PHD #074: Hunt and Gather
Hunt and Gather
Summary: The Anadyomene group hunts for food, discovers other things, and receives a welcome word from home.
Date: 2041.05.11
Related Logs: Eye to the Ground.
Daphne Kulko Tisiphone Samuel Laskaris Lunair Quinn Trask Cidra 
City Outskirts — Leonis
Post-Holocaust Day: #74
A forest shouldn't be this quiet. The loudest sound comes from the gentle breeze ruffling the canopies of this vast expanse of evergreens, their trunks groaning ever so softly — mourning, perhaps, the fate of the Colony's inhabitants. But the strange silence notwithstanding, this remarkably well-preserved stretch of land seems completely untouched by the destruction the Cylons have wrought. Wide clearings open into azure skies or starlit vistas; knee-high grass sways beneath pillowy clouds or the overhanging moon. A small creek snakes through leafy ground and loamy soil, its clear water burbling softly over a bed of weather-worn rocks. So peaceful is this bucolic place — a full eighty kilometers from civilization — that it might even dispel, if only for a while, the nightmares of the preceding months.

Late afternoon edging toward early evening in the forest outside of Kythera, and the sky's edging away from blue toward the golden tint that heralds approaching sunset. Far ahead of the group tasked with hacking and clearing a route for the cargo-laden ATVs is the scouting group — the early-warning system for the band. And, as more and more of the group are hoping, the anything-but-another-protein-bar-PLEASE scavengers.

Tisiphone's one of the members of this scouting group. While not as stealthy as some of her companions, there's the old familiarity of woodland traipsing on her side — when sustenance hunting is the course of the day, one learns to move quietly through the woods. She's wearing only the vest and shoulderplates of her battle armour, the rest deemed Too Frakking Awkward To Skulk In, and carries her rifle at her side.

Daphne basically stalks, the woman maintaining a distance of about twenty feet from her two companions and moving in a fashion that's practiced. Tisiphone would know how much sneaking around military bases and outskirts the other viper jock had done when she was younger, and it's unlikely to be the first time she's observed her do something like this (do you know how much fun can be had at an air base if you just know how?). Those who haven't… she's awfully quiet, usually crouched, and keeping a very sharp eye on everyone. She's done this before. Obviously. She leans against a tree, crouched, pistol in one hand, and the ubiquitous protein bar in the other.

Samuel moves along with the two pilots, his own movements looking like someone that's had a lot of practive moving along through forests. Pausing once in a while to look around very carefully, before he continues moving. His expression seems to be fairly relaxed, although it's focused on the task at hand.

Kulko doesn't seem to have a problem with the periods of motionlessness - it's the navigating silently in the woods that gives him pause. Perhaps it's that he's used to the desert, where there's not all that much to make noise? His rifle is borne across his chest; his armor is back in the ATVs, save for the vest.

Comfortable isn't really the right word to describe how Tisiphone moves through the forest, either. /Familiar/, maybe — and unnerved, as if visiting a beloved relative stricken with some wasting disease between the previous visit and this one. After a long while of pensive tromping she comes to a halt and scans around, looking for the others. "Frakking /nothing/ out here," she mutters. It sounds more tense than she wants it to.

<FS3> Daphne rolls Stealth: Terrible Failure.
<FS3> Samuel rolls Hunting: Good Success.
<FS3> Kulko rolls Stealth: Good Success.

You paged Samuel with 'Hey, that's some bear poop over there. Less than a day old.'
You paged Daphne with 'Hey, that's a bunny you just scared into the underbrush!'
You paged Kulko with 'Daphne's about to startle a rabbit out of / into the underbrush and out of sight. There's a second one she doesn't spot, that you do — if you want to try the shot when your pose comes around.'

Daphne creeps along, not really slow, but not hurried, either. She's quiet, taking the occasional pause to bite into the brick of cardboard-like 'food' she's holding in her hand. It's probably the first she's eaten all day. She slips forward, squinting into the distance, and manages to outsmart herself. She's quiet enough that the thing she steps on doesn't quite realize she's there until her boot comes in contact with it. There's a high pitched squeak that makes Daphne's skin turn white. A small white and grey creature about one and a half feet tall darts from somewhere, the rabbit terrified and bruised as it dives into a brush. So much for quiet. Daphne inhales.

Kulko freezes in place, raising a fist to signal the same to the rest of the party. Slowly, methodically, he shoulders his rifle and slides the selector to semi-auto. He frames the second rabbit in the ring of the iron sights. One eye closed. Half breath out. A prayer tossed up to Diana. A squeeeeze of the trigger, delicate, careful.

<FS3> Kulko rolls Firearms: Success.

Moving forward a bit further, Samuel kneels down not far from one of those trees. Seemingly studying something down there for a while, before he starts getting to his feet. Pausing a little as he sees the signal from Kulko, he stays where he is for the moment, not wanting to disturb the hunting officer. Glancing around as he waits.

Kulko's shot rings out, and Tisiphone's gaze sweeps in a line from his rifle to the ground, where a cloud of dirt has been thrown into the air. She waits for him to start lowering the rifle before she quick-steps it toward the spot, crouching to pick up a small, bloodied, brown rabbit. "Nice," she says, though she's frowning hard at it. "There a burrow over there, Daphne?" When she looks up from the animal, it's over her shoulder — in the direction she last saw Samuel.

