PHD #217: Due South
Due South
Summary: Skipping the wedding reception of Marko and Lunair, the trio of Quinn, Trask, and Ulixes head south for some fresh air and instead find smoke.
Date: 01 Oct 2041 AE
Related Logs: This log is a direct continuation of A Two-for-One Special but is related to The Audacity of Hope
Quinn Trask Ulixes 
Inside of a Raptor
Exactly what the location name says.
Post-Holocaust Day: #217

When one is the the designated squadron leader of the VAQ-141, one pretty much gets to commandeer a Raptor whenever one feels like it. It just so happens that Lieutanent Kal Trask is the designated squadron leader of the VAQ-141, and he feels like commandeering a Raptor. Maybe he doesn't like weddings. Perhaps he's doing Maggie a favor by getting her the frak out of the reception before her lack of an engagement offer further upsets her. It's possible that he just wants to eat pie in peace. Whatever the case may be, no sooner than they board the airbus and close the hatch, he's stripping out of his dress grays and getting into his flightsuit. "Plotting a course due south," he tells Ulixes, who is on pilot detail.

Quinn is still sitting in the back, in her tulip printed dress, quiet as a mouse. The most quiet Maggie's ever been in her life, possibly. The tears were better, really. The ranting, the moodiness. It seemed more natural on her wild redhead self than this silence. She just stares out the window to her home planet, dead still, dead quiet.

Ulixes does his best to stay cheerful despite the mood, chirpily agreeing to the new course as he's directed towards it and making sure to avoid all the sky potholes he can for the sake of the pregnant passenger. He keeps his eyes on the road, humming to himself and asking of the other pair, "We looking for anything in particular?"

On the Isle of Langley, up in the northern hemisphere, the Blue Mountains bisect the island from north to south. It is at the nearby, temporary camp dubbed Ewe Aerilon that the nuptials of LTJG Marko "Flasher" Scaurus and LTJG Raine Lunair just transpired.

In the southern hemisphere, however, in the province known as Allegheny, the Blue Ridge Mountains cover a grand expanse that runs east to west. It is for one of those valleys nestled among the peaks that Bootstrap enters coordinates. "Yeah," he murmurs. "The old McNulty place. Probably the best LZ in the area. Should be all clear. Figure it's as good a place as any to get some air."

Quinn still isn't crying. She's not speaking either. She's been very good at just leaving it to the boys, her eyes barely even blinking, much less turning away from the familiar look of the southern mountains, not nearly so much home for her but still a memorable sight from her youth. She draws in a slow, forcibly steadying breath as they begin to come into land.

"Roger," Ulixes replies, beginning the landing sequence towards the place literally half (or more than half) a planet away from where they just were. He keeps his eyes on the road and his mouth shut for now. He may have lost a lot of what it takes to interact with human beings, but he can still sense tension.

The radiation levels here aren't so bad, and the anti-rads the trio would've taken before coming to the planet's surface will more than suffice while they'll be up here. Coming all this way arguably isn't a good use of tylium, what with how Raptors consume an enormous amount of fuel when flying in atmo, but the SL doesn't seem to give a frak about that. "Hold up," Trask says, attention sharpening on the ECM console. "Pickin' up some heat signatures. Faint. Switching to bio-scanners."

Quinn jerks a bit as she hears that, blinking out of that vague, numb catatonia she's been spending most of her time in since they got back from her home yesterday. She wasn't completely checked out, just mostly. She's still a trained officer and when work happens, she can pull it together. She furrows her brow, moving up a bit closer, trying to look over the boys' shoulders. "…More survivors?" She inquires softly.

"Need me to get a closer look?" Ulixes asks, although he casts a nervous glance back towards Quinn as he says it. He swears under his breath and mumbles, taking a hand away from the controls to pat the sidearm at his hip, "I really wish they let me keep Eleanor in here. I hate being stuck with this peashooter."

