The marines assault the mine to save Aldrich and the other prisoners.
Related Scenes: None
Scene Number: 1664
It was a long day toiling in the mines, but eventually the group of prisoners including Deb and Al were brought back to the cavern where they started. By Deb's estimation it should be getting on towards evening, but it's impossible to tell way down here with no hint of daylight. The weary prisoners sprawl and rest around the cave, eating some meager protein bars and drinking water from dirty tin cups. Then, suddenly, there's a rumble from overhead, dust raining down from the ceiling briefly. It's not so much of an earth-shattering kaboom down here as it was on the airfield, but it's still noticeable.
With the workday over, Al is not so much sprawled as he is curled up against one of the cave walls, near one of the dim light sources. He turned down a protein bar, claiming nausea, but he's sipping water and squinting into the gloom, waiting for a sign. The kaboom, even muffled by distance and earth, causes him to jump, and he moves to climb (slightly unsteadily) to his feet, with a solemn look toward Deb. "It's time."
Some distance from the mine area, there's a ravine. And in the ravine is what's supposedly a rear entrance to the mine system. And that's where Lyn, Geoff and Cate are, awaiting the signal. Cate has finished wiring up some makeshift explosive charges around the rockfall that's blocking the entrance, dragging a wire back to their cover. "Gods, I hope this works," she mumbles as she connects the wires to one of Gage's detonator circuits.
The signal is unmistakeable - a kaboom followed by a plume of orange fire streaking up into the dark sky over yonder. Cate glances to the other two marines, tension obvious on her face.
Back in the mine, Deb's head snaps up at the unfamiliar sound, and she immediately looks to Aldrich, sitting nearby. At his confirmation, she nods and stands, offering a hand to steady him. "What do we do?" she whispers urgently.
Lyn is not her usual laser focused self. This isn't just about freeing POWs. This is about rescuing her idiotically selflessly heroic fianc�. The jerk. She swallows and looks over to Cate, giving a nod and checking her rifle with what little ammo she still has in it.
Geoff has been even more taciturn than he usually is on a mission, his mouth shut and his rifle firmly in hand. He does, however, pre-emptively flinch in anticipation of the explosion.
"Here goes," Cate says, more nervous than either of them have ever seen her. She flips the switch on the detonator and ducks down as their explosion - much smaller than the one at the fuel depot, of course, but still quite loud - blows chunks of dirt and rock up into the air, pelting across their cover.
In the mine, this can be heard as a much more subtle rumble from behind them - more in the direction they were mining earlier than the topside area.
Aldrich takes the helping hand, and scans the caves. He still has a kind of glassy-eyed look, but if he's still suffering from the concussion, at least he's still sharp enough to answer the question. "There's a back entrance to the cavern. They are supposed to clear it for us." he explains, quiet and urgent. "We should move quickly, but try to keep people from panicking." The secondary explosion interrupts his instructions, and he gives a grim smile. "That'll be us. Sounds like it's this way." He starts stepping toward the sound of the second explosion, then pauses and gestures for the others to come along.
Lyn keeps her head down for the explosion, one arm up to shield herself from the raining debris. Once the dust settles she's up and out of the ravine, racing to the opening to see if they have a way in now.
"Frak," Geoff mumbles from his cover, but he doesn't hesitate to follow Lyn, rifle at the ready.
Deb is visibly anxious, but there's also an edge of cautious excitement on her face. Could this be it? Their chance to get out? "It's time," she calls to the other prisoners. Many give blank looks, confused. Some jump up - having gotten the message through Aldrich's scripture story. A few faces among the crowd had turned to Deb and Al when they heard the noise, tensing. Now that the signal has been confirmed these ringleaders spring into action and start prodding people into action. The Cylons don't bother with a guard directly on the prisoners, though there are some scattered throughout the mine. They rely on metal gates to keep them corralled. But now, with the rescue nigh, two of the prisoners begin assaulting the rear gate's lock with rocks. Deb sticks close to Al.
Cate follows a few steps behind Lyn and Geoff, having traded the detonator for her SMG. The explosives worked like a charm, it seems, blowing a chunk of rocks away. They need to clear a few loose ones that linger, but they definitely have a way in. It looks dark in there, though. There are no lights in the ceiling in this back, unused section like there are in the part of the mine where the prisoners are being kept. And that's a bit of a problem for Cate. As Lyn and Geoff head inside, they may realize that she's stuck leaning against the "doorjamb" of the rocky entrance. If it weren't so dark they might see that her face has gone white - but regardless of the dim light her wide-eyed fear is apparent.
