PHD #024: EVENT - Breadcrumbs - Recon
Breadcrumbs - Recon
Summary: Evandreus and Marko deal with Uram's worsening Radiation and the great unknown surrounding Parnassus Anchorage
Date: 22.03.41
Related Logs: All "breadcrumbs" and Parnassus-related stuff.
Evandreus Marko NPC 
Post Holocaust Day: #24


Our pilots have been given a set of coordinates to jump to the Bey system in the Parnassus Sector. This is on the opposite end of Colonial space from the Armistice line, pretty much. You want to talk about extreme corners? This base was put here. It's pretty much hugging the Red Line. There is supposedly a research and development/emergency supply facility here that has piqued the interest of a few people of late. It's come up in a few conversations here and there ever since those flight computers were hauled in from Virgon.

Their mission is to verify presence of surviving Colonial forces, as well as verify integrity of the facility in terms of supply-gathering and salvage. You have been instructed to avoid detection if possible, in the event that hostile forces are present.
The orders and briefing given, the deck crewman responsible for Bunny's Raptor has signed off on all the usual checklists and salutes. "She's as good as she'll ever be, sir." He leaves the pilots to their departure.

Marko wastes no time getting up the ship's ramp and strapping into his position at the ECO station. "Okay…let's see what we can see." he murmurs more to himself than anyone as he starts his pre-launch checklists.

So here they are, Bunny nodding once, briskly, to the deckie. Just go confirm colonial forces, that's all. See whether there's human life in the universe besides them. That's all. To say that Bunny's feeling the stress would be understating matters. Still, despite the tension in his jawline arcing up to his temple in a dull ache, he makes certain of his helmet's fastenings, then those of his gloves, and powers up each system, greening them one by one, calling them out in a checklist more to himself than his backseater. "Let me know when we're green back there, Flasher," he calls over suit-to-suit comms.

"Copy that, Bunny." Marko replies quickly as he makes his way methodically through the lists. The last thing they can afford is to have something go tango uniform on a hop this long. "Uram to Bey system…that's a hell of a jump." he comments as he double-then triple checks his calculations for the trip. "Think we'll find anything good?" he asks, sounding a little hopeful, but very dubious.

"Harrier flight. This is Cerberus - CIC." The Raptor's comms system rattles with a bit of chatter from down in the ship's 'brain.' "We are showing open launch clearance at your go. Good hunting, and good tidings. Bring us back something — something good."

"At this point, I would settle for not finding anything bad, yo," Evan calls back, not sounding entirely optimistic, himself, though the call over the comms gets a little chuckle from him, and he shakes his head, flicking on the transmitting end of the comms. "CIC, Bunny, I hear you. Keep your fingers crossed," he offers the suggestion good-naturedly. Off go the transmitting comms controls, and he re-checks all his greened systems. "We're looking good up here, Flasher. Don't rush it, but… I'm ready when you are."

"Copy that, Bunny. Everything's nice and green back here, we're ready to take off when you are." Marko replies. "I'll start feeding co-ordinates into the FTL soon as we've hit minimum safe distance." he adds, settling in for what he hopes to be a long, interesting and not terrifying mission.

Having given clearance, CIC adds, "Copy that, Bunny. CIC out." Outside, the flicker of the exposed front of the hangar bay displays the eerie glow of the debris field ahead of the Cerberus proper. Ah, the Uram Sector.

Evandreus nods, "I hear you, Flasher." And, back on comms, "CIC, Bunny, reporting Harrier-305 green front and back for launch. Launch lights on, we're off-deck in three… two… … And we're launched."
Evandreus lifts the Harrier from the deck, carrying it slowly out the launch hatch and out of Cerberus' proximity before setting in a pre-FTL course. "We're clear of proximity, CIC. See you guys later. Flasher, we're golden. Take us out."

<FS3> Evandreus rolls Raptors: Success.

