2238-02-24 - A Wing And A Prayer

Hunter, Gage, and Ines go forward with their plan to steal a heavy raider and blow up the fuel stores to create a diversion from the mine, leaving an opening for the prisoners to be freed. They get the job done and it ought to be a moment of triumph, but...

Date: 2238-02-24

Location: Picon Mine

Related Scenes: None

Plot: None

Scene Number: 1661

Jump to End

The group that's intending to assault the mine leaves the ranch in small groups throughout the day. It's the better part of a day's march from the ranch to the mine, though Gage -- with Hunter and Ines -- sets a far easier pace, something Ines would know from previous travel with him. He stops frequently, ostensibly to scout carefully ahead -- which he does. Every time, the way is clear, and they proceed, but cautiously, arriving just as the sun's settled away and full dark covers the mine.

Their destination is a little different than everyone else's. While many are setting up near the mine's entrance where the prisoners are kept, this group's circuitous route takes them to the east side of the mine, where the landing pad and -- hopefully! -- the fuel stores are. It looks much unchanged from when they scouted it weeks ago -- two heavy raiders sitting on the pad, two cylons -- maybe even the exact same cylons -- standing guard, visible in patches of light.

Their current position -- up on a hill -- affords them a great view of the mine below, and all the many, many cylons that walk around, glinting here and there as they pass under lights that are strung across the mine, presumably by or for the benefit of the human prisoners. Gage looks comfortably warm in his fur coat, despite the flurries of snow that occasionally drift down around them, shifting his backpack with a care for the delicate contents. He offers the binoculars to the two pilots after a brief look. "Down there," he points to the landing pad, "Somewhere in the shadow, maybe underneath, I figure that's where they'd keep the fuel stores for the raiders. We'll start there, unless you've any better ideas?" He glances at both of them -- they're the pilots, after all -- though his gaze might rest a little longer on Ines, as if assessing her condition.


"That would be the logical place, and these toasters /love/ logic don't they?" Comes the voice of Hunter as he whispers towards his pair of companions. Reaching out he takes the binocs for a look before he nods. "What you think?" His eyes canting towards Ines as he asks the question, with a slight twitch of a smile.

"Besides blow them all up, since I think we all are thinking that." The man adds after a moment as he crouches there. Obviously not a woodsman just from the slight awkwardness in that crouch. And the fact that he's not got all the cold weather gear that Gage seems too. He always forgets how cold this part of his home can be.

...I mean not that he had much left on him after he crashed and all.

<FS3> Ines rolls Composure: Success (7 6 5 5 3 2 1 1 1)

Ines is not well.

She's covering for it remarkably, though: if one didn't know she'd been bedridden with fever and sepsis, if the patches of color on her cheeks were not so stark against a pale complexion, if one didn't know how unusual it is for her to stare at the ground as they move, say nothing, if it weren't possible to see her sometimes trip over something in the growing dark and brace a hand on a tree to steady herself after that-

Then it would seem as though she were just a pilot with no practice traversing the woods, trying to keep quiet for excellent reasons.

Whatever energy she has, she's burning it freely as they go. She doesn't lag behind, but she doesn't object to the frequent stops, either.

When they arrive she takes the binoculars from Hunter with fingers like ice and looks, but only briefly. "Sounds good." She hands them back to Gage without looking at the marine, eyes on the airstrip. She sounds -- and looks -- steady. Calm. All business. It means she doesn't answer Hunter's wry look with one of her own, but at least she's not frowning daggers at him.


"They are what we made them," Gage replies blandly to Hunter. Still, he rubs at his straggly -- now long -- beard, as he regards the pair of pilots. "Got enough explosives for the fuel cells. That's the signal for the other team. After that, we're going to have to work quickly, get to the raiders. It might or might not pull the guards. You've still got your weapon, King?" that seems to be directed to Hunter, since he knows Ines has hers.

After a last look at Ines, Gage straightens. Despite the pair of pilots technically outranking him, he seems to have no issue with taking charge. "All right. Follow my lead. Me, then Correa, then King. Stay in visual contact."

The path he leads them on skirts the edge of the mine, sticking close to the trees. The airstrip itself is lit up sparsely. There's a patrol group of three cylons that circles the outside of the strip, Gage holding them in place for a good five minutes until they pass -- and then it's a quick dash across to the cover of an administration building. Fortunately, the cylons don't tend to look back -- as long as no one's making too much noise.


