CAP in the canyons is always tricky, but what happens when you hit a communications dead zone?
Location: Canyons, Sagittaron
Related Scenes: None
Plot: Operation: Watchtower
Scene Number: 1505
It also means a heavier workload for the pilots assigned to the flights.
So far, it's been quiet. Almost frustratingly so. Just bright -- too bright -- skies, the jagged landscape of the canyons below, and a DRADIS that won't sit still. The radar tool cuts out without warning every so often and worsens whenever they dip into the canyon proper to check for any possible Raiders hiding in nooks and crevasses.
"Show of hands," comes Cherry's voice across the comms, the redheaded pilot seeming content to fly overwatch on the wing, "How many of you have completed your review of the secondary communications systems for your spaceframes? All your lights working? Handy flash cards for emergency signals stuck to your consoles?" The the Wolves have not had to use the systems as often as they did on Picon, the regs are still in the SOPs, since they were laid down by the late Tucker.s
This is flying at its most visceral -- moving without DRADIS, relying more on one's senses and years of time in the seat. Alain's in a good mood, eager to take those dipping drops into the canyon that require a bit more finesse and attention to the buffering winds, sweeping past those hiding places with ease. His music is up near full volume, fingers drumming on the instrument panel as he flies. He turns down the music before he comms, though the Gemenese tones are still audible as he replies with what sounds like an audible grin, "Cherry, Jigger. I know this has been an uneventful CAP, but are you trying to put us to sleep? There's some great flying down here if you want to swap for a bit."
It's nice not to have to fly with the squadron's oldest, crankiest co-pilot for a change. Lt. jg Irene "Iris" Harris is in good spirits with Weathergirl in the back of the bus rather than old man Wooley who often spends his spare time bawling out deck crew and curdling milk with his sour looks. Spirits are so high, in fact, that she's kinda humming a little tune to herself, an old Virgon pop song that hasn't actually been popular in a few decades now. Iris doesn't care. She probably doesn't even remember the words. Even the tune keeps drifting like she can't fully remember how that goes either. She doesn't care. It's a beautiful day to be flying.
"Cherry, Wooley ate the flash cards, but I'm raising my hand right now anyway." Irene answers the flight leader, after checking on the lights. They're still operable.
"Cherry, Bingo, you know if I raise my hand I'm pretty sure you won't see it. So how about you just imagine I'm raising my hand no matter my answer?" Faye gives a grin and checks across her instruments again. A double check of the tyllium, then off to the DRADIS which was (fruitless and more out of habit). Her eyes move out and about, using her eyes as much as the scanner. She keeps her hand light on the stick, pressing just the barest amount over to guide the Viper a hair further away from Iris' Raptor.
Gabriela hums absently and then gives a dark look at Iris who has apparently gotten the tune stuck into her head as she tinkers with Dradis and lays out the path for Irene. She murmurs absently to the other woman from her seat, "You know Iris I think I'm going to try and restrain from too many weather comments today. I think it might attract trouble." She says and flicks to the general comms and with a distinct sniff, "My lights are always working."
Waiting for a break in the comm chatter, Kell's answer is probably expected and predictable, "Cherry, Razor, secondary communications are ready to go." Though he doesn't join in on the amusing conversation, hearing it is normal for the Libran pilot and actually puts him more at ease with his squadron. While his ears are on the comms in his helmet, his eyes are still on his DRADIS and the surrounding area outside the cockpit, since it is a combat air patrol.
For once, it's not Pitbull riding in Astraea's back seat. Maybe he demanded a transfer away from working so frequently with the woman. Or maybe it hit too close to home that, when her Raptor got destroyed prior to her capture, it could have been him save for a nasty bout of stomach flu. The Scorpian has been fairly quiet save for the necessary bits of chatter back and forth. When the call comes up over comms, she flips a switch: "Flight, Nova, all good here. Jes' glad we ain't seen any Cylon-controlled Raptors on Sag." Now that may be asking for trouble. But if they haven't yet, it's not likely, right? She herself keeps a height just above the canyons, Talons primed in case of trouble.
Show of hands, says the top ace, and it's with some amusement that Ines tilts ever-so briefly, one wing tip skyward, a blaze of sunlight flashed sharp as a blade on the flat of it. Not for long; flying without relying heavily on DRADIS means keeping her eyes on the terrain and the rest of the flight -- and there's a kind of pleasure to that. It's a landscape she has yet to tire of; seen from the air, the drama of the desert and stone formations is to the Leonese pilot breathtaking. ...She might feel differently about it if she were a grunt, standing around in the dirt and soaking in buckets of her own sweat, granted.
Calliope isn't frustrated by the quiet, but it's the sort of thing she's grown wary of. Especially with the inter-human tensions between the Sagittarons and Virgons and CF forces in the area. Still, she's flying along in her place in CAP calmly enough. And then, the DRADIS cuts out. There's some hasty attempts from her ECO in her backseat to try and patch them but, in the meantime, she replies over the comms, "Cherry, Soundbite. Gearing up secondary communications. One of these days, I'll get a Raptor that runs totally smooth for a whole flight." But not today.
"Oh come the frak on! What is in this soil?!" Comes a growling, gravelly baritone of the newest Timber Wolf ECO by way of the portly Pudge, backseating for Nova today and apparently taking it as personal insult that he can't seem to reconfigure the raptor's DRADIS to pierce the canyon better than he's managing. The question coming brings back a more proper response, albeit still irritable one. "Flight, Pudge, ready here, but gods damnit I'm going to figure out how to make it work in this canyon if it kills me." Followed up by by a comment on tail end of Nova's "Flight, Pudge, my pilot is trying to curse us all, someone knock on something wooden or something!"
"Sleeping is not my game plan, Jigger. But this is a bit too much like Picon for my tastes." What with the lack of comms and faulty DRADIS, "And that's a blessing, such as it is, Nova. But with insurgents on the ground, I'm also inclined to have suspicions that we may encounter them in the air as well. And being able to verify that, if they're also spoofing their IDs to match ours is going to be handy." Cherry dips down, but doesn't quite dip far enough to switch places with Alain.
