PHD #413: EVENT - Hard Six
Hard Six
Summary: A bomb in the XO's office detonates and first responders aren't without danger. ST: Vandenberg
Date: 15 APR 2042 AE
Related Logs: Anything from 15 APR 2042
Circe Cilusia Sofia Constin Tillman NPC 
Outside XO's Quarters
Hallway. Set below.
Post-Holocaust Day: #413

1438 hours. All's quiet on Deck Four for the most part. But in a quiet hallway near the XO and CO's quarters, things are about to change dramatically. The wheel on the XO's hatch turns quickly after a series of tired questions overheard from inside. The hatch opens.. then its as if Hell let loose with a mighty breath of anger. The explosion rattles most of the forward decks of the ship, all the way down to CIC. Its the sort of bassy sound that reverberates through the chest of each and every man and woman nearby. Its only seconds before the call comes out across the ship: "FIRE FIRE FIRE! XO's Quarters! Away Damage Control Teams!" When people arrive the corridor isn't quite awash with flames but there is smoke pouring out of the XO's mangled hatch and licks of flames seeping out near the top. The heat can be felt from a dozen feet away. Outside the hatch are two Marines, Tillman's personal guards, their lifeless bodies on fire near rather large pools of blood.

Having been in sickbay on duty, the explosion is enough to feel at least in a rumble in sickbay. Confusion and soft questions had arisen first amongst those there before the call for aid was given. Amongst several others, Circe is responding, medical bag in hand and decked out in duty uniform. She is hauling ass down the hallway towards the scene of the explosion. As the smoke filters back and outward, she lowers her head and tries to keep out of the smoke, coughing a little as she finally moves for one of the marines that are down. "Frak!" She starts checking for life, placing her two fingers against the first one's neck, seeking a pulse.

Sofia's one of the engineers out and about. And to this end, she's grabbed for the fire team. She's geared up in a suit, with standard supplies. Even Sofa's gotta be in good shape. Wait. XO … mangled hatch … fire … oh god. Something is /wrong/. Flashbacks cause Sofia to seize, her hands almost twitching. Visions of an XO past. … "No … please not Tillman too." She seemed to like Tillman. And most Marines are her buddies and oh gods. She shivers. She starts for the mangled hatch and hesitates. Torches. Gonna need torches. "To— p-pass me a torch please!" Her voice cracks, almost sounding sick.

"Oh-Two masks!" A commanding bark repeats, twice, as Constin's boots drive the big man toward the source of the explosion. A quick stop at the emergency locker had provided Elf with a long hafted crowbar, in addition to the torch which is passed brusquely to Sofia in approach of the door. Anyone in the smoking corridor not wearing an oxygen mask is provided one, before Elf arrives at the hatch.

<FS3> Sofia rolls Alertness: Failure.
<FS3> Circe rolls Alertness: Good Success.
<FS3> Constin rolls Alertness: Good Success.
<FS3> Cilusia rolls Alertness: Success.

There's got to be some kind of irony in coming out of sickbay, battled off a feverish delirium, and then being thrown back into the heat. Moving more slowly than usual, presently back on a light-duty assignment, it would figure that the damage control call would come with her on deck. Suiting up as fast as possible while still fighting off some aches, Cilusia hurries up to Deck 4 with the usual assortment of damage control gear…and right into the sights and sounds of an explosion and dead bodies…and beeping. "What's that?" she calls over comms. "Someone running a timer on fire suppression before we have to seal and vent?"

Other members of the crew are already responding to the call for teams, too. Firefighting gear is still being pulled on while hose teams and dragging their own equipment out of lockers nearby. Its taken nearly two and a half minutes to get a fast response from Condition Three, even at this stage of the war. With O2 masks going out, people are barking orders but most seem to be following Constin's lead. "Water on!!" one of the fire crews calls out, the PO3 heading the hose towards the hatch and pouring on the relief. Meanwhile the fire inside continues to burn and smolder, the black smoke belching forth from inside.

Its about this time that the shipwide address gongs. Some might expect more damage control announcements. No. It's not even close. Its the voice of Areion's Commanding Officer, Commander Rudy Kepner.

"Men and women of the Fleet: I am Commander Rudolph Kepner of the escort carrier Areion, and I have taken command of this battlegroup.

"At 1441 hours, Commander Laughlin was executed for acts of treason against the Colonial Military. Colonel Pewter, Colonel Ionis, Major Hahn, Major Willows-Cavanaugh, Captain Makinen, Captain Bia and Chief Petty Officer Damon are in custody for mutiny, sedition and colluding with the enemy in a time of war. The executive officers of Corsair, Cerberus and Praetorian, having endorsed these treasonous acts, have been subdued so as not to interfere with our mission…"

"What is our mission, you ask? The time for planning garden parties with Cylons who murdered our friends and families by the billions is finished. The time of giving aid and comfort to enemies within our ranks is finished. The time for cowardice, for timidity, for fleeing like so many confused sheep — that time is finished.

