PHD #100: EVENT - Foreclosed
Summary: The invitation is accepted, and more is learned than anyone wanted.
Date: 2041.06.06
Related Logs: All Leonis logs.
Cilusia Evandreus Haeleah Kulko Sawyer Sitka Stavrian Tisiphone Trask Tucana NPC 

Part One: Discussion
Part Two: Rutger Tauer
Part Three: Goodnight, Sweet Bunny

Hobbling his way in, Oberlin's arm still dangles uselessly in the sling as he settles back against a wall, slumping downwards a bit with a grunt. All things considered, he's not looking like someone who's been having a good time. Letting out a sharp breath, his voice gives way to a sigh.

Tisiphone's perched in one of the shattered floor-to-ceiling windowframes, smoking her cigarette with brooding determination. Her back's propped against one side of it, her booted feet braced against the other. She glances over at Oberlin's sigh, pale eyes sketching over him. "Out of smokes, Sir?"

"Out of painkillers too." Oberlin comments with a strained cheer as he glances over at Tisiphone with a lazy roll of his head. "Sometimes I wish I just stayed under that frakking wall." He huffs. "So, about our mysterious 'benefactor.'" The word is delivered with unmistakable dryness.

Kulko wanders upstairs, tugging his arm through his uniform jacket and arranging his holster on his hip. There's an unlit cigarette behind one ear, and a folded sheet of paper sticking out of his back pocket. He looks as if perhaps he's only just awoken.

Haeleah comes up the stairs, footfalls clomping some to announce her path, and drifts into the sitting room area on the second floor. A general "Hey" is offered around but that's the extent of her dialogue. Arms cross along her chest and she leans back against the wall. She's just in time to catch Oberlin's words.

The smell of smoke drifts ahead of Stavrian as the medic climbs the stairs to the second floor, a few minutes after Kulko. He plucks the dying smoke from his lips and crushes it under his boot heel in the doorway, exhaling a long plume back at the threshhold. Unlike last time he encountered a cluster of people, he doesn't look particularly surprised at the group gathered up here today — he moves over closer to Haeleah and slides his hands into his pockets, bracing his foot back against the wall.

It's been a quiet day, so far, with nary a Centurion or bandit on the streets as per usual. The sun has been shining through a sickly haze which creeps through what passes for windows in this house. Only one thing has been seen in the past night - Cylon Heavy Raiders in the north end of the city, which have been flying back and forth. Should one have observed their patterns, it's fairly obvious what was going on, although not maybe /why/. They have been flying in and then flying out. The heaviest traffic pattern ended approximately six hours ago. They haven't been coming towards the center of the city — or here.

Shortly after Stavrian makes his way inside, the group's attached Colonial Fed, Hal, makes his way in with his expression tightly drawn.

"She gonna sex us up with some sexy Cylons before a slew of Centurions gang rape us without any lube?" That would be Trask's equally dry comment about the mentioned mysterious 'benefactor.' Like many of the others, he is enjoying a cigarette. The man also is in full battle dress, although the vest has been kept loose.

Sitka isn't far behind Haeleah on the stairs, though far enough to have missed whatever it was Oberlin said. One could best describe his pace as an amble, like he's in absolutely no rush at all. An unlit cigarette dangles from his lips, and remains so as he takes up a lean against one wall with his shoulder, listening quietly.

"Well. She knows how to find us. That makes me think that this place isn't exactly the hidey-hole we thought. Which means we're being toyed with." Oberlin states, eager to shed talk of how he's feeling for the moment in favor of more optimistic topics - like everyone's impending doom. "Which means, the obvious implication is they can wipe us out at any time. They're not. We're being used, and this is /obviously/ some kind of trap. But why? Let me just lay this out there, people. We haven't asked 'why' enough." He tosses Haeleah a nod and then glances through the group to Sitka, and then Kulko. "Captain. I'm thinking this is the one you dealt with. So far they've all seemed different. Cross-purposes? There's no rhyme or reason to what they're doing if you look at them as a collective whole." This question then goes to everyone. "Nobody's input here is unappreciated. If you've got input to give."

"Hey hey," Haeleah says in a low tone to Stavrian as the medic sidles up near her, flashing him a quick grin. It's a short-lived sort of smile, particularly when Hal appears and Oberlin gets to talking again.

Tisiphone, friendly girl that she is, was never what one could call /warm/ with Hal. Since that little episode involving his partner-in-crime's dog biting her, her regard of the fellow has settled to a setting around /glacial/. Her eyes stay on the man until he stops moving — only then do they flick away, restlessly, to the others. Her shoulders squirm, working her back further down on the windowframe, and her booted feet up higher against the opposide side.

"Hey, Hay." Stavrian manages a faint smile back to the engineer that doesn't reach his eyes. He rubs the end of his nose, offering Sitka a little nod before his attention turns to Oberlin's speechifying. He's got one word to say to all this, which he speaks up with. "Ananke." His arms fold securely over his chest, shoulders shifting against the wall. "If you want to understand something, look for the common threads. /That/ is one."

Sitka lifts his eyes when the spook addresses him, having been examining some dirt under his fingernails with alacrity. There's a terse nod. "She seemed to know names, places, plans. And she had some kind of control over the Centurions, though she gave the impression it was pretty tenuous." He glances slantwise to Stavrian when the medic speaks. "Yeah. Ananke. Whatever the hell that means."

"You're right about that," Kulko affirms, taking the smoke from behind his ear and digging around in his BDU pockets for a lighter. "Ought to get the frak out of dodge and find somewhere else to hole up. As to why?" A shrug, and a long pause for smokeage. "They want us on-planet, or they wouldn't have wrecked Eidolon so hard. They want us alive, or we'd be dead. Now they - least, one of them - wants us in that building. Doin' her dirty work? Why can't she do it herself? What's stoppin her?" More questions than answers from the junior of the CIC types.

"Okay," starts Trask, taking the bait as he exhales some smoke, "Consider the source. No, really." Thankfully, he gets to what he's getting at. "For those of you not following along, that would be people. Humans." His tone makes it sound self-evident, but he carries on, all the same, in a tone that isn't quite yet derisive. Yet. "Those same frakking things — cross-purposes, no rhyme or reason, collective whole looking as shitty and the pieces that comprise that whole — can be said about people." As for getting the frak outta Dodge, he adds, "Virgon House might be our best bet, at this point. We've swept it. All kinds of hidey holes not suitable for Cents. Barricades, too."

In one of the corners of the upstairs sitting room, Cilusia sits in a little ball, half-dozing, half-paying attention to the conversation-at-hand. Her arms are resting on top of her knees, and her forehead on her arms. "Maybe they want to help us get off-planet to do more work for them. To lead them back to Cerberus or something," she says sleepily, lifting her head and yawning.

"Ananke," Haeleah repeats, passing a look between Kulko and Oberlin. "It was a project name we found at Parnassus. And something those Cult of Nutjob freaks at MolGen were apparently working on. And that…woman we met in the street said 'stop Ananke.' So it's a safe bet the Cylons know about it. Whatever it is. We haven't been rightly able to parse exactly what it was yet. Some anti-Cylon weapon Colonial Intelligence as working on before the war is as near as we can figure."

Hal's response to Tisiphone's glance is just flat, even, and utterly devoid of expression. If he's noting standoffishness or hostility from the woman, he makes no note of it, instead, he moves out of the way to listen for the time being.

"Whatever it is," Stavrian goes off Haeleah's words, "They're afraid of it. That one we encountered tried to destroy that lab. The other one of her by the tower brought it up again and seemed to want it stopped. Badly. I mean, she was /really/ harping on it. Whatever it is, she apparently can't deal with it herself, and for some reason she thinks we can. Because it was something we were doing and something only some of /us/ have access to, maybe. I don't know. But I'd bet my frakkin balls that's part of the key to it."

Sitka furrows his brows slightly as Haeleah elaborates on this 'Ananke'. Maybe this is new to him. His cigarette remains unlit for the nonce, and his shoulder remains hitched against the wall while he watches the ping pong match that is the conversation.

At Stavrian and Haeleah's interjections, Oberlin continues to lean sloppily against the wall and struggles to push himself up, with a grunt, before dusting himself off with his good hand as much as possible. "That's what I'm slowly putting together here. Intel was putting this stuff together /way/ above my head. That's for sure. And private contractors? That shit's just /asking/ for trouble." He shakes his head a little. "But yeah, beneath all of the fluff and symbolism, everyone has been talking about it. On both sides. All the 'dead god' stuff was a smokescreen. Which, believe me, I prefer. I don't think everything going on is the direct intervention of some forgotten primordial deity. Then there's this 'God' business. But —." He turns now to Kulko. "So what do you think? We go blundering into that mess up there? If what everyone's been saying has a grain of truth, we should check it out. Check it out doesn't necessarily mean we do what she/it wants, though."

Sawyer got caught up in….something. The dampness of her hair is a good indicator about what she's been up to that was so important she wasn't here when the group convened. She's still carrying half her gear, stripped down to the tank tops and fatigue pants, padding on bare feet with her arms full of her rifle, armor, and boots. She scuffles in, dropping all her accoutrements on structurally compromised wingback chair with a thud. "Sorry, sorry." Sawyer mutters, keeping her face mostly hidden by a curtain of soggy blonde locks.

Ananke? Trask really hasn't been clued-in. Gotta love all that 'classified' and 'need to know basis' crap in the military. "Maybe it's like sunlight to vampires or water to evil witches." He may or may not be serious. "Or /maybe/ they're, yanno, assholes just as much as people and would rather have some chumps do potentially life-ending work at their behest."

Kulko folds his arms and shakes his head. "Can't say as I like the idea of throwin' ourselves against a wall of tinheads. We're stretched thin as it is." The cigarette is ashed unnecessarily. Little, if anything, falls to the floor. "But you're right. We came here for Vipers and intel. Might as well go home with one of 'em. Oughtta scope it out, see if there's anything to be gained that won't wind up makin' any more bodies."

Dead gods. Primordial deities. Fluff and symbolism? Tisiphone's eyes flicker as she watches Oberlin speak. Whatever comment she's chewing on is swallowed and remains unsaid — instead, she looks away from the group and out across the shattered city, pulling the last few breaths of smoke off her cigarette before it's ground out on the ragged bricks and flicked outside.

As the discussion narrows in on the two tactical officers — whose presumed job it is to make these sorts of decisions — Shiv finally begins rummaging about for his lighter, to see about that cigarette. He catches Sawyer's arrival in the midst of doing so, though the flat look he gives her doesn't really hint much at anything.

Now is the moment where snark seriously seeps into the ECO's tone. "Evidently, it hasn't occurred to you that not doing what the bint wants means she could sick her pet Centurions on us, or sell us out to her crazy cult of a family." Trask adopts a certain la-dee-da-ness. "Oh, hi. We thought we'd just poke around. Oh, so sorry, but we're not gonna actually do that thing you wanted us to do, even though that's supposedly the entire reason you wanted us here in the first place."

Oh man, it's too early for this sort of discussion. Metaphysical implications and monotheistic religious commentary is well above Cilusia's head at the moment, given the half-sleepy state. It's rather like being in school, in fact, falling asleep in class despite making your best effort not to, so you get those little snippets of the lesson. Trask's snarkiness can't help but bring a little grin though, while she stands up, against the wall. Her joints pop a little when she stands like that.

Stavrian glances at Sawyer and gives the soggy reporter a little nod. Like Sitka, he seems to withdraw a bit when the tactical officers start talking, patting around his pockets for another cigarette. Except he doesn't have one, and that makes him look even more dour.

Haeleah rolls her head toward the entering Sawyer, offering a little nod to the reporter. And idly patting her own curls somewhat enviously. She really should try to wash those things. "We can't just abandon those people in that…prison thing. I mean, can we?" Intel aside, it's the part of this particularly twitchy about. "Whatever that thing wants."

Sawyer straightens away from her pile of military issued arms and armament, pulling her hair back from her eyes with a comb compromised of ten fingers. Clenched between her teeth is an elastic hair rubber band, and she stand there fixing her 'do while it drips down her neck and face. Her brown eyes search various faces while she listens in on the discussion, perhaps once more in Reporter mode. Sitka is met with the same flat expression as she gives Stavrian and the others: impartial observer. At least for now.

"Divine metaphor has its place to express certain concepts. This is all a puzzle and the concepts are making way too much sense for my liking, so I suppose I'll go with that." Oberlin says weakly, as his gaze shifts, maybe catching a look at Tisiphone's reaction in the process. He then looks up at Trask. "Oh right. It hasn't occurred to me. It also hasn't occurred to me that she managed to send some clueless kid from that zone off with a note /right/ where we were hiding. Doc's been giving me the /good/ stuff. Excuse me while I also fail to apply the logical conclusion that they could come here and take us all, /right frakkin' now/." He snaps up at Trask with maybe just a bit more venom than he might have meant. Shaking his head to maybe banish the whole topic, he looks back at Kulko. "So, Stephen. I'd volunteer to check this out but right now I'm only slowing people down. If you're up for it, take your transmitter. Secure channel, appraise me of /anything/ amiss and get the frak out of there if it looks like a slaughterhouse, or there's nothing to take."

Hal merely chimes in. "I'm volunteering, regardless. Some of those folks are mine, after all. If they're there. If not, well, at least it's merely my bacon on the griddle, right?" His grin is all flash and zero substance.

Kulko looks askance to Trask, not nearly so glib. "You seen our track record against that lot man-to-man? Now figure how things will go when we assault a fortified position. Ain't bustin' in there just cause some bitch with a complex told us she lost her keys or whatnot." At Oberlin's instructions, Stephen nods slowly. "Right. Into the lion's den." A look around the room. "Anyone else up for a stroll?"

