2237-12-03 - Fish In A Barrel

The air wing goes after an armored column.

Date: 2237-12-03

Location: Over Picon

Related Scenes: None

Plot: Operation: Bullhorn

Scene Number: 1600

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With the colonials making a concerted push in several spots across Picon, the Wolves have been tapped to support the offensives. For this afternoon's mission, the flight is being sent to soften up a Cylon armored column that is defending a mountain pass. SAMs are expected. There's no air cover directly over the target but it's likely that the Cylon equivalent of CAP will respond.

Settled in and with a full complement of Talons under her wings. Astraea likes the weight differential. She's been outfitted with missiles the last few missions and her bird flies differently. She can handle it, but she knows the difference. She can tell. She tilts this way and that as she feels it out; like a runner might stretch their legs before a race. "Jigger, Nova," she calls over the comms. "I've been good th' last few flights. Whaddya say- I come in clean again, you owe me a drink next weekend pass?"

It takes only a moment, as the wing launches from the ground, for Eva's voice to come on the comms, "Flight, Cherry. Alright, we're going to be running high and fast. Stay out of their SAM range if you can, and focus fire on the cylons on the ground. I'm sure we're all expecting them to attempt to intercept us in the air, and watch out for that. They're more expendable than we are, and they'll try to lead you into their missile fire." Even as she's giving the order, she's already moving away from the base and towards the rendezvous coordinates.

Missions with SAMs are never a welcome thing; Alain in particular seems to take it personally. Even with his music up full blast en-route there's still tension in his voice after he flicks off the music on approach and responds, "Jigger, roger that, Cherry." He glances out the cockpit window -- not so much to assure himself Aubrey is there, since he can see her on DRADIS, but to give her the familiar thumbs up. "Negative, Nova. I'm off bets for a while. Just come back in one piece and we'll call it even."

Aubrey is in her usual position, on Alain's wing. The Picon native has run through her checklist multiple times already, but once more doesn't hurt. SAMs hurt. They hurt a lot. So she wants to be sure her Viper is in tip-top shape before she goes making a run over their airspace. She toggles her comm. "Banshee copies, Cherry. Jigger, I have your wing. Nails, we got you covered." She returns the thumbs up out of sheer habit and falls into formation.

For the last, oh, two weeks, Ines Correa has practically been a ghost. Long shifts followed by the occasional slip out of the base to roam the nearby town in solitude consume virtually all of her time, and this is by design: she's less than thrilled with her rooming situation. It seems uncharitable, probably, given Hunter has yet to be anything but perfectly friendly with his new wing, but who knows what goes through the mind of an irritated Leonese woman? Better not to even wonder, probably.
She's quiet on comms thus far, listening to Cherry inside of her helmet over the sound of whatever it is playing in her cockpit. She only pipes up once, to say, "Kestrel copies."

If Astraea's disappointed, she keeps it out of her voice. She just responds: "Well, Jigger, we're still gonna check out that pub next weekend pass. Mebbe they'll have some karaoke goin' since you missed my party." She'll just judge in some other way! The woman settles in just a bit below and between both Ines and Hunter, adjusting VTOL engines as thrusters kick in as they head towards the posted coordinates. "Kestrel, New Guy-" she's never flown with Hunter before. "Just hollar iff'n you get a tail. I'll focus on any heavies first."

Its taken Hunter a bit of time to settle himself in. It always takes a bit to settle into a new force. He /has/ wondered just what was up with his roomie. However either self preservation or the ability to adapt have stopped him from actually confronting her about it so far. His eyes are half closed in his cockpit as he listens to the voices going back and forth on coms. "Stingray here, I copy. I have Kestrel's wing."
Oh yeah. This should make her even happier.
A smirk again as the new nickname. "Stingray will do, darlin'." He drawls. "And I'll keep it in mind."

The flight over the front to the target area is uneventful, the clouds thickening as they head into the foothills near the pass. Then it's time to attack. The column is visible beneath them, a dozen tanks and other light vehicles as well as ground troops.

"Nails, Jigger. I'll take the lead, try to draw fire while you engage. Banshee, watch his six." Alain punches the thrusters, burning hard to pull ahead of their raptor, leading a low pass over the column and veering near the SAM sites. It's not a great opportunity for a shot, but it probably serves as good distraction all the same.

