PHD #041: EVENT - Fireworks Have Been Cancelled, Part II
Fireworks Have Been Cancelled, Part II
Summary: Air Wing and Deck personnel poke at the minefield around Parnassus.
Date: 2041.04.08
Related Logs: Fireworks Have Been Cancelled Pt I.
Bannik Cidra Cilusia Covington Daphne Damon Marko McQueen Quinn Sitka Trask 
Cerberus behind, Anchorage ahead, the salvage team safely launched and away. The shattered remains of the Invictus — once belonging to Admiral Hauck, the anti-Cylon warmonger — are scattered off to one side. It was at her behest that these non-treaty minefields were laid out in the first place, or so the rumours go.

In the twenty-four hours since the training run, there's been a small flurry of activity preparing for the real deal. The Deckies have been adapting tools to better deal with the cluster of turrets, and optimize their salvage run; the approach vectors through the minefield, stamped OPTIMAL by Command, have since been been made OPTIMAL+1 courtesy of Quinn and Trask; the Vipers have…well, hopefully learned how close is too close to the mines.

Trask has been atypically quiet. In a fit of frustration, Quinn had exclaimed that he was incapable of not cracking wise. For a yet-to-be-determined prize, they made a bet. For his part, the ECO has so far been keeping his smart mouth shut, save for the sheer minimum of what he must convey to do his job.

Damon watches out the front as the Raptors make their approach. It all seems like old news, even though yesterday's run was just a simulation. Instead of Nikolai, he has Cilusia with him tonight; instead of the big toolchest, they've just brought what they need. The Deck crew on EVA duty have run through the mock-up again and again since last night, but he can't help being just a little bit nervous. "Watching and waiting… that's the worst part," he says.

Cidra has addressed the political aspect of the minefield not at all. Though it's likely the CAG knew as little about it as the rest of them before they stumbled upon Parnassus. She's just launched from Cerberus in her Raptor, Marko backseating for her, hands steady on the controls. Off to the real thing today.

[TAC3] "Toast" Cidra says, "Cerberus, Toast. Flight launched, commencing minesweeper and EVA retrieval."

Bannik takes a deep breath and then lets it out. He's in his EVA suit, helmet over his head, glasses almost mashed up against the faceplate. "Out. Strip down the turret. Get the ammo. Get the control circuits. Back in the Raptor. Easy, Bannik. Super-easy. Even if you haven't been in hard vac since that one time in the simulator at A-School." It seems to be more for his benefit than anything else.

One of the vipers that slips out of the tubes in the midst of the fray, is Shiv's little red and white number. Having been absent for the previous day's training run, the Captain's no doubt relying on reviewed sim footage for an idea of what they're up against tonight. Lighting his engines as soon as he clears the breach, he swoops out ahead and rolls into loose formation with the other vipers.

Quinn looks back towards Trask as he sits there in surprising silence, their launch having been nothing but smooth as silk… But then it's always smooth as silk. "You boys ready for a rocky ride? I promise it'll be fun…" She flashes a smile towards Bannick and company, her words probably purposefully lined with innuendo…just to see how long Trask can stay quiet.

[TAC3] "Toast" Cidra says, "Flight, Toast. All have the new flight path input, I trust? Much thanks to Jugs and Bootstrap. Shiv, the Raptors'll get in and out as quick as possible once the Vipers have cleared us a path. Watch the blast zone on those mines. Our ships took some nasty hits during the dry run. Employ evasive tactics as you need to."

"Everything looks good from here, Toast." Marko reports, keeping his eyes pinned on the DRADIS console in case the Cylons should decide to join the party. This would be a letter-perfect opportunity to raise a little hell with Cerberus' flight wing, after all. "I don't know if I told you, Major, but I did some catching up on the schematics for those mines. Turns out there's not that much to jam, no wonder it wasn't really working. There a piggyback frequency one sends out to activate the others around it, so maybe that's what kept some of them from going off in the sim last night."

Having settled into his Viper cockpit after ambling up the ramp, the unfortunately-named "Queenie" thumbs through his pre-flight checklist, staring at thecontrols, DRADIS output, a single helmet adjustment at the hands of the deckie, all the things one would expect. The proverbial board is proverbially green, as they say, and he starts to get wheeled on into the tube after shooting the crewman a fairly asymmetrical grin.

..And out Queenie goes, hurtling into the surrounding space with the others.

[TAC3] "Shiv" Sitka says, "Copy that, Toast. Aaaand.. that's affirmative on the flight path. Vipers, form up and weapons hot on my mark."

[TAC3] "Jugs" Quinn says, "Was our pleasure, boys and girls. Occasionally Bootstrap uses his brain for something other than memorizing porn."

[TAC3] "Queenie" McQueen says, "Shiv, Queenie. Copy that. Keeping it tight."

The watching and waiting doesn't seem to bother Cilusia too much. Like Damon and Bannik, she's in EVA gear, her suit understandably smaller…thanks to her own sweet skill set. Sure, every once in a while she leans forward and peers out of that Raptor windshield, watching things get closer, watching the ships zip and zoom and form up here and there. She just shakes her head and wonders how they can do it without getting sick from having their guts stuff up into their noses to keep from blacking out.

Daphne's lot in life seems to be that she's going to have a bloody lip most of the time. Last night's lipbiting bloodied her. Naturally, a scab has formed. She's already picking at it with her teeth. Regardless, the ensign fighter jock gives her ship a good check-over, repeating the process three times, and then goes through the usual routine of being ejected out the tubes at speeds normally reserved for comets. SHe rolls off, coming up on Sitka's rear flank.

[TAC3] "Click" Daphne says, "Affirmative, Shiv. Assuming victor formation. Weapons hot."

