PHD #201: EVENT - Frak-tastic Launch
Frak-tastic Launch
Summary: A survey team on Aerilon searches for traces of survivors and finds more than a few surprises.
Date: 16 Sep 2041 AE
Related Logs: None
Astra Bran Evandreus Leyla Lunair Marko 
Northern continent, near Tarnock, Aerilon
It's rainy and horrible. Trees and grass and hills and mud. Welcome to Aerilon.
Post-Holocaust Day: #201

Aerilon, the breadbasket of the Colonies. And, it seems, one of the least damaged. And so, despite the newly arrived escort carrier, despite the aftermath of a grand party, the search for survivors began as soon as the ships could be deployed. Less damage, more hope. It's the catchphrase on most of the crew's minds. Raptor teams, complete with their marine complements have already started out, scouring from the first habitable portions of the planet from the poles, working their way in to the equator, running grids over areas known to be populated. The northern continent, in the area of Tarnock, is where this team is scanning.

Leyla's voice is a soft sound over the sound of the raptor's engines, coming along the comms. Headset, but no helmet, dressed for ground ops, rather than space, "Flasher, any joy on the scan?" Steady hands on the controls, as Leyla settles into the pre-selected grid she and the other raptor on the team decided on. And then, ship to ship, "Bunny, anything on your end?"

Lunair is a passenger along on one of the Raptors. Just in case the Marine is needed or if they run out of guns, they can tape her to the wing. For now, she is a quiet thoughtful passenger watching the others and peering out when she can.

"Nothing so far." Marko replies, face scrunched into a thoughtful grimace as he examines the data packets his gear's receiving. "DRADIS is clear, not getting any power signatures. Negative RF, negative….everything, really." he sighs, shifting in his seat.

"What're we looking at, Pens?" Evan asks his backseater gently in the wake of the S2S. It's nice to be back in a boat down planetside— less radiation means he can actually fly down here without endangering his precariously dainty liver. The healthy dose of hope of actually finding someone doesn't hurt, either. And Day 200 has been dodged with only minimal emotional trauma. What could go wrong?

Lieutenant Bran is in the Other Raptor, with Bunny and company. He's dressed in his ground ops finest and constantly looking over the DRADIS and consoles before him leads to missing out on the words directed towards him. It's only a brief moment. He's soon sitting up further and replying in turn. "Something, I think," the man pauses while reaching forward, "Looks like we've got a weak signal, standard beacon, but frakkin' old - due north. Is Flasher picking this up?"

"I will… see," Evan answers, then switches on the S2S, "Sweet Pea, Bunny. Pens is picking up a beacon signal to the north. See if Flasher can confirm. I'm changing course, just in case." And he begins to do so, fingers moving briskly over the keyboards as he programs in a new flight vector and the bus veers into an easeful turn due north.

Lunair rides with Bran, tilting her head at the news. She lifts her eyebrows. She leans a little to try to hear. Sneaky! Though, she's short, so maybe she's just trying to see out the window, right? She watches the others in the Raptor, just in case.

Just as Bunny makes his call, Marko trains his set in the same direction as Pens' and smiles a little as his screen starts to fill with data. "Sweet Pea, tallyho! Got a very weak signal, call it strength, two, three tops. Computer's chewing on it now, wait one." he advises as he washes the signal through its algorithms. "Okay, Sweet Pea, evaluate signal as a distress code, estimate the code to be about fifty years old, give or take."

It's a delicate thing, as Leyla continues along her programmed course, while entering in a secondary intercept to rendezvous with Raptor One. Multi-tasking for the win, as she waits for Marko's confirmation on the signal and it's location. But the moment it comes, she switches out the programs, shifting the raptor to follow Bunny's lead, calling across to him, "Flasher confirms, Bunny, Pens. He evaluates the signal as a distress code, about fifty years out. Probably a leftover from the war."

In the middle of adjusting his headset, Sam Bran gives a glance over his shoulder in the general direction of the others. If they really have found something and Flasher's verifying the distress signal then the marines have something to do other than watch the raptor crews. "Copy that," is radioed back, now that he's paying closer attention to those around him. "I say we comb over it, just in case. Any takers?"

"I don't mind helping as I can," The JiG offers. Lunair seems willing to at least look, though - a part of her hopes not to get shot in the face yet again as seems to happen when she goes poking at things. Several of the other Marines might look between one another. Aerilonians don't explode like Saggies do right? Right. "It's a Colonial signal?" Peer.

"Agreed, Pens. No sense not looking. It's the best lead we've had all day," Bunny points out, all over S2S in order that everyone can be in on the conversation. "We'll do initial fly-over of the site. Peapod, you take the long way around and look for a cozy little parking spot for two, eh?"

"Okay, Sweet Pea, got some more data for you. Looks like the signal's coming from some hills at zero one sixer. Visual scans indicate the remains of a _very_ small settlement. Hard to get a clear image with this weather." he adds. "Wait one…Frak, Sweet Pea, I just lost the signal."

