PHD #111: All The Way
All The Way
Summary: Without any word of a potential extraction, an all volunteer team of Marines and Deck HALO jump down to Anadyomene to ensure that the Vipers are warmed and ready for the rescue operation.
Date: 17 June 2041 AE
Related Logs: All the build to the Rescue Operation
Constin Cadmus Coll NPC 
Somewhere over Leonis…
Its a Raptor. Buttons. And a big door that leads to an inevitable doom.
Post-Holocaust Day: #111

Eight people in a single Raptor. One pilot, one ECO, three Deck enlisted, and three Marines. Every single one of them is in a standard-issue Colonial Flight suit for this operation. The primary exception is that the Deck crew and Marines are strapped into the same ejection gear that the pilots normally only see during maintenance or Really Bad Situations. Coll is currently sitting next to the two enlisted with her from that team. Behind the plastic, each one of them looks damned nervous or just outright scared. The PO3 Viper tech puked four times before they left the hangar deck. Coll isn't looking any better but she's held it together thus far even if she is sitting closest to the door. Up front, the pilot and ECO have been trading calls and runs-up for the jump to Leonis and leaving the Cerb battleground. "FTL spooled and ready to go, sir," calls the ECO to the pilot. The Raptor driver cranes a bit in her ejection seat and looks to Constin. "We're ready to jump Corporal. Shall we do this?"

Constin is sitting, crammed into a pilot's pressurized suit, nearest to the hatch on the second bench. The big marine had to pass off carrying the microwave transmitter and what limited explosive charges the team could carry to the other two marines, sacrificed on the altar of 'maximum capacity'. His breathing is more rapid and deeper than usual, but his expression under the blue lit faceplate is set in a fixed scowl. The pilot's question draws Constin's eye, turning at the shoulders to face the pilot. "Do or Die, sir," he drawls with a nod.

Cadmus has remained silent for the duration of the launch: his mouth is moving, but his radio hookup has been switched off thus far. His lips have been moving, no doubt muttering sweet nothings to Artemis and Hermes, but he's spared the rest of the passengers the running commentary. As the pilot addresses Corporal Constin, however, he stops. Nodding once to Constin and Coll, he gives a quick thumbs-up gesture and switches his comms back on. Voice made tinny and distant by the helmet mic, Cadmus says, "Where eagles and sane men fear to tread, Crewman. Never broken by hardship or battle!"

The pilot nods once. "Let's hope that isn't the case, Corporal. More doing. Less dying." Of course, she doesn't have to make the actual HALO. "Jumping in five, four.." The FTL's whine lifts audibly. She doesn't finish the count, either. Suddenly, there's a bright flash and then they are staring out the window at the local star and the curved outline of Leonis. "Jump successful. We're here. FTL still spooled.." The ECO trails off and then the pilot picks up: "Descending to one-hundred twenty thousand feet. Slowing to two-hundred knots indicated. Be ready for the jump in twenty seconds."

Coll hasn't moved. She's just staring straight ahead at the ECO panel. Anyone's guess what's on her mind.

"Twenty seconds," Constin repeats woodenly, eyes closing briefly as he swallows once in the wake of the FTL jump. Another deep breath drawn and let out, the nervous tick that has emerged over the past half hour: checking the oxygen levels within his helmet, checking the altimeter on his right wrist, and running over the sequence the Air Wing instructors had drilled into him over the past week. He breathes exactly every two seconds as he counts down from twenty. Sidearm, rifle, grenade all secured and failsafe strapped to flight suit, as is the new element of gear: the jump knife.

"Hey, Crewman! Lauren!" Cadmus actually speaks directly to Coll, in between a series of checks that almost completely mirror Constins. He taps two fingers to his brow, then gestures up and down the whole array of jump-prepping crew. "After this," he says, "We'll all be officially crazier than that EOD guy I told you about. Think about telling this story to your kids. Nothing they do'll even come close." Irrepressible, as always: Cadmus is either biologically incapable of thinking about possible negative outcomes, or he's a hell of an actor.

"We're on station. Vasquez, open the hatch." The ECO does as ordered. Said door opens in front of them and its black above them and partially lit down below. From this altitude, the view is spectacular. The curvature of the entire colony is plainly visible and stands in sharp contrast to some of the visible stars on the darker side of the colony. Clouds stretch in long whisps, their white blankets looking almost like fluffy cotton before they disappear into the blackness of night that is rapidly approaching. Below them, Anadyomene's runway is visible. Barely. The dark line of night is just about to crest over the base. Around them, the pilot speaks up. "We'll be jumping away ten seconds after the last one is out the door. You'll hear a loud bang. Its normal. Good luck and Gods' speed." She lifts a salute.

Coll barely manages a smile to Cadmus. "Right. Kids. I don't think any of us are sane enough to be trusted with children," she offers nervously as she stands, shuffling up under all the weight. She's already packing a ton of gear and its attached to a jump vest across the front of her. The woman has to waddle when she moves just to be able to handle it, lifting a hand to balance as she steps towards the door. A glance back to everyone else and she returns the salute. The Crewman looks like she wants to say something but is stunned into silence by the moment and the gravity of it all. Coll's plainly scared to death. Instead of saying anything, though, she gulps a long breath of air in her suit and looks back out the door before waddling a step onto the wingtip. She rocks back once and uses both her feet and arms to shove out of the doorway and into the descent.

Constin returns the salute as he stands, gripping the rail mounted into the raptor for- Well, it can't be put there specifically for this, but it serves. The opening of the hatch and the rush of air out into nothingness over Leonis, the big marine simply turns and keeps his grip on the railing. The curved world below holds his eye for a moment, before he forces his grip to loose, and unfamiliar boots step toward the open hatch. "It's time," he states as he heads out the hatch. The instructors said to walk, but he finds himself running, despite the advice. Again, despite the advice, he holds his breath as the raptor's deck is no longer beneath him.

Immediately behind Constin, Cadmus favors a glance back at the Raptor's interior as he approaches the vastness the stratosphere. He raps on the Raptor's hull twice, snaps a salute at the flight crew, and dives out the door. As soon as he begins to fall away from the ship, he begins double-checking the altimeter, oxygen feed, and weaponry strapped down on his vest. Yes, the altimeter is correct: it is Way Too High Up, and velocity is increasing.

The roar of air is intense. The pressure of the air rushing against the suit is the only thing more powerful. Behind them, the last of the team jumps out of the door and extends their arms. True to promise, the Raptor's silhouette flashes behind them, the -BOOM- tremendous. It is almost enough to knock the breath out of those closest to the jumping ship. Below them, the colony does not seem to be getting any closer. It's a long way down, to be sure. But as their speeds increase towards terminal velocity, the altimeters on their wrists begin to unwind faster. And faster. After only thirty seconds or so, smallish vapor cones appear in front of each member of the HALO team as they approach the speed of sound. Coll, for her part, just falls through the air without violent maneuvering or unsure movements. She's far from a pro but it is fairly obvious she's jumped before. But never from this altitude. Ever. Fair few ever had.

Constin's running start gives him a bad sort of momentum, and it's a painfully long moment before he manages to start falling facedown. When the Raptor jumps away, he's falling headfirst. Semi-effective flailing of arms and legs slowly, gradually brings him into the proper facedown position, only then gulping in the first lungful of breath he'd been holding prior. "Ho-lee frak.." he grits out through clenched teeth, breaths now coming much faster than a mile a minute.

Cadmus is relaxed. There is no fighting for position, no attempt to move into particular lines with other jumpers, not anything above a spread-eagle drift toward Leonis's surface. It is abundantly apparent Cadmus has jumped - at best - the bare minimum required by CMC Boot. And it's also abundantly apparent he is *looking around*. The curvature of a planet, unmediated by Raptor or commercial airliner, is the kind of thing one so rarely sees as it must be savored when it can be.
GAME: Save complete.

Hitting sixty thousand feet, Coll is still out front. She jumped first. She's been watching her altimeter like a hawk. But its tough when the obviously fast-approaching colony is DEFINITELY getting closer. An arm tucks in and she pulls the first of two ripcords. The pack's top flap opens as advertised and a small drogue chute pops out. In the blink of an eye, its already stiff against the wind. The woman slows during this planned maneuver and the vapor cone disappears as her descent becomes more stable. Her arm extends again and waves to get their attention. Her finger count comes up. Three. Zero. Five. 3:05 to main chute deployment.

By the time Coll deploys the drogue chute, Constin had stabilized his freefall and steadied his breathing. The first handle is pulled and his own primary chute spits out, a split second after Coll's, his eyes moving from the ripcord handle in his sealed glove, to the altimeter, to Coll's handsign, again. "Three oh five…" Inexplicably, the big man chuckles.

Falling into line with the other jumpers, Cadmus snaps his drogue out; he counts seconds before checking his main chute syncs properly with both time and altitude. It is at this point he steadies his assault rifle against his chest and begins looking around at the others. "Altitude check, eighteen clicks. External temperature approaching negative sixty degrees. Readouts are green," he murmurs to himself - radio on silent once again.