With the arrival of Constin, Circe looks up after looking over the second marine. "Gunnery.." She calls out, hunching still before she reaches into her bag in search of her own mask. But as she is about to explain the marines, she looks up at the beeping, rising once her mask is in place. The medic pauses and she clears her throat. "Gunnery, catch that?" She asks, gazing up towards the air-vent not far above her head. "Got something." She says firmly to him, pointing upward towards the vent, her head tilting, but the smoke makes it hard to see. The heat from the spreading flames is slowly being doused by the fire crews. The two men on the ground are also a shivering concern until she hears the voice over the comsystem. Her lips part beneath her mask and underneath her breath, she looks about, then down at the victims that were undone not by the explosion but by trained assailants.

Constin gives no physical reaction to either the announcement of venting after a set timer, nor- once Kepner's dulcet tones pipe through the speakers (does that man ever NOT speak theough a microphone?)- does he interrupt his efforts then. The long hanfted crowbar wedged into the thick armored bulkhead as it still radiates heat, and working at stirring the blasted hulk. "Focus, damnit!" is his only answer to the rest of the team at the announcement. "Anybody with hands free, drag the marines out of here!" Alive or dead, they're in the way.

Then here comes the announcement. Sofia's eyes widen. No, no, no, no. This is - all wrong - she doesn't notice the bodies. Nor dor she seem to care much for them. Hfff. She just kind of starts in with her welding torch as best as she can. She steadies herself, doing her best not to wobble. It's okay, it's okay. SHE has the torch now. No one's flailing. No one's in front of her. But the CAG and everyone. Her stomach has sunk. She just stares. Weld, help, weld. Whatever she can do. She seems impressed by Constin, but redoubles her efforts to concentrate and help. Weaken those hinges! She'll stop as soon as she feels it is time. But the world is spinning so fast.

The messages come and the messages go. "Come on, come on, keep at it! That asshole's statements don't mean a frakkin' bit of good if the fire wrecks this ship!" To Cilusia, like Constin, Kepner's just a name and a voice on the comms, and apparently a little unhinged. This is his definition of subdued? Laboring the breath through the breathing apparatus for firefighting, Cilusia does what she can to handle the spray of water into the XO's quarters to keep it from burning the joint down.

That beeping, as quiet as it is, finally stops. It was rhythmic. Like a musical note almost. The hinges are being cut easily enough. People are scrambling. The PO3 in charge of the hose shoves the nozzle into a bent portion of the hatch to get relief directly into the room alongside Cilusia. Nobody knows if the man is actually in there, right?" Meanwhile overhead the voice of Kepner drones on, addressing the crew and echoing down the corridors.

"This is a time for heroes. This is the time to fight.

"Amplified by the ships in this Fleet, the Gun is finally ready to strike a crippling blow against the Cylons. As such, I am ordering our battlegroup to jump to the heart of Colonial space. There, we will take the fight to the major Cylon outposts on Caprica, Picon, and all the rest. We will eliminate their foundries, annihilate their troops, and destroy the resurrection depots that grant them their profane immortality. We will strip them of their bodies and render them mortal at last…"

As other medics move the marines out of the way, she looks down a moment to the downed comrades. Circe lifts her voice louder beyond all the ruckus that builds from the work done and the announcements. She moves to place a hand at Constins's back. "Gunnery!" She calls out, more loudly past her mask to get his attention. She points upward to the vent as the beeping has stopped. "We got something. Heard the beeping but I think it's stopped!" She says past the rush of water and the prying of the hatchway. She backs up a step, looking for anything to get up higher.

Constin doesn't curse this time, as the telltale beeping reaches his ear. "Crewmen, keep working on the door!" he barks, leaving the bar wedged into the hatchway, as he glances about quickly, spying a suitable crate that will allow him to reach the vent, and the ominous beeping from within. A boot planted and a muscle exterted, and the big man is up amongst the thickest rising smoke. He's be grateful for his oxygen mask, if there were a moment to spare for gratitude.

"Hateful, merciless monster…" Sofia mumbles. Her eyes are blank, seeming to blot out the bile and hate and fear. Sofia is definitely in the *do not want* camp as far as Kepner. And from the sound of those mumbles? This is a hate that was at first cautious, but growing more bold and definitely rising now. She nods slowly at the order to keep working. Sofia kneels, swallowing. She's quiet now, taking slow breaths. She /has/ to keep her hands steady despite the edges and jags of fugue and some flashback trying to peek through. Don't call that image up. She /stares/ at the hinges and torch, ever watchful. Bomb. No bomb. She has a torch. That's all.

