Anyone who's listening to the colonial taskforce net can hear the same thing that Stirling reports. "Just getting a report from Picon defense now, Milkman. They're reporting about a dozen hostiles. Multiple heavy bombers. We're on task to make it to intercept before any other friendlies. Form up with your wings."
Calliope is running through pre-flight with her own ECO in their Raptor. There's a tension about her, but it's a familiar tension now. The dread and excitement before popping off into a fight. A fight in unfamiliar territory, thick with Cylons.
Finn's being doing this long enough to only be uncomfortable from the vertigo associated with the jump, keeping his reaction under wraps. As soon as they are cleared to launch, he rockets his viper out of the launch tube and setting his comms up to the dictated frequencies. "Farmboy sounding off on beta." Comm check ya'll. Once cleared from the ship, he forms up with the rest of the flight.
Tucker sets a small strip of white cloth, it looks like it was cut from a t-shirt and tucks it into the console as he looks over his shoulder. "Hey, I'll try not to call you Sweetheart except on the comms. Wouldn't want to confuse you with my real," in Celtan, "
"You might need a different petname," Priya cracks back at Tucker, leaning an arm over the back of her chair. "And I appreciate that. Marines get fiesty, even medics, in my experience."
There's an exhale of breath from Alain, suspiciously like relief, when he's finally given the clearance to launch. Taking flight gives him something else to focus on, and it's not long before he slides into place alongside Aubrey, giving her the familiar thumbs-up through his cockpit window.
"Farm boy, Sweetheart here. Make sure your comms are set to Delta," Priya adds shortly, accent brisk as she speaks. "Woudln't want you missing out."
"Banshee is go to launch. Launching in 3..2..1.." The afterburners kick in and Aubrey's Viper screams down the deck and out into the void of space. She settles in beside Alain and returns his thumbs up, with a small, nervous smile.
"Milkman copies, Whisper. One dozen bandits with multiple heavies." Once the atmo has been pumped out of the hanger, Van spools up his engines, lifting off on thrusters and then goosing the main engines to launch smoothly. There's a little shimmy to the take-off that is barely noticeable, betraying the slight shake in his hands, adrenaline surging through him more readily than on regular flights. Once he's clear of the hanger, he nudges his fighter forward to join the others, "Razor, Milkman. By the numbers. Intercept, splash, RTB. Nothing new, nothing different." Keep telling yourself that, Van.
Stirling launches from the deck then forms up behind Van and Kell. "Looks like they're heading for Langsnar," she reports. Those familiar with Picon might recognize the name of a coastal city with very little military value. Maybe some industry. Which is probably why there isn't an airbase right nearby to launch defenders. "Bombers are the primary target. Let's protect that city. ETA to target... 4 minutes."
Launching after Van's Viper takes off, Kell cruises out of the hangar bay and forms up at the side of his wingman. Remaining in formation, he waits for the rest of the squadron to launch as his eyes gaze down at the blue globe that sits 'beneath' them. Picon, one of the worst hit colonies, second only to Aquaria some would say. When he hears Milkman's voice come through the comm, the younger pilot answers, "Milkman, Razor, I copy. By the numbers. We'll remove the Cylons from Picon, one mission at a time, one Raider or Heavy at a time." Even if he is still a young pilot, Kell knows Van well enough that the more senior pilot definitely has more skin in the game on this Operation. As the planet grows larger in front of him, Razor reaches up with a gloved hand and presses down on the top of his helmet, as if to keep it snug.
As the Vipers start taking off, Paquette does so as well, rolling the Viper around slightly once he's clear of the ship. "Good..." he mutters to himself, before he moves to form up. Nodding a bit as he hears what's being said over the coms, he lets out a brief breath.
Eva'a voice comes across the comms, her tone as even as always. Perhaps it's because she's not from Picon. Or just because she's been here, in this situation too often, "Copy that, Whisper. Primary targets are the bombers." A hint of amusement after, "Same as usual, yeah, Farmboy?"
"All right, Jigger, let's see if we can send one of those heavies back to the scrap heap," Aubrey says to Alain over the comm. She then presses a kiss to her fingertip before touching it to a photo of her Picon family stuck to the dash, her parents, her, the Walker family, all on the beach at Biscayne Bay.
"You hear Whisper, Sweetheart. Let's make sure those bombers stay scrambled until our little friends can bring them down." Tucker offers to his backseater. "What do you think.." he offers off comm. "Cherry or Milkman as first to quad ace?"
Alain isn't familiar with Picon, but he's still listening closely while his gaze settles on the DRADIS despite the call they're still minutes out. "You got it, Banshee." A brief pause. "Sweetheart, Jigger." It's entirely possible Jigger sounds pleased with that particular callsign. "Banshee and I are with you. Keep 'em distracted for us, eh?"