Below them, the blackness is just beginning to overtake Anadyomene. The star casts long shadows across the terrain and almost gives it a foreboding aire. About this time, the base would have turned on its runway lights. But on a dead planet with no electricity? Its completely black after the light has left. Thus as they drop, the light begins to disappear as the sun dips around the side of Leonis in a very rapid sunset. As they pass five thousand feet Coll focuses all her attention on the altimeter. She's not even looking around anymore at all. 4000. 3000. 2000. 1000. The numbers flash past as the ground rushes up. Trees have definition at this altitude. Abandoned cars litter the roads and parking lots. Seconds to death. One way or another, they are going to hit the ground. Coll reaches across her chest and pulls the second ripcord at seven hundred feet. The drogue chute peels away and the main chute pops open. Its an incredibly violent action and the Crewman nearly buckles under the pull of the chute and the hundred plus pounds of gear strapped to her. Her head dips and it looks painful. She only has time to swing in the chute six full times before she's approaching a grassy area beside the runway.

Constin's breathing gets faster and deeper as the dial spins closer and closer to the time. His gloved hand taked the ripcord handle and adjusts its grip three times before tightening and pulling hard to lose the chute. The comm between helmets is not engaged, so the lung shaking holler interspersed with nervous laughter is heard only by the man himself. He hits the ground solidly, not looking like a rookie jumper as he keeps his feet, promptly shrugging out of the jump harness, with a look around at the rest of the team.

The automatic buzz of Cadmus's altimeter coincides with his readiness for manual override. As the drogue falls away and the main chute extends, he tenses his body. Back stiff, neck tensed, he's ready for the snap; he still grits his teeth in the helmet as the straps gouge heavily into his body. The actual landing is no less bone-crunching - a heavy impact on hard-packed earth isn't pleasant no matter who you are. But the junior marine is popping back as soon as he hits the ground, his arms in motion unslinging the rifle so that he can sweep the airbase for movement. By the numbers: land, disconnect chute, drop pack, secure area.

Coll hits the ground and doesn't bother trying to even stand up. Its just not possible under all that weight. However, she falls just as she drunkenly demonstrated a few nights ago. She doesn't even bother trying to stand while her hands come up and disconnect the chute quickly. It just falls limp to the ground and she begins to unstrap everything so she can actually get up, taking her helmet off first. Even in the low and fading light, she's pale. There's a glances to Cadmus and Constin and the others as they land. "Everyone alright?" Lauren does her best to keep her whispered voice free of what she's feeling. More relief. Lots of adrenaline. Abating fear.

The silence here is deafening, for not even the winds dare to disturb what remains of Colonial Fleet Air Station Anadyomene. Its three runways are littered by the wreckage of Vipers and Raptors, their grotesquely melted frames maintaining a sick parody of their original shape. Blasted barracks stand in eerie tribute to the people who died here, their windows completely shattered, their doors completely wrecked. Poured concrete runways are black and rippled, having been liquefied and reshaped by the heat from the Cylons' neutron bombs. They're dotted here and there by the still-feathered skeletons of over a thousand dead birds: the first victims of the radiation that still hangs like an invisible mist over the mountainous ridge into which this base has been built. The ridge nearby has the hangar entrances built into them, as suspected. One has already been blasted open. The other has a huge amount of rubble at the doorway. In the center of the runway is the MV Eidolon's bulk. The landing ramp is still down. Behind it and in front of it, two wreckages are visible. Both are Raptors. The one immediately aft is completely exploded and shredded. The one fore of the Eidolon is overturned and looks like it skidded to a messy landing in the dirt before going up in flames.

Constin checks on the status of the other jumpers, and brings the butt of his rifle to his shoulder before hauling off the flight helmet. Shoulders heave with big breaths, still, and the marine's flushed face is wide eyed and grinning. Fear and exhilaration, meet marine. "Team up, team up," he repeats with retrained intensity. "Cad, get to high ground and get me a lookout." He indicates the ridge, letting out a snort of air and nearly bouncing on the balls of his feet. "Let's look at this thing.."

"All right, El. Going to encrypted short-range, F-32, because I'm gonna need some rules of engagement here. I have negative contacts, but I'm gonna be inclined to shoot anything not personally known to me as a friendly," Cadmus calls out immediately after pulling his helmet free. The Lance Corporal spares the Eidolon a quick pause and once-over during his sweep; seeing no movement near it, however, he continues to check the horizon line. One more quick sweep of nearby bunkers and buildings, and he's running off toward the high point of Anadyomene: the hillock above the bunkers.

Coll does her best to get back onto her feet quickly, but it helps that the other knuckledraggers are at least helping her up and out. She's already handing off the more Marine-y stuff to them. Frags. Ammo. Microwave radios. She rises from the grass and looks around at the base. Its probably as bad as she thought it would be. Her own rifle is taken up and the Deckies follow suit. Nobody came unarmed. She sticks close to Constin, though. A nod to Cadmus with, "Be careful." No exactly the most badass thing she could have said, but that's Lauren for you. "Alright Corporal, lead the way. We'll be right behind you."

Constin stops his movement long enough to make damn sure he has Cadmus' attention. "No you won't, Cad. Listen good- as long as we have any frakking prayer of going unnoticed, you do. Not. Shoot. We draw any attention here, and we run out of bullets a helluva lot sooner than the toasters will run out of Centurions. Going to encrypted short-range," he echoes, belatedly. "Let's move. Jenkins, with me."

Constin stops his movement long enough to countermand his first order upon finding the hangar doors already blasted open. "Strike that. Cad, with me. Jenkins, take the high ground, stay on wireless and keep appraised, but so help me- if you open fire and give away our position I will drop this frakking mountain on top of you, hear me?" he orders the Private curtly. A nod. "Go." And then, its into the hangar, and out of the open.

Swearing under his breath as he runs, Cadmus settles his radio headset into one ear and affixes the throat mics just below his flight suit's collar. Jogging a short ways ahead, he doesn't even spare a glance back toward the others as he moves to point position. "I'm still gonna light any targets up I see, if I think we've been made. After all that shit with the Admiral, I'm not inclined to trust anything down here that looks human, unless I know it myself," he says sourly, one hand idly adjusting his belt. "Let's see what we can see inside this here complex."

The builders of CFAS Anadyomene spared no expense. Cut deep into and under the ridgeline, its bunkered hangers extend as far as a battlestar's massive flight pod, carved by countless workers to create a tremendous man-made cavern. Reinforced iron girders criss-cross the ceiling to support the weight of the mountain about, inoperative lights and air recirculators hanging lifelessly from thick lateral I-beams. Pitch black darkness renders invisible those pieces of collapsed concrete that have fallen from the ceiling - and, at least initially, the bodies. Twenty, forty, fifty - the numbers climb the further in one goes: fuel monkeys with purple armbands, armaments specialists in red, mechanics in yellow, and pilots in their flightsuits' deep olive-brown. At least the open door has given this place the opportunity to air out. Though not quite enough. There's shell casings near the door where it looks like there was a major firefight.
Two rows of Vipers run the length of the cavern, twenty on each side - unused and, from the looks of it, undamaged, though dead aircrew that probably once occupied these ships have been stacked against the walls - well-preserved thanks to the airtight hard-seals around their neck and joints. Trucks loaded with live missiles and Viper ammunition sit fallow on the taxiway leading up to the surface, a few of them overturned on the floor. A single hatch leading deeper into the complex is visible on the right-hand path of what once was a fork, though that left passage is blocked by several tons of rubble. The other hatch is open, the walls around its frame smashed by what looks like Viper gunfire.

"Fair enough, Cad," Constin drawls back, as the team moves into the Viper hangar, rifles at the ready. "Once we're made, you drop whatever's in range." Picking through the bodies and spent casings to sweep the hangar, he directs, "Cad, secure the left side," he directs toward the Viper-blasted hatchway, while he himself moves along the right hand side of the room. One of the armed deckies is told to remain near the hangar's entrance to keep an eye on their backs.

Moving along the left-hand side of the blasted corridor, Cadmus drops his NVGs pretty much as soon as is humanly possible. His footfalls also quiet as he begins stepping more lightly; who knows how far any given footfall with carry within the bunker's hollows. "Left clear, negative contacts," he whispers into the mics, crouch-walking past the long rows of Vipers.

As they approach the aircraft bunker, Coll reaches into one of the larger pouches of her vest and pulls out a set of goggles. She slips them over her head after turning them on. She stops just inside the bunker door - when the scent of death hits her. Her head slowly scans the hangar bay while the other two Deckies do the same. This? This was probably not what they were expecting to find. Maybe a few dead bodies on some level, but nothing like this. Seeing their own brethren looking as if they died in an instant is a bit unsettling for people aren't front-line personnel by any stretch. "My Gods," Coll breathes, a hand lifting to her mouth and nose. Slowly, her and the PO3 step inside and leave the Specialist back at the door to squat by the wall. They stay by the wall, keeping back a good distance from the Marines as they clear. Let the professionals do their job.

