PHD #413: EVENT - From Hell's Heart
From Hell's Heart
Summary: The end of the line.
Date: 15 April 2042 AE
Related Logs: All Areion logs. This is a direct continuation of For Our Altars And Our Hearths and Divided We Fall.
Players:
Mathers Samuel Lunair Circe Lady Kincaid Constin Spade Lysander Leyla Burke Mark Damon Madilyn Marduk Pewter Keller Kepner NPC Polaris Hydra Volans 
Hangar Deck — CEX Areion
A hangar deck with Raptors, crates, and things that go BOOM!
Post-Holocaust Day: #413

Johnny Cash
"God's Gonna Cut You Down"
Ode to Rudolph Kepner

Popular videos of the Great Civil War portray legendary ground battles as never-stopping affairs, but nothing could be further from the truth. Rare are the times when soldiers fight without interruption — for in reality, those great battles are merely collections of short, intense firefights strung together by little moments of quiet, when both armies withdraw to gather their wits and brace themselves for the onslaught to come.

So it is here, on the bloodstained hangar deck of the escort carrier Areion. Three minutes have passed since Master Sergeant Amika Keller ordered her Evocati to regroup, and in those three minutes the Areion Marines have spread out and executed a coordinated retreat to the second line of barricades set up between the stairs at the back and the airlock at the front. As they fall back, the men and women of Bravo Company take advantage of the momentary respite to tend to their wounded, reload, and shift up the battlefield to keep the pressure on. By now, the entire away team — a hundred Marines in all, if one counts the twenty-odd dead — has established a beachhead that will be terribly difficult to dislodge, even as their opponents have retrenched with more heavy weapons behind the burning wreckage of Foxfire-019.

It's a fragile balance of threat that, unfortunately for the Mountaineers, won't stay balanced for long. For even as the Areion Marines lay down a carpet of covering fire from their light machine guns, a single Raptor is being wheeled into position by orange-clad knuckledraggers, her minigun already spinning up to fire. Worst of all, the Raptor is very much in cover — shielded from attack by heavy crates and unrepaired birds set up to block as much of her as possible from view. And so it is that, led by their executive officer fresh from his Raptor, the Marines have no choice but to charge into that mess of lead, desperately seeking to overrun the enemy position before Kepner can bring his game-changing weapon to bear.

Break's over. The clock strikes 1620 hours when battle is joined.

On the plus side, Kincaid didn't get hit any worse than he already was. On the negative side, Kincaid didn't hit a damn thing with his three-round burst. He grits his teeth and tries to brace himself against the — whatever it is — he found for cover, trying to line up some random Areion Marine, a Lance Corporal just like him, in his sights.

The brief reprise is enough for Spade to catch his breath, look around at his fellows and make sure they're not all dead. A few moments are spent in thought and contemplation before the resuming of conflict strikes down like the heels of an overdressed street harlot. The quick firing echoes in the mind as if the heels of the woman are running across the deck, Spade's own legs carrying him through the motions as the rifle comes up, the fresh clip letting loose fire in the vicinity of those shooting; attempting to keep them from getting clear shots at his own. The spray of rapid bullets from Spade's rifle continues as he pushes to keep the Marines opposed from harming further.

She may not have armor, or a rifle, or any of the other nifty little toys the Marines brought with her, but Sweet Pea is here, in the fray, trying desperately to find a way to get a clear path to freedom for her people. And they are her people. They came in on her raptor. And so, covering fire she can do, for the moment, as she searches what line of sight she has of the hangar, trying to spot a free raptor, hopefully unmanned, hopefully fully armed, that she can commandeer and use for her own purposes. Barring that, the controls to the hangar deck, to the air lock and flight elevators, probably housed somewhere close to the LSO's station.

It never is the way you picture it from history books. Mathers should be on a white horse with a sword raised, leading the charge as a second wave of the Away team moves in as reinforcements. But Mathers only has a rifle and the last known horse was probably irradiated along with most of mankind. He's picked a good snippet of cover, the bullets aimed his way mainly peppering crate he's crouched behind. At the moment, there are no rallying words for the troops. There isn't any time or breath in his lungs.

Staying low, Circe is not much good with a gun right now, both hands wrapped by the aid of her fellow corpsmen. The medic grips at her grenades, shifting to prop her bleeding self up and get a range of attack. As her first one goes off after a lob, she is struck again in the chest during the throw. She pulls another, gritting her teeth as she presses a hand to the new wound dented into her chest. She grips a new grenade, pulling the pin before she gets another toss of it over her head, trying to get a full range of motion with the less injured arm. The exchange fire still isn't lessening.

Not hitting is bad, not getting hit is good. And so Samuel growls a little bit as his attack doesn't seem to work, and he readies a grenade, trying to lob it over in the direction of Keller. Hoping that he will hit his target now.

