The Air Wing engages a Cylon Air Wing. Victory comes at a price.
Location: Paran Airspace, Picon
Related Scenes: None
Plot: Operation: Cat and Mouse
Scene Number: 796
The city of Paran has recently come under heavy attack. The Picon Marines on the ground have asked for a resupply, and the wing from the Vanguard has been ordered to clear the skies over Paran to allow for transport Raptors to drop off much needed supplies and pick up the wounded. Two wings of Picon forces have already tried to take the area and been driven off, so it's hoped that Vanguard's wing can bring the Raiders to a higher altitude to allow the supply Raptors to get in below their screen to carry out their missions.
Vanguard came in from low orbit, disgourging its Raptors and Vipers before jumping away. It will return in an hour, to pick up the wing after firing several missiles towards the surface to try to draw up the Cylon fighters.
Eva, shooting out of the landing deck as soon as she was given the okay, moves to form up in the wedge pattern that seems to have become the preferred entry formation for atmospheric insertion. "If that lighting strikes my ship, I am going to be very put out." There is a cloud formation, occasionally disgorging cloud to cloud lightning, but it's still a good ways away. Still, something to think about as they head down to the ground.
Aubrey runs through preflight, and then settles in, hanging on for the Vanguard's leap into low orbit. She's getting used to the sensation of the jumps while inside her Viper on deck, but it's still a little disconcerting. When the go is given, she launches off the deck and spins out and away from the cutter, forming up on the flight and in the wake of her wingman, Alain. "Banshee is clear of the Vanguard and prepared to engage," she notes over the comm.
A familiar restless energy from a pre-battle Alain means he's finger-drumming away in his cockpit to some Gemenese music moments before he launches from the Vanguard. It doesn't take him long to form up on Aubrey's wing, giving her the familiar thumbs-up through the window of his cockpit. Glancing down, he says dryly of the Vanguard's parting gift to the cylons, "Think that got their attention?"
"We knocked on the door," Hallie comments, eyes on her DRADIS as she watches for signs of company. "Now we get to see if anyone's home." She sounds more at-ease than the last fight; shooting toasters is less unsettling than shooting other humans -- even pirates.
"Y'know, Alert Five weren't never so excitin' on Scorpia," Astraea notes in an aside to her backseater. "In fact, I don't think I ever scrambled before bein' assigned here." She's got that buzz of combat on the horizon as she angles into formation. Her bird, talons in their launchers under the wings, settles a bit behind Eva's Viper in that wedge. Somewhere in the midst of all the other jocks. A support vehicle to them all. "Flight, Nova. Th' storm out there might make it a bit difficult t'pick things up on DRADIS, but we'll do our best."
Along with the other vipers rocketing out away from Vanguard is Farmboy in his viper, "Farmboy is clear, Vanguard Actual." He rolls off and into the wedge formation, frowning at the storm, and then checking his own flight instruments. "Flight, this is Farmboy. Let's keep our eyes open out here. Visuals and DRADIS to confirm contacts if we can get it."
"I'll have to take ya word for it," Bami responds while checking over his controls. The Scorpian's caught up in diagnostics when they do take off, and when in formation takes this as a time to let out a tired sigh. "Most fighting I ever saw back home was one uncle beating the shit out of the other over who had the best pig that year." A shrug follows along with a slight laugh. "Push come to shove we can always go back and get that big guy, and let 'em hang out of the side of the Raptor. I'd bet on him outdoing our KEW one way or another."
"Copy that, Farm Boy." Eva, it seems, has been happy to surrender the lead pilot slot to her defacto wingman, as she's still a bit tender from her last flight. She takes the time to check and doublecheck her instrumentation, adding in some good old fashion eyeballing for good measure.
Aubrey returns Alain's thumbs up, before pressing her fingertip to her helmet over her lips, then to the photo tacked to the dash of her Viper, of the combined Naxos and Walker clan on the beach of Biscayne Bay many years ago.