Dead comrades stacked up like kindling is the sort of thing that will disturb even marines.. but not until they know a room is secure. Constin keeps moving, rifle ready, until drawing near the blasted door. Snorting and backing up a step he pauses, motioning for the deckies to keep their distance. "Where's mah helmet?" he mutters, looking backward. Into the wireless, "Cad, El. Right side clear."

"Left side clear. Looks like we got a lot of gunfire over here, but not a lot of .. whatever was being shot at," Cadmus responds, his slow circuit of the room finally taking him past one end and around back toward the rest of the team. He pauses every so often, sweeping his rifle over the crannies and shadowed places in the room. It's unlikely that any giant chrome monsters *could* hide there, but better safe than perforated.

Coll nods towards Constin and she glances to the man with her. Curiosity seems to have been beaten down with a healthy offering of trust. They stay by the Vipers and crouch behind one of the Mark Sevens. Their eyes are on the engines while they whisper back and forth. Coll finally looks up, though. "Okay, so what now? Should we get to work? Want me to build you boys a bomb first or get kickin on these Vipers?"

"Start in on the vipers," Constin instructs the deck crew on his way to retrieve and re-seal his flight suit helmet. "Got something stinking up nasty in there.. want to clear the room before we set out to blast in the other side." Going onto the wireless, "Jenkins, Constin. Main hangar secure. Any contact up top?"

"Frak, so I get to put on my helmet without the NVGs, or keep the NVGs and smell whatever the heck is down there? Fun choice," Cadmus grumbles as he approaches Constin. He's standing straighter now, ready but not expectant of imminent doom. He glances over at his helmet, sniffs the air a few times, and remains where he is. "I'll take the smell in exchange for whatever I can see. Not like I ate lately anyhow."

"Aye, Corporal." Coll nods to Constin. "Come grab me when you want. Looks like there were a few Mark Eighty-twos by the entrance I can use." Her and the PO3 slip off towards the front of the line of Vipers. They're already reaching into their vests for the tools and avionics gear they need. The rifles are left to hang in their slings from their necks and shoulders. Meanwhile the door nearby stinks of rotting blood and bile. Whatever is in there can't be pretty. The 20mm holes in the concrete around the armored door would seem to indicate that the original team had to blast it open with a Viper. Sure enough, there's shell casings littering the floor around the guns of a Viper directly across from it.

Constin nods back at Coll. "Will do," he notes. The marine clicks the helmet back into place, re-establishing a seal and double checking the flow of oxygen before eyeing Cadmus with a wry grin. "Six of one, half a dozen of the other, yeah? Lets move." Rifle again at the ready.

Cadmus takes a few long moments to look at Constin, perhaps to roll the choice around in his head once again. Finally, he chuckles under his breath: "Fine. I see it and throw up, you shoot where I tell you to," he mumbles, before turning and marching toward the malodorous hatch. His rifle is up, reflex sights pointed downrange, and finger at the ready: whatever's down there better not be moving.

The smell — Gods, the smell. It hits with physical force even before the hatchway's been entered, comprised of equal parts death, decay, and human excrement. Once the pervasive darkness has been dispelled in different ways for the two men, the view inside is even worse: evaporated urine has crystallized on the uneven tiles; dried vomit and stool have filled the single toilet in back; used needles have spilled out of bins overflowing with bandages covered with sloughed-off skin. Atrophied and dehydrated corpses - seven or eight weeks old — lie strewn about the cots and the floor, many of them holding pictures of loved ones in their hands. Two of them, man and woman, are locked in a macabre carnal embrace; another lies slumped against the eastern wall, his hand still grasping the pistol that splattered his brains across the storage boxes behind him. There is probably two weeks' worth of MRE packages scraped clean by its former inhabitants. The thick metal hatch — welded shut from the inside — has been scored to no avail by scalpels, broken shelving, even fingernails. It barely hangs onto its hinges, now. Nothing in here moves. It is simply a room of death where the sockets of the eyeless inhabitants stare back at the Marines while their jaws hang slack.

"Right," comes Contin's voice through the suit's filter, as the rifle goes back to hanging at rest. "Think that's about all we've got to see right here. You got anything, Cad?" he asks woodenly. Even without the smell, the half-seen tableau is enough to bring up the bile in the back of the corporal's throat.

Retching into a corner in a vain attempt to purge himself of the food he has not eaten, Cadmus just waves a hand in the Corporal's direction. "Frak.. No, man, just… no…" he says, coherency escaping him for the moment. In fact, it escapes him until he staggers back out the hatch into the main hangar bay. Slumping forehead-first against the concrete wall, he opens his mouth, about to speak. After a few minutes of silence, however, he just shakes his head. "I'm gonna wait to even try to think about that room," he announces.

The two deckies can be heard at the nearest end of the hangar. The PO3 is sitting in the cockpit. Coll is standing on the wing of a Viper but see's Cadmus stagger out of the room. A tap from her to the PO3 and a gesture down and they're watching in silence. Behind the Marines, the room is left abandoned for now.

Constin walks back out, putting a good half dozen paces between himself and the charnel hatch before removing his helmet again. "Don't need to, just yet," the corporal states flatly to Cadmus. Turning his head, he clears his throat and spits once before swallowing. "When you're good to go, ah wanna get those charges placed on the north-side passage." Focus on the mission, focus on the job, don't think.

"You know what, El?" Cadmus says, once he's regained himself and is able to move away from the hatch, "I have only the vaguest idea what the hell we're doing here. I'm good to go, though. Just lead the way," This realization seems to have hit him suddenly, without warning. Apparently he knows enough in terms of the *facts* of the mission, but the ephemera of it must have passed him by when he was reading the briefing.

"You're keeping us safe, Lance," Coll says quietly while the men approach. She saw him stagger out. There's sympathy in that voice. "We're not exactly handy with rifles. But I don't think any of us are goin to be over this place anytime soon." She steps down off the ladder. "What's the story?" Lauren looks a little uncertain about all this. "This Viper looks ready to go. We're flashing the ECU and deleting the CNP programs so they will be safe to fly. Otherwise, its armed and fueled. Just have to get it started." The PO3 is still fiddling with a small handheld computer, his form illuminated by the lights from within the cockpit.

"What we're doing here," Constin answers, flatly, "Is taking the frakked up shit that happened here, and trying to carve something worthwhile out of it." Cad's statement that he's ready to move is met with a nod. He looks aside and starts to call to Coll, before finding the woman already approaching. A nod. "Good. We're gonna take a walk.. see about setting the charges on the north side."

"As long as we can move these birds out and get our people back, well… I guess that'll be something worthwhile for certain," Cadmus muses momentarily, hand running up to the back of his neck as he glances around the empty, eerie remnant of a hangar. Fetching up one of the bags with charges in it, he shoulders it; "You're gonna wanna do this. I'll hump it, but you don't want me trying to fiddle with it up close," he notes.

"Kay. Want me to start disassembling a few bombs? I've got everything I need." She taps another large pouch on her vest. "It'll probably take me an hour or so to put together enough high explosive to make it worth the trip." Coll crosses her arms. "Only questions are these: You want what might be minimal to get the job done? If we do that, we may have to blast multiple times. Or do you want a big one that will either work the first time or nothing will?" She flicks her eyes between the two.

"Ah'd rather keep it as small as we can," Constin opines. "The less attention we draw, the better. Ah don't mind blasting a few times if that's what it takes." The answer given to Coll, he draws and lets out another even breath. Cadmus' warning brings a nod. "Not planning on letting you plant a blade of grass Cad, don't worry."

Shifting his rifle, Cadmus shudders a little. Maybe it's the cold, or the lingering charnel-house stench, but he's not looking too comfortable. "As long as we can keep them from hearing our blasts, I'm in agreement. If you think they'll know if we blast, we might need to make it bigger. But I don't know shit about what they can hear, unfortunately… So yeah. Let's go a bit at a time," he says.

"Gotcha. Peters is gonna keep working on the Vipers while I take care of the bombs. Cambell is our Specialist at the door. But I would suspect that they will probably know if we blast. It'll brighten the sky, regardless. Sound travels farther at night.. Ground shockwaves.." Coll shrugs. "Who knows? All depends on where they are. Hell, they might know we're here already and just be watching from a safe distance." The woman takes a step back as if she's getting ready to move off for the bomb. "I'll have enough explosive for a couple bombs. But I don't know much about their employment. That's your job. I'll let you know when they're ready, okay?"

Constin nods once. "Cambell, come on in," he instructs the deckie at the door. "Jenkins will keep eyes on the grounds, now that the hangar is as clear as it's gonna get, don't need a door watch." The notion of explosions drawing attention regardless brings a frown, and narrowing of his eyes. "They might know anything. Still, if there's any chance of them taking longer to figure it out, ah want to take it. Make it a big one, and we'll hold off blasting until closer to drop time."