"Ain't that the truth," Hunter replies with a shake of his head before he shifts the backpack slightly. He's strapped the equipment inside down, keeping it from shifting as best he can. Unnecessary noise is bad at this point.

He too glances at Ines for a moment, but its too late to say anything. Gage's question prevents him from saying anything, possibly the best outcome there.

"That I do, one thing that survived the crash." He comments as he pulls out a compact sub machine gun. "Don't have too many extra mags, but it'll do...and if it doesn't..." He pats the haft of a weapon strapped to his backpack. A battleaxe, looks freshly machined from a old woodcutting blade. "I have a backup." A slash of a grin colors his face. "It makes me feel better at least."

"One day," He adds as he picks up his kit. "I'll get back, and make an axe and a shotgun and have the best of both worlds."

But then they are moving and with a nod he follows, keeping his weapon in hand as he picks his way carefully downward.


Ines keeps her eyes pinned to the airstrip -- they're tired, she's tired, but they're sharp, which is good -- and nods shortly when they're given instructions. No questions, no amendments. Only when Tomak turns to get ready to move does she finally glance behind her at Hunter, just long enough to give him a small, tight, reassuring smile, extending a hand to squeeze the side of his upper arm: a silent good luck or we can do this or, frak, maybe nice knowing you, who knows?

She's got over a month of practice following the Tauran on errands not dissimilar to this, and it shows; she seems to know when and where he's going to stop and for how long before they move again. By the time they reach the administration building, even after a run that short, she's breathing quickly -- much harder than she would if she weren't ill. She's trying desperately to stay silent as she does, chin tipped back as they take cover against the building, but 'silent' means not taking the bigger, deeper breaths she wants to.


For a moment -- three heartbeats -- Gage holds in place, listening to make sure their approach hasn't been noticed. There's the wind, the rustling of trees, but even the sound of the retreating cylon patrol is obscured by the more general noises of the wooded area. With a nod to the pilots, he moves towards a door, cracking it, listening, and then pushing into the dim light inside.

While there's no heating, it's certainly warmer-by-comparison inside. It seems like a typical office building -- or it was, once. Now it's a storage area, a mess of boxes and parts that seem almost random. Duel glass windows look out over the landing strip, provide the dim lighting from outside. From here, they can see the side profile of the two cylons standing by the open doors of the pair of imposing heavy raiders. They're still, the slight gleaming red of their eyes the only indication they're active. Nearer -- practically in front of the office building -- there's three low-squat silver tanks typical of Piconese fuel tanks, complete with 'DANGER!' signs.

Gage occupies himself clearing the corners and any other doors -- leading to a once bathroom and once-kitchen -- before he returns.


There is a return of a smile to the other pilot from Hunter, NOT KNOWING SHE IS A KILLER OF HUNTERS, but the Picon native sets off to follow right after. His own passage isn't quite as silent or as steady as hers. He doesn't have the benifit of knowing Gage. He does his best, stumbling only once on the way down to the offices.

Cover is a greatful reprieve both from the stealth and from the cold outside. Leaning a shoulder against the wall he watches Ines for a moment gulp down air before peeking over the edge of a window to spy those massive fuel tanks.

A wicked grin crosses his face as he lets Gage clear the rest of the building, his own weapon at the ready should anything shoot back.

"We can rig up something simple to time detonate this..." He mutters half under his breath. "...if its still all the standard layout..."


Ines makes her silent way to the side of one of the windows, and chances a slow, cautious glance around the very edge of it, getting herself oriented to the lay of the land. What she sees turns the corner of her mouth down -- at least until Hunter makes that observation, at which point it turns up again. Amused, and inexplicably melancholy as she murmurs, "Tomak's way ahead of you."

She takes another moment to try to meter her breath, then lets her brows knit. Her whispers are barely audible even inside of the building. "They're not going to damage the raiders when they go, are they...?"


Gage moves up beside the pair of pilots, crouching at the edge of the window, frowning at what he sees. "How much time are you two going to need to," he kind of wiggles his fingers towards one of the raptors, "Get one of those things working?"

He grins at Hunter, as if the pilot's suggestion is one of the best ever. Because he's a combat engineer, so blowing things up is always his first resort. He thumbs a gesture to his backpack. "I figure, we plant the explosives, then draw the patrol close enough to take them out. Maybe it brings the two guards at the raptors, maybe not. But it'll even the odds, if nothing else. Might not even have to take out that axe of yours, King," he says, with a faint trace of amusement.

