PHD #144: EVENT - Dialogue with the Stars
Dialogue with the Stars
Summary: A team goes on a resupply hop to the Virgon Graveyard. They find more than they wanted to.
Date: 20 July 2041 AE
Related Logs: None
Stavrian Sofia Cora Constin 
Colonial Landing Ship Minotaur
DESC below.
Post-Holocaust Day: #144

The Virgon Graveyard. One million souls either entombed or exposed to the vacuum for all time. The colony still holds that disgusting yellow, green, and brown hue to almost the entire atmosphere. On the approach, the ECO reported minimal power outputs from the ship, something that surprised even the pilot. The 'Minotaur' looks complete dead, the entire fore section of the ship blown off in ragged pieces. But apparently the airlocks have power. The two Raptors detailed to this assignment docked without any problems close to the cargo deck, the power systems automatically working as designed. When the doors open, the ship is dark for the most parts. Lights flicker in random locations while the emergency power seems to only have been left running. Shadows dance and throw hard angles across the walls. Deep within the wreckage, the ship groans as if welcoming the new arrivals while the deck plating rumbles a bit with it. The corridor bends off ahead and only seems to lead in one direction. There's an overturned crate laying on the ground. Apparently the gravity works.

Constin's boots take purchase on the deck as the sergeant takes the first few steps onto the wreck, before voicing over the comms to the others, "Designated Marksman's Rifles, squad light machine guns, with munitions, sixteen of each. Ay-Tee rifles, with Heat munitions, and man-portable anti-armor. Want Tridents, but will take Karls is that's what we get. Four of each. Items of interest are Ee-Em-El mines in whatever quantity we can get our hands on. Schematics put us.." A pause to double-check their position, "Pretty close to one of the boat's armories. Snipes, we'll need you all when we get there. Fireteam up front, lets move, team."

Shiver. Graveyards. Not really Sofia's favorite place. Imagining the tragedy over and over again of the loss just tugs at her mind. She shakes it off though, watching quietly. A few blinks. Some power left? Hm. Sofia furrows her brows at the groans and her steps are careful as she walks along with the group. There's a bit of surprise at the gravity working and she peers around. She follows Constin, somewhat nearby but not foolish enough to take point. She nods at the Sergeant and follows along obediently, green eyes wide and alert. She looks thoughtful at the list of things needed.

Of flightsuit after flightsuit, one bears armbands with the unmistakeable staff of Asclepius in bright red. The face behind the helmet is deeply shadowed, to the point where Stavrian's face can barely be seen at certain angles. His med packs are strapped in place, one on a wide band across his chest and a smaller one tied against his left leg in easy reach. A small case with him, in the strange chance they find something worthy of sampling to take back to Bia's inspecting eyes.

Cora has spent the trip since they jumped into Virgon space staring out the window, pretty much, glancing back at Constin when he begins his list, and then tilting one ear towards the marine to listen without ever really taking her eyes off the debris field around them and the planet below. As they pull in to the airlock, she checks her gear and gathers herself, nodding to the marine's instructions and following out in the middle of the group.

Up ahead, the mostly barren hallway turns an elbow to the right. A light flickers the shadows of a stack of boxes towards the group, spread along the floor like an oil slick.

<FS3> Stavrian rolls Alertness: Success.
<FS3> Cora rolls Alertness: Success.
<FS3> Constin rolls Alertness: Success.
<FS3> Sofia rolls Alertness: Success.

Constin moves in the hunched walk ubiquitous to marines everywhere as the fireteam approaches the elbow, rifles up and turned in whichever direction the marines are looking, despite the abandoned nature of the dead ship. Boxes are checked summarily in approach, before Constin's rifle/attention are directed up at the light, curiously, then back down to the shadowed deck. Huh. No doors in a hallway make it a simple thing to secure, and the team moves at the pace of a brisk walk.

Sofia is careful, but not quite in the hunched walk. It's a bit awkward for her and this gear isn't … tailored to her. Uncomfortable in spots. She tenses at the shadows and light playing. Did it flicker? She furrows her brows and frowns. Still, she trusts those she walks with and keeps along.

Stavrian keeps pace with the Marines and engineer, planted squarely in the middle of the formation. His feet treat the gravity a little uneasily, walking with a ginger roll of heel to toe as if the back of his mind expected the floor to let go of his boot soles at any moment. His shoulders tense slightly as that shadow flickers in his peripheral vision, a dark brow raising behind the shadows of his visor, and he steps a little closer to the wall, trying to get the best peek around the corner as he can.