Yes, the missiles had their intended effect, because like a swarm of angry hornets, a flight of five Raiders and three Heavies come up from the cloud cover, starting to move to engage the air wing. That storm off in the distance continues to loom obviously, either as good cover, or something to further mess things up.
Today, Isolde Asa flies without Soundbite, and it is almost unsettling. The banter in the cockpit is zero as she has been paired up with Tiberius "Slow-Poke" Yanners -- the strong, silent type, this one. So, Pi worries at her consoles as she looks over her various screens and switches between keyboards flawlessly as she begins to mark her DRADIS contacts in her usual fashion. "Flight, Pi. Already on it, Farmboy."
"Flight, Slow-Poke, roger that," comes Yanners' patient drawl. "We'll let you know if we see somethin'."
Aubrey scans the DRADIS screen as the Cylon ships head their way. She sticks close to Alain as long as she can, until the furball proper begins. "Jigger, one on your tail, I'm on it!" Banshee calls over the comm. She makes an aggressive sweep towards the light Raider dogging her wingman.
Alain's relaxed demeanor vanishes as blips appear on his DRADIS. Habitually, he flips the switch to turn off his music. "Contact, contact!" His viper veers sharply away as he angles in to meet the group rising from the cloudcover. Almost immediately, he tracks the raider going after their raptor. "Nova, Jigger. Bandit on your six, I'm on him." As he readjusts his angle, he twists his head a moment, then gives up futilely trying to track the raider on his tail. "Banshee, Jigger, roger that, go get 'em," as he rockets away.
When the DRADIS lights up like a bingo board, Kell looks in the direction where they are supposed to be coming from and sure enough, the glints being to appear. Metallic dots at first but when the two forces race towards each other, the silhouettes are made out. Three heavies, that is a scary number but you can't win a war by flying scared. The cockpit begins to squawk at him as one of the Heavies paint his Viper with a missile lock which Razor quickly smacks a button to mute the sound. Instead, he focuses on the Raider that is going after one of their Raptors, always prioritizing the safety of Raptors or wingman first.
"Cherry, Ringer," Hallie calls out over comms, already pivoting her Viper to try and swoop in from the side on the Raider that's drawing a course towards Eva's Viper. "I see you made a new friend; mind if I come play, too?" And then she has a friend of her own, as her systems warn her of a missile lock; the young ensign curses under her breath in her native Tauran.
And there they are. DRADIS lights up like a Saturnalia tree. Astraea bares her teeth briefly. "Nova, flight. We got three heavies on th' board." Likely just confirming what they all know. especially the three receiving alerts for contacts on their tail. "Jigger, copy that. I'll try ta shake 'im. Razor, we're gonna try ta handle that one on ya." Once again, glad she has Talons versus missiles of her own. More than two on the field; it evens the odds in her mind. Off the general comms, she calls behind her: "Meteor... hold tight. Might get a little rough."
Well, they knew they were flying into a fight, so there's no much surprise there, as Eva sees her DRADIS report incoming contacts. She moves, not as aggressively as usual, wanting a feel for the cylons first, but not to worry, Cherry will return in full force, "You know I never say no to a party, Ringer. Appreciate the assist."
DRADIS lights up, and then the chatter comes in. Bami finds his own state of zen when the Cylons are on the way. Deep breath in, long one out. His own chatter dies out as he looks over DRADIS, and then back to the controls. He calls out to the pilot, "Suppressing the big'uns, Nova."
"Farmboy to Flight, I'm pursuing heavies. Let's break out and clear those raiders so we don't get bogged down." Finn rockets off towards the heavies as they break through the cloud cover, moving at top speed. He's got a raider veering in towards him, but he doesn't seem to take much notice aside from calling out, "I've got one coming in on my six." Just for informational purposes.