Bran grins some, but just a bit, since there's hope out there that the Gods are favoring them with survivors. Still, things could quite easily go to Hades in a hand basket and so his voice flickers back over to Lunair and the others in tow, replying. "It'd be appreciated, and, ye-," he cuts himself off in the middle of checking over the signal, or lack thereof. "It was," and then he's speaking up to everyone again in the middle of triple-checking: "Lights out on this end too. I've got nothing again."

"Copy that, Bunny. Good hunting," she calls, as her bird vectors away to begin an LZ recon. "We're all good to go in here," she offers, having gotten the thumbs up from the marines in the back and Flasher up middeck. A low slow sweep, as she looks for a nice little parking spot. Large enough to fit two raptors and to give enough clearance to offload the Marine complement that came with them. There will be no dropping Marines into trees today. Flasher's intel gets her back on the S2S, "Flasher's got a location trace for you, the remains of a small settlement, on top of those hills bearing zero one six." The tone of her voice, as she drops the comm and then retrieves it, her ship moving out of range, sorry, Flasher, "Bunny, Marko's lost the signal, we're too far away. Pulling in the grid search." A momentary glance back to her ECO, "We'll get it back, you got us the coordinates."

The weather really isn't very nice. Thick clouds roll in, and the wind picks up strongly. The outside temperature is dropping, and from the clouds rain and sleet are falling. There is an occasional flicker of lightning, but not enough to be a true threat. Nestled in a gap between two tall forested almost-mountains is a small settlement, fifteen buildings in all, and some of these might be sheds. There is no sign of life from any of them, and some show evidence of weather damage. However, there is one small field that looks like it might have been harvested, just paces from the thick cover of trees.

Lunair grunts softly, smiling and nodding at Bran. She eyes the other Marines then. She seems pleased enough and glad not to get dropped into a tree. She'd hit every branch on the way down and there's probably a bear or two in there. Or something unfriendly like a hive of bees. Bees in tight Marine gear would only end in woe. She quietly readies herself, looking thoughtful and listening.

"Yah, join on up, Sweet Pea. Same glitch on two different machines at the same time doesn't add up. We'll see what's going on up there. If we can see at all." Unlike with lesser vessels, the rain and sleet isn't audible inside the Raptor, the hull too thick to transmit the noise from without, but it sure makes it a bitch to ID anything by eye. "Do we have heat signatures, Pens?"

Bran leans back from his station to look out and beyond the Raptor, only to pay brief attention to rolling clouds in the distance. He wrinkles the bridge of his nose and knits his brows, clear and present distaste, before exhaling. SARs in the rain, so he comments under his breath, "Frakkin' rain." In his offhand, he's taken up a pen and quietly rolls it between his knuckles. Back to business though, "Only thing of note is something towards the hills, mine, maybe," but a moment later it isn't hard for him to detail said opening in said hill and where it's at.

Marko frowns a little at his screen as he acknowledges Leyla's statement with a slight nod. "Okay. Wait…." he calls, adjusting the focus on his optics package. "Hey..looks like we found a mining complex. Got open shafts into the side of the hill. Going to thermographics, check those structures for heat sigs." he says, then whistles sharply. "Wow…Okay we have a _major_ heat source in one of the openings in the hill." he reports. "Can't get enough of a fix to classify it, yet. I'll keep tracking."

Raine Lunair normally…. likes the rain, but she nods in a quiet agreement to Bran. She sighs and adjusts her helmet.

"That's enough for me," comes Leyla's comments, all of the comms from her ship now going S2S, so that Bunny and Pens and their Marines can get the ECO's data in real time. "A heat signature in a place where none out to be," seeing as how the Cylons tried to, you know, kill the humanz, is worth investigating. "Bunny, I'm forming up on you, but you've got the lead." Only right, as Bunny has way more experience in the VAQ than she does. "Clearing might be large enough for us to put down in. You alright with that?"

"Yeah, I see it. Get down at a fifty degree angle to zero and I'll come around counterstride and park second," Bunny tells Leyla. "Then we can let the ducklings out for a look around."

"You brought your galoshes, right?" Evan adds, over his shoulder, to the ship's complement of marines.

"Sweet Pea, can you gimme about a forty second hover at present co-ordinates?" Marko calls. "I wanna try something." he explains, tapping out the commands to wash the video input through the ship's computer. A soft 'beep' chimes in his helmet a few heartbeats later and his screen dutifully fills with a spectrographic readout. "Okay, Sweet Pea. Got some data on that heat source." he reports. "Spectrographics report a faint chem signal of lithium and a carbon-based fuel, computer evaluates it as Arco-Eight." he says, whistling through his teeth. "Nobody's used Arco-Eight in about thirty years, forty, maybe?"

Bran naturally keeps up with the mines as they zero in on it. That's his job. So while the marines get to eventually disembark into the storm beyond the ECO is safe at his station and watching the computers and monitors there.