Cora keeps pace as well, and like the marines, she does so with her weapon raised and aimed at her line of sight. It does not necessarily follow each of the little glances she flicks here and there, too twitchy to be real looks, though her gait and posture otherwise are normal and still but for what's needed to move down the hall. When that shadow flickers, she turns her attention to it, and the approximate angle at which those boxes the shadow seems to originate from might be, around that corner.

Rounding the corner, there's an intersection. Straight ahead, according to the plans, is the main Cargo Hold for the Infantry Battalions aboard. To the left, it runs deeper into the ship and towards the crew quarters - the corridor empty. However, they are not alone. The corridor leading to the hold has something on the floor just past the intersection As the eyes adjust, it becomes more clear just what those things are. Held up by sandbags are a pair of rifles standing vertical, their butts firmly planted against the deck. Coated in something red, the rifles aren't what gather the attention. Each rifle has a bayonet attached and atop each is the severed head of man. They look like they've been sitting there for quite some time. Across the wall is some kind of design, the same one on each side. Beyond, the closed double-door hatch is closed. Someone has written across the doors in blood: 'Our Lord's Arena'.

Constin's stonefaced neutrality twists down into a scowl at the sight of the obstruction in the hallway in front of them. Teeth grit together for a moment, before he growls woodenly into the comm, "Team, be advised, we have evidence of enemy activity aboard the ship since its destruction. Proceeding." Constin advances along the right side of the corridor toward the intersection- and the bayoneted heads, ready to clear the right hand side of the intersection when they draw close enough, while another of the marines is left to the left.

Oh Lords. Sofia winces at the spectacle ahead. Ick. She just swallows hard and nods at the announcement. She meekly follows, but the sight is troubling. Arena. Lord, just one. And it's written in blood. She frowns. There''s no comment from the peanut gallery for now, but she advances along and looks to the others, if only to avoid staring at those heads.

Stavrian rounds the corner shortly after Constin, weight shifting back on his heels as the sight of the rifles and heads greets the Sagittarian. The sharp intake of air inside his helmet doesn't transmit over the radio. His blue eyes rake up the wall, flickering from one print of the 'design' to the other. "Lead, that's the Sign of Ares…and…" He frowns at the 'pictures'. "Something else combined that I can't make out." His voice comes across the comm, and a soft click follows as he goes silent again for a beat. "Specimens are degraded and dessicated. There may be life support functioning in here."

Oh lords, indeed. Cora spends more time examining that symbol on the wall than the heads, leaving that bit to Stavrian. She remains in her spot in the loose 'formation' the team has acquired, weapon all the more ready given this sight. "Not cylon work, then," she offers when the medic indicates that the sign of Ares is involved.

"Duly noted, El-Tee," Constin answers Stavrian's information over the comm. "Side corridor clear," comes the report over comms, as the team gets to the grisly border of sandbags. Constin steps over, willfully ignoring closer study of the trophies. Focus on the job. Nothing else matters. He moves to input the command to open the main cargo bay doors. A pause. "Keypad's locked. Wolfe, you're up." He motions one of the marines to take up rear guard.

Huh. Sofia tilts her head at this new knowledge. She considers it, looking to Cora then back to the others. Why would people- she does her best to ignore the trophies and watch Constin instead. She's called up though and blinks. Oh right! Sofia nods, "Got it." She'll step up and over towards the keypad. Time to work out a plan of attack and see what she can do here for it.

That Marine looking down the hallway to the left jumps and nearly tumbles backwards in his crouch, catching himself as his rifle slips a bit. "Gods!," he breathes, the man suddenly flush. His eyes are wide, breath coming at quick intervals. "Sarge.I think I'm seein' shit. Saw a face, I swear… Looked like a woman. Down at the end of the hallway." His hand comes back up to the rifle and he keeps at the low ready. He tilts his head in the direction. That hallway is probably fifty yards long, open hatches lining the length up and down. Its ambush territory.

<FS3> Sofia rolls Technical: Good Success.

"Maybe, El-Tee." Stavrian's soft-spoken voice comes over the comm again, after Cora. "But more than one has spoken of 'the Lord' before. And that extra symbol in there could be denouncing Ares, for all I know." He exhales a thin breath through pursed lips, keeping on. As Constin finds a keypad he turns halfway around to watch their backs as the engineer's called up to fiddle with the technology, and blinks at the reporting Marine. His rifle's re-braced against his shoulder, scanning the corridor.

Cora turns as the marine jumps and starts insisting he saw a face. She peers down that hall, and then flicks a look back to the heads, to the doors, to the writing on the wall. "Could be," she nods to Stavrian, "That could be. But I'm pretty sure I've seen this movie," she goes on, voice a low, dry twist of black not-quite-humor, "And I don't remember enjoying the ending." She keeps an eye on the corridor as well as Sofia works with that keypad, weapon, if possible, even more at the ready.