"We'll stick to food based commentary." Irene happily decides as her ECO says she doesn't want to bring up the weather today for fear of jinxes, "Like, it's so gravy today, I can taste the biscuits. This is going to be a total milk run, my pumpkin." Maybe she should probably stick to humming ancient pop songs she doesn't entirely remember. Semi-serious, she asks, "Is the DRADIS still all crackers and bananas?" Her own console is checked, the surface given a gentle knuckle rap as if that'll somehow fix it, or keep it operating at peak efficiency. It just needs motivation.
Squinting up for a moment, Alain pulls the viper up out of the canyon, rising as if to meet Eva halfway. "It isn't Picon, Cherry. And they haven't got us on the ropes like they did, there." There's a brief tension in his voice -- Picon was hard on all of them -- but it doesn't linger. "Nova, bite your tongue!" he says on the heels of Pudge's words. "Never a good idea to throw the gauntlet in front of the Gods like that."
When the blip appears for a brief moment, Kell's brow furrows into a brow as he begins to drown out the friendly chatter in the background, his eyes quickly looking out of the canopy in the direction of where that blip faded. He doesn't report DRADIS troubles since Raptors have much better equipment than Vipers, so his focus is more on the outside with his eyes, letting their ECO's tackle the challenge of the terrain. What Razor does do is tighten up in formation closer to one of the Raptors in their patrol, this time it being Calliope's bird.
Gabriela lets out an amused snort at Irene's response, "Food based commentary? Mmm steak. We need more steaks." She observes, "Can you put an order in for that." She sighs, "Gravy though is not bad depending on what's mied into it." She pauses and then glares at Iris, "Milk run? You NEVER say that." She informs Iris promptly and lets out a long suffering sigh. She pokes at the Dradis, "Yeah there's... I keep thinking I see something but. It's whacky." She says with a sigh twisting and adjusting trying to filter and fiddle. "Too many signals bouncing could mean too many things." She curses then and hisses as her Dradis goes dark and she swats it, "Frakking thing."
Behind the gloss of her helmet's faceplate, Ines' eyes narrow, flicked across the glitchy readout, none of which information she can trust. Eyes up then, through the canopy, forward and then with a twist of her head also behind, scanning on every axis. "Always in the canyons," she mutters to herself, off-mic. "Flight, Kestrel. Mine too."
"Someone had to say it," Astraea points out as both Pudge and Jigger call her out. The woman tilts into a wider section of canyon, Raptor casting shadows on the canyon wall from the low-hanging sun. She's been here before. Canyons, DRADIS not working. At least they're not all down in the canyon this time. But it still means a calm, easy attitude about going for visuals. "Flight, Nova... Someone ought to map this. I wanna put in a holoband program so we can hold races." Where if they crash, it just means a 'GAME OVER' flashing across one's vision.
"Crackers, bananas, and rotting sardines actually! This signals a frakking mess!" Pieter's quipping out with an undercurrent of frustration growing more indignent by the moment. "Nova, Pudge, I'm going to try something stupid on the fly. Probably won't take. Keep an eye out." He kicks over the internal channel to his pilot, after a moment sighing and adding. "No joy. Visual it is for now! Whee!"
Calliope shifts her flight pattern to more closely match Kell and his wing's. Her ECO continues to futz with the DRADIS, but no joy there. She adds to the chorus on the comms, "Flight, Soundbite. My DRADIS is still down as well. Trying to correct but no luck bringing it back up."
"I shouldn't have said that." Irene agrees with her ECO. Never say milk run. NEVER. That's totally why the DRADIS has gone crazy. It's cursed. "Everything is cheesed, Weathergirl. Almost exactly like the last time." When there were raiders hanging like bats to the underside of canyon ledges. That's probably why she's paying attention to the rock faces now, or as much as she can without actually flying directly into one. "Glance out the back now and again, incase something drops in behind us."
<FS3> Calliope rolls Alertness: Great Success (8 8 7 7 7 6 5 5 3 1)
<FS3> Eva rolls Alertness: Amazing Success (8 8 8 7 7 7 6 6 3)
<FS3> Astraea rolls Alertness: Good Success (8 7 6 4 3 2 2 1)
<FS3> Kell rolls Alertness: Good Success (8 7 7 7 5 5 4 3 2)
<FS3> Alain rolls Alertness: Success (7 5 5 4 2 1 1)
<FS3> Faye rolls Alertness: Success (8 5 5 4 4 3 1)
<FS3> Gabriela rolls Alertness: Good Success (8 8 7 5 4 4 3 3 3 3)
<FS3> Irene rolls Alertness: Success (8 7 5 5 3 3 1)
Whatever is being used to jam must be close.
"Flight, Pudge. This is active I think. The bands are shifting with the filter, amplifying the canyon effect. Someone's playing music other than us I'd bet." Pieter's suddenly calling out, deadly serious rather than irritable, calmly grim in referencing the slang for ECM jamming. "Watch your sixes when the dance party breaks out." He seems way too sure that's coming and perhaps that's why he's early to jump in right after that about same time as Calliope's. "Visual contact 30 carom 53!...err, I think? Confirmation?!"
"I'm always good for a second pass," Jigger's fingers are still tapping at his console, though it's notable perhaps that the music in the background has cut completely: he's focused. "DRADIS is out for me too. I--" and then static. If he's cursing, at the gods or the toasters or otherwise, the rest of the flight is spared it.
Gabriela curses, "Iris! We're being jammed." She says hissing as she begins powering up weapons and trying to do a visual check looking back as well, "I see at least one... something. Maybe Raider?" She curses calling out the direction and then offers, "If there's one fly in the soup there's always going to be more!"