"Bunny, I'm seeing some reflections in the trees, looks artificial." Maybe nothing, but she calls out the coordinates of the flashes, at least as close to exact as her DRADIS will get her, almost on top of the mine, in the grand scheme of things, but to the left of the clearing, but descend is a no go, as she gets the call, "Holding, Flasher." Hover, hover, hover. That she can do and gladly, to give him time to work, "Forty, more like. Whatever this place was, it was abandoned years ago, or seriously fell behind the times." Which, well, it is Aerilon, this could be like high tech, yo.

Thankfully, mines not of the foot blowing off variety. Lunair is an attentive audience, purple eyes peering intently.

Evandreus is content enough to stand by, delaying his landing solution and waiting on Flasher's conclusions. "I guess a mine would be as good a place to hide out as anywhere, given the circumstances. If someone's trying to send out a distress call on that old kit, it's a wonder we caught wind of it at all."

The sleet falls heavier, sheeting in gusts that obscure vision from time to time. There is a dart of color at the edge of the harvested field; a small, scrawny figure dressed in faded green scurries out of the cover to retrieve some fallen object, then dashes back into the trees again. With careful observation, three figures can be seen running from tree to tree, heading towards the cave, and evidently trying not to be seen.

While she waits for Flasher's go-ahead for landing, Leyla continues on place, shifting the bird only slightly, this way and that, trying to catch another glimpse of anything moving below the treeline, not an easy task in this rain and sleet. Some enterprising deckie needs to install windshield wipers on this baby elephant. "We've got movement on the ground," calls one of the Marines, who's moved up to seat the empty chair beside Leyla, to give her an extra set of eyes on the ground while she focuses on hovering and not being struck by lightning. "I count em three, heading for the mine."

"I see 'em, Marine." Marko replies, training his optics package in the indicated direction and switching back to thermographics. "Three, repeat, zero-three man-sized targets at bearing one one five, carom one." he reports.

"Could be worse," comments Bran casually, at the thought of mines and people, tracking them with the sensor packages aboard the Raptor. He pauses with his pen and clicks it open before rolling it once more, pausing again to click it closed, and soon enough returning to the idle roll near to his knee. "Unless Flasher's picking up something I'm not, we're clear to better investigate - they aren't shooting this time - over."

For her part? Still quietish. Lunair does feel somewhat guilty she can't offer more. "Sounds good," Lunair replies. She nods to her Marines and looks over to the port. Huh. Figures? She squints.

There is movement up the side of the hill, and a brown figure emerges from the cave, shuffling its way on all fours. It is animal-colored, but it does not move like any animal. It shuffles awkwardly from brush to boulder to tree, then hits a patch of loose scree and slides about fifteen meters down the hill and into the cover of the trees. It moves towards the three other figures, keeping better-hid, but moving much more slowly.

Yes, there's definitely movement. But thankfully, they, no, are not shooting anything at her. And…if they decide to, well, she's got a couple of Marines to back her up. And the hull of her ship. Hey, Sagitarron would make anyone gunshy. But just so, Leyla shifts the controls from forward flight to hover, as she moves to put down at the edge of the clearing, the marines moving to the hatch to wait to offload when she cycles the doors, "We're down, Bunny. Marines are ready to offload."

"Alright, Sweet Pea. Just keep your door shut until we're sure I won't be landing on top of it," Bunny suggests. Two big ol' boats in a tiny little clearing. With small gusts of added maneuvering the Bunny hovers lower and lower, adjusting here and there as he tries to set down at a decent unloading distance from Leyla's Raptor. "And we're down. Open the doors. Don't forget to wipe your feet before you come back on board, guys," he adds for the benefit of the marines. "No tracking mud into the boat."

Marko keeps his optics package trained on the treeline. "Contact…Thermo's painted one new contact at one two three carom three…can't make out if it's man-sized or not, but evaluate it as possible humanoid based on movement patterns." Marko calls. "Contact's coming to one one six, carom one." he adds coolly.

The three quicker figures start to run, seeming to care less about being seen and more about getting as far as possible from the landing ships. The other figure is now moving in a two-legged gait, though from what little can be seen it seems much more awkward than the other three. Still, it moves towards the three running ones, and towards the ship, a steady, seemingly unhurried pace.

Bran inclines his head to the side while the pair of Raptors move in for a swift landing. "Copy, I'm picking it up too." He would so enjoy to have a better visual range but thanks to the weather he relies mostly upon the instruments surrounding him while the marines do their thang. "What the frak is that… verifying that contact now, over."

Once the doors are opened and the ramps lowered down into the rain, Lance Corporal Lady leads the march down into the mud, a brand new boot covering her brand new skeletoflexile implants and a look on her face like if someone tries to blow off her other foot she's going to take a piss down his or her throat. Through the driving rain she lifts her arm before her, flashing a bright beacon light in greeting and to guide those approaching toward the opening into the ship. She can barely hear herself through the pouring sleet, so she doesn't try for helloes just yet.

