Investigating an asteroid belt for possible Cylon hiding places proves fruitful and full of explosions.
Location: Picon Space
Related Scenes: None
Plot: Operation: Cat and Mouse
Scene Number: 788
One of the Timber Wolves' missions is to hunt down the Cylon fleet, which everyone knows has been lurking somewhere outside the Picon system. But, alas, it's a big-ass sky and there are lots of places to hide. Today they're scouting around an asteroid field. All the rocks muck with DRADIS so there's a lot of eyeballing involved.
The pitterpatter of dust and microasteroids is much like the sound of rain on a tin roof inside the Raptor that Tucker and Priya occupy. "Last time I was in one of these, there was an abandoned Tyllium factory, and Cylons waiting to jump us. Keep your eyes and ears open, sweetheart. Well, as much as you can." he murmurs as he works on guiding the Raptor through the field cautiously, unwilling to race ahead because they're also on the hunt for an enemy
Aubrey soars idly through the field, her eyes moving constantly from DRADIS to the cockpit windows, looking for anything inorganic amid the asteroids. She rolls onto one wing to slide between two of the rocks cautiously. "Banshee to Flight. Nothing on visual."
"DRADIS isn't much for this, but I'll keep 'em that way," Priya responds as she eyes her systems. They are some very large rocks. She can't help but hazard a look towards the front cockpit, staring the asteroids suspended in space as they weave through them.
Asteroid fields are definitely not favored by Kell who's experience in such is more or less in the sims. Luckily, this field is not a dense one, plenty of space to maneuver but it does play havoc on DRADIS which Razor is pretty much ignoring. His eyes are glued to the cockpit canopy, keeping an eye out for any small, stray pieces of rocks or possible glints of metal that may pop out from an asteroid around them. The Ensign is definitely a bit more tense on this mission.
If there was such as thing as a carnival funfair ride for a viper, this would sort of be it. And Eva, for her part, seems to be enjoying the ride for all it's worth. It's a chance to practice some of the moves that usually, she only can do when something's shooting at her, banking, turning, flying in close and moving off again. Especially with some of the asteroids so large, getting a good visual on their surface is important. Especially those that look like they're pitted with caves. "Keep your eye on the surface terrain. Lots of nooks and crannies out there that could fit a ship."
"Places like this are also a haven and cove for smugglers and pirates. Keep an eye on the larger ones." Tucker advises Priya as they fly near one of the larger ones. "No telling who may have found a safe haven in one of those." Eva's comment brings a thin smile to Tucker's lips. "Not that I would know anything about that."
Keeping his gazse some on the instruments, but mostly on what's outside, Paquette makes sure to move his head from side to side a bit as well, to keep as wide a field of vision as anything. Making sure to keep his Viper out of trouble.
"Sounding like the story of a checkered past there," Priya notes, remaining at her console but shifting her attention between what she can see and what she can read on sensors. "Not that'd I'd be one to judge."
The drumming of dust and small debris against the hull of her Viper reminds Aubrey a little of rainstorms on the roof of the house on the beach her family used to have. Her father is in a condo these days, but she misses way back when.
"Picon used to see a fair bit of piracy," Stirling notes after Eva's remark. "I don't think they've been too active since the Toasters showed up, though." Bigger fish to fry and all that.
"We all have our pasts. Can't all be squeaky clean like Prometheus and Praety." Tucker offers with a chuckle. "Just know a few stories from my day. You know, being an old man and all." There's a smirk somewhere in all of that as he flickers the Raptor a little to the side to skirt around one of the asteroids. "Also have to watch out for microgravities between the bigger ones, they'll pull you in and frak you up if you're not careful."
Kell has been silent for the most part as they proceed through the asteroid field, choosing to avoid the banter that is going on in the comms as he isn't skilled enough at multi-tasking in his currently situation. He feels confident in doing two tasks right now, dodging rocks and staying alert for any visual anomolies, throw in some casual conversation and it's too much for the young Viper pilot to juggle.