Aubrey sweeps in behind the Raider chasing Alain, then she hits thrusters and climbs up and over it, before tilting downward to unleash a hell of KEW fire into the cockpit of the Cylon ship. There is a whole lot of sparks and vented gasses coming from the ship, but it's still going. She then banks just in time to avoid a missile from one of the heavies. "Go down you bastard! NICE SHOT JIGGER!" Crap, he's one up on her now.
"Toaster down, you're in the clear Nova," Jigger calls over the wireless, perhaps unnecessarily given his familiar whooping call is a good indication of it. That doesn't mean he can let up; there's still a raider on his tail, and he does a sharp brake/turn to try and shake it off and buy his wingman more time to bring it down. "You got it, Banshee!" As he's turning back he spots the heavy pursing the raptor. "Frak, Nova, did you wear cylon-attracting perfume today by accident or something?"
Kell's faith in his compatriots seems to have paid off because whatever BamBam did to that Heavy's system scrambled the locking solution as the missile came nowhere close to his Viper. This leaves Razor free to slide onto his target's six'o'clock and with steady aim, he triggers a burst of autocannon fire. The autocannon rounds shred the lightly armored Cylon, the fuselage torn apart and critical systems chewed to pieces, resulting in a nice sized explosion with Raider parts being pulled planetside by gravity. "Slow, Razor, your six is clea..." Kell starts to update Isolde's pilot but then pauses for a second, "Check that, you have a second bandit inbound. Moving to intercept!" With that, he banks his Viper towards the other Raider that is making a run at the friendly Raptor, his autocannons roaring to life again as the tracer fire reaches out for the bogey.
Isolde shakes her head as she only manages to get through one of her three targets. Then she shifts abruptly out of ECM and into KEW, grabbing hold of the joystick as she does. She keeps her targeting on the third Raider, and her smirk quirks a bit as it shifts its attention toward the Raptor. "Slow -- incoming!"
Hallie fires a volley at her target; when it goes down, she can't help but cry out a triumphant, "Splash one!" But then the squawking of her cockpit console intensifies when a missile launch. Thankfully the scrambling has proven sufficient to let the missile fly wide, with only a bit of maneuvering. She doesn't actually /say/ that this is more of a cakewalk than she expected so far -- who wants to jinx things? -- but she might think it fairly loudly nonetheless.
The first pass is over, and so far there three raiders down, and none of the pilots are hit. "Good work flight. Let's focus fire in on these heavies and clear them out, then we can handle the rest." Finn keeps his targeting system locked in on the heavy he's already been on the tail of. "Break into elements and take them down by the numbers."
"Jigger, Nova-" As she jukes fire from the Raider and sees it go up in flames. "Nice shootin'. Thanks fer th' assist." Her own Talons strike home, but the Heavy doesn't go down. No matter. Astraea doesn't seem bothered. The woman just adjusts her flying pattern and continues after it. "How we doin' back there, Meteor?"
"Three bogeys down," Bami calls out to the pilot while checking things over once more. His gaze flits to the KEW controls, but that locking bearing down on their position changes that plan. "Still surppressing," he notes while setting countermeasures once more. "Got a lock on us from a big'un."
Eva, having decided on a target, and finding that it does not disobey an order from her flight lead, seems content to continue to dive and weave with her target, trying to keep it in tight, so as to do maximum damage when her shots land.
From the thunderhead, there comes a rumble and flash of thunder, and from it, several Raiders come broiling out, the nose of a light Cylon cruiser coming out of the cloud bank. It's not in range to engage but has picked up on the battle and sent it's on Raiders out on an intercept course.
Aubrey keeps on the raider, though it's forsaken Alain's Viper for Kell's. "Razor, the one I'm chasing is coming in behind you. Lead him on," she calls over the comm. She triggers her KEW and shreds the port side of the Raider, which looks like it should not still be airborne, yet is. "Dammit! Why won't it d-..." She gets cut off as one of the missiles from a heavy slams into her cockpit and everything inside goes boom. Shrapnel flies and when it dies down, she's bleeding from her stomach and right arm. "Took a major hit, Jigger! I'm gonna need help!" She keeps flying after that damned raider, but she's being more cautious now.