Ines' question earns a thoughtful frown. "It might. The nearer one, anyway. I can angle the damage back towards the building, but it means we'd need to take cover out by the trees, and run in across the open ground to the raptors." He spreads his hands as if to say 'your choice'. He's just the delivery boy, after all.


Crouching, looking at the big ships there, Hunter is doing some quick calculations in his head. "Ugh, I /want/ to say blow one up so we have less in the air to worry about...but if the other team makes it out with prisoners we might need both." He replies as he crouches down, smirking towards Ines at that look of hers. "Good thing, I'm always better at putting things back together rather than ripping them apart." A pause again.

A pause.

"If we get one though...we might be able to get flight and weapons working. Which would be a hell of an advantage." A pause. "Judging from the story...if we can get the panels off and into the guts of the ship we should be able to get it running...five? Ten minuites? I won't know till we get inside really."


How much time, Gage wants to know. Ines still won't look at him -- maybe because her lips thin in answer to that, suggesting he may not like her answer. She stays silent, arches a brow slightly, and turns her head just enough to pass the question off to Hunter -- he's the closest thing they have to an expert.

The estimate he provides makes her grimace a little. It's not long in civilian life, but on any kind of battlefield at all...

"Preserve the building," she says, finally, circling back to the matter of whether or not the raiders wind up damaged. "You're going to need cover. I think King is right. Taking out one of them with the rest wouldn't be a bad outcome. As long as you're sure it won't be both." But she sounds bizarrely pragmatic about the possibility, not half as leery of running that risk as one might expect.


"All right. The second raider collateral okay. Aint enough space to rescue all the prisoners, anyway. That's not the play here," Gage says with a kind of forcefulness that suggests there might've been arguments on that score. Certainly, there's been plenty around the ranch over the last few days, none of which the Tauran actively involved himself with, on purpose one might guess.

"Ten minutes?" the marine rubs at his beard. There's a tension briefly in his jaw, even if his words come out casual: "I can give you that."

"So... you and Correa," he pauses, briefly, gaze flickering towards Ines, weighted with something that goes unspoken even if she isn't looking at him, "You make for the woods, just on the edge there," he gestures towards the window, to the right, nearest the far raider. "When things explode, start running in. Kill anything that moves. Get the raider up and running. Get the fuck out of dodge. The mission is RTB, not rescue. Clear?" his gaze flickers back towards King at that last.


"Top end, I know its not ideal but I can likely get it done faster." Hunter replies quietly before glancing at that Tauran for a moment. There is a pause at the statement before he just nods. A wry smile on his lips. He's not here to argue about it, the other team is on rescue. "While we're in fight I'll try to get the IFF working so we don't get blown out of the sky." He adds as he nods towards the woods.

"Alright Correa, lets get in position." He tosses a smirk back towards Gage for a moment. "I might have to use the axe yet. But I'm still hoping the boom gets em all. Make sure to make it look pretty. I do love fireworks."


Alright, Correa...

She'd been doing so well.

It all happens so unfairly fast. They arrive and they're here and now it's time and all of that comes crashing in at once, and that neutral mask gains a hairline fissure: her eyes close, her brows knit, her lips press together tightly enough that it chases all of the blood out of them. She holds her breath. It's a long moment.

But she does right her head, eventually. Take a deep breath, after which it she seems breathless, restless. Shifting her weight as she turns for the door, she may as well be a seething knot of tension.

All she can do is nod her readiness, not looking at either of them. She doesn't trust her voice, and it's everything she can do to keep the seams of that crack in her composure from getting wider.


"You got it, King," Gage says, with a genuine, flickered smile, that fades a moment later, because he's looking towards Ines, and faltering in something to say, the words sticking in his throat. So he says nothing. He follows them to the exit, but rather than trailing them towards the woods, cuts back towards the front of the building, where the fuel cells are.

For a long time, it's quiet. Just the wind rustling the trees. A chilly, peaceful, Picon evening.

And then there's a sound from near the building. It sounds like something metallic clanging against something else metallic. Like an idiot marine tapping his knife against a fuel tank that's wired to explode.

Across the way, they can see the patrol of cylons turn, and rush in that direction. The two standing guard at the raiders turn, as well, though they don't move. Maybe they have orders, maybe they're waiting to see what the patrol finds. The patrol reaches the fuel cell. There's a moment of silence, then...

