2238-01-26 - That Which Lurks At The Mine

While out ranging, Charlie finds herself an Aleksander and a Hunter. The three of them find where the cylons have moved the prisoners.

Date: 2238-01-26

Location: Picon Woods

Related Scenes: None

Plot: None

Scene Number: 1633

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It's been two weeks. Even for most marines, it's a trial. They're cut off from not just their fellow Wolves, but any and all support lines. They have no supplies save what they catch themselves. The only small blessing is the band of survivors found and the warehouse they've gathered in; it's shelter and the locals have some supplies of their own. Unfortunately, they present new issues. Food and water reserves are dangerously low. They're not just helpless, but an outright security risk when there's Cylon activity in the area.

And Charlie? Charlie's been gone more than she's actually been at the site. The woman's PTSD has made her a security risk and rather than put civilians in harm's way if she enters a full flashback, she's made herself scarce. She goes off into the woods not just for hours now, but days at a time. She sets traps for cylon and local fauna alike and returns once in a while with the animal prey that's been caught to deliver it to the people before she ventures back out. The sniper has been out for four days this past ranging and she thinks she's found something. She's nestled in a tree amongst some rocks on a hillside, sighting along the scope of her gun at an old mine tucked up in the mountain side.

The localized region has been quiet for major Cylon activity; there's few SAMs, but some trucks have passed on the nearby road earlier in the day and there's been regular Raider flyover in patrols. No sign of the good guys, unfortunately. They must not have checked this zone yet.

Even though their initial mission was to churn out a ton of Cylon scrap, things have gone very far south and Aleksander has been in survival mode since his Raptor went down. When he finally found a friendly face, it was not what he had hoped. He was either expecting to run into another Marine squad or a S&R group, but instead he managed to pick up a Lieutenant. At least the pilot is one of the Wolves and now the Tauran is focused on keeping not just himself out of harm's way but Hunter as well. When the flyovers occurred, he had them try to duck by or under what cover could be found, and the Marine has them off the road as well, walking a somewhat parallel path in case friendlies end up moving by in the area. "If search and rescue haven't been in the area looking for a downed pilot like you, the airspace must still be heavily contested." Aleksander says quietly to his pilot compatriot as the trek onwards, his voice lowered.

He's been down for a day or so, and already Hunter misses his beer cooler. Well lets be honest he missed that about thirty seconds after his Viper ate dirt. Thankfully the pilot himself wasn't harmed in said crash, and more thankfully he actually grew up on Picon. Though this is a bit away from his own city. Still a smuggler and salvager as he is he at least knows /of/ the area.

"You're right about that." He hasn't been entirely useless around here, sketchy memories of old maps at least helping somewhat. Old farms and ruined villages might hold some supplies after all. He had heard of a mine in the area though, a old smuggler den. That might have something interesting in it at least.

So he's not entirely useless at least.

Off the road, in the brush, the slightly scruffy pilot just shakes his head. "Looks like we're on our own. Maybe that old hideout might have something we can use to get a message out. Look for the rest of the people in the Raptor."

She's been in her nest for hours now. Six at last count. Charlie's not sure when she last ate; she doesn't really care. You go into survival mode, you stop counting time between meals. You eat when you can, you make it count. Water's the important thing and she has that covered. The sniper is barely moving and she just watches. Watches and listens. Sound carries just enough and the two aren't terribly far from her perch. They're close enough that she can hear them, in fact. Maybe not their words, but their movement. Wagner moves, shifting from one branch to another, then from that tree to another. Thank the gods for ancient trees close enough to make the transition. It takes another minute or two and- holy shit, she recognizes that rifleman. Not the Lieutenant with him, but Aleksander she knows.

So it goes that Aleksander and Hunter end up with a very dirty and ragged-looking Charlie Wagner soon dropping from one of the nearby trees a bit further inside the woods. She lets out a low, sharp whistle in just a single note and waves to them to move in closer. She's not moving anywhere towards the road.

When Hunter mentions the mine, Aleksander nods his head in agreement, "Sounds like a plan, Lieutenant." He doesn't call any naval officer 'sir' but will address them by rank in a respectful manner when the situation calls for it. Since the pilot is native to these lands, the Tauran has no problems with the other man planning their path. When the recognizeable whistle is heard, the Marine immediately directs his attention in that direction. Weapon first but when Charlie is recognized, the rifle is lowered and Aleksander says to the pilot with him, "Let's go, friendly. Keep your head down though." Then he begins hustling in a hunched manner towards their recon sniper, "Frak. Wagner... glad to see you. Had no frakking idea where anyone else was."

