PHD #349: EVENT - Enter the Swarm
Enter the Swarm
Summary: Meet the oldest established permanent floating Raider attack in the Cyrannus Sector.
Date: 10 Feb 2042 AE
Related Logs: The Swarm Stings (aftermath).
Andrea Devlin Drake Khloe Leyla Malone McCoy Psyche Wade Polaris NPC 
Deep Space - Grid Alpha
Space. Above the ice planet Reza.
Post-Holocaust Day: #349

[Polly's Hoopty: Polaris] It begins as a trickle of silver in a field of black, heralded by the silent flash that signifies a hostile contact has jumped into the system. Two Raiders materialize out of nothing, arrowing toward the Fleet that orbits ice planet Reza, their eyeslits glowing with deadly intent. And as DRADIS screams and Vipers sortie and the flak cannons swivel to meet this newest threat, the Fleet makes preparations to jump, knowing now that — after weeks of relative quiet — their position has been discovered at last.

[TAC3] "Poppy" Khloe says, "Cerberus, Poppy. Alert Vipers are en route and intercepting. Flight, kill 'em before they can spool, I repeat, weapons-free, weapons-free."

[TAC3] "Decoy" Devlin says, "Poppy, Decoy. You've got one on you, moving to engage."

[TAC3] "Hosedown" Andrea says, " Drips, Hosedown. You heard the lady. Lets go in hot, see if we can't give 'em something to think about."

[BlackKnight-662: Wade] Wade launched along with all the alert Vipers and as soon as he is out, he positions himself at Andrea's six. He looks at her from his cockpit and does a thumbs up sign. Yep, she's covered now. When he hears Khloe's voice over the coms, he nods to himself and only opens his channel after Andrea speaks.

[TAC3] Polaris says, "Poppy, Cerberus Actual." Pewter's booming voice rumbles in the pilots' ears. "Weapons free confirmed. We'll get jump ETA to y'all as soon as my eggheads crank the numbers."

[TAC3] "Drips" Wade says, "Hosedown, Drips. Copy that, weapons free. Moving to engage."

[BlackKnight-855: Andrea] Smiling at Wade's thumbs up, Andrea hits the throttle and throws her bird at the incoming Raiders, pulling her trigger as soon as they are in range. So far, only two contacts, but that wouldn't last. It never did.

[BlackKnight-853: Psyche] Psyche goes weapons free and throttles to engage, trusting Malone to follow. Her Viper surges forward like she means to skewer the Raider on her nose, a straight and steady line, firing at the last possible moment.

[Harrier-307: Leyla] Sweet Pea and Skeeter have been having a relatively quiet CAP, all things considered, when the high-pitched woman in the back makes the call. "DRADIS Contact. Cylon Raiders. Two. Incoming." Leyla's, needing little more than the initial call, is already moving Bertha to intercept, not waiting for a backup raptor to join the CAP and the alert fighters moving in to destroy the incoming targets.

[BlackKnight-650: Malone] Following after Psyche, Malone makes sure to have his Viper a bit above and to the right, approaching the target raider so he can get a good shot off at the engine area of the enemy fighter. "Here we go again…" he mutters to himself, firing off his first shots.

<COMBAT> Skeeter suppresses Raider1 with Ecm. <successful>
<COMBAT> Skeeter suppresses Raider2 with Ecm. <successful>
<COMBAT> Devlin attacks Raider1 with KEW - Serious wound to Cockpit.
<COMBAT> Wade attacks Raider2 with KEW - Moderate wound to Controls.
<COMBAT> Raider2 attacks Leyla with KEW and MISSES!
<COMBAT> Malone attacks Raider2 with KEW - Serious wound to Right Wing.
<COMBAT> Khloe attacks Raider1 with KEW - Moderate wound to Right Wing.
<COMBAT> Andrea attacks Raider2 with KEW - Light wound to Body.
<COMBAT> Raider1 attacks Khloe with KEW and MISSES!
<COMBAT> Psyche attacks Raider2 with KEW - Serious wound to Body.
<COMBAT> Leyla passes.
<COMBAT> Polaris has started a new turn. Pose and choose your action.
<COMBAT> Raider-0970y has been KO'd!
<COMBAT> Raider1 has been KO'd!
<COMBAT> Raider-6825a has been KO'd!
<COMBAT> Raider2 has been KO'd!

<COMBAT> Message from Polaris: +roll Alertness, pilots!

<FS3> Devlin rolls Alertness: Good Success.
<FS3> Khloe rolls Alertness: Great Success.
<FS3> Andrea rolls Alertness: Great Success.
<FS3> Wade rolls Alertness: Good Success.
<FS3> Malone rolls Alertness: Failure.
<FS3> Psyche rolls Alertness: Success.

[Polly's Hoopty: Polaris] Their engines burning a furious blue-white, the pair of Raiders accelerates into the swarm of Vipers without the usual song and dance. Maybe they're trying to burst past the fighter screen to unleash some heretofore secret weapon on the unsuspecting Fleet. Maybe their FTL drives got fried after their arrival, forcing them to stick around despite every instinct they have. Maybe they just can't count. Whatever it is, their straight-line trajectory testifies to a distinct lack of subtlety on the part of their programmers, and their ineffective fire comes nowhere close to hitting the mark before the both of them explode in twin balls of fire.