"Specify, soldier," Constin orders curtly to the panicked report. "You THINK, or you SAW?" the long hallway is appraised with a frown. "Do not open the hatch yet, Wolfe," the sergeant instructs. "Not until we've cleared our backs." Two other marines are indicated, with the flat command, "Lets clear this sunovabitch. Hold position here, for now," he directs Stav, Cora, and Sofia.

Sofia is working that keypad. It's fairly complex. She listens to the conversation behind her. "Got it," She nods at Constin, though her work with the keypad continues. It takes a good deal of fiddling, squinting and hmmm'ing before she's satisfied. She looks pleased after a moment, but that only lasts for but a second in light of the horrors. "There. The keypad is unlocked when you're ready." She'll hold position for now.

"Holding." Stavrian's narrowed blue eyes are locked on the corridor where the Marine saw his phantom, searching along the walls and then down the middle. "This movie better not be formula horror," he mutters after Cora. "Not in the mood for ghosts in the machines."

"Yeah…I'm not sure ghosts are most likely, in this case. That's not the movie I'm remembering, anyhow," Cora replies in a mutter back to Stavrian, "But in either case, those guys over there whose names I don't know?" she jerks her head discreetly towards the marines sent off down the corridor, "It goes especially bad for them."

The Marine shakes his head. "Dunno, Sarge. I think. Could've been a trick of the light. Just..I can't tell sir. Gave me a start. One second it was there, next it was gone." He looks up in his helmet and then back down. The PFC is nervous. "You sure you wanna go down there, Sergeant?" His eyes turn back towards the line of open hatchways. Nothing seems to be moving. Meanwhile the green light on the Cargo Hold's keypad blinks green in the silence. The only sound outside their helmets is a defined -click- when the lights dash on and off.

"You want something that 'gave you a start' at our backs, boy?" Constin tells his twitchy underling, a bit harshly. Last thing they want in a tense situation is an uncertain route back to the Raptors. "Eyes forward," he indicates one marine, "Eyes left," he directs the next, noting, "Ah'll take doors to the right. Standard room clearing, boys. Lets move."

Holding. Sofia looks to Cora and Stavrian, before her eyes wander back to the Marines. She leans a little, to see if there's anything she's missing. She is a quiet sentinel, near that blinking keypad light, which shines on her. "I hope they don't go too far…"

"Just keep an ear out," Stavrian mutters to Sofia, over the comms. He doesn't move apart from shifting a step or two to the right, keeping the Marines in view as much as he can around that corner. His eyes flicker to Cora and he smirks darkly.

"And an eye," Cora adds to Stavrian's advice for the snipe, shifting a step or two to the left almost as if she is dividing up the space at this angle between herself and Stavrian. She flicks a few glances around, back down the way they came, at Stavrian to return that smirk with a faint, rueful little shake of her head, but mostly watches the hall the marines head down.

It takes a bit of time. Clearing every one of those dozen compartments isn't a quick endeavor. Offices, supply closets, a room full of shredded boxes that once contained decontamination gear. Everything is completely trashed. The last one at the end of the corridor was a Head. The toilets were completely full of bile and overflowing onto the floor. Its the kind of place that no human would ever want to populate or even use. At the end of the hallway, it turns and continues on. Stairwells, intersections, more compartments. It leads deep into the ship and there doesn't seem to be a single thing moving except for the dash of shadows. When the Marines return to the group as a whole, they just shake their heads. "Empty, Sergeant. Disgusting and torn up, but its clear. I think the PFC is hallucinatin." A look, then, to Cora and Stavrian.

A nod at Stavrian. Peer. Peeeeeer. Sofia is worried by the time it takes. She takes a deep breath though, and quietly ponders the strangeness of it all. She grins at Cora's addition to the advice, then looks thoughtful. "Wonder what they are looking for…"

The chatter over the comms is a regular series of "Clear," announcements as the marines move to the end of the corridor. "Regroup at the cargo hangar," is Constin's only comment on hallucinating PFCs at the end. Jogging back to where the others have been left with severed head and profane graffiti.

Stavrian arches a brow as the Marines get back, flickering the corridor a look that's still somewhat uneasy. He mutters something under his breath that just barely trips the comms. Some brief and monotone utterance that's not Standard, the name 'Charon' the only recognizable sound. His mic clicks softly and then clicks again. "Good to proceed, then?"

Cora glances at Stavrian as the comm trips almost without sound, and then back to Constin and the returning marines. "Alright," she says, stepping back from the door so that the marines can presumably precede her through it.

