Isolde goes on a practice flight via holoband. Calliope backseats. Kell infiltrates.
Location: Ready Room
Related Scenes: None
Scene Number: 238
The intensity of the Cylon presence over Picon has made getting training time catch-as-catch-can, but Calliope has booked a couple of holos for it today. She's seated at a table down front, fiddling her own onto her head while she waits.
Isolde slips in after several more moments of waiting, looking a shy harried. "I'm sorry, Bite... I couldn't escape Anderson and his questions about the damage to Fifi." Which had been the Raptor of choice over Boilermaker Bay. She tugs out her holobands as she enters, and places them over her head like one might wear sunglasses. She then moves to slump into a seat beside the Caprican.
Calliope tries to keep her holoband from knocking more flyaway strands of blonde hair into her face. She only partially succeeds, and her toying with both hair and band just seem to make it worse. So she gives up, and lives with a couple dangling threads. Isolde gets a quick grin. "No worries, Pi. I was just going through the sim programs. There's one modeled on Aquaria that might be fun to run. Lots of weather patterns and stuff the randomizer can throw at you." Slight wince, at the damage to the Raptor. "Was it really bad?"
"All mostly hull damage. She's out of the rounds for a few weeks though to make sure there wasn't any key systems." Isolde sounds fairly bummed about this, but then she sighs, smiles, and looks at Calliope. "Aquaria sounds perfect though. I hear that there's some word of some hurricane systems moving around Picon. Might be good prep."
"At least you and Slow Poke made it back OK," Calliope says, blinking as her holo lights up and kicks into gear. "It got pretty intense. I haven't flown a ton of SAR duty. It felt good, though. I mean, blowing up toasters is satisfying, but unloading those sailors and watching them not blow up on that ship was pretty cool." Her smile tugs wider at her lips. She blinks again, as the Ready Room fades and holo programming replaces it with an image of space, just outside the atmosphere of Aquaria. And transports Cal to the backseat of a Raptor. The virtual pilot's seat is ready and waiting. "Ready when you are, Pi."
"Yeah." Isolde frowns a bit. "At least." Then she shakes her head and puts her holobands on properly, letting her dark forelocks fall across her temples as she does. She adjusts in her seat a bit, and then blinks into the V-World along with Calliope. She ends up in the pilot chair, and she breathes out a slow exhale. She tests the seat, seeing if the simulation allows her to spin a full three-sixty like in a normal Raptor. To her chagrin, it does not. But it does give her all the rotation she needs to access all the console instruments. "Alright." She stretches out her fingers, wriggling them a bit. "Starting up." And she starts to go through the appropriate start-up procedures to get them up and going, zooming out of the hangar and into the crisp air of Aquaria.
"DRADIS is clear so far, Pi," Calliope reports, blue eyes wide as they keep with the various readings that flood through the ECO console. "Take us down farther down into atmo. We are tasked with a patrol sweep of sector Alpha-Four, near the Vatjokurn glacier. There's awesome skiing in the lower mountain ranges. Or, so I'm told. I never made it to the actual slopes when my crusie ship was making runs out to Aquaria. Just lots of time in the spaceport bar." Visibility is low as Isolde zooms through atmosphere. Heavy clouds and snow. At least the Raptor, even in the virtual world, is climate-controlled.
Pi breathes out a slow breath. "Alright. Down." It is almost as if she needs to say it to remind herself exactly how to fly down, but she does an okay job. There's some turbulence that she can't quite battle her way through as smoothly as she would like. Snow patters against the viewport, turning to water droplets before freezing. She then looks over her shoulder slightly to Calliope. "Cruise ship?" Learn something new every day. "You were part of those Colony touring lines?" She then ducks down low enough through the clouds that they break into the snowstorm, and the world is hazy below as the snow swirls and falls around them. At least the turbulence eases a bit.
Calliope chuckles. "Yeah. It was my dad's company. Hyperlight Fantasies. See the worlds on a liner with four-star cabins and a bar with a fully-stocked bar. I liked it. I guess. It felt kind of aimless sometimes, but I guess I sort of liked that. I didn't have a ton of stuff rooting me to Caprica before the war, and I got to see most of the planets. Except Gemenon. It was not exactly a tourist destination. Were you military, before all this started?" The wind isn't as bad once they're lower in atmo, though it still rocks against the bus, and there are pressures of gravity and drag that aren't present in the vacuum of space. The heavy Raptor is made to deal with such things better than lighter craft, though.