There comes a howling sound that is not the wind from not-too-near, but not far enough, either. The figures converge, then make their way towards the field, still hiding in the trees. They disappear in a tangle of brush, and the wind drowns out any sound of their passing. Then three terrified faces can be seen peering at the disembarking people. Starving children's faces. And then the fourth figure can be seen, stepping a bit away from the cover so as to distract from the children as a target. Her face, too, is pinched with malnutrition. Still, she stands pointing an aged flamethrower at the landing party. She looks extremely determined… and extremely pregnant.

Leyla is up and away from her seat, and so she misses the initial…assault, such as it is. Rather, she's standing at the door, sidearm drawn, as she offloads her raptor's complement of marines, who form up and move to join the Marines who are now disembarking from Bunny's bird. With Lunair being the senior officer on the mission, they're set to take their cues from her.

oh dear. Lunair's sweating a bit. She's really not used to being a senior officer. But whatever. She doesn't let it show. There's a vaguely distant, noble bearing now and she'll take point from One Foot McGee. She considers the civilians a moment, before politely lifting a hand in greeting. She shouts, "Hello! Colonial forces. We received your distress signal?" She's trying. She really is. But it's wildly apparent that Lunair is both upper class and somewhat clueless. Owch.

Marko unstraps from his ECO console and rises from his seat quickly, shooting a curious look over to Leyla. "Interesting reception." he comments, peering into the rain to see what this little party's going to do next. Carefully, he undoes the top strap of his holster, but doesn't draw the weapon, and, in fact, that done, he keeps his hands well clear of it.

Evandreus looks back around the side of the headrest. There's driving rain sneaking onto the boat in between the marine forces and the hatchframe. Awesome. And that's not even sarcasm. As sick as those stuck outside might be of the rain, Evan misses it like mad. But he turns back around and goes through systems, calling them up one at a time and making sure they're ready-on-call for a quick gitfo.

The pregnant woman tenses as Lunair raises her hand, and the muzzle of the flamethrower swings rapidly in her direction. Her face goes ashen, and her eyes go wide. "Please… don't hurt them!" she pleads. "They're children. Children!" She winces then, leaning against the tree, bracing herself with her heels, the flamethrower drooping for several seconds before she snaps it up again.

Um. Okay. Lunair blinks at Astra. Well, hormones make you do whacky things. "Ma'am, Colonial forces have no interest in harming the children or you, ever." She assures the woman. She even seems surprised that the idea came up. She racks her brains for incidents. Oh well. "I am Lieutenant Junior Grade Raine Lunair. We picked up your distress signal. We came to investigate," She explains quietly. "We've been looking for survivors." Preferably non-mortar launching ones.

Something is muttered dryly under Bran's breath, in Taurian, while he leans back from his station in order to look towards Evandreus and then tilt his attention towards where the marines have disembarked. "Explains why there's a lack of shooting, at least," sarcasm, his voice is drenched in it. He sticks put though, all things considered. There's a flamethrower outside.

Leyla's sidearm is returned to its holster, once her Marines are offloaded, and she returns to her seat, keying in the appropriate evac program to get them back to Cerberus as quickly as possible. She does key up her S2S, however, leaving the channel open between both raptors, as she makes the call to Cerberus. Survivors encountered, children and one heavily pregnant female. Attempting to retrieve them and return to basecamp. That done, she returns to the hatch, "We need to get them in as quickly as possible, none of them should be out in this rain."

"I think we'd better convince 'em we're not here to do them any harm, first." Marko notes quietly, peering out into the rain to keep watching the woman and her kids. "Tough old bird, keeping everybody alive this long." he notes, nodding his approval.

"Huh?" Evan asks back to Bran. "What does?" he wonders. He can't hear anything but the rain from in here, after all.

"Zander, Thera, Piers," the woman calls, her voice suddenly gentle. "Come out." She looks at the Marine. "I… have to get the other children… from camp. These three… all seven of the children, actually… their parents are dead. We've been waiting for so long…" She winces again, then lets the nozzle of the flamethrower droop again. "Why didn't you come sooner? Why?"

Headtilt. Lunair politely pulls off her helmet, so she has more of a face. Though, given her purple eyes - that might not /help much/. She considers the question a moment. "I am not sure, ma'am. We only recently arrived on this planet. There have been Cylon attacks across the colonies," She offers. "The fine Raptor pilots over there followed the signals as best as they could, I promise," She nods. "I am sorry you had to wait. How far away is this camp?"