"Well, regardless, I wanna get those 'chutes off the airfield and hidden. I expect we'd have heard if we had a Raider overflight, but the longer they sit out there, the more likely they are to be seen. Might wanna have Jenkins pick 'em up before he heads inside, whenever he does," Cadmus says. He glances between Constin and Coll for a long moment, and adds: "I expect they'll piece together the fact that something crazy is going on. But I dunno… we were pretty small targets falling. I doubt they'd be able to track us."

"Sounds like a plan. One big blast. I'll see if I can find us a two-thousand pounder." Coll nods once as Campbell makes her way back in, swerving a path around the bodies to stay as far from them as possible. Those are going to have to be cleared by morning. To Cadmus, she waits her lips and gives a short sigh. "I wasn't going to say it before we jumped, but if they had seen us as a target on their DRADIS, chances are good that they would have blasted us out of the sky. Antiaircraft guns or Raiders. But I didn't even think about those chutes. Good idea, Lance." Her hands gently clap together. "Okay, I'll get it ready. One big bomb? Probably ninety minutes? Two hours? Shouldn't be too difficult."

Constin nods once more. "Figured as much," he notes dryly to the notion of Cylons just blasting anything they saw. "Kept the jump from getting boring, yeah?" he quips with a short snicker, before its back to business. "Cad, lets get Jenkins a hand with the chutes, and then clear the debris from the hangar mouth, best we can." Debris. Not dead bodies and rocks. Debris. "Once we get closer to sunrise, plant the explosive on the north face."

Nodding, Cadmus is already moving off toward the entrance of the bunker. Picking over the rubble slowly, so as not to trip and fall, he mutters quietly over his shoulder to Constin: "This whole gods-damned base is like this dream I used to have as a kid. Like everybody dropped bombs on Scorpia, and that was left was burned concrete and broken girders. Freakiest dream I ever had. And now I get to camp in it. What a frakking opportunity…"

2 Hours Later

Coll finished the disassembly and gathering of all the explosives needed in just under two hours. The husks of four five-hundred bombs sit on ordnance carts with their guts and wires cut and removed. The actual compound of explosive is an off-yellow color and closely resembles a paste - only very thick. She's got it sitting in a huge plastic tub, looking like there's a few gallons of the junk. Getting closer to dawn, Coll approaches the Marines. "Okay, that stuff will explode with the force of about two-thousand pounds of dynamite. It'll light with a simple fuse so don't frakking smoke around it and whatever you do, don't shoot the damned junk. Nobody will find the pieces of you. Anyhow, how do you guys want to move it? Hike it in that tub or stick it on one of these ordnance trucks?"

Constin peers at the stuff, after passing a hand across his eyes. "It's a helluva hike. Those trucks'll handle going off the pavement, we can take one of them. That shit ain't gonna go off if we jostle it, yeah?" he thinks to ask a moment later.

Seated upon an overturned forklift fuel tank, Cadmus is nonplussed by the appearance of the explosive. He regards it with some suspicion, as if it ought to stand up and do tricks - and if it doesn't, it's probably not explosive at all. He does not, however, smoke anywhere near the thing. In fact, he's not smoking at all. "You wanna take a truck, be my guest. I can keep watch from up above the entrance, let you know if I spot anything out of the ordinary," he says.

Coll shakes her head. "Nah. Kinetic impacts won't set this stuff off. They have to survive sitting on a Viper's wing in any number of circumstances. But if you expose it to enough heat?" She billows her hands slowly and makes a small explosion sound. "Atmo re-entries with bombs on the wings are not advised but can be done. It just takes awhile." She then nods to Cadmus. "Fair enough. One of you guys grab us a truck and let's get moving. I wanna see this stuff go off. The kill radius, though, will probably be just over a quarter mile. So we'll have to be about half a mile away or behind some serious cover."

"Damn, girl," Constin drawls back at the word of the kill radius. "That shit ain't gonna cave in the hangar is it?" Along with the question, he's moving to get a grip on the tub, testing the weight and gauging whether to heft it himself or get Cad to lend a hand loading it. "Let’s get moving, then. Needs to be placed and blown with time enough to get inside and prep the Raptors before the big tin hammer falls."

"I was trying to figure out how much time we'll have before the Cylons descend on us with serious intent to murder. And you know what? I still have no idea, because as far as I can tell, we don't really know *where* their bases are here," Cadmus says, heel of one hand pressing into an eye. "So I guess it'll be exciting, if nothing else."

Coll shrugs. "It might. Maybe not. Your demo guy should know how to employ it. I don't know much about the actual employment of the explosions, just the technical end of how to make them work or not work." The woman glances to the tub as Cadmus talks and she gives a soft, tired laugh. "If they descend, it'll be interesting. Like it or not, we still have to get these aircraft scrambled. At least you guys will be able to shoot back." A gentle sigh and its time to move off for the collapsed hangar entrance.

"Right. Well one way to find out," Constin mutters, before telling Jenkins through the wireless to join up and hop onto the ordnance truck. Constin gets the truck running and guides it out of the hangar once the others have climbed aboard. Out the hangar, and along the runways until the truck and it's burden have circled the ridge, and approach from the north side.

The devastation first glimpsed- of wrecked vehicles, warped pavement, and human debris remains constant.

As the truck drives off, Cadmus scrambles up the short hill to ensconce himself in the bushes above the bunker's entrance. He waits there, peeping out every now and again to check on some movement or threatening shadow: the NVGs are still on for the moment, but every now and again he pops them off to use the binoculars he brought along. True to form, there is no unnecessary chatter on the comm channel: silence is as good of news as encouragement.

Leaving the hangar, the headlights flickered over a fresh grave marker near the runway. The dirt on top looked a bit weathered but probably not more than a few weeks old. Dogtags dangle from the crossed sticks on top. Meanwhile, Coll rides in silence until they arrive at the destination. Once there, she slides out of the truck and moves to pick up the tub with Jenkins and haul it over to the remains of the entrance. She looks the whole entrance over. "Godsdamn. This is a lot of damage. If this doesn't work, don't get mad. If it doesn't work, chances are good that nothing will."

Constin turns the truck around as the tub is maneuvered, to better facilitate a half mile's swift travel once the fuse is lit. The chronometer is checked again before he climbs off the ordnance hauler to lend a hand in placing this tub of doom. "Alright then. Once we're at Drop minus thirty minutes, lets set this sucker off."

Tucking one leg underneath him, Cadmus cranes his neck above some of the branches he's hiding in. Up go the NVGs, and he holds his eyes closed to the count of ten before raising the binoculars again. Sweeping them across the nearest treelines, he exhales slowly, and lays down amidst the foliage. After a long moment of sweeping, he clicks the radio on: "Looking clear so far. Negative movement in the treeline," he comments.

"That ain't gonna work, Const. We? The knuckledraggers? We're going to need at least an hour to prep these Raptors - if there are any in there. There's not going to be any time to arm them. Just minimal gas and an avionics wipe. The initial team here prepped the Vipers pretty well for us." Coll seems adamant about this. Even if Constin is technically in charge of the mission. Jenkins directs them to wedge the thing into a section up where the door would have been and he begins slopping it on some of the rocks in small amounts. He's already looking to attach a fuse and just waiting for the nod from Constin.
You paged Cadmus with '+roll alertness after this round.'

"Frak," Constin growls back at the one hour estimate. A breath let out and he clicks on the wireles. "Acknowledged, Cad. Deck Crew, Constin. Ee-Tee-Ay to completion on the Vipers? We're gonna need you lot on the northern runway inside of thirty, over?"

Cambell answers back: "Vipers are finished, Corporal. Just need to finish ammunition sweeps."

"It's always something," is Cadmus's un-radio'd commentary on the fuse situation. He may not be hearing the conversation directly, but the tone of an irritable CO is not something easily passed over by anyone, especially those on a hair-trigger alert. Instead of asking for more information, however, he continues to sweep the treeline with his binoculars. Whatever the situation below, he has a job to do.

<FS3> Cadmus rolls Alertness: Success.

Coll and Jenkins look ready. They hear the radio traffic but they seem to be more interested in just getting away from the explosive jelly that is current lain out on the rocks at their feet.
You paged Cadmus with 'Cmoooooon Constin. Light the fuse buddy. Lets do this. lol'

"Move on the north runway soon as munitions sweeps are done, Cambell," Constin voices on his way back to the ordnance truck. "Want you both ready to help prep the Raptors, soon as we get break-through." Back up onto the munitions mover, and an eye turned between Jenkins and Coll. "You both are way too frakking giddy," he comments with a dry grin.

