A SAM strike brings a Raptor down in a perilous position behind enemy lines.
Plot: Operation: Cat and Mouse
Scene Number: 253
Scene 253 - Picon
There are seven marines - Gustavo, Cate, Kyle, a demo guy and three redshirts - and the Raptor crew (Vic and Isolde). Vic is hugging the ground to avoid Cylon DRADIS, zipping across the river, past the ruined northern part of the city, and into the foothills beyond.
"Whee," Isolde says without much affect as they cut across the terrain. She is keeping her eyes peeled on DRADIS, watching it for the first sign of Cylon interlopers. She glances back at the Marines gathering around her ECO station, and she flashes a wry grin toward Cate before she looks back at her console. "I got nothin' coming our way, Vic. It is tragically barren." She props her chin against her palm.
Tavo is mission-ready despite the pressure bandage still around his left forearm where a Cylon with a knife got him down near Isore. He's had to change up his usual routine, holding onto a grab-handle with his right hand and steadying his slung SAW with his left, and it's freaking him out a little. Rocking with each dart and dodge of the Raptor causes him to grunt softly, "When do we touch down?" He shakes his head slightly, "When I have my two feet on the ground, I'll feel a lot better."
Cate offers a wan smile back to her friend. She's been quiet so far on the flight out, and that doesn't change now. She fusses with the strap on her SMG idly while they wait for the landing zone.
Or so it would have been. Not ten seconds later, alarms start blaring in the cockpit. "SAM battery locked on!" Vic calls, initiating evasive maneuvers. But as luck (or lack thereof) would have it, they were flying right over the SAM site. Two missiles streak up. One explodes on the right rear quadrant, taking out one of the engines and starting a fire. The second hits the front of the ship, cutting off Vic in mid-sentence as he starts to say, "Frak, lost number..." Presumably he was about to say 'number two engine', because that's now in flames, smoke pouring into the cabin. Vic is slumped over in his chair, flight suit bloody, but the Raptor is miraculously still in the air. And climbing.
"What!" Isolde starts to move her fingers quick along the keyboard. "I didn't see it, I didn't see -- " And then the impacts. The Tauron is jolted hard against her harness, feeling it bite into her shoulders as gravity insists on trying to throw her to the rear of the Raptor. When it hits the engine, the ECO feels another jolt, but this one wants to send her backwards into the side of the Raptor instead. Her head bounces hard against the seat, and for the moment, all she has is stars exploding across her vision. "It." Her brain finally finishes her earlier statement as she feels consciousness slide back in. She turns her head this way and that, trying to sight those still inside the ship. "Vic!" Her eyes land on the unconscious pilot, and then she takes stock of those still inside the Raptor, craning to get her eyes on Cate.
The ETA draws a grunt from Tavo, an uneasy acceptance. He shakes his head and shifts his grip on the grab-handle -- just at the wrong time. When the the first missile hits, he looses his grip and starts to fall forward -- only to have the nose rise up to meet him. His shoulder strikes the back of the copilot's seat with a crunch, and he rolls to the deck, groaning as he hits, "Frak! Frak it!" His right hand goes to his left shoulder as he rolls off it, "Frakking flying deathtraps!"
The blare of the alarms has Cate sitting forward, frowning and suddenly alert. The jolt of the explosions jerks her against the harness, but she's buckled in. Not for long though. The briefest of glances is spared toward Izzy to make sure she's okay, then Cate is releasing her harness. There are a couple injured marines in the back in danger from the flames. Cate and PFC Lawrence unstrap and head back to help them - Lawrence grabbing the portable extinguisher and Cate pulling the nearest person toward the front of the ship.
"Shit, shit, shit." Isolde starts to wrestle herself out of her harness. "I'm getting to the pilot console!" The moments she unstraps, she feels the way the ship falls, and how that plays awful with the gravity. She uses the handholds on the ship's interior to pull herself forward, climbing past the marines as she does. She heaves herself into the co-pilot seat, affording only a glance to Vic before she takes control of the ship, trying to pull it out of its plummet. "Cm'on... cm'on..."