Daphne watches the shot, breathing through her nose and then nodding satisfied as the thing drops. At Tisiphone's question, she looks around, waddling backwards a bit to get a better look around, and then shakes her head. She points to herself, then to her eyes, and then to the ground. Then she makes an 'O' with her right hand and continues forward a bit. Like she didn't just step on dinner.

Kulko makes safe his weapon and lets it hang from the sling, pacing over Tisiphone's way to inspect the prize. "And it ain't even glowin'," he notes with wry appreciation. He falls silent yet again, motioning off to the east. "Ought to be a stream thataway, from the recon. Maybe we could catch somethin' goin to get a drink."

"Nice shooting there," Samuel offers to Kulko, before he moves further towards the others, "Should be a bear lurking around the area too. It had a little toilet break around here less than a day ago." Nodding a little at the mention of the stream. "Should be something there," he replies in agreement.

"I thought it'd- look-" Tisiphone mutters, still frowning at the rabbit, unnerved. "-different," she finishes, with a restless shrug. A bit of rope fastens the rabbit to her belt in short order, and then she's good to move on. "A bear?" She glances back to Kulko, then over to Daphne, raking her teeth against the crack in her bottom lip. Well. Nothing for it — this is the way they're going. She falls silent, and presses onward.

<FS3> Daphne rolls Alertness: Good Success.
<FS3> Kulko rolls Alertness: Good Success.
<FS3> Samuel rolls Hunting: Good Success.
<OOC> Tisiphone just puts it here: as we get near the creek, you guys all notice that there's a brown bear at the edge of the water, noshing on the remains of a very, very dead deer.

Daphne continues ahead, plotting a course through the wilderness and, this time, hoping to avoid stepping on any rabbits. At the sight of the bear, she stops, turning towards the rest of the group and crouching low. She points to herself, then her eyes, then the bear. Up goes a single finger to indicate '1'. And then she gets her hands out and makes like claws. Her expression is askance, as if she's trying to hold a very quiet poll.

Kulko follows suit, crouching a half-second after their lead tracker. His expression is eager, and he offers her a thumbs-up. To the two behind him, he motions first one way, then the other - surround and conquer the beast. But, you know. Quiet-like.

<FS3> Tisiphone rolls Stealth: Bad Failure.

Samuel nods a little bit as he sees the signals, and the bear out there. Moving a little to the side to get in position to help taking out the big animal.

Surround and conquer. Got it. Tisiphone nods silently to Kulko, and moves off in the gestured-to direction, opposite from Samuel. Creepa. Creepa. It's not until a minute or so later, as everyone's settling into position, that she takes a final few steps forward over a fallen tree, catches a bootlace in one of the dead branches, and stumblelurches down to her knees. CRACKrustlerustle.

The bear whuffles as it looks up from its supper, its muzzle shiny and clotted with gore.

The turn of events does not go unnoticed. Kulko quickly shoulders his rifle and flips down the selector switch, all pretence of stealth abandoned. "Unit, shoulder weapons," he says in a level tone, sighting in on the bear's shoulderblade, and hoping the anti-armor rounds are big enough to drop the creature quickly.

Daphne swallows, glancing towards the sound, and then to the bear. She lifts her pistol and draws it towards several hundred pounds of fur, teeth, and flesh, then inhales. She doesn't say a word and simply draws a bead on the thing.

Samuel takes aim with his rifle for now, aiming carefully for the bear. Studying the animal as he aims at it, expression one of concentration now.

<FS3> Kulko rolls Firearms: Success.
<FS3> Samuel rolls Firearms: Good Success.
<FS3> Daphne rolls Firearms: Good Success.

There's a raw flush creeping up Tisiphone's scalp as she hurriedly picks herself up and slaps dead leaves off her knees, attention cutting over toward the now-alerted bear. Fortunately for her, three shots ring out as if on cue — two loud rifle-cracks, and the more-subdued pop of Daphne's pistol. The bear lets out a bubbling sound between a snarl and a sigh before slumping atop its lunch.

Upon closer inspection, the bear is gaunt, and much of its hide shows radiation burns. There's dried blood crusted around its nostrils — whether that's from earlier mouthfuls of lunch, or its own, is impossible to tell.

Kulko immediately lets his rifle hang and makes for the bear at a brisk clip. His pistol is drawn from his hip, the slide pulled back to chamber a round. Unceremoniously, Cerberus' JTAC fires a round into the bear's skull. If it wasn't dead already, it surely is now.

Daphne keeps both hands on her pistol and pulls the trigger, allowing for some recoil on the handgun's part, but not so much that she lets it hit her in the face. She's edumacated in guns, you know. Well, at least she's never sheered her thumb off. She crouch-walks towards the bear and gives Tisiphone a curious look, like she's asking if she's okay.

Samuel nods a little bit as the shots bring down the bear, and moves forward with the others. Pausing to look over in Tisiphone's direction, then back to the bear for now.

<FS3> Kulko rolls Alertness +10: Success.
<FS3> Daphne rolls Alertness+10: Good Success.
<FS3> Samuel rolls Alertness+10: Success.

<OOC> Daphne says, "Kulko and Samuel (and me): Other than the sickly iron scent of blood, both fresh, ailing, and dried, there's another aroma. It's pungent and revolting. Smells like a decomposing bodies, and human ones at that. It's somewhere a little north of here. Daphne would even spot some large pawprints. The bear came in that direction."