Faye starts to fiddle with the DRADIS and then the burst of static. "Frak!" She reaches out and grabs at the comm panel, she meant to turn down the squelch but instead turned down the volume. Thankfully, either way, it goes quiet. She starts to fiddle more with the DRADIS, expecting to hear the communication come through that there's raiders while she begins fussing with the instruments. Of course she doesn't hear anything else because, well, she accidentally turned the channel off.
"Soundbite, Cherry, confirm. Flight, look alive. I mark at least four possible--" and then her comms cut out, and Cherry, with barely a moment's hesitation, hits the throttle hard, darting ahead of the flight and with a hard tug on the flight control, spins around, now facing the flight as if she intended to play chicken with the lot of them. And, then, thank you dearly departed Tucker, she begins to flash her lights, keeping the words short and sweet, "Contact, follow lead. Guard Raptors." And just as quickly, she'll be spinning back around to begin the descent, trusting the experienced Wolves to know how to fall into line.
The sudden pop and rash of white-noise static gets a wince out of Ines, a gloved hand extending to squelch it. Almost simultaneously she spots...something? Maybe? But what she begins to say -- "Flight, Kes-" -- clips off, the words dying on her tongue. The static didn't stop because she squelched it. It stopped because the comms are dead. And now? They really are flying eyes-only. Sitting back into the cradle of her seat as her heart trips over one beat in its hurry to pick up the pace, she looks across one wing, then the other. There are more pilots than usual on this CAP. More risk of collision.
She tracks the glint of light on Cherry's viper as the craft screams out ahead of the rest of the flight, and she must have been telling the truth when she 'raised her hand' earlier, because with great caution she pulls into a tighter formation near Nova's Raptor.
As partial reports start coming in, Kell was about to add his own on what he saw but right before he speaks, the static rudely interrupts everything. The squawking of digital encoding causes Razor to wince and turn his head slightly but the silence that follows has him trying to restart the comms to no succcess. Trusting entirely on his eyes now, he sees the visual orders from Cherry and blinks his own lights that he copies. Kell continues to stick close to Calliope's Raptor as they begin the descent after Eva's Viper.
For her part, Astraea was already looking away from DRADIS and to the canyon itself. Unfortunately she was looking in completely the wrong direction. "Flight, Nova, repea-" but she just gets static on her end as well. The woman knocks against her helmet a few times before realizing it's not just her radio- it's widespread. She sets off the Raptor's own lights in a 'copy' sequence, kicking in the speed to follow... even if she hasn't seen the enemy at all yet. Either way: she flips the switch to go weapons hot.
Calliope's ECO tries to keep in check with the switch to light-flash communications. Mostly short bursts of 'Acknowledged' and the like. She maintains formation with Eva and Kell, weapons system's prepping.
"Always." Always more flies. Irene smacks her console, but it doesn't help at all. All the comm chatter comes in incomprehensible bits and pieces, then it's complete silence which is even more worrisome. "Get on the gun, Gabs. I'll try to get some altitude because I sure as -" And she pauses here, as the flight leader's viper signals and descends, then there's a sigh and she continues, "Frak me. No, we're going to stay in the jam canyon of doom. Prepare for meatballs, pumpkin."
Eva continues down, attempting a trajectory that might give them some advantage on the raiders, or whatever they might be down there, rather than coming in head first and telegraphing their approach. She doesn't change the angle of her descent, or lift her eyes at all to enable to check that the wing is coming down with her. Doing that would be taking precious eyes away from the only lock they currently have on the potential enemy targets.
Pudge is loosing a steady and unheard stream of particularly creative invective when the jamming cut out his warning about the jamming. He's flying his pudgy fingers over the ECM console after that, trying to see if he can do something to counter the countermeasures frakking them all up. He's keeping eyes out for rearward threat in the process too, but he's enough a signals wonk to want to try to work the signal problem if he can. Or barring that, maybe he can find a solid visual target to lay down some music of their own.
Eva continues that forward advance. It's not as if the cylons will be stupid enough to think that there's a solo viper out there attacking, but if nothing else, she might be able to draw some fire, and give the rest of the flight a chance to get into a good position. As she descends, and the flock of cylons becomes more visible, she once again activates her lights. Once again, it's to the point, "Heavy priority."
Given Alain was pretty much directly under Eva, he spots the message almost straight away, echoing it with his own lights so that others can see it. And then he's dropping down, forming up beside Ines in a protective block over Nova's raptor, giving the other pilot a thumbs up from the cockpit. Everything's totally fine, no panic. Certainly, Jigger seems perfectly at ease despite the loss of comms -- one might guess he's turned his music waaay up again. Almost immediately -- even before Eva's lights -- he's tagging onto the heavy that veers towards his wingmate.
"I've got Talons ready," Astraea notes to her backseater. "Hit th' heavies wit' suppression. Once we take 'em out, feel free to hop on th' gun for th' rest." She's always been more prone to wanting to hit hard and fast than to play the defensive, suppression game. No surprise she'd continue to go that route, even as two of the Raiders sweep in towards them. No, for now her focus is still on the Heavy that angles towards their own grouping in a twisted mirror image of Colonial tactics.
While there are definitely frustrations inherent in being amongst the greenest of pilots in the CF, there are certain benefits, too, one of which being that it isn't often up to Ines to improvise. She's routinely been paired with far more experienced pilots, and that makes things straightforward: having picked up Eva's order, she glances at Jigger's viper as they draw parallel, looking for visual cues. The thumbs-up arrives as a surprise; enough of one to tug a half-smile out of her in spite of the circumstances.
The Heavy angled toward her is also a surprise, and it wipes the half-smile away completely. She presses her lips into a thin line, and follows Jigger's lead.
Faye was too busy looking down at the DRADIS still until something flashing bounced off the inside of her canopy just right. She glances up in time to see the group moving off toward "Oh Gods damn it." She mutters, and her hands are moving about, a quick check of the comms to realized -- and she turned them off! Joy! She was on the ball today, a flick of her wrist to turn them on, another to squelch, and then back up to see two Raiders angling in on her. "Well, Iris, excuse me, but I think my dance card is a little full." She mutters it off-comm.