There's a snort from the back of the Raptor. "Just so long as you're claiming the title of old man," Priya quips easily, shifting with the roll of the ship. The comment on microgravities earns a thoughtful hum.
"Sweetheart, Cherry. Let me know if your systems read any of the larger asteroids as having a higher magnetic field than the others. Give me a wide spread, if you would." Since the Viper's systems are not that sophisticated, "If I was going to hide in an asteroid field, I would probably look for the ones that would give me the best chance at camouflage, not to mention letting me clamp on so that I don't need to worry about maintaining distance to target." The way the vipers and raptors magnetize to the deck to prevent movement.
"As long as Farm Boy remains dad. Because he and Cherry are usually together." Tucker says with a chuckle, as he considers, bringing up his search light as he's skimming along one of the larger asteroids. "Bet she's looking for cavern snakes." he offers over his shoulder to Priya. "Big suckers, size of a Battlestar. Can eat a Raptor whole in one bite. Heard that one got a hold of a Gunstar once, ripped off the whole port side gun batteries before they were able to get enough power to pull away. The teeth are used for manufacturing medicines on Leonis."
"Wha-at?!" Aubrey squawks over the comm at Tucker's story. She hasn't heard that one, and she's from Picon. She dips down below a smaller rolling rock the size of an armchair.
"Cherry, Sweetheart. I'll adjust ranges to include that and report in if so," Priya responds promptly, her hands already reaching to shift scanner ranges. It's unfortunate that Tucker misses the roll of her eyes with his focus on flying. "Sounds like the kind of crap you use to scare children, Flats. Although if it's true, try to not look too tasty, Milkman might get jealous."
Continuing to look around, Paquette adjusts his course a little as he makes sure to stay clear of some of the rocks. Listening to what's said over the comms, he doesn't seem to have much to add to it now.
"Scare children? Did you ever see pictures of the Gunstar Bellona in Scorpian drydock? Whole side of it was sheered off. They claim it was an asteroid, but that was only so that the press wouldn't run with the real story. There's a reason why you never see tour groups wandering into Picon asteroid fields. Jump right over them." The way Tucker is saying it, it's really hard to tell if he's telling the gods' honest truth, or if he's just talking shit from an old sailor's tale."
With the subject shifting to giant tunnel snakes hiding in huge asteroids, Razor can't help but furrow his brows slightly but he tries to push that thought away. Either it's just a tall tail and Tucker is pulling his ECO's tail or it is something that he shouldn't be too worried about for now, they are looking for Cylons. So for now, the young pilot keeps his attention in the area outside. Either Kell has eyes like a hawk or his focus really paid off. His eyes do catch glints of metal, fast moving and now he isn't afraid of speaking up, "Flight, Razor! I think I saw something, just went behind that asteroid bearing two-six-eight. How copy?"
At Kell's alert, Aubrey adjusts her heading to point her nose in that direction. "Orders, sir?" she asks over the comm, her shoulders tensed in anticipation.
"Can't say I did," Priya replies dryly, not sounding particularly impressed by the idea of the cavern snakes. Or maybe it's just Tucker's retelling. She becomes abruptly silent as Razor chimes over the comms.
"Copy you, Razor, moving to intercept at your coordinates." Kell might be young, and an Ensign, but Eva has never allowed either of those to colour her response to her fellow pilots. And Razor has some of the sharpest eyes in the wing. She adjusts course, preparing to move to get a line of sight on the target.
With the alert comes over the comms, Tucker glances to rearview. "Check PICCOMM. Make sure they don't have a patrol in the area. Wouldn't want to jump our own." he offers quickly to Priya. "Flight, Flats, Sweetheart's verifying no friendlies in area, wait one."
"Copy that, Flats." Priya switches comm stations to reach out to PICCOMM for verification if they have a patrol in the area, giving their location and authorization. Jaw set, she waits for a reply.
"Copy, Flats. Cherry, Razor, go have a peek, but be ready to bug back out. Don't engage without backup," Stirling tells them.