Sergeant Lysander doesn't have a clear shot. He would love to have one of Commander Kepner but that is not the case; as such, he begins to move forward and come into cover at the Areion's abandoned first line of defense. It's just a bunch of heavy, incoherent machinery and the marine is ducking down under covering fire. A call for grenades to his squad means arming one of the glorious little destructive eggs himself and tossing. "Frak, my legs are killing me." He can hardly hear himself under the constant fire, but the bleeding's stopped. "Corporal, 'nother one, damn it!"

Constin had hunkered down behind the blasted ruins of the former Areion barricade which the soldiers of the first wave had managed to pry out of the defenders' cold, dead hands. Instructions hollered to the surviving medics had resulted in most of the worst wounded being gragged clear of the fight, Lieutenant Vandenberg among them. As the brief lull comes to a bloody end, the sergeant looses one of the fading number of anti-personnel rounds at the enemy line. Two more bullets pepper his arm and torso, causing the perforated grunt to try and hunker as far dawn behind his cover as he is able.

Lunair is baffled. Normally she joins Constin in the full of holes people. But there's no time in this battle as it surges again. All out offense. She looks worried, seeing more medics and softer types. "They're shooting medics! Watch it!" She calls out, but her voice is drowning in the sea of bullets. "RAAAAAAH!" Well, hell. Nothing /else/ to say so she joins the spirit of attack and wings a grenade at some poor bastard who gets made into Marine Milkshake. She really doesn't want Kepner to bring that weapon of his to bear either. She just charges in, wading alongside others into the thick of it. She seems to avoid getting nailed this time. How many grenades now …

As Vandenberg is drawn clear of the front line of the fight, Lady crawls up to lay claim to the prime spot and get off a few bursts of shooting before she finds the man her bullets seem to love, and takes a second to line up a more focused shot, her feral sneer firmly ensconced amongst her features.

Grenades flung over the enemy lines take their toll. An Areion Marine is incinerated by a direct hit from Lunair's frag, turned into a fine fleshy mist that splatters all over the crates behind which he's been hiding. But the heavy fire from the machine guns takes its toll as well, knocking back the already-wounded Marines Mathers has ordered to advance. White horse indeed.

"ENFILADE!" screams Keller, her face a bloody mask, blood dripping from her exposed neck. A great bloody hole's torn into her body armor but still she's on her feet, pushing aside the corpsman desperately trying to fix her up. On cue, four Marines burst from cover near Kepner's Raptor and make a dash for it, hugging the bulkheads to flank Cerberus' right wing. Better get as many of the gunners before they get into position.

As the battle rages on, Cerberus and Areion Marines alike falling left and right, the voice of Commander Rudolph Kepner fills the deck. Amplified from a megaphone inside the Raptor on his wireless, so it fills the battlefield in a strange, grating echo. He is here, if not wading into the thick of battle itself. «Fight on, soldiers! The traitors will be cleansed like the unworthy, weak scum they are, and the wheat will rise from the chafe! Together, those that survive this day will jump across the heavens to blast the Cylons from Caprica! From Canceron! From Picon! With megatons of righteous fire, this is a time for victory! We will emerge from this stronger, and fly to the stars to wreak sweet vengeance!»

"It's CHAFF, you dumb sunovabitch!" Constin hollers from behind his disintegrating cover. "Wheat gets seperated from CHAFF." Snarling to himself as bullets impacting his crate cause an instinctive twitch of his neck muscles. Under his breath, the big, bloody man adds, "But this right here is gonna chafe…"

"Frak. And I thought the dialogue on Taurian dramas was bad." That's all the small pilot has to say, as she scavenges from the dead, reholstering her pistol, replacing it with a rifle from one of the Areion marines. He's not going to be needing it anymore. Getting to a raptor and trying to blow the hell out of anybody is out of the question, but thankfully, her trusty steed is waiting for her just on the other side of the elevators. If she can just get to the controls. Shoot and scoot…and stay under cover. Here's to hoping she doesn't die.

"Bravo Company! Watch your flank!" He doesn't have the benefit of a PA, but Mathers barks the orders clear enough. "Destroy that Raptor. Bring them down. Cut off the head!" The XO weaves out from one position, firing his rifle as he moves, his aim true for the time being. Luckily, whomever was targeting him is hitting where he was and not where he is going. "You're going down, you sonofabitch, drowning on your own blood." The last is muttered beneath his breath as he takes a new position and once more aims.

"Great Lords, were that man's parents cousins who both couldn't deliver a word of motivation?" Spade mutters under his breath. He ducks back under as a pair of shots graze across his bodyarmor. The rifle is up as he sees the flanking movement taking place and a grumble comes out. A motion from his hand indicates the moving Opponents but unfortunately if it is drawing of attention it doesn't note. Left he lifts his rifle up and takes aim at one of the flankers before firing off a shot.

Lunair stifles a little snigger at the speech and Constin's correction. That's awesome. She's busy trying to rain grenadey death and keep wading forward, blood like mud and water slowing her. Or in this case, disgruntled Areion Marines. She is trying to push forward, along the front to protect the gunners. Still, how effective it is is anyone's guess. She just wades on like a beast of burden struggling beneath whippings and plodding along.

