The air wing risks returning to Paran to search for signs of Kell.
Location: Paran, Picon
Related Scenes: None
Plot: Operation: Cat and Mouse
Scene Number: 800
Official word is that if you get shot down behind enemy lines, don't expect a rescue. Unofficially, of course, the Wolves will do everything they can to recover one of their own. And that is presumably why Major Stirling has organized a return trip to the vicinity of Paran where Kell was shot down. "Comms are shit in the area," she told them during the mission briefing, her face set in a grim frown. "So we don't have a high chance of picking up his beacon, but we're going to try. Keep your eyes peeled for low-tech signaling. At the very least, he might see us fly over and know he's not alone." Yes, the CAG is assuming he's alive until proven otherwise. "We won't be able to stay long, so be prepared to bug out on my signal."
Tucker volunteered to fly the SAR Raptor immediately when the orders came down unofficially. Settled in his seat, he's got not only an ECO, but brought a spare Marine to act as a pair of eyes in the co-pilot
Tucker volunteered to fly the SAR Raptor immediately when the orders came down unofficially. Settled in his seat, he's got not only an ECO, but brought a spare Marine to act as a pair of eyes in the co-pilot's seat. There's no music from the usually jazzy Raptor, the pilot rattled from what happened the night before.
With his arm covered in silvered ointment and bandages, Salvae was able to convince the CAG he was ready to return to the jumpseat for this mission. He isn't the best of friends with Razor, but they've had each others 6s in dogfights more than once, and he's all in when a squad-mate needs a hand. Forming up with the rest of the flight, he taps his dradis screen, "Any Picon airpower in the area?" he wonders, knowing they'd been operating over the city in the past few days.
Van is quiet, cold, as he takes notes during the briefing, boards his fighter, and runs through his checklists. His palm-out salute to the LSO is just as precise as always, and then he's taking off and forming up with the rest of the flight. He's doing his best to ignore the headache building behind his eyes, the result of a distinct lack of nicotine in his system.
Alain keeps his mouth shut during the briefing, but there's definitely respect in the former-marine's gaze when Stirling indicates her intention to search for their lost pack member. There's little of his usual energetic self when they launch from the Vanguard, expression tight and focused in his cockpit, not even his usual wingmate to give a thumbs-up to. Instead, he flies to the right of Socks, attention flickering between the screen and what he can see out the cockpit window.
Calliope was also all-in on volunteering for a trip to look for Kell. She's loaded up in a Raptor, Isolde in the backseat, flying this potential rescue mission. Her ship flies in formation under the direction of Stirling and Tucker. They know SAR better than she does. But she's committed. "Whisper, Soundbite. Copy that. We'll be ready for your signal, but we'll keep our eyes peeled for...anything down there."
Eva has been quiet, all thins considered. From launch, to insertion, and now, as they're descending into search range. Only speaking when spoken to, answering when necessary. But her flying is, as ever, aggressive. Not in terms of technique, but she makes certain to put her bird so that she can be closer to whatever might be heading their way. Assuming a forward engagement. Not that that worked out so well last time.
Kell went down during a flight operation that Finn was the lead on. As a result, this weighs somewhat more heavily on his head than it usually would have. Of course, he was quick to volunteer for the rescue op. He's been quiet during the flgiht. He'll fly in formation, at whatever position is ordered by the CAG until all hell breaks loose. Deep, calm breaths, that's what he needs right now. Just keep your cool, Farmboy.
"None in our immediate sector, Socks," Stirling replies to Salvae over the comms. She guides her Raptor down towards the target area, while somewhere in their rear-view the Vanguard executes another jump to take them back out of harm's way. Well, more or less.
The flight continues to head down towards the city. The Cylons have overrun the city and a ways beyond, so they're actually coming down on the enemy side of the front. Their presence is noted and the Raptor DRADIS systems ping with contacts coming their way from east of the city.