It's that strange time, for Eva, as they approach the area of engagement. That time that seems at once to stretch out to impossible lengths, and to be over almost before you can blink. And soon enough, they can see the target area, and she's moving in, targeting one of the sam batteries. "Weapons hot, watch yourselves, try to keep the raptors clear. They have the best chance of clearing the ground targets."

Aubrey grunts at the returns on DRADIS from ground radar. "Jigger, Banshee. Don't think we can do much against the SAMs with KEW fire, will cover Nails." She course corrects, flying defensively to avoid fire from the ground.

Being lower to the ground as she is, Astraea makes a good target. But it also means she's in a great spot to let her ECO open up the KEW on the Centurions as they make a first pass over the area. "Kestrel, Stingray- got an alarm goin' off here." Without time enough to really do anything about it. She'll make up for that. "I'll set up for a proper shot if no one takes that frakker out." She's already twisting the controls into one of her stomach-wrenching turns that Pitbull hates and will likely be kvetching out to his buddies later. For now, well, the man can take it out on Centurions. All the while, she's reaching sidelong to the Talons to prepare one for the return run once she comes about.

As they close in, the display in Ines' cockpit lights up with various indicators, one of which is relevant to she and her immediate wingmates. "Nova, Stingray - Kestrel. I see it. I'm going to try to give the battery something else to shoot at." Even as she's giving her update, her viper leaps out ahead, streaming contrails.

"Kestrel, Nova - Stingray. I'll keep their heads down." The Picon native replies with a slight smirk as he dives slightly lower and though Kestrel's contrails to lay in a burst of fire to do just that, keeping his manuvers slow and controled as he goes.

Addison, following Eva's lead and their usual flight pattern, sweeps in alongside her, the pair only breaking apart to each make an approach on one of the SAM batteries.

Alain distracts Sam2 successfully.

Ines tries to distract Sam1 but FAILS.

Addison attacks Sam1 with Kew and HITS! Incapacitated wound to Weapon.

Hunter suppresses Sam1 with Kew and succeeds.

Sam2 attacks Nails with Missile and HITS! Incapacitated wound to Tail.

Astraea passes.

Aubrey suppresses Sam2 with Kew and succeeds.

Eva attacks Sam2 with Kew and HITS! Incapacitated wound to Weapon.

Sam1 attacks Astraea with Missile but MISSES!

Nails has been *KO'd* ! (Damaged This Turn By: Sam2)

Sam1 has been *KO'd* ! (Damaged This Turn By: Addison)

Sam2 has been *KO'd* ! (Damaged This Turn By: Eva)

The two SAM batteries are destroyed, but not before one missile slams into the back end of Nails' Raptor. "Flight, Nails. We're losing power. Going down." One can hear the blare of alarms in the background over his transmission.

Other than a slight jerk of Alain's path as he circles around, there's nothing to indicate the loud cursing that goes on in the cockpit when one of the missiles successfully hits their raptor. "Roger that, Nails. Nova, Jigger, mark Nails' location for SAR," he says, voice full of tension as he turns hard. "Banshee, let's put some heat on these frakkers," he adds, forcefully, as he lines up a pass over the convoy.

Aubrey lays down a stream of suppressor fire across the SAM Nails is targeting, watching as Jigger tries to distract it. Before the Raptor can launch its missiles though, the battery fires and a missile strikes it. "Jigger, Banshee, Nails is going down. Need to clear those tanks and ground forces if they're going to get recovered." She sweeps in an arc before sending her Viper screaming down towards the tanks below.

"Jigger, Nova. Already done." It's rare someone gets hit and she doesn't already have them marked in case they go down. She keeps better track, often, of their own people than the tangos. But it means a rare time she can't run SAR or send a location back to base. And this one is already being phoned in by Pitbull as Astraea herself is queuing up a Talon for one of those tanks on the ground.

Safely anonymous in the privacy of her own cockpit, Ines listens to that transmission with widening eyes. Her gloves creak as she white-knuckles the center stick. The things that bubble up in her aren't given any space to breathe or grow, though -- as usual, when things get ugly, she finds herself being cored out, numbing up with shocking efficiency. Her head turns just enough for her to sight Hunter through her canopy as she reforms on he and Nova, and then shifts her gaze forward again, selecting her target. She says nothing at all.