Gwyndolen relaxes a little as she launches--just a little, anticipation still clear in the set of shoulders, and pushes forward to form up with the other Leonisi pilot. She listens to the chatter on the coms and glances to her DRADIS as they approach.
The minutes may seem like an eternity, but soon enough the squadron is dipping down into Picon's atmosphere to chase down the Raiders before they get into range of the innocent city below.
Van nods at Kell's response, drawing in a slow breath, and that little tremble of his hand stills. As the ships start to buck through the atmosphere, Van shifts in his seat a little, then settles in, trying to quiet his nerves. "Whisper, Milkman, we'll cover you so you can get those missiles off. Razor, feel free to go after any Raiders you spot going after Whisper."
"Like eggs, Flats," Priya promises from her backseat position. His second off-comm question earns a long hrmmm. "I'll put 5 on Cherry. I remember her flying on Galatica." Pausing in possible betting pools, she flicks on the comms to respond, "Jigger, Sweetheart here. We'll do our best. Blow them to hell."
Calliope touches off, forming her Raptor up among the flight of Vipers. "Knick-Knack, Jukebox, this is Soundbite. Mince and I..." Her ECO. "...are coming up on your eight o'clock. Weps systems are warming, continuing to monitor DRADIS. We've got your backs up here."
"Copy that, Milkman, targeting the left bomber." Stirling's voice is calm, quiet. She murmurs something encouraging to her ECO and steers the ship into the fray.
Eva wastes no time, as the flight descends into the atmosphere and rushes to intercept the incoming cylons, her voice coming up along the comms, "Farmboy and I will run interference. Try to keep those raiders off your tails, if we can." With most of the flight focusing on the heavies, somebody's got to watch their backs, and Farmboy and Eva have no raptor to guard.
As they rocket off into the fight, Finn immediately breaks off with Eva. When she picks up two tails and he only picks up one, he does what any good wingman would do. He goes after one of the Cypers that's covering her. "Farmboy to Cherry, I've got the one coming in from above you. Let's clear your tail, then get into the fight."
Once his Viper cuts through into the atmosphere, the familiar sensation of air drag can be felt as Kell has spent most of his active flight hours on Libran instead of deep space. When Milkman comes through the comms again, a quick acknowledgement is shot back as he keeps his eyes between his DRADIS and the forward viewing arc of his fighter's canopy. "Milkman, Raptor, I copy. Will try to keep Whisper's tail clear."
A solid hit, and she manages, as per usual, not to pick up a scratch. Clearly, the cookies do nothing to weight her down in the air. But the cyper isn't out of the fight yet, and Eva flips back around for another go.
Aubrey's Viper screams down towards one of the Heavy Raiders, and she triggers her KEW, but the shots go wide as the ship rolls away and she is forced to barrel roll and bank hard to evade the fire from a Cyper and a Light Raider. "I think you got a piece of that one, Jigger!" she calls over the comm.
Finn's viper jostles a bit as a KEW blast from the Raider on his tail hits his ship. It wasn't enough to do any sort of meaningful damage, just a scratch really, but the jolt he used to avoid the weapon fire meant he did little but graze his own target. Finn grumbles and rolls off to the right and continues to move in on the Cyper.
"Sweetheart, Jigger, you got it." And then there's no time for more talk from Alain, as they engage. His viper screams into battle alongside Aubrey's, targeting the same heavy. His KEW grazes the raider as, moments later, he turns his viper sharply to avoid incoming fire from two different directions. "Frak, it's hot out here. Stay close, Banshee."
The heavy raiders don't diverge from their course, although they do start taking evasive maneuvers when one of them explodes in a shower of sparks and flame. Their escorts break away to engage the colonial forces.
"One down," Stirling reports evenly, jerking her stick to foil the targeting of a Raider coming at her flank. "You all right, Milkman?"
"Dammit, maybe I'm the one that needs to go back through quals for weapons." Tucker grumbles as his first rack of missiles go off target and the bomber is able to confuse his systems. "I'll keep us steady, Sweetheart, just keep up that suppression! Once the bombers are down, switch to the KEW and we'll fire on any targets we can get on."
Before he can manage to target an enemy, Paquette finds himself being a target, and has to move off a bit to avoid getting hit. There's a brief grimace as he reorients himself, going for the Raider that attacked Calliope's Raptor. And, carefully kept off the com, he begins to sing.
Gwyndolen bites her lower lip, catching a breath as she easily evades a raider, but her shot only just grazes a heavy. "Copy, Soundbite," she calls out. "Jukebox and I have your back." She retargets for the moment, to keep fire off her wing's Raptor.