Which should bode well for the Colonial pilots, now that the trickle has suddenly turned to a flood, as two more flashes of light lead two more Raiders to jump into the fray — and two more, and two more, locking onto their targets almost as quickly as they arrive.

[BlackKnight-854: Khloe] "Yeah!!" Khloe yells out as her Viper dodges and wags, evading the Raider's aggression. And when her squadron reduces the silvery flying wedges to silvery explosions, an uncharacteristic cry of pride is released. But the celebration doesn't last long.

[TAC3] "Hosedown" Andrea says, " Yeah, that's what I'm… oh, frak. Flight, Hosedown. We got company. Lots of company. Watch your ass, Drips, one of them likes you!"

[TAC3] Polaris says, "Poppy, Cerberus Actual. We're readin' six more contacts, right where y'all's blew up the last ones. Can y'all handle these ones, or should we call the cavalry?"

[TAC3] "Poppy" Khloe says, "Cerberus, Poppy. Initial two targets destroyed. I read… six more DRADIS contacts. Requesting permission to engage."

[TAC3] "Sweet Pea" Leyla says, "Poppy, Sweet Pea, Skeeter and I will be attempting to cover as much ground as we can, until we can get another raptor in the air to assist. If you have specific orders, this is the time."

[TAC3] "Decoy" Devlin says, "Poppy, Decoy. You've got another after you, engaging again. Don't think we need permission to kill raiders. Bubbles, you've got two on you, watch out."

[TAC3] Polaris says, "What the nugget said." Pewter bites off the end of the sentence with a chuckle. "Oh, and Corsy's tellin' me her engines'll take some time to spin up. Hold y'all's ground."

[TAC3] "Drips" Wade says, "Hosedown, Drips "I see it, moving in to engage, will take it more carefully this time.""

[Harrier-307: Leyla] Big Bertha wiggles and jumps, avoiding most of the debris that falls back in the wake of the Vipers, reorienting herself as a half a dozen more come in to engage them. "Why do I have a sinking feeling we missed something on that ship we salvaged, Skeeter?" The timing is just too perfect.

[TAC3] "Poppy" Khloe says, "Flight, Poppy. Cover your wingmen the best you can. Nothing fancy until another Raptor joins the fight. Decoy, I'm peeling to help Splash. Confirm and engage."

[BlackKnight-853: Psyche] As is her wont, Psyche piles on the damage and flies right through her demolished target's wreckage — like threading a needle, straight and true. The short, soft hiss of satisfaction audible only inside her helmet is bitten off in a quick, tense curse as she goes from hunter to hunted, picking up two two new arrivals. "Balls. I hate evasive maneuvers…"

[BlackKnight-662: Wade] Wade smirks after the Raider he was chasing goes down, and the fact that the other does as well, pleases him even more. His attention diverted to the new incoming Raiders but at some point, he looks at the remains of the other two and narrows his eyes "What the…"

[TAC3] "Hosedown" Andrea says, " Drips, Hosedown. I'll give you some covering fire… Flight, Hosedown. I'm seeing some strange markings on those Raiders. Anyone else remember Raiders sporting decorations?"

[TAC3] "Drips" Wade says, "Flight, Drips. "I'm seeing the same marks Hosedown is talking about and…it seems that the new ones have the same types of marks? Confirm?""

[BlackKnight-855: Andrea] Andrea turns her bird to the next target, sending fire to cover Wade, while sparing a glance for the new birds. Strange, definitely strange.

[TAC3] "Decoy" Devlin says, "Poppy, Decoy. Engaging bandit on your tail. Be advised, Splash has only one after him and Bubbles has two."

[BlackKnight-650: Malone] Nodding another time as he sees the Raiders blow up, Malone rolls a bit to the side, before moving to form up with Psyche again. Growling a bit as he notices the other targets appearing. Going for one of those that's planning on taking out his wingman now. "Oh no, you don't…" A bit more carefully than before, though.

[TAC3] "Poppy" Khloe says, "That's why I'm helping him, to peel off of Bubbles. Don't frakking argue, I'm trying to save your wife."

[TAC3] "Decoy" Devlin says, "Poppy, Decoy, you meant— yeah, sorry, sir. Forgot who was whose wingman for a second."

[TAC3] "Poppy" Khloe says, "Sweetiepea, Poppy. Have your ECO take some close-up shots of those Raiders. Like, real close. These Raiders seem different. Decorated. Over."