Between the two of them, Eva and Addison manage to clear the two SAM batteries, making any attack on the ground troops that much easier, "Flight, Cherry, advance on the ground targets, but keep your eyes up. We should be seeing air support any second now, if I know anything about how they've been operating lately." That said, she too moves in to attack the line. Addison targeting one of the tanks, and Eva strafing the column of centurions.

The fact that the SAMs are gone pales in Hunter's mind to the fact that someone in the flight just took a missile. Sometimes all it takes it that one lucky shot to end even the most skilled pilots time in the hotseat. All he can do now is pray that the man survives. Instead of dwelling on it though, the pilot angles his nose down to lay fire on one of the tanks, if nothing else than for a little payback.

It takes a couple strafing runs, but pretty soon the mountain pass is littered with the smoking wreckage of various armored vehicles. The tanks have heavy armor from the front and back - not so much from the top. Centurions are torn apart by KEWs, and the remainder flee into the treeline. And then - as Eva predicted, new contacts light up the DRADIS. Incoming fighters!

Nails and his ECO manage to crashland in one piece (more or less) a little bit away from the fighting.

"Oh my Gods..." Addison comments to himself with a chuckle as one of the tanks lights up in a blaze of glory, "Please tell me someone recorded that on their combat cams, it's going on my highlight real. I think the shrapnel blew up a Centurion." The comments, made in an amused tone comes as the pilot shifts gears some from strafing runs to actual dog fighting mentality.

"Flight, Cherry. Contact. Incoming. Focus fire on the air support, we'll mop up whatever's left of the cylons that haven't made it into the trees once we've cleared our airspace." No, not the airspace, their airspace, "And keep them off of Nails until we can get Nova clear for SAR." Just in case though, she does radio for a backup, calling in their current situation to base command.

At the contact heads up, Aubrey pulls back on the stick to make her Viper climb back up to a safer altitude for a dogfight. "Cherry, Banshee copies. Jigger, I got your back." She barrel rolls and comes about to face the incoming Raiders.

"Cherry, Nova, copy. No heavies on wide DRADIS yet." There's emphasis on that last word. There's always heavies, right? Astraea checks her racks as she pulls back into formation with Hunter and Ines. No reports back from control on pickup for Nails yet, but they won't send anyone into a hot zone, either. She understands that. She won't leave the flight to run SAR herself. She just keeps half an ear on the other running reports from the field as she starts lining up the mix of auto=targeting and her own adjustments.

There's something satisfying -- at least once the wreckage litters the ground below -- about a strafing run as retaliation after one of their own is taken out. DRADIS lights up with the incoming contacts, and Alain switches tactics, less aggressive in his approach as he pulls up from the ground and burns hard to meet the incoming raiders. "Roger that, Cherry. Banshee, Jigger, burning hard -- let's keep them from even looking at the remains of their tanks."

It's usually is satisfying to strafe anything at any time, for any reason, and especially in retaliation. For whatever reason, it doesn't gain the same sort of foothold on Ines tonight as it usually does: they leave behind a debris field of shattered armored vehicles winking in the light, but there's nothing -- no relief, no sense of vengeance served.
Maybe that'll change when they engage the air support. Banking to place herself in proper alignment, she certainly hopes so.

"Cherry, Stingray, copy that." Hunter replies as he smirks slightly. There is something very satisifing about watching tanks and tosters burn. But the distraction of the fast moving targets causes his eyes to light up. "And now we get to the fun part." He murmurs to himself as he angles into the oncoming fighters.

Hunter attacks Raider2 with Kew and HITS! Impaired wound to Body.

Alain attacks Raider5 with Kew and HITS! Incapacitated wound to Body.

Astraea attacks Raider2 with Talons and HITS! Incapacitated wound to Cockpit.

Raider1 attacks Astraea with Kew but Astraea EVADES!

Ines attacks Raider3 with Kew and HITS! Incapacitated wound to Body.

Eva attacks Raider6 with Kew and HITS! Flesh Wound wound to Nose.

Raider2 attacks Aubrey with Kew but Aubrey EVADES EASILY!