Gabriela grumbles to Irene, "I don't know that the food talk is helping. But I'm just getting hungry." She curses as she spots a flight, "We've got friends looks like they're buzzing after us." She considers her board and murmurs, "Switching to jammers. I'll try and keep them off of us." She says with a curse.
Pieter suppresses Raid1 with Ecm and succeeds.
Pieter suppresses Raid2 with Ecm and succeeds.
Eva attacks Heavy3 with Kew and HITS! Incapacitated wound to Cockpit.
CREW HIT! attacks Heavy3 with Shrapnel and HITS! Impaired wound to Chest.
CREW HIT! attacks Heavy3 with Shrapnel and HITS! Incapacitated wound to Head.
CREW HIT! attacks Heavy3 with Shrapnel and HITS! Flesh Wound wound to Right Leg.
Gabriela suppresses Heavy2 with Ecm and succeeds.
Gabriela tries to suppress Raid3 with Ecm but FAILS.
Gabriela suppresses Raid4 with Ecm and succeeds.
Faye attacks Raid3 with Kew but Raid3 EVADES!
Kell takes careful aim at Raid6.
Ines attacks Heavy1 with Kew and HITS! Flesh Wound wound to Nose.
Calliope suppresses Heavy3 with Ecm and succeeds.
Calliope suppresses Raid5 with Ecm and succeeds.
Calliope suppresses Raid6 with Ecm and succeeds.
Raid3 attacks Faye with Kew and HITS! Flesh Wound wound to Wing.
Raid2 attacks Astraea with Kew and HITS! Graze wound to Wing. (Reduced by ARMOR)
Raid4 attacks Faye with Kew and HITS! Graze wound to Body. (Reduced by ARMOR)
Irene attacks Heavy2 with Missile and HITS! Incapacitated wound to Body.
Raid6 attacks Calliope with Kew but Calliope EVADES!
Heavy1 attacks Ines with Missile and HITS! Flesh Wound wound to Wing.
Astraea attacks Heavy1 with Talons and HITS! Flesh Wound wound to Body. (Reduced by ARMOR)
Alain attacks Heavy1 with Kew and HITS! Impaired wound to Cockpit.
CREW HIT! attacks Heavy1 with Shrapnel and HITS! Flesh Wound wound to Abdomen.
CREW HIT! attacks Heavy1 with Shrapnel and HITS! Incapacitated wound to Chest.
Heavy2 attacks Irene with Missile but MISSES!
Raid5 attacks Kell with Kew but Kell EVADES EASILY!
Raid1 attacks Astraea with Kew but MISSES!
Heavy3 attacks Kell with Missile but MISSES!
Heavy1 has been *KO'd* ! (Damaged This Turn By: Ines, Astraea, Alain, CREW HIT!)
Heavy2 has been *KO'd* ! (Damaged This Turn By: Irene)
Heavy3 has been *KO'd* ! (Damaged This Turn By: Eva, CREW HIT!)
Calliope maintains as stable a flying pattern as possible, to try and read the make-shift communications going on between her flight-mates. Her ECO turns on the dampeners while she prepares to dodge incoming Cylon fire.
The whooping call that usually accompanies Alain's splashing of a target can't be heard over the wireless, but there's a wiggle of wings that maybe conveys much the same thing, as the combined fire of his group hits the heavy. His fire tears through the midst of it, even, like it was something personal. He circles back around, doing a deliberate fly-by of Ines as if to assess the damage to her bird. Apparently he determines it bearable, since he latches onto one of the raiders dogging their raptor without a second thought.
Eva continues in, pulling a bit of the kamikaze thing that, well, she's rather infamous for. But either luck or skill allows her to pull it off, as she flies true, tumbling as she tries to avoid the incoming fire from the other Wolves as well as the cylons. Target eliminated, she moves immediately on to the next. It's tight, between the planes and the canyon walls, but for now, she's managing.
The moment of visceral satisfaction that accompanies seeing her KEW fire literally punch the Heavy in the nose is short-lived for Ines. She sees the gleam and streamer of the missile and attempts to twist out of the way, but it clips the wing, and the impact slings her forward in her harness and off to one side as the fighter skews on an angle. It stabilizes quickly enough, though, and this time she's the one giving a thumbs-up through the canopy. When Jigger banks, she follows without much trouble.
Once they find the bogeys that Eva had seen and ordered them to chase, the interior of Kell's Viper is already squawking at him about a missile lock incoming. "Cherry, Soundbite, Raz..." He begins saying out of habit but remembers that comms are out and sends his bird into a climb as well as a roll, trying to both evade the Raider that is angling in on him and the missile that was launched at him. Luckily, with the help from Calliope's Raptor, the lock was scrambled by the ECM and it flies harmlessly off to the side, impacting against the canyon wall. With Eva shredding the Heavy Raider, Kell is able to dive back down towards the Cylons and begins to chase the Cylon that was initially engaging Calliope and is now moving onto Eva.
Fortunately, the Colonials are used to this and under their combined might... three heavy raiders go down into the canyon walls in balls of flame.
One of the tracers from the Raiders on their tail clips a wing, but the other shatters by harmlessly. Astraea grits her teeth, kicking things up a notch. Her talon hits the Heavy, but not as solid or neatly as she'd like. The woman swears quietly in Scorpian, adjusting her targeting vector over one of the Raiders as it goes flying past the cockpit. This just causes another burst of speed and a gut-wrenching twist of the controls to angle closer into the canyon with the fat -- compared to a Viper -- bird.
It's beautiful the way the missile fired from Irene's raptor zips through the sky, arcs smoothly and collides with the heavy raider barrelling in on her. The explosion throws it upwards and sends it into an ugly tumble, throwing off chunks of armor and spewing its insides out in all directions. Then, gravity. It hurtles into the canyon wall and completely disintegrates in a second explosion. That leaves two raiders tangling with her and Faye. She cuts in and tries to get another missile lock, or at least distract one of the pair from going after her wingmate. It works. One peels off for a showdown with the raptor.