/BOOM./ A rush of heat and light races out over the airstrip, the heat a physical force of hot wind that pushes them back for a moment. It rips through the three cylons closest to the tanks, one of them sailing up and smacking into the side of the nearer raider, shattering its wing and causing it to tilt precariously onto one side. That raider's guard is half trapped, its foot pinioned beneath the body of the raider. It flexes its arms, trying to free itself, maybe in vain, its rifle still held in one hand.

Meanwhile, the guard at the remaining raptor stays where it is, though it's looking at the explosion. Because, cylon or not -- who wouldn't look?

<FS3> Hunter rolls Melee+2: Failure (5 5 4 4 3 3 3 2 2)

<FS3> Hunter rolls Melee+2: Great Success (8 8 7 7 6 6 4 4 3)

Crouching in the shadow of the trees the Picon native watches the pair of Cylons there. He frowns slightly as he calculates distance, glancing at the little subgun in his hand. He slips it away, stashing it against his pack as he slips the axe out instead.

"I'll take out the first guard, I can get to him quick enough." He murmurs towards Ines. "And he'll be distracted. If you can, shoot on the move anything left up after everything explodes. Then..." A flicker of a grin. "...we'll wing it from there."

Not the best of plans.

...but its what he's got.

He glances back towards her, a flicker of a smile and a wink. "Next drink is on me." He says just before everything explodes.

And then he's runninng.

Before the secondary explosions even begin to die down, before the one remaining guard can turn towards the sound of footsteps. He sprints, single silent weapon held in one hand. Down low at his side for the run, not above his head, not screaming either.

Thats really only in the movies.

He had /hoped/ to never have to do something like this again. A blade in the dark, in the silence, it was always the most effective in the sieges. Strike and fade and they didn't even know where they were, but it was messy. It was dangerous.

It brought back memories of nnot always using those kind of tactics on Toasters.

Now wasn't the time to hesitate, though hesitate he nearly does. Almost in range he wrong foots a moment, stumbling. Drawing the Toaster's attention as it starts to turn back towards him...

His other hand grabs the haft of the axe low as the carrying hand remains high as he swings up, blade passing his shoulder before crashing back down into the side of the metal monster's head.

Either shock, suprise, or sheer 'really an axe' causes the metal man to pause for /just/ long enough...

...and the hard bitted blade slams into steel with suprising force, driven by a short brutal blow of the man's arms. Giving up range for simple brutal power as he nearly severs the head of the Cylon.

Sparks fly as the body falls and Hunter continues, making for the damn ramp.

Ten minuites is too long. He needs to make that shorter.


This is the moment. The last moment. Maybe the last one ever. She should say something. They should say something. They may never be able to again, this might be the last time she ever sees Tomak and she can't even bring herself to look at him, and is that really how she's going to want to look back on this, atop whatever other bundle of hurts and regrets may become hers to shoulder? So she should say something. Anything. She knows that.

She doesn't. They don't. Maybe can't.

And then it's too late, and she's in the woods with Hunter King with her head full of humming fever and his instructions and offers to buy her drinks, his irrepressible wryness in the face of long odds, and other things besides -- listening to the clink of metal on metal, her face bathed moments later in the warm, red-gold light of that explosion. It's beautiful. Impressive. She finally gets to see what Tomak does. It sends a cramp of some nameless feeling through her expression, but there's no time to waste. Hunter bolts and she takes off after him, lungs almost instantly burning. She's not as quick as usual -- she's weak. She lags enough that when she sees him take that misplaced step and the Cylon's head turn it almost stops her heart, because she's too far away to make much difference, and he's so close to it, and she has her pistol, brings it up, aims, isn't sure she wouldn't hit him at this distance-

He recovers, though. It falls. Air rushes back into her lungs, finally.

They're a long way from finished.

She manages to close most of the distance in the time it takes to yank the axe free, and puts on a burst of speed as he approaches the ramp. To put out a hand and grab his arm, pull him back. Behind her. Wordlessly, even as she ascends the ramp, pistol up.

She's got the damn tac vest.


The cylon -- the body of it anyway -- twitches reflexively, as it slides down and thunks to the ground, still moving as they race past it.