As they chase down and intercept the Cylon Strike Force that is going after the city of Langsnar, Kell keeps his eyes on the hostiles, watching as the Raiders break away from the Heavies to intercept the Colonial Forces. His eyes are focused on one of the Heavy Raiders until one of the smaller Cylon fighters begins an attack run on Stirling's Raptor. Breaking from Van's wing, Razor immediately moves to intercept and he triggers a burst of autocannon fire, the rounds making contact but the kinetic impact are soaked up the armor sheets or glances off harmlessly. Gritting his teeth, Kell sticks to the Raider's tail tightly, keeping his targeting reticule hovering over the Cylon before triggering off another burst.
There's a delighted whistle from the back of Tucker's raptor as one of the bombers blinks off DRADIS. "One down - more to go," Priya says with a qicked grin. "Got it Flats. Realigning to focus on the remaining heavies."
As the CAG's Raptor and her two Viper escorts blow through the Cylon formation, Van's eyes widen slightly as tracers rise up toward him from two of the Heavies. He rolls away from them, twisting and turning, and his own burst barely even hits his target. He manages to avoid one rope of KEW rounds, but another slams into the base of his cockpit, sending a couple of spiderwebbed lines up the canopy. "Milkman is hit, but alright. Nice shooting, Whisper." Even as he's reporting, the Picon pilot is hauling back on his stick, trading speed for altitude as he lifts back up toward the formation, "Milkman targeting the Heavy that winged me." He's not, but that's because it's hard to tell which one is which as they mix it up. "Sing out if you need help, Razor."
Calliope's Raptor pours interference out into the darkness of space. But, to little effect. Her ECO keeps on the boards to try, try again. She, for her part, just keeps flying. Weaving around incoming Raider fire. A shot sings across her hull, but there's no flashing lights or warning sirens that signifty any damage. "We're OK! We are totally OK. Trying to shake that frakker off my tail. Thanks for the assist, Jukebox, Knick."
"Sticking to you like wax to a board, Jigger," Banshee calls back over the comm. She screams into a vertical climb to dive back down at the heavy again for a second strafing run. Once more the Heavy evades her fire, and this time, while she dodges the fire from a Cyper, one of the light raiders messes up the paint on one of her wings. "These heavies are dancing tonight," she growls.
"Alright, looks like we're getting somewhere on these things finally." Tucker rumbles, especially as their attacks are finally drawing the Heavies away from their runs to try to evade. "Keep on them, Sweetheart, you're having an effect!" he calls out encouragingly as he hears a chirp on his console. "Might get a little bumpy, they finally noticed us. Hold on to your knickers."
"I'm not loving these cypers, Farmboy." Eva is still managing to evade her two tails, but she's also still tussling with the cyper she's been targeting from the beginning. Oh, and now it seems to be heading for Finn? Oh, it is on.
Stirling and Van both hit the Heavy but that's not enough to bring it down. "Whisper out of missiles," she reports. "Switching over to suppression." But even though they could do that from anywhere, Stirling keeps the Raptor close in with the other ships.
Apparently Finn needed a little more recovery time from that last encounter. Maybe it's his reflexes...He rolls as KEW fire comes his way from the Raider on his tail and once again his ship is scratched from the near miss. This time he manages to land a solid hit on the Cyper he's been targetting, only to find a second one, the one that was attacking Eva on his tail. At least it's on him now. "We're just warming up, Cherry..." Hopefully.
There's a tense focus from Alain as the battle continues, their second attack run seeing Jigger's KEW spin out into the darkness past the heavy raider. A second later, fire from one of the raiders targets him nearly lances directly through his cockpit, saved only by a sharp turn that earns a frustrated growl. "Frak. Need to pin them down somehow. Can't get a clear run with all this heat on us."
"Milkman, Razor, I'm good for now. Trying to keep this Raider off of Whisper's tail." Kell's shots are accurate enough that they continue to plink and dink away at the Raider's armor, dents and grooves made but no rounds penetrate deeper into the Cylon ship. Despite not inflicting any critical damage, it looks like Razor successful accomplished what he was attempting, clearing Stirling's tail. The Raider flips himself around, the inertia in space keeping it on its previous heading but now its forward arcing cannons are pointing at its pursuer. Kell, unfortunately, does not see the maneuver in time as he is zeroed in on nailing the Raider so he isn't jinking or shaking his Viper. Instead, his eyes widen and he triggers another burst of autocannon fire, hoping he gets his shots off first.
There's a soft burst of cursing from the back as ship sweets and some of the targetted heavies continue their attack. "Slowly," Priya agrees, watching another hostile blink off of DRADIS. "Got my lucky ones just for this, Flats." She chuckles at the mention of them being targetted. "Just a sign we're doing good work."
Once more Van and the new CAG tag-team one of the Heavies, and as he's coming from below, their weapons fire is much less accurate -- helped, no doubt by Mince and Priya's ECM work. As he yo-yos back up, Van rolls horizontal again to prevent losing too much speed by climbing further, "Milkman copies, Whisper. We'll keep them off you. I'm going back for another pass on the last one. Stick with it, Razor, but watch yourself while you're on your own."