Gabriela lets out a low whistle of appreciation, "Nice shooting Iris!" She calls out as the Raptor bucks and moves. She continues triggering those short pulses of jamming sending them scattering against the wall disrupting some of their incoming. She curses, "Still two on our tail. I think they just find us too sweet." She complains staying on the jammers, "also next time pick a better tune to get stuck in my head."
CREW HIT! attacks Raid6 with Shrapnel and HITS! Flesh Wound wound to Left Leg.
Ines attacks Raid1 with Kew and HITS! Incapacitated wound to Body.
Calliope attacks Raid5 with Talons and HITS! Incapacitated wound to Cockpit. (Reduced by ARMOR)
Raid3 attacks Irene with Kew but Irene EVADES!
Raid2 attacks Alain with Kew but Alain EVADES EASILY!
Gabriela tries to suppress Raid3 with Ecm but FAILS.
Gabriela tries to suppress Raid4 with Ecm but FAILS.
Gabriela suppresses Raid1 with Ecm and succeeds.
Alain attacks Raid1 with Kew and HITS! Flesh Wound wound to Body.
Raid4 attacks Irene with Kew but Irene EVADES!
Raid5 attacks Kell with Kew but MISSES!
Faye attacks Raid4 with Kew and HITS! Flesh Wound wound to Wing. (Reduced by ARMOR)
Irene attacks Raid3 with Missile but Raid3 EVADES!
Irene's weapon clicks empty.
Astraea attacks Raid2 with Talons but Raid2 EVADES!
Pieter attacks Raid1 with Kew and HITS! Flesh Wound wound to Body. (Reduced by ARMOR)
Raid1 attacks Alain with Kew but MISSES!
Eva attacks Raid6 with Kew and HITS! Incapacitated wound to Weapon.
Raid6 attacks Eva with Kew but Eva EVADES EASILY!
Raid1 has been *KO'd* ! (Damaged This Turn By: Ines, Alain, Pieter)
Raid5 has been *KO'd* ! (Damaged This Turn By: Calliope)
Raid6 has been *KO'd* ! (Damaged This Turn By: Kell, CREW HIT!, Eva)
"Frak!" This time the swearing starts in standard, but descends into Scorpian. Astraea's vexed by the Raider that's evading her and she pays chase. Fortunately, she doesn't fly any more reckless. In the canyons, it'd be dangerous at best. As it is, the aggressive flying she's prone to isn't the safest, but she's managed to avoid running into anything or getting hit other than that first glancing shot. No, for the moment, she's just zeroed in on a target. "Copy," she notes to Pieter, tone only slightly less sour.
Eva's still flying mostly blind, though she can now see the rest of the wing arrayed around her, and Kell close enough to Soundbite and herself for her to pick up on the pairing. Still, with no comms, she can't very well give much in the way of inspirational speeches. She does manage a brief, "Good work.", though it's unlikely that many would be able to pick up on it. And as for herself, she's soon back into the fray, narrowing her sights on the next raider in the line.
There's something steady, steadfast about the way Alain flies. He's certainly apt enough to tangle with both the winds, the canyon walls, and the fast-moving raiders, but there's nothing aggressive about his flying. And there's no need for it either -- given his second shot also strikes the raider, though not as hard as he would hope -- perhaps because of the two raiders that fire on him in turn, forcing him to evade briefly, if successfully. He swings back around to focus on the final raider.
The Raiders that engaged the element that Kell was flying with are decimated in quick order, Eva and himself obliterating the Raider that was after her Viper while Calliope clears his tail. A quick waggle of wings is directed at Soundbite as if to say thanks before he follows Eva as she searches out the next targets.
Calliope switches from defense to offense, launching her talons at one of the Raiders on Kell while her ECO continues to try to revive the DRADIS. It hits. She blinks out something resembling 'Splash' on her lights, then takes another visual sweep of the battlefield. Wings of her big bus waggling to Kell in kind.
With all the jamming, it's not surprising that Irene's last missile loses lock after giving the raider pursuing Faye's viper a merry enough chase. It does a neat flip and the missile sails on, to hit a rockface. "I'm out. Gabs, get on the gun!" She shouts, maybe a little concerned about the trails of kew fire that keep licking at the raptor from way more than one cylon ship. She neatly rocks the bus to avoid those, but they're a bit too close.
The merge left Faye's viper a bit off, and she was having some fun because of it. Either way she turned back around toward her target and hit the rudder to add a bit of lead as she shot off another burst of her kew-kews, but unfortunately they weren't quite as accurate as she liked. "Frak, what's gotten into me?" she mutter, instinctively not pressing the comm button.
Having a clipped wing doesn't seem to have much effect on Ines' aim, at least. The Raider she and her wingmates target practically dissolves, most of her shots drilling dead-center through the body and punching it swiftly apart. The fiery blossoms into which the flight is reducing their opposition are a thing to behold.
No celebration yet. Jigger's flying makes it easy to stay in formation, at least; she keeps an eye on Nova's Raptor, and keeps following his lead.
Gabriela switches to the KEW as Irene calls it out, "Got it! Switching to fly swatters." She says brightly even with the tension in her voice, "Just keep moving and away from those walls." She says trying to track on the remaining raider on their tail.
Calliope tries to suppress Raid4 with Ecm but FAILS.
Calliope tries to suppress Raid2 with Ecm but FAILS.
Kell attacks Raid3 with Kew and HITS! Flesh Wound wound to Wing.
Eva attacks Raid3 with Kew and HITS! Impaired wound to Body.
Pieter attacks Raid3 with Kew and HITS! Flesh Wound wound to Body.
Astraea attacks Raid2 with Talons and HITS! Impaired wound to Weapon.
Gabriela attacks Raid2 with Kew and HITS! Impaired wound to Weapon.
Raid3 attacks Faye with Kew but MISSES!