"Not far," answers the woman. Then her head lifts, and she steps away from the tree a couple of steps. "Across, you said? A…" She swallows hard. "Aquaria?" She licks at her lips, then shakes herself. "I… children… you'll be safe in the ship. Lieutenant…" She closes her eyes. "Four more children. Just up the hill. For you… maybe five minutes. But we have booby traps rigged. I suppose I can make it in ten…" She seems a bit out of breath. "If this…" She shakes her head. "Eight cases of anti-rads. I wish there'd been half as much food. I'm Astra… Koios." She shakes her head, obviously in some pain, and trying to gather her thoughts.

Lunair gives hand signals to the pilots. Friendly. Children. At. Camps. "Across? Yes, all of them as far as we know," Lunair replies. She doesn't add much for now. She keeps her rifle's barrel down. "There's a few Raptors here," She offers. "I can help you or carry you if you like, though you'd have to tell me where traps are. And that's alright, we've got food and medical attention. Are you alright?" She asks quietly.

"I fell down the slope," answers Astra. "And that didn't help. I… I think…" Astra looks at the worried faces of the children, and she wipes at her eyes, then smiles. "We're going to get food and clothes and be warm again, darlings. I just have to get the others…" She looks to the marine. "Something to hover the cases on, if you want the meds. Me…" She drops her voice so the children won't hear. "I think my labor's started."

"Are you okay-" Oh dear. "Yes, there's clothes-" And a nod. Lunair sends word and hand signals down the line of Marines and to the pilots then. "Wait - wh-" There's a flash of surprise. Lunair's normally got fine bearing, regal and all - the product of upper class Canceron living. But this. Her purple eyes go wide. "Gods' honest? Oh gods. Ma'am, please get to the Raptor. Just let me know where the traps are and how to move the children. We've got doctors on board."

"The contractions aren't…. too far apart… though the fall… didn't help…" Astra closes her eyes. "If I don't go… it'll have to be one of the children. But please… it should be soon… there's… things that hunt at night… and the storm makes it dark enough for them…"

Bran repeats himself louder before looking over his shoulder again. He squints some, vaguely thoughtfully, and then returns to the sensor outputs. "I hate the rain," is muttered again, because it never hurts to say it more than once. While he's looking over a screen, he's radioing to the others, "We're still in need of checking the mines, for others." In about two seconds or so he will probably hear word of a baby being born, which is going to promptly lead to a flat: "Oh."

Wince. Lunair looks sympathetic. "Alright, can you tell one of them to lead me along? C'mon, let's get you to the ship. Hold this please," She hands her rifle to a minion and moves over to help carry Astra or at least let her lean (Though, thankfully, Lunair is pretty strong despite her height). She's soaked though. Soggy Marine is soggy.

Medical emergency? "Pens, we've got wounded incoming. Pull out the stretcher racks and prep the back panel seats for the ducklings in case it's standing room only on the way up," Bunny relays into his backseat.

"Medical Emergency?" Marko echoes Bran unknowingly. "Well, that's a surprise." he comments blandly. "Lunair, Flasher, what's the issue, over?" he calls.

Astra looks at the children. "It's all right. The baby is coming is all. It's all right." She smiles, then leans heavily on Lunair. Despite the bulk of her belly, the woman is skin and bones everywhere else. "Zander, show them the camp. It's all right. Tell the other children to come. Petra'll need carrying." The tallest boy nods and draws himself up, giving a salute. "Bring my folder, please?" With that she groans, losing her footing.

Leyla is thankful, and likely not for the last time, that she's only the pilot. This situation is not looking good, not good at all. But, she keeps everything ready to go, waiting only for those coming back with her to do what needs doing. "Bunny, if you need us to take some of your Marines, to make room for the survivors, I can do that. I don't think we should separate the children from her, it might frighten more than they need."

"I'm on it," is called out from the man while he moves to stand from the station. Bran tucks his pen out of view for the time being, too. There's no need for him to have it in view as he preps the rear of the raptor for their incoming guests. He does it quickly and efficiently, and goes about recovering what basic first aid or otherwise medical training he's had over the years.

Lunair will use verbal whispers to pass on the word and do her best to carry/lean Astra as much as she'll allow. When she nears her Raptor, she asks Bran: "Hey, which Raptor should we take them in?" She asks quietly, glancing between the three. She doesn't know Bunny too well, tragically. But she listens to instructions for now.

Evandreus picks up the S2S. "Yah, sounds good, Peapod, thanks. Once we get everyone loaded up we'll batten down the hatches and see what we can do in terms of primary care, get everyone stabilized for transport as well as we can." No, he hasn't heard anything about a baby being born. He just assumes there are burns and shrapnel wounds coming his way, 'cause… well. That's what he's used to seeing.

"Oh um, might want to mention we're about to have a baby born…" Lunair adds quietly to Bran.

Bran pops back into view! He looks to Lunair and then toward Astra, opening his mouth to speak up but pausing ever so briefly in order to knit his brows together thoughtfully. It must be something internal, the injury that is. His initial words turn into a croaked, "Oh. Wait, we're having a baby?" He looks between the two women again and then towards Evandreus. "We're having a baby." As much as the man would enjoy in repeating that, he ducks out into the rain in order to better assist Lunair and Astra into the Raptor. No need to answer that question anymore, they'll be using Bunny's bird.