Kulko crouches down at the bear's side, holstering his pistol and drawing instead his knife. "Diana, Mistress of the Hunt, thanks for the bear." Unceremonious indeed. Kulk's back to business, pointing the blunt end of the knife at Samuel. "Corporal, on me. Help me roll him… Gods, is that him? He sick or somethin'?"

Daphne gets closer. Upon looking at the bear, she turns her head down and cringes, as if the odor is coming from the sickly creature they've just gunned down, "Uuuuguh.. Sure you still want to thank Diana for the bear? Can we send it back?"

Samuel nods a bit at Kulko's words, and moves to attempt to roll the animal around. Pausing a bit at the smell. "That smell… There's something…" Trailing off a little bit as he moves to get the bear moved around, a grimace on his face.

"There's something else dead around here." Tisiphone's voice, filling in the gap in Samuel's words, as she closes in on the group. She's still brushing at her legs, more embarrassed than anything, and limping just slightly — most likely a scraped knee, and nothing serious. She clears her throat rather thickly and presses her mouth into a thin, bloodless line.

"On three. One. Two. Three…" Kulko adds his heft to Samuel's; even sickly as it is, rolling the bear onto its back is no small feat. Once it's stable, Stephen gets to work, making a shallow incision at the base of the animal's abdomen and separating the abdominal wall from the skin. Once there's room to work, he lays the knife aside and slips both hands beneath the pelt, working them round and round in circles to separate skin from flesh. "We'll know in a minute if it's him… but you're right. He's fresh dead, ain't supposed to smell that bad."

<FS3> Tisiphone rolls Alertness-10: Good Success.
Daphne (d) pages: You manage not to step on the digital camera laying in the brush. It's dark gray and partially pressed into the dirt, so it was easy to miss. It also seems to work. It contains snapshots of a happy looking family. Mom, dad, and two kids… a teenaged boy and a nine year old girl. You know she's nine because one of them has her celebrating her birthday.

Daphne sniffs the air. "That's not the bear. No frakking way." Her eyes fall to the ground near the bear. The viper pilot points with her handgun…. something she's technically not -ever- supposed to do, but there's no drill instructor out here to yell at her, so she is probably going to get away with it. "Over there."

Samuel blinks a bit as he hears Daphne's words. "What is it?" he asks, after a few moments of pause.

Kulko seems reluctant to leave the prize. "Daphne, take Samuel and go check it out. Don't go out of earshot, holler if you need anythin." He withdraws his hands from beneath the fur, and takes up his knife again, shooting a glance where Daphne pointed. "Frak it. Let's go. Nobody's stealin' this thing."

"Let's- go check it out," says Tisiphone to Daphne, a little ashen-faced but determined. She glances sidelong to Kulko and Samuel, the sight of the field dressing somehow easier to bear. Some small amount of tension leaches out of her shoulders when it's announced they'll all proceed together, and she turns to start moving off — only to do an awkward hop over her own boots. Stooping, she bends over and picks something out of the dead leaves. It's small and square and silver — a digital camera. "Hunh," she says, distractedly, taking a few steps forward as she starts cleaning it off.

Daphne nods curtly, "Paw prints. It's coming from…" She swallows the air and, and if her face is one to go by, it tasted nasty. "Where that smell is from." She crawls ahead, slowly moving into the brush.

Heading inward, the smell simply gets revolting. It's an overwhelmingly human smell mixed with that of rotting garbage, maggots, and filth. There in the brush, lay four bodies. The two largest, an adult man and woman, have been mauled, rancid flesh exposed where the bear likely tore into their bodies. In spite of all the missing pieces, both absconded with and rotted, their limbs are mostly intertwined, as if they died in a love embrace… or holding one another as the tears came. Nearby, a boy's body can be seen half resting against a tree. This is because the other half is a few inches beyond it. His flesh has been torn to pieces as well, but there's also a rusty knife sticking from his chest, and a skeletal hand clutched around the pommel. A fourth body is here, half pulled out of a hasty, shallow grave. She couldn't have been more than twelve years old. One can see part of her skull, as well as her rotting internal organs. The scene smells as horrific as it looks.

Samuel moves with the others, grimacing a bit as the smell gets stronger. And the bodies they can see makes his expression harden a bit as he watches them. Glancing between the others, for now. Better than to look too closely at the corpses, anyway.

Kulko holsters the knife and follows along after the intrepid explorers. He bites his lip, folds his arms, and breaks cigarette discipline, reaching into his pocket for the pack. "Frak." A few short drags, enough to still his nerves, before he passes it over to Tisiphone.

"Works," says Tisiphone, still following after the others with half her attention turned down to the camera. "Doesn't even-" She flicks one toggle forward and back, then goes back to her half-distracted examination. "Mom. Dad. Two kids. Boy's maybe- fifteen? Girl can't be more than…she's nine. Ninth birthday." She's going through the pictures and doesn't realize, until she looks up, that she's rattled off the likely identity of the grisly remains in front of them all. Her throat bobs against a swallow trapped in her throat. "The frak happened here?" she whispers thickly, eyes moving to the others — last of all Kulko, whom she numbly takes the cigarette from.

