2237-06-22 - Arborfield Insert

Fox Force Four (plus Mercer) are sent into the field on a long range recon mission to Arborfield on Picon.Things get hairy...er furry.

Date: 2237-06-22

Location: Arborfield Area -- Picon

Related Scenes: None

Plot: Operation: Cat and Mouse

Scene Number: 798

Jump to End

There's no way to stay dry when riding in a Zodiac. Not really. They're meant to be quiet and fast- not comfortable. Worse yet is just how much they have to pack. Weapons. Armor. And all the needs for a long-range recon mission. 'Pack light' is a sort of misnomer because of the sheer volume of what's needed. They might as well have all been drowned racoons by the time they offloaded a number of miles up the coast from Arborfield. Mercer sent them on ahead to meet at a predetermined rendezvous location. They were to find the location and if it was clear - setup camp and wait for him. He would be remaining behind to finalize the synchronization of the pickup beacons. If the location wasn't secure, they had a secondary... and even a tertiary.

This far north and this late at night, it's not the most comfortable or fun of hikes. Especially soaked through. What's worse? The first site was a wash. About a quarter mile out, Hayes spotted the patrol on a forward scout. It wasn't viable. So they moved on to the second location. If the map proves accurate, it should be just over the next rise...

Lyn is loaded down with the same gear she had for the Cape Shediac mission. Whatever happened to her out there in Bellstown seems to have resolved itself, and scuttlebutt is she spent a good bit of time chatting with the ship's shrink afterward. She was cleared for the SAR mission to the Lucent Edge Apartments last night, and seemed steady as a rock. She was delivered to the zodiac before it's launch, along with Kyle, directly from that mission.

The rain poncho has come in super handy considering the storm they're slogging through. Arda is also glad she packed extra socks because the ones inside her boots at the moment are rather squishy. The Aquarian woman pauses before the rise and gets down on her belly to crawl towards the top.

Damp. You'd think, in this sort of weather, Erin'd think about having wet gear, like a poncho or something. Rather, she picks a ghillie suit, or the Colonial Forces' version thereof. The get-up makes her look like a moving mass of moss and stone, like the Swamp Thing, were it less than five-and-a-half-feet.

Up to the second location, Erin takes up the rear. Having had a brush with a recent patrol makes her cautious, and that means watching their six. Never know when the damned toasters are going to try and stealth their way up from behind. And as appealing taking it from behind can be? Not when it's via a machinegun.

Eventually, she settles down, just before the rise. She'd probably wait for Charlie and her BFG w/ scope to check out the site first. Sure, she can check with her carbine's scope as well, but -- meh.

Sleep hasn't been a friend to Kyle Costello the last pair of days. With a four hour nap between the last Op to this one, she remains alert in her rain gear, ever-grateful for the choppy ride in the zodiac to keep her from feeling comfortable. Another day, another dollar, another drop. Since being recalled back into the marines, this has been Kyle's new reality.

Loaded with long-range gear and a carbine outfitted for marksman work, Kyle is crawling up the ridge to the right of the others. The rain slicking off of her gear washes the mud away in the crawl, only to be replaced by new mud. Ignoring it, Kyle glances back to Erin and gives her a quiet nod before creeping to just under the line, letting Erin and Charlie take a gander.

Unlike Erin, Charlie most definitely has a poncho. She's also got her braids clipped up carefully under her helmet. Rain and mud plus dense braids? Not always the best of friends. It does mean she doesn't have hair plastered to her neck. On the upside, unlike Canceron, they have far fewer bugs to worry about here. Just spiders. Lots and lots of spiders. The pine needles under foot provide some measure of cushion, but they're fairly scratchy if you come at them from the wrong angle. She settles up on the ridge alongside Lyn, pulling her monocular out to try to get a good view down below.