"Is Gemenon ever a tourist destination?" The question is entirely rhetorical based on her tone. Isolde continues to keep the bird as steady as she can, but she realizes she is gripping the controls way too tight. She loosens up a bit more, trying to use the wind to her advantage as they coast lower down to start their sweep. She looks over her shoulder slightly. "I was... but I was just basically the IT guy. Worked out of the headquarters in Hypatia. I did a few tours around the colonies to lecture on cyberterrorism."
"Don't choke your stick, Pi," Calliope says, hand reaching out to steady herself on the console as she ship moves. "There you go...you're totally getting it...in-planetary flying is kind of a trip. Took me awhile to get used to it. I didn't do a ton of it when I was a civilian pilot. Mostly just take-offs and landings. From wherever, to wherever." She makes an "Oh" sound as Isolde describes her pre-war life. "I remember watching news feeds on, like, Tauron cyberwarfare, and how the Caprican government was safe-guarding our vid-mail accounts and stuff. It's so bizarre to think about the way things were, even just a few years ago. It seems like another lifetime."
Isolde flashes a grin over her shoulder. "Funny thing was, Caprica was working with some of the Tauron cyber units to help with those safe-guards, because it was actually other Tauron agencies trying to nose their way in. And I'm pretty sure that Picon was looking to see how we were all picking fights with each other to decide how to handle it if we got bored with each other and started looking for new people to poke at." It actually amuses her a bit. "Back when things were easier, huh?" The question is deliveredy dryly. Then Isolde frowns slightly at her console. She tilts her head slightly. "My biggest thing with atmos flights is having to figure out where the air currents are going. There's none of that in space." And as if to prove it, Isolde feels the ship jolt a bit as she butts into an air current, and has to steady the ship as they continue to sweep low over the mountains."
"Whoa!" Calliope jolts along with the computer simulation of an air current, laughing. "Yeah. At least the Raptor has enough weight where it doesn't get pushed around that bad. When I was in combat training I had to fly Vipers a few times, and it was a frakking disaster. It feels like you're being thrown around in a blender. I didn't exactly crash, but there were a lot of emergency landings, let's say." A low "Heh" at 'easier' times. "Is it weird to say that things seem simpler now? For me, at least. I had frak all idea what I was doing with my life before the war. This is way harder than anything I've done before, but I know what I'm doing and why I'm doing it. Like I'm actually doing something other than hauling rich idiots to ski resorts."
"I keep thinking it's gotta be like a roller coaster. You know, you want to lean into all the curves and not lean away, because then you're actually putting more strain on the muscles in your torso." Isolde then shakes her head slightly. "Or at least, I think that makes sense." Then she glances over her shoulder to Calliope with a wry smile. "I know, right? I figured I would stay in the Tauron military until I could retire out and do something else... but here I am." Within the simulation, Isolde takes note of the mountains, and she dips lower while also monitoring the various changes in terrain. "Alright, I got sights on the ski resort below. Looks dark."
Calliope is sitting at a table with Isolde near the front of the Ready Room. They're both wearing holobands and are plugged into a simulation of somewhere far away. Involving Raptor flight. "Do one trip around the top of glacier. Then we'll be at the end of the patrol pattern. Good flight, pilot Pi." Her posture occasionally moves to adjust for whatever's going on in her head, but mostly she lets the holo and her brain do the work. "And I get it. Flying's a rush. You never really lose it. I haven't, at least. There's, like, nothing that feels as good. I mean, maybe some things, if you've got a good partner." She laughs. "Though I Raptor gives you that anyway. So! Best of all worlds."
"You got it, ECO Bite." Isolde seems deeply amused by this, and she even giggles outside the sims to prove it. Then she is moving her Raptor along, sweeping across the glacier perhaps a shy bit too low, but not low enough to actually cause a problem besides getting a very close view of the glacier and its snowcover. She continues along, moving at a sedate pace around the mountains. "Van talks like that, too. He loves flying. Wonder if its possible to get married in Vipers, because that would so be his thing." Which is the first time that Isolde mentions the whole marriage part outside of chats with Van. She glances over her shoulder toward Calliope with a grin. "I do like the partnerships, though. Better than a wingman, I say."