<COMBAT> Swarm6 attacks Psyche with KEW - Moderate wound to Controls (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> Devlin attacks Swarm4 with KEW - Moderate wound to Left Wing.
<COMBAT> Swarm4 attacks Khloe with KEW and MISSES!
<COMBAT> Swarm2 attacks Psyche with KEW - Serious wound to Controls (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> Psyche attacks Swarm5 with KEW and MISSES!
<COMBAT> Malone attacks Swarm6 with KEW and MISSES!
<COMBAT> Swarm5 attacks Malone with KEW - Light wound to Weapon.
<COMBAT> Swarm3 attacks Leyla with KEW but MISSES!
<COMBAT> Swarm1 attacks Wade with KEW - Moderate wound to Engine (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> Skeeter suppresses Swarm1 with Ecm. <successful>
<COMBAT> Skeeter suppresses Swarm2 with Ecm. <unsuccessful>
<COMBAT> Skeeter suppresses Swarm3 with Ecm. <unsuccessful>
<COMBAT> Skeeter suppresses Swarm4 with Ecm. <unsuccessful>
<COMBAT> Skeeter suppresses Swarm5 with Ecm. <successful>
<COMBAT> Leyla passes.
<COMBAT> Khloe attacks Swarm2 with KEW and MISSES!
<COMBAT> Andrea attacks Swarm1 with KEW - Moderate wound to Right Wing.
<COMBAT> Wade attacks Swarm1 with KEW and MISSES!
<COMBAT> Polaris has started a new turn. Pose and choose your action.
<COMBAT> Blackknight-853 has been KO'd!
<COMBAT> Psyche has been KO'd!
<COMBAT> Raider-6816g has been KO'd!
<COMBAT> Swarm4 has been KO'd!
<COMBAT> Psyche spends a luck point to keep fighting!

[TAC3] "Sweet Pea" Leyla says, "Copy that, Poppy, moving in to recon."

[BlackKnight-854: Khloe] Poppy's fighter dodges in and out, trying to get a good clean shot at one of the Raiders dogging Bubbles. She's not good enough, it seems, as Psyche takes a solid hit.

[TAC3] "Poppy" Khloe says, "Bubbles, sing out! You all right?"

[TAC3] "Decoy" Devlin says, "Psy, you okay?"

[TAC3] "Hosedown" Andrea says, " Drips, Hosedown. Looks like you took a hit there, hows she flying?"

[BlackKnight-853: Psyche] Did Psyche mention she hated evasive maneuvers? This is why. They never. Frakking. Work. She does some fancy flying, but not nearly fancy enough, and the two Raiders hammer her but good. The controls throw sparks and flame, her plane going into a wild, jerking spin before the fire suppressant systems kick in and she's able to physically wrestle the bird back into line.

[BlackKnight-309: Devlin] Devlin gets a solid hit on the raider targeting Khloe, but not solid enough to take it out. He does his best not to get distracted by the two punishing hits Bubbles takes, keeping the corner of an eye on his wife's plane as he swings around to retarget once again on one of the now-many raiders after Khloe.

[Polly's Hoopty: Polaris] 'Decorations?' 'Tattoos?' Whatever they are, not even the dullest pilot can deny what he sees: three deep grooves carved into the new arrivals' starboard wings, which flicker and flash as they reflect the blue light of the ice planet beyond. And as the five remaining fighters switch targets to keep the Colonials on their toes, six more chrome arrowheads flicker into existence — and six more, and six more on top of those.

After the first two, it seems, the deluge.

[TAC3] "Bubbles" Psyche says, "I'm good! Okay, good is a little bit of an overstatement — but I'm here! My controls are frakking fried, folks. It's kind of ugly in here, and smells oddly like bacon."

[Harrier-307: Leyla] Skeeter and Sweet Pea do not work as closely as they might if they were regularly paired, but the two women know each other well enough to be able to follow Poppy's orders with the minimum of fuss. Evasive maneuvers are what a raptor was built for, the birds having a bit too much 'back' to make them anything else. But in they go, into the fray, image capturing rather than suppressing.

[TAC3] "Drips" Wade says, "Hosedown, Drips. Yeah, got hit back there but it's nothing major, I'm still in. I'm seeing that Poppy is getting a few fans, cover my ass and I'll move in to help her. Bubbles, Drips. You know how much we love bacon. We'll get some for you out of those Raiders."

[TAC3] Polaris says, "Poppy, Cerberus Actual, six — no, twelve — no, eighteen contacts, be advised, eighteen contacts! Us and Areion're launchin' as fast as we can. Stand y'all's ground, say again, stand y'all's ground!"

[TAC3] "Decoy" Devlin says, "Poppy, Decoy. You've got three, I'm on the one we tagged earlier. Bubbles, glad you're ok. Kinda jealous your viper smells like bacon."

[TAC3] "Sweet Pea" Leyla says, "Cerberus, Sweet Pea, requesting launch of SAR raptors for crew retrieval."

[TAC3] "Hosedown" Andrea says, " Drips, Hosedown. You got it… but keep dancing that jig, you have some friends again. I'm still clear, though. Maybe its my new scent?"

[TAC3] "Poppy" Khloe says, "Flight, do your best. Keep these frakkers tied up. Cover your wingman, and help other wings the best you can. Bubbles, if you can pull it together, otherwise, bug out back to the barn."

