PHD #140: EVENT - Bye Bye Birdie - CIC
Bye Bye Birdie — CIC
Summary: BSG-132 is caught between a rock and a hard place. The view from CIC.
Date: 16 Jul 2041 AE
Related Logs: Concurrent with Bye Bye Birdie - Air Wing.
Pewter Tillman Cora Gabrieli Sofia Bannik Cilusia Cidra Trask Sitka Alessandra Psyche McQueen Tisiphone Malone NPC Polaris 
Combat Information Center — Deck 7 — Battlestar Cerberus
The central nexus of the ship, the fighting capability all stems from here. With entrances on both sides, an entire section of the wall will twist its armored glass and doorframes out of an air locked position and allow access. At the rear of the room is a standard hatch that allows access as well. Computer terminals sit in a semi-circle around the main plotting table in the center of the room. DRADIS and other essential readouts are displayed on screens that hang from the ceiling. Forward and aft are a set of glass plots that hang vertically from the ceiling and provide the crew with the ability to coordinate air traffic operations in the easiest way possible.
Post-Holocaust Day: #140

Navigating a ship the size of the Corsair through the winding tunnels that make up the upper atmosphere of the gas giant Auðumbla is problematic when she's alone — but when she has to coordinate her movements with twenty Vipers and eight Raptors kitted out with all the missiles they can carry, an already cumbersome task becomes less like dancing at the Caprica City Ballet and more like threading the eye of a needle with a frayed piece of hempen rope. Small wonder, then, that the soldiers of Battlestar Cerberus have been on pins and needles for the last forty-five minutes, during which time they've been listening to periodic broadcasts from the weakest link in the proverbial chain:

"Bow down six degrees, port thrusters to seventy-six percent on my mark — "

"Biiiig spike there, Guardian One, tell your boys to watch it — "

"Ten seconds until we exit this muck — nine — eight — seven — "

And even before the count reaches five, the battlestar seems to withdraw within herself as her own FTL engines jump to life, bringing her and Praetorian abaft of the single Cylon basestar lurking ten klicks away from the outermost edge of the clouds of gas.

[TAC3] "Gravel" Pewter says, "Toast, Cerberus Actual. Y'all are go for launch, say again, y'all are go for launch!"

[TAC3] "Toast" Cidra says, "Cerberus Actual, Toast. Copy. Boots, we green? I shall be out directly on your mark. All Vipers, you have clearance to launch. Good hunting."

[TAC3] (from "Bootstrap" Trask) Checking and then checking, again, the ECO eventually announces over the comms, "Greener than jealousy, Toast."

"Major Tillman, I want a flak ring up faster than the prize horse at the Grand Prix Sweeps now that our birds don't have Corsie." Pewter puts down the phone with a definitive click, clasping his hands behind his back. "Lieutenant Nikephoros, signal Praetorian to begin bombardment. Let's wreck that basestar."

[TAC3] Cora says, "Praetorian, this is Lt. Nikephoros. Begin bombardment of the basestar, repeat, begin bombardment."

Tillman is standing at the plotting table with his eyes up on the DRADIS. There's a cigarette tucked behind his ear and the sidearm on his hip. Arms clasped behind his back, he seems ready for anything. But as soon as the ship jumps, before Pewter is even speaking, he takes up the phone and punches a number. A swift nod to the Colonel and he begins speaking. "Weps, XO." A pause. "Execute flak pattern Kilo-Four. Begin full battery fire on the main guns." A pause. "See to it." Hollywood hangup, he just punches the phone back into the consol.

[TAC3] Polaris says, "Cerberus, Praetorian Actual, wilco. Missiles away."

Cora nods to Pewter and gives the order over the coms before rejoining Tillman at the plotting table, watching the DRADIS carefully. She starts to reach for a pocket, and then stops, crossing her arms against her chest, and just watching carefully, occasionally looking down at the table to compare it to the DRADIS screen.

"One basestar," mutters Pewter, scratching the prominent bags of skin evident beneath the thick rims of his glasses. "One, Major, just one. I don't like this. I like this less than when my daughter sent me a picture of herself with some punk-ass gangster tattoos, and I whupped her hide for that real good."

Memories of the interrogation of the Eleven flash in his mind quickly. "Got lucky," he whispers. Those eyes are fixed on the DRADIS, Tillman not seeming to even have a reaction to anything else Pewter says. "Confirms what the Cylon said about resurrection, too. But they would have to know that one ship against this battlegroup would be a massacre. They jumped three on us when three-oh-five blew up." He takes up the phone and plugs in 1-800-AIRWING.

[TAC3] "XO" Tillman says, "Toast, XO. Be advised of potential for reinforcements on our flanks."

[TAC3] "Toast" Cidra says, "Cerberus, Toast. I hear you. We shall keep our eyes to the DRADIS."