Walking into the Ready Room, Kell was going to review some more flight footage from the last mission he flew which would be the rescue of Osprey's crew but when he steps into the room, he spots the two other officers already jacked into their holobands. Walking to a nearby desk, he activates the terminal, signs in, and checks the status of their session, seeing if it is 'public' or 'private'. Gently tapping the desk, Razor was about to head out so he doesn't disturb Isolde's and Calliope's training session but then a nefarious idea creeps into his mind. With a slight smile, he heads to where the shared holobands are stored and grabs one. Taking one of the desks at the edge of the room, he plugs in and begins makiing a minor adjustment to their training mission.
A Cyper is added to the training menu, one that will be meeting the Raptor on the last leg of their patrol pattern. Kell takes control of the Cyper and soon enough, the hostile craft is on grid, flying out one of the clouds that dot the sky. It already at top speed and from Razor's point of view, the Raptor is in front of him, at a distance. Kicking the afterburners on, he closes the distance quickly, the activity no doubt appearing on the Raptor's sensors.
"I'm just keeping it warm back here. Like, virtually speaking...you and Van are getting MARRIED!?" Calliope squeals it with delight. "OH MY GODS! Congratulations! Isolde, that's awesome! He's such a good guy. Wound kind of tight, but that can be fun if you can make them unwind. I'm so..." And then, "Oh my gods!" Cylon. "Hold up. We've got another contact. I think it's hostile. Bearing eight-five-six..." She hastily reviews the tonnage of information provided by her DRADIS and fires up the ECM units. A little awkwardly. ECO is not her day job.
Isolde is about to join in on all the excitement of her big news -- so casually inserted, did you notice? -- but then Calliope announces a hostile. She blinks. "Was... was there supposed to be one in this patrol?" She is a bit surprised herself, but when Calliope gives the bearings, she looks over her own console at her smaller DRADIS readout and then adjusts her heading. She spots it, moving fast with the snowfall. She arches her brows high. "Okay, moving to engage." Isolde is not a casual flyer, and there's something a bit jerky and aggressive to her own flight patterns as she moves into closer range. "Switching to Talons." And her fingers move to the triggers on the flight controls.
Hearing the news about Isolde and Van getting married, Kell is also rather surprised at the good news and was about to blow his cover by calling out congratulations as well but at the last second he keeps his mouth shut. Congratulations can come later, first is to see how much he can rattle the two in their simulated Raptor. Coming in from a higher altitude up in the clouds, Razor dips his Cyper into a dive and closes in on the Raptor even faster as it turns about to meet him. Once in range, he hovers the targeting reticule over the Raptor which is a target he's not use to firing on but pulls the trigger anyways, his simulated twin autocannons roaring to life as it spits out round after round of projectiles.
"Uh..." is Calliope's reply to Isolde. "Wasn't expecting it, but maybe the randomizer decided to give us Cylons. Stirling might've just put them in all the programs. War on and all." The real Cypers never sleep. "Right. We're coming in range. Fire when ready!"
Isolde frowns slightly. "Huh, guess that makes sense." And she should probably not be surprised. Cylons turn up at the worst time! She then starts to fly, maneuvering quick and easily, but it is only to line up and open fire on the Razor-Disguised-As-A-Cyper. She shoots clear and clean, but it just zips across the surface of the wing. "No impact," she gripes lightly and then she is whipping past, making a loop to try to line herself back up again.
The initial spray of autocannon rounds from the Cyper was more to intimidate than to do actual damage to the Raptor, but when Isolde and Calliope counters quickly and efficiently, Kell realizes that the two he is facing are not rattled at alll, up to the challenge. Kicking his craft into a tight barrel roll, he evades the talon missile, letting it streak harmlessly by as he zooms past the larger target. Pulling back on the flightstick, he levels out and then completes a sideways half loop, bringing his heading back to the Raptor that is also turning about for another pass. With the second pass of the aerial jousting, Kell this time focuses a bit more and waits a little longer, the ECM having no effect at the moment as the Cyper's system fuzzes momentarily before returning to normal. When the Raptor grows larger on his screen, he triggers a shorter, more controlled burst of autocannon fire.