Sitka hasn't bothered assigning wingmen for this exercise, seeing as there's only three of them. Once he's sighted Daphne at his five o'clock, and McQueen at his seven, he gives his comms a little tap to signify 'mark' and reaches up to switch his weapons to active. Engines one, two and three briefly flare blue to set him off on his trajectory, followed by a smattering of two as he strafes in toward their first target.

[TAC3] "Shiv" Sitka says, "All right, let's take it in nice and slow. Keep your eyes peeled, focus fire, and shout out if you see anything else going off. We don't want to get caught in a chain reaction, guys."

McQueen is currently chilling on Sitka's seven like the proverbial villain in a medium wedge formation, his maneuvering awfully similar to the training exercise last night, save for the alternate route plotted by the helpful Lt. Trask. A slight twiddle of the throttle pedal as he kicks his Viper into a more even position with Click. Those little mine-specks outside the viewport start to become larger and larger.

Cidra replies to Marko without turning her head. Eyes flicking between the starfield outside and her instruments. If she misses a beat, it doesn't show. "The mines are nasty, simple, destructive little things. Too stupid for proper electronic warfare. Do as you can back there. I admit, if we must dispose of them all before we go, I shall not mourn."

[TAC3] "Queenie" McQueen 's lilt comes across the tac chatter. "Loud n' clear, shiv. Click and I found that out yesterday the /hard/ way." He lets out a quiet 'heh' before pulling his bird around to focus fire on one of the mines.

"You know," mutters Bannik from his spot in the Raptor. "Not sure it's fair that Damon and Fasi are in one Ratpor while the new guy gets to be with the other new guy. No offense." He turns his head over to his partner that's with him in the back of the Raptor.

"None taken," replies Bannik's partner in EVA crimes. He's distracted by the view through the Raptor's windshield, but glances away to grin. "I'd rather be in Fasi's Raptor, too."

The Vipers sweep in and, concentrating their fire, destroy the tiny mine in a hail of bullets — too fast for its warning signal to alert its brethren. The surviving mines remain dormant blips on the Raptors' readouts. So far, so good.

"True enough, I guess." Marko replies, nodding thoughtfully as the Vipers shred the first of the mines. "Might give the Toasters a hot potato to play with, though." he muses thoughtfully before turning to the passengers. "You guys okay?" he asks, smiling a little. "Sorry for the lack of an inflight movie or beverage service."

Damon is silent and remains so as the shooting begins, Vipers lighting up the view before them as they start going in. Remembering what happened during the exercise when he started prepping right as the attack began, he keeps himself seated and secure for now, just on the off-chance that they get hit by shrapnel. A quick glance is given to Cilusia after the first mine goes off, though he continues to say nothing, then he's looking back out the front again. Watching. Waiting.

Quinn turns her head back to Bannik, smiling warmly, "Hey, kid, you're with the best. They only put the best with the best. So, don't worry about it. We'll take care of you… In and out in no time flat." More innuendo. She winks at Bannik, almost flirtatiously but she's doing fairly good at not being too obvious, before she looks back at her controls. Straight on the flight path she and Trask found yesterday still.

"That is the other side of the coin with them, Ensign," Cidra says to Marko, as to toaster hot potato. Her tone gives little hint as to her opinion. Without looking over her shoulder she says to the Deckies, "We may lack for entertainment, but I shall try to keep the ride smooth." One can hope.

Sitka blows a slightly shaky breath out his nose as the first target is eliminated, which is quickly funneled through the oxygen intake/outtake apparatus, and thus doesn't cloud his faceplate. His right hand leaves the stick for a moment so he can flex the gloved fingers a couple of times, before replacing them again. This time, engine three is tapped, the urge to give it a more juice barely reined in as he rolls his fighter into a lateral drift along their flight path.

McQueen manages to fill in fire around the mine the little trident of Vipers is clearing. It's a good thing, too, in case that mine was planning on going anywhere. He would have had it /pegged/. Teamwork is essential to any military operation. Flying light and deft as the thing expodes, he banks his viper sharply to engage the next target, taking visible care not to get too close.

[TAC3] "Queenie" McQueen says, "Watch 'em go up, yeh?"

[TAC3] "Shiv" Sitka says, "Toast, Shiv. Looks like one down, three to go, if we can manage not to set off the one at, uh.. five four carom zero niner. Good work, Click. Steady as she goes."

When the pewpew starts, Cilusia leans forward a bit to get a peek at the fireworks. Ooooooh pretty, KABOOM KABLOOEY! The explosions are reflected a tiny bit on her helmet, then an even tinier bit on her eyes, which are as big as silver dollars. There's a little grin on her face…it's one of those OMG scary but OMG awesome little grins, like she can't decide what to think, even if she can't stop looking.

Daphne's ears are treated to the muzzled rumble of her guns as she squeezes the trigger, flying in formation with the other two vipers. Right on cue, her front teeth begin to explore the outer surface of the scab on her lower lip, finding where it's weakest and where it's strongest. The stream of ammunition she's slinging impacts right in the middle of the mine, and she lets go of the trigger once it falls to the combined firepower, then swings her ship around, staying with the winglead as tightly as she can.

[TAC3] "Toast" Cidra says, "Shiv, Toast. Copy. Nicely smoked."

[TAC3] (from "Skids" Covington) There's a crackle over the wireless, and Skids' sweet, slow lilt fires tinny through the earpieces, "Hey, y'all. Sorry 'bout the belated belle entrance, but my launch aborted four times. Some kinda insertion problems. Just like a virgin on prom night. Skids reportin' for duty. ETA not too dang long. Don't shoot me."

[TAC3] "Shiv" Sitka says, "Glad you decided to join us, Skids. Queenie, could you hop on her wing, and Click take mine. We'll do this leapfrog style; Skids and Queenie'll target the mine next on our flight path, and we'll cover your asses and take out the following one. Got it?"