Lyn scales over the detritus of the former rock fall, rolling what she needs to out of the way of their entrance. She looks back over her shoulder at her teammates, her friends, and then heads in first. Once a scout, always a scout. Her ears perk in the darkness, pausing a moment to let her eyes adjust, knowing the deeper they go, the less she'll see.
Aldrich is probably not in good shape for breaking locks, however hard he's been trying not to show it, so he stands back to let the others attack it. He murmurs a little prayer in Gemenese, and then adds, "Ares guide us." He glances to Deb and gives a small, encouraging smile.
Geoff makes it to Cate's position and peers over the shoulder. "What's wrong?" he whispers.
Deb stands back as well, murmuring something under her breath. It may sound familiar to Aldrich - a Celtan prayer that Cate's said on occasion. She chews on what's left of her fingernail, watching the progress of the guys smashing the lock. Certainly feels like it's taking forever. The sound of distant cracks echoes through the mine caverns from above - gunshots, but muffled by the weird echoes.
Outside, they can hear the gunfire much more clearly. Must be the other team (Picon partisans) hitting the prisoners by the loading area. There's also a secondary explosion from the fuel depot.
Cate glances over at Geoff. Her mouth opens, like she's about to say something, but then she just shakes her head, a pained expression on her face. "The cave.. I thought I could..." Her fingers are white-knuckled on the SMG.
Geoff looks over at Cate. He blinks once, then nods. "Can you stand guard here?" he proposes, looking back toward Lyn.
Lyn keeps going. Every shot sounding, every explosion, makes it more likely the Cylons will send troops to grab the POWs in the mine. Either to move them or use them as shields.
Aldrich glances aside, curiosity mildly piqued when he hears Deb's prayer, but there's no time to ask. The gunshots draw his attention away, then he shifts his weight as though to get a better look at the lock progress. He must not have a good line of sight, or perhaps it's the dim cave lighting, because he leans toward Deb and asks, under his breath, "How are they doing? Is it working?"
With Lyn disappearing from view, single-minded on her mission, Cate knows they're out of time. Geoff's question only makes her face scrunch up more. How can she leave Al in there? She fumbles in a pouch on her belt, fishing out a glowstick and cracking it open. Taking a shuddering breath, she says to Geoff, "Let's go." With considerable effort, she starts scrambling over the rocks to follow after Lyn, her tiny light providing scant illumination.
Geoff scratches his chest and turns to hurry after Lyn, trying not to skid on loose rocks.
"I think so," Deb says to Aldrich, unable to hide the nerves in her voice. Then, elated, she says, "Yes!" And sure enough - the lock has been smashed and the prisoners in front pull the gates open. There's some jostling and shoving, but the ringleaders seem to be doing a good job of keeping everyone in line with a few harsh rebukes and counter-shoves. "Can you walk okay?" Deb asks Al, ready to lend a hand if needed.
Lyn pauses in the tunnel, crouching to listen, test the air, wait for her teammates footsteps to catch up. Her face is ghostly white, but she looks steady. Just maybe a flashback or ten of looking for survivors on Aquaria way back. People she cared about, citizens, strangers. All of it.
Aldrich gets jostled a little, in the excitement, but he's not knocked over, at least. "I'm fine. It's just dark in here." He smiles grimly and takes her hand, so they can head into the deeper darkness of the corridors. "Don't let them panic."
Cate struggles to put one foot in front of the other, face still pale and sweaty, breathing ragged. They quickly close the distance to Lyn and the group continues on. There are a few places where they have to pick a fork in the tunnels, but they know the main part of the mine lies to the east and that makes it at least an educated guess. Finally they reach a T-junction where the ceiling's lighted. As they ponder which way to go, they hear a burst of gunfire - very close - and then screams from the right tunnel.
The prisoners pour through the open gate. "Stay calm everyone," Deb urges at Al's prompting. "We'll get out of here just... stay calm." It's a little awkward, realizing she's repeating herself. Realizing that she's anything but calm herself. She moves with Aldrich - near the front of the group but not on the front lines. Still, they have a plain view of the two Cylon Centurions that step around a curve a short distance ahead to block the path of the escaping prisoners. The Cylons shoot a burst of gunfire into the ceiling, causing a chunk of rock and dust to fall down. If the prisoners weren't panicked before, they are now. Even Deb screams.
"Frak," Geoff hisses at the sudden gunfire, and crouches, walking in that posture toward the right to see if he can see anything.
Lyn checks her compass at the junctions and makes the most easterly choices she can by the light of Cate's glowstick. When they reach the T she frowns, until she hears the gunshots and screams. Then her eyes go wide as saucers and she launches into a full tilt run towards the gunfire. Her rifle comes up as she moves.