Isolde rocks slightly at the hit to the nose, and Slow-Poke's casual voice comes on the comms, "We've been hit."
"Gods, Slow... add some enthusiasm!"
Slow pauses, and adds, "We've been hit."
Isolde just groans, but it is short lived as her DRADIS lights up. "Frak! They're coming out of the damn clouds. Incoming, incoming! I count... uh... Meteor, I got 3 targets, but I think they're formed up. Verify?"
Ah, life. if only it weren't so predictable. It just stands to reason that the cylons would find some way to frak with a perfectly good victory. Alas, there's nothing for it but to continue the fight, to buy the raptors as much time as possible to complete their mission. (Cherry)
Bami was calm, at least a moment ago, but that's square out the window. His jaw damn near drops in surprise when he begins mucking with his controls. "Negative, Pi! I read at least a dozen bogeys and big mama from the cloud, and-" He pauses for a beat, and shouts over comms, "We got vehicles on the ground, and missiles inbound."
Another whooping call sees the heavy go down in flames, Jigger's viper winging past the raptor with glee. It's short lived, of course, because moments later, he hears Aubrey's call, and moments after that his DRADIS lights up and the call goes through the flight. "Frak! Banshee, play it safe. I'm on my way to you."
"Lords of Kobol, that's /big/," Hallie mutters, wide-eyed as she spots the cruiser emerging from the cloud cover. The Tauran ensign continues to focus her fire on the remaining Heavy, but her attention is now about half on her DRADIS. From a cake-walk to potentially ugly, things turned rather fast.
Kell's autocannon rounds pelt the Raider that was going after Slow's and Pi's Raptor, and he was about to continue the chase when the alert goes out from the two ECO's. Eyes quickly look towards the stormcloud and the rookie pilot can only blink, seeing the nose of a capital ship beginning to protrude from the thundercloud. There is a bit of fear in the young pilot, survival instincts wanting him to put as much distance as possible from the cruiser, but training takes over. "Farmboy, Razor, systems still green. Moving to intercept the Raiders inbound!" Picking one of the newly launched Cylon fighters as it angles in on Astraea's Raptor, Razor begins to fire off autocannon rounds.
"Nothing to see from me here, Farm Boy, just trying to clear your tail." Cherry, following instructions, switches to a flying style a bit less...mental.
"Hades," Isolde breathes. "Meteor, confirmed now. Marking contacts." This of course takes her away from her immediate threat. "Slow, I'm swapping to measures!" She starts working on getting herself focused on the new targets. "Flight, Pi. I'm initiating counter-measures on contacts G-58, -G72 and G-73. Please advise." Then she swaps to her keyboard and begins to type rapidly.
Slow's voice comes evenly across the comms, "Farmboy, Slow-Poke... we're flying fine. Rolled-up newspaper to the nose, but other wise, all good." The drawl is definitely at ease.
The alarms sound in her Raptor around the same time Meteor and Pi begin sounding off their own warnings. Astraea, like many others, can only stare at the sight coming out of the storm cloud. For a second, she's a sitting duck after just evading not one, but two frakkin' missiles. For that very brief bit of time, she is not a talented pilot, but one dumb struck at seeing the Cylon ship break through the dark, foreboding clouds to release its minions upon them. She shudders, letting out a quiet prayer under her breath and off the comms. Only Bami is likely to hear. Once she gets herself back together, she starts to dive under their formation. "Flight, Nova... Goin' after those SAM carriers."
Aubrey tightens her seat harness across her belly wound to try and keep the bleeding to a minimum. She fires another volley of KEW fire at the Raider that she's been on the whole furball, determined to at least take the one down. And down it finally goes. "Got one! Farmboy, Banshee, I'm ok," mostly, "But my cockpit control screens are blown. I'm flying on manual and instinct at this poi..." BOOM! She gets another shot to the nose of her Viper and it goes into a spin towards the surface. "Mayday, Mayday, I'm gonna have to land this bird blind. This is probably not going to tickle!"