Aubrey forms up on Paquette's side. "Looks like I'm your wing today, Jukebox," she chimes over the comm. "Banshee standing ready to assist."
Once the LadyCAG issues the orders, Kell shifts his gaze from the asteroid that is potentially hiding a spacecraft to quickly search for Eva's Viper. Spotting it, he gooses the maneuvering jets on his fighter and moves to form up on her wing, not too close to give them both space to go evasive if needed. "Razor, Whisper, I copy." The Ensign shoots off a quick acknowledgement before he adds, "Razor, Cherry, I'm on your wing." Kell matches speed with Eva's Viper as they close in on the asteroid in question.
Looking around a bit more carefully as he hears that news, Paquette nods as he hears Aubrey's words. "Glad to have you on the wing, Banshee," he offers in return, taking a brief moment to look to the side and offer a thumbs-up.
"Copy that, Whisper. Razor, form up on me." Eva skirts one of the larger asteroids, on the way to intercepting with Kell, the redhead putting her viper ahead of his, so that she's his cover, if it comes to that. Ahead and slightly below, to give him the best possible view. "Nevr doubted it, Razor."
When Eva and Kell crest the 'horizon' of the asteroid and can see beyond it, they see a flight of Raiders coasting along in the opposite direction. The Raiders aren't acting like they've seen the Colonial ships, since Eva and Kell are behind them. It's a pretty big asteroid - the size of a small moon (not like Earth's moon - smaller). At the same time, Picon defense confirms to Priya that there are no friendly forces in the area.
:* flight of 6 Raiders.
Aubrey returns Paquette's thumbs up and she keeps an eye on DRADIS as they wait for the recon report.
"Flight, Sweetheart. Picon defense has confirmed there are no friendlies in this area," Priya says after acknowledging their response and switching comm channels.
"Looks like we may be in for a party." Tucker mutters quietly, and starts to bring power to the weapons stations. "Let's see what we're going against, but make sure ECMs are ready."
Once the horizon is crested, Kell easily sees what it was he spotted earlier. Unfortunately, it wasn't a single, lost Raider but instead a half-dozen. "Contact." He updates the flight but there isn't a hurried or panicked tone, revealing that they aren't engaged. Flight, Razor, I count six, I repeat, six Raiders. Heading in vector..." A brief pause before he reports the directional bearing of the Cylon flight back to the LadyCAG to see what she wishes for them to do. "Cherry, I don't think they've seen us."
Eva, moving into position, seeing what Kell is, makes a quick appraisal of the situation, "Flight, Cherry. We have two options here. We can either attempt to engage the cylons, or we can try to follow them, on the off chance that they will lead us to their base of operations. This one at least." She remains in the fall back position, not wanting to move and alert the cylons to her presence as she waits for the CAG's decision.
"Sounds like we may be playing follow the Raider." Tucker offers over his comm, then adds his opinion. "Flight, Flats, Sweetheart's got trustworthy eyes, I say follow."
Paquette listens carefully to what's being said, waiting to hear what the CAG decides. Glancing around at their surroundings rather carefully as well.
Aubrey grimaces at the report, but like Paquette she stands by for orders.
"Copy all," Stirling responds. She frowns for a moment, then says, "Finding their cap ships is more important than bagging some Raiders. Cherry, Razor, keep dogging them and try to use the asteroid as cover so they don't spot you. Flats, Sweetheart, extrapolate their course and see if there's some cover you and Banshee can get to that's ahead of them. Jukebox, you and I will hang back."
"Copy that, Whisper." Taking the coordinates provided by Razor, Priya punches them into into the systems to gauge an extrapolated trajectory. There might be some cover in that direction. "What do you think, Flats?" The information is sent forward to the pilot.
"Copy, Whisper." Eva, seeing no reason not to accept the order and judgement of her CAG, pulls in a bit closer to Kell, so that the two of them can muddle their signals on the cylon's DRADIS, or whatever version of that they have, "Razor, want to stick to my wing, or would you prefer to scout alone?" Either has its advantages.