[TAC3] "Queenie" McQueen chirps, "Shiv, Queenie. Allright, yeh? Copy that. Sloppy thirds, it is."

[TAC3] "Click" Daphne says, "Making it happen, sir."

And like that, Queenie pulls back onto Covington's Seven with a sharp turn, slowing his velocity when he pulls into position.

Sitka noses up and out of his pursuit run, dropping back slightly to cover the incoming vipers' airspace.

After what seems like an age, Skids' viper blips up on the HUD. The reservist, who's been off the flight line with injury, till just the other day, has returned to the cockpit, and this little ditty is a casual type re-introduction to group tactics. There's a slowing and an easing off the throttle as she shoots into range, and a wing waggle to say hello to McQueen.

[TAC3] "Skids" Covington says, "Shiv, Skids. Message received and understood. Pleasure to run with you, Queen.""

[TAC3] "Queenie" McQueen says, "Oh. Sure. You're sayin' that /now/."

Focus fire again wins the day, as the pair of Vipers destroy the mine with their gunfire. The Raptors' readouts remain silent and still. So far, still so good.

Cidra's eyes also cranes more toward the starfield as the Vipers start shooting. Though with her it is likely more attention to the operation than appreciation of the KABOOM. Mostly. It does make a lovely lightly. "Have you done much EVA work before, Petty Officer?" The question posed to Cilusia. "The timing'll be tight on this outing, but we'll be ready to extract you ASAP once your work is done."

[TAC3] "Skids" Covington says, "Mama always said play nice till the other kids gives ya a reason t'play dirty. … Well, hell. Nice shootin', sugar."

"Two for two. Shiv and company's got it wired on this Op. Guess the sims got their attention." Marko calls as his next DRADIS sweep paints a rapidly expanding ball of superheated gas and debris expanding from the next mine's last known position.

[TAC3] "Shiv" Sitka says, "Looking good, Queenie. We're two for two here so far, Toast. Click.. let's do this. Keep it nice and tight."

[TAC3] "Click" Daphne says, "You know me, sir." There is no indication that she realizes what she just said.

"Sir? With all due respect? You're like — close to twenty years older than me. And I have a girlfriend back home. So. Like. Yeah." Bannik wrinkles his nose, but it's sort of a good-natured retort to Quinn's innuendo towards him.

Daphne stays on a sharp formation with Sitka, operating on his five o'clock spot. She keeps straying to a minimum, swaying into place as she moves in with her wingmate.

<FS3> Marko rolls ECM: Failure.
<FS3> Quinn rolls 5: Good Success.

You paged Quinn and Trask with 'As the next mine is shot, the final one, nearest the turret, starts ticking down. You'll want to hold posing about this until the mine is actually shot.'

You paged Marko with 'You'll want to hold this pose until the mine is actually shot, BUT: Remember that frequency chirp the mines gave to 'wake up' their neighbors? It happens again. It's a different frequency this time, though.'

"Here and there, Major. Sort of comes with the job, what with patching these things up, cutting them down to fit, bringing out the ass…you know the drill!" Aiyee! Even though pretty much every single person who's out and about flying around is relying on Cilusia to ensure that their suits and ejection seats and all that sorta stuff work right. Even so, she doesn't seem to worry. Brig-time served or not, she's actually pretty-damned good at her job.

As another pair of leapfrogging Vipers streak through, the hail of bullets strikes the mine but doesn't reduce it to flinders, like the ones before.

Immediately, there's a chirp on the Raptors' readouts — the same 'rise-and-shine' routine as the evening before…only the frequency is different, tweaked up a little higher.

That was a swing and a hit on McQueen's part, making up for his slightly dodgy effort prior, keeping his bird in staggered formation on Covington's wing as the two vipers focus their cannon fire on the poor defenseless mine. All the while, he keeps formation like a good little soldier. Just like the boss said.

[TAC3] "Queenie" McQueen 's own Leonitian accent rings harshly on-channel. "Well thanks. See what happens when I start payin' attention."

<FS3> Marko rolls ECM: Good Success.
<FS3> Trask rolls Ecm: Good Success.

You paged Trask and Marko with 'Nice job. Mine E's signal is getting lost in the white noise you guys are pumping out. It would have been detonating this round, along with D.

"Frak. They missed one." Bannik looks out the viewport three layers of glass - his glasses, his helmet, and the viewport keeping him from seeing what's going on outside. "That's not good." And he's not even up yet.

"Toast, be advised, just got a squawk on fifty eight point three megacycles." Marko calls from his station. "Looks like the 'rise and shine' signal we saw last night, but on a different frequency. Permission to go active with the ECM gear?" he asks, already flipping the rig to 'Standby'.

This really isn't Shiv's forte. Precision work, fine gunmanship, it's the sort of thing that takes him twice as long as some, due to how hard he has to work at it. In fact, he 'waves off' twice, and only manages to line up his sights on the third try, taking a good hunk out of the mine but not quite managing to detonate it. Rather than go in again, he gives Daphne a wing waggle to tell her to pull back, and swoops away to give the other two birds a chance.

No swearing from Cidra. Fair few can name a time they've heard the CAG swear on the comm. She just nods shortly to herself as the mines get to chirping. Well. That was too good to last. "Looks like they're awake. Flasher, see if you can keep them drowsy. We already know those things can bite."

[TAC3] "Shiv" Sitka says, "Managed to nick it, but doesn't look like it blew. Skids, Queenie, you two want to take a crack at it?"

[TAC3] "Toast" Cidra says, "Shiv, Toast. We're reading active signatures from those mines of yours. Looks like they're awake. We'll try to jam them a bit. Watch your backsides."

The bet prohibits cheeky remarks. Nothing in the rules states that Trask cannot grin like a fiend, which he does when would-be cougar Quinn gets declawed by Bannik.