The raider Gwyndolen's wing was targetting explodes in a shower of sparks, but, almost in the same moment, her Viper shudders lightly as fire scrapes her hull. "Bah," she says, the small syllable sounding far too well-bred for a military engagement. "Still good, Jukebox, Soundbite. Still engaging in tactics to protect your posterior, Soundbite."
Seeing the target he was going for turning fireball, Paquette glances around rather carefully. Nodding as he hears what's said on the com, he turns his own Viper around, trying to come up behind the one that is firing at Gwyndolen. "Good shooting, Knick-Knack. I'll try to take away the one going for you." Ready, aim, fire...
Calliope flies as fast as she can, while Gwyndolen and Paquette shoot that Raider off her tail. "Jukebox, Knick-Knack, I totally owe you guys a drink. Once we liberate some of the bars on Picon. One of those bandits still likes me, but I'm keeping it loose and trying to keep you guys covered. Talons are warming, but it's hard to aim weaving like this. We'll keep up the jamming and I'll work around to try and establish a lock."
Aubrey banks hard to avoid the light raider and Cyper that have been dogging her, and their fire doesn't even come close to hitting her. She turns back and manages to scratch the paint on the heavy this time. "Come ON!" she grumbles over the comm. "Who's flying that thing, Cylon Hermes?"
"I'm hitting it, but I might as well be throwing rocks at the damn thing." Tucker growls as he moves the ship deftly through the KEW fire. "Sweetheart, switch to KEW, I'm gonna jump over our target and put us between the rear and the next one up, let's see if we can be the meat in a heavy sandwich!" he calls out to the woman, gunning the engines to cut between two heavies so that they can fire all the guns.
Kell is technically the winner in the game of chicken between himself and the Raider that had decided to spin around. This time his autocannon rounds find more purchase as they dig into the round wing of the Raider, small holes punched through but again, no critical exchange. In exchange, his tail gets winged a little bit, the paint scratched but all systems are still green. Instead of trying to keep the Cylon in front of him, dancing in a circle with his opponent, Kell shifts tactics as his job is done for now. Pushing the thrusters to full, he increases speed and with a touch of afterburners, Razor's Viper screams past the Raider and tempts it to chase him while he goes after the Heavy Raider who's turret is shooting in Stirling's direction.
The bombers continue to descend. Pretty soon they'll be in range of the city. "Wing, Whisper. Let's focus more fire on those bombers. Bring them down before they get near the city," Stirling says. It's almost as though the quiet Raptor pilot was chosen to be a direct contrast to Webb's bombastic style.
It's probably all for the good that Eva is not on comms, as she comes in on the cyper now on Finn's tail and still, she manages only a bare hit to it. When she sees Finn clear his targat, the cyper on her tail, she hits her comms, "Farmboy, take care of this thing, would you? Going to see if I can assist elsewhere." Eva peels off, to assist with the heavies.
Stirling would go after the bombers if she could, but since she's out of missiles she has her ECO try to take out the Raider that's chasing Kell.
"Well, at least they're not hitting us. So it evens out there," Priya cracks coolly from the back of the Raptor. "Engaging KEW now, Flats." Her hands tremble only a litte on the consol as she gets ready to take aim.
"Nice shot, Banshee," Jigger calls, though the frustration is audible in his voice that his shot misses while he evades the raider and heavy fire targeting him. In the privacy of his own cockpit, he's praying openly to Ares, grunting as he turns sharply to avoid more fire. When he spots Tucker angling his Raptor right into the midst of things, he grins and renews his focus as they come around for another pass.
This time, when Van comes arcing in... there's no defensive fire coming his way. It's a bit of a blessed relief, but it surprises him enough that he can't quite pull off the high-deflection shot he set himself up with against one of the gyrating Heavy Raiders. Grimacing, he whips through what remains of the Cylon formation, glancing behind him as he does. He opens his mouth... and Whisper is saying just what he was going to. Keeping his Viper well within the flight envelope, he feathers his thrusters a little to turn him around more quickly, accelerating back toward the bombers.
When Cherry veers off, Finn grumbles just a bit, "Oh sure, Farmboy will clean up the...well...I guess it's not a mess so much as a wounded cylon...Whatever. I'll be there in a minute to help." And with that, he rockets off aggressively towards the cyper, putting on the speed.
Calliope brings her Raptor around, weapons systems trying to lock on the Raider dogging Paquette. She can't quite veer toward the bombers this run, but her bus eases so she'll have a clearer path in that direction. "Jukebox, Soundbite. Locking on your bandit. I will try to make him regret frakking with you. I took a punch to my hull but I don't think the damage is more than cosmetic. Still totally OK!"