The cylon which collapsed onto the second raider is burning, merrily. The broken wing has exposed a fuel line, leaking slowly but surely out onto the ground. It's only a matter of time before the two meet. Maybe the cylon trapped under that raider knows, maybe it doesn't. Either way, it's still striving to free itself when the pair of Wolves up on the other cylon, and one of them cleaves his fellow guard.

Cylons do not feel anger. They are logical. Those two are trying to steal the raider, and thus the cylon tries to murder them with a vengeance, weapon chattering as he fires full auto at the pair of them as they race up the ramp of the other raider.

The inside of the raider is empty. Very empty, compared to what they're used to -- consoles and screens and seats and storage -- none of that is needed for machines who can wirelessly interface with all the electronics that hum just underneath the surface. It all looks clean, sterile, even intimidating. For now, unuseable.

There's a clattering of gunfire from nearer the building. Short, single bursts -- someone preserving ammo -- and a return chatter of full-auto.

<FS3> Ines rolls Piloting: Great Success (8 8 7 7 6 4 4 1)

<FS3> Ines rolls Technician: Good Success (7 7 6 3 3)

<FS3> Ines rolls 2: Success (8 6 4 2)

<FS3> Hunter rolls Technician+4: Great Success (8 8 8 8 7 6 5 3 3 3 2)

<FS3> Hunter rolls Piloting+2: Good Success (8 8 6 5 5 3 3 3 2 1 1 1 1)

Bullets fly as he pounds up the ramp and he feels something punch him in the shoulder. That is likely bad, but he'll worry about it later. Right now he's focused, and adreneline is keepinng him just that.

"Can you do something about that bastard shooting at us?" He calls over his shoulder as he tears the pack off his back and rips it open. Speed here. No time for finesse. So he flips the axe over to use the spike on it like a prybar on the smooth metal of what /should/ be an instrument panel.

"We'll be flying blind for some of this, but I can jury rig something depending on how dummy proof all this is..." And judging from how hard these are to put down, he's going to bet there are dozens of redundant systems. If he can patch into one of them it should be ok...

The pannel comes off as he sets to work, checking wires and slamming them into the control box he brought. A frown of concentration before slowly a wicked grin fills his face.

"Right. Its not going to take ten minuites at all. I'll have the engines on..."

The deck rumbles under their feet.

"...about now. I'll have control in a second, weapons are going to take longer!"


This is what Ines does about the bastard shooting at them: she soaks the majority of that full-auto spray with her body, and as one round after another drills over her -- most of them visibly strike the vest, but a few punch through her borrowed coat: there are little spits of down feather each time. Paired with her momentum the impacts are enough to send her sprawling into the top of the ramp.

She keeps hold of the pistol. Twists onto her side, uses the ramp as a brace for her aim, and fires until she stops being fired at -- four, five, six shots, the muzzle flare of the pistol a bright, popping spark in the dim. It's three long seconds after that before she rolls over onto her hands and knees and, holstering her pistol, lurches to her feet, bracing a hand on the hatch of the raider before disappearing into it. Whether that's from fever and weakness or gunfire is not especially clear from any kind of distance at all.


She drops to her knees and shrugs her backpack off with a loud clink of the contents. Opening the top reveals cans of aerosol paint. "King," she says, breathless. "We've got to mark the outside." And by 'we,' she seems to mean 'him:' she doesn't look good. "I can get everything flight-ready once you have it under con-"


The engines come alive, and the feeling of that, vibrating up through her knees, pricks her eyes and nose with tingling heat. Her, "You did it," is probably lost in the sudden cockpit noise. "Never- nevermind. I've got it. I can get it. You just- you do what you're doing and don't stop for anything."

She leaves behind a ribbon of wet red as she gets back to her feet, cans in hand.


The trapped cylon keeps firing at the pilot sprawled on the raider's ramp, by any accounts wildly. Correa's third, maybe fifth and sixth shot hits it, the last of its spray of bullets pinging a metallic beat against the hull of the raider before its red gleam fades almost immediately.

When she ventures outside of the raptor to begin spray painting, Ines gets a good sight of the wreckage of the burning cylon on the other raider shifting, and dropping with a thud. It lands on the puddle of ever-increasing fuel, which immediately catches alight with a whoosh, tearing up into the other raider with a burning hunger. It'll only be a matter of minutes -- before it hits the primary fuel tank and explodes.