"Frak! Banshee, report!" Jigger's sweating up a storm in his cockpit, trying to spin in place, and spin his viper faster too, so he can get visibility of his wingmate. Unfortunately, the raider he was targeting is now targeting him in turn, forcing him back into the fight to stay in one piece. "We need SAR tracking Banshee's location!"
"Already on it, Jigger," Pi confirms.
The salvo of autocannon rounds that Kell fires at the Raider rips through the fuselage again but this time the Cylon stays in the air despite chunks of the craft being shredded while in the air. Pulling back the thrust lever, Razor reduces speed so he doesn't overshoot the bandit as he continues his pursuit. He does hear that one of the Vipers is down and that only causes him to focus more, knowing that they need to clear the skies so that the Raptors can perform Search and Rescue, then extract.
"Copy you, Banshee, we'll cover you and try to give you time to get to the ground," because Aubrey not getting to the ground is not a possibility that exists on the table. Eva does as she promises, moving into try to clear the air, to draw the cylons fire to give the Picon woman time to make it to the ground.
"Thanks Pi," Jigger replies, obvious relief in his voice.
Aubrey lands, but it is NOT pretty. Not at all, as her Viper skids across a stretch of forested area and slams hard into a tree, crushing the ship's nose and breaking her leg when the cockpit crushes in and down. SAR will get to have fun extracting her.
No missiles hit, and Bami lets out a cheer of excitement. He clears his throat when he realizes comms are still on, and goes back to checking over DRADIS. When one of the Air Wings does go down he curses under his breath, and goes back to countermeasures. "Spirits guide her safely," he says when readying ECM for another bout of suppressing the SAMs.
Hallie, too, turns from the Heavy she's on, trying to descend after Banshee -- trying to get a good line of sight on where she's going down. But as she starts to, she finds another Raider closing in on her, and swings her Viper wholly around to try and take a shot at her pursuer.
When the call goes out that someone's going down, Astraea grits her teeth. "Flight, Nova. Ya can bet we're trackin'." Because it's what Raptors do. Redundancy is important. While Pi has it, Masters knows Bami also likely has it noted where Aubrey's Viper has gone down. At the moment, however, Astraea herself has a few targes to deal with. They still have AAR targets latching on to a number in their wing. She chews on her lip, angling in for another volley with her talons.
"Meteor," Pi's voice comes over the comms once she has the call up to get a SAR out to Aubrey, "you need any help on those batteries?" She is already searching her DRADIS, and she narrows her eyes at the Raider that seems to be sweeping after Nova. "Or do you think Nova wants some help with her date?" She prepares to swap to KEW or keep on measures depending on what her fellow ECO needs.
"Flight, Slow-Poke. I can get lined up for missile fire." There's almost a vague note of something other than cool nonchalance in Slow's voice. Was that a hint of apprehension?
Eva is not about the flying defensively life, which is why she, as soon as she takes out the raider she was targeting, immediately catches sight of yet another of their pilots taking a heavy hit, "Can anyone confirm that those batteries are out of missiles?" Not that it's easy to read anything with those cylons, but firings can be counted.
Razor and missiles definitely do not get along and his luck does not hold out a second time. Focused on the Raider that he has been chasing as it goes after Hallie, he tears it apart with his autocannon fire, deadly accurate again as he finishes off the bandit. However, he forgot to turn on the audio of the missile lock warning back on and when he glances at the flashing, 'LOCK' warning light blinking, he realizes his mistake and before he can even curse, his Viper gets slammed. Systems wink out and his cockpit goes dark, the Colonial fighter spiraling out of control towards the ground. Instead of panicking, training takes over again and he works the procedure to restart the Viper. Eventually he gets to the master switch and soon enough, his systems come back online. Then he wrestles with the flightstick, slowing his spin before climbing back up into the fight.