"Yes." Stavrian's answer might just win for most succinct of the night, said in a plain and low voice. It has some quiet emphasis though, conviction that says more than he could have with a longer stretch of words. The medic simply pushes off the wall and shoulders his rifle, eyes flickering to Haeleah, then Sitka, then Tisiphone.

Another voice can be heard, meandering up the stairs. "That's just /crazy,/ man. You mean to tell me you're listening to her?" The voice is laconic and distinctive as its source becomes abduntantly clear. The blond-maned form of Colin Ashwood, Star Reporter comes into view. "Um. Yeah. I'll stay here."

"I'll go," Sitka offers, when Kulko asks for a show of hands. He too shoves off the wall and reaches for the rifle he'd set down nearby, sharing a brief look with Stavrian as he does so.

"I'm in," Haeleah says shortly. She'll get to marching as soon as marching is being gotten to.

"Sure, what the hell. I need to stretch my legs anyway, I guess. Better than a morning run, right?" Cilusia manages a sardonic little smile, stretching her arms above her head, interlacing her fingers and giving a good post-nap stretch. The vest that had been undone to sit and nap begins to be strapped and clipped back into place tightly.

"I'm going with you." Sawyer says flatly, as if leaving no wiggle room for anyone to deny her the place on the team. Her eyes are locked on the so called 'Star Reporter', Colin, for a moment. Suck on that Channel-Whatever pretty boy. Her fingers deftly snap the rubber band around her short shock of a ponytail, the muscles in her arms a little more defined. Losing body fat from lack of proper and consistent edibles plus more physical exertion then you're used to equals Sawyer getting more fit. It's the Survivor Diet and Exercise Plan (tm).

Thunk. Thunk. Tisiphone's boots flop heavily down from the windowframe as she pushes herself upright. "Better than staying here," she says flatly. Her eyes lift to Stavrian for a moment, then edge over to Sitka, before she turns to start struggling into her hated combat armour.

Evandreus ducks his head in from the balcony when he hears of people getting ready to go. It's about that time, isn't it? He's done up in his armor like a good lad, and has even managed to find where his sidearm had gone off to. Not that it'll do much good. But it's there.

Ashwood merely shakes his head in a dull manner. "We're all gonna die." He says. As Sawyer's look is trained on him, a bit of a sheepish expression takes a stranglehold of his features. "Who am I kidding." The glance goes from sheepish to maybe a little envious, or admiring. "Heh. Guess someone's still bucking for a Colonial Prize." He starts back down the stairs, retreating for the time being.

Hal, meanwhile, turns to follow suit. "Going to lock n' load. I'm with you folks." He says plainly. Almost relieved, for some reason.

"Frakkin' right it is," Stephen answers Tisiphone with a half grin. "Saddle up, we're oscar mike in fifteen." He drops his cigarette to the floor and twists it out under his toe, turning to head downstairs and track down his own gear.

"I sure as frak can," is the Taurian's blithe response to Haeleah. "Our mission objectives have been met. Not successfully, obviously, but we were given orders and we've followed them to the best of our ability. Our responsibility is to find a way back to the frakkin' ship. We already have a frakton of civilians for whom we are now responsible. What do you think happens to them if something happens to us? You wanna go for the abstract, you go right ahead. Me? I'm gonna take care of the people who are my responsibility in a very concrete, tangible way. I'm not chasin' after ghosts." Despite this mini-rant, Trask doesn't sound angry, per se. It's more than he thinks everyone is being a dumbass and he's the last sane human being.

"Admitting you have a problem is the first step to getting help," is then tacked on to Oberlin in a tone that has an undercurrent of kissy-kissy. For Kulko, a bit (but not much) less glibly Bootstrap notes, "Do what'cha gotta do. If we're not here when you get back," how nice, he said when and not if, "check Obi's embassy."

"I'll sit here and make sure people are mobile. Just in case." Oberlin says, sourly, as he too starts to scramble to his feet. "Whatever happens today, I don't think I've said it, but? I'm proud of you people. I didn't think I'd see this when I got assigned to the Cerberus. Come back safe." He makes a sour face towards Trask with a roll of his eyes to boot. "I'll be searching for relics of the green fields of home."

Sawyer ticks a smirk at Ashwood's comment, but doesn't respond. When your job is the only thing you have left, damn right Sawyer still takes it seriously. She turns back to start strapping on, zipping into, and shouldering the rest of her gear. "What does 'oscar mike' mean?" The reporter asks whomever is closest to her.

Sitka hefts his rifle over one shoulder, eyes briefly flickering Trask's way when the countermeasures officer goes off on his tirade. The sigh he blows out his nose as he turns for the stairs, and the contemplative expression on his face hint less at irritation with the man, and more at.. well, something he isn't saying. "Hold down the fort for us, all right?" he calls over his shoulder before thumping on down the staircase after Kulko.

"You're probably right," Haeleah agrees with Trask. She's still going, though. She gives her gear a quick check, making sure it's all in order, then clomps on down after Kulko & Co.

Evandreus slips behind Boots and, in solemn silence, gives the man a soft hug as he finishes up his rant. You know. Just in case. Leans toward his ear, "I'll see you later, okay?"

"Will do, Shiv," the ECO calls out. "You guys: don't die." That, believe it or not, is actually heartfelt and not sarcastic. And then he is hugged and told he'll be seen later. "Yeah, whatever," Kal mutters, an amalgam of annoyance, anger, frustration and downright 'what the frak?' overtaking him. This is likely why he doesn't register what Bunny's getting at. For, if he had, there'd be NO WAY he'd let Evan go with the away team. "I'm gonna get started on the logistics of moving everybody." With a mild return squeeze, he and his cigarette depart.

The trip out of Colonial Row is shockingly (or un-shockingly, depending on how one looks at it) uneventful. The streets are, for lack of a better word, deserted. Moreso than usual. For the time being, this part of Kythera seems completely devoid of Cylon presence or interest, making the passage of time and ground proverbial 'smooth sailing.' In addition to Hal, one of the Green Armbands, the gregariously helpful thug known as 'Big Cubits' has volunteered his presence, and his shotgun. The two stalwart marines, Walker and Diesel fill out the crew. Several people have high power binoculars, and whatever passes for working 'surveillance gear.' Off in the distance, northward, several Cylon Heavy Raiders have departed and flown northwards, up into the air and proceeding to cruise up into Leonis' ruined atmosphere, presumably spacewards.

Kulko marches towards the front of the column, under the impression that nobody trusts a leader at the back. He's compiled his armor for the trip, and his rifle is kept unslung and at the ready. "S'quiet. Too quiet," he notes, infringing on Tisiphone's responsibilities as obvious-stater.

Sawyer looks the part, even if she can't particularly play it well. She's lost her helmet some where along the way, so it's easy to keep track of her blonde head bobbing as she tromps along with the others. What little remaining AP rounds she has have been loaded into her rifle which is carelessly slung on her back instead of at the ready. Her digital camera has long since run out of batteries, so that leaves her hands free to smoke a cigarette along the way.

Sitka has donned his grimy combat gear for this outing, and shed the bright orange LOVIN' LEONIS tee shirt which has been his staple since he liberated it from an all-but-ransacked tourist shop. He's up at the front with Kulko this time, blue eyes squinted against the onslaught of sunlight filtering through ramshackle remnants of mortar and foundation.

Stavrian is tucked into the middle of the group, where he usually is when moving. It's the spot in the conga line that lets him get to any one person the quickest. The daylight has him on a higher setting of unease than usual, alert eyes shielded by the thin shadow cast on his face from his combat helmet.

Haeleah trucks along near the middle of the pack. She remains a techy, albeit an armed one. Nobody wants her taking point unless it involves repairing an actual, bread-making toaster or some such. She marches on near Stavrian, mouth shut, eyes open.

Tisiphone can't always be Stater Of The Obvious. Sometimes she moonlights as Cagey Silent Girl. Take this stroll, for instance — nothing but footfalls and restless stares from her, her hand constantly reaching out to make sure her rifle hasn't wandered off between one step and the next. She's at the back of the group, where there are fewer people to notice her frequent, mistrustful glances back over her shoulder.

Evandreus contributes to the quiet, uncharacteristically untalkative, eyes keeping down, for the most part, presumably keeping watch for rubble that might otherwise trip him up, only looking up now and again in esponse to some noise or other indication that there might be something to look at, then letting the gaze, a little, linger on the landscape. Toolkit slung onto his back in a casual fashion— just in case some need comes up for the thing— if he weren't carrying a sidearm and wearing armor, he might be out for a somber stroll there in the middle of the line with Haeleah and Jess.

As the group makes its way northward, the once-ritzier inner sections of downtown Kythera slowly give way to the less-affluent and thoroughly-sketchy neighborhoods bordering Ocean Heights, which, for a quick recap of events, was where the aforementioned 'tower,' the converted office building that the Cylons have been setting up shop in stands on the edge of, up by the stadium. All is still. About ten blocks away, the trenches that the Cylons were digging stand silent. In the distance, the tower can be made out, standing silent, its lights on and gleaming a couple miles away. As everyone travels, another Cylon Heavy Raider can be seen plunging through the sky and hovering over the space near the tower, before coming to a landing somewhere in the open ground.

Hal's mouth twitches. "Yeah. It's like they're picking up their toys. Or hoarding them somewhere, waiting for us." He says as he marches along, his SMG clutched at the ready as he makes his way through the shadows of deserted and broken buildings.

If the tops of the heads of all the people marching in line were traced out, Cilusia would undoubtedly be the low point, the dip. Her helmeted head bobs up and down, the straps snapped but not tightened. She's in the back half of the group, trudging along silently. The neighborhood is finally seen in daylight, and she drinks in the appearances of everything as the group goes.

Kulko comes to a halt, allowing Sitka and the procession to begin passing him by. He takes a knee in a nearby doorway, unslings his pack, and lifts the handset from the comm unit which has begun to buzz. Doesn't transmit anything - just listens.

Tisiphone's steps slow when Kulko peels off to the doorway. Her hand again steals to her rifle and, after a moment's hesitation, tightens on its grip. She turns around, taking slow backward steps toward the rest of the group, gaze skittering over the tomb-quiet streets they've left behind.

Sitka slows when he sees Kulko draw to a halt, having been moving just apace of the tactical officer. Two steps, three, and then he too stops moving, crumbled wall crunching under his boots as he turns. "Hold a second," is called across to Hal and the gunhands at the front. His rifle's slung off his shoulder, and he takes up a covering position while he waits for some word of what's going on.

Kulko looks up Sitka's way, lowering the handset to his shoulder. "Our friend's on the line. Says she'll call back in thirty minutes. Let's try and hunker down somewhere closer, see what we can't figure out."

Stavrian comes to a slow stop as well as Kulko gets a phone call. Ceasing moving seems to make him that much more antsy, finger tapping gently against the side of his rifle. A brow arches at the report.

Haeleah looks over her shoulder briefly at Evandreus. The pilot is flashed on of those quick grins that doesn't quite spark in her big dark eyes. An attempt at encouragement that may fall rather flat. Then that gaze is fixed back ahead. Toward the tower they're slowly but surely closing in on. She squints upward, shading her eyes as she tries to follow the path of the Heavy Raider. "Toys?" The choice of words makes her wince. That's all she says, though. She pauses when Sitka calls for them to hold, gaze tilting down at Kulko now.

Evandreus' eyes are drawn upward, one hand moving to the side of his face as he uses it to block the disk of the sun and be able to focus on the great ships moving to and from the surface. Fortunately, his peripheral awareness doesn't suffer overmuch, and he draws to a slothful half-meander and finally a stop once the word's been given, attention returning to the ground and to the exchange between Sitka and Kulko.

Hal spins around on his foot at this, eyes widening a bit as Sitka calls out. "Great. Reach out and frak someone. Should have bought stock in Leonis Telecom when I had the cubits." He says bitterly. The thug at his side pulls back his hoodie and smirks. "Should call her up for a date." He adds a moment later." Kidding."

Sawyer putters along, her brown eyes never once dull despite the monotony of moving along with the group like an elephant train. Trunk to tail trunk to tail, she slows when everyone else does. "For a good time call…" Sawyer mutters underneath her breath, giving a furtive glance around now that they've stopped and having the presence of mind to snug closer to the wall.

"Delivery guaranteed in 30 minutes or it's free right?" Cilusia presses her back to the wall as well, shaking her head a little. To get closer to the wall, her rifle is clenched to her chest. Eyes drift skyward to watch the comings and goings of the heavies as they do…whatever the frak it is that they're doing.

"Great. All this to fund their 900 number," Stavrian mutters. he watches Sitka and Kulko, ready to move when they do.

Kulko rises to his feet, and reshoulders his pack. He's back on the march, looking none too pleased as he heads toward the enemy stronghold.

Tisiphone's walking slowly back and forth — which means it's Totally Not Pacing, honest — as she scans the broken cityscape behind them. "Yeah. C'mon, let's move," she mutters, turning around to follow after the group.

As the group continues their trek, something can be noticed. They make their way into the dilapidated, destroyed ghetto that once was Ocean Heights. That trench the Cylons were digging through it remains, a bit deeper. But there is no digger. There are no Centurions. No patrols. No sign of the living, or the dead. Whatever the Centurions were doing here, they are now either out of sight or have packed up and left. Given the recent Heavy Raider traffic, either of these things are possible. Another mile is travelled on foot, through ground and rubble and exhumed dirt, winding through the city's ruins, but there is no sign of anyone or anything. Except that tower, and the Heavy Raider which becomes visible in the distance. Twenty-some minutes pass as the group nears the tower, closer than they've ever been. It's clearly intact, somehow, the bright lights glowing from the inside of the windows. Few figures can be spied from this distance, however. Outside, there are some figures to be seen.