Another bullet slams into the corpsman's chest, added to by all her previous holes. Circe is running out of any steam that was left on adrenaline and with a hand pressed to the holes in her chest, she is fumbling for the gauze, curling herself out of the way completely, giving up on her last grenade as she is focusing in and out on the ground below her. She winces some, gritting her teeth as she jams the gauze tightly in place, her fingers pressing heavily there. She looks down the line to wear the squad has taken cover and keeps her hand pressed over the wounds. She is out for the moment, giving her attentions to staunching the blood.

[Into the Wireless] Constin says, "Bravo, Constin. Forward squads pinned down, taking heavy fire from front and right flank vectors."

Kincaid can't even hit the broad side of an Areion Marine at this point. So rather than try to hit his target with his rifle, he goes for the weapon where close is, in fact, good enough. He rips a grenade off of his chest and gets ready to toss it into the LMG placement.

Readying the next grenade, Samuel turns towards those trying to flank them as he hears Mathers. He's also shaking his head a little bit as he hears Kepner, and calls out loudly. "GOT A LITTLE GOD COMPLEX, YOU INBRED SON OF A SHEEP?" He's unable to hold back a grin at Constin's correction, before he tosses off the next grenade.

Amika Keller shows no fear, striding up and down her lines as she sights down the scope of her rifle to loose more three-round bursts at the onrushing enemy. "Protect the Commander!" she screams, blood foaming from her mouth. If anything, she seems desperate for Cerberus' people to finish the job, and her dark features are alight with the joy of battle. Not for nothing has she been given her rank: and as she draws fire from her comrades, she buys her men enough time to settle down on the Colonial flank. "WE ARE EVOCATI!" the faithful woman roars. "AND EVOCATI WILL NOT BE — " She's still shooting when she crumples, and in the rictus of death her fingers twitch against her trigger — letting one final burst until one of the deckhands manages to kick her gun from her hand.

The Raptor, in the meantime, is almost in position. Kepner looses a burst from his minigun that flies far above the heads of the Mountaineers' exposed position before adjusting his sights. Behind him, four elite guards watch the stairwell, alert for any signs of trouble. And the escapees — Pewter, Cidra, and the rest — are still nowhere in sight.

Lady lets out a sharp whoop, and, by way of a victory speech, "Popped just like your mother's skanky cherry, betch!" she hollers out in a voice low and gruff and feigning at masculinity, yanking a celebratory grenade and going to chuck it over toward the newest reinforcements.

Lysander keeps his head down as more explosions pound against his ear drums. He leans back and up in glancing over his point of cover. Though he can hear Kepner, he cannot see the man. Pity. "With yells into the wireless, Lysander is turning about with rifle in hand and intent to fire upon those that would aim to end him and the Mountaineers.

"TODAY WE RESUME ADMIRAL MADELINE HAUCK'S NOBLE WORK. ANANKE SHALL RIDE TO THE VICTORY SHE WAS MADE TO ACHIEVE. WE SHALL WRITE THE TRIUMPHANT STORY OF HUMANITY IN GLORIOUS EMBERS ACROSS THE STARS, IN THE BLOOD OF CYLONS AND TRAITORS!" Kepner can't possibly hear Constin's grammar taunting, but he does sound increasingly furious. That last is called out at Amika Keller falls. "AND REMEMBER THE HEROES WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES TO RID OUR RANKS OF THE UNWORTHY THIS DAY!"

Thud, thunk, splut. The triple sounds of being struck across the stomach and chest awaken Spade to the realization that he's looking up at the ceiling of the deck. The pain of the new etchings coming through his body as he falls backwards amongst the rest and the clouds of vision swirl inwards until the sounds of firing rifles becomes distant in the mind.

This is why pilots should have armor, damnit! As Leyla is trying desperately to get to the elevator controls, her movements behind what cover the Cerberus marines have managed to win for themselves expose her enough for some of the bullets flying around to hit home, a muffled curse as the pain of the rounds penetrating her chest plate nearly crumples her to the floor. But she's the Fighting Fourteenth, damnit. Fly and Fight and Die. And she'll do the last two, if it means she has a hope of doing the first ever again.

Lady gets grazed by a hair of bullets that for the most part lodge in her armor or nick a rib or a thigh. One bullet finally manages to lodge itself in her side from the direction in which she'd lobbed the grenade, and she swings her rifle in that direction with a renewed snarl from the Dog Squadron Bitch.

"Oh please, I've had more heroic hangovers," Lunair grumbles as she wades forth. It's more wading than Sallying. That's about as profane as she gets, a stark contrast. She'd be more worried if she could see Leyla. But the red mist clouds her eyes as she just exists as much as any other combatant. She'll find, steal or borrow grenades as she keeps. Slogging. "Just. DIE already!"

Constin grits his teeth, with back to the nicked and blasted machinery which had once shielded the enemy, and now shields him from the bullets which continue to chip itno it. Numbing fingers change the Karlstov's spent shell, clapping a round into the chamber which a keen eye would see to read (beneath the smeared blood) 'HEAT' in white stenciled letters. Breaths are sucked in and huffed out between clenched and bloody teeth, as he turns ear and eye toward the Raptor.