Cadmus lays back down. The movement is slow, deliberate, and without any sudden shifts that might give his position away. Something has gotten his attention, but whatever it is, he hasn't felt the need to radio it in. One hand slides out to his right, however, and the fire selector on his rifle switches from safe to single round action. "Come on, you son of a bitch," he whispers, binoculars trained upon the far end of the field, "Let's see what you are…"

"If you blow it now, Const, we can get started sooner. I don't have to wait for Cambell. Raptors are my specialty. I can probably have a Raptor done by the time they get over here." Coll doesn't seem hell-bent on grins right now. The woman actually seems downright impatient. Frayed nerves and seeing all those dead bodies probably didn't help her any. She takes off her NVGs and runs a hand through her hair, looking at the gunk. Lauren really wants to get this over with, apparently.

<FS3> Cadmus rolls Alertness: Bad Failure.

"Steady on, Coll. Getting done too soon could screw us over," Constin returns evenly. "Ah want to blow this as late as we can, so the toasters don't have-" he checks his chronometer again, "An extra five hours to drop in on us." A steady eye is turned back to Lauren. "Stay frosty, Coll."

"Huh. A raccoon?" Cadmus's hand is still on his rifle, and he slowly tugs it over to his chest. Apparently whatever had gotten his attention is no longer as much of a concern as it once was, but that's no reason to put the rifle down. He keeps watch on the far end of the airstrip, though with less dilligence. It must just be nerves.

Coll groans and steps away from the pile. "Look, Const. If there are Raptors in there, its going to be a helluva trip to try and turn them for mission prep even at this stage. We usually spend an hour -per bird- doing preflight checks and making sure everything is ready to go. If there is more than, say, ten in there? We are going to be busting our asses to get this shit done. We're at the last possible minute." Coll looks back up at him, crossing her arms. She seems pretty intent with it.

"*Per* bird?" Constin echoes back with a scowl narrowing his eyes again as his words get a whole lot less conversational and much more crisp. "Set the fuse now and bust ass back to the truck, we'll take cover east. Move," he orders curtly, before switching onto the wireless. "Team, Constin. Preparing to detonate charge."

"Roger, Actual. Spotter here. You get your asses out of there post-haste, I got cover where I am. Just gimmie a countdown so I can plug my ears," Cadmus radios back, dropping the binoculars and returning his NVGs to active amplification. He doesn't move from his spot, though. Maybe it's comfortable up in a bush with some spiders.

"Thank the Gods." Coll clears her throat and fast-trots off towards the truck. Jenkins takes a nice length of fuse and sticks one end into the explosive slop. He pulls out a zippo and lights the opposite end. "Two minutes, El. Looks get the hell out of here." He isn't waiting around for a reply. Coll already has the truck in gear.

"Fuse lit, Tee-minues one-twenty seconds," Constin states into the wireless. Hopping onto the bed of the ordnance truck, he'll rap the back of Coll's seat once Jenkins is on board, following the ticking timer, and double checking his combat kit.

Like a snap, Cadmus is sighting down his rifle toward the far end of the runway. The movement is back. "Ahh, what the frak, you're *walking*?" he whispers, fingers tensing along the fore and grip of the rifle, pad of his index finger placed lightly on the trigger. He snaps on his radio again: "Actual, this is Spotter. Contact, far end of the runway. You keep moving, I got a bead on it. It's pretty frakkin' calm, whatever it is."

With the tap, the Crewman has floored the truck and they are off like a shot. Hope they're holding on. Coll quickly accelerates the munitions truck down the taxiway back towards the other side of the base. They should clear the blast zone in another twenty seconds, but they are heading for Cadmus' contact - even though they don't know that. But that radio call makes the woman tighten the grip on the steering wheel.

"Spotter, Actual.. Tell me what you see when you see it, Cad. Tee-minus-" his count is delayed as he grabs for stability, not that Coll's driving is getting any complaints, "Minus sixty seconds- specify, spotter: which end of which runway- north or south?"

"Same runway, Actual. It sees you. If it makes any threatening moves, I'm taking the shot. I don't like the look of anything out here," Cadmus radios back. As he's speaking, he's already lining up the shot: breath modulated, windage and distance adjusted for, aiming to put a bullet down the throat of who or whatever might be thinking it's a good idea to wander around CFAS Anadyomene at night.

Coll just keeps driving. She wants to get clear of the blast as soon as possible. She glances over her shoulder once and begins slowing the truck down as she pulls off into the grass. "Okay. We're probably half a mile away. That thing is going to explode big. Everyone keep your heads down and stay behind the truck. Don't be on the other side or in the open when this goes off." The deckie seems pretty adamant about quite a few things too night, this included. She dismounts and settles down on the side of the vehicle.

Off the wireless, Constin echoes, "Same runway?" trying to sit up and steal a look forward, past Coll. As the truck veers off and slows he nods to Coll's instructions, "Ah copy, Coll." The corporal steps to the far eastern end of the line of three, stealing one more look at the timer, "Twenty seconds." One look around for this alleged contact Cadmus has, before getting down and taking cover as he was told.

"Tango, tango! Opening fire!" Cadmus is calling over the radio, and suddenly there is gunfire from the hill as he attempts to place as many rounds as possible in the chest of that unfriendly. A glint of light, a sudden gesture; these things trigger his nigh-instant response of bullets travelling swiftly downrange.
You paged Cadmus with 'Yus. Same runway.'

The gunfire has Coll jump, making some kind of squeeking sound as she ducks her head. She was waiting for a big boom, not automatic weapons fire. Her head flips around to look in the direction that apparently this thing is coming from and she stares wide-eyed. Then its suddenly visible. A light flickers from the general location of it. The truck begins pinging and the air around them cracks with the sound of rounds missing by less than a few feet. The low grumble of the enemy gun can be heard finally.

<FS3> Cadmus rolls Firearms +20: Success.
<FS3> Coll rolls 5: Good Success.
<FS3> Coll rolls 5: Good Success.
<FS3> Constin rolls Athletics: Success.
<FS3> Coll rolls Athletic: Success.

The crack of small arms fire doesn't inspire profanities from Constin. As before, as shots scream in there is a moment of perfect clarity, and unlike the jump of hours earlier, this is precisely the sort of situation he's been trained for. Bringing his rifle up to return fire- even as an enemy round grazes his shoulder, the marine orders between returning fire, "Stay down."

Cadmus has passed the point of swearing or taunting, or even registering words. Instead, as his shots ring out and spark across the armor plating of the Centurion down below, he simply grimaces, and commences firing. After the first three or four rounds fail to stop the Centurion's advance and gunfire, he simply swaps the fire selector over to three-round burst, takes his time to line up a subsequent shot to the torso, and cuts loose after the sights steady.

Coll, rifeless, doesn't have to be told twice. A round punches a hole through her flightsuit and vest, right at her ribs, and punches a nice hold through the other side. "Frak!" she yells, clutching her side. "Godsdamn that hur-" She doesn't get to finish. There's a blinding flash that illuminates the entire base. Buildings cast shadows and for an instant it looks almost like eerie daylight. Even the clouds that are travelling overheard are turned a brilliant shade of cotton. The thunderous sound is deafening when it arrives a fifth of a second later. It drowns out every single rifle and gun in the area and the shockwave even manages to rock the truck behind them. Windows on nearby buildings are blown out with impunity. Within seconds, chunks of rock start coming down.

<FS3> Cadmus rolls Firearms: Good Success.
<FS3> Coll rolls 5: Success.
<FS3> Constin rolls Firearms: Success.
<FS3> Coll rolls Athletic: Good Success.

Constin remains on one knee, rifle on the gleaming mark which is helpfully illuminated by the apocalyptic blast which stains the clouds at his back. No great believer in conserving munitions, the corporal unloads the weapon on full automatic- his crouch and the cover the only things which keeps him from being thrown facefirst into the ground by the shockwave.

As the enormous roar of Coll's makeshift bomb erupts and drowns out the world around him, Cadmus simply burrows into the bush he's hidden in, arms covering his head. "HOLY GODS DAMN!" he shouts, to no avail: in the wake of a near ton of explosives, words are insufficient. Some of his rounds have no doubt struck the Centurion, but he's sure as shit not looking to see if they were well-placed. Overpressure waves and falling concrete will no doubt trump a marksman's pride, if he has any sense.

<FS3> Coll rolls 5: Good Success.
<FS3> Coll rolls Athletic: Good Success.
<FS3> Constin rolls Athletics: Success.
<FS3> Constin rolls Firearms: Success.
<FS3> Cadmus rolls Firearms: Success.

The Centurian continues rolling fire at them as it tries to move closer. Coll curses again as another round pokes a hole in her flightsuit but she doesn't take any more hits. She's huddled into a tiny ball as chunks of concrete - pebbles, really - land on her and everyone else around. But the Marine's rounds stay true and eventually one of them hits home. It staggers backwards and the gun waves around wildly before the whole machine just falls backwards onto the runway with a -THUNK-. Dead.