[BlackKnight-650: Malone] Getting a few bullets at the Viper, Malone drops down a bit to stay near Psyche as he aims for the Raider that seems to be incoming towards him. Glancing around rather quickly for now.

[TAC3] "Bubbles" Psyche says, "Who knew impending doom smelled do delicious, right? I'm going to try to patch this panel, Poppy — will advise."

[BlackKnight-855: Andrea] Aligning herself to keep the Swarm off of Drips, and grimacing as the Raiders converge on Poppy, Andrea pulls her bird into a tight turn, releasing fiery death at the Swarmers.

[TAC3] Polaris says, "We've got SAR birds standin' by, Sweet Pea. All points, withdraw to three klicks so we can get up our flak without tearin' y'all to shreds."

[TAC3] "Decoy" Devlin says, "Flight, Decoy. Why is the Raptor not suppressing for us here? Who needs frakking pictures when we've got so much gun camera footage?"

[TAC3] "Poppy" Khloe says, "Stow it, Ensign, and do your job. They're doing theirs."

<COMBAT> Swarm5 attacks Wade with KEW - Moderate wound to Nose (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> Skeeter passes.
<COMBAT> Psyche treats Blackknight-853:
< Controls (Moderate): successful
< Controls (Serious): successful
<COMBAT> Leyla passes.
<COMBAT> Khloe attacks Swarm2 with KEW and MISSES!
<COMBAT> Andrea attacks Swarm5 with KEW - Serious wound to Controls.
<COMBAT> Swarm3 attacks Malone with KEW - Serious wound to Controls (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> Swarm1 attacks Khloe with KEW and MISSES!
<COMBAT> Malone attacks Swarm3 with KEW and MISSES!
<COMBAT> Swarm6 attacks Khloe with KEW - Serious wound to Body (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> Swarm2 attacks Khloe with KEW - Serious wound to Cockpit.
<COMBAT> Devlin attacks Swarm1 with KEW - Moderate wound to Cockpit.
<COMBAT> CREW HIT! Swarm1 - Moderate wound to Left Hand.
<COMBAT> Polaris has started a new turn. Pose and choose your action.
<COMBAT> Blackknight-854 has been KO'd!
<COMBAT> Khloe has been KO'd!
<COMBAT> Blackknight-650 has been KO'd!
<COMBAT> Malone has been KO'd!
<COMBAT> Raider-1890 has been KO'd!
<COMBAT> Swarm1 has been KO'd!
<COMBAT> Raider-4919j has been KO'd!
<COMBAT> Swarm5 has been KO'd!
<COMBAT> Blackknight-662 has been KO'd!
<COMBAT> Wade has been KO'd!
<COMBAT> Khloe spends a luck point to keep fighting!
<COMBAT> Wade spends a luck point to keep fighting!
<COMBAT> Malone spends a luck point to keep fighting!
<COMBAT> Drake has joined the combat as a pilot in BlackKnight-308 on team 1.

[BlackKnight-662: Wade] Wade gets hit, yet again and his Viper shakes Violently "For frak sakes!" shouts the man into his helmet and potentially into the COM. All his systems shut down and with a firm fist to the side, they come back online, sort of. After this, he opens his channel and speaks.

[TAC3] "Drips" Wade says, "Hosedown, Drips. I got hit again, my systems went offline but now they seem to be working, confirm if you can hear me"

[TAC3] "Hosedown" Andrea says, " Drips, Hosedown. I hear you. I got the guy who got you. How's she handling?"

[TAC3] "Sweet Pea" Leyla says, "Poppy, we've got the images you wanted, resuming enemy suppression."

[BlackKnight-853: Psyche] Working frantically amidst the chaos, Psyche tries to patch the smoking, sparking wires of her control panel. She takes deep, deliberate breaths and tries to keep her hands from shaking. "Frak. Frak frak frak frak FRAK me notmystrongsuit SHIT…!" she whispers, the words doubling as stress relief and a focusing mantra. Her head jerks up just in time to see the multiple explosions, all around her in the black. "That'll do," she says grimly, slamming the panel back into place. "It'll frakking have to…"

[Polly's Hoopty: Polaris] It's a killing field out there. No sooner have new Vipers launched does a swarm of chrome leap in to harry them, KEW fire cutting in elegant semi-circles through the blackness of space. Raptors are set upon with special glee, as Raiders attack like so many circling wolves launching latching onto the hide of a lumbering brown bear. And as reinforcements pour forth from Areion another group of eighteen — marked like the previous ones but this time on their starboard wings — arrives to meet them, trying to keep them within the flak spitting forth from the Fleet's innumerable guns.

Where are these things coming from?

[BlackKnight-854: Khloe] Doing her best to dodge the incoming fire, Khloe's Viper is rocked twice by well-placed hits. It's clear that her Viper is smoking from its underbelly, but what is even more alarming is that her cockpit assembly has taken a hit. There's clear evidence of a fire. "Frak, frak!" Khloe shouts through clenched teeth, as the intense charring heat is undeniable on her side. Flipping on her fire suppression system, and starting to attempt to get the damage under control, she spirals out of the way of the fight.