Unfortunately, the evergreens are dense. It's clear there's... well, a clearing, but the tree tops are close and thick enough that they can't get a good ground view from up here. Wagner lets out a sigh, looking sidelong at Arda. She puts the monocular away and leans to dig into one of her side pockets, taking out a scope for her rifle to start attaching it. "We're going to have to go down to get a closer look, I think. Want me and Costello to provide overwatch for you and Chilly?"

Water runs in rivulets down Lyn's poncho. At least the back of it. The front is becoming quickly covered in mud as she belly crawls to the top of the rise. She tugs binoculars out of a pouch and fits them to her eyes, the overhang of her helmet and the poncho hood sheltering the lenses from the rain, as she scans the area of the backup camping spot. She grunts at Charlie. She doesn't want to be in charge but with Mercer behind them, she has no choice. "Sounds good."

Lyn gives a hand signal behind her to beckon the others to meet them at the top of the ridge. When they get there she whispers, "Chilly, you and I need to get down there and scope it out. Spectre and Krima can cover from up here. Sound good?"

Chilly gives the Ghost a look. It is followed by a snicker. "Do you really need to ask?" Of course she'll go down there. HURR HURR. (C'mon, it's a funny joke if you're a lesbian, srsly.)

Shouldering up her carbine so that she can scope-view as she moves, Erin takes the lead. Sorry, Lyn. She keeps low and moves nimbly down towards the clearing -- of where it's supposed to be. Confidence is not lacking in the Trash Panda from Aquaria, that's for certain. At least, when it comes to sneaking into position and scouting. That's her thang.

"Not a number one fan of these trees, we're not going to be able to cover well for shit. So try to keep us on your sixes, okay?" Kyle whispers to Erin and Lyn, twisting at the hip in her forward lay to look back to their faces. Her hazel eyes bug wide and when she brushes her glove across her cheek, a stream of mud is left in its place. A second later she gets it and gives Erin a derpy face, tongue sticking out to nose, then rolls back onto her belly.

The rifle comes over the ridge and the hood on her scope is left closed. Sliding to one knee, Kyle keeps her head low and slowly peeks her head over, eyes downrange. "Good luck, bitches." Kyle whispers and clicks her tongue against her teeth, shrugging her poncho out of the way enough to line up her sights.

The angle of approach they're taking down the ridge is a good one. There's a lot of overgrowth; bushes, trees both big and small. A lot to hide under and cover each forward movement.

"Let's move down a bit further," Charlie offers to Kyle once Lyn and Erin move over the rise and start their way down. "We'll stay far enough behind to stay back, but keep them in view." She hikes her pack up a bit on her shoulders and slides down the scree a bit towards a rock that juts out with a tree rising up in front of it. Settling down in a crouch, she brings her rifle back up to her shoulder.

Further down, with the forward two women, they do find the drawback of their approach. It is very dense. Difficult to see through; especially when staying quiet. Both women hear movement ahead, but it's not... the heavy footfalls of Centurions backed by the whirr of mechanics. It's rustling. Soft. Arda spots the tracks: deer. Surely there can't have been a patrol through here recently...

Lyn gives Erin a soft snort at her joke, then she nods to Charlie and Kyle and follows the errant trash panda down the other side of the rise. She moves silently from tree to tree, a Ghost in action as well as in name, vanishing in the rain and foliage like a simple creature of the forest rather than a marine in full gear.

At the sounds emanating from ahead of them, she crouches down, her fingers tracing over the two-toed, inverted heart shape of the tracks on the ground. She signals Erin that they are still clear, indicating whatever sign they use for wildlife in the area. At least it's not a bear. It's slow going, and she sets her back to a tree and looks up the trunk, checking to see if it's climbable without making a racket, to try and see over the overgrowth.

What? IT WAS FUNNY.

Erin truly only paused for a moment. A brief moment. When Lyn gestures down to the deer tracks, the raccoon Marine rolls her eyes, and then shakes her head. Like, great. Let's get spooked by wildlife. This will end well.

Slowly, but surely, Erin begins to proceed towards the site again. Her ghillie suit, while not suited for rain, is really good in thick underbrush. She's nigh impossible to see. But the going will be slow. Very slow. (That's why snipers generally remain low and motionless in such camouflage.)