Isolde goes through her checklists methodically, and is almost two seconds quicker than usual, as if driven by the task to get out there and possibly rescue Razor. In the backseat of Soundbite's bird, she fiddles with some of her instruments, trying to fine tune. She keeps looking up at DRADIS, as if hoping to catch the faintest signal. But she gets a totally different ping, and she is on the comms. "Flight, Pi. Cylon contacts detected, westward bound."
"Copy. Several contacts detected. Dropping low to stay below contact." Tucker responds, following the path that was plotted by the pilots the night before on where they believe that Kell's Viper went down. "Should be near where Banshee was recovered, but Razor's beyond."
As contacts begin to appear on his dradis, Socks thinks to himself, wondering if this console's going to explode on him like in his other vipers. Something about computer screens blowing up in his face all the time has him missing his rustic farm back home. "Copy that, Pi," he calls back, craning his head starboard and port trying to get a visual on the cylons in the area. So far, there's no frakkin cruiser bearing down on them. Fingers crossed.
Eva, hearing the contact, seeing them a moment later, angles her viper, in formation with the others, pulling further ahead, moving in to her usual position close to Soundbite. A quick check of all of her systems, as she sets the master arm, using her instruments as well as her eyes to guide her to the proper position.
Perhaps contrary to expectations, Van actually throttles back in the dive as the contacts are called out, just a little, retaining some of his altitude, "Milkman copies area free of friendlies and bandits approaching from the east. Preparing top-cover." To bounce the Cylons as they rise up to meet the rest of the flight.
Now that they're dropping to search-range, Alain focuses more of his gaze out the window. "C'mon, Razor. Give us some signal," he mutters into the silence of his cockpit. A moment later, he murmurs in soft prayer, eyes continuing to flick from the outside to his instruments, until the contacts ping, and then he straightens, all attention ahead.
Calliope's attention sharpens when Isolde reports Cylonn signatures. Her own eyes, as ever, are focused more on what she can visually read out her viewport than her instruments. She trusts her ECO to collect better electronic data. She begins to warm her weapons systems, jaw settings.
"Copy that," Stirling says to the reports of inbound Raiders. "We'll have to punch through them quickly if we're going to have a chance to get to Razor's last position. Stay tight, keep an eye on your wingmen." In other words - don't add another ship to the wreck heap below.
Tucker hears the orders, and flicks the switch on the master arm, bringing power to the Talon launchers on either side of the Raptor. "Roger that, Whisper, punch and go." he copies, targetting one of the Heavies on Stirling's six as he hears the tone on his own backside.
Socks grimaces as he sees the hive of Raiders swarming towards the flight of Timberwolves--this is going to be crazy, "Jigger, ya got two heading for ya," he says as he sees a Raider swoop in to try and get on his tail, he banks to try and intercept one that's drawing a bead on his wingman, "I'll try to clear your six," he says, wincing as he notices a rattle in his 'new' viper. One of the deck apes must have heard him trash talking earlier.
"Roger that, Whisper." Jigger calls, as they angle towards the incoming contacts. Almost immediately he latches onto one of the raiders on Socks' tail, the fight on. "One your six too, Socks. Fly hard!" He's not aggressive, all too aware of the rumble of different enemies as they join the furball.
Once the enemies are in sight, Finn breaks away, "Farmboy to Cherry. I'm breaking left, I've got one veering in on me now. I'll be back on your wing once I clear it." And then he rolls to the left, to engage with the Raider that has locked onto him.
From his elevated position, Van spots the Raiders driving through the Viper-swarm toward the Raptors, and wings over to dive on them, "'Bite, Milkman, two bandits coming in on you. Going after the element lead."
Eva, seems to have decided to do much the same as her wingman, because as she calls out and swings in one direction, she moves off to engage with another, one that seems to be targeting her, "Hate to see you leave, love to watch you fly away, Farm Boy."
"Bite, I'm switching to KEWs. I've got the one on our tail." Then the Tauron focuses on the Raider that seems to be very interested in their backside.
The two waves of ships come together with a crash of fireworks. The Cylons are definitely on the losing end this time, several of their ships taken out in the fray. But the others break apart to start chasing down their targets.
Calliope dodges and weaves around incoming Cylon fire. Her weapons system beeps as the target she was syncing on quite suddenly ceases to exist. She grins, though. One less toaster to worry about.