[TAC3] "Bubbles" Psyche says, "Flight, Bubbles. I'm patched — it's far from perfect, but it'll have to do. Count me back in. Splash, sweetie, you still with me?"

<COMBAT> Message from Polaris: Swarms 7-9 are maneuvering toward you guys. You can get free shots on them if you want.

[BlackKnight-650: Malone] Getting hit, Malone's Viper spins out of control. Around and around and around and around… and so on. Getting the Viper to stop spinning, Malone grumbles a bit to himself, before starting the work on getting the controls in order again.

[TAC3] "Drips" Wade says, "Poppy, Drips. Report! Are you alright?!"

[TAC3] "Poppy" Khloe says, "Flight, Poppy. I'm on f-XXX, XXX-peat, I'm on fire. Trying to p-XXXX together. Keep with your wingman."

[TAC3] "Splash" Malone says, "Bubbles, Splash. Still here. Controls are a bit troublesome, taking a few moments to see what I can get done with it…"

[TAC3] "Decoy" Devlin says, "Poppy, Decoy. Splashed one of the ones on you. How's it look in there?"

[TAC3] "Hosedown" Andrea says, " Flight, Hosedown. They're picking on our raiders. Converge on Sweetpea and see if we can't give her some breathing room, watch your wingmates."

[TAC3] "Drips" Wade says, "Hosedown, Drips. Sweetpea and Skeeter are getting a lot of attention, let's get her some…..yeah, exactly that. Let's do it."

[TAC3] "Decoy" Devlin says, "Poppy, Decoy. Looks like you're free of bandits, changing course to help protect the raptor. I'll be back on your six after that."

[Harrier-307: Leyla] Orders given, orders followed, regardless of the consequences. And they were heavy. Leyla can see the sky lighting up with silent explosions, but that's not going to keep her people alive, or herself and her ECO as she sees a trio of raiders swarm in towards her position, "Don't let me down, girl." Bertha hasn't done yet. Here's to hoping.

[TAC3] "Poppy" Khloe says, "Scratch that. Hosedown, Poppy. You're i-XXX XXX-peat, you have the flight until I get back. Attempting crash-landing."

[TAC3] Polaris says, "ETA to departure forty-five seconds," thunders Pewter over the com. "All critically wounded birds, back to the barn! Nobody gets left behind!"

[TAC3] "Sweet Pea" Leyla says, "Not that I don't appreciate the love, Flight, but our fleet is hanging their asses out while you cover me."

[TAC3] "Hosedown" Andrea says, " Poppy, Hosedown. Confirmed, I have the flight. Flight, Hosedown. All badly hurt birds back to the barn. Your call, but call out when you RTB."

[TAC3] "Decoy" Devlin says, "Sweet Pea, Decoy. Copy that. Changing course to engage one of the others."

[TAC3] "Hosedown" Andrea says, " Decoy, Hosedown. Don't get fooled by the heroics, stay on Sweetpea. We're almost out of here, I am not losing a Raptor now."

[TAC3] "Decoy" Devlin says, "Hosedown, Decoy. Copy that. Re-changing course again. Dunno which of you outranks the other anyways."

[BlackKnight-855: Andrea] Andrea pushes her bird forward to attack the swarm around Sweetpea. She is not about to lose someone while she has the Flight.

[BlackKnight-309: Devlin] Devlin targets and re-targets several times, without a wingman to cover there being a few too many options to choose between. He settles finally on one of the raiders attacking Leyla's raptor, despite her protests.

<COMBAT> Devlin attacks Swarm3 with KEW and MISSES!
<COMBAT> Swarm3 attacks Leyla with KEW - Moderate wound to Controls (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> Swarm2 attacks Leyla with KEW - ARMOR on Body stops the attack!
<COMBAT> Skeeter suppresses Swarm2 with Ecm. <unsuccessful>
<COMBAT> Skeeter suppresses Swarm3 with Ecm. <successful>
<COMBAT> Skeeter suppresses Swarm6 with Ecm. <unsuccessful>
<COMBAT> Skeeter suppresses Swarm7 with Ecm. <successful>
<COMBAT> Skeeter suppresses Swarm8 with Ecm. <unsuccessful>
<COMBAT> Psyche attacks Swarm2 with KEW - Moderate wound to Body.
<COMBAT> Leyla passes.
<COMBAT> Drake attacks Swarm3 with KEW - Moderate wound to Body.
<COMBAT> Andrea attacks Swarm6 with KEW - Moderate wound to Right Wing.
<COMBAT> Swarm8 passes.
<COMBAT> Swarm7 passes.
<COMBAT> Swarm6 attacks Leyla with KEW - Light wound to Cabin (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> Wade attacks Swarm6 with KEW - Moderate wound to Weapon.
<COMBAT> Swarm9 passes.
<COMBAT> Polaris has started a new turn. Pose and choose your action.
<COMBAT> Raider-6212c has been KO'd!
<COMBAT> Swarm2 has been KO'd!
<COMBAT> Raider-3721l has been KO'd!
<COMBAT> Swarm6 has been KO'd!