Constin grunts through clenched teeth at another near miss- or perhaps at the bits of plummeting rock- or.. frak it, he grunts once, and turns back to shout at Coll, "Check the bomb site for breakthrough!" but how much of it is audible remains to be seen.. he can barely hear himself as the corporal starts into a run toward the fallen Centurion to put another burst of insurance into the crimson eyeslot of the machine. "So much for the subtle approach," he mutters to himself. Clicking the wireless on, "Team, actual. All deck crew converge on the northern hangar. Spotter- Cad, you read me?"

Coughing against the dust that fills his lungs, Cadmus rolls over onto his back; the remains of the bush around him are partially denuded of leaves. One finger is lifted to his ear, re-inserting the radio earpiece. "Actual, Spotter here. Copy that, I'll be down as soon as I find where my helmet went flying to," he radios back. After a moment more of lying on his back, he begins to collect himself, slowly rolling to his feet.

The Deckie looks up and around her arm that's been covering her head to see the Centurian hit the ground. And Constin towering over her and firing his gun more. Good Gods! She slowly rises to her feet, holding her side. A finger pokes through the bullet hole and comes back red. "I'm frakkin hit. Frak this frakkin frak! …FRAK!" She's madder than anything else, nearly shouting the last bit. The Deckie finally settles herself back down on the truck and turns it over again before starting it up and driving back over towards the hangar door they just tried to blow up.

"Only a little," Constin mutters back at the 'Im hit' curse, scanning the surrounding ground for more chrome-plated part crashers before voicing into the wireless, "Spotter, actual. Copy that." Letting out a breath, he turns to check on, "Jenkins. You still got those charges we brought along?"

Stumbling his way down the hill to the airstrip proper, Cadmus shakily hefts his rifle. There's the old adage: where there's one Centurion, there's more. Or maybe it's not such an old adage, but Warday was so very long ago. Making his way down the strip toward the newly-blasted hole, Cadmus just shakes his head at the sight of total devastation. "Shit," he mumbles, "Next time they're gonna wanna use a nuke…"

Jenkins taps the sack that he brought with him on the truck. It was pulled off when they piled off for cover. Meanwhile, Coll is already down at the other end. She slams the brakes and the tires squeel. Way to deal with your anger like an adult, Lauren. Very mature. She slams the door behind her and when she calls back on the radio, there's something approaching giddy in her voice. "Const? We made a big hole. A..very big hole. It, ah. A few of the Raptors in here got trashed and fragged, probably. Hard to see, though. Wait one." She starts coughing as the radio cuts out.

Constin lets out a terse breath at the half-report from Coll. She was going to be CAG, once? "Right. Jenkins, if you can rig that up with a remote trigger, do it now. We're gonna be having a whole lot of target practice before sunrise." He waits a bit on edge for the second half of Lauren's report.

There's no hurry in Cadmus's stride: if he runs, he'll just arrive tired, and might miss something along the way. So instead, he marches down the airstrip and keeps his quietly humming NVGs pointed at the treeline. As he walks, he speaks to himself: "Ares, I have to say… You know how much I talk to Artemis, but you are *definitely* watching out for us fools down here. I'll cut you a deal, too - you get me off this rock without a scratch, and I will do my damnedest to blow up every single thing I can until I'm safely back on Cerberus. Unless I miss my guess, you are damn fond of explosions, seeing as how this entire frakking planet came down with a chronic case of 'em…"

Its a few more seconds. "Lotta airborne dust, Corporal," Coll coughs. Another second or two more. "Okay. Looks like.. Two Raptors are fully intact. Half the hangar collapsed at the rear - looks like during the initial strikes. I'll have to get a look at these things but the rest of these look like they were down for maintenance or they got pretty tussled in the blast. I won't know how long we have to pre-flight prep until I get a better look at them. Starting on one right now, though."

"Copy that, Coll. Cambell, Constin. What's your status?" the marine barks out over the wireless. Looking to Jenkins he points out the blasted centurion. "Set up in a spread to hit this area right here. Ah'm betting the toasters will deploy something to this bastard's last known location. How many charges you got?"

Halfway downfield, Cadmus begins trekking back away from the tarmac and into the treeline. A brief burst of static and he's back on the radio: "Actual, Spotter. Moving to secondary cover for the inevitable counterattack. Don't suppose you happen to have some kind of squad assault weapon down there, do you? Over." His tone isn't flippant, per se: just tinged with that tired inevitability which says, "Maybe I'll eat a bullet for dinner. Maybe I'll eat a sandwich. We'll see."

"We'll be there in a few minutes, Corporal. We're leaving the Vipers now." Cambell and her Deckie partner can be seen leaving the other hangar just as she finishes the radio call. Coll, meanwhile remains quiet on the radio. Jenkin's opens his bag of tricks, though and rummages for a doublecheck. "Looks like four smaller charges, El. Wasn't expecting to have to blow up much of anything." The radio call from Cadmus gets a chuckle. That'd be a help, wouldn't it?

The corporal answers Jenkins, "Well we're gonna blow up a whole lot of something, so do what you can with them." Cadmus is answered, "Spotter, Actual," Constin returns. "That's a negative, Cad. We're gonna need to improvise." He pauses a moment, eyes narrowing in thought. "Spotter, Actual. You ever fired a chaingun, before?"

Cadmus stops his walk. Even though the others below can't see him, he turns, narrows his eyes, and lifts both hands in a universal gesture: what. the. hell. "Actual, Spotter. I pulled a trigger on a remotely operated one before. I don't think that entirely counts as competent, but I guess I have, over." He's still staring, eyes wide the creeping revelation that some people do think of these things, and aren't told not to.

"Got it, Corporal." Jenkins begins removing the explosives and detonators from the bag as he kneels in the ground. Faster is better. Meanwhile, Coll comes back on the radio. "We've got Raptor ordnance in this hangar. Including about half a dozen Fughes miniguns. Ammo stores on them, too."

"Huh," Constin mutters off-wireless, under his breath. A smile curls his lip at Coll's report. A moment's thought, and a shrug. "Wouldn't be the stupidest idea ah've had all day." Nodding once, he instructs Cadmus, "Spotter, Actual. Take up position to cover the northern hangar entrance and take up watch." Clicking the channel closed, he voices, "Jenkins, when you're done here, fall back on the big ass crater you made."

2 Hours Later

True to her word, the Raptor hangar was pretty much trashed. Only two of the Raptors were salvageable - most of the others having been destroyed during the initial collapse of the interior or the subsequent damage from the blasting. What she didn't see until the smoke cleared were the dozens and dozens of bodies laying crumpled and in various manners of death. Its obviously effected her but she's worked past it and had both the Raptors towed across the small tarmac area to the Viper hangar where her and the rest of the Deck detail have been working for a few hours to get them prepped. It hasn't been an easy task. Lauren is currently inside one of the Raptors, ripping the guts out of the ECO panel and replacing circuit boards. Beaded sweat has long found its way to her clothing - the flightsuit unzipped and the arms tied around her hips.

A second trip with one of the surviving ordnance trucks hauls back one of the dismounted Raptor miniguns and cases of ammunition. Watch is kept- Jenkins presumable still at work placing explosive charges, while Constin and Cadmus have been hard at work on the blasted hulk of the Eidolon, looking for a suitable place on which to mount the massive artillery. As Coll works inside the Raptor, Constin's voice greets unseen, "Ain't gonna smack your ass this time, Coll. What's the word?"

Lauren just glances over her shoulder to the Marine but she continues working. "I..have no idea. Its gonna be close, Const." There's a few grumbled words under her breath. "These Raptors were slated for a major overhaul and a lot of their systems weren't properly shielded from the neutron bombing." A long sigh as she slides out two circuit boards. "These -might- be able to fly on time. They might not. I couldn't even guess when we'll know." A pause. "How 'bout you? Find a place for Operation Crazyass Minigun?"

"Looking to bolt the frakker onto what's left of the Eidolon. Should have a bit of play as far as field of fire, but there ain't a pintle mount ever made to stand up to that kinda recoil. Hell, is it even *called* recoil at that point?" A shake of his head. "Don't matter. We've had more time left alone than ah expected.. So you might still have the time you need for those birds."

"Actually, I don't think it is," Coll comments. "Its a physical force. When you fire them it will actually slow the velocity of the Raptor. Even in a dive in atmo." Two more circuit boards in. "Good idea with the Eidolon, though. We'll take any time we can get on these Raptors. The other two are working on the other one." She clears her throat, still working. "I didn't realize it when we towed it in here, but the ECO of this bird was trying to get run-up when the bombs hit. Found her on the floor, curled into a ball. You, ah.." The woman removes her arms from the clump of wiring slowly and drops her head a bit. "You ever get used to seeing dead people, Const?"

"You get used to not seeing them, more like," the marine answers to the last, after a moment. "Same with your own blood. You just.. don't let yourself notice it. Glance over it and don't look too close, until the work's over. After that.." Rather than continue he voices: "We get the gun on the Eidolon, will let us cover the pilots on their way down and the Vipers on their way up. You need anything on your end?"