Raider6 attacks Addison with Kew and HITS! Graze wound to Body. (Reduced by ARMOR)

Aubrey attacks Raider4 with Kew and HITS! Incapacitated wound to Cockpit.

CREW HIT! attacks Raider4 with Shrapnel and HITS! Graze wound to Right Arm.

CREW HIT! attacks Raider4 with Shrapnel and HITS! Flesh Wound wound to Chest.

Raider4 attacks Alain with Kew but Alain EVADES EASILY!

Raider3 attacks Ines with Kew but MISSES!

Raider5 attacks Eva with Kew but Eva EVADES!

Addison attacks Raider1 with Kew and HITS! Incapacitated wound to Body.

Raider1 has been *KO'd* ! (Damaged This Turn By: Addison)

Raider2 has been *KO'd* ! (Damaged This Turn By: Hunter, Astraea)

Raider3 has been *KO'd* ! (Damaged This Turn By: Ines)

Raider4 has been *KO'd* ! (Damaged This Turn By: Aubrey, CREW HIT!)

Raider5 has been *KO'd* ! (Damaged This Turn By: Alain)

The explosions of various Raiders rip up in sequence; all except the one trailing Addison and after letting loose his KEW fire he's forced to enter a quick roll to get some of the fire from the Raider to hit a non-vital part of his ship. "Cane, Cherry. I see how it is." The gentle prod is given with a chuckle.

Sometimes you come up aces, and the rest of the time...dueces. Eva approaches one of the raiders, seeming to zero in on the one approaching her wingman, but she barely manages to get even a single shot on the thing before it's evading her and she's puling back around, trying to keep on its tail, not an easy task with the sheer storm of debris exploding all around her. Although...given the circumstances, there are worse problem she could have. "Cane, Cherry. I have extra bandaids I need to use up. You can be my patient after."

Aubrey sweeps in on her target, and she jukes her bird side-to-side to avoid the Raider's fire. She loops around and screams over the top of the Cylon ship, unloading KEW fire into the cockpit. Boom goes the Raider. "Got em, Jigs!" she calls over the comm.

For a short time, it's a tight, hairy furball when the two squads meet. Alain doesn't play it aggressively -- so he see the KEW fire from the raider after him and rolls to avoid it effortlessly, while staying locked on his target. He holds until he gets a good, clear shot, the sound of KEW fire thrumming through the viper as he lets rip, tearing through the raider in a satisfactory way. His whoop of joy is audible across comms as he circles around, getting vision on the remains of the raider Aubrey blew away. "Nice shooting, Banshee."

Something has really shifted in Astraea. She's still flying fairly aggressively, but not so much so to end up damaged. Maybe she's just increased in skill as the war has gone on. She was good, but untested in true combat when she joined the Wolves. Now she's a proper veteran. The woman evades the traders from the Raiders easily as if they weren't even there and lets her own talon fire after her chosen target as she flies tight on Hunter's wing. Between it and his cannon, the Cylon ship is destroyed. She lets out a breath she was barely aware she was holding. "Flight, Nova. One remaining contact on DRADIS. No word from base on pickup for Nails. Shall I run pickup?"

The Raider Ines was targeting disintegrates in a hail of machined parts, dripping cobs of fire. She's still silent, nothing on comms, though she banks unnecessarily wide as she makes her way back toward formation with her wingmates -- wide enough to have a glimpse downward through the side of her canopy in the direction of the downed Raptor. Probably not close enough to see much of anything at all.
After that she levels out beside Hunter, hanging close to Astraea, and if the pilot from Picon should happen to look up, she might do him the courtesy of offering him a thumbs-up. It somehow manages to be terse, in spite of literally being a silent gesture. Truly, her gifts are many and varied.

"Nova, Cherry, go ahead and start your SAR. The rest of us will cover you and provide whatever support you need. Flight, Cherry, your priority is to protect the raptor and the downed crew. We still have cylons in the trees. The last thing we need is for our crew to become sitting ducks down there."

"Nova, Stingray. I can keep em off your back if you do." Hunter calls as he sweeps though the space where the Raider was only a few seconds ago. He sticks to the wing of Astraea as he goes, at least until she starts the SAR. He does catch the thumbs up. /HOW/ someone can make that gesture seem annoyed amazes him. But he'll take it as a good sign.