[TAC3] "Skids" Covington says, "Be happy to mow the lawn, Shiv. Queen. Let's see some magic. Mama don't like active mines."

[TAC3] "Queenie" McQueen replies, "This is Queenie." He still never quite seems thrilled to have that callsign. "Copy that. I hear and obey."

Quinn drops her jaw a moment, staring back at Bannik as he gives the smoothest and most honest rebuff she's ever gotten. Of course, he couldn't know about the bet and that this is as much to torture Trask as anything. She laughs huskily, shaking her head to him. "…Yes, yes…I know… way to make a woman feel like an old lady. I'm gonna call you -kid- from now on…" She teases lightly, looking back to her controls. And she swears softly…"That final mine is tickign down… we started the clock."

[TAC3] "Shiv" Sitka says, "Well, shit. ..uh, acknowledged, Toast. Take it slow, guys. Well, not too slow."

[TAC3] "Jugs" Quinn says, "Frak. We started the clock… Everyone else see that last baby boy awake down there?"

Daphne spents more time worrying about formation that should be spent on aiming. Or perhaps it's just inexperience talking. The Ensign manages to miss the stationary target. Clearly she's been taking lessons from Queenie, because she would've hit if the thing was moving. This is when she finally breaks open that scab on her lower lip and dribbles sweet crimson along her chin. "Frak." Her cheeks turn a little pale.

If Cidra won't curse, Cilusia will. "Oh…frak me," she says, mostly to herself, inside her helmet. Not much she can do really besides tightening the straps a little more and holding on while the pilots do their job. Nothing she can do unless they're right up on top of stuff and she can get out of the Raptor.

[TAC3] "Skids" Covington says, "Throttle down under bat out of hell, check< Shiv. Queen, them words is music to my ears."

[TAC3] (from "Shiv" Sitka) Shiv's voice crackles over the comms a moment later, "You, uh, might want to have the raptors hang back a little, Toast. If one of those mines goes.." Does he need to finish that sentence?

[TAC3] (from "Skids" Covington) There's a hint of trepidation in Skids' voice as she notes, "Cool and collected's about as scarce as bird crap in a cuckoo clock right bout now…" It's a mutter, possibly not meant for comms.

<COMBAT> EXPLOSION! Very Far From Viper-0713y - ARMOR on Body stops the attack!
<COMBAT> Viper-0713y is not hit by shrapnel.
<COMBAT> EXPLOSION! Very Far From Viper-0433a - Light wound to Body (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> Viper-0433a is not hit by shrapnel.

3- 2- 1- and the mine detonates, throwing out its payload of shards in all directions, none of them including Vipers or Raptors. The turret-cluster is lightly-pelted — those watching will see a few shards carom off the slumbering weapons.

Unlike the previous night, the final mine does not follow its neighbour into explosive death. Instead, its own countdown is slo-o-owed by the electronic assault. 3- 2.75- 2.5-

[TAC3] "Queenie" McQueen says, "Right-o. Engaging from minimum safe distance. WHOAHshit. Uhh, I'm allright. Reporting superficial damage. Just a scratch."

Minimum safe distance, McQueen's ass. Well, it was minimum enough to take a shot as he dances around, but isn't quite quick enough on the draw to get a shot off before the mine explodes. A little bit of the shrapnel buffets his Viper's airframe. This done, he aggressively(if possible) pulls his ship into formation again.

"Is that shrapnel off of the turrets?" asks Bannik, furrowing his brow as he tries to watch the sort-of space battle going on outside of the viewport. Something to look out for him to cut himself on.

<FS3> Quinn rolls Alertness: Success.
<FS3> Bannik rolls Alertness: Success.
<FS3> Cilusia rolls Alertness: Success.

You paged Quinn, Bannik, and Cilusia with 'Those turrets look /solid/. It looks like the shrapnel off the mines bounced off without any damage at all.'

[TAC3] "Shiv" Sitka says, "Frak damn, nice shooting, Skids. You two fall back, and keep an eye on that off-course mine. Click, let's go. You're doing great."

[TAC3] "Toast" Cidra says, "Acknowledged, Shiv. We're ready to dance if need be. Looks like the others are continuing to tired, however. Little trick our ECOs conceived. Nice work, Flasher. Bootstrap. Should give you some more time, Viper Flight."

"Toast, okay, it looks like we're slowing the mines down, if not precisely stopping them, Got an active signal from Mine Echo, it's awake, estimate two seconds until it blows." Marko calls, peering at his DRADIS screen. "Might wanna pass the word."

There is surprise in Cidra's tone. "No gloating from Bootstrap?" she ponders off-mic. A shake of her head. Very odd. And a nod back to Marko. "Understood, Flasher."

[TAC3] "Skids" Covington says, "That was a little close enough ta toast my butt. Board is still green like a mint leaf stuck to a leprechaun's willy. You look fine, Queen. Roger, Shiv, throttle down."

Skids' viper pulls a shot and then rolls out of formation, up and over McQueen's viper, giving her wing an open avenue, and shaking off a little of the piloty cobwebs. She drops into more traditional formation as Queen moves to catch up, with just a slight adjustment to the throttle.

<FS3> Bannik rolls Alertness: Success.
<FS3> Cilusia rolls Alertness: Success.

You paged Bannik and Cilusia with 'They're armored. The schematics you studied didn't reference the armor plates.'

[TAC3] "Jugs" Quinn says, "Bootstrap is learning to mind his tongue."

[TAC3] "Queenie" McQueen says, "This is Queen. Copy that. To Hell and Back. Heh."

Sitka fires all three engines, feeding his Mark II a little extra juice to get it moving. This time, he doesn't fine-tune his firing solution. He waits until it's just starting to slip into his sights, and leads it with a rattle of tracerfire from his twin gun turrets.