There's not much Alain can do now to help his wingman, and he has plenty of distractions. He and the raider continue to try and target each other in a tight dogfight, his sharp turn allowing him to evade the KEW fire aimed at him, while his attack strikes the raider's wing, though doesn't seem to slow him much. "Frak," is muttered into the silence of his cockpit.
And another of the viper pilots his hit. When Razor gets hit, Finn calls out in his comm, "Razor, sound off!" And then a moment later he rolls around to take another run at the heavy raider. It's moved off to another target, but he's still dedicated to taking it down. Even with another raider picking up his tail. "How we doin with those SAMs?"
Bami responds to the other ECO, "Pi, I think she's about to go third base down there. Help is very much appreciated." As he speaks he swaps over to KEW, setting his sights on another of the SAMs that have the nerve to target a Timber Wolf.
When the other Viper chasing her Cylon 'friend' suddenly takes a hit and spirals out of control, Hallie can't help but curse. "Frak! Razor, Ringer... are you alright?" She's already curving around once again, taking aim at the Raider that's moving in on the badly-battered Viper.
The first chimes in Isolde and Bami's headset indicate that the light cruiser has closed into maximum range of fire. Lances of KEW fire streak by the Vipers and Raptors, not effective at the moment, but it will be getting better as time goes on.
"Razor!" Nova can't help but call out over the comms as well, seeing how hard that missile hits her hunting buddy. She grabs sharply on the controls, but manages not too draw away from her current course of action. She just bites her tongue and focuses, moer directly, on the SAMs below. "Farmboy, Nova... I think they're prob'ly reloadin' th' SAMs, but we'll try takin' 'em out before they can manage." Until then, just more steady fire pinging away at their hulls. As for third base, she just snorts. "I am a fan of third base, but not wit' machines."
So, one the plus side, they cleared out baddies like nobodies business. Finn finally managed to take down that Heavy. It only took him an hour and a half of effort. Still, a few more KEW blasts to the body takes that last heavy out of the fight. It spirals towards the ground. "Farmboy to Flight, good work. Let's regroup on the remaining raiders and clear the field..." And then a moment later his DRADIS shows him that Kell has been taken out of the fight, "Frak, Razor, sound off. Pi, call it in. We'll need to double up on rescues today."
"On it, Meteor." Isolde turns to her ECM console, wriggling her fingers before she starts her counter measures. She has to take several slow breaths, as working through the batteries take a bit of different thinking. She looks up just once toward her DRADIS just as contacts begin to drop off her screen like someone unleased a can of Bug-It all over the Cylons. However, it is when Kell's contact blips that her eyes widen. "Razor!" She hesitates a moment as if waiting to see a recovery, but when it doesn't happen, she gets up to call in the SAR. Her ears are locked on the comms, hoping to hear some kind of call from Kell.
"Flight, Nova... SAMs are down, repeat, SAMs are down." Astraea sounds relieved- that is, until she sees that Kell's Viper has been hit again. She makes a sound that is a very un-officer-like squeak and unfortunately, she has forgotten to switch off the comms when she does so. You're welcome for that, Vanguard CIC. "Razor, do you copy!" She looks back, quickly, towards Bami. "Meteor, do ya have his trajectory?!" Even so, she's already cutting through to try to make it easier to track the Viper pilot and where he may be landing at.
There's still a whoop from Jigger as a signal there's another bogey splashed, but it's less cheerful than normal. That might have something to do with the fact that there's a cruiser inbound, that he's lost his wingmate, or that there might be another rescue on the way. "Let's clean up these toasters and get our people home!" he says in a tight voice, as he targets the nearest raider.
Eva, for her part, as she clears one of the missile batteries, spins back around, moving into a higher position to track the approach of the cylon vessel. They've been damned good against these smaller ships, but they can't possibly go up against a capital ship.