Daphne's eyes go wide, and she gags. The gun gets placed down as carefully as the woman can manage, then she dry heaves. Fingertips retrieve the gun almost as an afterthought and she moves far enough out of the brush for her to safely throw up without it landing on anyone. Food rationing works in her favor, since there's not much volume for her to upheave.

"Cmon, now," Kulko says curtly. "There's work to be done." And it won't do any of us any good to stare, is the unspoken subtext. He leaves the cigarette with the balder half of Team Ensign and turns to head back bear-ward, dead animals being more comforting - if not more familiar, these days - than dead people.

"There's no photos that can tell us that?" Samuel asks in Tisiphone's direction, for a few moments, before he studies the bodies for a few moments longer. As if watching them carefully can help explain what happened." He slowly starts moving over in the direction of the dead bear again.

Daphne (d) pages: The photos are all 'happy family', all the time. The last photo on the camera was the family's campsite, and it's dated two days before armageddon.
You paged Daphne with 'Does this look like the general campsite area?'
Daphne (d) pages: No. I mean, it's trees and dirt and such. Could be a ways from here, could be around the corner, could be on the other side of the forest.

It won't do any of them any good to stare — but stare Tisiphone does, as if transfixed, while she fills her lungs with smoke with painstaking slowness. The moment breaks abruptly on her exhale, and her eyes flick to Samuel. "There's a shovel with the ATVs," she says, which doesn't answer him at all. "We'll bury them when they catch up to us." She crosses, then, toward Daphne, waiting until she's done heaving to step forward and put an arm around her to help her straighten up. Briskly: "C'mon. Let's move. Bear steak for supper tonight."

Daphne is a fair bit more wobbly now than she was just seconds ago. Her elbows shake, the hands supporting her suddenly seeming ill equipped for the task. SPitting out the last chunks of vomit, she wipes her mouth on her sleeve and nods, accepting Tisiphone's help up. "Yeah. Let's just…. let's get the frak out of here."

Kulko strides purposefully back to the bear and resumes his crouch. He doesn't get back to work immediately, instead surveying the trees around them and pointing towards them. "Gonna have to string him up an' bleed him out. Might want to pick somewhere… not rancid… to pitch camp for the night, so we can get down to butcherin'." That said, he rolls up his sleeves and resumes the grisly work, slicing a full circle around the great predator's anus and pulling out the large intestine, in which he ties an overhand knot. Hands start to get bloodied, roundabout now.

"If there are any other predators around, they'll be coming by tonight, yeah." Fresh offal. What's not to love? Tisiphone guides Daphne back toward the stream, steering her around Kulko at a relatively large berth to a spot upstream where the water won't be fouled. "Grab a drink, you'll feel better." She's not very good at mothering, but she's trying. After a soft slap against her friend's shoulder, she turns to pull hard on the cigarette again before crossing back to Kulko, the digital camera getting slipped away into a button-down pocket. She holds the smoke out for him. It's not like he has a clean hand to grab it for himself, after all. "Trees over there look strong enough to hold it." She points with her chin toward one.

A pair of eyes size up the stream, and their owner, one Daphne Kolettis, rises to her feet, and then gets back on her knees for a long sip of water that may or may not be terribly healthy. But what's a few tapeworms between friends.

"Swell. See if you can't rig up a harness - and while you're at it, try'n scare up some plastic bags for the good bits." Stephen pauses to pull a long drag off the cigarette so politely held, carefully exhaling away from the carcass. One hand is placed pointedly near the first incision, while with the knife he slices midway up the abdomen, through the wall. With a faint /slurp/, a torrent of intestines and assorted viscera slide through onto the ground, which he sets about combing through.

Laskaris has arrived.

Evening is approaching. The route the ATVs have taken lead toward a small stream. On the opposite side of the stream from where the ATVs will enter is Kulko, in the very messy middle of field-dressing a brown bear. Tisiphone is standing nearby, as of yet unbloodied, holding a cigarette out for him. Daphne is fetching a drink upstream from where Kulko is working.

Kulko, Tisiphone, Daphne and Samuel were today's scout/forward group, finding the route for the ATVs and others to take. The first to arrive will be those sawing and clearing underbrush for the ATVs to get through — then next will be the ATV drivers and passengers.

<FS3> Daphne rolls Alertness: Success.
<FS3> Kulko rolls Alertness: Success.
<FS3> Laskaris rolls Alertness: Good Success.
<FS3> Tisiphone rolls Alertness: Success.

The scouts can probably hear the oncoming ATVs before they see them. It's Laskaris' turn on point; the Viper captain's ride is the first one over the rise, its passengers and loaded equipment jostling as it moves across the forested terrain. A cigarette dangles from the man's mouth, bouncing jauntily as he drives. Lasher brings the ATV to a stop just short of the screen, murmuring a quick word to the pilot next to him before hopping out of the vehicle. He watches Kulko as the younger man works on dressing the bear. There's a grunt. "You're takin' me back, Lieutenant," Lasher notes, his voice muffled by the cigarette still held between his lips.

Once Kulko's taken his drag off the cigarette, Tisiphone steps back and pops the smoke back into the corner of her own mouth, watching the field dressing with an odd, almost reminiscent, interest. She blinks out of it after a moment and nods to him. "Got it," she says. "Think I hear the ATVs. They'll have more rope." She looks over toward Daphne for a second, then crosses back over the stream at a jog in the direction of the sound of engines.