There is a sudden sting in Mathers hand, and he whips it away from the grip he has on his rifle. The XO is a sitting duck, not moving as he is for a brief second before he falls out of view. Seems someone needs a quiet moment to regroup. Bad XO. No biscuit.

Kincaid, is, really, just combat ineffective, is what his conclusion came to. He hurls a grenade over into the LMG gunner's nest, but can't even get that right. So while he grabs another, he doesn't have much hope for what comes next.

"Getting tired of this idiot…" Samuel mutters to himself, before he looks around, frowning as his throw missed. Wincing a bit in the process, but readying a new grenade, and tries finding a better place to throw the grenade from, readying it to throw.

Lysander doesn't have time to react much to being shot, other than to fall back while the body armor over his chest is dug into by armor-piercing rounds. It's magic that he isn't dead. Sliding back along the metal flooring and leaving a heavy trail of red behind him, the wounded marine clenches his teeth and brings his rifle to bear.

Circe in truth, can only treat those close enough to her as the crewman is finally relieved of any strikes on her person. She lets out a breath and as she takes note of Lysander going down beside her. "Garret.." She says and grits her teeth, pushing herself up with trouble to settle to a knee next to him. Care is taken, slow movements but gauze is sought out again and pressed to his wound, "Hold this.." She says, shaking some as she can barely keep the pressure up herself.

Areion shudders around them as the Marines' advance grinds to a halt. Keller's sacrifice hasn't been in vain — the fireteam in position on the right flank looses a hail of bullets that stalls the charge before it can breach that second line of barricades. The carrier's walls groan and shudder with the sound of so many flak cannons firing, and in everybody's ears rings Commander Kepner's increasingly urgent exhortations to fight on, good soldiers, fight on. And though the Cerberus Marines might take objection to the sentiment, the man's own troops respond as the Cyrannus System's best fighters should, breaking forward from their own cover to shatter the Colonial line entirely.

Machine gunners cut down gasping NCOs writhing behind cover; murderously accurate riflemen slam round after round into heads and chests and necks. Above the clamor — above the alarms, above the raging fires, above the kicking sprinklers, above the crack-BOOM of grenades, above even the tap-tap-tap of assault rifles kicking out casing after spent casing — Kepner's minigun kicks to life, depleted uranium rounds punching through comparatively thin metal to explode the people behind. The din is such that it's almost enough to drown out the ragged shout that comes from the stairwell beyond, a shout that echoes loudly in gunmetal-grey corridors before it's taken up by a multitude of fresh voices, some familiar, some not —

All together, guys: "WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!"

Captain Mark 'Doc' Makinen appears at the back doorway by the stairwell. He's in his orange coveralls with a bloody forehead and a set of heavy bodyarmor on that looks a couple sizes too large. All the much better for him given his ribs. Most notably, though, there's a shotgun up - though not exactly in a proper position. He's around the corner, braving the undoubted incoming fire, and blasting it right towards an Evocati machinegunner before he racks another round into the chamber and ducks back. The otherwise docile Captain looks pissed and not unlike he just wandered into a gunfight in a bar in the old west …minus the cowboy hat and billowing duster. Just a helmet, combat vest, and deck coveralls for him. "KNOCK, KNOCK!!" He saw it in a movie once.

Marduk is in his flightsuit, with some marine bodyarmor thrown hastily over. There's bloodspatter all over it, enough matting his hair that a good bit of it can be assumed to be his own. He's got a rifle in both hands, and he charges at the head of the back, taking aim at the nearest evocati and letting loose both a burst of fire and also his signature war cry, which, given his excellent voice projection skills, echoes louder than most anything else has managed to so far besides Kepner's ranting. "WOOOOOOOOO! COME AND GET IT! WOOOOOOO!"

Damon pushes himself to move, move, move and keep up with the others. He's holding his rifle with only his right hand with the butt of it jammed in against his shoulder to stabilize; his left arm hangs limp at his side, peppered with shrapnel. The splattered blood on his face and neck have already dried except the spots where it was wiped away from his eyes and mouth, giving the Chief an animalistic look which contrasts with the weary, numb expression on his face. He's managed to steal and strap on some body armor, it seems, but it fits him poorly and has a dent in the chest. Busting in through the back doorway with the others, he takes approximate aim and starts firing bursts. No signature warcry or hilarious line from him, just a roaring bellowed scream from the depths of his gut, full of rage and desperation. They're so close.

The ill-fitting armor bounces around as Madilyn dashes the corridors and staircases of Areion. With a contingent of Pewter/Fiasco forces that's grown slowly and not-at-all steadily through their dash through the ship, they've been able to hold off whatever small squads the Areion marines have thrown at them. Down toward the hangar deck, where the bulk of Areion's forces have engaged Brave Company. So far, luck has apparently been on the fleeing group's side, and wouldn't you know it, it continues to hold now, as their entrance to the deck puts them in a very advantageous position…right behind the retreating and regrouping lines of the Areion marines and their makeshift field cannon. One in particular is in her sights, and she shoulders and fires a burst as she advances.