"One -now-," Cora says quietly, looking away from those screens only long enough for a quick glance at Pewter when he uses that particular comparison. She seems tempted to say something, but just turns back to Tillman instead, waiting for him to finish the call to the air wing before saying, "However many they send, we only need a couple minutes. And what is it you've said before about failure, major?" she prompts, lifting a brow to indicate she expects him to supply the saying himself.

[TAC3] "Shiv" Sitka says, "Val, Duke, Tess, Tally, watch your lateral separation. I think we're going to have to fly this one nice and cozy."

"Two minutes," says Pewter, his eyes glancing at the chronometer on the glass panel above him while he rocks backwards and forwards on the blls of his feet. "Less, now. Ninety seconds." A mirthless smile causes his thick lips to curl. "How much y'all think they can do to us in ninety seconds?"

[TAC3] "Gravel" Pewter says, "All ships, Cerberus Actual. Jump clock at T minus ninety seconds."

[TAC3] "Queenie" McQueen crackles, the whirr-hum of distortion coloring his Wireless, "This is Queenie — Dampeners are holding. And uh, /whoooah/ I see one-two-three-four, oh, bandits, five-three-niner carom two six. Just stay in tight on these dogs, yeh?"

[TAC3] (from "Shiv" Sitka) Shiv's voice breaks through the interference briefly, "Shit- I guess they like me. Val, on my six. Queenie, you've got a couple of fans, too."

"Failure is not a Command-sanctioned activity. Do it on your own time, not on the job." Tillman doesn't seem terribly prone to talking a lot. The radio traffic flows over him and he stands like a statue while watching the 'battle' unfold. He takes up the phone again, punching it for Weps one more time - though Pewter is responded to first. "Nuclear bombardment of the Colonies began in the opening minute of the attacks on Warday." Well that's one way to look at this perpsective. He puts the receiver to his ear: "Weps, XO. Focus fires on the arms of that baseship." He pauses while Weps says something. "I'm aware. Make it happen. I'll stay on the line and wait."

Cora nods at Tillman's words, lips curling very faintly. She falls silent then, glancing at Pewter, but not offering a guess. Time to just wait and see, so that's what she does.

"Yeah. Y'all make a good point." Pewter cannot muster a chuckle, his knuckles whitening as they tighten around the edges of the console behind which he and Tillman are standing. "Is there a problem with the big guns, Major?"

[TAC3] "Queenie" McQueen rattles off sharply, "Shiv, Queenie. Yah, I see'em. What can I say? They know I'm bloody fabulous." There's the sound of frantic KEW fire and system humming and he adds, "Whoah - oh! Good shot, Money."

Tillman shakes his head. "No, Colonel. Waiting for hit reports from the gunners. Their wepons systems are based on those arms. If we hit one of their munitions stores, it could daisy-chain." The Major doesn't even look away. That phone stays pressed to his ear.

[TAC3] "Gravel" Pewter says, "Sixty seconds. Y'all stay frosty out there."

[TAC3] "Money Shot" Tisiphone says, "Queenie, this is Money Shot. Thank you, Sir." The tense voice make her clipped manners even more out of place. "Remaining on your target."

Cora leans, hands braced on the edge of the plotting table. Knuckles whiten as Pewter calls out the count, and fingers drum softly but rapidly for a moment, just a moment, and then she straightens up, arms back across her chest as she glances at Tillman, nodding at his plan, and then turning to DRADIS again.

[TAC3] (from "Shiv" Sitka) Into his radio, Shiv mutters, "Frak. Still on me. Cover me again, Val. Petrels, I say again, watch your lateral separation."

[TAC3] "Queenie" McQueen sounds a bit shaky for a moment as he continues to exchange fire. "Again, that's another one. WHOahhh!"

[TAC3] "Shiv" Sitka says, "Good hits, Splash. Guess you're earning your call. Bubbles, sing out for me?"

"Seems to be working, Clive," says Pewter, his booming voice tight with tension. "Looks to me from here like we've got that Cylon more confused than a nerd at some high school dance. Lieutenant Nikephoros, check that DRADIS — how are we lookin'?"

[TAC3] "Gravel" Pewter says, "Ten seconds. All ships, get ready to RTB, say again, get ready to RTB."

[TAC3] "Toast" Cidra says, "Divine symmetry, Queenie. Fight and fly." Some sort of encouragement. Well, it seems to mean something to her. "Broadside, Blowback! Eat at their flanks. Let us keep the upper-hand while we've got it. Cerberus Actual, Toast. Copy. All Flight, listen sharp to that. Be ready on the mark."

[TAC3] "Bubbles" Psyche says, "FRAK! Frakfrakfrakme I'm here, I'm okay! Frakdamn thing fried my controls. Splash, baby, I need you to cover my ass big time. I'm not going anywhere if I can't… do… something. Here. Uhm… the red wires are the nav system, right?"