Tavo pushes himself forward to clear space for the firefighters and for the new pilot. "Go, go," he grits out. And then he's suddenly and uncomfortably weightless as the Raptor dives for the ground. He grabs first for his SAW, and then lets it fall to his side and grabs for straps, "If we crash and die, it'll be the second worst thing to happen to me today." It's not actually true, but it sounds good, at least to him.
"Second worst?" Cate calls back, losing her balance for a moment as the Raptor shifts. That's something that will require explanations - if they live that long. Working on an inclined, crashing Raptor is not fun, but Cate helps one of the injured to his feet so he can stagger towards the front of the ship, then hauls an unconscious one out of her harness and shoves her at Cpl Norris. "Get her strapped in," she yells. The other guy stole her seat, so Cate stumbles into the ECO chair. She manages to get her butt in the chair, then her eyes widen as she can see forward through the spider-webbed windshield at the ground coming up way too fast. "Izzy?" she calls out in alarm.
"I'm trying, I'm trying!" The Tauron's voice is full of her own panic as she tries to stop the ground from rushing at them. She feels the ship start to right, but there's no way to preserve their presence in the air. She knows it. She scrambles to get her own harness back on, but only manages to get it over her shoulders and chest clip in place, fingers shaking. "Brace for impact!" She just holds on as tight as she can, and it is by the grace of the Gods alone that keeps her from being flung head first into the cracked windshield. She feels her world swirl back into blackness for a moment, and then she flops her head back into the headrest with a groan.
"I'm pretty sure..." Tavo grunts as he braces himself as best as he can in response to Isolde's call, laid out on the floor and grabbing straps, "...I left the stove on back home." And then the Raptor is full of sound and light, light that shouldn't be there. Tavo goes airborn again, but he's able to keep hold of the strapping so that he doesn't go too far before he lands, his teeth clamping down on a burst of pained sound as his left shoulder jostles again. Light bursts behind his eyelids as well as into the side of the Raptor, and the big man passes out for a moment.
"Lawrence! Forget the damn fire - get buckled in!" Cate yells at the other marine, then she's quickly trying to get her own harness on. There are a few pained and startled cries from the doctor turned medic as the Raptor hits and rolls. The harness holds, but the chair doesn't quite - the gash at the bottom of the ship taking out half the bolts and leaving it to wobble and smack into the console.
Isolde groans again as she slowly lifts her head, and every muscle and nerve in her body cries out in agony. She cannot take stock of her bruises and bones yet as she hears the rushing sound of water, burbling and bubbling and filling in the empty space of the Raptor. She blinks blearly behind her, and then to her side. Her dark eyes settle on Vic, and then everything comes flashing back into place. "I'm... I'm getting you, Vic." Her fingers work at the chest clip, trying to loosen it. It takes too many tries, but she's finally able to get herself free of the harness despite the pain. She feels a numbness in her leg that she just can't think about as she fumbles across the short space in the cockpit to try to work Vic's harness loose. "Vic? Cm'on... time to wake up." She looks over her shoulder now. "Guys? We okay?"
Tavo goes end over end again, picking up a few more bumps, cruises, and contusions -- including a nice crack to the head that splits his scalp and starts it bleeding -- but luckily he's not out for long, consciousness just starting to return as water starts to lap at his feet. It's a sudden awakening too, going from out to awake in one not-so-smooth moment. "I'm... I'm..." conscious, at least. He works to untangle the strapping from his right arm, wincing as it loosens, and then he starts to push himself up with his left arm and falls back again, crying out and reaching for his shoulder. "Fraking hell." The water's up to his thighs now, "Out, we need out now. Sound off!"
Cate also cracked her head into the console somewhere along the way. Her helmet saved her from any serious head injury, but it was still enough to knock her out for a few seconds and leave a bloody mark on her cheek. She awakens, dazed, to the sight of water covering her boots and still rising. "Frak! We're sinking!" There's an uncommon edge of fear in Cate's voice, and her efforts to unhook herself and get up are just shy of frantic. She unbuckles the flak vest and helmet and lets them fall with a splash into the water at her feet. Cate looks around as the marines start to move. "Shit - where's Costello and Lawrence?" They weren't strapped in at all, and now it's looking like neither of them is currently in the Raptor. Vic is quite obviously dead. So is one of the other marines - his neck bent at an unholy angle.