Her eyes drop again and she rests a hand to her side which is just barely turned away from Const - the same side she got wounded on. "So just think about it after everything is done? Okay, I'll keep that in mind." Lauren finally turns to face him. That graze against her side drew a not-inconsiderable amount of blood but it looks pretty well-bandaged by now. Probably looks worse than it really is. There's a simple nod from her. "I need you to paint large red numbers on the nosecones of each Viper. Just a simple one, two, three progression and number them all. When the pilots land, they're going to be charging in here and we won't know what kind of conditions it will be. I'll make an announcement on their approach and tell them that they are to fill the Vipers in the numbered order. After that, I'll need you to cover me." She looks him in the eye. "I'll be exposed with directing air traffic control and launch procedures. I won't have any place to hide while I'm getting them out those bunker doors and onto the tarmac."

Constin simply nods to her recounting of 'think about it after'. "Right. How many Vipers we got serviceable?" he asks, taking his own advice and focusing on the task at hand. Her talk of directing traffic sends his expression right back into stonefaced neutrality. "Yeah. Ah hear you." A breath drawn, before the marine states what he suspects she already knows: "The toasters are probably waiting for more forces committed here before tyhey attack. The boat is gonna have word that we made enemy contact." He pauses a moment. "They might not risk the pilots in a morning drop."

"Thirty-two Vipers. Armed and gassed. All we have to do is get them on their start carts and powered. They'll fly like anything we have on the Cerb." Coll drops her hand from the wound and crosses her arms under her chest. "Yeah. I kinda figured that. My guess is that they're probably watching us for the moment. Waiting. But we're committed. Those pilots are coming. And if they aren't? I'm fixing the FTL on this Raptor and jumping us right out of the damned hangar. One way or another, we are getting the frak out of here. But when those Vipers are taking off, its going to be anarchy if they are under fire. I may direct the Vipers to engage from positions on the ground. I brought a survival radio and hooked it into the helmet set so I'll be able to talk to the pilots during the take-off sequence." All business for now. "Anything you need from me, Corporal?" Mission priorities, first.

Constin shakes his head. "You're the chief when it comes to the birds, Coll. What you say, goes." A breath drawn. "Maragos, Jenkins and me will keep them off of you long as needs be. Once the birds are up, we all fall back on the Raptor and Gee-Tee-Eff-Oh. Where's the paint?" he wonders next.

"Heh. Thanks, Const. But don't wait for orders from me. This is your show. I know the birds but the risks are your department." Nevermind they all risked something stupid to jump like they did. "I trust you. Tell me what needs done and I'll get my shit done when it gets done. If somethin' needs a discussion, you'll know it." She means it and its written all over Lauren's face. But her voice has more than a little appreciation in it. They've come a long way from that meeting on the Deck. "But yeah. Uhm. Paint. That's a good question. Check around the store rooms - if there are any in here. I checked the Raptor hangar but there wasn't much of anything."

Constin nods once. "You handle the birds and ah'll handle the bullets, Lauren," he drawls evenly. He turns an eye around for the store rooms, catching sight of the second raptor in the process. "Would it hurry things along or slow them down if all three of you worked on one bird?" he wonders briefly.

<FS3> Coll rolls Repair: Success.

"Sounds like a plan, Const." She follows his gaze around and watches the other two working in the other Raptor for a second. "Not really. Three people working on one panel gets ineffective because you spend more time getting out of each other's way. I'm running about even with them as far as getting all this done. They have their own problems, though. My degree is in Electrical Engineering, though, so I might be a bit faster with it. Maybe." She looks back to him. "You get hit at all when that Centurian found us?"

Constin nods once to her answer regarding repairs. It makes sense. The latter question draws a shake of the head. "Nothing much. A nick or two. Way you folks would say it? 'No loss of operational efficiency'," he mutters back with a tight grin. "Now.. where's that store room?" he mutters with another look around.

"Nick or two." Coll watches him with tired eyes. The adrenaline dumps and rockets are taking a toll on the woman whose definition of an exciting day for the past eighteen months involved a beer by herself in her bunk after work. "I ain't askin because I'm concerned about our fighting efficiency. Part of the reason I agreed to come was because I wanted to make sure you didn't get killed." She sighs in a very light fussing and looks out the canopy glass. "Only room I've seen off this hangar that isn't locked or inaccessible is that one you and the Lance explored. He didn't seem to like it much." Yes, that one.

"Right," Constin mutters back with a scowl. "Well there weren't any paint in there-" Eyes narrow with thought, before he lets out a breath. "…Frak." Without further explanation, the corporal starts toward the blasted and avoided doorway.

2 Hours, 30 Minutes to Operation Commencement

Coll and the other two Deckies seem to have taken a break - though the term is relative. Neither one of the Raptors is flyable yet, but they turned their work elsewhere. Coll and Cambell have taken to dragging the rotting corpses across the hangar floor to move them out of the way. A few hours to sunrise, the work -has- to be done so that a taxing Viper doesn't ingest human remains into an engine. They're about halfway through and no telling how long they've been looking. Judging by the fresh vomit on the floor, at least one of the two deckies lost their lunch during the whole operation.

Constin has been gone for two hours since last speaking with Coll, by the time he spies the unfolding scene. Uniform much dirtier than before- especially the chest and below the knees, the corporal trades words with a jogging Jenkins, before walking into the hangar. "Frak, we cleared the runway, but not the hangar floor," he growls at the sight, before slinging the rifle across his back and bending down with a grunt to grab hold of a pair of corpse-boots.

Coll looks up at the man, grim faced. "Don't grab the boots. They come apart at the ankles. Grab them by the calves." That -had- to have been discovered the hard way. "Also, I'm collecting dogtags. Don't leave them on." This is said much quieter. Duty like this will stick with someone for awhile. Assuming they ever survive. "I wish we had time to bury these poor people."

Constin pauses a moment before adjusting his grip higher. "Right." File that away under 'unpleasant facts the marine didn’t previously know'. "Yeah, if we had more time, we could take a coffee break. If we had coffee," he drawls dryly, grunting again with the effort of dragging the deceased out of the way. He doesn’t comment on the burying.

"Yeah. I'd just like to think that someone would bury me if they had the time." She finishes dragging a pilot to the wall and kneels beside it while she unzips the flightsuit, the other hand searching pockets quickly for anything that might be of use. "Did you get the gun all set up?" Coll asks, not quite willing to raise her voice anymore.

"Hell, when ah go down? Want it to be buried under broken Cylons," Constin voices back. "Frak the dirt." Depositing a yellow-flight suited crewman against another stretch of wall, he bends down to search for the dogtags, woodenly not noticing the sounds or feeling of the search, for now. "Yeah. Meant to ask- how long's it take to load up another of them big-assed drums of bullets into one of those guns? Ah know they can shoot for five minutes or something, but.. thought ah'd ask."

"I just don't want to die like this, Const." By her inflection and tone, its probably the most personal thing she's ever said to him. "Caught in the open just trying to figure out what was happening and falling where I stood. Gods, its awful." She's a fighter, to be sure. Go down swinging. "Drums are already loaded. You have to fire in bursts or you will melt the barrel. No longer than two seconds each. They melt at four and a half. You have roughly two full minutes of firing time with a single drum. Reloading? Probably not going to happen. They have to be fed electronically. Takes a few minutes." She stands from the pilot's body and walks over to refueler slumped over a Mark-82.

"Eh, hell," Constin mutters back, as he unhooks the chain binding the dogtags to the corpse, and draws it off, again not taking conscious note of the hideous black which clots to the chain. "Yeah, ah know about burst fire. Was hoping for more gun time than that. Heh- not as if ah'll need much more, yeah?" If it comes to three minutes of fire, it's already too late. "Well, that ain't a death for the likes of us, is it? We're camped out in the toasters' backyard, loading up the guns to blast them back into scrap. And shit- it's still only a Thursday," he adds with a tight grin.

Coll picks up the putrid body and tries to be careful laying the woman(?) on the ground. Its head hits with a sickening thud and the Crewman wrenches her eyes shut with it. Augh. She's not grinning anytime soon. "You hold that gun position as long as you can. It may take us up to ten or fifteen minutes to get all these ships out of here. Maybe longer. If you can find another gun from that hangar, might consider setting it up." She drags the body across the floor towards the wall, waddling slowly. "Yeah, I don't think we'll be dying like these poor souls. I don't envy your job, either, Const. Then again, I don't think I want my own at the moment. Then again?" She sighs. "I wouldn't be anyplace else, given the option."

Constin forces a laugh at the end of Coll's chain of qualifiers. "If this were the kinda assignment worth envying, they wouldn't have sent marines, Laurie." Letting a breath out through the mouth (he's careful not to draw breaths in through the nose, at present), the corporal notes, more evenly, "If we've got the time to set up a second emplacement on Eidolon, we'll do it. Electrics are green on the first emplacement, by the by." He stands upright, cracking his back before starting over to the next of the floor-cluttering cadavers, idly re-fastening the chain he'd lifted from the prior crewman. Looking up to eye Coll at that last admission, the marine mutters, "Always frakking faithful, eh? Means a lot, Coll. Thanks. AND you, Cambell, don't think ah forgot your crazy ass," he calls across to the other visible deckie.