Kyle looks over to Charlie and nods to the woman, lifting her rifle to cover the other sniper on her way to a better position. Once she's at the rock, Kyle glides a knee through the mud until she's bringing her foot forward, taking a slow step over the ridge to crouch-walk after her to a better vantage point twenty feet to Charlie's right. A fallen log against a tree, a decent L-shaped cover, becomes Kyle's new home...for the next few minutes.

Shouldering the tree, Kyle lifts her rifle and tilts the weapon, using the clipped in holographic sight to look above, watching for signs of movement and off-colors. She looks from tree-climbing Ghost to the slow, land-crawling swamp monster, then through the trees as best she can.

And there, on that slip of rock, Charlie remains put. You get used to the slow cramps that build in your limbs. And the ways to relieve them. Slow tensing and releasing of muscles. Minute adjustments. She just watches and waits, slowly scanning the surrounding area for other movement. Her quadrant is observed while she relies on Kyle to watch the other.

For all that pine trees are easy to scale, they aren't the most quiet. They're brittle things with small twigs and needles everywhere, but Lyn is not in a ghillie suit. She's not prone to getting caught on the breeze itself. The Aquarian becomes an arboreal sentinel and finds herself witness to a small herd of deer in the clearing below. A handful of doe and their young offspring; a handful of yards more and they would have become spooked by the marines themselves.

Thankfully, no Centurions in sight.

Lyn skitters up the tree, still somehow managing to sound about as out of place as a squirrel. She gets up high enough to get a better look over the foliage and pulls her binoculars. She can't help but smile at the ruminant families in the clearing. She signals Erin that it's clear, and then signals the overwatch team as well, before climbing back down.

For a moment -- for just a moment -- Erin contemplates whether those deer would make a good meal. But it would be difficult to cook in the wet conditions, and it's not protocol to start lighting fires in the middle of Cylon-held territory. After all, toasters can cook without flames. ba-doom-ching

Erin remains under cover until Kyle and Charlie make it to the clearing, where Lyn and her are. Nice and low, and watching the animals graze and do what animals do. Not that.

With only twenty feet of space between herself and Charlie left between them, Kyle hugs her weight to the tree and continues to watch from uphill. It's the most boring television ever, with a pair of asses climbing this way and that and the job isn't to watch them, but everything around them. It's television you don't want to get exciting, and yet, the reason for doing so keeps things nice and tense. Thus, Kyle is more than relieved when the signal is sent back to her and Charlie that it's clear.

Kyle turns around her tree to look across the distance to Charlie. One hand moving, she signals that she'll watch Charlie bound to the next cover, then folllw once clear. One at a time. Just like leapfrog.

When the all-clear comes from below, Charlie casts a sidelong look to Kyle and gives an upnod when the other woman marks for her to go on ahead. Wagner moves down from her perch, sliding down the hillside with her rifle held securely until she reaches a good vantage point to wave Krima on ahead. It'll take some doing and Erin will have to watch Discovery Channel for a while longer, but the two on overwatch will make it down eventually.

The deer in the clearing don't linger overlong. It's a meal and they're a herd on the move, but Arda and Hayes both have stayed quiet enough that they don't spook the herbivores and soon enough, they're sidling they're way out and along. It's a good sign that the wildlife is this calm. It means the patrols haven't been around anytime recently. It should be safe enough to camp here.

If Mercer moved fast and light, he should be able to catch up to them at the secondary site before too long; especially since it'd have been obvious rather quickly that they didn't use the first one.

Lyn watches the herd of deer move along before she moves out into the clearing proper and does a sweep of the borders. They're all soggy and wet and muddy, and most of that isn't going to change until they get a tent up and get out of the wet things. There's a reason recon always pack extra socks and skivvies in plastic waterproof bags.

Moving quietly through the forest, Mercer does catch up with the group. "Patrol near the primary?" he concludes in a soft voice.