Burke storms in along with the rest of the group, rifle clasped in his hands and ill-fitting body armor strapped to his form. A slight trickle of blood can be seen snaking its way down his forehead, prompting him to raise a hand to wipe it from his eyes. He moves, favoring his left side as he lopes along, and once they've made their presence known he drops down to one knee behind a crate and shoulders his rifle. He fires a short burst at the nearest enemy combatant, calling out through the haze of gunsmoke, "Y'all in big trouble now! The Boz jus' blew a guy's head clean off!" He jerks his thumb back over his shoulder in the direction of the stairwell and, since everyone else seems to be doing it, shouts: "WOOOOOOOO!"

Right behind the Marine CO is a very familiar face: Colonel Pewter, staggering forward on his bum leg, a tremendous shotgun in his hands. "Mornin' y'all!" the gregarious soldier bellows, a grim smile lending a feral cast to his usually avuncular expression. "Hope y'all've saved a couple've sumbitches for us! WOOOOOOOOOOOO!" The shotgun pumps once; a stunned Areion Marine evaporates. "Just like huntin' them duck-birds back home, boys!"

No more time for fighting, now, except perhaps to randomly fire her weapon, ala a certain flexible deckie, she of the curly blonde hair. Leyla's bound and determined to get to the elevator controls now, her head down, not even stopping at the sound of the voice that makes her heart want to clench with joy and worry and fear. Bertha needs to be up on this flight deck, like right now.

Wade, wade, wade. Lunair slogs on. She pauses. Is that - the Chief Engineer? She has a comically baffled expression on her face that would be a lot funnier without the blood and chunks and holes in and/or on her. She stifles her reaction as … Burke does it too. "…" Her face turns. Twists. She opens her mouth. Closes it. Shrugs. "Woooooo? … Woo!" Yes! She's got this. She prepares to help defend Constin and take out those enemies. She moves quickly then.

Marduk does some shooting, but then after a second seems to change his mind, and up comes the grenade he stole from a Marine in the hall, out comes the pin and, probably not waiting long enough because wtf does he know, lobs it at the enemy who were until very, very recently, his friends.

While the other Marines charge, Kincaid stays behind. He's not a hero. He can't even chase down a fleeing civilian. So there's no reason to think that he'd be able to storm the castle. So he gets ready to throw another grenade, trying to pick off some of the otherwise distracted Areion Marines.

One could not easily count the injuries marking Constin's blood soaked blacks, as the Gunnery Sergeant hauls himself to his feet, joins the rush forward, and hefts with recoilless rifle to rest atop his shoulder with a pained wince. There are neither quips nor curses from the Master-at-Arms, just gritted teeth and the determination of the damned.

Lysander is slightly disorientated after killing a man, but then there's Circe and she's moving to help. "Now I'm that frakked up one," is murmured, wryly. He does as stated and then moves to stand, move to join the others, even when he can taste blood: Grenade in one hand, rifle in the other.

Mark grins, remembering the helmet being blown off his target's head right before the grenade went off. Wasn't what he was aiming for but so what?? He glances back around and takes two rounds for his troubles. One grazes his hand and the other glances off his chest plate. "Ow, DUDE!!" He flails his hand and ducks back from the door. Once more he looks around and see's everyone down by the Raptor. He yanks a grenade off his vest, his only, and pulls the pin. He's seen this in the movies, too. Mark doesn't even bother holding the thing. The Captain just yanks the pin and throws it as hard as he can towards the engine intake.

Lady keeps her gun leveled at the frakker on her flank through the first bits of the uproar, focused despite the fact that the rest of the group are charging ahead. And so she rises from her crouch, and, of all things, begins to advance— backward, covering the back of the group and firing back toward the enemy circling their first battle position as they go. She grins, though, a crooked, evil thing as she hears the distinctive voice of Colonel Pewter behind her. "Y-EAH BETCH," are her words of approval, at this juncture.

The Areion Marines are taken entirely by surprise. Kepner's four guards are eviscerated in three seconds flat, all of them crumpling under fire from both sides. The charging line of black, once so confident, wavers, twitches — and breaks. Lit by the lust for battle, the entirety of Bravo Company rises up from behind the barricades and dashes forward over the dead and the wounded, over rivers of blood and pools of water. Rifle muzzles flash a bright orange-yellow as all around the Evocati crumble, caught between the anvil and a recently-arrived hammer. But Commander Kepner's men will not go down so easily. Some uncork their grenades as their very last act, taking three of their killers with them as they fall. Others — disarmed — grab combat knives from their belts, slashing from the deck at boots and legs. Still others, out of ammunition, make for the barrels of tylium marked 'HIGHLY EXPLOSIVE' on the deck, scrabbling for lighters while around them their beloved carrier crumples under strain.

And Kepner? Alone in that Raptor, the self-styled champion of humanity spins into the air, slamming his bird into the barricade so he can bring his gun to bear.