Meanwhile, the sound of gunfire has barely abated. Something explodes -- not the other raider, yet -- it's a rocket, slamming into the administration building. Part of the roof collapses, and there's silence for a moment, and then another, single shot, a second, then a third, then more clattering gunfire in return. The explosion did indeed seem to draw the cylons -- right to their location -- as per the plan. At least something is going right, relatively speaking.

<FS3> Hunter rolls Technician+2: Good Success (6 6 6 4 4 4 3 3 1)

There is a glance at the door as Hunter keeps working. There is a frown as that smear of crimson is noticed, along with the words she tosses at him. "Wait you don't need...YOU'RE BLEEDING GET BACK IN HER--" Then she's gone.

And the furious pilot keeps working, angrily twisting wires into his control box. Bypassing systems that he doesn't need to bypass. Building his own HUD out of this little remote control box of his. Its cobbled together with a dozen diffent parts. Biits of old radios and TVs. Game controlers pulled out of the trash. A holo-screen with a giant crack down the center.

...but somehow. Someway. It happens to be working.

"I HAVE WEAPONS! GET IN HERE!" He shouts towards the open hatch. As he shifts power to the engines, watching how the ship reacts.

"And get a rope tied to the ramp. I'm going after the stupid Tauran!"

...because screw just leaving anyone behind there.

Who cares if it gets them all killed. You only live once right.


After summarily ignoring Hunter's demand that she stay put, Ines is bent on the task of marking the outside of the raider. No words at all-

"What do you want it to say? Don't shoot me down? Idiots on board? Wolves for life?"

-but instead only long slashes, broad and heavy bands sprayed too closely so they run and drip, swirls and meaningless noise, one hand braced against the aircraft. She's getting paint on it, but she needs the support.

That's what she's doing when she hears something she's heard three times in recent memory, far too close for comfort, and for a moment she thinks: That's it. They're going to blow up the raider rather than let us take it. We're finished. But the impact happens behind her, and for long moments she can't bring herself to turn and look, can of paint held in a slack arm, heart pumping icewater. Prepared to break.

Only the return fire animates her again, and coincidentally this is when Hunter mentions that he has the weapons systems working.

She flings the can onto the ground -- sorry Picon -- and then sprints up the ramp with only the slightest limp. "Close the hatch, let's-"

Get a rope, he says -- as though the Cylons have rope lying around -- because he wants to go after the stupid Tauran. Ines stares at him, mouth open, indescribable things passing through her expression. How can she say the words? How can she do this?

It almost kills her. She chokes on every syllable.

"No. He won't - he won't come. Trust me, I know. The best-" She can't. She has to. "The best thing we can do for him now is go. Throw a little bit of covering fire on the way out but don't stay, Hunter, because there are rockets, just get us out of here." Her expression trembles in the wake of that impossible thing she just did, control over it something she's hanging onto by a thread. "Please hurry."


There's two, near simultaneous explosions. The first -- the nearer to them -- is the other, damaged raider, the fire reaching the fuselage, and practically tearing it apart from the inside. Hot, burning shrapnel flies in all directions, more than one piece thudding into the side of King and Correa's raider. If there's damage -- if a damage system is reporting it -- they're not hooked up to those systems, although the controls seem to still be responsive enough.

And they're up -- into the air, barely -- but not far when a second explosion rockets the ground near where the rocket originated, past the building. It has all the hallmarks of one of Gage's explosions, if by hallmark it's big and orange and brilliant in its sudden heat and impact. There's still movement down there, but thankfully no rockets to delay their lift from the ground and into the sky.

...no damage systems. And no proximity warning or incoming missile warnings.

Make that three explosions.

A missile slams into the ground where they were seconds ago, the smoke trail leading back to a raider -- another raider, this one in the air and fully functional and firing at them. The explosion is strong enough to knock anyone near the ramp back -- and for the raider to buck uncontrollably as it rides the sudden wave of unstable force for a moment.


"There is rope in my damn pack!" Hunter shouts back towards her as he pulls the controls to get the Raider off the ground. The little controls he's fashioned beep at him as he does do, slowly slewing it around to face towards the burning building and...

...and then the world explodes.

He fights the stabilizers after the first pair of explosions. But its the third that causes his eyes to widen and him to battle against the makeshift controls...

Because there in front of him is a fully intact Raider. That isn't friendly.

Hunter's eyes narrow.

"Hold that thought." He growls as he flicks the weapon systems to active.

They don't know he has weapons. "And /hold onto something/."