"Always," Hunter isn't stupid. This isn't his game, out in the woods with a rifle instead of a Viper. Give him a tank. A freighter. A goddamn /boat/ and he will make it sing, but he knows when he's a bit out of his element. Which is likely good for his Tauran friend's temperment.

Moving slowly, carefully, the pilot follows after Aleksander. "Wagner?" The sniper seeming to materilize out of the forest itself to him. "Well damn, looks like we didn't need a com signal to find someone else. They found us."

One of the few people who could find them, likely. One of the only Wolves who isn't just familiar with the area: she knows it. Maybe not perfectly, but well enough. And she's been mapping it this past week. Charlie waits until they're closer. Aleksander will see she has Sasha with her; of course she went on a vital mission with her precious rifle. And it's survived whatever the recon sniper has been through. The woman's box braids are a right mess, but she has them tight up in a rough bun with a strip of cloth. "I only know where my squad is," she explains to Alek, sotto voice, giving an upnod to Hunter once he's closer. It's easier to recognize the men you fight with on the regular from afar. She's watched the Tauran through a scope on numerous occasions. "Plus some civilians we found." She looks back over her shoulder, cocking her head thataway.

"There's a mine over there. Been tracking Cylon movement from a prison facility they had in a factory. They moved the prisoners and I think this is where they moved 'em to, but I wanna be sure before I take word back."

Hunter nods easily, crouched slightly near a tree as he looks in that direction. "Well that could have ended badly. It was an old smugglers hideout at one point, I thought we might be able to find some supplies there. That's where we were headed."

There is a pause, a thoughtful look. "...smuggler holes /usually/ have a back door you know...if we could find that..."

"Well Wagner, your squad just gained another rifleman and a pilot." Aleksander says after taking a knee, either to rest or just to provide a smaller profile out of habit when venturing around in hostile lands. "Maybe put the pilot with the civies to be safe. How far are we from friendly lines?" He asks as he pulls free his canteen, taking a long drink from water that has most likely been refilled on his trek. When Hunter speaks of the smuggler cave again and possible back door, the Tauran frowns slightly, "Only if it leads closer to Wagner's squad, Lieutenant. Our first order of business should be to return to the others." A pause before Aleksander looks back to Charlie, "Unless you are out here for a specific mission that needs to be completed?"

"Official friendly lines?" Wagner licks her lips, looking between the two. "We've got too many civilians to make it. And injured. Arda and I, sure. But Kavanagh and Rhodes both are hurt." And that's two medically trained people. "You know Rhodes-" Charlie looks to Aleksander. "She'll push herself half to death. I'm not letting her. I need her gun and her medical expertise. Especially with civilians. We're holing up for now. Especially with the heavy cylon presence in the area. We don't have enough guns or munitions to make a charge to friendly lines and that's-" she shakes her head. "I don't have proof those lines are still there."

When they ask about a specific mission, she looks away. It's make or break time here. She's a Sergeant. She could technically... "We came out here originally for these prisoners, Davion. They were the mission. If that's them down there, I want to go back with the intel. But-" she looks to Hunter. "If we find a back door, it's only to mark it. We're not going through. It's just three of us. We're not freeing anyone today. Got it? This is eyes-only and then I'll take you two back to the warehouse."

Aleksander immediately falls silent when Charlie gives them a sitrep of the situation and he can't help but once when he hears that both Rhodes and Kavanagh are injured. So it definitely makes sense not to move the camp if they didn't need to. When the prisoners are mentioned, the Tauran's eyes narrow slightly as he listens to the recon sniper and what her plan is. "Wagner, I'm not in the best of shape and I don't think it's worth the risk scouting out with the Lieutenant along. What if he and I wait for you while you scout it out, we'll cover your withdraw when you are done and we can return to your squad together." It's evident that Aleksander is not one who wants to do everything himself or get involved in everything. That or his laziness is in play here and he is trying to get out of scouting where the prisoners are. At least there is a distinct lack of cigarettes on him.

"I'm not /that/ bad a shot you know, Davion." Hunter replies with a smirk towards the infantryman. "And if you all have equipment around well. I might be able to put it back together. I know a thing or two about substuting parts." This isn't really his first time behind the lines, even if he's trying to at least stay calm enough about it. The fact that they don't even know where the front is anymore is...well...frankly causing hiim more worry than it should. Enough that he almost misses Charlie's words.