"I always suspected I was uncommonly attractive to robots," Gwyndolen says dryly as another spurt of fire rakes her hull. "Still good." She glances over as the other wings veer off toward the heavies, but they're not quite right on the right path. "Once more at your nemesis, Soundbite, and heavies next run." They can totally make it. She sounds really confident.
"Thanks Soundbite." The reply from Paquette comes as he tries staying on his target now. Nodding a bit at Gwyndolen's words as well. "Havies next run," he agrees.
Aubrey dives again at the Heavy, more like an annoying gnat in it's orbit than any real danger so far. She fires, but it evades easily when she has to dodge incoming fire from that light, and the Cyper dents the side of her ship. She looks back over her shoulder as Alain makes his run. "That was a pretty shot, Jigger!"
TA solid hit, but that raider isn't going down for the count yet. She has her orders, and despite the fact that most of the wing is taking a heavy beating, Eva only hits her thrusters harder, trying to close the distance between herself and her target.
Finn rolls to the right, evading incoming fire from the Cyper he's tangoing with and fires off several shots with his KEW, damaging one of the ships wings. Still, it's not enough to actually take the ship down. "How you doing out there Cherry?" he sounds off. Afterall, his wingman totally left him for more interesting hunting!
As Priya tears apart the heavy he was targetting earlier, Tucker laughs out loud. "Shit, Sweetheart, I should let you shoot the guns and show your ass more often!" he calls out to her without the comms on. "Alright, we're going to try that again, we'll just run the damn formation. Hold on tight, Bringing us between the next set, which sets Priya up on the Heavy he was attacking as he continues to move up the line to the next Heavy.
Eva says, "I'm still alive. Heading to the ground. Sing out if you need me."
"Good shooting, Sweetheart," Stirling offers when she sees the other Raptor tearing up one of the bombers. Even her praise is subdued. But off-comms, she comments to her ECO with a hint of mirth. "Am I the only one tripping over that callsign?" She scans the sky to check on the status of the wing.
There's a soft edge to laughter from the back of the Raptor to match Tucker's lounder notes. "I told you, Flats. I don't frakking like Cylons." The edge in her laughter echoes in her voice, hard beneath the amusement. "Line 'em and let's see if we can't get a repeat." At the praise from the CAG, she ducks her head, "Thank you, sir."
There are plusses and minuses -- this time, Jigger gets a straight shot on the heavy raider, his KEW fire raking the cockpit. Unfortunately, committed in the run, despite a quick ninety-degree turn, return fire from the two raiders targeting him slice across his cockpit and tail respectively, earning some very unrespectful cursing within his cockpit. "Not enough though, Banshee. We're going to have to get aggressive to take these out before they reach the city. I... shit, was that Sweetheart?" he whistles as he sees one of the heavies torn apart by KEW fire. "Sweetheart, you're on fire. Figuratively, not literally. Keep it up?" And then a beat later: "Respectfully, Whisper, I frakking love that callsign."
"Jukebox, Soundbite. I think you're clear! Splashed!" Calliope still sounds more relieved and surprise than anything else, when her weapons hit something. "I can't shake my tail, but the bus's armor is taking most of the abuse. I'm good. Diverting to target those heavies now that my guns are primed." She winces some at the comm traffic from Eva, trying to follow her Viper out there, but things move so quickly it's hard to track visually.
"Don't get cocky." Tucker remarks to Priya.
Van smiles tightly as his KEW rounds chew into his Heavy target, but as he glances behind him, he shakes his head, seeing the ship still flying and dodging. "Frak it." He keeps the words to himself in the privacy of his own cockpit, but as he spots another of the Heavies going down, he nods and reinforces the compliments of the CAG and Jigger, "Nice shooting, Sweetheart."
There are two bombers left, and they're rapidly coming up on bombing range.
Gwyndolen says something very unladylike as her shot does no serious damage to her target, but keeps it off-com. "Copy,Soundbite. Jukebox, those heavies need to come down." And with that she veers off toward them, setting a new target.
"I won't we able to get my head out of the raptor," Priya quips to Tucker, voice dry. "Roger that, though."
"Thanks," comes the reply from Paquette, before he rolls a bit to the side, heading for those heavies as well. The part not going on the radio fiinds himself singng again.
Turning his head every couple of seconds, Kell keeps an eye on the Raider that is still trailing him and manages to roll out of the way of the rounds that were coming his way. As for the Heavy Raider that he is making an attack run on, the damaged and larger target isn't hard to hit. However, like most of his earlier shots against the smaller craft earlier, his rounds only pepper the armor and not penetrating deep enough to inflict heavier damage.
As one of the last bombers falls under the combined fire of the flight, Eva has to throttle hard not to overshoot the rest of the cylons, and she banks hard, the force of it pushing her back into the seat as she moves in to attack the final heavy.