Alain attacks Raid2 with Kew and HITS! Incapacitated wound to Body.
Ines attacks Raid4 with Kew and HITS! Graze wound to Body. (Reduced by ARMOR)
Raid4 attacks Ines with Kew but Ines EVADES!
Faye attacks Raid4 with Kew and HITS! Flesh Wound wound to Wing.
Raid2 attacks Irene with Kew but MISSES!
Raid2 has been *KO'd* ! (Damaged This Turn By: Astraea, Gabriela, Alain)
This is getting ridiculous. Faye is having a hell of a time trying to take down this Raider. She lets out a sort of growling type of noise as she hits the rudder again, giving a hard bank and yanking up on the stick to pull the Viper about. Everything was just throwing off her game right now, everything was just a little off, maybe it was some weird thing with the electronics.
Pieter's hooting off comms to one blow and then taking aim at another, offering out over the internal more professionally, but still pleased. "One splash and scattered, second holding together with spit and bubblegum somehow. Gah, I'm blind its location! Bear port if you can and it'll come right into sights on current heading!"
"Easy peasy. Let's buzz that toaster that won't leave Bingo alone." Irene says, banking hard and hitting the jets to throw the raptor after said raider. She passes close enough to rattle the frame and shake up both her and the cylon, which seems to make it angry enough to turn over and give chase. Mission accomplished! Now to not die. That's phase 2.
Another wiggle of wings declares a victory, or maybe just an expressive emote to substitute for Jigger's usual whooping joy as his KEW fire tears satisfyingly through yet another raptor. He's circling back around, hot on the heels of Ines' target, coming in to back up his wingmate.
Calliope's Raptor goes back to pouring suppression on the Raiders (to negligible effect) as the skies clear a little. She groans when she picks up another tail, but she keeps her flight path as smooth as she can under these conditions. Tracking the thing so she can bob and weave at the right moment.
Though Kell's autocannon rounds impact the Raider he was aiming at, it only creates a couple of holes in the armor and not much else. He ends up pulling back as others move in to engage as the Colonials are outnumbering the Cylons by quite a bit. This also gives Razor the chance to spot one of the Raiders going after Calliope's Raptor and he quickly moves to intercept.
"Copy," Astraea responds to Pieter, leaving off her own Talons for the moment as she adjusts flight trajectories to both remain with Ines and Alain, but to also give her ECO the best chance of hitting his target. It takes some creative flying on her part and adjustment of the VTOL thrusters, but she's been in this position before. There may be sharp angles and adjustments, but the newly-transferred El-Tee should get his shot.
Faye's elusive target remains aloft in spite of additional fire -- Ines can't do more than graze it. At two remaining targets, however, and as the larger-than-usual CAP flight condenses fire, it's only a matter of time now. She keeps an eye on the shifting formations of the rest of her flightmates, and shifts to parallel her banking wingmate, opening up a wider lane for his joining approach. In Leonese, because no one can hear her, anyway: <<Let's wrap this up, shall we? I'm really looking forward to that shower.>>
Gabriela chuckles, "Well you know how popular Bingo is... you can't really blame him. But yes I suppose we can't let them buzz around too much." Though even as she's chatting she pauses, "Well I suppose now he wants to play with us. We really are FAR too popular Iris. Bank hard!"
Calliope suppresses Raid3 with Ecm and succeeds.
Calliope suppresses Raid4 with Ecm and succeeds.
Ines attacks Raid4 with Kew and HITS! Impaired wound to Body. (Reduced by ARMOR)
Gabriela attacks Raid3 with Kew and HITS! Flesh Wound wound to Body.
Irene tries to distract Raid3 but FAILS.
Faye attacks Raid4 with Kew but Raid4 EVADES!
Kell attacks Raid4 with Kew and HITS! Flesh Wound wound to Body.
Raid3 attacks Irene with Kew but MISSES!
Raid4 attacks Calliope with Kew but Calliope EVADES EASILY!
Pieter attacks Raid3 with Kew and HITS! Incapacitated wound to Body.
Alain attacks Raid4 with Kew and HITS! Incapacitated wound to Cockpit.
CREW HIT! attacks Raid4 with Shrapnel and HITS! Impaired wound to Left Arm.
CREW HIT! attacks Raid4 with Shrapnel and HITS! Graze wound to Left Arm.
CREW HIT! attacks Raid4 with Shrapnel and HITS! Impaired wound to Chest.
CREW HIT! attacks Raid4 with Shrapnel and HITS! Impaired wound to Head.
Raid3 has been *KO'd* ! (Damaged This Turn By: Eva, Gabriela, Pieter)
Raid4 has been *KO'd* ! (Damaged This Turn By: Ines, Kell, Alain, CREW HIT!)
"Whew! Perfect angle. Splash! Well flown, Nova!" Comes the ebullient praise of Pudge after he's zeroed another raider that was already practically shot to hell, his bullets again intersecting with others always slamming home into the outmatched toaster's ship, but he's confident it would have been a great hit even without. Still grinning in his round apple face ear to ear, he slides back to his ECM console, checking for the jamming and going back to trying to track that if needed, keeping one eye out for sign of more incoming.
"OH FOR FRAK'S SAKES!" Faye yells as she hits a hand against the side of her canopy, watching the raider she's been after dodge out of the way. What the hell was on her mind that was taking up all her focus? There had to be something, something was just so off.
With the bogeys in the air eliminated, Kell moves back into position with Calliope as he returns to escort formation. He does finally take the time to look around, checking on the status of the rest of the squadron, seeing that everyone is in good shape. It is a little disconcerting flying and fighting without the usual chatter in the background.
Once more, Alain's KEW fire rips through the raider he's targetting like some kind of personal attack. The wiggling of his wings that follows is, perhaps, expected, but it takes him a moment to orient himself so that he can catch the second repeat of Eva's orders. While Eva goes down, Alain heads up, into the overwatch position, relying on sight out of his cockpit rather than DRADIS.