Charging forward with the others, Samuel seems to be operating on adrenaline mostly now. And right when he's about to throw that grenade he slips, ending up releasing the grenade in the process. Which gives it the needed distance, it seems. Getting to his feet again, while muttering very darkly, he gets another grenade, from the fallen marine he slipped in some fluids by. Probably blood or something. Moving to throw the grenade at Kepner. "Not talking so loudly anymore, are you?"

Constin fires off the round from the Karlstov- the shell detonating near the bird's waist plating, but not punching through. "Command staff, evac now! Reserve Raptors waiting, Go, go go! Marines, put them down!" directing the Bravo company boys to finish off the would be demolitionists among the mortally wounded Evocati, even as he slams in another shell- the anti-tank rounds are spent, he is back to high explosive charges, and tries to line up another shot to cover the movement of the former hostages.

Lunair seems to be getting better with her grenades. She wings one at the pesky evocati. And pays for it dearly. She doesn't wail as it nails her handily with HMG, but frak! She had a LIGHT headwound! She was gonna keep her hair! And frak! That stings! HMG does NOT play around it seems. She has no words, but the officer reels and staggers for a moment. Like a small, heavyset murdermobile though, she keeps pushing and tosses another grenade. Her eyes are definitely filled with a red haze now, wobbling. Still, the TINK of a pin lost amidst battle and another small grenade finds itself flying in a graceful arc.

As soon as Fiasco hears the boom of his grenade he takes off running, diving across crates and behind barrels. "WOOO!" he shouts as he goes, "DEATH TO TYRANTS! KEEP ON KEEPIN' ON! FIGHT FOR YOUR RIGHT TO PARTY! WOOOO! TEMPLARS FOR THE WIN!!! I'LL SEE YOU ALL IN HADES!!" His shouting may be a little…muddled, but the goal of his sprint will become clear after a moment: the hatch to the launch tubes at the edge of the deck, in which wait, forgotten, several of those pretty, unmarked Evocati Viper 7.5s.

"Dangit!" Burke shouts over the din of explosions and gunfire as a bullet whizzes past and catches him across his left shoulder. He turns his head to glare down at the hole in his fatigues and the bloody cut beneath it, frowning and readjusting his grip on the rifle so it causes a little less pain. He lets the rifle clatter down to his side for the moment, reaching for the grenade that he pilfered from a corpse a little earlier. He looks at it, gives it a kiss for luck and murmurs, "You go blow up Cootah in his big ol' shell now, y'here?" Then, he pulls the pin and heaves it off in the direction of the Raptor. Godspeed, little explosive

More firing. More explosions. More death, more blood, more screaming. Damon doesn't have the cognitive capacity in the heat of battle to think of lobbing a grenade as that Raptor rises, nor is he looking at the others - he's tunnelvisioned onto that imminent threat. Flicking his fire selector to full automatic, he raises his rifle upward and pulls the trigger hard, not really thinking about whether or not rifle rounds are going to be particularly effective against a Raptor.

"COME AND GET ME, TRAITORS! THIS IS OUR DESTINY! WE ARE AREION! AND WE WILL GO OUT WITH SUCH FURY TAKING SO MANY CYLONS DOWN WITH US THAT IN DEATH WE WILL BE IMMORTAL! YOU ARE NOTHING BUT A PRELUDE TO OUR GLORY! YOU WILL BE FORGOTTEN. OUR LEGEND SHALL LIVE FOREVER!" So Kepner continues to shout as he rams that Raptor into the fray.

Grenade out, it frees up the Lysander's hands but then a round is ricocheting off of a point of cover and digging into his chest. He should be holding onto the bandaging that has been hastily applied along his combat blacks but with adrenaline pumping along his veins rather than blood he doesn't bother. Instead, he's standing there and tracking that Raptor.

While the others unleash the grenades they've managed to secure from downed Areion marines to take out the faceless mass of Evocati from around Kepner's Raptor toy, Madilyn is content to gun them down. When the Raptor lifts off, lazily turning to face its new attackers - and moving like a drunken whale - Madilyn lets the rifle hang by the strap on her shoulder, pushing it around back as she pulls free the single grenade she has. The pin drops to the ground, and she picks up speed, wanting Kepner to see her as she hurls the grenade. Escape route after chucking it is to dash behind some of those crates, but they aren't looking so hot, and Kepner's pushing that thing - and its minigun - forward.

"Corsie, Praet — y'all get to the choppers!" Pewter orders, dropping his shotgun to the ground so he can grab the single frag grenade he's picked up off some corpse. His belly bulges beneath the awkwardly-fitting body armor he wears as the Raptor rises before him. He has just enough presence of mind to drop into cover before he pulls the pin and flings the frag.

The captive Department Heads from the Praetorian and Corsair are bringing up the rear. A blocky woman who some might recognize as the Corsair's Chief Engineer supporting the battered form of Cidra Hahn. The Cerberus CAG has regained enough of her senses to at least stumble along with aid. They follow Pewter's direction and all pile toward the flight elevator, and some hope of escape in the Raptors.