Eva attacks Raider6 with Kew and HITS! Incapacitated wound to Body.

Addison attacks Raider6 with Kew and HITS! Flesh Wound wound to Body.

Raider6 attacks Addison with Kew but MISSES!

Raider6 has been *KO'd* ! (Damaged This Turn By: Eva, Addison)

"Jigger, roger that Cherry. Playing overwatch," Alain reports, swooping in a high circle above Ines and Hunter's closer circuit of Nails' location, gaze flickering down to DRADIS and out the window constantly.

Aubrey falls into a holding pattern with Jigger over where the Raptor went down. "Jigger, Banshee, got your six. Eyes out for any incoming."

As the last of the Raider's goes down, Addison slips his Viper in against the wing of Eva and glances out of his cockpit across the space before offering a nod. "Cherry, Cane. Good shot. As for the bandaids, I might have to take you up on that another time. Got a hot date tonight."

"Copy." It's just the single word from Astraea because she's already locking down her weapons rack and pulling away from formation to cut low over the trees and return to where she marked Nails' bird going down. Pitbull switches over DRADIS to keep an eye on it as well, just in case, until they're close. She's buzzing treetops as they angle in and likely sheering a number of winter-bare twigs and even some limbs off, but you do what you gotta do. A moment later, the Scorpian's voice comes back in over the radio. "Got visual. Bird's heavily damaged. Cleanup crew'll prob'ly be out jes' for parts. Looks like they pulled th' box already." The brains of the deal, in case the Cylons make it out first. Her engines flip in that gut-wrenching bit that moves the ship from horizontal to vertical. Sure, it could be done more slowly, but this is a quick-pickup to avoid having to wait for reinforcements. Pitbull's already up and hitting the hatch before she touches down.

"You gonna at least hit the shower first?" Astraea adds, in the wake of Addison's supposed 'hot date.'

"Cane, Cherry. Well, more the pity you." From the tone of her voice, though, Eva hardly seems broken up about it, instead settling in to flying formation with the rest of the wing, dividing her attention between the skies and the work being done on the ground. KEW are not the most effective against tree cover, and that makes her doubly vigilant.

Some of the white-knuckle tension in Ines gradually bleeds away as they close in on the site of the downed Raptor, and Nova's reports begin. She sticks close to Hunter and keeps her eyes on the horizon and the debris field near the tanks, but it's an effort of will; most of her wants to watch the SAR effort. Now and again she glances out through her canopy to keep an eye on her wingmate.

Hunter takes a deep breath as he swings his ship around. "Nova, Stingray. All in one piece down there?" He asks as he smirks slightly as he listens to Astraea and Addison go back and forth. His eyes slide towards Ines' ship for a moment as he just shakes his head. He'll keep his eyes down on the sky though. All it takes is one stray Raider...

"Perhaps. Depends on how things play out. A good shower is always nice, but sometimes the demands of bieng a high quality individual take precedence." Addison's voice comes over the comms as he smirks a bit, scanning over the horizon. "I just want you all to know, while we're out here that everything I do... I do for you."

"We wouldn't get that from any other guy, Cane. Quality." Eva seems to take the patrol easily enough, lifting off to fly above most of th rest of the flight, leaving her easy sight of the ground in exchange for a better view of the air. At least until it's time for them to head back to base, "Nova, how's it looking down there? We clear to RTB?"

"All in one piece," Astraea chimes in once Nails and his ECO are on board. "Just a bit banged up. We'll RTB so they can see th' doc." She's soon lifting off and turning 'bout to head for the base they've been staying on. The precise coordinates are recorded for Walsh and her team. "Cherry, Nova- we're clear. Time to go." There's a beat and once everyone's on the trail, she adds: "Cane, bein' clean is part of bein' a quality individual."

If there's any relief in Alain's voice it's kept off the comms, his voice even: "Skies are looking clear, should be a clean flight back to base," he reports from his overwatch position, as he rolls his viper and begins to burn for base with the rest of the flight.

"Well lets get home," Hunter calls out then before he smirks slightly. "And give him a break, bein' where he's from. He doesn't always know these finest points. I should know." The Picon native calls out with amusement in his voice as he turns his Viper home, though he does keep close to Ines' wing. That is his job after all. Even if she doesn't like it!


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