To the suggestion provided by Mercer, Erin just shrugs. Her ghillie suit rustles in the underbrush where she's concealed, which makes it look like a bush responding. "If you think so," says the talking plant, a flash of her rifle's scope appearing, and reflecting the night sky's light. "Might be advisable while it's still dark." Beat. "Maybe even find a place to hole up that's not a clearing. Like a cabin in the woods." Without the chthonic worship scientists below.

Kyle works in time with Lyn, giving a good forty yard perimeter around the camp and circling like a fishook, following her own tracks into camp so she can keep her bearings. She keeps her pack on, gun low, and finds a tree with underbrush of her own where she can take a knee and remain out of sight, but well within the area where the others know where to find her. Thus, it's no surprise when Mercer eventually makes it up to the camp. Kyle makes an effort to see Mercer before Mercer sees them.

"Yeah, we have plenty of darkness left." Kyle nods in agreement with Erin, toe coming down slowly to nudge a spider away from her, which sends it skittering towards Mercer. "We haven't gone too far ahead past here because these trees are a shit-show, but a cabin would cover our heat signatures." And, you know, not sleeping in a puddle.

Mercer's brows crease at the response from Erin, then he shakes his head. "No I meant - I assume you skipped the primary because of that patrol?" As opposed to some other reason he's unaware of. He nods to the rest. "We can scout for a better place to hole up though. Cabin might be trapped though."

In the camp proper, as Lyn and Kyle go out to patrol, Charlie sets up to wait by a tree under low cover. She straightens once Mercer finds them. "Sir," in an equally quiet voice. "Aye," she agrees. "Recent patrol, spotted by Hayes. Concluded it'd be too risky. There's still local wildlife here, unlikely there's much enemy activity." Machines make a lot of noise, after all. She does glance towards both Kyle and Erin at mention of a cabin, tilting her head. The local gal considers for a moment, chewing at her lip. "This region is common for camping," she offers, after a moment's consideration, pulling out one of the miniature maps. "...and hunting lodges. But without advance knowledge of where to find one, we could risk chasing our own tail for a while."

Wagner looks up to Mercer, shoulders rising and falling. "I... would recommend..." She chews at her lip, before pointing at a couple spots on the map. Unfortunately, in opposing directions. "Here or here." Both near a lake or pond. But it's probably a one or the other. Or split up and risk comms.

Lyn moves back into the clearing and nods to Mercer. "Cylon patrol was too close for comfort to the primary, Gunny. There was a herd of deer grazing in the clearing here. No signs of patrols at all." She arches a brow at the suggestion of finding a cabin. She looks over at Charlie who is their resident Picon, and glances at the areas she indicates on the map. "It would be nice to get dry and cover our signatures, but it'll be a long hike back here to a sure safe spot if there's nothing out there," she notes.

Oops. Misheard what Mercer wanted to know. Erin, the Talking Bush, shrugs her limbs, and says quietly, "Right." Beat. "Sorry, Gunny."

Onto the Quest for Lodging. "We saw the wildlife. Cylons probably aren't out here in force or running patrols." Shrug. "We should check both places if there's enough light. Having a place for daylight cover's better than being out in the open." Another beat. "At least, we'd have a defensible position, if we needed one."

Plus, loot. But Erin doesn't say that, of course.

Kyle comes to a stop using the back of a tree for cover. Her knee oozes back down into the mud, which collects her weight and gives her feet a few seconds of rest. Careful to keep the muzzle of her rifle from dipping into the mud, she balances it against her shoulder and thigh, holding it with two hands. Quiet, for the moment, Kyle listens to Charlie speak with the Gunny, which draws her hazel eyes swinging Lynward-bound, a pointed glance her way before cocking an eyebrow to Erin, on her right.

"The bots haven't been out here in a while, I agree." Kyle speaks up. "Not that I'm not infinitely curious where they drew the line on stopping their patrols, but I'd rather get caught risky in some place with more cover than to have them come through here with only trees and rocks." Kyle comments, then lifts a shoulder. "Whatever you want, Gunny. We've got it covered."