[TAC3] "Gravel" Pewter says, "Five seconds. Burn 'em comin' back, all flights!"

[TAC3] "Shiv" Sitka says, "Copy, Toast."

"The wing attacking Corsair just jumped into our flak ring, sir," Cora tells Pewter, eyes fixed on that DRADIS, "They're getting picked off pretty quickly, though, we've got the better of them, it looks like." She pauses for a moment, and then adds, "And I've got a faint… flicker?" she says, "I'm not sure what that was, sir. Sort of a blip."

"Lock it down, el-tee," is Pewter's response. "Major Tillman. Jump once you confirm all birds have landed."

"Aye, sir. Rounds should be showing results momentarily. Waiting for the men and women in the guns to call it out." Tillman looks down to the map on the table and makes a few notations in his chickenscratch. He glances to Cora at her mention of the flicker, but goes back to a few more notes.

[TAC3] "Bootstrap" Trask says, "Negative, Bubbles. Navs are yellow. I say again, Navs are yellow."

"Copy, sir," Tillman adds.

[TAC3] "Splash" Malone says, "Working on it, Bubbles. You just stay alive there, will you?"

[Intercom] Tillman says, "All hands, this is the XO. Prepare for jump sequence."

[TAC3] (from "Queenie" McQueen) Queenie's casual flippancy is buried in concentration. "Toast, Queenie. Now you're speakin' my language, sir. And — whoahh- keep a handle on it, Bubbs! All right, Money, turn around. I'm coverin' your tail."

[TAC3] "Bubbles" Psyche sounds on the verge of cold panic. "Right. Yellow. Copy." Her breathing is quick and a little unsteady.

Cora focuses in on those read-outs, flicking various settings on the screen but shakes her head, informing Pewter, "I'm sorry, sir, I can't tell what caused it."

[TAC3] "Bootstrap" Trask keeps his tone steady and undaunted when he says, "S'alright, Bubbles. I'm here to walk you through it." He /was/ a knuckledragger for six years, after all.

[TAC3] "Toast" Cidra says, "Cerberus Actual, Toast. Birds are home."

[TAC3] (from "Gravel" Pewter) "Roger, Toast. Jumping in three — two — " And then, suddenly, the com falls dead silent, without even a burst of static to accompany it.

" — one, Mark. And get the techs up here," Pewter tells Cora after acknowledging Cidra's confirmation, shaking his head in mild irritation. "And you, Crewman, get us out of here now, now, now — "

"I'm trying, sir!" the crewman responds, a note of panic in his voice. A finger jabs the Big Red Button again and again and again — "Nothing! Engines are good, power is good, tylium is good, nav is — "

Well and truly dead. There's not even the sound of frying electronics; the DRADIS consoles scattered about CIC don't even bother to scream before winking out entirely. For better or for worse, Cerberus is flying blind, deaf, and dumb.

Cora blinks as the coms and then the DRADIS screens go dead, looking around at the frantic crewman running the FTL. She turns to Pewter, and then says, "Sir? We'll need someone to sprint down to engineering, coms are dead."

Tillman looks up from the map as the CIC goes quiet of electronic noise. Oh shit. He turns his head quickly to look at everything. "Weps," he says sternly. "Tell your crews to maintain full batt-" He pauses. His jaw tightens, hand moving to cover the reciever as he looks at Pewter. "Colonel. Weps reports gunnery computers are down. They're having to gun manually across the board. Accuracy is down to nineteen percent." That hand unmuffles the receiver. "That isn't good enough, Weps. Get me better numbers when I call you back." Another hangup and he looks towards comms. Wait, no power. Godsdamnit.

A panicked crewman is already on her way to engineering, her boots skittering across the deck before Cora has finished speaking. As for Pewter? "Maintain flak ring! Get a runner to the hangar and make sure we launch all planes!" he orders, fists clenched tightly in his hand — heavyset features reflecting dully in suddenly-dead screens, lips pursed in sudden rage. "And — gods, Corsie's jumped, she's jumped. Just the two ships now, Major, and we've got shit for eyes."

Tillman levels a finger at a Petty Officer. "Go. Hangar Deck. Launch everything." He then looks back to Pewter, his face a mask. He isn't unflappable but it would seem the Major doesn't anger easily. "Corsair was the problem, Colonel. Problem solved from their end. Just have to solve ours. Its only one baseship. Praetorian and out gunner should be able to handle it."

"Just one," says Pewter, shaking his head. "Just one. Bullshit. Lieutenant Nikephoros, get to those canopy bubbles on our guns with a wireless on the emergency frequency, now. Call down intel from there. Major, keep the flak ring up, but y'all know that." Lips widen incrementally as he glares at his reflection, hands still folded behind his back. "Won't be just one."