"I don't think the jamming's getting through...frak..." Calliope flips switches only she can see with intensity! But to little avail. "Just keep it steady, Pi. Bring it around for another pass. Sometimes it takes forever to put away a toaster." She fumbles a little adapting to the unfamiliar angle of working behind the console, but she does her level best.
"Steady, steady." Pi repeats these words as she keeps moving, using the Raptor's bulk to its benefit as she allows inertia to glide them along, and she focuses on the Cylon-contorlled Viper as it sweeps into view. Its own KEW fire goes grazing across the wing of the Raptor in return. She narrows her eyes, and right when she's sure she has it lined up, she releases the talons with a quick compression of the triggers. It launches, spiraling toward Kell's Cyper with a flash. "You got it, Bite! Just think of it like a puzzle game. You want to try to find the right piece."
While Kell's autocannon rounds and tracer fire zip past the Raptor without doing damage, the return fire is brutally lethal. The Cyper is unable to break away in time when the talon missile that Isolde launches slams right into the cockpit section of his simulated craft. The screen immediately goes dark for Razor with the large red letters in a red box telling him that he is dead. With a laugh, he ends his portion of the sim and pulls the holoband off. For Pi and Soundbite, the Cyper is spiralling down towards the ground, smoke billowing out of the front section of the hostile fighter before the front half breaks apart, the rest of the destroyed craft tumbling to the ground.
"It's dead!" Calliope exclaims that excitedly. Adding a more professional, "Uh, Pi, reading zero enemy contacts. We are clear to fly out of here. That is totally a splash." She's beaming as she powers down the sim program. And, only then, spots Kell. "Razor. Hi. I didn't even see you come in. Wait a minute..." Thoughtful frown, as she eyes his discarded holoband. "...was that just...?"
"Got it!" Isolde celebrates when the Cyper goes spiraling down to the ground, and she breathes out a sharp breath. "Wow. It's never that easy." She starts to turn the Raptor around, resuming their flight path to end their patrol pattern. She glances behind her at Calliope, grinning a bit. Then she keys out of the holo simulation, pulling up her bands so that they pin back her forelocks once more. She starts to say something to Calliope but only then notices Kell, and she arches her brows at Calliope's words. "Razor, are you making trouble?"
The exclamation from both Calliope and Isolde has Kell smiling as he waits for them to finish, remaining seated and totally forgetting to put the holoband back. So when Soundbite catches on to what might have just transpired, Razor is doing a poor job of trying to hide his grin. "That was an incredible shot with the talon missile, Pi. Didn't have a chance to dodge it and pretty much decapitated my Cyper. You two are definitely a good team, I thought the surprise bogey would surprise you two but your reactions were on point."
"Those talons will mess you up if they score a cockpit hit," Calliope says. "Do not underestimate those frakkers." She grins, at that last. "I mean, it did surprise me. But I guess we've been surprised on CAP and stuff enough times that you just sort of...except Cylons everywhere. It was nice to have a little time to blow stuff up in the virtual world. This is the first real chance I've had to just train in forever. Picon's intense."
Isolde laughs. "We were surprised! We assumed that Stirling had inserted enemies into all the sims." She dimples at Kell before she straightens up from her seat, stretching her back. "Yeah, I agree... it was almost therapeutic." She smirks a bit. "Not that I'm gonna suggest that therapy to everyone." Then she looks over toward Calliope before she gives her friend a little shoulder chuck. "Alright, thanks for the sim time, Bite. I gotta go get ready for an actual patrol run." She grins to Razor then before she offers him a playful scowl and narrowing of her eyes. "Troublemaker."
There is no argument from Kell about the lethality of talon missiles, especially when they strike home to the vulnerable section of Cypers and when he had front row seats. "Yeah, they are definitely working us hard here on Picon, not much time for anything else besides sleep, meals, reviewing flight tapes when we're not flying missions or on Alert Five." He then laughs when Isolde labels him as a troublemaker, unable to counter with anything but an innocent looking shrug. Looking back to Calliope, Kell says, "If there is ever some extra down time, maybe we can hold a larger training sim on these holobands."
Calliope nods to Kell. "Yeah, totally. I've got to get going myself, now. This is the end of a duty shift for me, and I want to hit the mess before I shower and crash. Later, Razor. Beware of surprise Cylons." With that, off she goes.