Marko adjusts his shoulder straps a little as Harrier-305's forward momentum does its usual to the guy sitting sideways. "Hey, Bunny, is it just me, or would it have made more sense to put the ECO station sitting so it faced forward?" he asks, starting to feed the jump co-ordinates into the ship's FTL. A moment later the computer gives a little warbling chirp to acknowledge that, according to it's lights, it's ready to go. "Okay…my board is green. Jumping in five….four…three…two…one…Jump." And with that, he turns the key and the FTL does it's magic.

As the boxy recon craft takes flight and proceeds to drift out of the Battlestar's hangar bay, the ship gains lift and proceeds to navigate under Evandreus' practiced control, everything proceeds according to plan. DRADIS and onboard ship systems flicker a bit due to the ambient radiation of Uram. It's been a small price to pay because, this same start has been granting the fleet a shred of protection. The three Colonial capital ships , circled by a pair of CAP Vipers are passed as she proceeds to her plotted jump coordinates.

As Marko hits the switch, nothing happens as there's a spike in those flickering subsystems, and an alarm light comes on. Just then, the Raptor shudders and the controls, for a moment, go wild and the RCS thrusters start firing in an an alternating pattern, taking the Raptor uncomfortably close to a piece of debris.

"Woah, shit," Evan pipes up as the usual lurch of the jump just doesn't happen, leaving them to a whole 'nother sort of lurching. Fortunately, his hands are quicker to the mark than his brain, acting on a sort of muscle memory to hard restart the thrusters once by one, jamming the fore ones on full run and shoving up the emergncy control lever to send the boat pitching nose-downward and then drifting backward, nose-down, away from the debris field they'd almost slammed into. "What's what back there, Flasher? Do we need to set down?"

"Hey…wait..whoa…frak damn!" Marko hollers as the formerly smooth riding Raptor turns into a roller coaster ride. "It's not my fault!" he calls reflexively before getting himself under control. "Eh…I don't _think_ so…stand by one, Bunny. Lemme see what I can work out back here." he adds before starting to frantically chase down the affected systems and subsystems. "Okay…eh..looks like this is radiation damage." he says a few moments later. "Yep…definitely radiation damage. We sucked up a big spike, bigger than normal, and the hardening on the bird wasn't strong enough to keep it from cooking. We're still good to jump, just gotta reassign some power. Only take me a few." he says, beginning to suit action to words and consulting the flight manual occaisionally to be sure about his settings. "Eh, might wanna take some anti-radiation meds just to be on the safe side." he adds. "Gimme about two minutes, and we'll be good to jump."

The comms ring out again. "Harrier Recon, Cerberus-CIC. We're still reading your signature on DRADIS although it's — odd." The Comms officer declares. "Requesting sitrep. Everything all right out there?"

Evandreus clears his throat, flicking on the comms to transmit, "CIC, Bunny, we got hit by a radiation spike when we tried to jump. We're okay, we're seeing if we need to come back in or if we can go-ahead from here. Will report with update." And off go the comms, again, "Are you -sure,- dude? We can take another boat. If we jump over there and there are Raiders waiting for us, are we going to be at less than a hundred percent?" He puts the question like that, in terms of a worst case scenario. 'Cause it's always better to be safe than sorry.

"Oh, believe me, Bunny, I'm reading you five-by-five." Marko replies, nodding repeatedly in agreement. "That's why I'm taking the two minutes. There's no structural damage to the systems. Just gotta get all the little electrons turned around facing the same direction again." he continues, still working quickly but carefully and methodically, just like he was taught. "Okay, running diagnostics…..Good…..Good….Good….Okay, lemme do an 'idiot' check." he adds, pausing to eyeball every system he's worked with just to make absolutely damn sure they're doing what the computer says they're doing. "Okay, we're back on line." he says at length. "Panel's green across the board."

"Eh, Bunny, might wanna advise Cerberus that it's almost a lead-pipe cinch that there's gonna be more and more of these. I think Uram's about to stop being the quiet, friendly neighborhood it used to be." Marko adds. "Might wanna start thinking about putting the place on the market before the bottom falls out of the property values."

Finally, the response from the Cerberus comes. "Bunny, CIC. We read you loud and clear. No anomalous readings. Godspeed. CIC out." The voice seems a bit hesitant, but nobody has called a mission scrub on their end.