"The Heavy's down, going to keep that last one behind us so you can keep firing, Sweetheart, I'm going after one of the Raiders." Tucker comments, lining up the targets on the lone Cyper left,.
Aubrey comes around for another run at the heavy, and this time her shots connect, but barely even dent the thing's hull. "What the FRAK!" she yowls over the comm, earning her callsign yet again, before she's dipping beneath the fire of the light raider, and getting grazed along one wing by a Cyper. "Jigger, this Heavy has some kind of insane skills. Or crazy luck."
There's a harsh curse in Tauron as Priya takes her shot at the third Heavy and it misses. "I'll keep a bead on it, Flats," Priya promises, mouth hooked in a smirk as another Heavy gets taken down under joint fire. "<<Nice.>>" Every hostile off DRADIS is a satisfying end.
Given his distance from the Heavy raider left, Finn focuses his attention on clearing out the Raiders. Everyone else is going after the Heavies afterall, "Sticking to taking on these Raiders, Cherry." And hopefully that last Heavy goes down.
Focused on dodging those incoming attacks, Alain doesn't notice the other heavy going down yet. Instead, he banks left, parting him slightly from Aubrey's viper as his KEW fire impacts one of the heavy's wings. He exhales a sharp breath. "Or this is the Gods' way of laughing at us for our bet, Banshee." He makes a noise. "Cutting it close to the city, frak."
Stirling pushes the throttle forward to get alongside the bomber that's been shooting at her, angling her bird so that her ECO can get a bead on it. Her fire, combined with the others, helps to bring down the enemy ship. "This is our last chance, guys. Get that last bomber before it can drop its payload."
Calliope keeps her fire focused on the heavy now that it's within her sights. Ish. Her talon goes wide as it shoots off, and she banks up to try and get a clearer firing line on the thing. As for the Raider behind her, she keeps on with evasive patterns. They seem to be working. She does not get blown up yet.
Gwyndolen keeps her sights focused on the heavy. Raider on her tail? What Raider? She possibly has a little too much faith in her evasion skills. "Bring that tin can down, Jukebox, Soundbite," she says over the com. "Good luck."
Nodding as he listens, Paquette moves to approach the Heavy Raider a bit better. Ready, aim...
Van apparently has the Heavy Raider's attention, because when he fires at it, it loops neatly out of the way. Biting back a curse, the Picon pilot bursts forward, shaking his head, "Flight, Milkman, I'm going to try to give the last bomber something else to think about." He swerves his Viper in front of the Heavy Raider, flashing his thrusters at it in an attempt to get its attention.
With another Heavy Raider going down, Kell's shots once more impacts the intended target with the armor shrugging it off. He does pull his flightstick back just in time where the incoming rounds manages to graze the nose of his Viper. This has him gaining altitude and in the furball, the Raider that was after him breaks off. But it doesn't mean his tail is clear as a different bogey chooses to go after him. Instead of facing off with the Raider, Razor knows that the city is getting closer and closer, so he completes the Immelmann turn and dives back down on the last Heavy Raider. As he gets closer, his autocannons roar to life, spitting out round after round of projectiles.
Aubrey's KEW fire grazes the Heavy along the ship's nose, but no more than that, as she gets grazed in turn by the Cyper. "I just can't seem to get a solid hit on this thing! It's like it has all our numbers!
The luck of this heavy is apparently without limits, as the last bomber seems to evade all reason and continue on to its target. But that doesn't mean that Eva is going to let it go, as she pushes on. If she can't get the raider, she'll try to clear any missile it fires.
"Dammit, Milkman!" Tucker hisses off-radio. While he can appreciate the move, he's having to move off his target to get Priya to stay on her target. "...we have to do it now, Sweetheart. Hit it with everything you can throw at it!"
"How many layers of armor are on this frakker?" Priya wonders, watching the Heavy take blow after blow, glancing and not. Hers only glances. "I'm trying, Flats. Stay on it."
"Milkman, get clear. We don't want to hit you instead," Stirling's calm voice advises. She's trying her best to keep pace with the bomber, staying at an angle so her ECO has a shot. It's not easy.
"Milkman, watch out!" Calliope's talon is just a hair off point. Which, with Van zipping around that area of space, is not great. She murmurs, "Frakfrakfrak" to herself and makes some rather desperate corrections.
Fortunately for Alain, one of the raiders that has been dogging him is distracted onto another target. That just leaves the heavy himself, whose fire this time Jigger swiftly evades with a right-wards roll. His return shot grazes across the things nose like a warning shot, though it doesn't seem to do much to dissuade the inevitable movement of the heavy towards the city.
"I really, really dislike you," Gwyndolen informs the heavy as its armour absorbs her fire. She swings around on another run, focussed on the bomber.