Evandreus drifts back into motion with the same lethargic drawing of limbs with which he'd slowed to a halt. Neither pacing, nor fidgiting, he seems remarkably okay with heading along toward where the cylon ships are landing. Maybe he popped a hot anti-anx pill before heading out. Or has simply made his peace with this world. He keeps about as alert as ever, but doesn't seem to be forcing himself to it, keeping with the group, maintaining its pace in silence.

Stavrian doesn't seem entirely surprised at the silence, or the absence of cylons. Not that he's comfortable with it, but there's no hint of the unexpected on his face. The arched brow is suspicious if anything, eyes narrowed as he slows down on the pavement. He fishes his binoculars out of the small strap on his chest, lifting them up to his eyes as he skims the tower area.

Haeleah wipes an arm across her increasing sweaty forehead as they continue to trek along. The helmet doesn't exactly help her head breathe but she's not taking it off. She squints up at those bright lights in the tower. Almost more thoughtfully than anything else. She was curious about the power source the last time they spotted the thing, and that bit of electrical wondering is likely still in the back of her mind.

Kulko holds up a hand to call the group to a halt as they near the tower, drawing himself closer to the ruined husk of a building. "Let's get eyes on this joint. Somewhere up high." He looks about for a suitable building, selecting a row house that doesn't look /too/ structurally unsound. "Out of sight till we hear more."

Though he clearly didn't quite know what to make of Kulko's report, there was no tongue-in-cheek commentary from Sitka. Just a slight frown, that's deepened as they've made their way nearer the tower. He's forgone binoculars for a little extra firepower, so when a few others pause to take a look, he elects to drop into a crouch so as to keep their sights clear. Not that his five feet and eight inches is much of an obstruction in the first place, but.

Hal, Cubits and the two marines are in tow, spreading out as they duck inside the blown-out wall of the local 'Lion Mart,' one of Leonis' great franchise-based contributions to post-war intercolonial business. The place has been generally and specifically looted. The tasty snacks they had here not-so-tasty. Want some cigarettes? These things are bad for your health. Hal busts his binoculars out of the satchel and glances off at the grounds of the building in the distance, before passing them around.

"What's the good word?" queries Kulko of the nearest binocular folk. Before he has a chance to answer, that too-familiar buzzing reports from his pack. This time, when he takes a knee, he keys the call up on speaker, albeit not too loudly.

Out of sight. The Bunny's fine with that, even if it takes him a moment to stop standing there with eyes upturned to the tower. They've waited on Cylon word to proceed, so far— why start questioning it now?

Sawyer is rather good at keeping out of sight. Perhaps that's why she's yet to actually be injured on this little trip down to Leonis. Hopefully, her luck holds. As she presses her shoulders back against a cinderblock wall, a pad of paper gets tugged into her hands. A little pen is nudged from the coil of the palm sized writing tablet, and she jots down some various notes and observations about their progress while they have a moment to breathe.

Tisiphone looks over from her tense approximation of a slouch against one of the inside walls when Kulko crouches again. Her arms unfold then refold against her chest, hugging in tighter than their previous arrangement, her eyes down on the cracked floor.

"Hey come on…come on, let me have a look!" Cilusia's doing her best to get on tiptoe and see over the shoulders of those using the binocs to check out the tower. "What sort of weird shit is going down on there? Can you see anything?"

Stavrian is still trying to see anything through those binoculars. He holds up an index finger to Kulko. One sec, compiling…

In the distance, the figures can be made out. The skyscraper is a bit out of place in this area of the city, a large, twenty-odd-floor building that represents a failed or at least incomplete attempt to gentrify this area. The 'Rutger Tower' was home to several high-tech research firms which since have gone out of business.

The grounds are generally empty, unkempt lawn, dying plants and shabby, sickly trees. At the edge of a clear spot in the grounds, maybe about a hundred feet or so from the building is a parked Heavy Raider with the ramp down. There are several more dispersed throughout other parts of the building and what can be seen? Cylons. Centurions. Slowly they are marching in formations with the single-minded purpose of boarding. Two more of the raiders take off once full of passengers, lifting skyward. One thing is clear — the Centurions are closing up shop.

Meanwhile, the Raider that had just recently parked? Two Centurions are seen, as sort of an honor guard for a slight, dark-maned woman whose hair is partially obscured by a fluttering green headscarf. ( She is hobbling on a crutch at a slow pace, along with the pair of Centurions towards a pair of other humanoids. These two humanoids are none other than the identied Cylon agents the groups have encountered repeatedly. (, and They are both dressed in white lab coats, eerily pristine in the wrecked landscape.

Sitka shifts to his feet only long enough to sidestep under the awning of the row house's front stoop, rifle kept at the ready as he scans their environs for any sign of a sneak attack. When Kulko's pack starts buzzing again, the Captain's attention is briefly snagged by the call he's keying up, before jerking away again.

The following comes over the communicator's speaker. As the woman on the crutch approaches, amidst the light 'clanking' of Centurions, she calls out towards the other two. "Brother. Sister. I bring the decision from the others after I returned my report. Looks like the recall is already happening." She says, coldly, and a little shakily.

"What of it?" The other woman in the lab coat says coldly, gliding forth a pair of steps with an even grace, almost like a serpent. The man, for the moment, remains silent.

Haeleah sets her back against the same building Tisiphone slouching against. Trying not even to breathe loud as those figures file out in the distance. Mechanical and otherwise.

"They're leaving," Stavrian murmurs, even as the communicator makes that rather obvious. He keeps the binoculars trained on the figures, this making a sort of surreal connect between what he can see in the distance and what he can hear right up close. "I see Poole, and that one that was in the library. Who's that guy?" He hands off his own binocs to the next person.

Kulko looks at the radio as it crackles to life, until it becomes apparent that the transmission is not directed towards the Colonials. When the binoculars are passed, he's all too eager to peer across at the enemy pow-wow. "Like sheepdogs with pet wolves," he muses, bewilderment creeping into his tone.

Tisiphone pushes off the wall, reaching a hand out to snag Stavrian's binoculars from him. She adjusts the focus on them as she puts them to her eyes, looking out the window. She scans, suddenly freezes, her throat working against a sudden tightness. "That's Salt," she says, handing the binoculars off to the first available set of hands. She's seen enough.

The audio feed continues as the woman on the crutch, broadcasting to the humans continues. "A decision was reached." She says simply, her voice quavering maybe a bit as she utters the next part. "This facility is appalling. It will be decomissioned and this project abandoned. The atmospheric and environmental samples will be transferred under the jurisdiction of the Eights in other facilities and this research will continue. But this is —"

The man in the lab coat finally adds his voice to the narrative. "So, The Ones have sent the little girl to carry out their officious commands?" Poole adds, "Or is it your Twos? The ones who could not be bothered to show their faces here?"

The woman in the headscarf shifts, her long, billowing grey skirt drifting in the wind enough to show a splint. The same splint that Stavrian applied on her. — This is the same woman. "Hardly. And the Twos are busy cleaning up Gemenon after the destruction /you/ overzealously wrought. That knowledge was lost."

Poole snaps. "'Knowledge. That frakking fool sees 'knowledge' in the work of the Heretic idols of humanity on that planet? Maybe they're all…defective. But come on, Give me the decisions."

Sitka is handed a pair of binoculars somewhere in the midst of the shuffling of equipment, and slings his rifle onto the ground temporarily in order to peer through them. "And Eleven," he adds to Tisiphone's commentary in a low murmur, brows furrowing a little. Shifting slightly in his crouch, he continues to watch the goings-on through his borrowed binoculars.

Sawyer can't help her curiousity as she, too, is passed a set of binoculars. Curiosity that has, on occassion, gotten her into a bit of trouble when her nose is stuck some where it really doesn't belog. She peers through the lenses, sweeping them across the faces and the tower beyond quickly, then focusing them back to the 'conversation' that has a slight delay between the moving lips and the sound crackling out of the transponder.

Haeleah gets her own field glasses up, peering. Mostly at the human-looking figures. She's seen plenty of Centurions. "That is one right freaky little pow-wow," she murmurs under her breath.

Stavrian collects a different set of binoculars as one gets passed right back round again. He lifts them up and watches, lips in a tense frown.

"That isn't for me to say. Nor you. God's work isn't spelled out for anyone, even us. But here are the decisions. The Ones," She reaches for an evelope in a purse at her side and pulls it out. "The Ones state, 'While it may seem absurd to mention resources in the abundance we have, I can think of better uses for them than your sorry project. The Tens deliver this message. The war is over. We can put down our weapons before our hands are further stained with dishonor. The Eights have declared this part of the project unneeded and 'damaging' to their own research. You already know /my/ thoughts on this abomination. The others have disengaged from this. The Sevens don't care."

Poole says, in a low tone of voice. "And what about the Authority of the Threes and the Mandate of the Nines? This is…unprecedented. And even dangerous. You're doing something here that may not be undone, little girl. Oh, and what of the Twos?"

The woman in the headscarf who previously identified herself as Yazdah hobbles forth and hands the envelope over. "My Sister Elevens are in agreement. And as for the Twos? They asked me to deliver you a special message. Read it." There's some fluttering of paper amongst the two in lab coats and the man spits as the two of them huddle over it. "He's trying to be smart, is he? Well, apparently the decision is made. We are shutting this place down." There is a lengthy pause as all three stand, in silence.

Tisiphone moves over to a nearby wall, leaning back against it before sli-i-iding slowly down into a crouch. She digs determinedly for her cigarettes, lighting one up in very short order. Quick, harsh drags are taken off it as she listens to the words coming over Kulko's comm system.

"So the Threes, Fours, Fives, Nines, and Twelves are all in favor of continuing," Poole states, her lab coat fluttering in the breeze.

"The Fours do what they are told. It was the Threes. They felt that continuing this arguement wasn't getting anywhere and would proceed another way." The woman on the crutch says.

Poole says, simply, echoing the man, who the Cerberus once knew as Ryan 'Salt' Shaker, and Poole declares, "This is — terminated."

All the while, the departing Centurions slow to a trickle and eventually fade as they pile into the remaining Heavy Raiders, save for the last Raider, and the two Centurions who serve as Yazdah's honor guard. 'Salt' finally speaks with an authoritative voice. "My brothers, the Twelves, and the Fives, we will stay behind. To terminate the experiment. Five." He turns to Poole, "Liquidate the subjects, then. This is getting tiresome."

Yazdah's breath is held in in a ragged gasp. "There's no need. Just let them go."

Sitka passes his own binoculars off again as someone jabs him in the shoulder expectantly, and shifts again slightly in the rubble to provide a clear line of sight to the others. There's a soft chinking of dogtags with the movement, and a swallow that's almost audible when 'Shaker' mentions 'liquidating' the subjects. Without the aid of the magnifying lenses, he squints over in the direction of the distant trio.

"What in the world…" Kulko is rapt with attention at the scene before them. "Leave it to a frakkin' democracy." He passes the binocs Sitka's way. "Whadya think, Cap? Be nice to know how many were left inside."

Stavrian's jaw tenses, teeth pressed together hard enough to make them hurt. "Execution," he mutters at Tisiphone. The very word he predicted last niht, when she told them of the visitors. "I frakking knew it."

"So? Plan? Cowboy up once all those Cents are up in the air and it's just the squishy ones left?" Cilusia is pseudo-joking, but with the metallic presence dwindling, and the execution orders coming over the radio, maybe it's an idea. Who knows? She's nervous though, and maybe joking to cover that up, letting someone else have the binocs she was using to peek forward.

"Yeah," Tisiphone says, the syllable cracked and smoky. She looks up from her attempts to stare through the floor-tiles, over and across at Stavrian. "Yeah. You called it." The corner of her mouth twists, cigarette ash drifting listlessly toward the floor.

"It sure would," Shiv adds to Kulko's commentary, accepting the next set of binoculars with a twitch of his lips that never quite resolves to a smile. This time, instead of focusing on the group at the base of the tower, he gives the structure itself a sweep. Up and down, adjusting the zoom as he goes to see if he can get a clear view at any of the windows that were buzzing with activity on their previous sojourn. "If I had to wager, I'd say she's right." He nods toward Cilusia. "We probably won't have much to contend with, in the way of Centurions. Doesn't mean their friends aren't packing firepower though." He concludes tersely, "I say we go."

"Squishy." Haeleah repeats Cilusia's choice of words wryly. "We're pretty squishy ourselves. But we came this far. Can't turn back now. That one we met here before, she didn't seem too keen on this so maybe…I don't know. Anyway. I'm ready on the jump."

"No, but there's no need to spare them, either. That /wasn't/ specified in your decision. I'm afraid you should not overstep your authority here." 'Salt' says, coldly, as Poole turns to walk away, wheeling about to slowly march towards the tower like she has all the time in the world."

Yazdah states, "No. I do not have the authority to override this. But I /do/ know this is against God's wishes. Remember their 'Brenner.'"

"He was an anomaly. These are cockroaches. And look at you, hobbling about in that broken body like one."

"It's a spiritual exercise, twelve. You should try it instead of venting your cold frustrations on the helpless one day. Might do you good. Might make you like the one you 'boxed.' The only one of you who got it right." Her body quivers in indignant fury. "If you do this, you will bring ruin on your heads. Our heads, maybe."

"Run along, little girl." The man says, dismissively, although, for those clearly watching in the binoculars, the man really tensed when 'Salt' was mentioned. He then turns to depart as Yazdah is left standing there, turning to go as the two remaining Centurions leave with her, heading towards the Heavy Raider. "You. God's Mercy shine. Even upon the wayward. I've done all I can here." She whispers, tensely, it comes out like a whimper as she climbs up the ramp of the transport ship with the bulletheads and the ramp retracts. Moments later, the engines start to fire as it proceeds to embark on its launch sequence.