Evandreus waits out the checks, doing systems checks of his own from up front, then nodding, "Flasher. I hear you." Back on comms. "Alright CIC, we're greened up here, we're going to try going it again." And off-comms. "Flasher, is this something they need to know right now, or can it wait until we get home and debrief?"

"Might as well let 'em know now so they can start turning the wheels on finding a new hangout." Marko replies. "Might even have something to do with our scout mission, come to think on it."

Evandreus pauses a moment, then nods. "Alright, Flasher, get the dataa your looking at packeted and hop it up front for me to uplink to the ship," he directs him, then, back on comms, "CIC, this is Bunny again. Flasher's looking at some worrisome readings from out here, says you should take a look at them. I'll be uploading them momentarily over data uplink alpha alpha alpha-seven."

A few quick keystrokes and the data packet is assembled and piped to Bunny's station. "Hot of the presses, Bunny." he says. "Hey, tell 'em if they're gonna start house hunting, we need to find a place with good schools…and a pool…a big pool."

Evandreus encrypts the packet to alpha alpha alpha-seven and sends it away. As he's waiting on confirmation of receipt, "Right," he tells Flasher. But doesn't actually say it over comms. "Are we spool

Again, CIC responds. "Bunny, CIC. We read you. Specify encryption pattern seven-constellation." A pause as they start coming over. "We read. Transmission received. Again, Godspeed. CIC out."

"Ready when you are, Bunny. Just gotta turn the key. Which…if you're ready.." Marko adds when CIC's message comes over the wireless. "My panel is green….Jumping in five….four….three….two….one….Jump." With that, the key is turned and the FTL gets a second chance to do its thing.

Flasher gets a thumbs-up from the Bunny up front to let him know that the order to jump stands. Nothing on suit-to-suit but quiet, for now, and the pilot keeps his eyes ahead, hands poised at the controls in case they jump into a clusterfrak.

That familiar world-breaking, reality-shifting sensation hits and the FTL drives on the Raptor, spooled up, ignite, and send the craft clear across the stars, to a very different section of Colonial space. But what do they see? Space. They arrive safely in what appears to the Parnassus sector. The Bey system. The massive, thin-ringed gas giant "Samir" crackles a sickly red-brown as its stormy surface glistens in the vaccuum of space. "Reza," a dense, icy rock with a barren, toxic atmosphere is not too far away. On the left side of Reza is what is clearly a man-made structure. A mid-sized space station, not as large as the Anchorages used to defend the Armistice line but large enough to be clearly self-sufficient for months if not years with a full staff floats there, silent, and apparently intact at first glance.

There are various other objects of various shapes and sizes strewn about in the surrounding space, some orderly, some not. DRADIS isn't showing any live contacts with a passive scan, but the coordinates seemed a bit off, the Raptor is still out of range.
The station itself looks simliar to the top-down design of your typical Colonial perimeter defense station. It looks like this but is smaller than those anchorages would be. Also, it is more sleek and simple in design, having fewer docking ports and integrated defenses which makes sense. It's not /actually/ perimeter defense station."

"Dammit…Frakkin' Oberlin gave me the wrong co-ords for the exit point." Marko grumbles as his DRADIS paints the station being a good deal further away than it ought to be. "At least, that's our story and we're sticking to it." he adds with a little, nervous chuckle. "No hot contacts on the passive scan. Also no transponder being broadcast from the anchorage." he adds, chewing on his bottom lip. "Permission to switch the ECM suite to stand by?" he asks. Never hurts to be prepared.

"If you can keep the buildup under 1300 THR," Evan calls back. "We don't want to trip over the k-threshold," he goes on. "Keep us running cold as long as you can," he adds, tenderly tapping in a course and then adjusting an input string to thrusters to send them drifting as inconscpicuously as possible closer to the area to get a better look.

<FS3> Marko rolls Alertness: Success.
<FS3> Evandreus rolls Alertness: Success.