"I can't get Vic," Isolde says without realizing just how much water is flooding in. She can't get the pilot to wake up, and definitely is struggling with the harness. It is only then that she realizes that Vic is dead, and she's struggling with a corpse. She stumbles back, crashing into someone behind her as she loses some sense of balance in the quickly gushing waters. She looks around, almost frantic until she hears the splash and sees Cate. She then looks around at the call. "I don't see them!" She then starts to move toward the gap in the hull. She feels the water fill her flight suit -- the only sign that somewhere along the way, she got sliced across the leg, but there's little time to figure that out as she tries to get herself out into the rush of the river.
And then the water gets to the place guaranteed to wake a guy up, and Tavo's eyes go wide. "Woah cold." At least that's a little gasp, rather than anything really out loud. "Rhodes!" He starts sloshing toward the door, his left arm cradled to his chest, "C'mon Rhodes. Stay... um..." he's forgotten the word 'frosty' for the moment. "With us. Chou's dead." Tavo shrugs out of the sling of his SAW, then his LAW, "Norris, grab the emergency kit. Vasquez, check the door." He pulls the dog-tag from around Chou's neck, then looks to the ECO headed for the hole in the floor, "Or that, I guess."
Cate sloshes around in the water, reaching down to pick up her medic pack from wherever it landed. Adrenaline the only thing keeping at bay the pain of various bumps and scrapes, she gulps and breathlessly tells Tavo, "I can hardly swim, Tavo." Which probably explains why she ditched the armor. Swimming with that extra weight is a bear. Norris grabs the emergency kit, shoving it at Vasquez and then offering, "I'll take that for you Doc." She nods and lets him have her medic pack.
The rapids are rushing fast past the Raptor, and Isolde feels herself freeze in a moment of complete terror. She didn't die from impact, but is she going to be taken by Poseidon himself she's not sure. She gulps down her fear despite how her body quakes. "Okay... swimming. I can swim. I can swim." In a very calm pool without any real danger of drowning. She needs someone else to go first. Or she needs someone to push her.
Oh fiddle, the water's up to Tavo's middle. "Sir," that's for Isolde, "You're with Doc, make sure she gets to dry land." Not that he knows if she can swim or not, but Vasquez has the emergency kit and Norris has the medic pack, and he's very, very glad that the adrenaline is keeping him from feeling his shoulder right now. "Norris, you're out after them, then you, Vasquez. I'll follow." He hopes. Since he has time while the others hopefully head out, he sloshes forward to grab Vic's dogtags as well, wrapping both his and Chou's around his right fist.
Splash splash. There's some more sloshing as Cate checks once more to convince herself that the two missing guys aren't here under the water somewhere. She nods to Tavo's buddy assignment, wiping her face and sloshing over to Isolde's side. While she does that, Vasquez goes out through the improvised hatch. Takes some effort actually, since the water's still coming in. "Come on, Iz, we gotta go." Maybe they both need a push? Norris yells at them to go.
That sir jars Isolde into the reality of this whole thing. She blinks up at Tavo, her brown eyes owlish. Then she looks to Cate, and she bobs her head. "Okay. Gotta go," she repeats, but it does take Norris yelling at them to get Isolde to make the leap into the river waters. The water is fast, but not as fast as Isolde initially assumed. It sweeps though, and so does she, though she tries to keep her focus on the other bank, swimming at an angle while using the current to get her to shore. Her flight suit gets heavier as she goes, taking on more water through the cut in the material.
Oh shit, the water's up to Tavo's armpit. He locks his right hand around a grab-bar, then shrugs his left shoulder out of his pack, biting back a scream as he does. Sloughing it off his right arm, he hefts the pack, gathering it close so that he can carry it to shore if possible, but so he can drop it quickly -- and without blinding pain -- if he has to. He watches Vasquez, Isolde, and Cate go, starting to shiver as pain eats at the edges of his adrenaline high, and the chill of the water tugs at his senses. "Get gone, Norris." The big man's voice rasps a little in his throat as he lines up his own exit behind the other Marine.