"Right. Quick, quiet, and on the bounce, right after takeoff." Kulko purses his lips and eyes the Heavy Raiders, and pulling back the bolt on his rifle to chamber a round. "Fire discipline - don't shoot unless we have to."

Sawyer shifts uncomfortably from the way the broadcast conversation is going. Someone /wanted/ them to hear all this. What would have happened should they have decided to all stay back at the embassy. She's long since passed on her binoculars, and she's back to scritching notes in her horrid short hand on her paper. With little time to think now, they'll have to piece more of this together later.

"You got it," Sitka murmurs back, stowing the binoculars after he's done his scan of the tower. He too checks his rifle, checks his sidearm, and eases slowly to his feet with his back still to the wall, in preparation for the heavy raider departing. "I'm not seeing any bulletheads in there," he explains to the tactical officer. "A few people, mostly on the far side. Seems pretty sparse on this end, so it's probably our best bet for getting in."

"In, grab who or what we can, and out. With any luck we'll stay on safety the whole time." Kulko nestles himself into a doorway, peering out to observe the goings-on as best he can.

Tisiphone pulls a final sharp drag off her cigarette and knocks the cherry off against her boot-sole. The unfinished ciggie is stuffed away into one of her vest-pockets as she pushes up to her feet.

"I don't see any toasters either," Haeleah concurs with Sitka. "Just outlines of people. Or…well. Squishy things." A rather absurd term, but it's the most fitting one she's hit on so far and she'll stick with it. "They've got lights on in most of the windows. If they're packing a portable generator, it's a damn good one. Though I'd guess they have an edge when it comes to things mechanical." She puts her binoculars down, tucking them back into her pack. Ready to roll.

That Heavy Raider starts rumbling as it climbs off of the ground and it too, starts climbing skyward. As it does, one last transmission can be heard on the wireless if it is still on. "God's Mercy, even for the wayward. My promises are kept." And then it is silent. Nothing but static on that channel. Hal just hangs his mouth open. "I thought Kythera's city council was a snake pit. Right, uh, let's do this." BC and the Marines just nod along.

Kulko kills the channel on the comm, then, shouldering his rifle with the barrel towards the cracked pavement and heading off at a brisk walk. He keeps to the doorframes and buildings as best he can, checking the space ahead before moving to his next hidey hole. It's a game the Colonials have had weeks to master.

Sitka takes a steadying breath before pivoting and stepping out of the cover of the building as well, fanning out somewhere off to Kulko's five o'clock in standard wing position. He's not a particularly stealthy sort, but seems well enough versed in how to use the terrain for cover when he can.

Evandreus has done a good job keeping any opinions of his own out of this, shoulder to the wall, arms crossed, one ankle over the other as he listens without watching, a light flush on his cheeks beginning to betray his rising anxiety and the rushing heartbeat throbbing in his ears. The call for no weps makes him push off of the wall and stand straight. Go in, save some lives, get out. All business. A nod to Kulko, and he's moving toward the out, eyes drifting to find Cubits for a moment, as if a hug would be great, right now, but with all the armor and the press on time, a warm look will have to do.

Tisiphone pauses at the mouth of the building to check her rifle for the umpteenth time. Still good. Just like the other times. The pale and restless gaze tracks Sawyer's position for a moment before moving on to Evan. Wound from tight to overtight as she is, all she manages is a pinched and thin-lipped expression as she moves toward him. "Bunny. It's safer this way. C'mon." Much like she did with Daphne during the Anadyomene fight, she 'herds' Evan in her suggested direction with a light shoulder-check, armorplate scraping against armorplate. At least she doesn't circle him, or bark.

The remaining pair of Skinjobs have disappeared into the strangely-intact entryway of the building. The door opens. It has power. And then it closes. Whatever else the Cylons have done here, their technology has indeed enabled power for this building. Must be one Hell of a portable generator.

Both small medkits checked, Stavrian hustles along with the others. He crouches lower as they get closer to the entryway of the building, acutely aware of the quickened pace of his own breathing.

Evandreus is anything but assertive, and is easily herded along by Tisiphone, having just been planning to follow Those Who Are Better At This, anyhow. His usual 'wait in the boat' strategy of ground missions sort of obsolete by now. "'kay," he tells Tisiphone, just about the first thing he's said aloud since leaving the embassy, a half-whispered syllable-simplex that denotes a perfect, almost child-like trust in the woman.

The path up to the building seems clear as it will ever be, as the Colonials get ready to charge up the place. The marines take point, followed by the pair of law enforcer and law-breaker. "On your mark, Lieutenant." Hal says, his gun at the ready.

Sawyer has stowed away her instruments of journalism, now being forced to unsling her rifle from her back. Following the others' lead, she creeps along behind, trying to make her boots fall as silently as possible on the ground beneath. Her lips are pressed into a thin line, worry etched into every fiber of her being as they creep along. Now's not the time to screw up her lucky streak.

Haeleah picks her way along with the pack, still keeping toward the middle, trying to move as quiet as possible. Which, somehow she manages. Clompy creature laden with toolkit though she is. No clanky metal objects are dropped by her, at the very least.

Kulko hustles along towards the chosen entryway, careful to avoid stepping on any broken glass or whoopee cushions left lying around from the abrupt holocaust and subsequent anarchy.

Stavrian slows down markedly as they creep closer and ever closer, paying attention to how his weight comes down with every step. His feet roll from heel to toe on ever step instead of slamming sole against busted pavement, knees bent.

Aren't viper jocks supposed to be good at multi-tasking? Shouldn't it be easy to juggle Cagey Silent Girl and Protector Of Bunnies duties? Tisiphone's a couple steps ahead of Evan, looking back often as she picks out a route for them both. "Careful," she whispers. "There's a-" Glancing back as she says it, her step goes further than intended, and catches on the battered trash-can lid she was about to warn him about. It would be an impressive recovery from her stumble — like a gazelle in combat boots suddenly leaping over a snake in the grass — if it wasn't accompanied by the ker-RATTLE-clashCLANG of galvanized tin against concrete and asphalt.

As the group makes their way upwards around the building, the entryway flies open once more to reveal a Salt. Not /The/ Salt in a lab coat, but one dressed like an everyday office worker. Well, except he's carrying a pistol in his belt. "I told you, Five, There's," And suddenly, he turns on his heel, seeing something he clearly didn't expect. Humans. He reaches for his gun.

It'd be hard enough to cross the courtyard undetected even if somebody stumbles into a trashcan and then tumbles and crashes into it. When two people make a lot of noise? Well, it's impossible in that case. Tisi trips over a trashcan lid. Cilusia manages to stumble over a piece of cracked concrete block, her toes hooking under the uneven surface and sending her down (again) with a crash on top of her rifle, which grinds against the ground and takes the brunt of the blow. "Frak!" she says, cloth and boots and metal and pocketed gear scrabbling and scritching around on the concrete as she hurries back to her feet.

Evandreus hasn't even unfastened his sidearm from its holster, yet. It may be he's forgotten he has it, again. There are, after all, no cylons, and there was predicted, after all, no shooting. He doesn't particularly slow down, figuring that going while the going is good is better than lingering and getting caught in the act. He does slow enough for the Guys Who Actually Know How To Shoot to go on ahead, though. "Hm?" he wonders, softly, as Tisiphone turns to warn him of something, then, "Gah!" he doesn't make matters any worse as he cringes from the sudden sound, ducking forward to try to snag the thing off of the ground, only to look up at the sudden egress of— holy crap, that IS Salt, isn't it. "Oh, hey," is almost instinctively spat out to the once-acquaintance. Then Salt's pulling a gun, and Evan, rather than going for his, grabs up the trash can lid and stands again, shouldering against Cubits to hold the metal lid in front of the pair of them.

Trust the pilots to make the biggest racket as the group moves across the courtyard, and inexorably closer to the tower. Stealth isn't generally necessary in a jet fighter packing two thirty millimetre cannons, after all. The Petrels' Captain curses softly under his breath, and brings his rifle to bear as someone appears in the entryway. Someone that's just the slightest bit familiar, and it almost causes him to hesitate before sliding a shot into the chamber.

"Drop it and put your hands behind your head!" Kulko shouts, bringing the rifle to bear on the man in business attire and hustling forward. "Or I'll get you real 'quainted with how it feels to get shot'n the belly."

"Or you're going to 'shoot' me? Salt sneers as he draws his gun. "It's rather…tiresome. Not like it hasn't happen before. Don't you think? And for the record…I like to ask questions later. OUT HERE!" He shouts over his shoulder. He trains his gun straight on Kulko. However, all this time has given him ample opportunity to be targeted.

"Fair nuff," Kulko retorts as he closes one eye and squeezes off a single round towards the man's face.

"Bunny-!" Tisiphone's voice cracks, somewhere between protective and incredulous. A trash-can lid against gunfire? Ye gods. With enough guns coming to bear on Salt to kill him a dozen times over, her own rifle sweeps over to the as-of-yet empty doorway Salt shouted toward.

The exchange between Kulko and 'Salt' is observed by Sitka in restless silence, his rifle's sight trained on the man, though his finger rests just shy of the trigger. As the man brandishes his own weapon, however, the pilot fires.

For some reason, it's a lot easier to shoot at Centurions then what appears to be living and breathing flesh and blood. And talking, don't forget talking. As Kulko gives the 'man' a chance to surrender, the point of Sawyer's rifle dips down to the pavement. Too bad he didn't take them up on the offer. As the shots are fired, she foolishly turns her head away and cringes down instead of adding her own volley to the mix.

The banter's disturbing enough, but now a cylon's got a gun in a tac officer's face. Stavrian's rifle comes up right up then, aimed for the man trying to take out their mission lead. Not that he looks happy about it.

Evandreus clearly has no idea what he's about, here, but as Salt's attention turns to Kulko and he shouts out for reinforcements, he begins to edge backward and to the side, fingers fumbling numbly at the latch to his sidearm's holster as he murmurs aloud to Tisiphone, "Other side?" Since presumably the better part of the remaining cylon force will be headed out here.

The Cylon known as Salt manages to get off just a single round before a dozen or so rounds plow into his chest almost at once. Blood aerosols in massive quantities with the large caliber holes while he steps forward. The Skinjob doesn't even get a chance to finish the step and he crumples into a heap on the steps, dead before he even hit the concrete. Meanwhile, two more skinjobs appear in the doorway behind the cover of a planter and begin taking aim and firing.

Kulko is moving forward carefully, one foot in front of the other towards the door, before Salt has even hit the ground. "Weapons free!" When the reinforcements open fire, he takes a knee to sight on his next target, flipping the selector switch to burst fire and letting fly with hot Colonial lead.

"Two at the door!" Tisiphone calls out, before firing at the doorway. Just like she was told to do. Corporal Maragos would be /so/ /proud/. Someone deserves an Ensign Treat if she ever makes it off this godsforsaken rock.

There's a noise from Sawyer, caught somewhere between a sob and a dry wretch. If that thing wasn't human, it sure died in a perfectly human and violent way. She doesn't have much time to gather her wits about her, just a stumble off to the side and painful fall to her knees as she scrambles out of the way and into a crouching position with the aim of her rifle affected by the tremble of her hands. "Machines…they're machines." She reminds herself in a mantra.

Haeleah adds to the hail of bullets that rip down that particular version of 'Salt.' When her shot goes off she stares at him, watching how he takes all of that. She flinches at the spray of blood from him. And looks almost…surprised. Despite the others' previous encounters with these things, maybe she was expecting him to bleed motor oil. She hastily changes angles with her rifle as more skinjobs cometh.

Able to get to her feet following the rather awkward tumble, Cilusia is just in time to see the bullets strike down the…robothing, the one that looks like a pilot that was on Cerberus. "What…the frak…killed that thing once…" More are pouring out though, so Cilusia shoulders her rifle to take aim at the one she knows is a machine.

"Gods," Stavrian breathes in a swift, tense rush as the skinjob goes down. His mind may be telling him that's a cylon, but that's still a human-looking neck he just ripped out with a bullet. He darts quickly to the side as someone shouts that there's more on the way, staying standing where he can get the best shot. The sight of another Poole (yet another Poole) makes him tense visibly, his breathing swift and shallow through his mouth.

Sitka stows his high-calibre rifle the instant Salt hits the ground, and draws his pistol as other humanoid figures appear, shadowed, in the doorway. Abandoning any sense of cover in order to draw fire from the less experienced combatants, he moves forward, racks the slide, and squeezes off a shot the instant he's lined one up on the woman. Adrenaline surges through him, heart pounding in his ears.

Evandreus's stomach turns a little when Salt goes down, even if another Salt's already coming on stage to take the role. This isn't real. Just a play, and at the end everyone will stand up again and get ready for the next performance. But even when he's got his sidearm in hand, it's held out and down in the 'ready' position, safety on, backing off, knees bent, arm occasionally twitching as if thinking it sees a shot, then deciding against it.

The intense hail of gunfire is just too much for only a pair of lightly armed skinjobs to handle. Pieces of wallboard, marble, and chunks of concrete spray around the interior of the lobby as the pair of Cylons disappear behind the debris cloud. Their gunfire stops almost immediately, the econd Salt's rifle visibly discarded on the floor of the lobby with an unmoving and outstretched hand near it. A shadow flickers back inside the lobby and then is gone as quickly as it disappeared.

"Mother-frakker…!" Haeleah can't help but choke it out when she sees the other Salt appear around the corner. It's one thing to be told there are multiple copies of these things walking around. It's another to see it first hand. Right after you've watched one of them die. She fires off another round at Salt 2.0 as much in horror as from the 'weapons free' order.

It's been a week or two of relative comfort for the Colonials - that is, no gunfire - and Kulko's shots go wide, perhaps from lack of practice. As the contacts drop, Stephen catches sight of something. "There's one more of 'em! She's getting away!" The JTAC's up and running, now, through the door and after the fourth enemy.