Mercer listens to the opinions then gives a brisk nod. He smirks at Lyn. "Nearest sure safe spot 'round here is a couple hundred miles." It's a gruff joke (probably) then he hitches a shoulder in an easy shrug. "We can check out the lake. Lead on Wagner."

"That's my worry," Charlie notes to Lyn, quietly. "Long hike back if we don't find anything or run into trouble." She rolls her shoulders a bit before leaning back against the tree, removing the scope from her rifle to tuck back into its padded pocket-home. When Mercer makes the call, she gives a quick nod and adjusts her things, pushing away and straightening. "Aye, sir." Her rifle is adjusted on its sling and she checks her bearings on the map. "Hopefully the trees thin." Though the press of her lips say she's not too sure. Hopefully they don't get too much worse or they might have to cut Chilly free at some point. She starts off, keeping low. At this stage, they're starting the way of the deer Lyn and Erin had spotted earlier.

Lyn nods to Mercer at his decision. "You heard the man. Let's move out and find something dry to sleep under." She moves to her designated position in the formation and follows Charlie's lead towards the lake, moving swiftly and silently, pausing to check for signs of robotic passage or that of Picon forces.

Off goes the team. Yes, in heavy brush, Erin has to slow down considerably or lose whatever usefulness her suit has. But, in open terrain, she moves as freely and easily as anyone else. The moving bush at work.

While Lyn looks for signs of passage, Erin focuses on signs of Cylons: glints of metal, opened trails through the forest, and the like. She keeps her stock at her shoulder, scope open, and eyes peeled.

"Understood." Kyle, keeping to few words for the evening, unscrews the lid of her canteen and takes a mincing sip. She swallows, teeth forming into two rows of white, and then the cap is screwed back on and stowed. Back to her feet, Kyle shrugs her shoulder to get her kit to rest on a different nerve than the one it's been pressing into all day. She turns to the right and spreads out, keeping distance between herself and her squadmates to provide a less grenade-friendly target, and moves at the same creep, ranging and looking for signs of Cylon passing.

Mercer lets Charlie take the lead - because it's her home planet, or her suggestion, or just his mood, who knows. "No reason to come back here unless the other place is on fire." Woods over there are just as good for a camp in the open as the woods here, in other words. "I'll bring up the rear, cover our tracks here," he says, and will hang back a bit.

"Copy that, sir." Charlie does lead them on ahead for a ways. Good to have someone covering their tracks. Lack of patrols aside... "Maybe they just haven't made it out this far?" She says what they're all likely worrying. The lack of Cylon movement. There aren't major roads, which may be part of why. A lot of dirt and gravel ones that old hunting trucks used to navigate and a number of even less identifiable trails; especially two years into the war, after heavy rains. They even cross a few as they start for the lake delineated on the map.

After a time, the woman holds up her hand to call a halt. Once the group has gathered, she leans against a tree and brings out the map under a small penlight again. "I think we're about halfway there, but-" there's a sort of apologetic look. "I'm starving." A bit of hope in her eyes; she can't be the only one, right?

Lyn halts when Charlie signals, and she gives a grunt of agreement. "We're due for a break," since they're en route to a third possible campsite and have yet to actually camp. She looks to the others to see if they're at that point as well.

Erin looks between the collected squad, and makes a face at them from under artificial foliage. "Don't look at me. I'm not in command." Quiet groan. "But, I'll bet you're all wondering what I managed to stash away, so -- " She begins to rummage through some of her pouches and pockets on her belt and pants.

" -- let's see. Rations, check. Couple of cookies in a tin. Oatcakes, if that's your thing. Uh." Beat. "Chocolate. Got a couple of those bars. And, uh, hmm. I don't remember packing that." Another beat. "A cheeseburger."