There's a reason Raptors generally try to fly high above the treeline when providing ground support: even their thick armor can't provide them with cover against sustained small-arms fire and shaped explosive charges. As Rudy Kepner continues his mad rampage, his fighter literally begins to disintegrate around him. The tailfins are the first to go, shearing off with a shriek of tearing metal; the cockpit is next, blastproof plexiglass spraying everywhere as secondary explosions rip through the bullets of that minigun. It's all the man can do to hit the ejection seat, which shoots him out of the flying deathtrap now collapsing to the deck beneath him. Tylium burns brightly from leaking fuel lines, flaring hotly in the faces of those unfortunate enough to be caught behind. And at last the stubborn Areion Marines abandon their desperate struggle, staring at each other in silent, shared confusion.

Kepner falls with a clang. His handsome face is streaked with blood. Every bone in his chest seems to be broken. His long blond hair settles around his craggy features like a halo, and his heavy hands twitch as they try to undo the safety harness tying him into his seat.

Colonel Pewter steps forward, shotgun at the ready, expression implacable.

Still alive, still alive. One lone little bull in the midst of a battlefield. Leyla works frantically, forcing herself to remember lessons learned so long ago. But she's qualified on the deck, damnit. Chief Damon said so, and she'll be damned if she'll let him down now. Finally, with fierce concentration and some brute force, cause she doesn't want to be here anymore, Leyla manages to get the elevator controls working, opening them up and out. A way to get clear of the madness. And finally, her voice, crackling along the comms for the Cerberus. "All personnel, head for the elevators. 141, you have incoming personnel on the flight elevator. Get our people out. When you're full, evac and jump to the Cerberus." But the pilot isn't leaving. That's not the job. A raptor's team's job is to provide cover for her personnel. And even if half of her team is back down in Big Bertha waiting to accept passengers, Leyla remains, providing what covering fire might be needed to get them clear. The rifle is dropped, held loose in her right hand, her sidearm reclaimed in her bloodied and painful left. But she's better withit than the bigger gun, and it takes less strength. "Get your asses moving!

Mark takes the round from the minigun in the arm and it spins him back into the wall. "Ow! Damnit!" Shifting the shotgun to his left arm, he holds the wound with his right as he watches the Raptor come apart and crash to the deck. Seeing Kepner and PEwter walking towards him, Mark racks the shotgun once more and returns it to his right hand to left the left arm bleed on its own. He hobbles as he walks, the man obviously injured. A hand undoes the straps on his helmet and its dropped to the floor with a light sound. Eyes up, the Captain's head is low but all attention is on Kepner. If Pewter doesn't kill him, it looks like Mark just might. He doesn't even look like he can hear much anything else. The blood isn't just on his forehead, either. Its dried out his nose and the man generally just looks beat the hell up despite being shot.

That's a sound for sore ears, Mathers pulling himself over his barracade with a sneer of a smile on his lips. "We've got him surrounded! Now squeeze!" And squeeze they do, in glorious fashion. Bravo Company may be down, but they aren't out, and the emerging Department Heads have bolstered spirits and renewed the zeal of the Mountaineers. It's odd after the ring of gunfire, how quiet things become once Kepner ejects from the Raptor and falls from the heavens like Icarus after getting too close to the sun, his waxen wings melted. Silent, Mathers stands with his rifle at the ready, holding his hand up for his Marines to cease fire because this is Pewter's call.

Constin lets the Karlstov slump the the ground, recoiling from the blast of the dying Raptor. Sucking in a few pained breaths, the sergeant climbs back to his feet as the fingers of his left hand close around the grip of his sidearm. The pistol is drawn and- as Pewter ambles up to Kepner, the Master-at-Arms' eye turns to the surviving Evocati marines. "Castrati, meet Bravo." Executions proceed while the the Command staff are evacuated. Last thing elf needs is a desperate idealist setting off more tylium tanks.

Lady finishes peppering the scarrering Marines at her flank with bullets by the time the Raptor's up and veering around the confined area. Turning at the top of the barricade, she hurls a grenade and then jumps down the other side, dropping and rolling to avoid the flame from the boat as it crashes and burns. As Kepner lands on deck, she begins to nearly visibly salivate, taking loose her third grenade, though leaving it pinned, for now, and slinking forward as if with intent to stuff it somewhere on or in the man's person, only slinking back again as they're called off the downed man. Yeah. This is Pewter's man.

Grabbing his rifle again as he gets knocked down by the blast of the Raptor, Samuel turns in Kepner's direction, but remains standing as he sees Pewter's approach. "Never a good idea to play a god…" he mutters, under his breath, watching the happenings intently now.

Lunair is a bit staggered, but still going. She looks relieved as the mad Raptor and its pilot are stopped. She looks like she wants to take a knee, but that's not very officerly so she stands up upright, unsteady. She watches Pewter then, with no small amount of respect. She's got herself ready to fire, but does not. She stifles a snort at Constin's comment, but she is silent. She just … needs a moment. To gather herself. Her head is spinning after all this. She doesn't even protest Constin's orders, perhaps understanding a lot more now. For now, she just offers an armed prescence to back Pewter up and watch evacuees.