A shake of his head to clear it before he nods once. "Suits me just fine, like I said I'm not a bad shot but..." A smirk. "...I know this isn't my territory." He's a pilot, not a stealth operative.

There is a soft chuckle from Hunter. "What he means to say is that I'm about as quiet as a moose in the woods. I was the face of my particular band of smugglers and salvagers, not the second story man."

"None of us are in good shape," Charlie replies back to Aleksander. He's fought by her long enough. The woman's gone half-wild. She's operating well, but that's largely because she's gone to ground. She's working on instinct. She's being driven by SOP and training now. The woman leans back against a tree, pulling out her own canteen for a drink. She gets about a sip out before she tips it up, over... and watches as nothing else comes out. Empty. There's a sigh before she tucks it away. There's a look to Hunter, then back to the Tauran. She says nothing, but checks over her gear. "I'm low on rounds," she grunts, "but we'll get close. You-" she jerks her chin to Hunter. "help me find the most likely point for a back door. I'll check it out. You two keep an eye out. Then we'll head in. Alright?"

When Charlie's canteen is empty, Aleksander lifts his own up and tosses it to her so she can have a drink, as for moving out, he doesn't protest or offer a counter-point, "I'm good on ammo, spent some fighting after our Raptor went down but after that, I avoided the toasters. No sniper rounds on me though, Wagner." So she will have to make do with what she has. The Tauran does give the pilot a glance as if to determine how they will be moving out safely nothing further is said, just waiting for Charlie to take point so he can cover the other two.

"Alright," The pilot replies with a nod. "Usually there is a ravine, dead end near the side or back of the hill that is the most likely spot. I don't know if they'll have any of the black market markers round. If its been awhile they might have gotten pulled down but I'll do what I can. And I'll keep my head down." This is a grin towards Alek before he nods once. "I'm good on what ammo I had when I went down. Didn't have to much to spare but..." Better than nothing he seems to say.

The canteen is deftly caught and Charlie gives Alek a grateful nod as she takes a swig. It's capped and tossed, underhanded, back to him. She listens to Hunter as he describes potential sites, looking thoughtful as she looks back in the direction she came. There's finally a nod. "I think I know a potential spot from my scouting. C'mon." The woman moves off, then, unslinging her rifle and adjusting it to the mid-range configuration. The scope is pulled off and tucked into a front pocket on her vest. She tucks it in against her shoulder as she starts moving through the trees. She moves quickly, but not too much so. "Whistle if you see something," she calls back to them, "since we're not on comms." As Hunter wouldn't have the Marine loadout.

It's not too far a hike nor are the woods here too densely packed with undergrowth. There's logs here and there or brambles. The biggest concerns are silty ground underfoot and when the angle slopes awkwardly. But soon enough, they can see a ravine and the sounds to the east change; indicative of a quarry or mountain drop-off. Though there's little sound of massive movement now. The Cylon activity must be low or quiet. Not trying to draw attention to itself, perhaps.

No further words are said from Aleksander as he catches the canteen and tucks it away in his pack, he does offer a nod of acknowledgement about communication since they are not on comms. After the other two have moved out, the Tauran follows suit with his weapon ready. There is no outward fatigue or discomfort as they hike to the ravine, the rifleman's eyes now focused on the surroundings instead of the other two Wolves.

He's had basic training, and his own survival under hostile conditions is coming back to him faster than he really would like. He's jumpy, but at least trying to hide it. Still he moves quiet as he can. Picking steps carefully enough in the underbrush as he follows the sniper. Though he still likely sounds like a heard of elk compared to the pair of Marines.

There is a nod at the sight of the ravine. "Look for markings on the rock, or what looks like grafitti. That usually indicates some kind of entrence. Concealed door under plants, or behind a fake rock wall is the usual thing."

<FS3> Charlie rolls Athletics: Success (8 7 5 4 3 3 3 2 1)

"Got it." Charlie does not look like she's got it. In fact, she looks outright confused by Hunter's guidance. Even so, the woman adjusts her gear and even leaves a few things behind. Mostly the bits and bobs used to make traps for catching animals. These she hands off to the pilot. "There may be a couple setup around here, so don't wander too far," she warns them both. Once her gear is lightened, the woman begins climbing down the various vines, trees, and rocks on the ravine. This time of year, it's not easy going. And it's going to take her a while from the looks of it. She's always been more of a seaside gal. She can handle the woods, but that's more ground and tree work. She's not one of the mountain climbers of the crew.