Creeping in from the flank, Kyle's brows are up, visible through the cracks in the treeline that let blue moonlight through. "I was in my tempo," Kyle comments quietly as she points her rifle's muzzle further towards the ground as she nears. "But yeah, I need one." Kyle looks down to Charlie's map, then to Lyn and Erin's faces. "Think we're halfway there? Wait. You packed a burger?" Kyle steps back and gives Erin's goodybox a ravenous look. "I need to visit a tree. Can I get a buddy?" Kyle frowns and takes another creeping step back.

The 'cheeseburger' earns Erin yet another stare from Charlie's direction, but the Piconese woman just shakes her head. "I'll take the burger." Because no one else has spoken up in dibs yet. So she will. When Kyle mentions a tree, she gives a brief nod. "Sure. Could use it myself." Her rifle is adjusted on its strap as she gestures to Lyn and Erin both. "We'll be back momentarily, ladies. Don't burn down the forest without us." There's a flash of a grin before Spectre ducks her head to follow the Caprican marine off to handle business, as it were.

It's late enough that the woods are dark. If they were all teenagers with sixpacks and a bonfire, it'd be a great night out. As it is, they're marines. And they're covered in heavy gear, soaked through, and there's spiders. There's also the fun of being hyper alert. Every sound could be... something.

Lyn digs out an MRE from her pack and scowls at it. They taste a lot better hot, but cold it's going to have to be. Escalloped potatoes with a ham slice. It'll do. She hunkers up beside a tree that has a dense enough canopy to keep some of the rain off of her as she rips the package open and starts to omnom quietly. She stomps on a spider that comes near her. Frakking spiders. Not many of them at Arctic Station Thula, being all glacial and such.

"Sure thing, Wagner." Erin hands over the cheeseburger to Charlie. It's a squarish thing, having been wedged into a little pocket for so long. But, cheeseburger cheeseburger. To Kyle, she tosses a chocolate bar, and then, to her fellow Aquarian, she offers the tin of cookies. "Here you go, Arda. To supplement the meal de jour." Snicker.

Of course, Erin herself nabs an apple from her backpack. Of course she does. And a sandwich, although it's a little flat. MREs? For chumps. The real trash pandas eschew gear from grub, thus becoming very popular trash pandas.

Kyle catches the chocolate bar mid-air. No bobble. No drop. Kyle's a catchy one, grabbing the wrapped treat in a gloved hand. She presses the wrapper to her lips as some kind of nonverbal response to Erin on her way out of the camp, stuffing it in the thigh pocket of her BDUs for the creep into the foliage. Still running on silent, Costello puffs a stray lock of hair away from her lips and creeps until she finds a tree.

"I'd offer to guard first, but I feel like the inside a water balloon." Kyle whispers to Charlie as she shrugs her pack and leaves it, straps up, for quick grabbing. Turning to a downstream point, she digs a hole with her boot, clips at her belt, and dips down below the bushes. Kyle's eyes nearly cross as she dips her head, taking a break.

A squished cheeseburger is still a cheeseburger. It's still bread, meat, cheese, and condiments. It's not the hard tack of a protein bar or the 'when the frak did they store this' of an MRE. Charlie will take it. She lifts it to her brow in faux-salute to Erin and strikes off after Kyle. For the other woman, there's just a shrug. "Go right on," she offers in a low voice, unbothered. While the other tends to her business, she rotates and puts her shoulder to a tree; hands on her rifle and eyes out. She squints: too light still for NVGs, but dark enough to be tricky.

Lyn mumbles a quiet thank you to Erin for the cookies. She gnaws on the ham slice which is a little rubbery but tastes fine. Cold potatoes are less appealing, however. "I really hope there's a cabin out there," she says in a low tone. "If it rains any more, we're gonna need scuba gear."

Erin shrugs her shoulders, and claps Lyn lightly on one of hers. "We'll find something." She sounds optimistic. "Can't really be in the middle of a place like this and not think to stick a cabin by a lake, right?" Beat. "We'll just go in, clear the place, make ourselves at home, get out of the rain, have a sexy party -- " Shrug. " -- it'll be fun."