Aldrich reacts belatedly to the Centurions. It's not the sight of them but the burst of gunfire that makes him duck, instinctively, and reach for the rifle he doesn't have. "Frack..." He puts out a hand to grab Deb's arm and falls back, pulling her with him. He grabs anyone he can with his other hand to pull them back, as well. "Back. Go back!"
With or without Al's prompting, the terrified prisoners are pushing back towards the gated area, in full-on panic mode. A few are frozen in place - including Deb. Good thing Al pulls her arm, dragging her into motion. The Cylons advance on the prisoners. Not shooting any more, but seeming content just to herd them under threat of force.
Cate jumps at the gunfire too, and that seems to crystalize her focus. The fact that they're no longer just relying on her pitiful little glowstick to navigate no doubt helps as well. She sucks in a breath at the screams and raises her weapon to the ready position, following after Lyn. It's a cautious approach, somewhere between Lyn's run and Geoff's crouching-walk.
Aldrich pushes Deb on ahead of him, back out of way of the Cylons. Whatever manners his parents taught him out the window. Coincidentally, that puts him between her and the Cylons. Go figure. "We have to find a way around." He has to raise his voice a little over the noise made by the frightened prisoners. "We can't let them drive us all the way back..."
Geoff is the first to pull the trigger, trying to light up the back of one of those Cylons.
Lyn drops to one knee and steadies her aim to fire at the Centurions. Her teeth grind together from the stress of those previously heard gunshots, and it's too dark to tell if there has been bleeding happening.
"Around? Around where?" is Deb's panicked reply. She stumbles and falls over some rocks on the floor, her weight pulling on Al's arm.
Cate hugs the wall, taking aim at one of the Cylons. Afraid of hitting the prisoners, she fires just single shots at the Cylons' heads.
It doesn't take much to get the Cylons' attention, and they wheel on the marines. Only this time, they're not aiming for the ceiling.
Aldrich stumbles at the pull on his arm, lands on his bad leg, and goes down to one knee with a startled yelp. Grim-faced, he clutches Deb's arm and works to pull her back up, even as he's scrambling to regain his own feet. "I don't know... It's too dark, I don't--" He stops, head going up as a different timbre of gunfire sounds. "Wait..."
Geoff isn't spraying bullets, either, but he's being fairly aggressive while they have the element of surprise on their side.
Deb manages to get to her feet with Al's help, but then lets out another little shriek at the renewed gunfire, holding her free hand up to her ear. The prisoners are now screeching to a halt behind them, pressing back - caught between the Cylons under fire from the marines, and another obstacle that isn't apparent at first. But soon enough it becomes obvious, as some more gunfire and screams comes from the cavern they left behind. The POWs are trapped between a rock and a hard place.
Lyn continues firing steadily. "KEEP DOWN!" she hollers at the POWs so she can continue to aim above the waist at the enemy with less chance of hitting a civilian or Aldrich. A bullet grazes her upper arm but she doesn't even flinch as she blows a hole through the Centurion's chest. She kicks the sparking corpse aside and beckons at the prisoners. "We're getting you out of here, come on!"
Aldrich finds himself jostled by the prisoners as they stop and turn back again. "What..." Then the gunfire and screams make him realize what's happening. "Oh gods." He freezes for a moment, an uncharacteristic display of indecision. But Lyn's scream must get through to him, because he jumps into action and pulls Deb down, giving her what cover he can with only a wall to crouch against. He's pretty slow to react to Lyn's beckoning. Shock, possibly.
Cate fires several times. It wasn't the spectacular head shot she would have preferred, but it does help to take down the second Cylon. Some bullets ping off the wall behind her, but so far her luck has held out. She edges forward along the wall, searching for Aldrich. "Al?" When more gunfire rings out on the opposite side of the prisoners, she starts hurrying forward.
The prisoners near the front, cowering at the gunfire, start to realize they're soldiers and not more Cylons. They start scrambling up, rushing towards the marines.
Lyn starts ushering the POWs past her, telling them which way to go and the turns to make in reverse to get out the way they came in. She's clearly searching each face to find Al.
Aldrich remains half-crouched, half-leaning against the wall with Deb. It takes a few long moments for him to realize it's safe to move, and even then, he's slow to clamber to his feet. He never releases the grip he has on Deb's arm, but he starts stumbling toward the sound of familiar voices calling his name.
"Follow him!" Cate yells as Geoff starts directing the prisoners filtering past them. She continues moving forward against the tide, searching for Aldrich. Hot on the trail of the back half of the POWs are two more Cylons. "Frak! Lyn - two more!" she yells to Lyn, bringing up her gun to fire again.