"Frak's sake, Evan, get down," Shiv barks across to the raptor driver, possibly with a little more bite than he'd intended. He doesn't sound angry; protective, yes. Harried, definitely. His pistol shot's glancing this time around, but still finds its mark. "They're both down," he calls over to Kulko, pivoting to scan the perimeter for signs of more company.

Sawyer hit her target, that's bad enough. Whether or not she did any damage is irrelevant, as the abominiation had the foresight to wear armor. Who she was aiming at still falls, from her rounds or no. It's enough to make Sawyer pale and shy her eyes away just in time to catch a dancing shadow which is withdrawing. "There's more. In the building." Sawyer gets the warning out along with Stephen. The worst isn't over yet, it seems.

Boom. Stavrian's rifle shot cracks, and that was Poole's head that just blew red and slimy gray out the back of its skull. The medic blanches as the body slumps, a flicker of nausea stabbing him deep in the gut — which he forces back as Kulko calls out that more are around. "Frak this place…" He starts moving, quickly.

Tisiphone already had her first terrible moment of gunning down a familiar face to find blood and bone, not motor oil and sparking wires. When the hail of bullets, her own included, down Salt for the third time, her expression is strangely blank — until Kulko takes off for the stairs. That brings a stab of alertness back, as well as a burst of speed, as she follows after.

"Be careful, there's— there's someone else inside," Evan calls, through whether he's saying to be careful not to shoot them or to be careful lest he or she start shooting out at them is ambiguous in his voice. Then, as though Shiv's voice were a crack of a whip, he sinks to his knees. Not sure what to do there any more than he did when he was standing up, of course, but he finally seems to realize she's grasping onto that piece of metal for dear life, and he sets it down gently on the pavement. And by the time he's done with that, Tis is gone, and he sets about the business of standing up again.

"Oh, I /bet/ there are more." Hal says, as he lowers his gun, sneering. "I like this kind. Easier to kill. We've got an upgrade." He piles inside the door, entering the lobby of the building, BC and marines in tow. Upon entry the lobby is a slightly wrecked, and twisted mirror of its former glory. An expanse of marble, a huge reception desk, with a powered-up computer. There are two pillars containing rows of elevators, with dusty bronze plaques indicating the floor listing of all manner of pre-holocaust businesses which have since been vacated. Also, one might note that the air here feels — sterile. There are lights on, and there is air conditioning.

Any comforts of home, however, are negated by the large swathes of black-and-purple resin swirls covering the walls. It's like what some people saw previously at Parnassus. Only here, it's glowing. And much more thick.

Cilusia's shot seems to have struck it's mark, but she doesn't stand to gloat. In the last few weeks, running and gunning has been a way of life for the deckie who was used to the relatively law-lite fringe-towns of Scorpia. When Kulko scoots off, and the others follow, she goes as well, stopping inside the lobby to look at the resin stuff on the walls. "What…the…frak? It's…did a blueberry blow its wad in here?" Her rifle dips too, toward her waist, as she steps inside. She's grinning a little, though, at the sweet, sweet conditioned air.

"Jesse…" Haeleah wordlessly points to the resin on the wall. In case the medic needs an arrow, though he can likely see it well enough for himself. Her nose twitches, sniffing at the air. "Looks like that goop that was all over the place at Parnassus. Except…more." And more disgusting and creepy. It's the air conditioner that strikes her as odd before she really notices the lights. "That's one hell of a generator. Maybe they've got an independent power station running this place. Or their own grid."

Sitka takes a step back to reach for Evandreus' arm, once he starts stumbling back to his feet, in order to help him up. And then, to provide support if necessary as the group moves on through the entryway— boots slip-sliding in blood and brain matter as he goes. "You're doing fine," he murmurs to the younger pilot. Assuming Evan hasn't wrestled out of his grip by now. "Just remember to stay down, if you can't shoot."

Going in means Sawyer has to wade directly through the gore of what used to be three sentient beings. Her footing is tenuous at best, even as she tries to avoid the thicker clumps of the matter and edge as far away from the bodies as possible. It's one thing to be on the outside looking in at the things she writes about. It's quite another to be thrust right into the thick of things. /This/ is the moment when a magazine journalist becomes a full fledged war correspondent, when her boots have little bits of bone fragment and brain matter stuck in their treds. She splits off the group long enough to yack in a potted plant.

"Godsdamnit, where'd you get to…" Kulko keeps moving past the bank of elevators. "Hit the stairs, they might cut the power. Saw lights on the fourth floor." He pauses as he opens the doorknob to look back. "Need a rear guard to keep the door clear. Holler if you've got trouble." Then he's ascending the concrete slabs, two at a time.

Evandreus is fine letting Shivers tote him along, holding his breath past the impromptu graveyard in the foyer. Gun held down, straight-armed, still safetied, with that kind of awkward insistance on caution you see in first-or-second-time visitors to the firing range with all those HOLLERED SAFETY INSTUCTIONS still ringing in their ears from their first tour of the place. "Uh-huh," he tells Shivers, almost conversationally, "Yah, I can— do that." Eyes wander the glowing gunk on the walls, then to the stairs, feet beginning to move with more purpose.

"…I see it." Stavrian's attention goes upwards, following a streak of that bizarre resin. "If it is the same…that shit conducts electricity. And heat. /Don't touch it/, stay away from it." Not that he'd hope anyone would get the urge to roll in the stuff. His boots leave ridged blotches of red and slime gray that gradually fade as he keeps running for the stairs.

Tisiphone storms after Kulko fast enough that it takes her three steps to surge back to a halt upon seeing the glowing resin upon the walls. Her eyes search a swath of the substance from ceiling to floor, sun-bleached brows furrowing toward eachother as she edges closer. Collection vials? Sterile equipment? Tisiphone nods absently to Kulko's words and examines in her own way — reaching out a few fingertips to touch the stuff, even as Stavrian warns against it. Oops. Her fingertips jump, and she draws her hand back, rubbing it against her leg. The sound of more and more footsteps in the stairwell draw her back out of that blank-eyed pensiveness and she backs away from the wall for two steps, then three, before turning to jog after the others.

"I've got the rear," Shiv's distinctive voice calls out from somewhere in the thick of Colonials. His service pistol is holstered again, and the rifle slung off his shoulder instead as he drops back along with Evan to guard the party's backsides. "Relax a little," he asides to the raptor driver quietly, touching his shoulder. "And breathe. You'll feel better, and it'll help your aim, if you have to fire."

Sawyer has fallen behind the group who are now rushing up the stairs, the meager contents of her stomach now feeding a long dead plant. She strangles out a breath and makes a quick pass of the back of her hand over her mouth before hefting the weight of her weapon and trudging off again, some where between the pack and Sitka coming back to guard the rear.

Right. To the stairs. Cue the dramatic music. Big Cubits raises his shotgun. Somebody told him that these things were good for close quarters. He's about to spread that gospel to the Cylons. "Nice." Hal comments as he accompanies them, his own gun at the ready.

Haeleah tucks her arms in tight against her, rifle pointed dead ahead. "One hell of a generator…" she mutters, as that at least slides into place in her head. She gasps when Tisiphone makes finger-contact with the goop, shoulders sagging with relief when not more than a jump happens to the pilot. She keeps going, still to the middle of the pack.

The entirety of the /walls/ seems to be covered in this goop, which glistens strangely in the artificial light. The blinking glow of the computer monitor in the lobby still shines against the purplish wall.

Relax and breathe. Relax -and- breathe. Evan turns his head to look up after the people disappearing up the stairs, and then takes up a post down here with Shivers, nodding his head wordlessly, dry-lipped. "'kay," he agrees, sticking down there with him. At least he can shout before he gets shot down. Or, y'know, while getting shot down. At least he's back in his comfort zone, a little. Sit and wait while the others go and shoot. He slips inside the stairwell and goes around the edge of the wall, crouching down there to take up a post peering out into the lobby, occasionally looking up in the direction the others disappeared.

Kulko heads up past the next two floors, pausing at Number 4. "Saw some lights on here. Let's smash and grab. On three." Stephen lets his rifle hang, drawing his sidearm and resting a hand on the doorknob. "Three, two, go." He's open and through a moment later, pistol at the ready.

Cilusia stays with those down on the entry level of the tower. She's not so eager to touch the goop on the walls, or peck around on the computer or anything. Rather, she holds her rifle to her chest, and slides into the stairwell, taking a seat on the stairs facing the door. Her rifle is in her lap now, against her chest still, ready to say hello to anybody that would want to get up the steps.

Haeleah keeps up with the group, following Kulko's lead up the stairs. Her pace is a little slowed as she attempts to avoid the goop on the walls in a rather paranoid fashion, but she manages not to lag too much. Rifle up as they come to the door. Ready for…whatever's behind it.

Sawyer is about to launch up the stairs with the rest (already behind as she is), when something catches her attention just before she plunges into the well. The glow of the computer. She sketches a glance around, and then against better judgement, she splits off the main group hopefully to be lost in the shuffle and chaos going on four stories above. Curiousity killed the cat. Hopefully Sawyer will fare better.

Trot, trot, trot. Tisiphone's one of the last ones up the stairs, adrenaline — and a strong desire not to be left in the stairwell alone — powering her along, two steps at a time. She's breathing hard by the time she catches up to the others, sagging with hands propped on knees for a few deep breaths before shouldering her rifle and moving in at the back of the group.

The door opens and — it's a dark corridor, glowing with artificial lights that gleam against the sickly, resin-covered walls. There is the sound of footsteps, but that's probably a distraction when one takes in the sights as Kulko's group passes the first open doorway. The door is indeed hanging open and the smell will hit them first. Formaldahyde and something — else. There are vats. Bins. Tables full of dissected human bodies, young and old. The vats contain human organs. Some strange black cylinders hooked to human brains via some organic-looking 'hose-like' wires (for those who may have spied the Cylon heavy raider, this is like them.) The vats also contain some organic goop that looks familiar to anyone who has studied the stuff. Some of these people look like they were in pain, some of them not.

Great. Stavrian takes a quick breath and holds it as they go barreling on through the door, lest something like breathing interfere with any shooting he has to do. He's right up near Kulko, rifle at the ready. The smell gets him before the sight of it all does, as he tastes the (familiar, to a medic) cloying tinge of formaldehyde in the back of his nose and throat. "What the…" And now his head turns. Bodies. Ho shit.

Breath short, pulse racing, Kulko raises a fist to call the group to a halt as he catches sight of the stuff. He holsters his sidearm, taking a cautious step inside the room. "Son of a gun…" White-knuckled but for his trigger finger, which he rests on the safe-selector of his rifle, his eyes dart around the room as if unable to take in the whole scene at once.

Meanwhile, downstairs, Sawyer slams herself into the desk chair behind the computer with her pulse racing in her veins. No telling how long she has before the others notice she's not there, or worse, she gets some unhappy company. Her fingers pause over the keyboard long enough to second guess herself, but pfftt. No rest for the wicked. She starts typing away, seeing what's what on this terminal.

The footsteps grow louder, there's some muffled voices, too. The sound of racking slides accompany the movement. Drawing nearer the team's position, one of the voices is clearly that of a Poole. Both the Cylons suddenly pile through the doorway with guns up. The Salt charges across the room towards the group, firing, while the Poole takes cover behind a woman's body left cut apart on a table.

"Incoming!" Stavrian calls behind him, in warning to the others coming up behind him and Kulko. His rifle comes up as soon as he can tell those two have guns.

Kulko steps aside from the doorway to permit reinforcements, again taking a knee and picking his target. "Weapons free!" It's the same old song. This time only a single round let off at the charging skinjob.

With each step Tisiphone takes into the room, the muzzle of her rifle sags lower and lower, pale eyes full of mingled horror and confusion. It's unfathomable, this sight before them all — or should be — and yet brainmeats, being what they are, strive to understand and Make Sense. Then, yet again, Kulko's shout is the sound bringing her back from stunned staring — she turns, reshouldering her rifle.

Haeleah's rifle nudges up at the 'Incoming!'. She aims as well as she can. At yet another Salt. Those ones freak her out.

Sitka, hearing sounds of gunfire from the floors above, swears again softly under his breath. "Come on," he tells Evan, backing into the stairwell, "let's move up. No sense sitting around here if they're getting shot to shit. We'll do a quick sweep of each floor on our way; you check the left side, I'll check the right, and we'll keep moving. All right?" Then, up he goes with a ka-thunk, ka-thunk, ka-thunk of boots on corrugated steel.

Sawyer can at least get the thing up and running, her eyes frantically scanning the screen then looking down to the standard computer and wondering where her fingers should move next. She makes a few key strokes, and takes a wrong turn at Albuquerque. Another deep steadying breath and she tries to get back on track, deciphering something on the screen that she's trying frantically overturn. C'mon…c'mon….Her eyes flick up at the continuing sound of gunfire above, a curse beneath her breath but she doesn't abandon her self-assigned station in the lobby. "What the frak?" She practically glares at the computer screen.

Evandreus looks up, startled, then bck down to Sitka, nodding his head briskly, once, in confirmation, waiting for Sitka to go on ahead and then pushes up from his crouching position and begins to thump up the stairs after him, gun still held almost straight down.

"So, the heretics come." Poole's eerily calm voice rings out as the gunfight rages. She seems unshaken, even by the death of her comerades.

Salt, charging past a vat of something that looks like bloody fluids, fires off a quick shot at Stavrian and hits him square in the chest. However, its the last thing this model does before a round rips into his skull and another perforates his lung. The skinjob collapses onto the floor and skids head-first into a table leg with a sickening 'thud'. Meanwhile Poole dives for that cover, rounds shredding the remains of the body infront of her. But one makes it through cleanly and cuts a nasty gash across her mouth. Her return round sails wide and hits a vivisected brain, throwing grey matter everywhere.