"Copy that, Whisper. Flats, Sweetheart, Banshee is on your wing, lead the way," Aubrey responds over the comm. She banks to swerve through the field to meet up with the Raptor.
"Go to the wide view, Sweetheart, I'll get the tea leaves and Ouijia board." Tucker sounds like he's kidding, but he's actually taking out his own grease pencil to start making notes on the DRADIS screen. Now that they have contact, they can start trying to figure out where they're going. "It's not going to be a straight line with all these asteroids, but we can run parallel along this course, and try to keep them at our port." he offers.
When the decision to steathily follow the flight of Raiders was made by the LadyCAG, Kell answers with a quick answer, "Whisper, Razor, I copy." With his finger off of the trigger stub, the focus now is maneuvering and maintaining distance. Razor also maintains close proximity to Eva's Viper, understanding what she is trying to do to keep their signatures minimized on DRADIS. "Cherry, Razor, I'll stick with you." It seems like he is following his training that it's always safer and the better choice to have a wingman when combat is imminent.
Paquette nods as he hears that, "Jukebox holding back," he remarks, moving the Viper over to stay near the CAG's position now.
Their approach seems to pay off. Eva and Kell follow the Raider squad without being seen. Tucker and Priya extrapolate the course of the Raiders and skim ahead with Aubrey. As they do so, they also see something beyond one of the other asteroids. A small Cylon capital ship. Possibly comparable to a cutter class, but with a larger side landing bay.
"Setting coordinates to run parallel to the Raider flight," Aubrey confirms over the comm. She settles in to cruise beside the Raptor, banking and diving to dodge any asteroids in their path, sticking close to the rocks to mask their signatures. Her eyes widen at the sight of the Capital ship. "Is everyone seeing what I'm seeing?" she asks over the comm.
"It looks like a patrol ship. One. Probably waiting to pick up the patrol and jump away." Tucker relays over the comms, as he considers, transmitting the data back to Priya. "I have missiles today, we can probably damage it's drives and prevent it from jumping. If we're lucky enough to get a shot off." He waits to see what Stirling thinks on all this. "Not sure she's going to lead us back to the fleet."
There's a sound of acknowledgement from Priya as the ship is sighted. She says nothing over comms, waiting for Stirling's call. She relays the information out as needed, updating DRADIS markers.
Eva falls back to nearly a halt, as she and Kell come up on the ship, "Are you all seeing its configuration? Because clearly they can see the ship. "What I want to know is...what are they offloading out of that side landing bay? No ship we've seen so far from them needs that much clearance." A moment, to consider, "Flats, I'm almost tempted to ask you if you can spin up your drive, hop in their, drop your payload and jump out again."
"Copy that, Flats." On the taskforce channel, they all can hear Stirling contacting Picon defense to ask if they have capital ship(s) that can jump in and take out the Cylon cutter. Hearing an affirmative, she then gets back on the squadrom comms, "Picon Navy's going to take out that cap ship. ETA four minutes. Everyone move into position to ambush those Raiders before they make it to the cutter. Soon as the Picon guys jump, we strike. Questions, concerns?"
"Banshee copies that, Whisper. Preparing to engage," Aubrey says over the comm. She checks over her controls and readouts for her KEW to get ready.
When the Cylon capital ship comes into view, Kell's eyes widen and he looks over to Eva's Viper, at the same time cutting the main thrusters of his fighter while goosing the retros to slow himself down. No use getting close enough to the Cylons to get detected when the prize has been detected. "Razor copies and confirms visual." As for what could be landing in the larger bay, the Ensign frowns, "Wonder if it's a Centurion troop transport." Once further orders come in though from Stirling, Razor quickly sends an acknowledgement, "Razor copies." With that, the young Viper pilot lapses back to silence, waiting patiently.
Paquette nods as hears the words about the ship out there. "Interesting," he remarks to himself, before he nods at the instructions given. "Sounds like a good plan," he offers over the comms.