[TAC3] "Toast" Cidra says, "Flight, still reading active signature on Mine Echo. Estimate two seconds to detonation.""

It wasn't quite the effect Trask was aiming for, but a slowed down countdown is better than a standard countdown. Brow furrowed with a bit of annoyance, and mouth quirking in tandem, he contemplates possible options that might buy more time.

[TAC3] "Click" Daphne says, "Right behind you, sir."

Quinn narrows her eyes, meanwhile, eyeballing the turret as best she can. She shakes her head to Bannik behind her. "I don't…think so. Those things look solid to me. We should still be good… Kid." She tosses back reassuringly, teasingly, to him again.

Daphne keeps pace with Sitka, which means pulling back the throttle awfully far, in this case. She rolls her mark seven hard, then aqueezing the trigger while coming in on the rapidly enlarging object.

[TAC3] "Bootstrap" Trask, indeed, is not touting his awesomeness. In fact, he's not saying anything.

"Oh, frak. Oh, frak. Armor plating. That thing has armor plating." Bannik seems to be realizing something about the shrapnel spinning off from the turret. "We didn't see armor plating on the ones we analyzed in the schematics." He takes a deep breath. "This is going to make things more complicated."

"Oh gods, oh gods…" Cilusia manages to rock forward in her seat there in the Raptor a bit when the first mine detonates. Her eyes are on the turrets, the ones that're getting pelted by shrapnel from the blown mine. "What the frak…" She blinks her eyes once. "Major…" she says to Cidra through whatever intraship communications they have rigged. "Am I seeing things, or did that shrapnel bounce right off the turrets like toasters shrug off bullets? Looks like those frakkin' things are armored or something."

"Almost doesn't seem right, does it?" Marko chuckles softly. "Now I'm really curious as to what it was they were betting on." he smirks. "They're _what_? Oh for crying out loud…..tell me this isn't a government operation." Marko sighs. "Hope we've got a can opener in here."

<COMBAT> EXPLOSION! Very Far From Viper-1653e - Light wound to Body (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> Viper-1653e is not hit by shrapnel.
<COMBAT> EXPLOSION! Very Far From Viper-1725n - Light wound to Body (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> Viper-1725n is not hit by shrapnel.

0.75- 0.5- 0.25- the sedated mine ticks down, sleepily, before finally remembering to detonate. The explosion itself is no less violent than the others, though the majority of the shrapnel is flung off in harmless directions.

Again, the turret cluster is peppered with shrapnel — and again, the majority of it seems to carom off the armour plates, harmlessly.

Cidra frowns slimly at Marko's words, though she does not respond directly to them. A nod at Cilusia's. A rather grim one. "What in the name of the gods were they doing out here…?" It's muttered to herself rather than the Raptor at large. Ahem. "Will make tough work for you, no, Petty Officer? Do you think you can manage it with the tools you lot have within the time? We'll be cutting it very tight."

[TAC3] "Shiv" Sitka says, "Hot shit shooting, Kolettis. Are you seeing what I'm seeing out here, Toast? Looks like the turrets are… I don't know, armoured or something.."

Bannik moves towards the front of the Raptor to get a better look, but well behind both Quinn and Trask. "Wait. Wait. I see. That's why there wasn't any note on the schematics. It's jury-rigged. I could probably get a crow-bar under the gaps and rip it off. Just going to make the time even tighter." Yipee.

Sitka's own guns land fairly grazing hits, all told, with his erstwhile wingman doing most of the damage of the pair. He waves off, dragging his Mark II into a high velocity roll as the mine detonates, then swoops up and back to rejoin the rest of the vipers.

Quinn blinks back towards Bannik, her teasing expression falling away as she processes his words. "Armor plating? What… what will that change? Much harder to get into the thing?" She asks, not exactly an engineer herself. She looks back to the thing, still frowning…"If you say you can do it, I'll trust you… but you get your ass back in here, done or not, before you get blown to bits. That's an order, alright?"

Did someone say 'Evade?' McQueen's been pretty much riding the stick and throttle with along with his sec-lead, whirling his head around in the cockpit.

[TAC3] "Toast" Cidra says, "Shiv, Toast. Copy. What we are seeing suggests much the same. Parnassus holds one oddity after another."

You paged Sitka, McQueen, Daphne, and Covington with 'If you guys are giving that turret cluster a good eyeballing, or coming in close to them, feel free to give me an Alertness roll (or any other skill you feel is more pertinent for turret appraisal ;) ) for additional info.'
You paged Sitka with 'You probably would have looked at the informational packets for all three groups, as viper lead, yeah? (viper / raptor / eva)'
Sitka (Shiv) pages: Absolutely.

<FS3> Daphne rolls Alertness: Good Success.
<FS3> Sitka rolls Alertness: Good Success.

You paged Daphne and Sitka with 'The armor plating is definitely an after-the-fact job. Heavy duty, but mismatched.'
You paged Sitka with 'The schematics are all dated five years old or more.'

[TAC3] "Shiv" Sitka says, "It sure does, Toast. All vipers, looks like our job's done out here. Let's back off and let the raptors do theirs."

"Well, let's just hope these bad mamma-jammas don't wake up while we work. I mean, sure, I can make do with what I have here Major, I think. It'll take a hella long time, given that we came out here expecting dinky little tinfoil armor…we brought our damn butter knives!" Translated into non-deckie? Sure, Cilusia's got a plasma cutter, but it's not really as big and powerful as she'd like to cut through armor like that. "Won't rightly know for sure until I'm spacebound and poking on the panels themselves."

Daphne recklessly moves with her wingmate. Afterburners are going, her thimb is locked on the trigger, blood is dripping from her face. All she really needs is her hair on fire and an enormous fan set to 'hurricane'. She bites her lower lip some more, antagonizing the wound while her shots strike the mine. Even at distance, the exploding thing manages to lodge some metal bits into her side. She swings around, glancing about the cockpit, eyes wide from adreneline.