When the shots start upstairs, Cilusia is heading up the steps too, behind Sitka and Evan. Taking two at a time is a little harder for her, so she thumps up them one by one. Her rifle is brought up and unsafetied as she goes, hurrying up to the fourth floor to help with whatever the frak is going on up there.

Stavrian feels the bullet go tearing straight into his shoulder, cracking collarbone and ripping muscle. Nice spray of blood onto whoever's behind him. He staggers backwards, not even registering the headshot he got off on Poole. Just the fact that she's still friggin walking, holy shit. "Son of a /bitch/!"

"How many times do I have to frakking /shoot/ you?!" Hal snaps as he rounds the corner with the others, BC in tow and tries to pop off a couple rounds at Poole. His mouth opens vaguely at Stavrian. "Get down, man!"

Haeleah is behind Stavrian as it happens. And smaller than him, so she catches his splatter on her cheek. She chokes, like she'd like to scream but can't quite make the sound come out. She reaches up her free hand, numbly, to wipe it away with her sleeve. "Jess? Frak." She aims her gun at the remaining version of Poole, doing her best to cover the medic.

Sitka, meanwhile, is still scaling stairs two at a time. Never mind the bulky combat gear, rifle and tight quarters. He reaches the second floor, calls the all clear, and hoofs it on up to the third while shots continue to ring out above them.

Sawyer really needs another set of hands, and perhaps a few more courses on being a L337 HAXXOR. She stops what she's doing for one moment, long enough to pat down her person for one of the flash drives she was tasked with bringing down to the surface. Her head disappears beneath the desk long enough to find a port and then she pops back up to try and override something that's just about flashing a big neon sign at her: 'BAD JUJU'. Still, the fire fight rages on above, but she doesn't even have time to say a prayer for those above.

Kulko doesn't have time to watch his round drill a hole in its target; his attention is robbed by Stavrian's injury. "Stavrian, bug out /now/," he shouts, letting off another round towards the remaining hostile.

"BOOM BOOM BITCH!" Big Cubits throws back his hoodie as he and fires off a shell in addition the veritable lynch mob dropping the Cylon once known as Dyora Poole. She and the others send her splattering to the ground, knocking over a vat of human livers, adding to the already disgusting pile of gore." Hal just holds his hand to his mouth, and suddenly, the horror of his surroundings overtakes him. Amidst the cut-up, dissected bodies, from child to adult to elderly, male, and female, what looks like a couple dead women hooked to some sort of incubation machines, little monitors beeping and humming. But otherwise, all is silent.

Evandreus gets there too late to help in any sort of mowing-down of Cylons. Not that he would have been much of a help, in any case, standing stock still in the doorway of the lab as the surroundings hit him. Then, shakily, a step in. And another. Yes. Definitely too late.

As Sawyer pops back up from plugging in her drive, she notices changes on the screen that are occuring without her making any of them. "Oh no the frak you don't…" She hisses under her breath, as someone is trying to access the program remotely. A quick keystroke battle ensues, as she tries to block the other user out, taking this computer (and it's all important 'climate control' program) off the network that allows it for others to log into it. Shit. Someone's bound to notice /that/, which just cut her window of opportunity down severely. While she continues pecking away with one hand, her other snakes the pistol out of her thigh holster and slaps it down on the desk next to her.

The fact that Evan's hands are shaking only really occurs to him when he tries to holster his sidearm and just… sort of… can't. So the gun, still safetied, gets clung to and brought up and around in a decidedly less safety-conscious manner as he tries to tug one of his armour's straps looser with the same hand he's holding the gun with, pale-faced and barely breathing. At all. Treading the slaughterhouse floor.

"This place isn't — this is /insanity/." Hal finally observes, still covering his face as he looks about at the neat array of corpses. More bodies are hooked to machines with those strange organic wires. He thoughtlessly starts ripping at them, pulling whatever is adhering to a human brain loose. "There's not even any /reason/ for this. What are they building, here?"

Kulko doesn't need to check the fallen hostiles for signs of life, what with their brains joining the others on the floor. Instead, he makes for the door, turning his back to the little room of horrors. "Think on it later, Hal; I reckon this place ain't gonna stay quiet for long. Tisi, let's get this floor cleared and keep movin'. An' someone make sure we get a medic to our medic."

Sitka, of course, breaches the room just ahead of Evan, sidearm clasped in both hands as he shoulders his way through— and is completely unprepared for the sight that greets him. A soft curse in Sagittarian escapes his lips, right as he steps in the slippery guts of some eviscerated test subject. If that's what they indeed are. "Heard shots from downstairs, so we hoofed it up here," he tells Kulko. "First, second and third floors look clear, though I uh.. I think we lost Sawyer." The reproach in his voice seems self-directed. "I can go check the lobby again."

Stavrian is down on one knee, having dumped a packet of sulfa into the nasty shoulder wound. That at least halted the torrent of bleeding, the side of his combat blacks blotchy with sticky damp red. One strap of his vest is off as he works on winding a bandage around the gunshot wound to hold it for now, the crack in the collarbone protesting none too mildly at him. "Medic's seen a medic," he answers Kulko, through his teeth. As Sitka comes in and announces they've lost one, he raises an eyebrow. "She's gone? Shit."

Tisiphone has, meanwhile, been standing near Stavrian while he treated himself. More honestly, she's been hovering, wan-faced with concern. Pretending not to hover — Centurions might suddenly burst through that, uh, spot of wall right there — but she's not fooling anyone at all. She snaps a look over at Kulko, shaking hands betrayed by the quavering rifle's muzzle, and clears her throat twice before she can even manage a nod. "Uh." Her eyes start creeping back toward Stavrian, before she forces a second nod, eyes returning to the JTAC. "Yessir." She pushes off, following after him.

Evandreus continues to step softly, coming to a halt between two tables and their respective test subjects. Not in the way. But not moving on. A couple of more feeble tugs and he finally unlatches part of his armor.

"I'll go back for her." Hal volunteers, merely tossing a seriously concerned glance at Stavrian and another one at Evandreus. "It's all right, man. Whoever was here hasn't been alive. These aren't our supposed survivors." It's all logic to him, smiling weakly. He then doubles back towards the stairs, B.C. with him.

"Good," Kulko looks over Stavrian appraisingly. "If you need, head downstairs and standby for evac. Otherwise, let's grab these survivors and get the frak out of here." He's off down the hallway, then, surveying door after door just long enough to discern the presence of enemies or victims.

Finally spotting Stavrian and his wounded shoulder, Sitka's expression also edges on concerned, though one could hardly call it fretting. "We've only got one medic," he reminds him, low-voiced, while backing up for the door. "Try to keep yourself in one piece, yeah?" A quick, mirthless smile. To the departing Hal, "Hold up, I'll come with you." Might just be some sense of responsibility over his bunkmate, or atonement for having lost track of her in the first place. Who knows.

"Tell that to the assholes with guns," Stavrian replies to Sitka, flashing the man a grim, toothy grin. "I'm fine, Lieutenant," he tells Kulko stubbornly, finally getting back up to his feet with some shuffling. "I'll come with you." Pained, missing some precious bodily fluids, but standing. He slings the heavy rifle onto his left shoulder and pulls his sidearm instead, flicking off the safety. "Be careful down there, Ibrahim."

"Covering your six," comes Tisiphone's scratchy murmur, as she follow Kulko out into the corridor. Her rifle comes back up, pressed tight into her shoulder. The presence is almost comforting, at this point. As he advances, she follows along behind, playing the part of a sleet-blue pair of eyes in the back of his head.

Back at the batcave, er.. Lobby, Sawyer continues staring at the screen with a deep line forming between her eyebrows. Some of this is way over her head, and so the data she can't figure out, she's dumping into a file to be copied and figured out later when they have time to go through the MolGen data too. Once in a while, she casts a furtive glance around, her nerves horrifically on edge.

One of the Marines, Diesel, the younger, more jumpy kid of the bunch stops to study Evandreus. "You gonna be allright, sir?" He too, looks vaguely pale and about on the verge of throwing up. "Need help walkin'?"

And there is nothing jumping out to get Sawyer but Hal, as he pokes his head through the stair access. "Yoo - hoo. We're uh, what're you doing?"

"Va shoma," is Sitka's only reply to Stavrian's warning, before he turns and clatters back off down the stairs with Hal, sidearm at the ready.

Meanwhile, as Kulko's crew continues to explore the thoroughly sickening Floor Four, they are going to find much of the same. Corpses. Organs. Bits and pieces of both. They were enthusiastic about their experimentation, dissection, and vivisection. But apparently, this place is free of skinjobs.

Evandreus doesn't hear a thing Hal says on his way past and out into the corridor. Tightened chest straining against breaths he keeps trying to take, he lets the others file off without comment. "Go," the word comes hushed but firm to the Marine, not answering any of his questions, but moving as though to follow him out.

Hal and Sitka and B.C. are met with a jumpy Sawyer who slaps at her gun, paws it off the desk, and levels it at the doorway in which they appear. At least she doesn't squeeze off a round and accidently take one of their heads off. It takes a moment to realize they are friends instead of foes, and when she finally does, she nonchalantly lays the weapon back on the desk and goes back to what she was doing. Hal is answered with the click clack of keys before Sawyer verbally responds. "Saving the day." A pause. "I hope."

Stavrian glances back towards Evandreus and Diesel. Not unsympathetic. "Take a minute, Evan. We'll be back." And off he goes with Kulko and Tisiphone, walking stiffly. Normally arms swing when one walks; his bloodsoaked right just kind of hangs there uselessly at his side. When they run into more corpses, more organs, the medic's breathing turns more shallow. It's bad enough staring at this, but staring at it with a background in anatomy is just that much worse. The corners of his mouth seem to have frozen in a frown. He's seen organless bodies before. Cylon-made.

Diesel, well, doesn't really know any better, and simply nods. "Yes sir. Glad to get out of here." As he moves on out, he takes off after Kulko and company. He doesn't hear the door shut behind him. Eventually he will catch up to the JTAC, but does so alone.

Meanwhile, Hal and BC stand in the lobby. BC seems a bit out of breath, but Hal picks up the slack. "Huh. Damn. Are you for hire, lady?" He says toward Sawyer, not unkindly. "Well, not like I can get you a job anymore. Listen, careful of the fourth floor. It's clear, but it's — sick." He is at a loss for words. "Anyway, I'm ready to go up when you are. Then we can blow this shithole and go home."

If only there was a way to sweep and clear these rooms without having to actually, you know, prowl all the way through them, carefully scrutinize /everything/, then come back out. That disconcerting blankness steadily creeps back over Tisiphone's features like a shroud — reaching all but her eyes, and those determinedly avoid her still-living companions.

Kulko doesn't linger amongst the entrails and gore, instead taking the stairwell at the far end of the hall and proceeding wordlessly upwards. On reaching the seventh floor, he stacks up at the door to ensure the team is still with him, and makes entry. More of the same await them here - bodies, in progressively better condition, those the Cylons haven't quite had time to start tinkering with.

Evandreus pulls the handle all the way to one side, closing the door between himself and the last vestiges of marine heading down the hallway. Letting the handle shut, slowly, he locks, then bolts the door, each motion of a hand quiet and deliberate. Turning, he crosses the room to the other doorway, which gets the same treatment, locked, then bolted. Alone, he drops his gun on the floor. Safety still on, fortunately. And he continues to try to work his way out of his armor, coming back to the spot he'd been standing in previously, as if his feet had taken him there without his consent.

Floor 12 is just a series of soil and plant samples, some sort of hydroponic research. They don't look so good, but they /do/ look better than what's outside. One more floor to go. And — still no more skinjobs.

Stavrian turns around to walk backwards as they leave the organ donation floor, taking one last, very long look around the place. Gruesome as it is, the Chimaera's nagged him for months — and now here's something else that holds up the answer like a tease on a string. He frowns, finally turning back around and moving on as they go through Floor 12.

Sitka likewise has his service pistol locked, loaded and leveled on the doorway as the trio make it down the stairs and into the room Sawyer's squirreled herself away in. Thankfully, the sight of the blonde reporter has his finger inching away from the trigger, and she receives nothing more than a furrowed-browed look as he bustles past her to secure the rest of the room. Just in case there's a skinjob hiding in a closet hereabouts. "Meaning what, precisely?" he returns, then glances over his shoulder at Hal. "I don't think there's any need for her to be up there."

"Probably not. We staying and guarding down here, then?" Hal inquires, nonplussed. He seems as eager to do this as he was the former suggestion.

Kulko barely slows down as he criscrosses back down the hallway from door to door. "Where the frak /are/ they?" he asks of no one in particular, skipping the rooms full of hydroponics and heading back to the original stairwell. Up they go again.

/Just/ soil and plant samples? Wrong answer. Tisiphone's numb expression regains a flicker of humanity, here — she's visibly reluctant to be skipping them so quickly. Visibly reluctant, and just as visibly following dutifully after Kulko, after a final glance back at each door.

Sawyer follows Sitka with just a bare flicker of her eyes: left to find him, back to the screen, right to find him as he secures another shadowy corner. "I don't…really know." She tells Sitka truthfully. "But they said they were terminating the project, so I'm turning back on whatever the hell they switched off. It's labelled climate control, and it's on the upper levels of the building." She must be satisfied with her work, because her keystrokes have slowed down considerably. "Wait. What in Hades /is/ up there?"

Meandering up the stairs, the marines stick close to Kulko and Company like glue. Or the ever-present goo that seems to be covering the walls in a luminescent, hardened form. Up, up and away.

They proceed unmolested to floor seventeen, which at one point housed 'Turner Industries,' according to the sign on the door. Whatever they were researching now, it probably didn't include what they're about to find.