"If he's in there…I don't think he's going to mind getting wet," Cilusia bellows into the comms over the rush of water from the nozzle. "Could open it up a bit, get a wider spray. Get more of the room that way too!" Every second that they spray water in there, the hatch gets cut on with the torch. Eventually, the weight of the door is likely to cause it to pull the weakened hinges free. "Watch that hatch! Could come down instead of swinging open!"

Almost through the hinges. The beeping finally reveals itself as to its source. Constin probably has just enough time to see a red light flashing and then go steady through the smoke. The vent explodes downward, the heavy structure blowing out and down, throwing the MaA down onto the Corpsman. The angle of the vents are just enough to deflect most of the blast towards the door. The explosive, whatever it was, sends shrapnel flying right down to the door and absolutely shreds the PO3 who was stretching around the other crew to maneuver the hose. His body collapses into a bloody heap atop Cilusia. But another sound immediately joins the cacophony of death and fire: Hissing. Its not hard to miss the explosive gasses escaping the punctures in the oxy-acetylene tanks.

"Make no mistake of it: our mission will be hazardous. But should we die, we will die like men, like warriors, winning sweet vengeance against an enemy that has destroyed everything we hold dear. Our other choice? To limp along out here in the hidey-holes of space until the Cylons pick us off Viper by Viper, while our spirit is sapped by some foul plague of their engineering. Well, I am no coward, and I say that if humanity is to go down, we shall at least take the Cylons with us…"

Circe is hardly as built as Constin, but she steps up the task despite this. Grasping for the bar, she begins to pull, levering it to give a hard tug. She grunts on the inside of her mask, looking to Sofia a moment before she tugs heavily. Arm muscles strain against the creaking hatch when the explosion goes off overhead. The shaking of the hallway follows the sudden throw of Constin down ontop of her, slamming her into the floor heavily as her head rebounds a moment. Her vision darkens and she gasps for air, the mask suddenly feeling as if it was suffocating her - but really its the massive wait of Elf atop her. The ache in her skull for her head hitting the ground causes her to moan faintly as she refocuses slowly. The cries of people injured reach her ears and she tries to drag herself out from beneath the MaA.

First, the sound and heat assaults Cilusia from that side, then the stinging, biting pain of shrapnel. It cuts right through the damage control suit, and bites into her left arm, and upper back. The shredded PO3, taking the majority of the exploding shrapnel, serves as a pincushion to keep her from getting hit by too much. The body pushes her down to the deck though, the hose now left to blast and whip around. Thankfully, with water spitting out in streams from the torn hose, the pressure is down. After the ringing in her ears subsides, the first thing Cilusia can hear is her raspy breathing. It's made even louder as she tries to push the bigger PO3 off of her.

Standing on a box as a detonation goes off may have taken constin out of the immediate blast zone, but the force of the explosion throws the big man back, slamming with bruising force into the others on the deck plating. "Get the torch clear!" the MaA roars to Sofia over the chaos, shaking his head once to clear the oxygen rich cobwebs. Planting his freshly repaired right hand on the deck and wincing as he levers his bulk back up onto his feet (Sorry, Fasi), opening the channel of his wireless before grasping the prybar with a fresh desperation, heedless of the fresh bloodsplatters which mark its length. "Hub, Constin! GRRRRRRRaaah… We have hostile agent- last known location Ex-Oh's quarters. Suspect use of ventialation ducts. Armed and dangerous."

Sofia is stunned more than anything. She was a bit to the side and well, welding. She gets a bit stung, her arm aching in protest. She stifles - and cuts off a scream at the dead PO3. No, no, not again. Not again. Please not again. Sofia might not remember *well* or clearly, or even outside snatches of images (Aren't psychotic breaks FUN?). Her eyes are blank, with horror and hatred. But for now, she moves the torch and tank away as fast as she can. Which - might not be too fast given the weight. Still, she's got motivation. Hatred and fear are powerful.

With Sofia scrambling up, she's hauling the welding tanks clear as fast as her legs can carry her, disappearing down the hall and around a corner. The fresh oxygen briefly feeds the flames but it goes back to their prior burning. Though the work of the secondary explosion seems to have weakened most of the hatch and a few solid pulls with prybars would probably get it clear. Meanwhile the fires rage, one of the hoses still stuck into the door's frame but leaking everywhere in huge sprays.