Eva nods, though that's to herself, for obvious reasons. What comes across the comms is her voice, "Copy, Whisper, prepared to engage on your mark."
Tucker considers for a moment, listening to the orders and then nods. As juicy as the target of a capital ship may be. "Just hope it doesn't decide to jump as soon as the Raiders get hit." he murmurs to himself and reaches up and brushes the piece of cloth on the console with his fingertips. "Flats copies, Whisper. On your mark. Sweetheart, get those ECM ready. Want us on the Raiders or to try to disable, sir?"
Priya nods at Stirling's orders, sliding her fingertips along her controle panel as Tucker questions their approach.
"Our priority is the Raiders," Stirling answers Tucker. The colonials get into their positions, using the asteroids as cover. And then they wait. Four minutes can seem like an eternity when the adrenaline's pumping. But then there's a flash as two Picon destroyers jump into the vicinity around the Cylon cutter. Risky move, jumping into an asteroid field. Much trust placed in the coordinates given by the CF squadron. But when half your planet's been taken over, you do what you gotta do. As soon as the friendly forces come into view, Stirling gives the order to attack.
"Banshee is engaging!" Aubrey calls over the comm as she hits the afterburners and screams through the field towards one of the raiders.
As soon as Eva sees the wink of the ships jumping into the asteroid field, she fires up her thrusters, moving to engage, "I see how where you get your balls, Banshee." Picon Navy...go hard or go home.
Expecting the Picon capital ships to jump in at the edge of the asteroid field and engage from range, Kell's eyes once again widen as he sees the pair of destroyers jump into the hazardous field right by the Cylon capital vessel. Razor's hand was already on the thrust lever and once he hears Stirling's orders, he pushes his thruster to max. Then he engages his afterburners, coming out of hiding at Eva's side as they close the distance with the Raiders.
Waiting for a few moments as he gets into position, Paquette focuses on one of the Raiders. When the order is given, he shoots forward, towards his target.
The missile lock is drawn upon one of the trailing Raiders as Stirling takes the rear. "...ready, sir." Once the order is given to fire, Tucker announces, "Fox Two." And the missile streaks away from the Raptor in pursuit of it's target.
Electronic Countermeasures in place, Priya waits on baited breath to see if they take while the pilots take their shots.
As soon as she's given the order to engage, Stirling is zipping in with the rest of them, taking aim on one of the raiders.
Eva, moving t try to avoid the debris, barely manages a good hit on the raider she was pursuing, but that's alright. She's nothing if not determined, and she moves in to line up another shot, not paying, as per usual, any attention to whether or not she's actually being targeted.
Aubrey fires off a burst from her KEW at the raider, and she scrapes some paint off the hull for her efforts. "Dammit! Cherry, my bogey is coming at you, I'm on it!" She chases after the Cylon ship that has turned towards Eva's Viper.
Stirling's missile takes out one of the Raiders, and she quickly refocuses on the one going after Banshee. In the distance, they can see the capital ships start duking it out with one another.
The ambush works very well in Kell's favor as he picks one of the Raiders at random. While the Cylons react, the one that Razor had bracketed in his targeting reticule did not evade fast enough. Leading the saucer shaped ship just enough, a burst of autocannon fire was triggered and the rounds punches into the nose of the Raider. Those shots by itself would not have been sufficient to completely destroy the craft but it does send it out of control for a moment. And a moment is all that was needed as it spins and collides into a nearby, smaller asteroid. With his target eliminated, Kell quickly searches for his wingman, immediately heading towards Eva's fighter. That is when he catches sight of a Raider vectoring in as well, "Banshee, Razor, coming in to clear Cherry's tail with you." Giving Aubrey a heads up as the work on the Raider together.
Paquette moves in, frowning as his shots only hit the body of the Raider. Letting out a bit of a mutter to himself, he twists and turns to stay on the Raider, as he sees it head for one of the Raptors.
"Thanks for the assist, Banshee, Razor, but make sure the rest of the wing is clear." She's probably not the only one who has a raider on their tail.