Kyle looks up to Charlie with her forearms resting on her knees. She boggles one eye and tilts her head, looking up to her guard while she shakes her hips and reaches for her beltline. "...did I hear one of them say sexy?" Kyle whispers, bringing the whole belt and clothing back up with her in rising. She makes quick work of the hole she's dug and shrugs her pack back on, switching to her rifle and nodding her head to Charlie. "All yours, Specks." Kyle rolls her eyes in the most ingratiating way. The will to be firm, to be that soldier on the poster that everyone thinks get free beer at the bars and is made of iron forged in Kobol, is strong, but it's cracking.

"I think you did," Wagner answers Kyle with a snerk. It doesn't take long for Charlie to handle her business, either. And then back to the other two, to trade off and offer the same. Gotta empty one's self? Do it now. And while they wait, Charlie will devour that cheeseburger. And likely another snack or two, as well. She does get out the NVGs after that before they hit the trail again; it's dark enough that it'll do them good. Another check of the map and yep, about halfway to the lake. "I'll fall back with Hayes for a bit." Rotating out the lead, lest any of them wear down or the like. Or Erin's suit gets caught. Which, surprisingly, it hasn't.

It's another while of walking, but the trees have begun to thin. They cross a road... or what once was a road. It's been washed out by winter storms a few times and hasn't been re-used. It's barely recognizable at this point, with a couple year regrowth. But following it, roughly, through the trees... Lyn spots where things open up. What might be a clearing that would, theoretically, lead to a cabin.

"Point," Lyn concedes. "But what if it's been unpatrolled out here all along, and the cabin has residents in it?" Crazy redneck residents who shoot first, ask questions later, and play dueling banjos. After everyone has widdled, and they head back out, she holds up a hand to stop everyone and points towards the spot that could be a clearing. "Should we check there?"

Look, it's really a miracle that Erin survives so many encounters, given how laden she is with snack foods. Her callsign might as well be Porkins.

Still, on Wagner's suggestion, the Moving Bush falls back to cover the team's six, allowing Ghost and Krima to take the front. Gun up. Alert. But, you know, taking it slowly.

Sharing one smirk with Wagner, Kyle Costello returns to the fold and saves the chocolate for later. Chocolate is for private moments and if any of the Lords of Kobol that Kyle doesn't believe in are paying attention, she might just have one of those tonight in a cabin. Instead, Kyle's fine dining is half of a meal replacement MRE bar, rolled back into a whad, and stuffed back into her pack.

Taking point with Lyn, Kyle stops when Arda calls for a halt and looks ahead. Kyle looks over to Lyn and motions with her hands, drawing a circle in the air. Circle around?. I'll check it out? Kyle offers, taking the first step forward, since technically, it's Kyle's turn in the rotation to do the riskier shit.

They reach the edge of the tree line and there is, indeed, a small cabin. It's in disrepair and looks large enough to sleep a couple of people comfortably. More in close quarters. A hunting cabin intended for one to live out a summer in luxury; one of those 'small housing' deals. For those used to tents and bunks, however, it's not too bad surely. A cord of wood sits not too far from where the marines stop, rotting through. A tarp covered it once, but a storm has blown it across the overgrown clearing. The lake is not too far away with a boat slip; the boat itself long since off its mooring. It's quiet, but that could be due to how late its gotten.

Crouching down by a tree, Charlie nods to Kyle and lifts her rifle to her shoulder. She'll provide watch. There's a gesture to Lyn, in question- both of them?

Lyn nods to Kyle's signal, and signals Charlie and Erin to stay back on overwatch. She heads in the opposite direction of the Caprican, cautious, slow, and quiet, converging lastly on the porch of the little cabin, back to the wall beside the door.

Kyle steps carefully, choosing each placement of her feet on the other half of the clock she walks around to check out the clearing. Rifle tucked in against her shoulder, she raises and lowers it, checking around logs and debris, always keeping the clearing in her periphery. Using her eyes to peek at the cord of wood and make her way around to the small cabin, she's checking for tripwires and anything out of the ordinary.