The Cargo Hold. Its twice the height of the Cerberus' Hangar Deck, four times as wide, and about the same length. Inside, huge pallets are stacked almost to the ceiling overhead. Armored Personnel Carriers run down the center of it until they disappear into the flickering depths of the overhead lights. Rifles. Sidearms. Anti-tank weapons. Ammo for all of it, as far as the eye can see. Stenciled on to each, spraypainted black against the dull olive drab, are the labels for each of their contents. Closer, though, there's a stack of pallets arranged almost in a semicircle. Like a miniature arena about thirty feed wide. It is only a few dozen meters from the entered hatchway. In the center of the circle is something..some kind of mess. Small metallic items glint when the lights overhead flash, highlighting the filth.

Constin moves in with the rest of the fireteam, guns sweeping over the area with each turn of the wielding marine's eyes. Up to the rafters, down to the deck, and scanning over the rows of APCs. "Marines, clear the room. Wolfe, can you see if we have any functioning lifts in here?" That ominous mess in the center occupies Constin's own attention as the sergeant moves closer.

Sofia follows along, towards the middle. She watches the others for a moment then blinks at the APCs. Whoa. Almost all the weapons she could possibly dream up. Headtilt. Although the mess catches her attention after a moment too, and her eyes narrow. But soon Constin has a request for her and she nods, "Sure thing Sarge." With that, the snipe will begin her hunt for a functioning lift.

Hoofing it around the whole place takes time. And energy. A dozen hatches, all closed to the outside. The sound of 'Clear' in their helmets must ring three or four dozen times as corners are swept. Doing the whole room would take hours. They eventually find their way back over to the group. "Room looks clear, sirs. Sergeant. Pretty empty except for all this lovely merchandise." The PFC still looks nervous as he reports back, but cracks a smile with the last word.

"Then lets load it up," is Constin's answer. "Start with the bulky shit- Grizzlies and Karls, looks like. Wolfe! What's the word on that loader?" Turning back to the two Lieutenants, the big sergeant voices, "Any other objectives here for either of you, sirs?"

Search, search. Ah hah! Her eyes alight as her quarry is found. At least Sofia sticks to obvious prey. As her last name is barked, Sofia seems to have met with success. She's a wriggly snipe when turned loose on a task. "Eh! I found this handtruck. It should work to move the pallets at least," She explains with a smile. "I can help with it if you like, unless you've got some skill with it," Sofia offers.

Cora heads in when things are clear, taking one of the rows. She doesn't have to head down it far before reporting over the com, "I've got a stack of Carlstov G48s here, four of them, and ammo. Also an EML? And if we have time I'd like to get a look at that… circle, arena, whatever that was back by the hatch. If somebody can come pick these up I'm going to go do that."

"Dozen squad machine guns…twelve older model and about four new ones here." Stavrian's made his way to the crates and is looking over each stamp, trying to work quickly. The delay still has the hairs standing up at the back of his neck. "New replacement barrels for all of them. Got ammo here…five Grizzlies…ammo for those too." He motions a couple Marines over to get the heavies, looking over his shoulder at Constin. "Medical supplies if we come across em, but I doubt we will. Too far away."

Constin shakes his head to Sofia's question. "Naw, Wolfe- that's all you." Over the comm, he voices, "Copy that, Lieutenant Nikephoros. What's the rough count on Ee-Em-Els?" Four Karls, with ammo. We're off to a very good start. "Pee-Ef-Cee, make sure we get an even spread of munitions loaded up for those big boys? And don't skimp on the flechettes." Stavrian's repost actually makes the big sergeant crack a tight smile. "El-Tee, you just made mah day. Let's load the grizzlies first and we'll get the Zastas in the next load."

"I've got one crate marked EML," Cora replies to Constin through the comm as she heads back towards that arena area. It's a minute or so before she speaks again, and when she does, her voice is marginally tighter. "Stavrian if you get a chance and want to wander over her… looks like we've got human remains in this circle. I'd like an estimate of how many, please."

"Sure thing," Sofia nods. She looks over, "I'll get the heavy stuff first, so it's loaded on the bottom I think." Sensible kid. Sofia will help drive the handtruck over and begin the onerous task of moving things back to the Raptors. At least no one gets run over. She seems a bit unnerved at times, but keeps a quiet, cheery demeanor otherwise. "Quite a haul," Sofia considers the load as it's hauled to and fro.