[Polly's Hoopty: Polaris] Still the Raiders come — eighteen at a time, disgorged from some point in space not even DRADIS can see. More than a few incoming fighters disintegrate in a flood of fire and plasma, their chrome wings shearing off in the hail of flak, but more than a few make it through. And wherever they break through the line, a sleek Viper (or two) flies forth to meet them, heedless of the odds. It's a true furball now, to the point at which maneuvering almost seems pointless: for wherever the pilots go, chances are there'll be live rounds — from friends or foes — to bar their way. Not that there's a such thing as a friendly round, of course.

<FS3> Khloe rolls Vipers-50: Success

[TAC3] Polaris says, "ETA to jump thirty seconds, say again, thirty seconds!"

[Harrier-307: Leyla] Leyla flies for all she's worth, the rain of taurian curses falling from her lips to match the hail of bullets and debris peppering the air and falling on Bertha's back as the little raptor that could manages to make it through with only minor damage.

[TAC3] "Hosedown" Andrea says, " Flight, Hosedown. Time to go home! Everyone who's hurt, RTB, and cover each other. Decoy, on my wing. We're gonna slow down pursuit while the hurt birds head home."

[TAC3] "Sweet Pea" Leyla says, "Flight, Sweet Pea, Skeeter and I've got an idea, disengage from the protective detail, stay a safe distance from me, we're spooling up our FTL."

[TAC3] "Decoy" Devlin says, "Hosedown, Decoy. Copy that. Forming up on your six, and staying a safe distance from Sweet Pea's raptor."

[Harrier-307: Leyla] "I hope to god they've sent us the rendezvous coordinates." That to Skeeter. The flight needs to know only what they need to know.

[BlackKnight-853: Psyche] The panel sparks, DRADIS flickers and skews madly; the stick fights her all the way… but Psyche's patch job holds her bird together, and she brings her Viper down like vengeance on the Cylon in her sights. KEWs flash and strike true, encountering some flaw in the enemy design and ripping the Raider to pieces. Once more, Blackknight-853 pierces straight through the center of the explosion, immediately banking and re-targeting, playing chicken with the Raider that's out for her.

[TAC3] "Drips" Wade says, "Hosedown, Drips. That's a negative on RTB yet, I'm still in one piece and there is a lot of unfriendliness. Sweetpea, Copy that, moving out. Decoy, you have one on you, I'm moving in to assist."

[BlackKnight-308: Drake] Here comes the cavalry! A solid hit comes from one of the newly arrived Black Knights vipers. One that happens to be piloted by a Spectre.

Leyla spends 1 luck points on Stupid Idea Pass 1.
<FS3> Leyla rolls Raptors: Success.

Leyla spends 2 luck points on Stupid Idea Pass 2.
<FS3> Leyla rolls Raptors: Great Success.

[TAC3] (from "Dizzy" Drake) Over the comms comes the all-too-bubbly voice of Dizzy. "Hey, gang. I hope you saved us some cake."

Leyla spends 1 luck points on Haha, my bad, need to spend another point!.

[TAC3] "Hosedown" Andrea says, " Drips, Hosedown, there is plenty of unfriendliness between here and the barn. See if you can't keep that Raider off of Bubbles, will you?"

[TAC3] "Decoy" Devlin says, "Hosedown, Decoy. Not sure which target I should be after. Defaulting to the one on Bubbles unless you tell me otherwise."

[TAC3] "Drips" Wade says, "Hosedown, Drips. Copy that, changing target. Bubbles, going for you my luuuurv. Don't worry Decoy, love you too."

[BlackKnight-650: Malone] "Come on, come on…" Giving up the fight with the control systems for repairs, Malone looks around for a few moments, before he works on heading back towards home. Seeing one of the Raiders coming for him, he works on getting in a position to fire at that one now.

[TAC3] "Hosedown" Andrea says, " Decoy, Hosedown. Sounds good to me, but watch out, you got one on your tail I'm trying to shake off."

[TAC3] "Decoy" Devlin says, "Hosedown, Decoy. Copy that, I've seen it. Taking evasive manuevers."

[TAC3] "Splash" Malone says, "Flight, Splash. Heading back towards the barn. Got one of those troublemakers heading for me, though. Trying to take it out on the way…"

[BlackKnight-853: Psyche] As Drips and Decoy come riding to her rescue, Bubbles banks sharply and around her adversary, switching her attention to the Raider pursuing her wingman.

[TAC3] "Bubbles" Psyche says, "Splash, Bubbles. I'm on the one after you, Tommygun. Hotfoot it for home."

[BlackKnight-309: Devlin] Devlin shifts to Andrea's wing in the absence of Khloe, staying well clear of Leyla's mysterious Raptor-action as he takes aim at the raider on Psyche's tail.

[TAC3] "Hosedown" Andrea says, " Sweetpea, Hosedown. You're all clear. Try not to break the laws of physics."