There is no return from Razor's comms as his Viper is once more losing altitude. It isn't spinning out of control as the shots that hit his fighter was not as devastating as what the missile did. But it was enough to kill the electronics in his bird, his engines winking out. The hydraulics still work but Kell can feel his velocity decreasing so he aims the damaged nose downward to increase speed with the assist from gravity. This prevents a stall from happening but he is definitely not regaining any altitude nor is he able to swing his bird around. It is hard enough to keep it somewhat steady in its current heading. Unfortunately, his current heading is right under the storm, which means it is currently underneath that Cylon Light Cruiser.
There's not much celebration as the anti-air goes up in smoke, but there is a bit of congratulations from Bami. "Much appreciated, Pi." After searching over DRADIS for a beat he calls out, "I read Razor's trajectory. He's safe." Beat. "Safe-ish. Changing target to to another of their Raiders now to give him some breathing room on the way down."
With the cruiser still inbound, Hallie is all business; she turns to focus fire on the remaining Raiders with the rest of the crew. Seeing two fellow pilots go down puts a bit of a damper on the festivities, and she can't help but worry about Razor; Banshee, at least, was able to call back and reassure them. With Razor's comms out, his state is still an open question in her mind.
Down below, in Paran, from the train tunnels, there are several Raptors suddenly launching skywards, the massive evacuation underway by Picon forces as the cruiser turns it's attention to trying to fire on them, but many of them are atmo jumping away. The Timberwolves Raptor is also retreating as Tucker's voice comes on comms, "Cherry, Flats, we have a boatload of wounded and children, the screen cleared for us to RTB, over?"
Slow-Poke does his part, and Isolde lands a solid barrage of KEW fire on the chasing nose of the Raider at their tail. She might even whoop to match Slow's casual nod of approval. "Easy there, Pi," he reminds her as if her energy might be clashing with his chill. The Tauron just snorts, and sights the only target left. She switches to measures.
"Flats, Cherry, we've got a cylon light cruiser up here, trying to light you up. You will need to either FTL jump out, if you and yours have the capability, or adjust for an alternate escape vector. We are currently holding the vessel at heading 342, mark 118. But the six of us," yes, not eight, "Aren't going to last long against this thing. We'll buy you the time. Get yourself to a safe rendezvous point for the Vanguard."
"Whatever the frak this thing is on, we could use some of it soon as this cruiser reaches us," is Jigger's thoughts on the raider, his KEW fire impacting across the things body, though not enough to take it out entirely. He hears Flat's voice, glancing towards the surface briefly, but keeps his attention on the final raider. The sooner it's down, the sooner they get their people -- and their pilots -- out of harm's way.
When Tucker responds, a dog can be heard barking near his radio, "Cherry, Flats. Copy. Will atmo jump. Get clear, we're the last ones out. Good luck, Flight. Flats, out."
"I want to peel this thing's armor off and weld it to my Viper," Hallie agrees with Jigger, even as she prepares to try to blow said armor off.
The egress of all those friendlies brings a smile to Bami's face. He's only allowed a few seconds of that enjoyment when he spots one last enemy in the skies. It's not looking to escape, and luckily he's not anything close to merciful as he lines up autocannon fire on the remaining Cylon.
"Flight, we need to clear the field. We need to get gone before we have more company than we can handle. Pi, get us an ETA on that rescue. I'm not giving the all clear to RTB until we know that Razor and Banshee are taken care of." Finn calls out into his comm and she arcs around to engage with the last raider.
There's a slight snort of amusement from Astraea at the banter regarding the final raider and its armor. Even so, her eyes are on that cruiser. The woman brings their Raptor out on the fringes of their wing so she can keep an eye on it. "Farmboy, Nova, we're on standby for pickup as well."
"Not a bad idea, Ringer," Jigger's replying, with amusement. "I--" well, there goes that idea. "--nevermind," he says as the combined fire of the Timber Wolves shreds the plucky raider.