Calliope scans the skies as the Wolves zero in on the last of those Raiders in a hail of KEW fire, trying to keep a bead on Kell, and Eva, and the others in the flight. And then, as the dust settles, to scan for more bandits. She sees none for the moment, but 'clear' skies without the check of a DRADIS isn't a thing she trusts.
"Good," Nova answers Pudge. In response to the flash of lights from Eva, Astraea flashes back that she copies. The Scorpian brings her Raptor in a bit below Alain's, going for a more mid-range of coverage. Or perhaps readying talons if she spots the jamming array. "Pudge, lemme know if you get anythin' up on DRADIS." Or comms back. One or the other, even if both would be preferred.
<FS3> Eva rolls Alertness: Success (8 8 5 4 3 2 2 1 1)
<FS3> Astraea rolls Alertness: Success (6 6 4 4 3 3 3 1)
<FS3> Kell rolls Alertness: Great Success (8 8 8 7 7 6 3 3 3)
<FS3> Eva rolls Luck=Reroll: Success (8 8 5 4 2)
<FS3> Gabriela rolls Alertness: Amazing Success (8 7 7 7 7 6 6 2 2 1)
<FS3> Eva rolls Alertness: Great Success (8 8 8 6 6 5 5 2 1)
<FS3> Calliope rolls Alertness: Great Success (8 7 6 6 6 5 5 5 1 1)
When they're told to split, Ines does what she's done almost for the duration of the flight: she looks to her wingmates for cues. Alain gains altitude, which is answer enough; she joins he and Nova's Raptor and although she's occasionally glancing downward with curious eyes, she's for the most part focused on watching for any reinforcing threats.
...A bit lower there? Irene levels out and has a looksee at what Gabriela is talking about, down in the cabbage patch. "I see can farmers and a few plots of land to grow raiders. How about we strafe that?" She asks, but she's already dropping in on it like she intends to anyway. The order was to sweep with weapons hot. "You see that building too? I'll take you right over, Weathergirl. Signal the wing."
Gabriela lets out a sound of surprise, "Iris! There. Should we leave them some presents? What do we have left hmm... Not the building, aim for that brush off to the side of the buildings." She triggers whatever they're using to communicate sending out coordinates, "Flight... Looks like a staging area. Jammers are in the brush neaxt to the quick fab buildings."
Faye isn't quite as annoyed anymore, but she's still grumbling a bit to herself as she forms up on Irene's wing. She glances out of her canopy, toward the other and gives a little wing-wiggle, but then it's keeping her eyes up and out. She's not looking for the jammer so much as for other Raiders that might be swooping in on them.
Eva continues the descent, weapons still hot, as she uses her Mark 1 eyeball to look over the terrain. A wiggle of her wing, as she sees Kell move down, along with Soundbite, the trio seeming to stay in close formation. She does seem to pick up something, if the shift in her trajectory is anything to go by. The signal from Iris' raptor puts paid to the search, with any luck, and her own lights flash, 'Attack at will.'
"I've got....frak all!" Pudge declares cheerily irritated after some fiddling at his console and the like. Looks like the other's got something good though." He's adding a bit more hopefully seeing visually the other raptor's light signals.
Though she's weapons hot with talons at the ready, Astraea sees a whole fat lot of nothin'. Canyon, more canyon, and hey is tha- nope, just a rocky outcropping that looked suspiciously like the forward-sweeping wing of a Raider. She's about to adjust her trajectory to go higher when she notices Gabriela's signal-message to the group. She angles in, quickly, kicking in the thrusters to keep up with the others. "Pudge, keep an eye on our tail in case anythin' comes in after us."
Calliope's eyes lock on the thing that Eva seems to spot, and she flashes out a quick 'Confirmed' to the canyon. Her course shifts in that direction as well, talons priming again.
Once the attack order is given, Kell descends with Eva and Calliope, still flying in formation though a slight goosing of the maneuvering thrusters has him giving the other two more space in case they need to go into evasive. He does begin his attack run though.
<FS3> Eva rolls Gunnery: Good Success (7 6 6 6 5 5 4 2 2 2 1)
<FS3> Gabriela rolls Gunnery: Success (7 6 5 5 4 3 3 1)
<FS3> Astraea rolls Gunnery: Good Success (7 7 6 6 5 4 4 3 1)
<FS3> Kell rolls Gunnery: Good Success (7 6 6 5 4 4 2 2 1 1)
"Copy." Pudge reports, keeping eyes to sky mostly, but occasionally glancing back over shoulder out front, leaving him to offer up with a laugh. "Give me warning if we kick up a hornet's nest below and I need to start up the music or aim at the groundbound toasters."
Up above, Alain holds position despite being able to see the rest of the squadron doing a run on a target. It doesn't preclude the possibility of an ambush, and he's keeping a sharp eye out to prevent that.
"Good eyes!" Irene chimes, obviously she hadn't seen the jammers in the brush. "Let's slag the jammers, Weathergirl." She just focuses on driving after that, letting the raptor drop like a meteor towards the cylon staging area like she's planning on crushing a canner by squashing it with the bus. Fortunately, jets. She gets close enough to scare some mechanical pants off some of the guards and tears over their heads and the brush so Gabriela has opportunity to open up on anything she so desires to destroy.
As the group descends towards what looks like a makeshift Cylon base, Kell is more focused on the ground for potential SAM emplacements or anything else that may pose as a serious anti-air risk. That means he misses the signal from the Raptor that Gabriela is in. Picking one of the buildings as a target as it may look like it is housing the devise, Razor presses down on the trigger stub and unloads a stream of autocannon arounds.
DRADIS and comms start coming back. A flicker on the screen here. A pickup of someone's in-cabin chatter (or Alain's music) there.
"Not quite. Having an effect from the other raptor's target. Not back yet, but it's the source for sure. No contacts spotted." Pudge is hardwiring back, fiddling with his console some more, glancing with an itchy trigger finger at the gunnery station, but just reporting it. "KEW's aren't doing the job. I suggest dropping some Talons on it."