"We're ready to receive our squad, and as many of yours as you need, Bunny." She doesn't even bother to look behind her. She knows Flasher's on top of it. He's always on top of things. But she is is watching the Marines, who are in the process of gathering up the children who are already out in the storm, those would be Lunair's. Her own are, mostly, going with the boy to retrieve the children from the mine and the anti-rad meds.

Marko is already spooling his systems back up and double-checking everything as he waits for things on the ground to get sorted, "Okay, Sweet Pea, we've got nothing on DRADIS right now." he reports. "Everything's green on my board."

"A baby? For serious? Holy crap," Bunny remarks, but, well-trained as he is, he still doesn't stand from his seat. Not while the hatches are open and they might need to haul ass at a moment's notice. "Like… now? Or can we get them back to Cerberus first?"

Once the children know which ship they are to use, they dash inside, more afraid of whatever-is-howling than the strange adults. Inside, they stand shivering, forlorn waifs looking hardly strong enough to stand. But they do, cold and wet and dripping all over the floor. Astra needs all the help she is offered to make it into the bird herself, and she nods her head dazedly. She does not seem anywhere near as wet as the children, and her brown over-blanket seems fairly absorbent. All the same, there is a sudden puddle on the floor between her feet.

Oh dear. Lunair will help load what can be loaded, but for her part - she's heading back to herd her own marines.

Bran is suddenly swept up into things. "A baby, yeah, back here," he breaks his broken sentences up further in order to help sit Astra down to the rear of the raptor while looking over to the children standing there next to him. The ECO doesn't get very far in helping either. He looks to the pregnant woman and then down and then to himself before replying with a heavy, "Now." Bran turns his attention back to Astra, "Okay. I'm going to need you to sit here. Bunny, going to need your help back here."

"Shore Party, Flasher, say again, Shore Party, all after 'supplies'." Marko calls, handling the comms for the Marines. "Copy that, will advise. Wait one." he says. "Sweet Pea, got the Marines on the squawk. They say they've got the kids and the supplies, but they're pretty heavy, getting them down that hill'd be a bastard and a half. They advise we come to them." he reports.

Astra reaches out with her hand, but is not quick enough to prevent Lunair from leaving. "Sit down, children," she says, smiling at the children. But she shies away from the man as he orders her about. Though she does not show it on her face, her eyes show almost as much fear as the children's. She bites at her lip, then nods. She starts to lower herself, then clutches at her belly. Her legs give way, and she crumples and falls.

"Flasher, got any word from the Marines, yet?" Their bird, for the moment, is completely empty. All of the survivors are being shuttled over to Bunny's raptor, which, once she hears the words you know, 'baby' and Now, well. She's not a religious woman, but if she were, she'd be thanking a god or goddess right now. And then, Flasher's answer to her question, "Once we clear Bunny's raptor, I think I can maneuver us into position. Like we did for that house. Bump up as close to the entrance as possible, pick up everyone, get them back to the ship." He knows the one she's talking about. "Why do we always get the rainy missions?" And then, on the open S2S comm, "Bunny, Marines at the mine are reporting that they've got the children, and the crates, but they recommend extraction. Can you handle the trip back while I go and get them?"

"Okay. Okay, Sweet Pea, go gather the duckings, we're closing up shop here," Evan calls over the ship to ship and then unlocks the hatch controls, setting it to rise and close slowly. "Hands away from the doors, kiddoes," he calls back, finally unfastening himself and crawling backwards out of the cockpit. "Who here's ever been on a Raptor before?" he asks them, bright eyed and smiling in that way meant to be engaging to children. An expression he somehow manages to maintain when Astra falls, "Oops!" he remarks, and heads to her side, careful not to look scared. "Here we go. Just relax. Remember to breathe, honey," he tells the woman, coming to a knee at her side. "It's gonna be fine, okay?"

Lunair is kinda bad about kids, but good about not getting under foot and keeping her Marines in line and helping out where she can. Sometimes helping involves not getting in the way of those more qualified right?

"You got me, Sweet Pea, but we do seem to draw them, don't we?" Marko chuckles, switching back to the Marines' channel. "Shore Party, Flasher, stand by for extraction. ETA, two minutes, acknowledge." he calls, receiving a double-click on his comms by way of reply. "Okay, Peapod, let's button up and get off this frakkin' rock."

"I… I did once…" murmurs the girl, Thera. She cannot be any older than seven. "My essay was the bestest in the school, so I won a trip and we saw a raptor and went in it…" She looks between the uniformed folk and Astra, and then wriggles down to the floor to sit on the floor near to her. "You'll be okay, Mama Astra," she murmurs. And Astra smiles, nodding her head. She looks up at "…Bunny? Well… makes sense…" She winces, then lets go a steadied breath. "Sorry for… all the trouble, sir."