As soon as the final raider is cleared, Eva pulls back, "We're still awfully close to that cruiser's firing solution. I'm on Nova for the pickup." The vipers will need to cover the raptors for their SAR sweep.
The cruiser continues to try to engage the Raptors, until there's a flash of light and heat, and Vanguard's hour is up as it jumps in, opening fire on the cruiser, engaging it as close range, and calling for all ships to RTB once the pilots are recovered.
"Jigger, I'm on your six, Cherry," Alain calls -- no great surprise -- his viper falling in to escort the raptor for the SAR sweep.
"Alright, SAR escort break away, everyone else, RTB. Let's get as many vipers landed so we aren't slowing down the rescue landings." Finn barks out over his comm, though he too flies off to help cover the raptors on SAR sweep.
It takes a bit of work, but in time Bami finds it. "I read Banshee's signal down there." He stops, checking again for error. "Pi, do you read the same?"
Isolde flicks her finger against her DRADIS console and then she's back to typing sharply against the keys. She frowns. "All I have is Banshee." There's a long pause, her throat a bit tight. "No Razor."
Eva moves down, as she ends up on Nova's wing, as it were, scanning herself, though the viper pilot has no more luck than the two raptors.
Bami lets out a sigh of relief at the confirmation on one pilot's safety. However, he's is own news to confirm, and it's not the best. "Pi, no signs for Razor. I read destroyed and non-recoverable."
Though her flying is steady, Astraea is nothing but tense. Her ECO can probably see it, if he looks up to the cockpit. The petite pilot is all squared shoulder and bent, sharp-edged elbow as she flies low under the cover the vipers are providing. She waits in silence for the answer. When it comes, however, it takes a moment for her to remember to breathe. "No," she answers, finally. "No. Yer wrong." She leans back, looking directly at Meteor. "Check again. Yer readin' was wrong."
There's silence from Jigger's comms -- mostly silence -- a soft murmuring sound that might be identifiable as a soft prayer, as Alain's gaze skims across his DRADIS as if he'd have any more luck than the others.
Bami turns in his seat, his glare unseen under the visor of the helmet. "Nova's, he's not there, and the read is the exact same. You think I wanna be right on this shit?"
Cherry's voice, all business, comes over the comms, "Banshee is cleared for recovery. Recover her. That cruiser is nearly within range." Lost, not lost, "Now, flight. We are out of time."
Isolde is silent on the comms, letting Nova speak to her own denials. She stares at DRADIS, and then starts to shake her head. She hears Cherry's voice on the comms, and she glances up at Slow. The man is turned half in his seat, looking at the ECO with a slight furrow in his heavy brow. Then he shakes his head, and flicks on comms, "Flight, Slow-Poke... we're headin' out."
"We've got to get moving. Time to bug out before that cruiser shows up." Finn says in a low tone. "We'll send further recon back out for Razor. We need to RTB now though." He arcs his viper back around to head towards the Vanguard.
It's clear that Astraea still wants to fight it. She exhales heavily through her nose and seems about ready to just get right up and go to the console herself... except, well, she's still piloting. The woman blinks rapidly and looks back through the canopy of the Raptor. "Frak." The epithet is uttered quietly before she hits the throttle to angle the bird towards the ground and Aubrey's signal to make the pickup. "Cherry, Nova- headin' fer Banshee now."
Jigger's viper circles far above Astraea's raptor, at least until they secure Banshee. Then he's hot on the heels of the others, headed to the safety of the Vanguard, his soft, murmured prayers only ceasing when he touches down.
Once the downed pilot, well, one of them, is safely back, Eva will, with the rest of the flight, RTB to the rendezvous point, hunkering down with Flats and the other raptors to await retrieval by the Vanguard.
Bami relaxes a little bit once Aubrey's picked up, but underneath the helmet his worry for Kells is obvious. While the team is readying their egress he's still checking over DRADIS for any signs of the lost pilot despite his failure to do so. "C'mon," he mumbles to himself. "Gimme something."