As the items are passed off to Hunter, Aleksander watches out in silence though there is a slight frown as he watches Charlie. He doesn't say anything though, not wanting to distract the recon sniper as she preps for her trek. She certainly doesn't look like her usual self, but then again, these are extraordinary times where they are stuck behind enemy lines and have been for quite some time.

Very extrodonary times. Hunter crouches behind a tree as he takes the items with a nod, carefully holding onto them as she passes them off. He understands the need to lighten the load. Hopefully his directions didn't throw her off too much, and there is a glance tossed towards Alek as he hefts his weapon. As he crouches he smirks just slightly. "First thing I'm doing," He whispers as he scans the brush for trouble. "Is making a proper axe. It'll make me feel better."

<FS3> Hunter rolls Alertness: Failure (5 3 2 2 1 1)

<FS3> Aleksander rolls Alertness: Good Success (8 7 7 6 5 2 1 1)

After Charlie has been gone for a time, everything seems quiet at first, but there's a rumble down in that valley by the mine nearby. Trucks in the road, likely. Large ones. Not tanks, likely, but those used to move troops or equipment. More than one, by the sounds of it. Aleksander's the one to hear them.

The sound immediately attracts Aleksander's attention. Even though it isn't a Raider or a Cylon tank, the sound of transports is is just as alarming because they could be carrying squads of Centurions. "Lieutenant, stay down, we might have hostiles in the area." The Tauran then looks down where Charlie had descended and lets out a low whistle. Then again, wanting to make sure that the recon sniper heard it.

What? Huh? Hostiles?

Hunter was staring at a particularly fascinating part of the tree in front of him. He /might/ have hit his head too hard in the crash. Its hard to tell. However as Aleksander brings his attention to it, the man does as he is bit, crouch and stay down behind cover. "What is it?" He asks, quietly as his eyes scan like...he...actually knows what he's doing. He has no idea, but he fakes it well.

Some long seconds after Aleksander's second whistle, there's an answering one. It comes from some distance away, but it's of the same cadence and human. Wagner heard and acknowledged, at least.

The rumbling continues and becomes the whine of engine-assisted breaks before too long. Overhead, a Raider passes. It's unlikely to spot the two Colonial men due to the thick tree cover and they hear it more than see it themselves.. at least until it hovers over the mine site. They can see it then. It's providing overwatch for something.

When the familiar sound of a Cylon Raider is heard, Aleksander immediately holds out a hand and signals to Hunter to stick to the closest tree they are at, making sure they use the natural foliage since being spotted would be very bad news for them. The rifleman was waiting for the Raider to fly past but when it stops above the mine, a serious frown appears on the Tauran's face, "Frak..." He mutters under his breath as he tries to move into position to see what is going on at the mine, "Looks like the Cylons is checking out the smuggling den, good thing we didn't go in it earlier."

"No kidding," The pilot murmurs in reply. "So much for my good ideas. Though at least this confirms that they are using it for something. Can you see the front entrence? Cause that this is covering something." He does though stick close to the ground, trying to use as much cover as he can. He knows just what will happen if that raider happens to find them.

And their sniper is.. at a much lower altitude than you ever want a sniper to be. The joys of recon pulling double duty. Charlie is still nowhere to be seen, but it probably took (or is taking) a while to climb down that ravine. And then figuring out where that back door is. One can only hope the cylons never found it.

The Raider continues to hover, but the sounds of the trucks have stopped. No more seem to be coming in and it seems to be just the single Raider for the moment.

Even though Aleksander really wants to know where the trucks went, as intel is key to survival, especially now, he won't risk himself or the pilot that is in his care. So for now, he stays put where he can watch the mine entrance and also keeping an eye on that floating Raider.

Hunter's eyes are glued to that Raider. He's seen them from the comfort of his cockpit before, but like this is an entirely different story. Its not the first time, but he didn't like the first time either. That much is obvious just from the way his eyes flicker from the Raider to the open ground and the nervous twitch in his hand. A hand he keeps well away from the tigger. No need to test fate.

And so time goes, likely. Because that Raider continues to hover. It doesn't fire, it just lurks- no, it looms. It's a dark mark in the sky over the mine.

Eventually, however, a hand smacks earth near their feet and Charlie's head soon follows as she drags herself up over the edge with an exhausted grunt. She rolls over in the foliage and loam upon the ground, breathing heavily. A single finger is held up in silent plea to give her a few moments. Even if after that gesture she makes a grabby hand towards Aleksander's canteen.