[TAC3] "Queenie" McQueen sighs, presumably with relief. Weird. He doesn't quite fly like a coward. "Shiv, Queen. Copy /that/. RTB."

[TAC3] "Toast" Cidra says, "Raptor Flight. Toast. Let's move in. Straight and fast. Well done, Viper Flight. That was smoother than the trial run. We'll see you back home."

[TAC3] "Click" Daphne says, "Makes up for the last one, sir."

"Don't sweat it. Petty Officer." Marko re-assures Cilusia. "Toast'll keep us nice and close and I'll have my eyeballs locked on the DRADIS, the instant that turret goes active, we'll swoop in to pick you up."

[TAC3] "Shiv" Sitka says, "Hey, so long as you come out even steven at the end of the day. All right, you heard the CAG. Let's bring 'em in."

[TAC3] "Click" Daphne adds, "That's an awfully… imprecise armoring job."

<FS3> Cidra rolls Raptors: Success.
<FS3> Quinn rolls Raptors: Good Success.

Shiv gives his commanding officer a little wing waggle, then comes about to lead the charge back to Cerberus' looming hulk somewhere off behind them.

While everyone else is busy being Chatty Cathys, Bootstrap just keeps working his turret suppressing mojo.

Skids turns smoothly to RTB with the rest of the flight, quiet, for once, over comms.

Bannik gets up to his feet when the Raptor begins to move in, moving towards the back and his fellow E-2 partner. "All right. It's pretty easy," he tells the other guy, who has the tools on his waist. "When I ask for it. Give it to me. If the turrets stay silent, we're just going to take it nice and slow, huh?"

McQueen , for his part, high-tails it to the barn, with the others. With a dinged paint job.

The Raptors' approach to the turret cluster is smooth and uneventful. The two hulking turrets sit back-to-back, just slightly angled toward eachother to provide a wide arc of coverage for Parnassus Anchorage.

The armor plating is clearly jury-rigged, at this point — the panels are the same size, but the materials are mis-matched. There are broad gaps between the panels, showing the more familiar schematics territory beneath.

Cidra tips her Raptor wings in return to Sitka. They don't waggle quite so smoothly as his Viper, however. Buses don't swivel so pretty. She straightens out and goes in smooth enough, however. Nothing fancy. She doesn't go in much for aerial acrobatics, even such as her ship build allows. But she flies smooth enough. She slows as she approaches the turret, pulling in as close as she dares to egress her EVA team.

Marko keeps tickling his assigned turret's threat recievers with generous doses of white noise. "C'mon, baby, stay asleep. The nice petty officer's here to perform a little brain surgery on you." he grins.

Quinn backs into the turret, so they're in the proper position to scoop and go should the thing activate. "Be careful out there, kid…" She calls after Bannik, before she pops the back hatch and lets the pair get into place to go out. She keeps her attention split now, between controls, sensors, and eyeballing what's going on outside.

Bannik takes his tether line and hooks it up to the anchor inside of the Raptor, checking it once and having his partner doing the same. "Airflow's in the suit. We're ready to rock and roll when you are, sir!" he calls out to Quinn. He takes a deep breath. Just another second and he'll be in the hard vac. Just like the sims. Just like the sims.

Bannik does his thing in one Raptor, and Cilusia does the same thing in the other. Check airfeed line, clip one end of the tether to the Raptor. When she's double-checked all that first, then the variety of tools she has clipped to the assorted places on her web vest and workbelt, arm straps and leg straps, she turns back to Cidra. "Alright, looks like I'm all set to go."

Quinn nods smoothly to Bannik…"Rock and roll… go right ahead."

<FS3> Cilusia rolls Athletic: Good Success.
<FS3> Cilusia rolls Repair: Success.

<FS3> Bannik rolls Athletic: Success.
<FS3> Bannik rolls Repair: Success.

You paged Cilusia and Bannik with 'You're both free to pose a safe approach. Cilusia's is smooth as you please. When you get up there, and are starting to get in behind the armor panels, however — the schematics are wrong. This turret's a slightly different make from the one you studied. You can pose trying to find the accesspanel for the circuitboard this round, but you can't find it yet.'

And a one — and a two and a — Bannik hits the button on the Raptor door opening his way out. Vacuum rushes in for a moment as the crewman and his partner and a step out of the Raptor and into the abyss of space. He then takes one small kick of his feet — but a small kick, for he's in a vacuum and there is no resistance, to propel himself towards the turret. It's not exactly graceful, but it gets him to where he needs to go. He reaches in behind the armor panel on the turret, reaching, reaching. Cursing to himself, he gets on the wireless, explaining his apparent pain in the neck.

[TAC3] Bannik says, "This is Bannik. It looks like the access panel on this turret is different than the schematics we have. I'm going to keep looking. Over."

When the hatch opens, tether secured, Cilusia pushes herself out from the little stub wing of the Raptor. Unlike Bannik, who resembles something like a wounded duck, she glides a little more easily, almost like a dive into water toward the turret. Once there, she gets ahold of…well, something, the gaps in those panels, likely, and keeps one arm latched in there. The other skinny limb roots around inside, as she furrows her brows inside the helmet.

[TAC3] "Scraps" Cilusia says, "Bannik, Fasi here. Same thing on this pile. I can reach in, I can feel something, but it's not what we're looking for. Everything is in the wrong place."

"Turret's keeping quiet, Toast." Marko reports, frowning as Bannik and Cilusia's reports fliter through his headset. 'Okay…this is getting weirder by the second. Gods beneath us, Toast, what were these people playing with out here?" he asks rhetorically.