"Yes sir," Cora replies, having been explaining the strange blip and then total systems fail to one of the engineers as rapidly as possible. She nods at Pewer, taking just a moment to track down a wireless before taking off for the canopy bubbles.

Tillman just watches all of this take place without another word. Everything is dead. He just stares at Pewter as if waiting for something.

As for Pewter? He just looks at the hatch when Nikephoros leaves, toggling the phone at his station to broadcast her words to the room at large.

[TAC1] "Gravel" Pewter says, "El-tee, Gravel. How copy?"

[TAC1] Cora says, "Copy, sir."

Bannik might be venerated as a God in his off-time, but during the on-duty hours, which includes Action Stations, he's just regular Specialist Tyr Bannik. The Cylons must not have gotten the memorandum from CMES. He's clutching a toolkit in his right hand, having bolted up to CIC as much as his long, gangly legs and only moderate fitness scores would allow him. "I did some work up here back after those Clankers attacked," breathes the Specialist to no one in particular. And so he looks around — where to even begin diagnosing the problem?

[TAC1] "Gravel" Pewter says, "Good. Sing out when y'all are in position and let us know what y'all see."

Power outtage. More than a power outtage, even. Gabrieli saw it happen from Engineering and was shouting for someone to run up to CIC even before the breathless message came barreling into the batcave. Having grabbed a mobile repair kit — fat lot of good that'll do — and two crewman, the ChEng came sprinting up to CIC himself to see what the hell is going on. Fittingly, his first words through the hatch: "The hell is going on?"

Word travels down to the Deck as fast as a runner's legs can carry it. Cilusia travels up to CIC as fast as her legs can carry her…which is to say, a little slower than the runner. Of course, she got the drop on said runner when the power flickered in and out, and coms that had been going went dead. Like Bannik, she's got her little kit with her, slung in a bag over her shoulder.

Runrunrun. Sofia's toolkit jingles on her waist and a repair kit in hand clatters. Not so stealthy is she? For all the good those will do her at least. She's following after Gabrieli, huffing softly. She does't like running - too bouncy. She sees relieved, seeing bannik. "I can work and repair the ECM a bit but -" She offers quietly, looking around and staying quiet until the flying monkey is dispatched.

Finally. "DRADIS is dead," says Pewter abruptly, not even bothering to greet Gabrieli by name or rank. "Winked out after a lieutenant noticed a 'blip.' Coms are dead, intra-ship, inter-ship, everything, which means we can't see shit, we can't talk to shit, and we sure as hell can't jump out of whatever shit we've landed in. We've got an el-tee out there on a portable wireless as our eyes." And now he fixes his eyes on the engineer and his men. "Fix it, Captain. CIC is yours."

[TAC1] Cora says, "CIC this is Nikephoros we've got three more battlestars! That's three more battlestars, raiders scrambled, it looks like one third headed for Praetorian and the other two for us, sir and the original battlestar is on an intercept course!"

[TAC1] Cora says, "I mean basestars. Frakking basestars, obviously."

[TAC1] "Gravel" Pewter says, "Calm down, el-tee. Now." Pewter's voice is firm — devoid of its usual richness, left only with its unmistakable bass, his tone exudes a furious confidence even the Cylons can't shake. "Our birds — where are they?"

"Aye, sir." That's to Pewter, surely, even if Gabrieli's barely looking at the commanding officers. "Wolfe, I want you to track the main outtage and find a bypass to every system in this room that's down." Gabrieli pulls the strap of the repair kit off his shoulder, tossing it down by his feet. "Try the auxiliary nodes in grid delta first. If that doesn't work, divert power from the coils matrix. I've got the DRADIS." His green-gray eyes flicker to the two deckies, pointing them towards the comms units. "Those are yours."

Bannik makes for the comm units, sliding down onto his knees by the console and getting out his screw-driver to work on the casing to get it open. This is why those Deck uniforms have kneepads. "If I recall right, Fasi," he remarks. "DRADIS and comms work off of the same power interchange. If we wanted to try to shunt power over to comms — frak, that'd be taking it from life support, right?"

"What the shit?" This is Gabrieli's eloquent observation of what's happened to the DRADIS console, flashlight beam scouring over the wiring he's managed to uncover. With a gloved hand he grabs for some of the fizzled wire, running his fingers along it until he comes to a melted tangle that leads to…naturally. He cranes his neck, nodding over his shoulder at Bannik. "You got it. Son of a bitch. Colonel." His chin lifts towards Pewter. "We can get things back onlien, but it'll cost you life support in CIC. We suit up or we stay dark."