Kulko sifts through the pile of entrails, securing the telltale sacs of kidneys and liver. "Never done it on nothin' this big, but Hades, all the important bits are in the same place. Need somethin' clean to put these in," he mentions to Tisiphone or Laskaris, whoever is more inclined to take the organs off his hands. "And another drag, when you get the chance."

He might not be In Charge, but those captain's pins on Lasher's collar still give him the prerogative of turning down the opportunity to hump bear guts. And so he does, turning to look at Tisiphone with a tiny raise of one brow. "Always hated that part," he deadpans. "Would've made for a terrible surgeon." He finally pulls the cigarette from his lips, looking as though he's about to say something else — but then he freezes. Only his head moves, jerking to one side like a tensed spring released. Staring off into the distance, he frowns. "Lieutenant. You hear that?" The captain's accented voice is much quieter with that question.

Jog jog jo- Tisiphone's steps lurch to a halt at Lasher's oh-so-subtle inquiry. "Yeah. Of course, Sir. I'll give him a hand." A curt nod to her Captain before she moves around toward the back of his ATV, searching for rope and plastic bags. She looks up over the opened lid of one of the supply crates, pale brows furrowed. "Hear what?" she asks, even though she wasn't the one addressed.

Daphne returns from the stream, fresh and full of… well, she's not shaking anymore. That's what counts. Her gun is holstered against her side, the pilot heading towards the ATV as though it were a beacon. She snaps off a salute towards Lasher, and glances at the heap of organs the bear is becoming.

Lunair has arrived.
Quinn has arrived.

Towards the end of the train, Maggie and Lunair are sharing an ATV, having been looking through some greery together earlier, the injured Captain has been relying on the Marine for a bit of assistance around, giving Trask more time to rest and focus on work with the airwing. Maggie's been quite oddly quiet for most of the day, face still pale and drained. Any sleeping near knows she barely slept last night, tossing and turning the whole time with strange dreams… She holds on close to Lunair as their ATV runs rocky over the uneven terrain, her brow knit with pain, just waiting for the journey to be over.

There's a small stream a short ways ahead from where Laskaris has stopped his ATV — beyond it is Kulko, busily field-dressing a brown bear. Daphne is nearby, watching the bloody task unfold. Tisiphone is standing at the back of her squadleader's ATV, drawing a coil of rope and some plastic bags out of one of the cargo bins. Lasher's looking off into the distance, frowning, as if something has caught his attention.

Lunair knew those driving classes would pay off one day. She's trying to keep the riding from jolting poor Quinn too much. They're catching up to the others and indeed, the end of the train slowly closes in. She smiles now and then at Maggie, not seeing to mind at all. Indeed, it's kept the protective Marine pretty happy and giving her a new understanding of the redhaired woman. Well, not happy so much as not fretting since happiest of all would be uninjured folk. You take what you can get after humanity gets given the ole once over with nukes. She winces. Finally, the vehicle pulls to a halt near the others. Parking break - on! "Here we go." She smiles and hops out to set the wheelchair up for Quinn.

Kulko looks up from where he is delicately balancing liver and kidneys in his outstretched hands, careful not to get them dirty while trying to follow Laskaris' gaze off into the distance. "Ear's still ringin' a mite from the gunshots. What's the problem?"

Tisiphone glances again to Laskaris, watching him for only a moment before she steps back around the ATV and heads across the creek toward Kulko with a couple plastic bags wadded in her clean(-for-now) hands, and a coil of rope slung over her shoulder. Seeing the glisteny red organs the Junior Lieutenant is holding, her steps quicken. She'll have to trade off her cigarette — letting Kulko nab it back from her fingers — so she can concentrate on bagging up the liver and kidneys.

"Sounded like…" Lasher is still staring off towards the horizon, his features locked in a quizzical scowl. "Artillery. Single piece, single salvo." Translation: He only heard one boom. He stands locked in place for a few seconds before shaking his head and stepping away. "No one else heard that?" Looks to the others are followed by a grunt. He doesn't sound terribly surprised; it wasn't that loud. Still scowling, one hand comes to rest on his sidearm as the other brings his cigarette to his lips.

Quinn nods a thank you towards Lunair…"You… you're damned good with that thing." SHe murmurs about the ATV, quite impressed at the woman's driving and thankful for it. Maggie, since waking up, has seemingly completely forsaken that Caprican accent she used to use. Her voice is all lilting northern Aerilonian now, but she speaks quiet enough that most might not notice. She reaches out, gingerly using the strength she has left in her arms to help shift herself from the ATV back into that old, somewhat rusted wheelchair…

Kulko steals a quick drag off the cigarette without taking it from the Sagittaran. He motions for Tisiphone to hold open the bag, so he can dump the organs in - no sense in getting two sets of hands dirty. "Can't say I did, sir. What's your take? Mortar? Rangefinding shot? Should have impacted by now, yeah?" As he tosses out ideas, he reaches up with the knife pressed flat against his wrist, slicing through the diaphragm, and rummaging around in an attempt to sever the creature's windpipe. All of this is done by touch - Stephen keeps his eyes on Laskaris, though he's bicep-deep in bear guts.

Lunair smiles at Quinn, then blushes a little. "Thanks. I'm stubborn enough to have insisted I learn to drive," She shrugs. "I didn't care much for the driver I had." She apparently was bucking her way to some freedom. She'll help Quinn and keep the wheelchair steady, though she doesn't push too much or force the help. She just keeps a faint smile, then tilts her head. "I didn't hear anything but I've been driving the ATV a bit," Hardly quiet vehicles. She blinks at Kulko. Um. "Nice … liver." Yeah.