Eva, not always, but sometimes, pays for her sins. Today, is one of those days, as she manages to get in a fair hit on her target, but takes one in return, a blow to her wing that nearly sends her into a spin before she rights herself, turning end over end to go back after her target.
"Got one on my tail, could use a little help here," Fish calls out over the comms.
Jigger's whoop of celebration is a familiar sound, and probably makes the, "Your six is clear, Socks!" unnecessary, as he swings around to latch onto the nearest raider. "Got you, Banger," he calls, as he chases a good angle.
Salvae pulls into the furball and blasts his cannons at the raider on Jigger's tail, blasting apart its nose. He's about to brag over wireless when Fish comes in and polishes it off. "Chaaaaaa, nice shootin, Fishy! We'll make an ace outta ya yet!" He pulls in behind Jigger, "Yer six is clear, Jigs, I'm gonna clean Fishy's hairy arse," he says, his viper twisting over in a snap roll to target the raider.
"Flight, Milkman," The Picon pilot dives past the Raptor bearing Calliope and Isolde, twisting away from a stream of tracers coming toward him, "I've got one on my tail." Van's own KEW rounds intersect with an enemy Raider just as a burst from the Raptor does as well, "Nice shooting, Pi." He hauls up on the stick, yo-yo-ing hard enough to grunt against the g-forces, "Going after the other bandit on you, 'Bite. You're next, Fish, if you still need it."
"Milkman, Pi... thanks for the assist," Isolde's voice comes through the comms, and she nods slightly even if Van can't see it. Then she's worrying about the other Raider that has zipped into her view only to fly past. She glances behind her to Calliope. "All yours, 'Bite." Then she is switching to ECM. "Banger, Fish, Milkman, be advised... starting measures on G-77, G-79, and G-84."
"You heard the boss lady, hit and run!" Tucker calls out to the Flight. "Clutch, stay on that search, I'll keep the Raiders off of us." he orders his ECO as he continues to press the attack.
Much in the same boat as Eva, Finn also gets tagged by the Raider he is dogfighting with. In fact, of the two, the raider probably landed the better hit. "Frakkin' toaster." he mutters and then into his comm says, "Farmboy to Flight, I got tagged. Holding together fine. I'll get into the mix once I clear this toaster off the board." A beat pause and then a moment later he adds on, "Farmboy to Cherry, how you holdin up?"
Cherry: "You know me, Farm Boy, right as rain. Wing took a hit, but it's minimal damage."
And again the Colonials smash through the opposition. Stirling takes stock of the status and says, "We're heading on. Need to scout that location before this sky gets crowded. Cherry, Farmboy, Fish, Banger - hang back and finish off those stragglers. Rest of you - on me. Watch out for SAMs."
As he rakes a barrage over the body of a raider, Socks glances up and is about to call out a raider on Jigger's tail when it explodes before he can mention it. His canopy is pelted with nuts and bolts, but holds together. Seeing Hotshot zeroing in on his target as well, Socks feels a competitive rush, even as he's stringing another raider along, making it fly nice and straight so Jigger can take it down.
Van rolls up and over, scattering a burst of KEW fire down across his target's cockpit from an inverted position. And then he continues to roll, nodding sharply as Calliope finishes it off with a Talon, "Nice shooting, 'Bite." His fingers nudge his stick left, right, and back, jinking away from the fire of the Raider on his tail by second nature. The shots from Banger and Tucker rather help -- especially the perfect cockpit shot from Tucker, "Thanks Flats, Banger. Good kill." He starts to turn toward Fish, and then curves back toward the Raptors at Stirling's order, "Milkman copies. You've got this, Fish. Whisper, do you want a fast and low sweep to draw any ground fire?"
With a sharp exhale, Jigger breaks hard in his viper to avoid KEW fire that lances past his cockpit window, before he manages to line up a shot on the raider now after Socks. His bullets tear into the things body, but it manages to turn out of the way before he can destroy it. "Socks, watch your six!" he calls, as he lines up a firing solution. When Stirling calls for the rest to press on, he hesitates for just a second -- the urge strong to finish off the toasters -- before he flicks his instruments and forms up on the raptors, "Roger that, Whisper."