Big green eyes: Not just metaphors for jealousy. Sofia squints, then - ah hah! She shuffles over. "'scuse me sirs," She's a reasonably mannered snipe at least. Sofia has singled out the main outage. The fiberoptic wiring installed in the main power line. She pauses, "There's still power in the coils matrix here," She explains. She pulls a few wires and tools, slender fingers setting to their task. She's in a world of wires and power, although she hesitates at Bannik's comment, peering over. "I found the main outage." She bobs. She's quietly working on the bypass as they speak, working paths and resistances and circuits and Lords know what in her head, though again, Bannik's comment brings pause. She's stopped working for now.

Cilusia comes to rest next to Bannik by the panel, helping to unscrew and remove an additional panel to get to more of the guts of the thing. "Well, let's see…comms…this is the feed line…" she says, tracing a piece of the cable back towards DRADIS. "Yeah, yeah…life support's about the closest thing. Like…let's see." She stands and leans over the console, tracing where extra lines might run. "Those…recirculators. Yank the power there and jam it in here."

"Do it," Pewter orders without hesitation, glancing at Tillman as his hands clench ever tighter behind his back. Slightly-fogged glasses droop down on his prominent nose. "And all y'all start holding y'all's damned breaths." Not him, though, as he toggles his wireless once more.

[TAC1] "Gravel" Pewter says, "El-tee, Gravel. Report!"

[TAC1] Cora says, "Yes sir," Cora replies, catching her breath from that frantic sprint up the stairs (and probable moment of at least brief panic), regulating her tone until it sounds almost even, a variation on the usual, but unmistakeably colored by the heightened urgency of the situation. "Our vipers are trying to get at the basestar that's heading our way, but there are masses of raiders out there. It looks like the plan is for it to ram us, and I can't tell how long we've got until impact. Also, Praetorian is taking heavy fire, sir. Extremely heavy fire, they're getting pounded."

[TAC1] "Gravel" Pewter says, "ETA on impact, El-tee. Give me y'all's best guess."

Bannik begins to reach into the mess of coils in CIC, trying to pare them away and make room for other tools to work. But this isn't the inside of a Viper, and being tall strikes again. "Frak!" he shouts, his hand reaching out to clamp down on a wire. "Fasi! Grab that red one! Someone get over here and help us get off these panels so we have more room!"

[TAC1] Cora says, "Sir, it's probably…" Cora hesitates just a brief second, "Two minutes out, sir? Maybe one? Two at most."

"…" Hmmm. Sofia squints at the wires she is peering at. "Hey… Hey, the outage didn't come from here." She is peering when YEEK! Sparks! Sofia manages to yank her hand out of the way after she's reached into the mess of wires. "Gods!" She hisses at it. "Something connected to CIC - must've exploded, shredding these fiberoptics and hosing the DRADIS, that's what I see so far."

Good thing Cilusia's pretty small, eh? She's able to slide an arm into the thing and snag the wire that's about to separate. "Godsdamned, man! You almost vented the air!" Her arm is stuck behind the panel until further notice, which mostly consists of her stamping a foot and waving over some other deckie. "Get this panel off man, comeon! I can't get in here to secure this wire!" She can, however, slide her other arm in enough to shut off power to the recirculators. "You, get that floor panel up and start yanking this power feed out!"

And indeed the grunts get to work, orange-uniformed men and women scattering around CIC underneath Pewter's baleful gaze. The colonel, for his part, is standing stock still in the center of the room, his fists clenched tightly around the wireless controls. "Careful!" he calls to Bannik, voice firm. "Crewman — " His hand points at an ECM tech with nothing to do. "Outside with y'all's mates. Find us headgear, find us breathing gear, whatever the frak emergency shit is out there, y'all find it. Go!"

[TAC1] "Gravel" Pewter says, "Two at most. Shit, el-tee. Call out coords. We'll try to drive out of the way. And y'all damn well make sure y'all call out the right coords cause if we don't, we're going to shred our own frakkin' fighters when our flak ring moves."

Gabrieli sucks in a breath and jams his gloved hand down into the tangle of sparking coils, feeling the sharp heat biting even through the thick material on his hands and wrists. "Life support going down in 60 seconds," he shouts, warning the crew. Pewter's at least got someone finding masks, so he doesn't bother with that, looking over his shoulder at Sofia. "Wolfe, get ready to hold your damn breath if they don't find masks in the next minute. The second we come out of jump — " If she's still standing. " — trip the failsafe on this bypass and get the air back on, understood?" Tick, tick, here we go.

[TAC1] Cora says, "Sir, I've got bearing Two-Four-One carom Zero-Seven-Nine. ETA 90 seconds at the outside."

[TAC1] "Gravel" Pewter says, "Two-Four-One carom Zero-Seven-Niner, El-tee, confirm."

[TAC3] (from "Money Shot" Tisiphone) There's a burst of static before Tisiphone's voice comes through. "-it. I got it. Here, Sir. Continuing evasive maneuvers."

[TAC1] Cora says, "That's correct, sir. Two-Four-One carom Zero-Seven-Niner."