Daphne narrows her eyes, "No. No. I didn't hear anything." She looks to the horizon while she moves towards her squadron leader, taking slow, easy steps. "Are you sure, sir?" Eyes go way up towards the sky. "I don't see anything, either. I hope that's not going into the city." Teeth poise threateningly over her lower lip, ready to strike. "I really don't."

Open bag, receive delicious organ meats. Tisiphone steals back what was stolen from her, refilling her lungs with smoke as she holds the plastic bag open. "Nothing, Sir. Sorry." She was with the others while they were gunning down Yogi, after all. Maybe her ears are still ringing, too. Her feet scuff the earth as she turns in a slow circle, scanning the treetops.

Quinn looks over towards the exchange of organ meats, recognizing the things almost immediately — a whole childhood on a farm makes it easy. Hell, the things almost bring back some memories…"We kill some live game out there?" She requests of the rest of the crew, squeezing Lunair's hand thanks for the assistance, but now she's actually doing her best just to wheel herself around. Keep her arms working and body fit, in the very least.

"Bigger'n a mortar," Lasher says distractedly, his eyes continuing to flick towards the horizon. "Wasn't loud enough as I could tell you where, either." A look towards Daphne. "Yeah, I'm bloody sure." Lasher scowls, just a bit. He gradually de-tenses after a moment, though, as he looks at Kulko. "If'n they were shooting at us, we'd know by now." There's a snort. "Probably aren't even in range, anyway, even if they knew where we are."

Lunair alas, not so much. She just knows dead thing=meat somehow. She squeezes back gently. She'll linger near, in case Quinn gets stuck or anything, but is generally content to let Quinn do her thing. Besides, smothering is just rude. She looks to the others now, listening to catch up.

"They know where we holed up. They were watching us." remarks Daphne while placing her hands on her hips and staring into the horizon, "I'm sure they know where we are now. That's what worries me. I still think the other team's the reason why they haven't come after us. Maybe they're hoping they get lucky."

"Gotcha," Kulko says to no one in particular, withdrawing his bloodied arm with esophagus and trachea in hand. The mass of cardiovascular tissue is deposited with the entrails, long enough for Stephen to saw at the fatty tissue - not an awful lot of it, given how sickly the bear was - and pull out the heart, slightly larger than a grapefruit. He holds it out for subsequent bagging. "Frak yeah, sir," he calls Quinn's way. "Just need some onions, maybe some capers." Less eager than the others to hypothesize about Cylon strategery, he focuses on protein salvage.

Quinn nods in approval of Kulko's attacking of the rather sickly bear, but she frowns, "…So… I ain't a doc, the anti rads we're taking also will stave off the fact that anything we eat down here is also dying of radiation poisoning?" She looks a bit hopeful, but then frowns as her mind prcoesses what Daphne's said. "…Sorry… Lun and I were off pickin' daisys… what did the scout team catch again? You saw cylons?"

"If that was meant for us, Ensign, and they were anythin' close to on the mark, we'd know," Laskaris reiterates with a glance at Daphne. "Shells don't hang in the air that long." Another shake of the head. "Just keep an ear open, and shout out if'n you hear anything, eh?" Heading back over towards his ATV, he unbuttons his blouse and tosses it on his seat, letting the cool evening air fall over his bare, tattooed arms. "Better work on gettin' camp up and going once you're… done there, Lieutenant."

"Either we eat this or we don't eat anything at all after tomorrow morning, Sir," posits Tisiphone, looking over toward Quinn after collecting the bear's heart from Kulko. "I don't think we have more than a dozen MREs left, do we?" There's a twinge of hopefulness there that she tries and fails to conceal. Maybe she's wrong, and there's more 'safe' food than she's aware of.

Daphne shakes her head, "No. Not us." The threat is made good. Daphne bites her lower lip. "I'm worried that's going into the city. Nevermind. This is above my paygrade anyway." Of course, while she's looking into the sky, she's pointedly not looking at 'dinner'.

[TAC3] "Toast" Cidra says, "Eidolon Bravo, Toast. Do you copy? Repeat. Does anyone copy down there?"

Kulko looks from the carcass to Laskaris, then back again. With his less-bloody hand, he collects the cigarette - or what's left of it - from Tisiphone, takes a last long drag, and flicks it towards the creek. "Reckon I'll be at this another hour or so to get mosta the meat squared away. Y'all oughtta get started pitchin' camp, get a fire goin'." See, it's directed at 'y'all' so as not to antagonize the Captain. "I can have the sweetbread cut out in five - I don't care how nuclear she is, that backstrap tastes /good/. Prolly roast the rest of it tonight so it don't spoil as quick. Gods know it's more meat than we can eat—"

Stephen shuts up right quick as the voice starts squawking from his backpack. Blood and guts are forgotten, and he digs almost frantically for the encrypted VHF radio.

"Not more than that, no. I was hoping we'd find some edible plants," Lunair bobs her head at Quinn. "I think we found mint but most edible things tend to be tubers or berries," She ponders. A shrug at that. She goes quiet as the others talk about radiation and bears. This is a bit above her paygrade too, but she seems eager to hhelp and hey, between her and Quinn, they're bound to rustle up something good to eat. She pauses as Kulko speaks. "That's impressive." At least, to a gentrified city kid who probably never got rougher than MREs in basic. She nods. "Should we help set the fire?" She looks to Quinn, seeing what she'd like them to do.