"Where's a AA Battery for me to hijack when I need one." Aleksander grumbles as his gaze shifts from the Raider to the mine entrance and then back to the Raider, staying concealed. The difficult part is waiting for Charlie, without comms they are running on silent which means no tactical updates. When the sudden sound of something approaching is heard and danger close, the Tauran levels his rifle in its direction before quickly lowering it when Charlie's had appears. No questions are asked when the finger for silence goes up, Aleksander nodding his head understandingly. Instead, he reaches for his now half-empty canteen and hands it over.

There is a sigh of relief from Hunter as Charlie pulls herself up back onto their little hiding place. Though his rifle was the first thing that he aimed towards her. The barrel lowers and thats replaced with a touch of a relieved smile as she makes motions for that canteen. "Welcome back."

She doesn't empty the canteen, but Charlie does have a couple sips of it. One for her throat and another for her mouth. She finally sits up, offering it back to Alek as she drapes her other arm over her upraised knee. "Found and marked your door," she says finally to Hunter. "Cylons haven't found it, but we might need to blow it open if we use it. Looks like some rocks fell over it at some point." Another moment of weariness, head in hand, before she continues. "They've got prisoners down there."

Taking the canteen back, Aleksander puts it away and waits for Charlie to give her report. When she gives it, "I couldn't get a view of what sounded like trucks, did you see? And that Raider... it isn't hovering over the mines for no reason." A pause before the prisoners are mentioned, "The prisoners are in the mines?" The Tauran gives the pilot a glance, as if that smuggler's hideout holds a much bigger significance now.

"I can build something to blow or drill, hopefully. But its not gonna be subtle." Hunter says with a smirk as he tries to bring his breathing under control, tearing his eyes away from the raider as he glances back towards the other two. "Looks like." He adds towards Alek with a sharp nod. "This was not what I was expecting. And I don't think we can get anything done with just the three of us. Especially with that thing."

"We're not doing anything the three of us," Charlie affirms, pulling herself upright. She looks downright exhausted, having finished that climb. Especially after Gods know how many days out here without proper rest or a full meal. "But yes, they have prisoners down there. We need to get back- er," she straightens, makes to retrieve the things she'd handed off to Aleksander. "I need to get you two to the others. We'll figure out what to do after that. It'll be a few hours from here. You both good? We'll check my traps on the way in..." maybe there'll be some game.

Aleksander is more than glad that they're not going to start a 3-man assault team right now, Charlie can certainly attest to that. "I'm good, Wagner. You..." Any other words trail off, the Tauran thinks better of it than about to mention what he thinks of the recon sniper's condition. Either he feels that it isn't his business or this isn't the time to talk about it. He then glances to the pilot, waiting to hear from the Lieutenant since technically the other man is the ranking Wolf here.

"I'm agreeing with that, lets get back to this base." Hunter is sensible on this matter. He knows the three of them have no chance of doing anything but getting themselves killed. Especially with Charlie not...well...at the top of her game. Not that he would say that. "Lets get back. Then we can decide what to do."

The sniper seems to be in a state where mentioning her, well, state is probably not the smartest thing, no. Her own well-being is probably the furthest thing from her mind. Chances are she's one of the ranking members on the ground and Aleksander would know well how Charlie feels about being one of the people in charge. That is: not happy. Might be part of why she's been ranging out as far as she has. "Alright. We'll keep low and off the road. Just keep an eye on me. I've got a number of traps for game out. None that should snare anything big as us, but it'd hurt nonetheless." There's an almost feral sort of grin from her before she checks over her rifle and makes to set off.

With the group about to move out, Aleksander gives Charlie one more nod to show his understanding and that he has no complaints about their plan. He does then look back to Hunter and says, "Lieutenant, it's best if you follow after Wagner, just step where she steps. I'll bring up the rear." Not an order, but a suggestion. Something he's good at giving officers from time to time, though half the time it would be in a bar preceding a brawl that is about to start.

"Again, I'm thinking you're right." Hunter says wryly towards Alek as he does just that. Start following Charlie though the bush. He isn't a outdoors man, but he is at least trying not to give away anything. So in this one rare occasion? Alek's suggestions do not come before a brawl. They just come before a very long treak.

It's a long hike, indeed. But they do find a few of the traps worked; mostly on small game. But it does mean a fresh meal once they reach the warehouse. Charlie is silent for the most part, but she at least moves at a slow pace, though the other two probably get the impression it's as much for her by the end as it is for them. The warehouse is definitely not just a military installation at this point; there's probably close to twenty civilians of all kinds within. There'd be no way of getting that many the days long trek it'd be to known friendly lines. They've got some hard work ahead of them for sure.


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