There are some angrily muttered words going from Paquette to himself, as his shots hit the thick armor of the Heavy Raider. Shaking his head a little, he moves in more aggressively, trying to get an even better angle to take down the enemy craft.
Another scratch to the hull, and Finn doesn't do much more to the Raider he's tangling with. He keeps his flight pattern aggressive, no fancy flying for him. And apparently, the raider is going to do the same. Finn grins just a bit. Didn't he just get nearly blown up for zooming head first into danger?
Van swerves in front of the Heavy as long as he can, doing what he can to distract it, and then shakes his head. He's about to lift away, and then he has to twist his stick to dodge a barrage of missiles, diving away, "Milkman clear. Is it...?" And then he sneaks a look and grimaces, "Damn it." Disappointment floods his voice, "Milkman is clear."
Aubrey's kicks up some of the armor on the Heavy's body, but not much. It takes the rest of the team to finish the Cylon ship, and for her trouble she takes another grazing shot to her Viper's body. "If Cylons gave medals, that Heavy pilot would be getting one. Posthumously." She turns her attention towards one of the light raiders, happy to be done with bombers.
"Alright, I see that Heavy going down in flames - good shooting, Sweetheart." Tucker calls over his shoulers as the smaller missiles take down the Cyper and he's moving to assist with the clean up of the remaining Raiders.
"Good shooting everyone," Stirling calls out, pulling up as the ground starts rushing up at them. Bits of the last bomber rain down on the city, but no bombs actually fall. "Let's mop them up." A shot grazes her wing, and she begins evading so her ECO can get a bead on the attacking Raider.
"Thank gods..." Calliope mutters as the heavy goes down. She veers again, to resume covering fire for Gwyndolen's Viper. Aiming well away from her fellow pilots.
There's a soft 'whoop' from the back of the Raptor as the Heavy finally goes down. "Nice Flying, Flats." Priya nods to herself, "Roger that, Whisper. Switching to ECM on the leftovers."
One last sharp turn sees Alain evading the heavy's final, desperate shot at him, before the combined fire of the wolves takes the heavy down. The whoop from Jigger's direction is as much about relief that they finally managed to get the thing before it reached the city. He might be muttering a silent word of thanks to the Gods in the privacy of his cockpit as his veer towards his next target shows the city and how close it was.
Gwyndolen exhales as the heavy goes down in flames. It's a sound of relief. "Back on your little friend, Soundbite," she calls out, swinging the Viper around to track the offending Raider.
With the most pressing threat eliminated, Eva spins back around to follow Stirling's orders. Because a raider can still do damage, even if its KEW would only take out smaller targets.
Finn rolls to the right as he evades fire from the Raider he's targetted in on and returns fire, landing several shots across the Raiders wing, but it isn't enough to bring it down. He sees the heavy fall off his DRADIS and calls out over the comms using the right frequency, thank you very much Sweetheart, "Nice shooting everyone."
"Boom boom boom boom," Paquette sings to himself as he turns around again after the Heavy goes boom. Glancing around again, he moves in the general direction of Calliope's Raptor, heading for that Raider back there again.
Coming from below, Van spews KEW-fire into the weapons bay of the Heavy Raider, trying to keep it from dropping its bombs. Then, of course, he has to twist out of the way as the big bomber starts to come apart under the welter of fire, dodging falling debris. With his mic off, the Picon man murmurs, "Thank you, Poseidon."
As the Colonials converge on the Heavy Raider once more, they have better luck this time. Even Kell's rounds which have been mostly ineffective finally punches thorugh the heavy plating, hitting a spot that was already chewed up earlier by someone or even himself. The Raider that was dogging his six rather aggressively is also momentarily shaken off as the incoming projectiles are dodged. "Damn, whoever or whatever built that Heavy Raider made it sturdy." Now his focus is back on the smaller fighters that have been hounding them, his eyes searching for a target. The one chasing him is still in his rear arc so that is off the list of available targets. Soon enough, the choice is made though as the Raider that was engaging Finn crosses path with Razor. Quickly, he performs an inverted roll and the chase begins to help a fellow Viper pilot clear his tail.
FRAK. She is so going to lose this damned bet. "Nice shooting, Jigger!" Banshee calls to her wingman. She only manages to muss up the nose of the light raider she passes.
A pair of Raiders go down, but then the last ones turn tail and start to bail, trying to put some distance between themselves and the colonial fighters.
Coming out of his roll, Van spots a Raider following a Viper and curls up to fall in behind the Cylon ship. As he closes, he recognizes the Viper and calls, "Razor, Milkman, break left, break left." And Van curls in to his left, anticipating a turn and moving to cut it off.