The hallway here is different. It is noticably /not covered in resin, but rather, retains a sterile white finish. A series of cooridors and hallways, it almost feels like a hospital. There are steel doors on all the rooms, that look thick and sturdy, almost to the point of a hard seal.

"Upper levels," Sitka repeats, bumping a door shut with his boot and clomping back over to where Sawyer's still seated at the computer. "Which upper levels?" He hunkers down to have a looksee at what's on her monitor, blue eyes crinkling at the corners as he squints at the contents. "Nasty shit," is all he murmurs, as to what they found. His service pistol is still kept out, safety off, ready to deploy if need be.

Sitka belatedly answers Hal after a few seconds, "Maybe. Depends on what Sawyer's found. Do you know how far up the others were headed?"

"From what I was guessing, the Lieutenant went straight to the fourth floor. From what I recall, that was the first one that had signs of light. Activity." Hal comments, scratching his chin. "So what /did/ you find?" He wheels on Sawyer, bemusedly.

Kulko pauses in his dutiful march up the stairs as they reach the highest occupied floor. Could be the clean walls and floors have him curious. Or that series of switches by each plate steel door. "Yknow," he says, almost flippant except for the adrenaline surging through his veins, "I really do get curious all too easy." He's already moving towards the closest switch.

Stavrian looks up and all around them as they move through this floor. The lack of resin hasn't escaped his attention, even competing as it is with the throbbing pain coursing through his immobile shoulder. "Don't suppose OSHA labelled that for us," he says with a grim smirk.

Sawyer takes her eyes off the screen to look at Sitka's profile in the eerie computer screen's light, her eyes narrowing. He's keeping something from her, and damned if that just doesn't raise her ire even more. Nosy bitch. "Something was turned off from this level up." She turns to stab a finger at the screen, indicating a floor and sweeping upwards. "It's back on now. And there's more, but I can't make heads or tails of it," She tells Hal and Sitka before bending over to snick out the flash drive and toss it in the direction of Sitka. "So I made a copy to take home." While he's attempting to catch that drive or not, she's slipping out of her chair, snagging her gun and heading for the stairs to see first hand what Sitka's trying to protect her from. Stubborn bitch.

Tisiphone already reached out and touched the glowing Cylon gooze. Those panels wired in after the fact next to each steel(?!) door catch her attention with a duller version of her earlier 'what the frak, what's the worst that can happen at this point?' curiousity. Kulko's ahead of her, though. No History Eraser Buttons for her. She backs a couple paces away from the door, flicking a brittle smirk back at Stavrian's words, then brings her rifle up to cover the door. IF the door even opens.

"Damn, lady." Big Cubits (That's BEECEE) calls out as he just moves aside to let Sawyer pass. It sounds admiring. Hal just shrugs. "Eh. Rear guard. If reinforcements come I'll probably die first. That's comforting." His attempt at humor is a little rusty, but at least it's there.

"Here goes nothin'," Kulko says, letting his rifle hang by the sling, drawing his sidearm, and flipping the switch.

The Seventeenth floor explodes. Little bits of Kulko, Tisiphone, and Stavrian go flying like some gooey Colonial confetti. You choose poorly.

The Narrator is just kidding. What happens is there is a slow 'creaeeeeaking' sound and the metal doors start to squeal and rise, revealing several sterile rooms, with a variety of people inside. What's strange — the people look generally cared for, at least somewhat hygenic. Whatever the Cylons were doing, they wanted 'healthy' specimens.

A man who looks barely old enough to drink, with a buzzcut in what looks to be Colonial tanks stands next to an older man with a craggy face in civilian clothing and weathered features. "They comin' for us, Sir?" He asks, voice cracking. Then he peers out of one of the doorways.

These rooms are white, sterile, furnished with nothing except blankets, water, and a communal toilet that apparently still works. "Hey, uh, wait a minute, you're not —"

"You think there's a godsdamn thing we could do about it they were?" comes the answer from the older, weathered man. He just stands in the middle of the room with his arms by his side, fists clenched like he might be ready for a fight.

To elaborate, there are four to five people per cell. Some children, some adults. It looks like a diverse, wide sample. Almost like someone went out of their way to collect a variety of ages, shapes, sizes, and genders. These two seem to know each other.

Sitka wasn't entirely prepared to have the thing flung at him, but he snags it out of the air with the reflexes of a true stick jockey. At least there's one thing they're good for, if not being stealthy. Then Sawyer's up and on her feet while he's still trying to figure out what the damned thing is that she just tossed at him. "All right. We'll head up, but tell me what else you've found, on the way." Irritation repressed, he shoves the drive in a pocket of his gear, and moves out after the woman with a sidelong glance at Hal and Big Cubits. Women. Seriously.

Kulko peers into the first room, then spares a glance down the hallway. Rather than deal with each room individually, Kulko waves the group out, raising his voice. "Colonial Fleet! We ain't got all day so let's get a move on, people, out and down the stairs to the ground floor. Unless y'all would rather stay put." He looks back to the rest of the party. "Holler and see if you can't get someone's attention downstairs; let em know we've got survivors inbound."

Evandreus eventually remembers how to breathe, just before the point at which his lips would begin turning blue, just standing there, throat and chest clenched tight. And almost immediately after the sound of his own breathing becomes the one moise in the otherwise sound-proof box, he regrets having resumed the activity at all, hands falling to the tableside, then his left hand onto a thigh. Not his own thigh, mind. Someone else's. Right hand on a shoulder. Missing out on what basically amounts to a gaping hole between the two, a torso devoid of parts.

"We're up seventeen floors, nobody will hear shit," Stavrian reminds Kulko with a faint snort. The bloodspattered medic looks back into the human holding pen as he rubs his clammy forehead, exhaling tightly. "Medic here! Any of you hurt in there? Anyone sick?" They're survivors but the JG's got one of those unfortunately pragmatic brains that doesn't want to be hauling TB down into their other group.

"I'll go get them." Tisiphone speaks up promptly when Kulko looks back toward her and Stavrian. "I can move faster," she adds, eyes sneaking over toward the medic's shoulder as she says it. Move faster, or at least less /hurtingly/. She doesn't really wait for acknowledgement — she's off toward the stairwell, then down it, at a jog.

"FLEET? HOLY SHIT!" The kid in the fatigues stands tall and proud. "Private Kelvin Lewis, 190th Armored Cavalry, Colonial Marines!" His mouse-brown hair is matched by a bit of peach fuzz smattering his face. Snapping off a salute. "They didn't break us. Uh, I mean, they're," He looks towards the older man next to him, and back towards Kulko, and Stavrian. Some of the other civilians start milling about. A little girl, looking not even ten years old, is crying a little and cowers in the back of the group in one of the rooms. Several other civilians start cautiously poking their heads out.

The older guy takes a few tentative steps and flashes a peek out the door behind the younger guy. "Sierra Hotel. Its the ..fleet?" His brow furrows at the remarks from Lewis and he steps out of the room and looks to the small group. Ensign. Jig. Wounded Jig. He takes a guess at looks to Kulko, lifting his chin a bit as he moves forward. "Lieutenant. Where the frak'd you come from?" the man asks flatly. Apparently this guy isn't looking a gift rescue in the mouth.

Sawyer doesn't really want to go up there. Not honestly. Her stomach is lurching just thinking about it, but she's /compelled/ because that nagging itching feeling that she's missing out on something is just eating her up. Sawyer at least seems grateful that Sitka is following her up, if the nervous smile is any indication. Up the stairs she goes, not as enthusiastic as the group before her. "It's an altered program. Rewritten from it's general intention to control things in the building like the electricity and the air conditioning." Her pistol is reholstered so she can use the railing to pull herself up the long flights of stairs. "I don't know /what/ it controls. There were also gads of text that I couldn't make out, so a copy is now stored on that little plastic doohickey you really ought to be careful with." As if /Sitka/ was the one that tossed it. "Someone also tried to access the program while I was in it, so I shut them out. That was the extent of my progress. I failed at the rest, so I turned the power back on, and locked that computer out of the server." Whooo, climbing stairs and talking your head off makes you winded. "I hope it was enough." She adds under her breath just as she tries the door the team went through previously. Locked. Odd. "Uhhhhh…" She looks back over her shoulder to Sitka, raising an eyebrow. "Gotta key?"

Lewis adds, "No, uh, I'm fine. We're fine. Uh—" He does what the man asks, a little too late.

Kulko returns the Marine's salute, breaking it abruptly. When the older man speaks, he answers them both at once. "Lieutenant Junior Grade Stephen Kulko, Battlestar Cerberus. We're… uninvited guests, you might say. Fixin' to get off this rock. But we'll have time to chat later. Right now I need you gents to help me get these folks downstairs and out of here, before the tinheads figure out we've got our hands in the cookie jar."

The sight of the children makes Stavrian's eyes flicker, pained. He nods quickly to Tisiphone and steps past Kulko into the cell areas, keeping the service pistol aimed down. Safty's even flicked on for now. "Here, let me help."

The viper Captain accompanying Sawyer keeps his pistol out, and in his right hand as they scale the stairs again. A man his age should have a desk job by now. Paperwork, a hot secretary to bring him coffee. Not charging up and down flights of stairs while being shot at. "Someone tried to access it?" he repeats. He is, apparently, listening, despite the ruckus they're making as they haul ass up flights of stairs. "I had no idea you were so, uh.." He sucks in a breath, too, as they reach the fourth floor, and scrubs the back of his pistol-holding hand across his forehead. "..sneaky." A glance to the door, then down the hall as he covers her. "Nope. Door's locked?"

"Gotta check the other side, sir." Lewis says towards Kulko, his jaw dropping a little. "Wait. /Cerberus/? Isn't she Mercury-class?!" He looks like his eyes are going to bug out. "I mean, there are other blocks up here."

Lewis was right. The switch didn't open all the doors. But there are other doors. And other switches, if any of the crew feels like exploring, they will be found, and they contain more people. Same rules apply. A smattering, men, women, children, teenagers.

"Cerberus." The older man stares into Kulko's eyes as if testing them for a lie. "I'm Ben. Apparently Private Lewis has already introduced himself," he comments drily, eyes moving over the wounded Marine. Damn, that had to hurt. He cringes a bit at the injury and looks back over the group as the kid starts crying. Fantastic. Ben doesn't seem too inclined to help but he eventually turns and eyes the rifles as he does so. The guy is obviously wary of the rescuers. He moves off to help some of the people up and out, voice low and quiet, eyes never straying from Kulko for too long.

Sawyer jiggles the handle again, unable to feel any give in it if the door was just merely blocked from the inside. "Sometimes in my line of work you have to get…creative." She dares a glance backwards to Sitka. "Besides, it's not like you and I ever do a whole lot of talking when we're together." A smirk, and then she's turning back to slap her palm on the door, yelling, "OPEN UP! ROOM SERVICE!" It probably should occur to her that there's a reason the door is locked. Like the bad guys are eating the good guys in there.

Ben gets some wary glances of his own, but there are more important things to do. "Right with you, Private." Kulko moves off in Lewis' wake to set about pressing buttons and releasing the captives. The same mantra is repeated each time - we're the good guys, we can talk later, let's Get The Frak Out.

Trot-trot-trot down half the stairwell, then hand planted on the railing for a double-footed jump down to the next landing. WHUMP. Harder on the knees, faster on the progress. Sawyer and Sitka will hear her oncoming arrival for several floors before she finally vaults down to the fourth floor landing and sags there, hands on knees, winded. Her head's turned to look toward the Captain and reporter at the locked door.

Evandreus' arms spasm a little at the sound of someone trying at the doorknob, heart missing pace as he whispers, "Go away. Go away," as if the whisper could be heard through the lab doors. But that was just the warm-up, a slow breath infiltrating his lungs, "Just," comes the hushed prefix to "GO AWAY!" A scream so vigorous it tears harshly at his vocal chords, the Bunny's fingers slamming down at the side of the table and gripping there painfully.

Stavrian has quite the talent for ignoring wariness. It might just be pain and the effort it's taking to keep his vision from graying out. He slides his pistol into the holster, heading deeper into the cells to try and help herd folks out. When he gets close to that crying girl in the corner, he crouches down and holds out his good hand for hers. "Come on, khala." The last two syllables are some term in his guttural native dialect, said gently. "We're getting out of here."

The kid does what any kid in that situation might be expected to do. She goes just kind of mute and docile, staring up at Stavrian with big eyes. She does what he asks, though.

Wariness of the older man or no, Lewis starts to stride out. "Everybody move. Uh, we can get some guns? Wait, where are we going? Where are the Cylons?!" All this is making his head spin.

The older man nods to Lewis' suggestion. "Yeah. Wanna toss us a few firearms? Dunno about the rest of these people but at least we've nailed rifles before." He hefts a small boy up from his seat on the floor of a cell and ushers him out slowly, eyes pointedly looking at Kulko with the first question.

Kulko finishes up with the last cell and fills Lewis and Ben in on the way to the stairwell to help direct the evacuation. "Toasters took up round an hour ago. Meant to leave y'all here to die. We've taken care of the hostiles, but they'd be stupid not to have some sort of alarm rigged up. We've got a secure location within walking distance." Well, more like marching distance. But what's a few miles between new friends? "We'll get you armed proper, don't you worry. Right now let's just get outside." Another glance to the older man. "You Fleet? Retired?"

"Frak me," Shiv mutters to himself, barely audible under the scream that issues forth from within the room in that familiar voice. He has but a moment to register those clattering footsteps on the other stairwell, before steadying his pistol in both hands and ushering Sawyer aside with a significant glance. "You might want to move out of the way," he mutters to her, seconds before pulling back and driving his shoulder into it. Hard. And if nearly two hundred pounds of pilot doesn't take it out the first time, he'll try again.