[TAC1] "Gravel" Pewter says, "Gravel copies. Hold one, El-Tee."

"Nav, make our course two-four-one carom zero-seven-niner, say again, two-four-one carom zero-seven niner!" Gravel snaps out the numbers before returning the headset and microphone to his ear.

[TAC1] "Gravel" Pewter says, "Cerberus is moving — is that Cylon adjusting course?"

"Life support off in three…two…one…" Gabrieli pulls the last wire from the edge of one console, darkening the screen. The sounds of vents shutting down is not loud but it's audible, a disturbing sound for the sole reason that it's one that they've never really heard. A sudden silence of vents and an absence of a mild background white noise that's never just…/not been there/ before. As the ChEng works on the DRADIS, a screen flickers, threatens to die, and then flickers again. Then it abruptly goes black, but for once that's something Gabrieli /wanted/ to see. "DRADIS rebooting," he calls out towards Pewter and Tillman.

[TAC1] Cora says, "Frak! Sir, gun battery next to me just got hit and exploded, I can't see to tell you."

With the help of some other deckies, Cilusia manages to not only secure the one cable, but disconnect the power to the recirculators. Blowers down, now, recirculators down - no air in, no air out. What's here is here. "Ok Bannik…go. You're the one who knows how the power shit gets hooked up!" Which means to say, Cilusia's basically yanked the power cable out of the recirculator without getting fried and has been pulling it out of the cable bundles under the floor panels, giving it enough slack to double back around and feed the comms.

Deeeeeeep breath. Hey, a perk of operatic singing? Kid's got a fair set of lungs worked out. Sofia takes a deep breath. She nods, obediently to Gabrieli. "Yes sir." And not zapped. So far so good. She's standing by though. She is somewhat perturbed by the sudden silence. But she is steady, timing her task just so.

"How long?" Pewter snaps, breathing in deeply — speaking as softly as possible, breathing as shallowly as he can. "How long 'til that screen stops spitting bullshit?"

Tillman glances to Gabrieli and then back to Pewter as the man starts getting mad. He's still got his hands resting on the map table and watching people work, listening to the radios.

With the cable out, that means Bannik can feed the cable back in. He grabs the wire that was formerly linked to the reciculators, and yanks it on over towards the coms, trying to get it to click. "Fit /in/. Fit /in/. Fit — there we go!" He's triumphant. "We should have comms, sir!"

Gabrieli is barely breathing himself, trying to take the shallowest sips of air that he can without provoking himself to gasp for air. "No way to know, sir. If the system's been damaged…" They could just all die before it finishes. Lovely thought. "It's on its own now."

Pewter acknowledges Gabrieli's statement with a curt nod, glancing at Tillman — eyes flashing. "Well done!" he booms in the meantime, tossing the headset and wireless set with which he'd been talking to Cora to the XO's side of the console. She's his responsibility now. As for him, he's already on the horn to the Fleet, grabbing the phone from its cradle with deliberate, forceful movements —

[TAC3] "Gravel" Pewter says, "All ships, Gravel, coms are back up. Status on that basestar, over!"

The XO takes up the headset and slides it over his ear as his eyes lift back to the sputtering, starting DRADIS screens. He's not the picture of calm, but he's not moving any more than he has to. Certainly not saying more.

[TAC1] "XO" Tillman says, "El-tee, XO. Vacate gun position post haste."

Gabrieli's lips move as he watches the DRADIS screen progress. Repeating something without any breath, not even taking the precious extra bit of oxygen to do that.

[TAC1] Cora says, "Yes, sir," and it's clear she's already started running back out of that gun turret as she asks, "Are we back online?"

[TAC3] "Bootstrap" Trask says, "Gravel, Bootstrap. Based on DRADIS projections, ETA for impact is approximately 30 seconds. 45 at the absolutely outmost." Beat. "Maybe.""

Pewter nods at Tillman before fixing the deckhands with his intense glare — which shifts from Bannik to Cilusia and back again before he jerks his head at the FTL console. "Hope y'all paid attention in y'all's math classes," he mutters. "Double-check those numbers the crewman's got for us the moment we get DRADIS back online. We've moved." As for Gabrieli and Sofia: "O2 — " Pewter gasps as he strains for purchase in the thinning air. "O2 after the jump, just like the Captain ordered. Get ready."

Sofia will trip the failsafe on the bypass to get that air back on. Awesome lungs or not, sipping air only holds out so long and she'd rather not have everyone sans mask suffocate. She is a handy minion at least.

[TAC1] (from "XO" Tillman) The words are clipped and short from Tillman. "Getting there, Lieutenant. Brace for impact."

[TAC3] "Gravel" Pewter says, "Toast, Gravel, DRADIS is — " Pewter's voice is labored, almost as if he's running out of breath. "DRADIS is restarting. Y'all give me more than thirty frakkin' seconds!"