Deb cowers by the wall with Aldrich, trying to make herself small as people push by her. "We're going to get tramp..." she starts to say, then she's staring at the marines that Al is making his way towards.
"Got em!" Lyn calls back to Cate as she slices past the last of the prisoners to fire on the trailing Cylons. "Mother frakking tin cans are NOT going to ruin my frakking WEDDING!" she bites out through clenched teeth.
Aldrich pulls Deb closer, presumably to keep her out of the way of the other fleeing prisoners. "We're not going to get trampled," he replies, oblivious to the fact that she never finished that thought. Given his serious expression, maybe he's just too focused on keeping them moving in the right direction. "Lyn?!"
"Al!" Cate's shout at finally seeing her friend alive is half-laugh, half-tearful cry. She barely even notices the other prisoner he's holding onto. "Get down!" She's motioning at them to get down, moving to a position between them and the Cylons. "Get out of the way!" She waves at the other prisoners still in front of her.
Deb doesn't reply to Aldrich, though she keeps clinging to his arm with a death grip. He's her life preserver in all of this. Her eyes, though, are tracking the slim marine is calling his name and moving closer to them. A bewildered expression settles on Deb's face. "Catey?" It's not enough to get Cate's attention, but Al might hear it.
Cate steps up on a little rocky outcropping to get a clear shot over prisoners' heads, laying down enough fire to take out one of the Toasters. But not before it gets a parting shot off. At least it catches her in the vest. Again. Deb gasps.
Lyn is mercilessly in the onslaught of gunfire she unloads into the last of the Cylons. Then her gun clicks over empty. She took another hit, this one in the shoulder, but it's a through and through and she should be ok. "Al!" she calls out as she turns, and spots him with Cate and the other prisoner. She rushes over.
Aldrich is almost clinging to Deb as much as she's clinging to him, which is... odd, to say the least. His expression turns almost as bewildered as Deb's when she says Cate's name. Or a version of it, anyway. "What?" The gasp causes him to tense. "Deb..." He doesn't even seem to see Lyn's approach, but he hears Cate's warning, at least. "Get down," he echoes, and pulls her down, following Cate's order.
Cate grunts and rocks back against the wall when the bullets strike her vest, grimacing and winded. "That all of them?" she asks through gritted teeth, still scanning the cavern. When it seems clear, for now, she backs up to where Al and Deb are. Seeing Lyn making a beeline for Al, Cate gives them space and instead focuses on the woman beside her. "Come on, let's..." She stops cold when her brain registers Deb's face. "My Gods. Deb? But..." The medic is stunned speechless, and Deb doesn't seem much better.
Lyn's rifle hangs at her side, empty of ammo and in an arm that couldn't lift it right now if she had to, thanks to that shot to the shoulder. "Al, are you all right?" she asks, reaching a good hand for his shoulder. Her hand is trembling as the adrenaline of the fight wears off and her actual state of worry and exhaustion comes to the forefront.
Aldrich still has that glassy-eyed look. "Lyn?" His hand touches hers on his shoulder, but he never quite looks directly at her. "I... don't think so." An unprecedented admission! "But I'm alive. We need to get these people out of here." His attention wanders slightly, though he clasps Lyn's hand as though to avoid losing her. "Cate? Deb? What's wrong?"
Hearing Al say the name too seems to snap Cate out of her trance. Maybe she isn't hallucinating. Or she's hallucinating so badly she's dragging Al into it. Either way, she lunges forward - bruised ribs be damned - and wraps her arms around her friend. "I can't believe it," she says, definitely crying now. Deb is still at a loss for words, but she seems more in disbelief toward her barely-recognizable friend. But now's not the time for reunions. Sniffling, Cate releases Deb and starts ushering her out. "We gotta get out of here. Go - I'll bring up the rear." Since she's the only one who seems to still have bullets in her gun. Speaking of which... she takes her pistol and presses it into Al's hand, her teary expression full of relief that he's all right(ish).
Aldrich fumbles with the pistol when it's pressed into his hand, but he doesn't exactly bring it up to use it. He doesn't look at Cate anymore than he had looked at Lyn, but he pushes the pistol back at her with an expression of regret. "Cate..." He hesitates, possibly mindful of worrying Lyn, but he has to say /something/ so he explains, "Take it back. I can't aim right now."
Cate looks confused, and concerned, but she takes the gun back without raising a fuss about it. Which is probably a sign of how off-balance /she/ is as well. But then there's no more time for chatting, as they're ushering the rest of the prisoners towards the exit.