Sawyer almost missed that voice, that tiny sounding voice despite being at a shout. Evan. Sawyer slinks back at Sitka's instruction, "Bunny? Bunny…is that you? It's time to leave, sweetheart." Whether or not it's true, she's a bit panicked with having him locked in there with gods know what. She tries to keep her voice calm, but there's a waiver and a hitch there. BAM. Sitka's shoulder meets the door. "…we're coming in! It's okay!"

Pvt. Lewis wastes no time in following Kulko's lead. "Right. Outside, Sir, you have /no/ frakking idea how good this sounds." He makes his way towards the staircase, barrelling down, stopping to count the survivors. "Come on. Move move move!" He stops a moment. "We got a tank, sir. We got big guns."

Ben nods once to Kulko. "Yep. Done my share of service, though." Kulko might get an impression that Ben's understating that more than a little. "You want extra people on guns or not, son? Don't take but a second to hand over somethin. Besides, lookin' to get a little payback. Cooped up here for like twelve or fourteen days." He says all this while holding the young boy's hand and walking him towards the stairwell as they start down. There's a set of old eyes in Ben's head that rollllll with Lewis' remark about the tank.

Evandreus keeps his back to the room, hunched and tense as the battering of the doors commences. "I don't know anymore I don't know I'm so sorry I was late the walls fell in ten years the walls fell and I didn't know the answer but she was wrong, oh, gods, I hate her. Oh gods. Oh -gods-," he grits his teeth together, losing it completely as the door gets broken through, hunching over the table like a mother lion over her cubs. "No!" he shouts at whoever's coming in. Yus. The Bunny has done flipped out.

"We- found the- survivors," Tisiphone gulps breathlessly at Sitka and Sawyer, as she pushes up from hands-on-knees. "They're-" Her voice cuts off when the Captain shoulder-checks the door once, then again. "What-?" she starts to ask Sawyer. "Bunny's in there?" The question cracks on the last word.

Stavrian stands up as the girl does, making sure she's walking with the rest. He takes his pistol back out of the holster, safety returned to 'off' as he moves back towards the hallway. The sagittarian's not a chatty man, even when not shot. When he talks it's succinct. "Twelve or fourteen days?" His voice is slightly scratchy. "Where did they take you from?"

Kulko looks Ben over a long moment at the door to the stairwell. "Given the circumstances, Ben, you'll have to forgive me. I'll explain when we get back." Lewis gets a quizzical look, like he's not sure what the make of the kid. "Couldn't have been a tramp freighter? What do you mean, you've got a tank? Where?"

Ben realizes Stavrian is talking to him and glances over his shoulder to the Jig before answering. "I was at this place called Pete's for a bit after the attacks. Left on a scouting run with another guy and a blonde. Lookin' for food and ammo, mostly. Them two got smoked and some broad picked me up. Led me back here and put a gun to my head. Damned bitch." He grumbles the last and looks to Kulko. "Makes sense." Yeah, that was sarcasm. "Forgive me if my trust of people has waned a little in the last couple months." Crusty Old Man.

Shiv apparently favours the blunt instrument approach, over the delicate one. Sawyer can do the talking; he, meanwhile, gives the door one last, almighty SLAM with his shoulder until the latching mechanism snaps, wood splintering as the thing blasts inward. It causes him to stumble a step or two, but he has his pistol up again shortly after. "You found them?" he finally replies to Tisiphone, blue eyes briefly snaking up and down over the young woman. Since there's nobody but Evandreus in here, he stows his pistol and starts to approach the raptor pilot. "If one of you could help me with him.. then we can head down and meet the others."

"Pete's?" Stavrian's low voice is slightly wry. "Strip joint Pete's? Heh. You don't happen to know some guy named Hal, do you?" He fiddles with the bandages on his arm as they go, tightening the one that keeps his arm flat against his side.

Hal lingers outside the door. Silent, his dark features screwed up in a frown. "I wouldn't want to be locked in there. That crazy woman was right. This place needs to be torn the /frak/ down."

"You and me both, sir," Kulko retorts. "We've got the rest of the folks from the strip joint back at the hidey-hole. Morrow's downstairs with the rest of the team. Where we oughtta be. So if that's everyone…" He looks back down the hallway, checking for stragglers, then starts to bring up the rear.

Winded. Unwounded. Deeply traumatized. Tisiphone in a nutshell, for Sitka's quick status-check. "They're alive. And- okay," she pants, nodding at the Captain as she follows him and Sawyer into the room. Her steps falter to a halt as she stares at Evan. Blink. Blink. That's not proper configuration for a Bunny /at/ /all/.

Sawyer doesn't have time to celebrate that there were people found alive way up on the seventeenth floor. The gods only know what would have happened beyond 'terminated'. Sawyer gives a numb little nod to Tisiphone, confirming that it's Evan before she plunges in after Sitka. "Bunny, let's go home to Gregory, hmm?" It clicks that he's not altogether with it and she opens her arms and beckons him out of the room. Her form freezes there, as she finally gets a good hard look at Bunny's surroundings and the color drains from her face. "C'mon baby. We shouldn't be in here." For once, she should have listened to Sitka. But then, they wouldn't have found Evan. What a catch 22.

"Shit yeah, I know Hal! How the Hell you know Hal?? But Aquarian Pete's, for damned sure. You know the place? Stop by there before the brownies hit the impeller?" He finally cuts a bit of a smirk at Stavrian but Ben continues on down the stairwell with the boy. "Good that you got those people out of there. We ran out of beer in the kegs a few days before I left." That seems to be the man's qualifier for a habitable location.

"No no. NO I can't— I can't go, just… just leave," Evan half-whispers, grabbing at the metal as if exprecting someone to come and physically try to take him away, "I have to stay here! I waited so… long. We WAITED. Too LONG," this last with a kind of ferocity to it, something beyond anger, something primal, a howl contorted into human speech by gritted teeth and tensed jaws.

Hal, THE Hal in question, is gathered on the fourth floor, loitering and tapping his feet.

Lewis and the civilian survivors waste no time in piling downstairs, themselves, making their way towards the lobby. Operation GTFO is in effect.

Sitka's boot gives way slightly as he slips on some brain matter. Glancing down only long enough to identify that it's a lifeless body with half its face missing that he's stepped on— he steels himself, nudges it aside and keeps moving. "Give me your hand, Lieutenant." A grimy, gloved hand is thrust out to the raptor pilot. "Lieutenant Doe, snap out of it!" And said hand closes around his arm, and attempts to haul him up bodily. The Captain's bigger, but Evan may be less than willing to comply.

Sawyer swallows thickly, taking a shallow breath and then tries again. "But I'm scared, Evan. I need you. Who else is going to get me to sleep at night?" She slowly moves around a low table, not daring to look down at what's disected on top of it, nor back at Sitka and Tisiphone. "I need you, Bunny. I…Please." Sitka takes the more direct approach, and all she can do is back him up, rushing forward to help if she can. All she knows is that they have to get him out of here, coaxing or forcibly. "C'mon baby. C'mon."

Tisiphone looks over at Sawyer as the reporter first takes in the room, with a sort of bleak, benumbed kinship. Welcome to the madhouse, Miss Averies. She takes a couple steps over to the side, pushing something out of the way with her feet as she does. It makes a wet, dragging noises as she moves it. Clearing a path through the gore. "C'mon, Bunny," she echoes, hollowly, on the tail of Sawyer's words. "Let's go."

Evandreus flings his arm back, wrenching it away from the grasp and not seeming to mind if he smacks Shiv one for his troubles in the process, "DON'T," he begins, "Call me that. Don't -you,-" he points a finger aggressively at Sitka, "Call me that, that's NOT me." What? "And I'm NOT leaving. I'm not leaving again," tears starting to come, at this point. "I don't understand. What's fourteen minus eight?" he implores, voice breathy and tear-heavy as he leans by the table, hand reaching out slowly, fingers trembling, reaching for short, blonde hair and moving through it in soft, short motions, as if trying to arrange it fetchingly.

If he's whacked in the face, Sitka doesn't seem to lose any steam on account of it. Judging by the faded bruises mottling his cheek, it probably wouldn't be the first time this week. "Look at me," he directs toward the younger pilot, voice low and taut. His service pistol is safetied and holstered, and there's a glance over his shoulder to Tisiphone that seems to indicate 'cover me' as he sinks down into a crouch by the table. "I know you've been through hell and back, but I need you to come with us. I need you to trust me. I'm not going to leave a man behind. So if you stay, all of us-" He indicates Sawyer and Tisiphone with the slight turn of his head. "-stay, and I don't know about you, but these digs frankly stink. What do you say? I'll owe you.." He tries to catch Evan's eye. "..I'll owe you one. Trust me?"

Sawyer straightens away from the flailing Evandreus, hesitant that he might hurt them or himself in this state. She pulls herself up to her full height, her spine ramrod straight. Time for yet another tactic. She quietly supports Sitka, and his claim, that they'll stay. Good thing she emptied her stomach contents downstairs.

Sawyer says, "Aristaeus. It's time to leave. Now. From these slaughtered cattle with rise your bees, but you have to trust." Grant her the sanity to get through this herself, she extends her arm and holds out her hand for the man once more, looking as regal as possible in the room of gore.

Sleet-grey eyes flicker at something Evan says, but Tisiphone holds her silence until after Sitka speaks and Sawyer straightens up. "Fourteen minus eight is six, Bunny." The words are thready; she's trying to keep a steady voice, but it's fraying. She's fraying. They're all fraying. "Six for Sextus Evandreus Doe, and eight for Octavius." Her words catch in her throat, strangling to silence before she bullies the rest of her words out at metaphorical pike-point. "That's- it's not him, Bunny-" The corpse he's so unwilling to leave. "If it was, it's not him anymore."

Evandreus' shoulders twitch upward a little bit as Sawyer brings out the name of the Valiant One. Evan's not feeling all that valiant, right now. Fingers continue to play through the dead man's hair, falling into some pattern long-known and never-forgotten. "We came too late," is all he can repeat, "I'm so sorry. I should have… I should have come before. I won't leave… I won't leave you. I'm here now. I'm here."

Tisiphone mutters something under her breath. A question, maybe. It's not in Colonial Standard.

Sitka spends 1 luck points on Sleepytime, Bunneh!.

And, cue the end of Shiv's patience. Or just the immediacy of their situation, and the potential for dying messily at the hands of gun-toting skinjobs. Speaking of guns, he unholsters his sidearm, and without much warning, attempts to thwack Evan with it across the side of the head. Pistol-whip style. That's gonna leave a shiner in the morning, if it connects.

Something Tisiphone says sheds some light on the situation for the Reporter. Her own words now sit heavier in her chest and it's all she can do to make it through the next few moments. Sawyer's features are pulled into sullen lines as things escalate, and her voice rings sharply in the room. "No! Don't…" She turns her face away from the impending blow, flinching as if the strike was aimed for her.

Evandreus lowers his head over the gutted Octavian, doing something that sound susiciously like praying. Except not. But he is reading a passage from the gospels, just a few lines long, and those devoted to the texts would recognize them as the words of Achilles at the funeral of Patroclus— asking that one day his ashes be placed in the same golden urn as his companion's, to mingle there forever and always. But he only gets a part way through, before a gun comes down on the side of his head and the Bunny's knees crumple out from underneath him, the hand on Octavian's head still bearing enough traction to turn the dead man's head upon the table, muscles pulling muscles in the neck and shoulders kept remarkably free of the stiffness of death by whatever treatment they'd been subject to, such that it sort of looks as though the young fellow shifted on the table, turning his head to watch the other fall out of sight.

Goodnight, sweet Bunny. Tisiphone's eyelids shiver at the edges when Shiv pistol-whips Evan, but she doesn't move to stop him, or raise a word in protest. As he slumps, though, she moves forward to help break his fall, making sure he doesn't smash his head on the floor. "Can you carry him okay?" she asks. Of Sitka, presumably — though her eyes are on the corpse upon the table.

Octavian doesn't have a lot to say. And now, neither does Sextus.

"Bebakhshid," whispers Shiv in Evandreus' ear, as the pilot's knees begin to crumple beneath him. Rather than wasting time re-holstering his gun, he tosses it atop the table and crouches swiftly in order to help Tisiphone support Evan as he starts to tip sideways. Softly, fervently, "Bebakhshid," before he attempts to gather him up into his arms and hoist him up over his shoulder with a grunt. Boy's heavier than he looks. "Yeah. Yeah, I.." His hip thunks the table as he eases slowly to his feet. "..I got him. Could you grab my sidearm? Sawyer — Sawyer, come on, let's go. It's all right. He'll be all right." He's not generally a violent man. Which might account for the slight waver in his voice; there and gone again as he soldiers on out.

Sawyer looks longingly at the blonde haired man on the table, "We could've taken him with us. Maybe Evan would have agreed to that. Taken him back and given him a proper burial in the garden of the Embassy." The protest comes weakly. She shuffles away from where they are now tasked with carrying /Evan's/ body back, coming to a surgical tray and digging through the refuse of the stainless steel instruments. Her fingers sort through them, creating a tinkling of metal against metal until she finds what she's looking for. Nimble fingers unscrew someting, coming up with two small washers. They're not coins, but they'll do. Ignoring the others, she moves back towards the prone, deceased man that Evan wouldn't willfully leave. Sawyer leans over, muttering something quietly as she rights the twisted neck. There's a quick kiss to Octavian's forehead, and then she's placing the two tokens on his closed eyelids for the Boatman. Only then is she content to leave, shuffling after Sitka's beckon with her eyes cast to the floor.

"On it," Tisiphone murmurs, on matters of Shiv's sidearm retrieval. She's the last to leave, her footsteps not following until many long seconds later, the door closed behind her.

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