Calliope fires off a talon, piping a quick, "Always glad you've got our back, Milk." And then, with Stirling she flies, eyes sweeping over the ground of Picon below them.
"Negative, Milkman. Let's not go out of our way to get shot down," Stirling replies. Even in the heat of battle, her voice on the comms is calm and composed.
"Copy that, Whisper, breaking contact." Tucker responds as his Talons tear apart another Raider, breaking contact to follow after Stirling.
Eva, still battling it out with her raider dance partner, comes over the comms, at the order, "Copy you, Whisper, we'll be tagging along behind you soon enough." Just a few more, and the small group of vipers left behind will be able to get back to the search.
Socks looks up as he hears Jigger bank away, "Where ya goin, Jigs, it's right on my tail!" he complains, gritting his teeth as he tries to get this overwith quickly enough to catch up with the flight.
"Break off, Socks, you heard Whisper," Jigger replies, a tenseness audible briefly in his voice. "We're here for Razor."
Finn rolls around to engage with the raider that's on Eva's tail. Given that he and Fish shared that last kill, he doesn't call out the splashing of one. "Farmboy copies that, Whispers. We'll clean up this mess."
As Eva maneuvers, she catches sight of Finn coming in to assist, and of a raider coming in on him. The pair, without even missing a beat, shift so that each is now attempting to clear the other.
Isolde is relying entirely on her electronic systems. She has her hand pressed hard against her helmet, as if trying to listen as carefully as she can to any change in DRADIS and her other instruments. She chews slightly at her lower lip as she does, her worry and anxiety evident in that simple gesture.
"'Bite, Milkman, happy to do it." Van falls in behind the trio of Raptors and just above them, a protective posture. He nods at Stirling's response, his lips tightening a little before he notes, "Milkman copies, Whisper. On top-cover."
Socks blasts away at the raider on Fish's tail, perforating its body, before he pulls up, overtaking the mangled raider. He sighs with relief as the raider on his tail seems to have the attention span of a handheld calculator in the grasp of a 9th grader and it pulls away in the last second. Panting, he blasts his engines to catch up with the rest of the flight, trusting four vipers can knock off the last raider.
"Approaching the target area now," Stirling tells her team. "Keep your eyes peeled." Then cockpit alarms start going off. "Anti-air detected."
Calliope strains her eyes down at the terrain as they approach the search area. Her own electronics less useful than her ECO's, she relies on her eyes. "Come on, Razor..." she mutters to herself, off-comms and desperately soft, though Isolde can probably hear her.
"Socks, what the frak do you think you're doing? You have your orders!" Cherry hasn't missed the fact that Socks chose to stay back, rather than heading off with Whisper's team and his wingman. But she doesn't have the time to do anything more than remind him over comms, before she's in it herself, taking another hit, to the same wing, and giving the raider a tap in return.
"I hear them singing, Whisper, and I don't like their song." Tucker responds. "I'll see about getting them off the stage for you, boss." With that, he's moving to bring up tone on one of the AA Batteries, streaking in low and fast.
"Oh fun," Isolde says just loud enough for Calliope to hear. Then she starts to tag her contacts before she abandons her targetting computers and goes straight back to her ECM console. She taps several times on it before she starts to initiate countermeasures. "Confirmed, Whisper. Starting countermeasures on batteries."
When the alarm for AA goes out, Socks groans as his indicator begins blinking as he gets painted, "I had one on my six, Cherry, I go ballistic and it takes me out, Plus I had Fish's in my sights," he answers back, shaking his head, obviously disgusted with the order to leave fellow wolves when they had raiders on their tails.
Alain holds a position above the raptors, keeping his eyes peeled out the cockpit window as much as DRADIS. When Stirling calls out anti-air, he swoops aggressively down in a bid to protect the raptors. Moments later, he lines up a firing solution.