"Nah, we're good," the ECO relays to the pilot. "The sigs aren't consistent with electrical current or power surges. You gettin' any visuals on smoke seepin' through the treeline?" To Quinn, Trask replies, "Dunno." Pensive pause. "Maybe." Whatever it is, he doesn't seem to think it's Cylon-related. "Can't really pin-point what I'm reading here. It's alive, whatever it is, but it could be deer or bears as much as it could be people. We get any closer an' they'll hear our approach."

Quinn looks over towards Ulixes. "Your eyes are younger than mine… you eye ballin' anything down there?" she asks her old crewmate, falling back into command habits rather easily. Work is work. She likes work. She tries to lean forward more herself, gazing out the windows for the passes beyond them, searching for anything…

<FS3> Ulixes rolls Alertness: Success.

"I … shit, I think I can see something over to the west but I can't tell you for sure if it's anything or not." Ulixes glances back over his shoulder, his face a mask of seriousness, "If you need someone to go down and take a look, it oughta be me. I know how to move through the scrub and I'm not pregnant or in charge of a squadron."

It's a decision that requires some consideration. Faintly, Kal's brow furrows as he meditates on the matter. "Nooooo…" he ultimately decides, drawing out the word in a musing manner. "Nowhere to park on a closer approach, and it'd take too long to get there by foot." If it's people out there, they'll certainly be able to hear the approach of Centurions that far into the woods. More decisively, "Do a fly-over. Maybe this message drop will finally be successful." What is meant by that isn't elaborated upon.

"Message… drop?" Maggie dares to ask, elaborated upon or not. Her brows furrow, considering if baby brain has indeed made her forget something once again. She's not pulled back yet, though, still staring out across the window, searching for anything even if her eyes are certainly no better than the younger Tobias. She's trying.

Ulixes doesn't get it, but his is not to reason why. He simply gets on course and throttles back for an easy fly-over of the spot that Trask has pointed out and that Shortcut himself saw in the west. He hums to himself as they go.

The Air Wing's been busy looting the West Aerilon Colonial Emporium, searching for transports that could be refurbished as a civilian craft slash hydroponics facility, and ferrying assorted crew between Cerberus and Ewe Aerilon, as well as bringing found survivors back to the three-headed bitch of a battlestar. This all means that southern Aerilon hasn't been seeing much love, apart from what Trask has been doing in his spare time. Admittedly, his searches hadn't yielded anything, but he kept returning to Allegheny, all the same.

"Yeah… like on Sag," Kal explains. "Did a message drop the first day the fleet hit orbit. Been swingin' by the McNulty place like clockwork ever since. No one's showed. I figured the canisters were never found. That the people who'd likely been the ones responsible for the smoke I'd seen on the recon run before we set-up shop in Jharkhand had moved. That the data we had was outdated." If that's smoke up ahead, though, maybe this attempt to contact survivors will be successful.

"If… if you boys want to check it out, I'll stay with the ship. I think I still remember how to operate one of these things," Maggie half-teases, though somewhat worried about them as she looks from the surface to the two old Victory officers.

Ulixes turns about in his seat to give Quinn a wink, "I'm sure you can." That done, he turns about to continue the fly-over, "Message drop, eh? Well, I suppose it can't hurt to take a look. It'd be nice to pick up some more survivors. I can put on a mask and tell them that the Colonies have been overthrown by human-fly hybrids."

As the Raptor draws closer, those not staring at the DRADIS console will notice that it is, in fact, smoke off in the distance — and that it soon disappears as though the source was put out. No stealthcraft are the birds that the Harriers fly, after all. Unlike the first (and last) time there was such a visual, this time there are messages to drop. Having rigged one of the bins to release canisters filled with leaflets, the process is no more difficult than launching a swallow. Even so, aim matters lest the tins get stuck in tree boughs. "For their sakes, none of them better be wearing wildebeest masks," is mildly jabbed at Ulixes. Upon locking in on the target site, Trask announces, "Commencing canister drop."

<FS3> Trask rolls Gunnery: Great Success.

Down… down… down they go, any semblance of hope riding with them. There really is no way to tell whether or not the ECO's aim struck true. All that there is left to do is wait and see who, if anyone, will eventually straggle to the old McNulty farm so many miles away.

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