Once Bunny's ship is buttoned up, Leyla makes good use of the prep she and Flasher did just a few minutes before, lifting the raptor off and flying it low and steady against the wind and rain, making her way up the hill towards the mine entrance. Neat and tidy, as she settles in hovering only a few inches, perhaps a foot from the ground, before she sets the doors to cycle back open, "Gonna have to ask you to do the honours, Flasher." She can't really take her hands off the controls just now.

Bran has terrible bedside manners, so he leaves that to Evandreus. Figuring out where his headset has traveled to is fairly simple and he places it back upon his head rather than neck, taking a moment to look at his station and then out the raptor to the other. "Sweet Pea, Pens, appreciate wanting to stay around but we're good. Follow up with that extraction, over." He's waiting to make sure the others take off nice and tidy, but once that's done the man turns about to the rest of the scene: baby birthing. "What can I do to help?"

"Copy that." Flasher replies, unstrapping and setting up the jump seats for the kids before opening the side door and hopping out. "Okay, Corporal, if you'll start getting those kids into the ship, I'll give the others a hand with the crates." he says, all too willing to avoid having to deal with the rug rats if he can avoid it.

Lunair has slightly worse, in that she's well meaning but clueless. She'll offer support, where needed but - keeping out of the way again. She's hardly experienced with kids and even less with childbirth. Well then. "Just let me know if there's anything I can do."

"Oh. Man," Evan sounds thoroughly impressed as Thera gives him her flight CV. "You must be -awesome- smart, Chickadee," he slaps her with a nickname since he hasn't had time for proper introductions. "Why don't you help Uncle Pens get the little kids get buckled up? Mama Astra's gonna be just fine, we'll take good care of her." He looks up to Bran: "Unstrap some of those back cushions and hand them down here, then make sure the kids are situated."

The rug rats are huddled at the cave entrance, looking scared and forlorn. Still, they cling to the marines, reassured by Zander that they'll be joining Mama Astra soon. The howling of hunting-things acts as incentive too. They're only too eager to hop on board, though they wait patiently.

"I am awesome smart, eye-firmative," answers Thera Chickadee. She gets her little brother buckled in, her thin hands trembling a little. "It's too loose," she says. "So's mine…" She looks to Astra, who has rolled onto her right side. The woman smiles reassuringly, though she already looks utterly exhausted. "Is it a… long flight to… the ship?"

Da. Poor kids. Lunair smiles, and will help as needed. But again, she's quiet and respectful of her lack of experience. At least she's a friendly presence. Too bad she left her candy at home. She'll help with buckles here or there.

"Alright, little ones. Go ahead and hop up on the seats and get yourselves strapped in." Leyla does look back, focusing on the eldest child in her group, "Can you help them?" She's got no Marines, at the moment, save for the ones now beginning to move the crates of supplies from the mine to the raptor. There's a thud every time they drop a crate on her deck. "I'm Sweet Pea, and my friend who came with me is Flasher. He'll be sitting in the back with you when he and the Marines are finished getting your things." Again, she focuses on the older boy. "If there's anything beside the crates that you want to bring back with you, let them know. But I don't want you going back inside the mine."

"Yes, inside the mine is a _bad idea_." Marko calls, unaware if the kids can hear him or not through his helmet. "Ugh…Frak, you weren't kidding. This stuff weighs a Godsdamn ton." he says, helping the Marines load the supplies on the ship as quickly as possible. Between Marko and the Marines, it's possible these kids are going to have learned a few new…colorful phrases by the time they get to the Cerberus.

"We don't have anything," Zander answers. "I'm Zander, and this is Tomas and Nestor and Missy and Petra. I brought up the bag of all our stuff." It's a large backpack, somewhat frayed, taped together. "Petra doesn't talk anymore, sorry. Thanks for getting us." He shivers, then helps to settle the other kids. Then he hands out a root to each of the children, still with dirt on each. The children each begin to eat, disgusting as the smell from the roots may be. "Frak, I'll be glad to not eat these anymore…"

Bran slowly nods. He can do that. He really can, he can go on over and slide by the others in order to retrieve the set of cushions. The man finds himself with three chunky ones and quietly passes them over in the direction of Evandreus. Once that's done and over with though he has to contend with children. "Alright, kids," he'll just try to get their attention first, "I'm going to make you a deal." While he's talking, Bran gestures for Lunair to grab him a fancy blanket from one of the survival kits.

She's still stuck in park, so Leyla's not going anywhere, even if she does want to cry…just a little…at the scrapes marking the floor of her raptor. So sad. But Flasher seems to be moving things along at a good clip, "Thank you, Flasher, relay that to the Marines. I know this isn't what they were expecting, but we can sure as hades use those anti-rads." And then, as Zander introduces her to the children, she tips her head, "It's a pleasure to met you, Zander, it's a pleasure to meet all of you." A beat, as she sees them break out their meager 'food', "You see that hatch in the wall two spaces down from where you're sitting? There're some emergency rations in there. They're not much, protein bars and crackers, some bottles of fresh water, but please pass them out to the children, and some for yourself. We'll have some hot food for you as soon as we get back to the ship, I promise. And Zander, the crate on the floor opposite you has blankets." What she wouldn't give for a few more hands.