[Into the Wireless] Kulko says, "Toast, Eidolon Bravo. Godsdamn it's good to hear your voice, Major."

Quinn is actually looking rather… tempted by the bear? Mm, organ meat. Her stomach actually growls aloud, despite the fact the bear is looking unhealthy. It's fresh meat. She wheels over a bit closer to Kulko, "Hey, Jig, you want some help? Did this all growin' up, a fair hand with a knife… I just ask first pick of the sweetmeats.." She is mostly teasing about that last point, but damn, she's hungry. She then looks back over to Lunair at the question, "Yeah, if you could help with the fire, it's always a bit of a challenge. I'll stick with dinnner."

Daphne's jaw drops. "Holy frak." She looks towards Tisiphone, and then back to Kulko.

"What?! It's the Major?" Tisiphone's voice nearly breaks with a mingling of surprise and blind relief. Wide eyes fix on Daphne for a second before returning to Kulko. "Where are they?!" Because asking these questions /always/ makes the answers come faster, naturally.

[TAC3] "Toast" Cidra says, "Thank all gods!" That would genuine, unrestrained emotion from Cidra. Take a recording. You won't hear it often. She's happy everyone is not dead. "Status? Make it quick? I have got a Heavy on my tail and fear we cannot linger to retrieve."

Quinn's rattled brain actually catches up with what is giong on and the bear is, pretty much, forgotten… She exhales in brief relief, just listening, wide eyed.

Just on the edge of the wind, the sound of turbofan engines can be heard. Not close by any stretch, but close enough to just barely be heard at the edge of strained senses.

Blink. Headtilt. The Major! Even Lunair's eyes are wide. She's briefly forgetting about the fire. Major! She pauses, "Anyone else hear that?"

Lasher freezes again, this time in surprise as a tinny voice begins to sound from the radio. "Well, frak me runnin'," he mutters to himself as he steps over next to Kulko and the radio.

[Into the Wireless] Kulko takes a moment to collect his thoughts and condense them accordingly. "Eidolon's a total loss, sir. Came under attack shortly after landing. Major Barto was KIA during the attack, and Captain Quinn's hurt fair bad. We've taken up on foot, supplies runnin' low. No word from Alpha."

Daphne peers around, and then into the horizon again. "What's that?" She narrows her gaze and starts taking steps backwards, eyeing the area for anything that might serve as cover, or a decent hiding place. She's gravitating that way very slowly, and makes direct eyecontact with Tisiphone while she does so.

Kulko's knuckles are white around the radio's handset; his knife is left absently in the pile of bear. Eyes flit between those standing assembled, relief evident across his features. "Knew Skipper'd come back for us. Knew it," he repeats quietly in between transmissions.

[TAC3] "Toast" Cidra says, "Copy Bravo. Keep your heads down. We saw your path from the base. We shall meet you at the end of it." Oblique, but she's reluctant to say too much over the comm. And she hasn't much time. "We shall come for you.""

Quinn frowns a moment, her eyes flickering to the side. She'd love to help report in or continue the conversation, but Daphne's not the only one hearing Something. She turns her head, flickering eyes towards the sound of the turbofan engine… "…sounds like… some sort of machine… Can't really hear…" She falls quiet again, trying to strain to make it out over the chatter.

[Into the Wireless] Kulko says, "Aye, sir. We owe you one… more'n one. See you on the other side." A pause. "Tell Tillman the Vipers are fueled and ready to go - if he can make it work."

Its not far away. Maybe a few miles. An awful racket echoes around the trees. It's a horrible sound like one of the Gods has found the largest, thickest burlap sack ever imagined and begun ripping it in quick bursts. Just over the din, which stops after a second and restarts once more, a giant -CRACK- is heard as if the same God had decided to crush a tree.

Trask has arrived.

"The Major's Raptor?" So full of hopeful naivete, Tisiphone's words. She's looking toward the source of the sound — or where she thinks the sound is coming from, at least, squinting against the sunset-stained sky. But then the sound is no longer turbofan engine, and is instead… instead… "The frak is /that?!/" She sets the plastic bags down carefully near the half-butchered bear and reaches for her rifle.

Lunair is quiet as well. She looks hopeful. A blink. She starts to reach for her rifle and stand near Quinn. "That's kind of noisy…"

Quinn swears somewhat loudly, not exactly in the best position to dive for cover. She doesn't even know what she's takign cover -from-. BUt thoughts of helping eviserate that bear are gone now as she keeps near Lunair and the woman's rifle, Maggie sinking just a bit lower in her chair, trying to keep her head down.

"Rein it in, Lieutenant," Laskaris says quietly next to Kulko. "Ain't out just yet." Another scowl, another glance off into the distance. At first he looks confused, but then he hears it, too. "Suren ain't artillery this time," he mutters. He straightens, and in a snap movement his sidearm comes out of his holster at the tearing and cracking sounds. "Th' frak?" he growls as he moves behind his ATV, a distrustful look sent towards the trees.

[TAC3] "Toast" Cidra says, "Copy, Bravo. We have got to bug out. Shield of Athena protect you all. Toast out."