At the call of AA batteries, Van checks his DRADIS and then wings over, following Tucker down, "Milkman engaging AA. I'll stay high unless I get a shot, Flats, so don't be shy about lighting them up." Socks' complaints draw a slight nod from the Picon pilot, but he keeps out of the disagreement on the wireless.
"Scrach one." Finn calls out into the comms after his KEW blasts render the raider on Eva's tail useless outside of serving as a very large paperweight. He arcs his viper around and rockets off after another of the remaining Raiders. "Let's just get this cleanup done everyone. We've got two left. Surround and focus fire."
"You had your orders, Socks. If you're worried about a raider taking you out, fly better. And trust your wingmates to do their jobs." Something seems to have gotten to Cherry, not normally known for her Rooster-ness.
"My /wingman/ bugged out when I had one on my six, Cherry, frak!" Socks spits, rolling his viper over as he goes evasive, trying to avoid the invitable missile that's going to come his way.
Stirling's ECO switches over to ECM to help jam the AA batteries, meanwhile the CAG scans the ground for any signs of Kell. "Now's not the time, Cherry, Socks," she tells them in soft rebuke.
Cherry, accepting the reprimand for what it is, comes over the comms, voice under more normal tones, "Yes, Sir."
Isolde shakes her head as the first battery just can't seem to accept her command inputs, even if the second seems to be far more willing to be manipulated. Just as she is about to make the call over the comms, her DRADIS lights up with a barrage of new contacts. "Flight, I've got... shit, I've got twenty or more contacts coming in. Repeat, twenty contacts coming in." She glances over to 'Bite. "And no sign of Razor."
"Whisper, Flats, I think they didn't like our request for new music." Tucker reports glibly as he starts to slow after his missiles slam into the AA batter, helped to destruction by Van's shot as the missile ends up losing track because it's carrier just doesn't exist anymore. With the slowing of his engines, he starts to scan for signs of Kell Viper's beacon singing out.
Team Left Behind manages to take out one of the cylons, but it isn't the one Eva's still tangling with. "Farm Boy, help a girl out, would you? Really like to get back into the search." Nope, she'll never be above asking for help when it's needed.
"Whisper, Soundbite. I'm reading D-O-A on my A-A targets," Calliope pipes, as she flanks the CAG's Raptor through the skies. To Isolde, she just shakes her head, though she keeps scanning the ground for all she's worth. Like she might will Kell to magically appear down there, with the force of her eyeballs alone.
The explosion generated by Tucker's Talon would probably have done the trick, but Van still follows him down, spraying the area with KEW-fire and getting a secondary explosion of his own. As he pulls up and rolls aside, he glances back over his shoulder, tracking the paths of the missiles... and relaxing a little when there are no explosions at the end of their tracks. His shoulders tense once more at Isolde's words, and he glances once to his DRADIS before he starts to look down and around the terrain beneath him, searching for any non-wireless sign of the downed pilot. The headache is back full-force, starting to pound at his temples as he waits for Stirling's inevitable order.
Alain's KEW slams into the AA moments after the talon strikes home. He's turning sharply to get some air and come back around for another firing solution when the kills are confirmed, letting out an exhale. That relief doesn't last for long, "Pi, did you say two-zero?"
"Seems not, Flats," Stirling replies dryly. The report from Isolde only causes her to frown. "Copy Pi. Anyone see anything?"
Socks breathes a sigh of relief as the AA that had painted him explodes before it can fire. He forms up with Jigger again, and gives his viper a rueful glance as he hears they're still struggling with the raiders back over the city. Going visual for his search, he looks for the wreckage of Razor's viper, "Come onnnn Razor, where are you?"
"Yeah, yeah, I'm coming, Cherry." Comes Finn's voice. "Farmboy to Flight, one more tango to go and we will rejoin." And then he swings his viper around to get back into the fight.
"You got it, Jigger. Ten by two." Isolde starts to mark the targets as quick as she can. "They're coming in fast."
"Farmboy, Flats, may you should ask it to line dance, I hear the Hibernians are into that." Tucker responds as he waits for Stirling's orders. "Want to try to tangle with two wings?"