Time passes as the Raptor gently sails through space. There's no hyperactive star or extensive debris field that the ship passes through, so for a time our intrepid recon crew has a smooth ride. As you close in, the situation becomes a bit more clear. Something happened here. There is a what looks like a Colonial weapons testing range, involving automated missile turrets and targets which appear to be intact. Some small, spherical objects whose nature cannot be made out yet. The planet the Anchorage silently orbits though, as one gets closer, appears to contain some unpleasant litter in the form of a small group of ship wreckage. Visual scan confirm what looks like the remains of one battlestar group in shot-up pieces, along with the now-ubiquitous forms of ruined Vipers, Raptors, Military shuttles and various Fleet small craft. Not a lot, but it doesn't look like there were a lot of ships /here./ But that's not /all./

"Copy that, Bunny." Marko says, switching the ECM to standby but making damn certain that not one watt radiates out of the emitters. "Still nothing hot on DRADIS, going to camera for a visual sweep." he says, switching to the recon cam. "Whoa…looks like a Battlestar group. Got Vipers, Raptors, shuttles, assorted small boys…Looks pretty much like every after action I've read from the other recon hops." he sighs, shaking his head a little. "Wait…eh..this is a little disconcerting." he adds as he peers at his DRADIS console. "Picking up some low-grade radiological stuff from the Anchorage. They're faint, though, and the type and concentration aren't consistent with nuclear detonation. Do we know what they were playing around with out here?" he asks, turning to give Bunny a quizzical look.

"Not… a… clue," Bunny replies, easing the Raptor to a halt before they get too close to any of those little balls. "So the Cylons came by to wipe out the Battlestar group… but they left the station," he muses aloud, feeling the words in his mouth. At this point, a whole battlestar group's worth of dead folk hardly makes an impression on him, which is depressing in and of itself, but— what can you do? "Automated turrets. Maybe the little things are mines, or some other sort of automated defense system… I wonder if there's anyone left inside."

It will take a few minutes and a closer position to complete surveillance upon the facility, so the Raptor will have to get a bit closer to achieve mission objectives, but so far, everything is quiet, save for those odd readings.

"I am really not liking those turrets." Marko comments warily. "If somebody's alive in that station, they're bound to know we're here. And I can just imagine the kind of reception we'll get if they decide to roll out the welcome wagon." he says, sounding more than a little nervous. "Ready to start photo recon sweep when you are. Faster we can do this, the better. This place gives me the frakking creeps."

Evandreus adjusts their heading a little bit, tapping out some algorithms into the console and then, "Starting the overhead sweep… now." Taptap. And off they go. "I'd hate to think they'd be sad to see us. We're on their side, remember? But if those turrets are still on automatic… we could have issues."

"Yeah, those will make our day one hell of a lot more entertaining than I'm ready for." Marko replies grimly. "Okay, getting the first images now…Looks good." he calls out as a window on his screen begins to fill with data. "Nothin' on DRADIS, no transponders….no nothing." he sighs. "That rad signature is really frakking with my head. Maybe it's the reactor core." he supposes. "Make sure we get some sweeps of the spindle where the power core is."

"Right. We'll come south of carom at a twenty-thirty turn once we hit the far sweep coordinates. That should give you a good read. We can do our active sweep when we come around between the station and the planet, then get our asses out of here," Evan talks through the mission step by step s he takes them past the station, beginning to turn the Harrier on its vertical axis already in preparation for the sweep down past and around the spindle.

<FS3> Evandreus rolls Alertness: Good Success.
<FS3> Marko rolls Alertness: Bad Failure.

"Sounds good." Marko nods, still keeping a weather eye on those turrets and the DRADIS as he double checks the images they're getting.

Fortunately for the crew, the default status of automated turrets of this caliber is IFF - ON. Which should preclude any messy accidents, were any of these still online. What's interesting is, as they close in on the station, it looks as though the automated defenses that are physically connected to the anchorage were surgically destroyed. Parnassus Anchorage is structurally intact, however. That must be emphasized. Scans indicate the station not only has those odd, ghostly radiation readings which are actually rather slight, it still has power. However, the comms remain silent The The turrents in outlying areas, as part of the ballistics testing fields are intact.