"What?" Stavrian's head turns towards Cora. He nods to Constin and lets the group of marines handle the arms transport, picking past two burly corporals and heading over to where Cora is. He clears his throat quietly as he gets close, stopping near her side and crouching down about half a foot from the last bit of blood spatter. "Gods. Least four…no." Femur recount. "Five. At least five different people." Something catches his attention and he skids carefully closer, squinting at the mess. "Shit…can't have been all at once. Some of this has been here at least a week, but…" He points at one bit of flesh. "That can't be more than twenty-four hours old."

"Say again, Lieutenant?" Constin prompts over the comms. "How fresh?" He motions for the marines to keep loading, after the sergeant sets down another of the Zasta LMGs with a pair of spare barrels on the pallet for transport once Sofia makes her next run.

Cora waits for Stavrian near the outer edge of that 'arena', clearly none too eager to go close to the mess in the center. She does move nearer as the medic arrives, watching him as he examines things. His latter pronouncement causes brows to shoot up inside her helmet but her reply is just a deadly-dry, "Lovely. This is precisely the movie I was afraid it was. Sergeant," she raises her voice slightly and addresses Constin directly, "We've got what appear to be cannibalized human remains, some no more than twenty-four hours old. We need to get this stuff loaded asap, and I would like a bigger gun, please."

And Sofia is a faithful snipe, making runs with Zasta LMGs and all their goodies. She blinks, hearing this news over the comms. "… really?" She seems less calm and cheery now, eyes shifting a bit. Cannibals huh? And here Sofia is, soft, squishy and TASTY. Maybe out of spite they'd just be hungry an hour later. But a part of her, some primal instinct remembers that yes, she too can be prey and it's /not/ a pleasant feeling. She looks over her shoulders and is more attentive at least.

Stavrian winces as Cora broadcasts the scene over the comms, one eye squinching shut. Constin gets to deal with that fallout; he stays crouched and looks over at the tac officer, quickly. "Got your camera? Taking a couple of these bones back, but I want a picture first if we got the means."

Constin lets out a terse breath as Cora drops the 'c' bomb. "Ah recommend moving toward the hatch, sir. Ah'm not cracking open a crate here and now to hand you off a rifle. Wolfe?" he prompts over the comms, "How full is our ride getting?"

Cora catches that wince and shrugs a little. "I almost didn't, but they might as well know what we're dealing with if we run into anybody," she replies with a shrug, "And yeah, I brought a camera." She digs into a pocket and pulls one out, moving around the circle to take a couple close-ups and a few that capture the full scene before tucking the camera away and heading towards the hatch as the marine advised, replying to him, "Fair enough, sergeant."

"Raptor two is full," Sofia explains. "We'll have to squeeze whatever else you want in with us. I don't mind putting a crate or two under my feet or in my lap though," She offers quietly. She takes a deep breath after answering over the comms. And indeed, mere moments later, like a loyal dog the handtruck returns for another feeding.

Stavrian lets Cora get those gruesome pictures snapped, opening up the small specimen case he'd brought along. Latches click. He swallows, trying to wet his throat with a thoroughly insufficient amount of saliva, and once Cora's moved off he picks through the bones, collecting samples for — in his best guess - each of the five bodies. It is rather hard to tell who's who.

"Right, fill up the last load with munitions then and we'll fit it in where we can," Constin drawls over the comm. "Last run, team! Out the door in five." Moving along with the others, another box of Carlstov flechettes is loaded onto the cart, alongside cases of LMG belts.

Cora takes her pictures, and watches Stavrian collect those bones. She heads towards the hatch, holding it for Sofia and that handcart to return before stepping out herself. A couple quick photos of the stuff of note (symbol, writing, heads) and then she's back in to keep an eye on the last of the loading.

Getting everything loaded into the second Raptor doesn't work. The pilot can't even get out unless he ejected. Some of the leftovers had to get stuffed into Raptor One with the rest of the team. Its fast work, though. Especially when there are things out there that might -eat- you. Raptor Two leaves first out the adjacent airlock and backs away from the shattered Landing Ship. As the Cerberus personnel strap into their own, the doors begin closing. Just as the pair of doors, both airlock and Raptor, are about to seal, there's a sound. Its unmistakable, but buried beneath the turning of the gears. Blood curdling at the intensity. The anger. The shock. The horror. All of it seems to find its way into a split second of volume that comes from a woman's voice. Deep within the ship, it echoes down the hallways like a vulture spotting its prey. Or was it just the hydraulics slipping? The Raptor pulls away from the lock, the pilot apparently missing the sound as the ECO calls out, "FTL spooled. Five seconds to jump. Two..One.." And the world flashes around them, the Cerberus looming out ahead only a moment later.

What the frak happened back there? What the frak was happening back there?

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