"Oh shit," is Cate's assessment of the situation as she takes a breath and goes out after Isolde. She kicks for the surface, putting those few lessons from Cressida to use as she more or less doggie paddles towards the surface. Norris is right behind them, popping out of the water a few yards back. "Let's go, Doc," he says, helping to pull her along. They've just reached the shore, sloshing up on rocks, when a burst of gunfire rings out. Norris' head jerks back, and he thuds to the ground. "Frak! Norris!" Cate calls, close enough to get splattered with his blood. She ducks instinctively, looking around for where the shots came from. Tavo can see it - chrome on the opposite bank, firing across the river.
The gunfire whips Isolde's focus around to the sound of gunfire, and when Norris falls, she feels a sudden well of a cry in her throat. She swallows it down fast, feeling it settle deep in her stomach to join her slowly-building nausea. She glances left and right before she spots the chrome several seconds too late. She is falling backwards into a fumbling crouch just as the gunfire causes a rotting log to explode in a shower of wet wood chips. She feels her feet squeak against blood and water as she tries to get traction on the rocks. Only once she is right on her feet does she yank out her pistol, not even thinking twice on whether or not its waterlogged, and opening shots across the bank. They smack into a shoulder and a chassis, but she's otherwise just using the fire to distract while she hauls herself for the trees.
Oh heck, it's up to his neck. Tavo takes a couple of deep breaths, then follows Norris out the rent in the Raptor. There's good news and bad news. The bad news is, there's a huge hole in the bottom of the Raptor. The good news is, it's big enough that Tavo can actually get out of it without losing his pack or wrenching his dislocated shoulder. Opening his eyes as he's dragged along by the current, Tavo pushes off the bottom, getting up to the surface in time to get a breath of air -- and hear gunfire -- and then going under again. Swimming with half an arm and his legs isn't fast or efficient, and so Tavo comes out downstream of the others by a dozen meters or so. At least he comes out on the same side. Gasping for breath, he looks toward the sound of gunfire, and then splashes his awkward way into the shallows and out again, dragging his pack a good portion of the way. The blood trailing into the water from Norris's body gives him pause for a moment, but another burst of gunfire spurs him on, ducking down and lumbering toward the cover of the trees. "Get to cover!"
Cate crouches down next to Norris to render aid if she can, but it takes only a glance to see that he's beyond help. With trembling hands, she takes the medic pack he was carrying for her, and then unslings the rifle over his shoulder. Alas poor Norris, the pack mule. "C'mon Tavo!" she encourages, laying down covering fire for him with the rifle. Bullets kick up dust and rock chips around her, but this is one of those days where she's leading a charmed life and none of them actually land. Vasquez, on the other hand, isn't as lucky. A burst rakes across his lower torso and upper thigh, and he goes down with a sharp cry, leg spurting blood right next to Isolde.
Isolde is the first to get close to the trees, but she is stalled the moment Vasquez hits the ground beside her. She shoves her pistol into the holster haphazardously before she grabs onto Vas's shoulders, trying to pull him for the trees despite the blood. She is paler despite the effort. "Kick with your other foot," she suggests, though that is only because she is so slight compared to the marine. Her foot catches a bit of rock, and she almost collapses backwards, feeling the ache in her ankles. She feels a sudden heat of pain in her arm as a bullet rips past, grazing across her flightsuit and cutting through the material into her bicep. She loses her grip, dropping Vasquez onto the ground where his head hits the rocky ground with a hard thud.
Tavo clenches his fist around the dogtags already wound there, giving Norris's body a glance as he limp-sprints past it, but keeping moving. By the time he gets behind the nearest of the trees shielding him from Cylon fire, Tavo is panting again, looking around and then slinging his pack over one shoulder at the cry from Vasquez. He looks to see Isolde struggling with the wounded Vasquez and going down herself, and he groans in suppressed pain, moving as best as he can to help get all three of the wounded Colonials into cover. It's... debatable how much he's helping, but at least he's got one good arm to help haul someone. "Let's go, Doc!"
Cate continues to fire, covering their flight until her clip runs dry. She snags one of Norris' spare clips, and is about to go for a second when a bullet grazes the back of her hand and embeds itself in the clip. If that's not a sign... "Right behind you, Tavo." She hurries after him, slinging the rifle and medic pack so she has hands free to help drag Vasquez along. The gunfire tapers off as they make it into the cover of the trees, bloody and battered but alive - for the moment.