"First missile hit, no joy." Tucker mutters as he prepares the second missile. "Let's try this again, Priya." he offers to her with a smirk. "Maybe I should take up that whole prayer thing." There's not much of a laugh to go with it as he sends off the second missile.
"Sending out a second pulse of ECM," Priya reports with general area coordinates of her aim. "Looks like two down so far, well shot." As far as she can track on DRADIS. "Hit's a hit. Do it again and we'll be just fine, Flats."
Banshee barrel-rolls to avoid incoming fire from another raider before she pours KEW fire into the body of the Raider she's been chasing and sees the armor shred away for her efforts. "Come on, go down go down," she mutters off comm. It stays in motion, and she banks hard to come around for another run.
Damnit! This is one slippery raider, as Eva duck and weaves, trying to line up a decent shot with all of the debris and interference mucking about with her targeting. She does manage to evade incoming KEW, long enough to try to swing around and get another hit.
"That's better." Tucker mutters, as around them, other Raiders are still fighting it out. Fortunately for the patrol, the Picon ships are keeping the Cylon Cutter from getting anymore off the ground, and it appears that the Navy ships are doing some heavy damage to the ship, as it's still firing, but it's manuvering seems to be flagging.
Having to roll a bit to the side to get into position to fire, Paquette manages to evade the incoming fire from the one that was behind him. Waiting for the right moment, he fires, letting out a breath as the one he was going for turns into a rather nice fireball. Looking around, he turns to look for a new target.
Razor's rounds penetrate into the Raider's fuselage though this one is a more formidable foe as it stays flying, even with Aubrey's shots landing accurate as well. A quick wide roll helps Kell maintain distance with the damaged bogey as he comes in for another pass. "Cherry, Razor, you still have one on your six. It's damaged but still flying." After giving that quick update to his wingman, he triggers another burst of his autocannons, the tracers shooting out towards the hostile craft.
Banshee strafes the Raider with Kew fire along it's wing, barely grazing it, but she whoops over the comm as Kell finishes it off. "Nice shooting, Razor!" Then she dives down under the return fire from the other raider.
As the last of the remaining Raiders fall, a large explosion off the port side alerts the squadron as the Cylon Cutter is ripped apart by an explosion and starts to break into pieces.
The flash of light is enough to draw Priya's eyes away from DRADIS as the last two Raiders blink out. A low whistle escapes her at the sight. "Not too bad, that."
Eva, combining fire with Jukebox, manages to take out the raider that was avoiding her for the entirety of the combat, and she pulls up back into position, awaiting Kell forming up on her, as her DRADIS reports all of the raiders accounted for, "Looks like we've cleared this fight. Might be worth going in to see if we can pick up any stragglers." There might yet be raiders who launched before the end.
"Thanks Banshee, good assist there. Cherry, Razor, your tail is clear." Kell says as he watches the Raider break apart when all of his rounds hit and breaks the Cylon fighter apart, the main body exploding while bits and chunks of wing debris are flung away. the Ensign quickly looks for the remaining bogeys only to see the larger explosion, the Cylon capital vessel being mauled to death by the Picon Destroyers. "Wow..." Is the only thing that Kell could say, distracted for a moment by the incredible scene of capital ships duking it out. Refocusing, Razor forms up with his wingman again, ready for new orders.
"Looks like my hometown boys and girls wrecked that cutter good!" Aubrey crows over the comm.
"Well fought, everyone," Paquette offers as he sees the last Raiders go down, letting out a bit of a breath as he sees the rest of things.
"Nice job everyone," Stirling says, then offers a thanks via taskforce comms to the Picon ships for the assist. "Let's head on back and get re-armed and re-fueled."
Eva allows her eyes to linger on the firestorm off in the distance for a moment longer, before she turns and heads back with the rest of the flight back to the retrieval point.
"We keep getting lucky like this, Sweetheart, we may end up an official like team." Tucker offers with a smirk as he moves to guide the ship back into line with the others, following after the more nimble Vipers.