With its destruction, DRADIS comes back to life nice and strong. So do the comms; no static, no digital signature. DRADIS may still show the ghosts of the canyon on the return flight, but it won't be cutting out anymore.
"It's gotta be whatever they've got it covered with," Astraea tells Pieter as she pulls around, heading for the array's location and keying in targeting for the Talons. "Th' KEW is best for SAM batteries." But the brush may have been scattering the shots too much. And can't really cover a SAM with such and have it be as effective. She lets fly with her own Talon, joining with the others. In the wake of the destruction, she pulls back up to join Alain and Ines on overwatch. "Flight, Nova... Ya copy?" Because it seems comms are back, but hearing everyone's voices to confirm would be nice.
"No problem, Weathergirl." Irene chimes brightly, since there's nothing quite like stupid dangerous flying to really cheer her up. Also, stuff blowing up. Always good for a smile from the Virgon. She keeps right on the deck, practically, turns the bus and charges back for it so her ECO can light it up from a new and exciting angle. "Kill it!" She prompts once they're over and she's slowed the raptor. Some machine gun bullets tink off the nose armor, but she's not to be dissuaded this time, she'll give Gabriela all the time she needs to finish the jammers off.
Calliope gets off another boom. This time, with the powers combined of the Wolves, it finds its mark more implodingly. She's starting to plink out a 'Direct hit' on her lights, when her ECO announces the DRADIS has returned to life. And her comms being to crackle. "Flight? Soundbite here. Am I on? I totally copy, Nova."
As the DRADIS display lights up again and the comms come back up, indicated with a soft click and a sound just at the edge of hearing, it's like being able to breathe again. Without connectivity the Vipers can feel like little glass coffins shrieking at unreasonable speeds through the sky, at least to Ines. With it, she's part of something greater, a piece of a broader mechanism -- a more expansive feeling. Psychology: it's weird!
"Flight, Kestrel copies. Comms and DRADIS looking good!" There's a click, then a pause, then a sheepish, "Em. Sounding good." Re-click.
"Flight, Jigger. Skies are clear up here, when you're done pounding the dirt," Alain sounds vaguely amused, his music audible in the background.
There's a slow turn as Faye takes the Viper in a pattern to cover the others from above as they take passes at the ground targets. Then there's the DRADIS and the comms come back alive. She lets out a snort of a laugh, "Flight, Bingo, Comms and DRADIS back, glad to know it wasn't a fraking fail and just jamming. Though that is new."
Eva's comms return, and with them that familiar hibernian accent, "Flight, Cherry. Excellent work. Everyone still flying right?" They haven't been able to communicate damage as they normally do. As she pulls around, moving in to clean up the remaining centurians, before she rejoins the wing, she takes a minute to look over the CAP. "Raptors, mark this location, and alert the Dauntless. They won't be happy to hear they've brought their jammers online on Sag. But it's one less now."
Eva says, "Jigger, Cherry, you feeling nostalgic up there?"
Gabriela lets out another cheer as the jamming goes off, "Nice! Thanks iris." She slumps back in her chair with a sound of relief. She marks the spot and then grins at Iris, "Mmmm this was definitely a good afternoon's work. But...I'm hungry get me to the mess hall won't you?"
"We're up! Good shot!" Pudge crows over the internal, tuning through any residual EM signatures breaking things up and piping in the proper comms for them. "Awww, look at the toasters, all cutely firing up at us. Want me to pop them on our way out?" Again over the hardline internal, leaving the pilot to talk to the flight for now.
"Flight, Nova... I nominate Jigger for DJ on th' flight back to th' barn." Astraea looks back over her shoulder, briefly, to Pudge. "If ya want, after ya get th' location marker an' transmit it home like Cherry asked." This, too, off-comms. She does a quick check over things. "Flight, Nova- other'n a bit of scratched paint, I'm solid. Shoulda bet someone their dessert on that."
"Welcome to trade places, Cherry," Jigger says, blandly.
Eva does indeed move to come up alongside Jigger, "Jigger, Cherry. That depends entirely on if I can fit into that old uniform of yours. Soundbite, contact the Dauntless and request that they launch the alert vipers to replace us on CAP." They're none of them badly damaged, but their weapons are depleted, "Fall back into formation. Once they relieve us, we'll head back home."
"Cherry, Razor, status is green." Kell sounds off on the condition of his Viper as he pulls back up so they can depart from this location, still in formation with Calliope's Raptor.
"Flight Leader, Iris is flying right." Irene answers, undoubtedly to have comms and at least hear the rest of the flight talking. "How about some victory pudding?" She asks her co-pilot as she burns hard and low to the ground over the kew pocked and debris strewn staging area before slingshotting the raptor up and into the sky. "Steak?" She's not sure what to get, but she knows where to go, picking Faye's viper out and soon sliding into formation with her bunkmate 4 life.
Calliope keeps her bus aligned with Kell's Viper, relaxing some now that she can hear the voices of her fellow Wolves in her ears again. "Copy that, Cherry. I'm all good over here. Mince is ringing up the Dauntless now." And her ECO proceeds to do just that, relaying the location of the jamming array and a short and sweet account of the encounter.
Calliope's ECO also requests a relief CAP, of course.
"Already done soon as we were up." Pieter offers back internally, then over comms. "Flight, Pudge, location marked, compressed message squirt away as well." A rattling stream of KEW fire lances off the rear of the raptor to strafe along the centurions on the ground as they're vectoring away. "And toaster remnants scattered. Good first flight with you all. Can't say you didn't make things interesting for me!"
With the excitement officially over and the call to formation given, Ines descends enough to settle the Viper into her place off to one side of Astraea's Raptor, and herself into the seat for what will hopefully be an uneventful flight back to the Dauntless. She indulges in her own personal soundtrack, and faint aspects of it -- heavy, grungy guitar, actually -- can be heard as she opens mic, amusement threaded through accented words. "Never a dull moment."