[Harrier-307: Leyla] Big Bertha, she of the Big Behind, might not have KEW, she might not have missiles on her hardpoints, she might not, even, at the moment, have an ECO capable of suppressing the raiders now swarming down on her position. But what she does have is a kamikaze pilot who is in the mood to put some serious hurting on the enemy. A nimble, for a raptor, 360 degree flip, and Bertha changes course, fleeing, not away from the pursuing raiders, but charging towards them, Leyla's hands tight on the controls as she attempts to evade the incoming fire, "You know what to do, Skeeter." And just in case this doesn't work, "I'll see you on the other side." Head to head, the raptor and her three raider targets. Closer, closer, closer. And then the blinding flash of the FTL decompression wave as Harrier-307 winks out of sight.

[TAC3] "Splash" Malone says, "Bubbles, Splash. Taking a shot at the junky one on my way past. Thanks for the help…"

<COMBAT> Swarm9 attacks Leyla with KEW - Moderate wound to Engine (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> Swarm12 attacks Psyche with KEW - Light wound to Body (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> Swarm10 attacks Devlin with KEW - Moderate wound to Left Wing (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> Devlin attacks Swarm12 with KEW and MISSES!
<COMBAT> Andrea attacks Swarm10 with KEW - Light wound to Weapon.
<COMBAT> Swarm7 attacks Leyla with KEW - Serious wound to Body (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> Psyche attacks Swarm11 with KEW and MISSES!
<COMBAT> Malone attacks Swarm11 with KEW and MISSES!
<COMBAT> Khloe passes.
<COMBAT> Drake attacks Swarm11 with KEW - Serious wound to Cockpit.
<COMBAT> CREW HIT! Swarm11 - Moderate wound to Right Arm.
<COMBAT> CREW HIT! Swarm11 - Serious wound to Right Arm.
<COMBAT> Wade attacks Swarm12 with KEW - Moderate wound to Cockpit.
<COMBAT> Swarm8 attacks Leyla with KEW - Light wound to Body (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> Swarm3 attacks Leyla with KEW and MISSES!
<COMBAT> Skeeter passes.
<COMBAT> Leyla passes.
<COMBAT> Swarm11 attacks Malone with KEW and MISSES!
<COMBAT> Polaris has started a new turn. Pose and choose your action.
<COMBAT> Swarm11 has been KO'd!
<COMBAT> Raider-6977a has been KO'd!
<COMBAT> Swarm12 has been KO'd!

[Polly's Hoopty: Polaris] Desperation is the mother of ingenuity, and Leyla's desperation — despite the odds — pays off. Hit after hit after hit slams into the side of her ship, but, miraculously, the Raptor doesn't go down as her engines flare yellow and blue and white —

One chasing Raider seems to realize what she's going to do, peeling off just in time to avoid the miniature blast wave that explodes out from Harrier-307. The other two aren't quite so lucky: one crumples like it's hitting a wall, wingtips folding into cockpit before it explodes in a ball, while the other finds its controls ionized completely by the sudden shock. A retreating pilot from Cerberus finishes the job with a quick burst to the eye — until he's caught four ways from Sunday by a quartet of Raiders winking into existence beside him. He doesn't even have time to celebrate his victory before he's blood and metal and dust.

All around, Vipers turn tail for home, making for the nearest hangar with afterburners blazing. The fighters dump as much tylium as they can into the fire from their engines, the thrust from which is enough to bring them safely out of the range of their pursuers. But that doesn't stop the fighting — not in the least. A few enterprising pilots even cut power to their main engines completely as they flip around a hundred and eighty degrees, firing their forward RCS points to keep them going backwards toward safety while keeping their guns trained on the Cylons piling on. There must be nearly fifty Raiders out there by now, not counting the ones jumping in or the ones already destroyed. And all of them are marked on cockpit or wing by the same strange glyph: three vertical lines, evenly spaced.

[BlackKnight-662: Wade] Wade narrows his eyes and flies at high speed while KEW comes from every direction. Stupid Raiders. His focus is on the one targeting Bubbles and he pushes the throttle even more, speeding towards the target. He fires heavy angry KEW and hits that Raider straight in it's cockpit, apparently directly on the red evil eye. The Raider goes boom "Yes!"

[TAC3] "Drips" Wade says, "Bubbles, Drips. That Raider is out, but…by the looks of it, you have more fans and…lucky me, so do I."

[TAC3] "Hosedown" Andrea says, " All right, boys and girls, we are turning into a pumpkin in t-minus some really small number. Back to the barn, now! And watch your asses!"

[TAC3] "Drips" Wade says, "Hosedown, Drips. Copy that, you got two on you, I'll get one."

[BlackKnight-650: Malone] Almost there, almost there… Malone flies along back towards the Cerberus, but there's evidently something wrong with the controls of the Viper, given how it moves around a bit from side to side, up and down. "Not good…" he mutters to himself, glancing around.

[BlackKnight-308: Drake] With a dizzying display of aerobatics, Dizzy zooms in with her entourage. The Captain takes a cheap shot at the Raider on Malone's tail, blasting right into the cockpit. A solid 1-2 hit results in the KO. After a celebratory barrel roll, she's off to find a new partner for the next dance.