Marko and the Marines, now doesn't that sound like the name of a bad cover band? They make fast work of loading the gear into the Raptor, then themselves, trying, and failing, to give the kid's space in the Raptor's cramped interior. This might turn out to be a good thing, as it puts the Corporal in a position to break open the hatch Zander, poor thing, is having trouble with and start passing out emergency rations and water. Another Marine helps the boy strap in and double-checks the other's rigging, giving Marko a thumb's up as he takes his own jumpseat. Can you say 'cheek by jowl'? Of course you can!

"Okay, Sweet Pea, we're strapped in." Marko calls, securing his own five point harness and swinging back to the ECO station. "DRADIS is clean, we're good to launch." he reports. "Okay, kids." he says, switching to the intercom so everyone can hear him. "How many of you have ever been on an FTL ship before?" he asks.

Evandreus gets one of the pillows in at the small of Mama Astra's back, tucking it in to support her back while she's on her side. "Alright…. you're gonna be okay, your body's ready for this, alright?" he tries to reassure her. "This sort of thing happens every day."

Daw. Lunair will keep company and comfort who she can, though for now she is quiet. She's with Bran in the Raptor, looking thoughtful.

Little Piers lifts his head, and he gives a little nod, but doesn't say anything. He just slips his thumb into his mouth and rocks back and forth in his seat. Thera sighs. "What sort of a deal?" she wonders aloud. "We don't have much to trade for deals…"

On the other ship, the children blink, staring at each other, and then at Sweet Pea as she says "hot food". After a bit of stunned silence, Zander passes out the food, and they are soon eating, making the rations last as long as they can, and murmuring like this is the best meal ever. Missy looks up, swallows, and then asks, "What's FTL?" to which Nestor quips, "Frak-tastic Launch."

Astra looks up at Bunny, and she gives a little nod. "I… yeah…" She closes her eyes, riding out the next contraction as best she can, her expression about as un-ready as possible.

As soon as Leyla gets the word and all her ducklings are good to go, she's lifting away from the ground, getting herself a clear line of sight on the hills ahead. Not that it matters much, but still. "FTL is faster than light. You ever get to a stream, and instead of wading through it, you hop from one bank to the other? That's what we're going to go. Instead of flying all the way back to the ship, we're going to hop…from here to there. It's going to feel a little funny, like there's butterflies in your tummy, but it won't last but a second, alright?" And with that, she looks back to Flasher, "Spin up the drives, and jump as soon as you're set."

<FS3> Evandreus rolls Firstaid: Good Success.
<OOC> Evandreus births the hell outta that babe.

Daw. Lunair will keep company and comfort who she can, though for now she is quiet. She's with Bran in the Raptor, looking thoughtful.

Little Piers lifts his head, and he gives a little nod, but doesn't say anything. He just slips his thumb into his mouth and rocks back and forth in his seat. Thera sighs. "What sort of a deal?" she wonders aloud. "We don't have much to trade for deals…"

"Okay, spinning up the FTL drive." Marko calls. "Okay, kids, here's what you need to do. Your instinct's gonna tell ya to close your eyes. _Don't_! That'll just make you disoriented and sick to your stomach. When i hit the magic key, the world's gonna look like it's pinching away from you." he explains. "It's just an illusion, it isn't real." he reassures them in the business like tone of someone trying to do a job. "Also, bear in mind, Colonial Fleet regulations require me to remind you all that anyone who pukes in my Raptor has to clean it up." he chuckles. "Okay, Sweet Pea, we got a green light on the magic key." he reports. "FTL's ready to go."

As soon as Marko gives her the word, Leyla checks her own readouts, meager as they are, in comparison to his. But they are a green, "We're good to jump." And then, with a final look back at the children, she settles her eyes on the view through her front window, "Jump." And then, the clock is running. The clock stops, and Marko turns the magic key, the raptor winking out, leaving only a hollow that quickly fills with wind and rain, appearing back and just a short hop away from the Cerberus, a medical team already in the hangar awaiting their arrival. And so, a successful mission for Sweet Pea and Flasher. Survivors and much needed medical supplies.

A couple of the children do, indeed, puke in the Sweet Pea-Flasher express, and they look mortified. Mortified enough to try to start cleaning, but Zander tells them to wait to land first.

As for the other ship, it is delayed by several hours by Astra's labor. But due to Bunny's care and Lunair's comfort and Bran's efficiency, they finally all do make it back to the ship. Survivor tally: ten. Seven Aerilonese youngsters aged four to eleven, one Astra, and two girl-twins, nestled in her arms.

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