Daphne is, by now, situated behind a few trees with some foliage, having started on this the moment she heard the noises. She pulls her pistol and bites at her lower lip. No scab, no broken skin, no blood. It's nice to be healed.

Kulko nods quickly up at the Captain, starting to replace the radio in his pack. "Low-altitude FTL… no. No, you're right. Somebody's shootin… Time to scoot." He rises, looking first back to the airbase, then ahead to the city. "Let's get as far as we can 'afore it's too dark. Lasher, help me get this frakkin' beast loaded. Deck, get that path cleared, on the bounce." There's a newfound intensity in his eyes, goals made that much clearer. "Come on, people, saddle up."

Quinn swears almost immediately as Kulko confirms her fears. She shakes her head, wheeling fast for the ATV so she can climb back inside, but she's not really gotten the use of her arms alone yet and dammit if moving this fast doesn't hurt. Still, adrenaline helps put that pain away and she is trying to get mobile on an ATV as quickly as possible.

A rustling sound comes from the back of one of the ATVs, followed by a bit of a thud. That would be Trask waking up, boots clanking against the seat while he rouses. With a yawn, he stretches, and then idly rubs his eyes with the heels of his palms. Blinking away the last remnants of sleep, he becomes aware at how many people are suddenly hauling ass his way. "Charming. Going from a decent dream to the onset of a nightmare." Reflexively, he goes for his pistol, just in case his comrades require some cover fire.

"Right." Not inclined to argue, Lasher reholsters his weapon and quickly goes back to where Kulko was butchering the bear. "Shootin' something big, too," he grunts to the lieutenant as he begins wrapping up pieces of meat for loading. "Sounds about five miles out," he says to Kulko after a bit of thought. "Got time, but not much." His shoulders twitch, and he pauses to stamp his cigarette out on his boot and shove the butt in his pocket. "Bad idea to set up camp near the creek, anyway."

The sound of turbofans raging suddenly rips across the sky, mixed with the ripping burlap that doesn't cease. Another loud CRACK is heard before the turbofans can be heard kicking into afterburner, the roar finding everyone on the ground as the Raptor flees up, up into the sky with missile trails chasing after it. The blue-white flames of the engines disappear into contrails as it screams vertically, the late afternoon sky contrasting the bright white exhaust and deep blue sky.

Lunair will help Quinn much as teh woman needs and accepts. She is moving quickly, keeping her rifle at a safe angle. Still, her movements are rushed. Likely, she'll load what she can, but quinn is priority. "Probably. Do you want me to see if I can load up some water?"

Tisiphone swaps the rifle for the bloodied plastic bags, and quickly squeezes most of the air out before tying them off with an overhand knot. They're placed — carefully — in the storage crate she took the rope from. She'll carry that, instead, to make room for them. She closes the lid and moves away only a step or two before That Awful Noise distracts her again, pulling her attention over the treetops.

Quinn turns her head up, settled onto the ATV now and with her firearm in her hand — at least she can be that useful, she blinks at the raptor. "…Frak… was that Toast, maybe? And are they on toast's ass?" She mutters, looking a bit more relaxed since the firing is definitely not coming in their direction… for the moment, at least.

"Frak it, just load the whole thing." Kulko grabs the two rear paws, motioning with his chin towards the front - and then Cidra's Raptor crests the treetops. He pauses, watching the flight and the missiles chasing after it. "Might not even be after us… still, let's get a move on. On three, yeah? One… two…" and he starts to swing the carnivore up towards the back of the nearest ATV.

Seeing that Raptor? Not something the ECO was expecting. For a moment, he's a bit bemused. "Ohhh-kay. Maybe I /am/ still dreaming." It's not a premise that Trask long contemplates. Instead, he reholsters his gun and begins to ease out of the ATV. Unfortunately, a butchered bear is about to bunk with him in the back. "What the frak?!" Yeah. He was expecting that even less than a Raptor. Managing to get out of the way, albeit with a bit of a wince, sore as his back is, Bootstrap starts rummaging for some rope to tie-down the drive-thru dinner. "Man, if this isn't a dream, this is seriously frakked up."

"Get the bastards, Toast," Lasher whispers up at the sky, a restrained fist pump directed upwards as the Raptor zooms overhead. He looks at Kulko a little skeptically, but grabs the bear's front paws without protest and helps heave the thing up onto the back. "It's what's for dinner, Bootstrap," he deadpans to the ECO before wiping blood-streaked hands on his pants and returning to his own ATV. Taking the driver's seat once more, he quickly gets the thing started up. "Let's get this movable beast on the road, shall we?" the captain calls out.

The Raptor passes the Mach, a white pressure cone enveloping it quickly. The sonic boom can be heard on the ground as the distant, automatic gunfire ceases. The missile trails reach out for it like arcing fingers, the pilot pushing the Raptor to its absolute limits of capability. The closest missile of four distinct trails approaches with terrifying speed and the Raptor ducks through a gut-crushing bank and the missile dives underneath, exploding just fore of the cockpit. The aircraft blasts through the black cloud left in the wake with the other three missiles trailing. Two of them explode suddenly, far in the wake of the evacuating ship. Then, with a bright flash, the Raptor is gone. The massive overpressure created by a vacuum suddenly being filled causes a boom that can be felt down to the center of one's chest as it echoes across the terrain.

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