[TAC3] "Queenie" McQueen howls. /Howls./ One kill, it was something, at least. "Splash /one./" In the background there is more gunfire. "Copy that - 30 seconds." There's some incoherent mumbling as he switches off the comms, and the comms go dead.

[Intercom] A bell sounds across the ship three times, Tillman's voice coming over the louspeaker afterwards. "All hands, sound collision. Brace for potential impact."

[TAC3] "Toast" Cidra says, "Val. Duke. Tess. Tally." The names of the four Petrel pilots are enuciated clearly once Cidra's taken a second - as much of a second as she can - to read the starfield. They're in position to do it through the Raiders. And the Cerberus is not going to have time unless the basestar is slowed. "Fly straight for the engines of the basestar. You have your orders. All honors to your service.""

[TAC3] (from "Gravel" Pewter) The com clicks on; clicks off; clicks back on. "All honors," Pewter growls, his voice hoarse, breath coming sharply over the com.

"But we just finished repairs!" is all Bannik can protest as he grabs onto something, trying to brace for the coming impact that may be imminent. He swallows hard, trying to suck down what air he can, even as it dwindles in the CIC. Come on, come on, come on. But then it comes onto him: "Sir! The coordinates! We can't jump there! We'd shred up the whole ship!" His voice is raspy, but insistent now. "We can't jump! We need to recalculate!" He /did/ pay attention.

[TAC3] "Queenie" McQueen hesitates over the comms again. "Sir, they're /going to/.." This is delivered with a faltering voice as Cidra gives the order. "C'mon, Money. You good? Let's cover our people."

[TAC3] (from Polaris) "Roger, sir." Duke's voice trembles as he approaches. "It's been an — " And then all that's audible is a haze of static.

[TAC3] "Money Shot" Tisiphone says, "Oh, mother of the gods." Voice thready. "Copy. Uh. Queenie, this is Money Shot. Copy that. Target your target."

Cilusia too holds on for dear life. "It's been a hella long time since I've seen any textbooks…but that doesn't look right. Does that look right to you Bannik?" Well, no, clearly. "I don't know what'll happen, but I really don't think we want to jump to those coords." She's squinted to look at the DRADIS screen while she holds on, scrunching her nose up while she does some basic calculations in her head.

"We've got to jump!" the crewman screams, his paper rattling in his hands. "We're good — these are good — "

Pewter clenches his teeth as he stares daggers at the two protesting deckhands. "Verify!" he barks, making use of what little air he has remaining to him. "Slide rule, calculator, something, verify!"

When geeks dream about saving the ship, this is likely what it looks like.

Cora arrives back in CIC already half out of breath, forearm lifted to cover her mouth as if that's somehow going to help. "What the—" she begins to ask and then spots the tangle of wire and pipe and deckies and engineers and shouting crewmen and barking, breathless colonel and shuts up.

That DRADIS screen still isn't showing much of shit, apart from boot babble. Which Gabrieli is watching intently, even through the deckhands talking about wrong coordinates. He knows the drives themselves backwards and forwards — but the coordinates themselves, not his area. Not by a long shot. "On the final initiation sequence, Colonel. Twenty — …" The screen tries to blip and the ChEng literally slams his knee up into the bottom of the console. Sparks. "… — Twenty seconds to green, sir."

[TAC3] "Gravel" Pewter says, "Twenty seconds 'til jump. RTB, RTB, RTB!"

[TAC3] (from "Queenie" McQueen) Someone's been leaving his thumb on the transmitter again. "You see? You see what these people do? You see what we /frakking/ do and you keep coming." *bbzzztstaticinterference "-owards! COME ON!" And the transmission dies again as McQueen retransmits, more composed. "All ships, this is Queenie. Primary power's still at 80 percent. Money, Toast, Bubbs. Get to the barn, I'm right behind you. Preparing for combat landing."

"I'm usually not working with something this big, but — " There's no greatness without trying the unknown, right? But here, Bannik is nudging the poor frantic Crewman aside and stealing his slide rule from the plotting table to go to work with the numbers. " — Usually just double-checking Ratpor nav comps on the basics. But. Just scale it /upwards/ for mass and — " He adjusts the slide rule, moving it to work with logarithims. Carry the two and: "Sir! I've got bearing one-three-niner! Repeat! One-three-niner!"

Even as the air dwindles, Cilusia has enough presence of mind to not let the potential fate of the ship rest on her fuzzy math (no matter if she was a child left behind or not). Time to get a little more serious about it, so, Cilusia 'borrows' the crewman's calculator…not without some protest from the crewman who's convinced he's quite right in his work. "Godsdamned, I haven't done this shit since basic and shit…" Click click click go the keys until, "Carom six-eight-one! Repeat! Carom six-eight-one!"