"Almost got them cleaned up, Sweetheart." Tucker responds as he watches the remaining Raiders starting to turn tail. "Let's see if we can make that we make a few more recycling bins lobely tonight." he comments as he turns to send a last spread of missiles out towards the retreating Raiders.
As he fires off a burst of autocannon shots, Kell hears the warning from Van and reacts immediately, breaking his Viper to the left. With the forewarning and his fighter's nimbleness, Razor evades the shots coming from behind rather easily, "Thanks, Milkman! Looks like they are running, giving chase!" He rolls his fighter back towards the bogeys as they begin to turn tail, chasing after the one he was just engaging earlier with only a grazing hit.
There's definitely something satisfying about splashing a raider so soon after the frustration of trying to break through the heavy's armor, that Alain's whooping delight rings out over the wireless soon after. "Frak yeah! Nice work Soundbite," he calls out to the Raptor pilot as he rolls past her ship. He grins at Aubrey's words, and replies, "Lead us in, Banshee, on your six."
"The mental image of that is harrowing. I don't want to know what toasters do in their bunks, Flats," Priya comments back. Her hands slide over the ECO console, pinpointing their remaining targets to try to make clean just a little easier.
Calliope lets out a breath of relief as that heavy finally, finally, goes down. Her Raptor veers up to take a covering position over the Viper flight again, ECO redoubling his efforts in counter-measures on the last of those Raiders.
"We took care of your little friend there, Soundbite," says Gwyndolen over the comms. "Giving chase," she says, swerving after the retreating Raiders, picking a target.
No talk now, from Eva, as she simply continues on target, trying to help clear the raiders before they can escape.
"I feel I should mention that these Cylons make some very pretty fireballs," Paquette remarks over the radio, as he twists and turns towards one of the fleeing Raiders. "Come on, little Raider. You can run, but you can never hide..." That last kept off the comms.
Finn's viper rocks as the raider lands a hit on him and he has to jerk the stick to the right quick regain control, "Motherfrakker..." he mutters, not on the comms. Thankfully. He then rolls to the left, sweeping back around for another attack run on the raider.
Eva, just catching sight of one of the raiders taking yet another shot at her wingman, peels off, flipping back around to try to get him clear.
The Raiders maybe should've turned tail sooner, because they don't get far before the colonials mop them all up. "Sound off. Everyone all right?" asks the new CAG.
"Maybe we should re-renegotiate that bet, Jigger. Clearly my aim is crap today!" Aubrey whines. "Banshee sounding off. Just some scratched paint, Whisper."
"Copy, Razor, looks like that to me too." Van twists to follow the Raptor as it flees, but he stays under control even when he's chasing a running foe. He pushes his throttle forward, but he keeps zigging and zagging as he goes. His short burst punches into the enemy's chassis, but he's far from the only one, "Milkman, splash one." Climbing to gain kinetic energy, Van studies the flight, turning to join up with Kell again, "Flight, Milkman. I'm a little cracked, but still spaceworthy."
"Flats and Sweetheart, making music out here." Tucker responds, before he reaches over to the mysic player, pressing the play button, and a jazzy low beat plays across the frequency for a moment before it's muted to within the Raptor. "Don't like the music, oh well."
"Cherry's five by five." Eva, once clear, flips end over end, to come up in formation with Finn, throttling back so that she can assess the damage to his ship, "I'm not liking this look, Farmboy."
This attack run is just as satisfying; Jigger flies in close on Aubrey's tail, banking right at the last minute to get a clear shot. His KEW rips right through the raider's cockpit, earning another whooping celebration from the Gemenon pilot. "Whisper, Jigger. She's gonna need some paint, but can't complain." Also, "Aww, Banshee. Don't be like that." He brings his viper alongside hers, his grin broad and visible as they head back to the barn.
Rolling away from the exploding Raider, Paquette taakes a few moments before he turns to join the rest of his wing. "Jukebox sounding off. I think there's only been some ruined paint job on this one."
"It's the newest possible look Cherry. It's called, I was in a dogfight with a tincan." Finn replies to Eva over the comms. Two down is still better than his record zero down the past two sorties and at least he isn't bringing back a nearly dead bird.
"You need better success music, Flats." Priya shakes her head and slowly shifts back from the console to stretch. "Nice job keeping us out of the fire." She'll keep an eye on DRADIS as they make their way back to the Vanguard.
"Soundbite here. I'm good! Our DRADIS looks clear." Calliope laughs at the chatter on the comms, reveling in being alive with her flightmates. And surrounded by lots of Raider wreckage.
"I think we need to have a talk about your sense of fashion, Finn O'Day." But that will have to wait until they're back at the ship, as the flight is now ascending to the atmosphere, awaiting the signal from the raptors that will bring the Vanguard back for retrieval.
"I wonder if Antin's family is still down in Langsnar." Van glances back over his shoulder as he forms up with the rest of the squadron, letting out a breath.