Cambell doesn't look like she's in the mood to talk. She's puking behind a Viper at the moment when one of the heads fell off. Lovely. "If this were an assignment worth envy, they would have sent Department Heads. Sure as shit not a half dozen enlisted." The word 'expendable' crosses her mind, and not for the first time since the jump. She slides the body up to the wall and kneels for the dogtags, removing a picture from the pocket of the body. She stares at it for a long moment before looking up. "Means a lot to be asked to come along, Const. Always a risk with trust. I'll fight to keep the faith until my dying breath." She holds up the dogeared picture. Its of the man she was carrying, his Marine wife, and a pair of young kids. "Because they can't."

Constin chooses not to further address Cambell, just yet. "Always colorful when they call for volunteers, yeah?" he drawls to Coll's initial comment on sending a half-dozen enlisted. As Lauren speaks further and holds up the picture for inspection, the corporal's eyes narrow further in study, nodding once, slowly at her last words. Gaze flicking from photo back to Coll, he comments, "Soon as ah heard what kinda mission this was, you were the first one in mah head, Coll. Weren't any risk to it- a knuckledragger, with jump training AND who could make a Raptor jump once we're done? Ain't ever been many like that." He pauses a moment, before stating, "Ah want you inside the hangar, when shit goes down, Coll. You're the only one among the deckies flight qualified and that makes you our last-resort ticket out of here."

"Yeah. Volunteering. In my squadron we used to call assignments like this 'Opportunities to Excell'." She shakes her head and looks back to the picture. Coll pockets it as well, for some reason. The dogtags come next while he mentions coming to her first. "I.. I wanna be mad but I know where your heart is, Const. Even if you won't admit to having one. You're practical and you knew I have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Thank you for that." To the last, she holds his gaze for a moment and walks away without a response. Time for another body.

"For what it's worth, you're welcome," he answers dryly. When she says nothing to his last, Constin too turns to go for another body. "Ah mean it, Lauren. Sure, there might be a Raptor pilot who makes it down with the rest of the Air Wing at sunrise, but ah've got no damn reason to take that risk." A look after Coll as he finishes the words, before the marine reaches down to take hold of the next body.

Coll takes up the legs of what looks like she used to be a blonde and begins dragging her across the concrete and steel flooring. She's silent until she reaches the wall. "No. You're outside, I'm not shorting that frakking risk because you think I have some advantage. Those Raptors may not even work." She eyes him for a second before kneeling for the dogtags. "I'm the only one down here with flight experience who isn't leaving on a Viper. You got someone more qualified to run comms and get air traffic flowing? Be my guest to have them step-up. The longer it takes for those Vipers to get airborne, the longer we are -all- exposed to fire." Stick that in your Practicality Pipe and smoke it!

"Where AH am makes no frakking difference," Constin returns. "Ah'm outside because that's where ah've gotta be. Some body's got to direct traffic, yeah. But you're this team's last shot of getting off this radiated rock. And ah have a pretty frakking good idea at least one of them Raptors will fly, come morning."

"Then if one is flight capable come sunrise, I will boot the FTL up to a simple button push. You hit the 'Nav Complete' button on either the ECO station or at the pilot's controls and it will jump you to the fleet's rendezvous location. I'll get it from the ranking officer when they land and plug it in." Problem solved. Coll's face is a mask of determination while she removes the dogtags. "And if you think I am leaving your ass outside for any reason, you are out of your frakking mind, Const. Period. You go? We go. I'll drag you back to the Raptor if I have to."

"You are one *stubborn* piece of work, Lauren!" Constin returns, half impressed and half irritated. "You wouldn't even listen if ah ordered you to do it, would you?" The marine sets his reeking gloved hands onto his hips in frustration and turns his eye out the open hangar door for a long moment before looking back at Coll. "Always frakking faithful, ain't you?" he repeats tersely.

"Momma didn't raise a weak spirit. Daddy wouldn't abide cowards. You wanna get mad, blame them." She reclasps the dogtags and pockets them before moving off to the next body. "And no, I wouldn't listen even if you gave me an order on it." Another bend at the waist to pick up the body and she rests her hands on her knees. The man's face is a grotesque image, his form sprawled as if he was trying to crawl to a woman whose body is spread eagle nearby. "Yeah. I am. You're the only real friend I got. Others try and lay claim but you've put more trust in me than anyone else. You believe in me in ways that ignore talk and sincere expressions like they don't matter. I won't leave here without you. Better believe I'll fight for the Lance or your buddy Jenkins, too. Even these two Deckies that don't particularly care for me."

"Huh," is Constin's inelegant retort to Coll's eloquence. He grips a decomposing cadaver behind the knees and drags the dead man after the previous corpse, leaving a rapidly diminishing trail of smeared nastiness to mark the trail. He says nothing as he reaches down to again draw off the dogtags, rubbing a gloved thumb across the inscribed face of the tag but doing little to clear it. He looks up to fixe an eye on Lauren, whether or not she's looking back, to voice, "Fine, then."

Coll turns her head to look at him with the last and she nods. Her hands drop and she leans to pick up the guy by the calves and drag him across the plating on the floor. "Sunrise is in a few hours. You'll see then." She settles the legs at the wall and doesn't bother with the dogtags yet. Lauren goes right back for the woman he was trying to reach. "I'll shoot when I can, but my focus is going to be the Vipers. ..I talked to Lieutenant Sophronia before we jumped. She said she's going to make sure we get out of here. I think she'll make an honest effort of it. If we can get her off the ground, our chances might improve." At least she's somewhat hopeful. Coll moves the woman over and sets her down right next to the man before leaning to take their dogtags. Once done, she stands over them with her eyes shifting slowly between them.

"Don't worry much about shooting, until you really have to," Constin advises flatly. "The less attention you draw, the better off all of our chances are," the corporal notes further. "The Cerb should be making a helluva lot of noise by then, which oughta help some." Looking up at Coll and her matched pair of corpses, he asks a moment later, "The last names match?"

"I don't like bein' shot at anymore than you do. Just makes me want to shoot back. But I suspect I'll be drawing plenty of fire considering what I'm doing with the Vipers." Coll sounds distant while she talks. The woman already looks years older after this night of work. Especially this part of it. "I hear ya, though." She doesn't comment on the Cerb. "Yeah. I think they were married. The.. guy? His duty greens aren't dirty. Just scuffed on the legs and arms. I don't think he was Deck." The dead woman's coveralls are unmistakably Deck. "So close. I keep wondering how far he crawled to try and get to her."

"Think about it later," Constin advises after a silent moment spent walking up to briefly regard the scene. "C'mon. We still have work to do, Coll." Again, he falls back on old advice: don't notice, don't look, don't think about anything until it's all over with. Lauren's arm gets a nudge and Constin turns away to clear more of the.. debris from the hangar floor.

Later. Later will include this, the ECO she found in the Raptor, dealing with her gunshot wound, and the combat that will probably engulf them in a few hours. She turns her head up to him at the nudge and follows him with her gaze as he moves off. Those eyes fall to the dogtags in her hand before she turns and makes off for another body. Coll looks pretty isolated with her own thoughts for some very quiet minutes. "I have to lay the signal on the runway in a little bit. Tell them how many Raptors and how many Vipers we have down here. There's no guarantee those Raptors will work when they drop. What do you want me to do?"

"Give me a percentage, Coll: one to a hundred, how good are our chances of getting your bird up by go-time? Peters!" he adds, looking aside to the other bird. "One to a hundred, what are the chances of getting that bird flight-ready in two hours?"

Coll settles the body down and looks to the Raptors. She sighs, arms crossing and smearing some rotting flesh across her flightsuit. She doesn't even notice. "I honestly couldn't say. Fifty? Far outside…Sixty percent chance?" Peters sticks his head out the Raptor's hatch and looks to Coll, then back to Constin. "Agreed. We're still ripping systems apart. If we had three hours? Definitely have at least one. But I won't go higher than fifty or sixty." They both shrug.

"Right," Constin mutters. "Give Actual the count of Vipers and count two Raptors, uncertain." A breath drawn and let out. "If Command is feeling like hedging their bets, they won't drop Raptor crews, and then we're all on our own. Ah don't want to chance you all surprising yourselves and the boat missing out on a functional Raptor by guessing low."

Coll lets out a long breath and looks down the row of Vipers. "Well its laid out with specifics. A number and a marker. We can put two down with a question mark but I'm afraid we may run out of tape. I packed IR-reflective tape for it. They're just flying a recon photo of the runways and jumping the number we plan." Her gaze falls back on Constin. "We can certainly try, though. Those your orders?"


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