"Fifteen seconds…ten…" Gabrieli's hand is gripping the side of the console, arm relaxed but knuckles turning a slow but sure white. "Five…four…three…two…" The screen turns a bright blue and then starts spitting numbers rapidfire, the programming that the ChEng knows so well now finally kicking itself into gear. "DRADIS online."

The numbers are shouted out, apparently confirmed, and now all that's left to do is input them. Input them. Inp— the crewman at the station has been staring at that DRADIS screen for so long he seems paralyzed when it finally comes back online, and with a curse, Cora legs it across the room, gasping for breath as she sprints, calls out (well, wheezes) "One-three-niner carom six-eight-one," as she punches it into the console.

[TAC3] "Money Shot" Tisiphone says, "Queenie, this is Money Shot. Copy. Uh. Copy that, RTB."

[TAC3] "Toast" Cidra says, "Flight. Toast. Yes. All ships. RTB. Cerberus. Status?"

[TAC3] (from "Gravel" Pewter) "DRADIS online!" Pewter rasps. "Toast, are all ships — " There's a long pause. Maybe he's taking a breath; maybe he's thinking about what he's just said. "Toast, are y'alls ships aboard?" The all is dropped.

[TAC3] "Toast" Cidra says, "Cerberus Actual. Toast. All ships accounted for have landed."

[TAC3] "Gravel" Pewter says, "Roger."

And as the symbols for 'basestar' flicker back onto the screen, Pewter sees with some satisfaction that one in particular has stopped cold in its tracks — satisfaction tempered with grief that makes itself known on his expressive face. "Jump," he breathes, eyes locked on the screen, phone hand rising as he orders Cora to push the big button —

Bannik takes a deep breath as the numbers go in — of course, that breath isn't exactly too deep given the lack of oxygen in the room. And now? And now the room gets to go swirly from the jump. Only good thing is there's oxygen on the other side, right? Hopefully? But he smiles at Cilusia — nerds to the rescue.

Cora has been watching Pewter, waiting for that order, and when he says jump, this time the lieutenant doesn't ask how high, she just pushes the button.

Good thing the procedures for collision and jump are the same: find something sturdy and hold on for dear life. Cilusia is still doing that, though the calculator with its screen full of numbers is abandoned to afford a two-handed grip on the nearest console. She's looking a little blue around the gills though, wanting to take a really deep breath once the jump completes.

Latch on. Sofia is prepared to throw that failsafe. So she hopes. She wonders if she is going to pop though, this breath holding and sipping air business is not easy or pleasant. And she's about to start turning various colors.

Nothing happens — all that talk about getting sick to one's stomach is more mental than anything else, or at least that's Pewter's story and he's sticking to it. Phone back in its cradle, hands clasped behind his back as he's accustomed to doing, his squinted eyes never leave the DRADIS screen packed full of hostiles — a screen that suddenly clears with one final burst of static. "Confirm — " he breathes, sagging forward, knees bending as wide palms slam against the edge of the center console. "Confirm location."

Cora leans against the DRADIS console, not having bothered to shove the former operator out of his chair so much as just leaning bodily around him. One hand covers the lieutenant's face but it drops quickly and she peeks around it, taking a moment to be sure, and then nods, "Confirmed, sir. At the rendezvous."

"Wolfe…switch. Now." Gabrieli's getting a little grayed out at the edges of his vision, leaning weight more heavily on the hands braced on the console. "DRADIS is clear. Enemy contact nil. Reading our Raptors…Praetorian…Corsair."

Hff. Sofia was never top of the ole PE class. But neither it seems, is she entirely at the bottom. Gritting her teeth, she wrenches closed the vibes. DRADIS dies again, but there's air returning. She gasps it in, drinking as if she'd been a wanderer in the desert and the air were a fountain.

First, there's the jump and there's no air for the split second that Bannik's body is wrested across space. But second, there's no air in general until — it's let out in a huge puff of air from Tyr's lips as the recirculators come back on. "We're where we're supposed to be, sir," confirms the Specialist. "Green across the board over here at the plot table."

"Good," whispers Pewter, his body unmoving — until, ever so slowly, his head rises to confirm what Gabrieli says — not in time, as Sofia kills the jury-rig. It's a small price to pay for sweet, sweet air, air he swallows lungfuls at a time as his chest heaves up and down and up and down — "Shit," he whispers again, when he's through. It might be the conclusion of his thought; it might be a new one altogether. "I'm too old for this shit." He'll spare no congratulations for the crew — just a meaningful look at the men and women assembled in CIC, whose deck panels and bulkheads appear like they've been torn apart by a passing hurricane. "Major, y'all have the conn. Captain Gabrieli, put a team together and see if y'all can tell me why this ship went tits up right at our jump. I've got a CAG to see." And with heavy steps, Pewter is making his way out the hatch, one foot dragging behind the other as he moves.

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