[Harrier-307: Leyla] Unseen by the retreating vipers, but perhaps not by the incoming raiders, Harrier-307 winks back into space, not terribly far from the Areion. But Bertha's hurting. She's hurting real bad, and there's no time for her to get back into the fight. Nor is there time for her to go home. And so, the hangar deck of the CEX-300 will have to do, as Leyla muscles the raptor in for a landing.

[TAC3] "Hosedown" Andrea says, " Drips, Hosedown. Shoot at whatever the frak you like, so long as you're in that barn when we jump."

[TAC3] "Bubbles" Psyche says, "Romeo Tango Bravo — acknowledged, Hosedown."

[TAC3] "Drips" Wade says, "Hosedown, Drips. Thank you, your permission fills my heart with joy."

[TAC3] "Splash" Malone says, "Cerberus, Splash. Coming in now, but controls are really messed up. Could be a messy landing… Flight, thanks to whoever took out that Raider…"

[TAC3] "Dizzy" Drake says, "Always our pleasure to make a splash, Splash."

[BlackKnight-855: Andrea] Dipping her bird backwards and forwards to avoid all the fire she is suddenly drawing, Andrea's eyes swivel around to see to it that her birds are all heading home.

[BlackKnight-309: Devlin] Devlin begins heading back toward Cerberus with the others, but not before taking a couple shots at the raider tailing him on his way.

[TAC3] "Decoy" Devlin says, "Hosedown, Decoy. Copy that, RTB. Got one on me I'm gonna try to shake on the way."

[TAC3] "Hosedown" Andrea says, " Decoy, Hosedown. Confirmed. You keep sweet-talking me like that and your wife is gonna come after me one of these days. See you on the deck, now move!"

[TAC3] "Decoy" Devlin says, "Hosedown, Decoy. Huh?"

[TAC3] "Hosedown" Andrea says, "You just worry about the shaking, Decoy."

[TAC3] "Decoy" Devlin says, "Yeah, that's the only bit I got. Evasive manuevers it is."

<COMBAT> Swarm9 attacks Devlin with KEW but MISSES!
<COMBAT> Swarm3 attacks Wade with KEW - Moderate wound to Body (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> Malone tries to attack but has no target!
<COMBAT> Wade attacks Swarm8 with KEW and MISSES!
<COMBAT> Psyche attacks Swarm9 with KEW and MISSES!
<COMBAT> Leyla passes.
<COMBAT> Devlin attacks Swarm9 with KEW and MISSES!
<COMBAT> Andrea attacks Swarm10 with KEW and MISSES!
<COMBAT> Swarm7 attacks Psyche with KEW - Moderate wound to Controls (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> Swarm10 attacks Andrea with KEW but MISSES!
<COMBAT> Skeeter passes.
<COMBAT> Khloe passes.
<COMBAT> Swarm8 attacks Andrea with KEW but MISSES!
<COMBAT> Drake attacks Swarm3 with KEW - Critical wound to Controls.
<COMBAT> Polaris has started a new turn. Pose and choose your action.
<COMBAT> Blackknight-853 has been KO'd!
<COMBAT> Psyche has been KO'd!
<COMBAT> Raider-9614e has been KO'd!
<COMBAT> Swarm3 has been KO'd!

[BlackKnight-662: Wade] As Wade makes his way back to Cerberus, he tries to attack one of the Raiders after Andrea. But it seems that the one after him is quicker because his attack hits Wade's Viper and sends him into a spin that makes his own attack go to wherever. "Frak! Come on girl, hang on, we are almost there" And thankfully enough, Dizzy takes care of that mean Raider that hit him. He opens his com to speak something and then makes an abrupt combat landing aboard Cerberus. Abrupt, yes, but at least he is alive and the bird is…alive, too. YAY.

[TAC3] "Drips" Wade says, "Dizzy, Drips. Thanks for the help back there. Flight, back in the barn, bird is damaged but she'll live to see another fight."

[Polly's Hoopty: Polaris] Skids down, guns silent, the Fleet's mailed fist returns home bloodied and beaten — but more or less intact. It's all the pilots can do to avoid colliding with each other as they bring home their birds, and only some of them succeed. Psyche's smoking Viper collides with another mid-air, tailfins locking as they spin out of control. She manages to extricate herself a split second before she skids to a stop in front of the bulkhead, but the other plane loses a canopy as she crunches into the heavy steel wall. Wounded Raptors smash onto the deck with resounding thumps that cause the smaller birds nearby to rattle and shake. Each passing second paints a picture of chaos writ large — there, a Raider being incinerated by the last salvo from now-jumping Praetorian; there, a crashing Viper taking an unwary Cylon with it; there, a brave deckhand leaping into a burning cockpit before being flung backwards by a string of secondary explosions.

And when the LSO signals all aboard at long last, and when Cerberus pulls inward and expands outwards, the swarm's still there and growing — and growing, and growing, until each individual Raider seems to disappear into an all-consuming sea of silver.

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