You paged Cilusia and Bannik with 'I'd like one more roll from each of you, please. Athletic or Repair, as you prefer — whichever you feel's more accurate to how you'd be trying to locate the proper hatch.'

<FS3> Cilusia rolls Athletic: Success.
Bannik spends 1 luck points on Upping my Repair roll..
<FS3> Bannik rolls Repair: Bad Failure.

You paged Cilusia with 'It's really good to be small, sometimes. It's much easier for you to dig in behind these armor panels — especially when you're not longer sure exactly what you're going for. You finally find a hatch that's labelled the same as the one on the schematics, and will open it to find the circuitboard you're looking for.'

You paged Bannik with 'Where the FRAK is that damn panel? Auxiliary power? No. Sub-targeting? No — there's not even a label on the schematic for a /sub/-targeting circuitpanel. Still no main targetting hatch, that you can find.'

"Let us hope it stays that way," Cidra replies to Marko. "And I do not know, Flasher. I would not like to guess, either." She says no more on it. She's not the most talkative pilot to fly with, anyway, and this place has burrowed uncomfortably into her thoughts.

[TAC3] "Toast" Cidra says, "EVA team, Toast. Turrets look quiet for now, so you've room to work. Good luck and gods speed.""

A pained look appears on Bannik's face, mercifully hidden behind his faceplate, as he reaches around underneath the armor, looking for the access panel. "Come on. Come on. No. Come on. I was made to fix birds, not float out in the vacuum." But still his hand gropes around, hoping to hit on the right panel.

Let it be said that being tiny has its advantages. Being tiny and having some bit of athletic skill and grace is even better. Ok, now that that's said, Cilusia totally looks like some sort of weird, leashed spider-monkey out there, clinging to the panels, and rooting around inside. She's clambered 'up' on the panel she's clinging to, reaching her arm in to the shoulder in there. Finally, she manages to get her finger tips around a little handle, and pulls open a hatch. Mercifully, it's familiar. It opens to find the circuitboard she's after; she can tell by the shape and size, the transistors and chips all in the right place on the thing.

[TAC3] "Scraps" Cilusia says, "Bannik…the panels we're looking for are much farther toward the top of these things. You really have to wiggle your way in. You'll feel the hatch that's in the schematics we have. The board's inside there."

You paged Marko and Trask with 'Can I get another ECM roll from you guys, please? :)'

<FS3> Marko rolls ECM: Bad Failure.
<FS3> Trask rolls Ecm: Good Success.

Zzz. ZzzZZzz. Zzzzsnrkwha-? The turret Marko's soothing with white noise is suddenly No Longer Soothed.

Cilusia will feel a sudden heat through the tips of her nonconductive gloves — at least the current doesn't make it all the way through — at the same moment that the Raptors' readouts show sudden life from Turret A.

"Ah, frak me!" Marko curses, wincing as his DRADIS scope starts to fill with data. "Toast, our turret's coming hot! Powering up, but slowly. Kind of like the mines did. No idea how long it'll take to start shooting missiles at us, but it's going to eventually."

Cidra clicks her tongue irritably. Nodding short. "Copy, Flasher. I'll be ready to have us out ASAP." That done, she gets on the horn to the EVA team.

<FS3> Bannik rolls Repair: Success.
<FS3> Cilusia rolls Repair: Good Success.

You paged Bannik with 'It'd be nice to be skinny as Cilusia right now. It's really tough getting your arm twisted around to work at that damn circuitpanel. You're making good progress, though. ETA: 30 seconds.'
You paged Cilusia with 'Now that you've found the right panel, Damon's drilling and your own mad skillz make removal super-easy.'

"So. Darn. Tall." Bannik is wiggling his hand around underneath the armor, the gloves not exactly doing him any favors either. But helped by Cilusia's guidance, he gets his hand on the circuit panel and begins to work on getting the hatch open. He's on the comm.

Oh. Shit. That kinda frakkin' sucks! Squirming her arm in the turret as far as she can get it, Cilusia gets a firmer grip on the circuit board and starts to wiggle it in place, loosening the thing up. She didn't get shocked, but that sudden heat isn't really good, that much she's sure of. Her tiny arm might be able to find the stuff inside, but there's not enough room to get the circuitboard out. That's where Damon comes in, being the muscle here. For the moment, Cilusia drifts back, to let Damon cut and drill on that armor panel, to dislodge it enough to expose the part of the turret that's familiar.

"Ok…come on you mother frakker…get the frak out of there." She has to wiggle the thing out inch by inch, given the smallish clearance and the awkward position on the turret. It does come out, though, even as the pressure of the moment builds.

[TAC3] Bannik says, "Fasi, Bannik. I've got my hand on it. Thirty seconds until open. Almost there."

[TAC3] "Scraps" Cilusia says, "Major…we just popped the circuit board on this thing. Let me know if this thing's dead again or what. Do you get any reading?"

That rousing turret? Bootstrap manages to lull it back asleep. Sardonically, he smirks, but he still doesn't say anything. For the time being, the pew-pew-pews are remaining Zzz Zzz Zzz.

Even as Cilusia's on the comm to relate the successful circuitboard extraction, the empty panel behind her gives a single spark, then another. Bzzrt. Gznort.

There's no external lights or labels on the turret to indicate something has changed, for Cilusia, but for the ECOs, it's immediately obvious — Turret A has been displeased, and a fresh countdown has begun.

[TAC3] "Jugs" Quinn says, "Wow, look at this… when we actually teach Bootstrap to be quiet he gets some damn fine work done… I think he's bought you a few more minutes, boys and girls. But still work fast."

You paged Trask and Marko with 'New frequency. Not according to the schematics /at all/. No real broadcast range — it's communicating with itself, only. Some new countdown, duration unknown.'