The pilot warns for a second as he flicks his makeshift controls, looking suspiciously like something from a console game system, to active.

And lets the crosshairs swim across other ship. "I'm going to need your help with this!" He adds as he kicks the other 'control' sticks towards Ines. "I can't shoot an pilot at the same time!"


The thing about the rope is the last thing she can stand. It's one straw too many, and her voice is torn by the weight of all of the things she's not talking about. "I said he won't frakking come...!" And Ines, not a physically violent human -- or at least, only ever (...usually) physically violent toward sentient machines -- hauls off and boots the side of her backpack, sending it skidding into the nose of the raider. "Now SHUT THE FRAK UP and GET US THE F-"

An explosion ensures she never gets to finish hurling invectives, slung away from her place near the ramp and into the belly of the thing, striking the far wall with her back. A little sound gets punched out of her, but she doesn't pitch over onto her feet -- just leaves behind another of those vague, concern-making smudges on the wall, from some location difficult to discern. The second explosion convinces her she's better off kneeling, and the third leaves her grappling with the shape of the wall, trying to hold on until things, including herself, stop skidding around.

When he pushes the control box her way, she braces a foot against the sidewall in case of further turbulence and reaches for it, remaining prone. As if that prior moment hadn't happened at all, all of her focus goes into doing what she'd been shouting at him to do: getting them out of there.

<FS3> Ines rolls Piloting: Good Success (8 8 7 6 4 4 1 1)

<FS3> Hunter rolls Gunnery: Good Success (8 8 8 7 5 4 2 1 1 1 1)

This time, the missile doesn't look inclined to miss -- but Ines' piloting spares them little more than loud scraaaape of a near-miss against the hull and rear left. The controls bearing right are a little clunky -- only grudgingly turning -- but still more than serviceable.

Both pilots have flown enough missions against raiders to know the other raider's missiles have clicked empty, but it dogs them all the same.

King's missile streaks out of their raider, obedient to their commands, oblivious to their humanity. It slams directly into the other raider, despite its last-minute attempt to veer out of the way. The shattered wreckage plummets to the ground, adding to the strewn wreckage down there.

For the moment, all is silent. Maybe it's the calm in the storm, maybe not. But for now, nothing's trying to shoot and and/or kill them. Granted, there's still a long trip back to friendly skies -- and some way to convince the friendlies they are friendly -- but for now they are safe.


Hunter isn't going to resist a snarl of satisfaction as the Raider explodes in a shower of flame and fire. Only after that moment of satisfaction is past does he realize that they are already /far/ away from the explosions.

And the fires.

And the building with the Tauren in it.

He looks over towards Ines for a moment before, in a rare moment of self preservation, decides not to say anything about the fact that she just left him.

Instead he just turns his attention back to the wires in front of him. Then back towards her. "Can you keep it steady? I can make sure you don't bleed out...and try to get some kind of IFF or coms working. Before our own ships knock us out of the sky..."

...sometimes...he actually does know when he should be quiet.


She...left him.

After everything, and even though he wouldn't leave her, she made that call. She...she just...

It's only Hunter's presence that holds her together, in the end. She won't, will not, break in front of Hunter King. Not so much as shed a tear. As much shouting as she was doing moments ago -- not because she doesn't appreciate that he wanted to risk everything to go and get Gage, but because she does -- it's the fact that he's there at all that means they have any shot at all at getting to base. For reasons that have nothing to with his ability to hotwire a Heavy Raider (the stuff of legends).

"I can do it," she confirms, when she trusts herself to speak. Her voice is raw and hollow, but steady. She doesn't object to his suggestion that he tend her wounds, but neither does she make any move to get up and help him do that.

...He will probably have more luck with the comms.


Even if she doesn't help, he isn't going to let her just bleed out all over the deck plates. Not only does he just /not/ want to loose anyone else, he needs her to pilot. But mostly because he hates loosing people. And beyond that, she is more than just people. She is someone he trained with.

"Sorry." Is all he murmurs quietly as he works. Though for what that he's sorry for, he doesn't elaborate.

Which might be a blessing.

However he does go back to fix the radio. Trying to get just the barest of power working in the alien system. Something that /won't/ get them shot down.

He's quiet while he works though. Focusing on the task that won't get them killed.

Especially now.

<FS3> Hunter rolls Tech: Success (8 6 4 2)

<FS3> Hunter rolls Technician: Success (8 7 4 4 4 3 3)


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