The place is quiet. Seemingly abandoned. Probably just a summer retreat for whoever owned it and with how hard Picon was hit during the war... The owner probably never had a chance to return. A lot of places around the cabin itself are crumbling. It's not very well-built, but it's still holding up enough. Should be good at least for a night. There's signs, when Kyle is around the rear of the cabin, of animals -- smaller ones -- having probably used the place for shelter at some time or another. Holes broken through lower parts of the wall.

Lyn signals Kyle and she puts a hand on the door to open it and let the other marine cover the opening when she does. She counts out silently, one...two....three....OPEN!

Critters? Is there even a hand signal for critters? Before Lyn opens the door, Kyle gives Lyn the hand-signal for dog, then makes an awkwarded face and lowers her hand closer to the ground. Small dog? Smaller dog? REGARDLESS. Kyle tightens her rifle to her chest when Lyn prepares to open the door. Drawing a suppressed pistol, Kyle nods with the timing on the door open and when the door opens, the pistol is already pointed into the cabin, sweeping.

The door opens and initially, from within, the scent is just musty. Oh, it was definitely a man who stayed here. And one who didn't bother to clean the place. Add to that two years of just sitting closed and they will probably want to leave the door and windows open all night. But a split second later and from the darkness, directly for Lyn leaps a yowling cat- all teeth and claws... then straight off into the darkness right for the trees.

It zips right past Charlie, who just stares after it before she starts to slowly creep for the house itself with a questioning -- but amused -- look.

Lyn does a Matrix-esque lean out of the path of the cat as it leaps at her, before straightening up and watching it skitter off. "Hopefully Hayes doesn't try to smuggle that back onto the Vanguard," she mutters.

Kyle flinches. Hard. Heart catching a beat in her chest, Kyle blinks, and a split second later the cat is gone and running off. The newbie bites down hard on her lip and does another sweep with the pistol, hand to her chest, then turns away from the door with a heavy sigh. She mouths 'a fucking cat!' to Charlie and motions like she's plugging her nose. It stinks. Boys got to it.

"Well," Kyle sighs and twists her lip on one side impishly, giving Lyn a sidelong look. "Pussy's pussy, right?" Criiiiinge. Kyle widens her eyes and waves the air away from the front of her face.

"A cat." This is what Charlie has to offer once she's by the door with the other two. The woman holds stoic for a moment before she ends up snickering. "Chilly's keeping watch until Mercer catches up, then she'll join us." She leans to look in the cabin... then quickly back out to cough a bit. Digging down into her gear, she pulls up her keffiyeh to cover her nose. "...gives us the joy of airing it out a bit," she mumbles, words muffled.

Within, the cabin is a bit cluttered, but they can clear space enough to put down gear, or at least lean up against a wall and doze off. Spectre sidles her way in and to a window, holding her breath until she wrests it open. The cross-breeze does quickly begin to help things along. In a corner, within a cardboard box, there's rustling and a suspicious... mewling...

"Oh Frak, don't let Chilly in here or there will be kittens all over the ship," Lyn groans. She does sweep up what she can, taking off her poncho and using it as a tool, sliding it across the floor to clear debris. Then she strings up her rope across the room to hang their wet things on to dry overnight.

"She was the one who was hoping to find us a cabin to sleep in." Kyle ties her shemagh over her face as she enters, gagging after the first step in, but she wrestles it down. She's smelled worse things, even if she looks at the dung-pile being scraped out with eyes shining with potential plans for it. "Short of pulling rank, I don't think you and an army can keep that from happening." Kyle leaves her pack on, heading to the side of the cabin where the holes from the critters were. Toeing the entry point, she looks to the cardboard box, then kneels down, prepping to seal the critter hole.

"...what I wouldn't give for a couple of dumbass PFCs to clean this place up first, though." Kyle laughs under her breath.


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