Whoever shot this place up did it carefully, sparingly, and leisurely. Marko's DRADIS console suddenly beeps its familiar "new contact" alarm indicating a presence, just as a couple tiny specks appear outside the Anchorage's hangar. Whatever they are. To make things /more/ interesting, the two closest turrets in the testing are suddenly start shifting, their firing tubes turning the Raptor's way. Someone was a prophet of doom.

"O. Kay," Evan declares, once those turrets start turning, shifting the boat into a sudden reversal, swinging its aft down before pivoting to the side and backwards to juke up and away from the station. "Get FTL spun up, Flasher," he says, arcing around in the opposite direction around the station than he'd been going. "And bring DRADIS up for our active exit sweep. Snap your camera quick, we're getting the hell out of here."

"Whoa, frak! Contacts! Two contacts, bearing three four four carom twenty-thirty." Marko calls out as his DRADIS starts filling up with information. "Negative IFF transponder from either ship. Classify them as fighters based on size and maneuvering. Could be Vipers, but they sure as hell ain't watching their DRADIS." he adds. "Spinning up FTL drives now….fifteen seconds. Commencing active DRADIS! now! Now!"

<FS3> Marko rolls ECM: Success.
<FS3> Evandreus rolls Raptors: Success.

As Marko's DRADIS sweep data starts coming in, the two turrets start to arm and suddenly, there's a flash. A pair of warheads starts aiming in the Raptor's vague direction. Or rather, they're facing a little to the port of the ship, wingwards. There looks like there'd be time to fire maneuvering thrusters to avoid a direct hit, at the very least. It wasn't a very accurate shot. Another pair of missiles fires on a slightly different trajectory right afterwards, cruising straight behind.

Those little specks on the horizon are starting to get bigger as they come straight for the Recon Raptor. Like big, metal sharks after a hapless floating sailor.

Evandreus neither dodges left nor right, but spins back and down in a complex twist that'll bring them down past the spire and toward the planet, letting the active DRADIS get a good sweep of both the planet and its battlestar group, on the one hand, and the station and its defenses, on the other hand, evening out above the highest level of atmosphere to facilitate the jump when it comes. "No need to wait for my mark. When you've got the pictures, get us home, Flasher."

Marko braces himself as the Raptor's gyrations toss his lunch around a little. "Okay….Good news first, looks like those turrets are dumbfires." he calls. "There's no IFF missile lock, they're just spitting them out in straight lines. Bad news is, we've got two Cylon raiders on our ass and coming in fast." he says. "We've got our snaps. FTL's spun and ready. DRADIS sweep is…over. Jumping in fine…four…three..two…one…Jump." Few times has the FTL initiate key on a Raptor been turned so quickly or with more relief.

The missiles streak past, never once wavering. Marko called it — these things are not guided. This is good. Very good. If our pilots had a break at all today it was because of this. Thank the Gods for small favors. This gives our team an excellent vantage point of the ruined Battlestar and its dead kin. It's clearly a Valkyrie-class.

As the clock counts down and the DRADIS sweep progresses and finishes, something truly odd happens. Those two fighters come into recognizable view and as Marko called it, yep, they are Cylon Raiders. A pair of them. They speed up and change course slightly to move it the Harrier Recon's general direction when they encounter something. Those little unidentified objects. The Raiders get too close to an area where they are concentrated, in fact, it looks like they flew straight into them. There's a sudden flash, and they erupt, as the objects appear to indeed be spaceborne mines which have been flat-out illegal under Colonial Law since before the Articles of Colonization. Someone was definitely up to /something/ out here.

The Raiders are shredded into bits, and their component parts crash into another couple of mines, completely taking out a small cluster of them(don't worry, there are still plenty more) and leaving Cylon chunks in their wake.

Moments afterward, Marko's countdown ends and the Raptor jumps out, ending up back within the comforting embrace of Uram's eerie glow, and with it — the Cerberus, the Praetorian, and the Corsair. Congratulations — you made it home.

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