After several moments of scanning, Tucker's voice is quiet, trying not to give away his emotions as he lets out a breath. "Flight, Flats, no joy on Razor." he reports. "No sign of local forces. Just lots and lots of cans."
Stirling sighs. "Flight, Whisper. All units break off, head for atmo."
Why will this raider not die already? Eva and the other three are stil tangling, and the things is just lighting them up. "Farm Boy, sing out!" The raider's ire seems to be going everywhere, but in truth, it's Finn that seems to have it's attention.
"Negative visual," Socks reports in as he banks and does a slow coverage of the area. He glances back towards the dogfight with a worried look on his face as he sees the raider dueling with the four vipers, landing a dangerous looking hit on one.
"Whisper, Milkman, no joy." The disappointment is clear in Van's voice. At Stirling's order, Van's jaw clenches, but he glances down to his DRADIS, then takes one more curving arc looking at the window, and tightens the arc to form back up on the rest of the flight, "Milkman copies."
"He's out there," Isolde's voice comes clear through the comms, even if there's the smallest hint of tension there. "He's out there." Then she glances to Calliope, knowing that they are heading to atmos, despite the small tension in her jaw.
Alain brings his viper back up into a protective position above the raptors, eyeing the skies as if he can spot the contacts Pi has called out before they register on his DRADIS. When Jigger spots Socks on his wing, he gives a thumbs up to the other viper, but his expression is tight as he scans DRADIS and what he can see out the cockpit. He knows its inevitable, but still, Whisper's call earns a slap of his hand against his instrument panel. His voice is tight when he replies: "Whisper, Jigger. Roger that."
"Flight, Soundbite. Nothing yet." Calliope reports it dejectedly, eyes narrowing, but they can't find what she wants to find.
"Flats copies, Whisper, breaking contact." Tucker turns his attention to his ECO. "Keep an eye on those Raiders, we don't want to get mixed up with that many wings at once."
The flight has enough of a head that the incoming Raiders don't have a chance to catch up with them. Vanguard jumps in to meet the dejected pilots as they return to base.
There's a shudder in Finn's viper as the Raider's KEW fire his his cockpit and his instruments suddenly go dark on him, his viper starting to float. Luckily, he'd already gotten his shots off and they slam viciously into the body of the raider he just took out his power. Finn slams a fist into the console, "Frakking power up!" as if that would work. It was more likely the timing of the reboot cycle, but a moment after he punches the console, his viper cockpit lights back up again, and despite some lag in the stick, he's able to get moving again. "Farmboy to Flight, Viper's back online."
"He's laying low, avoiding the Toasters," Van responds to Isolde's words, biting back the attendant, 'if he's down there.' "Glad you're still with us, Farmboy."
"Farm Boy, RTB with the flight, we'll take care of this." And so, eventually, after another round of spread fire, the small flight will. And then there's nothing for it but to head back, before those cylons catch up with them.
Socks watches with concern as Farmboy's viper loses power. He presses his hand against the canopy and watches, "Come onnnnn, come on, TeePee," he grimaces, then punches the air as the wounded viper's engines flare back up. "Copy that, Bugging out," he answers.
Calliope monitors the comms for signs of more Vipers going down. Doing a lot of chewing on her lower lip. When the call to RTB is given, her ship veers back with the others home. If unhappily.
"Socks, Milkman, who's TeePee?" Van sounds a little confused, but perhaps he's just looking for a distraction from the fact that they're theoretically leaving Razor behind.
"Copy that, Farmboy is RTB." Comes Finn's voice over the comm and he bugs out, rocketing off back towards the Vanguard.
"TeePee? Oh, That's Cappy o'Day" Socks explains the knickname, leaving the reasoning behind the moniker off comms.
"You mean Farmboy? Kind of confusing." Shaking his head, Van maintains formation, looking back over his shoulder a few times to see if he can spot the Raiders swarming the area, then just slumping in his seat a little and focusing on the return to the Vanguard.
"As confusing as Farmboy is to a wing half full of Aerilonians," Socks quips back with a wry grin and a chuckle.