"Some among you will undoubtedly object. Before you do, know this. Colonel Pewter and the others are being held safely and securely aboard this vessel. But should this treason spread — should you launch any attack against my ship, attempt to jump away, or refuse to comply with these directives — we will execute one of your Department Heads every thirty minutes. Their lives are in your hands and, though they do not deserve your loyalty, they will suffer the consequences for your disobedience. And if you require additional incentive, know also that my people have access to the launch codes of Cerberus' nuclear missiles and are prepared to detonate them on my orders. If mission preparations are incomplete after six hours have elapsed, we will not hesitate to do so…"

Once she is able to get up, Circe moves over to help Cilusia with the PO3, checking his pulse as well as she gets him rolled to the side. "Sound off." She intones to the two, gazing about a moment to get an assessment of any other injured. Her head hurts from the slamming of it into the deck, but she blinks to focus and looks over the wounds of the two. As another medic moves in to help, more showing to aid the explosions, she is relieved. Standing slowly, she looks back to Constin and the hatch. Bending down to pick up another bar, she strides over to hook the crowbar into the side and give sa hard pressed slam of the thing forwards, straining some to help loosen it further.

Constin heaves and strains on the prybar with all his strength, pausing only long enough to adjust his footing as Circe joins him at the task. Between breaths, he counts out, "One, two, HEAVE," to coordinate efforts now deprived of a live torch. "One, two, HEAVE."

Getting to her feet is a process in and of itself, but Cilusia manages once the PO3 (and Constin) are up and about. Bleeding from the shredded holes in the suit, the hose less useful now than before, she thinks it might be prudent to help pry the hatch open. Lacking a bar of her own, she just grabs the bent-back edge, and starts to tug as best she can, still a bit dazed from the flashbang effect of the explosion.

The door takes some hard work over the course of fifteen or twenty seconds. The heat is getting a little lower with the hoses stuck into the door but its not chilly by any stretch. Eventually the hatch swings free and tumbles to the side, falling across the corridor on a series of loud bangs. Just inside the door, under what was probably Cilusia's jets of water, is the form of the XO. Still in what's left of his blue's, the man isn't moving but is lain face-down while the rest of his quarters is a raging inferno. There's a five-foot diameter section of the ceiling blasted apart right over his desk.

"I know in my heart you will make the right decision. I know brave and righteous humans still exist in this Fleet. And together, we will see our mission through to the end.

"Your Commander has spoken. Kepner out."

A PO2 runs up to Constin and tugs at his arm, shouting from behind the mask. "SERGEANT!" he belts over the roar of the flames. "CIC wants an update!! Now!!" He's not barking orders but the urgency is clear.

As the hatch opens and tumbles free, Circe blinks and lets the vision clear before she hauls herself in. She braces against the hit, holding up a hand a moment to get a look at the fire before she moves in to get to Tillman. "Someone grab my bag!" She yells back, sliding in next to him, going to a knee as she che starts to roll him over with care, settling him to his back. Circe is hean placing her ear near his mouth to check. Alive. "I need a stretcher, stat!" She intones. "He's alive." She says.

Constin pulls his arm loose of the PO2, hollering back as he enters the room, "Tell them enemy saboteur on board! Gimme thirty seconds more-" he adds, ducking his face away from the heat as he moves to Tillman's smoldering side. A breath is drawn to holler for Circe, but the Corpsman is already moving. Sucking in a deep breath through the mask, he pulls it off, pressing the thing to Tillman's mouth as he is turned face up.

With the hatch opened and free, there should be enough room for more crew to get in there, maneuvering their way past the medics and the XO. Taking up the hose once more, Cilusia stands inside the doorway beyond Tillman and the medics, attempting to abate the flames even more, trying to keep them at bay for the moment while the medics work and stabilize the XO.

The call goes down the line for a stretcher and as more backup had arrived, there is one brought in towards the hatch within a minute. Moving for them to get in, she looks up and nods to the MaA. "Alright, we got him from here." Circe says, giving him a knowing look. Once he is out of the way, the medics with her aiding as well, will move the XO to the stretcher and strap him in. With care they lift him and start to extract him back through the ruined hatchway and to sickbay. The hallway is now alive with more personnel, seeing over the fallen before the corpsman looks up to the MaA. "Not sure if there was more than one assailant, but both guards had slit throats. Clean cuts." She reports to Constin.

Constin nods curtly once to Circe's report, having ducked back out into the corridor after providing the downed XO with his own oxygen mask. As the medics are at work, the sergeant patches in another call to the Security Hub, having drawn his pistol in the left hand, moving along with the medics until more escort can arrive.

[Into the Wireless] Constin says, "Hub, Constin. Ex-Oh is under escort to Medical. Request alert fireteam join en route."

With the XO being transported down to sickbay, there's not much Cilusia and the other damage control members can do. Fighting through the gradually dying heat, the lessening smoke, and the stinging pain of all those shrapnel bits - superficial, mostly, with just little trickles of blood - she helps the others in their attempt to finally extinguish the flames.

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