Burke is lying on his back behind the crate, two smoking dents in his armor and a cracked rib or two beneath it. But his eyes flicker open a moment later, still conscious as he puts a hand on his chest and finds himself not dead. Pleased with that, he climbs to his feet and steps out from behind the half-blown-to-hell crate he was using for cover during the brief firefight. He lets the rifle clatter to the floor for more experienced hands to get at it, turning his head 'skywards' as though some sixth sense was just triggered, "Ah oughta git out there," he calls out towards Pewter or Cidra or anyone who'll listen, "Ah fly a plane better'n Ah shoot things." He is already taking a few steps towards one of the shiny Viper 7.5s.

Stoic though she may pretend to be, there's some smirk of satisfaction as Madilyn watches the grenade sail, the grenade explode, and Kepner take at least some shrapnel. That's the least of the troubles though, as he too is thrown into the air in a wobbly arc, to crash into the deck. Pulling the rifle back off her shoulder, she approaches Kepner, standing back to let Pewter handle the situation. In that eerie sort of relative silence, she looks about to the Bravo Company marines, looking for those that are up, those that are functional. With hand signals, she dispatches those who can to continue the executions, supporting Constin's mission. She'll overlook leniancy, just this once.

As the confrontation finally goes to shouts and no fire, Circe pushes herself up to get a better look from the cover she had stayed behind. Her hazel eyes narrow. The explosions are still leaving her ears ringing. "Get me up.." She says and reaches out for some help to rise. As one of the others that stayed behind to treat those unable to move forward helsp her up, she catches the words of those gathering. She drapes her arm around her aid and moves forward, red bandages showing more now than anything else, having to lean against one of the few barrels left as she can't get close enough. The deck is tilting before her in her view.

Leave it to Damon to bring a rifle to a Raptor-fight and manage not to hit the damn thing a single time. Not that it matters in the end, since the others succeed magnificently in bringing Kepner down. "Is it done?" he asks in a quiet voice, rifle slowly dropping to his side as he looks around. The enemy isn't attacking anymore. "Did we win? Is it over?" Muzzle aimed downward, he blinks in confusion, his brows pulling downward as his eyes start to water a little bit. Then the weapon comes back up again as he wanders aimlessly about. He empties the remainder of his mag into a wounded Areion Marine and just stands there breathing hard, finger still squeezing the trigger so hard that his knuckles turn white.

Never let it be said that Leyla doesn't know how to follow orders when she has to, and enlisted or no, the Master-At-Arms, is still the bloody Master-At-Arms (and literally too(!), right now). And this is a ground battle. Leyla continues, working her way away from the elevator controls, clearing a section for herself. All face shots, if anything even looks like it might still be twitching. She shows no more mercy to the Areion marines near her position than their beloved Kepner showed to the personnel he killed and ordered killed himself. Blood for Blood. The Taurian way. "Move it, people! The raptors are waiting, and this ship isn't going to last forever." Not if the combined fury of the BSG-132 has anything to say about it.

While the others go for the kill, Kincaid slowly gets to his feet, offering his almost-good arm to Circe. "Come on, Lagana," he tells the Medic. "We're going to get you back to the evac Raptors. We'll let the others clean up here."

Looking towards the marines around Kepner and then to Kincaid before Circe nods. The medic takes the arm as best she can and leans heavily against him as she moves for the exit. A look is given the MP and she says, "Your good, Kincaid…good people." She breathes.

Kepner looks up at Pewter, face bloodied, coughing, but his eyes remain bright and righteous and that furious grin remains fixed on his lips. He tries to speak, to spit something at the Pewter, but words fail him just now. He looks the Colonel square in the eye, waiting. Eyes open and ready in the face of what he knows now is to come.

Colonel Pewter's mouth doesn't move as he bends down, his cheeks twitching ever so slightly as behind him his men corral the compliant survivors and shoot the few stupid enough to do anything except put their hands on their heads. It takes him some effort to get to one knee, but eventually the old man makes it work. Fumbling fingers reach for the commander's pins on the man's grey uniform, ripping them off with brutal force. Brass insignia gleam gold beneath flaring alarms as he sets them aside, pushing himself to his feet with a tired, weary groan — to press both barrels of the gun into Kepner's neck, squelching any last words the man might be trying to say.

Later, they'll ask you where you were on the fifteenth of April this two thousandth and forty-second year after the Exodus from Kobol. They'll wonder if you were there at the end, when your soulless enemy fled like craven cowards, when their insane commander self-destructed his Raptor rather than face his end. They'll demand to know how you cheered and screamed and hugged and vaunted over the corpses of your foes, leaving behind none of your friends on the field of your triumph.

They'll be wrong, of course — about all of it. For all you'll see is Rudolph Kepner smile a sad, mad smile before Colonel Pewter empties two shells into his heart. And as he goes, so goes his ship of dreams, which burns red and bloody beside.

Johnny Cash
"God's Gonna Cut You Down"
Ode to Rudolph Kepner
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