[TAC3] "Toast" Cidra says, "Copy, Petty Officer. We got some activity off of it but it appears Harrier-307 has lulled it. At least bought you some time. Carry on for now. We'll try to get an exact read on how much time you have out there."

Pop! Well, actually, in space, no one can actually hear the hatch pop. But Bannik manages to get off the access panel that he needed to get the turret's circuit board out and then reaches in his hand to give it a firm YANK to take it out of it's board. The tricker part is trying to wiggle it under the armor. His wrist wasn't meant to move that way.

[TAC3] Bannik says, "This is Bannik. Almost got the circuit board out. Just need to clear the armor plating, and hope my wrist doesn't come off with it."

Marko blows out a sigh of relief as Bootstrap's efforts lull the Turret back to sleep for a moment, then growls a particularly virulent curse as his DRADIS starts indicating the turret has restarted it's countdown. "Oh for the love of…" he says, voice tense as he starts to pin down the correct frequency. "Toast, this freq isn't even on the schematics!"

Out in space, Cilusia starts to wave Damon back toward the Raptor, while she gathers up the circuit board in her hand. Yanking back along the tether with her free hand, she starts to pull herself back in as well. This move isn't anywhere near as graceful as her exit or prodding around inside the guts of the thing. 'Go go go go' she's mouthing inside her helmet.

[TAC3] "Scraps" Cilusia says, "Major, this thing started sparking and popping like an angry god…we're heading back in…advise we get the frak out of dodge ASAP."

<FS3> Trask rolls Electrical Engineering: Good Success.

You paged Trask with 'It's a self-destruct timer, you'd bet. If ripping out the circuitboards triggered it, it's meant to kill whatever's nearby — you're looking at 15 or 20 seconds, tops.'
You paged Trask with 'And if that's the case, those turrets are full of coils and coils of ammunition.'

And a good morning to you, Turret B. Bannik wrenches the circuitboard free to a small shower of blue-white sparks — and immediately, his turret starts up the new, mystery countdown as well.

[TAC3] "Toast" Cidra says, "Copy, Petty Officer. Ready to skip out of here as soon as you're aboard."

Bannik's fears about losing his wrist were apparently overrated. His hand comes out cleanly from under the armor of the turret, almost like he's done this before. He hasn't. He turns and puts the circuit board in the waiting bag his partner is holding, and the bag is promptly closed up.

[TAC3] Bannik says, "This is Bannik. What about the ammo? Have we activated the turrets?"

Boots thump onto the wings of the Raptor as Cilusia and Damon get back to the bird. Not wanting to risk it, she pulls herself up into the interior, and untethers, shutting the latch and ensuring hardseal.

[TAC3] "Scraps" Cilusia says, "I'm not risking it for that ammo. Better to get back in the Raptors in case we need to boogey. If not, it ain't hard to go back out and get that ammo Bannik."

[TAC3] (from "Bootstrap" Trask) The bet pertained to Trask not making smartass remarks. He's actually free to speak, which he opts to do now. "Back to the birds, kids. Based on the schematics I studied and what I'm now seeing, it looks like a self-destruct timer's been initiated. I'm bettin' it was triggered when the boards were yanked. By my estimation, we have about 15 seconds before they start their tantrum." Look at that. Not even a comment about Deckies probably wanting to keep their asses from getting frakked by bullets. Quinn's in trouble.

[TAC3] "Jugs" Quinn says, "Back is wide open for you boys. Climb in fast."

Quinn is really scraping the bottom of the barrell with innuendo here…

<FS3> Quinn rolls Raptors: Great Success.
<FS3> Cidra rolls Raptors: Success.

Trask does not take Quinn's bait. He does, however, mentally whistle the tune "Back Door Man".

Well, you don't have to tell Bannik twice. He's pulling on his tether rope and hauling himself back into the Raptor just as fast as he can manage without flying off into space. He's able to get himself in without incident, making sure his partner follows in after him. He then slams the door shut on the Raptor.

Marko turns his head away from his console just long enough to double-check the hard seal. "I think he's right, Toast! Punch it!" he calls tensely.

[TAC3] Bannik says, "Juggs, Bannik. We're in! Let's get out of here!"

Quinn is ready to go, course plotted, engines hot. All joking and tempting of Trask is thrown out now that they've got real work to do. So she might lose the bet? She doesn't care, she'd rather get back in one piece. So she keeps her hands tight to the controls, waiting for that hard seal so she can take off a moment later.

If anyone's attention was still on the turrets, they would see something similar to a sparkler going off in slow-motion. The first few sparks arc and bounce against the armor plating, caroming back and forth against the turret. Then a dozen, all doing the same. More and more, until it hurts to look at the turrets, so piercingly blue-white it glows. A few of the sparks reach Cidra's Raptor, and ricochet off its windshield, like tiny meteors.

Cidra gets the frak out as soon as the EVA team is aboard. Doors close, engines punched, taxi away. Fortunately she's clear of the main brunt of the blast by the time the turret blows, though she catches a bit of the ricochet. No visible damage to the windshield, however. So the Deck is saved the irritation of trying to remove chips. She's away home.

[TAC3] "Toast" Cidra says, "Cerberus, Toast. EVA team retrieved along with the mechanics from the turrets. Raptors RTB, all personnel aboard."

"You guys okay?" Marko asks Cilusia and Damon, real concern in his tone.

Quinn punches it herself, smoothly flying out and off back to the ship, just s a few bits of turret begin to fly off in their direction, but she manages to duck around almost all of it. She's just that damn good. She's flying quickly back to the ship in plenty of time as the turrent is beginning to explode behind them. "Everyone holding on tight? I might be speeding a bit.."

And, behind the fleeing Raptors, the snap-crackle-pop of the detonating turrets turns all at once to a massive chain-reaction as the coils and coils of stored ammo cook off, thick, fire-reddened smoke added to the blue-white streamers.
Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License