PHD #168: EVENT - In and Out
In and Out
Summary: Cerberus scouts take another look back at the colonies, starting with Sagittaron. But have they found signs of hope, or an elaborate trap?
Date: 13 Aug 2041 AE
Related Logs: Observe and Report; etc.
Marko Sawyer Smythe NPC 
A Raptor
Vroom vroom.
Post-Holocaust Day: #168

Harrier 303 jumped out from Cerberus at 21:00 on the mark, bound of Sagittaron. Standard complement of a pilot and ECO for quick-and-dirty reconnaissance, plus the reporter who the CAG inexplicably let come along for the ride. Out to see what has become of the planet in the wake of the recent destruction of the Cylon research base in the planet's orbit. And, perhaps, look for something more, closer to the surface. It takes a series of jumps to reach the colony from Cerberus' current location. Nothing that will drain their fuel tanks, but it's not a straight shot. The engines are currently spooling up for the final jump in. Just one more turn of the hyperlights, and they'll be back on the blasted colony. To see what they can see.

"Jump complete." Marko reports. "Scanning DRADIS." he adds, sweeping his eyes across the scope. "A big bunch of absolutely nothing. Okay, Mouse, inputting final FTL co-ordinates now. Green light on the magic key." he smiles. "We're ready for the final jump soon as you're ready." he reports. "Scoop, might wanna tighten up those straps, this could get bumpy with a quickness." he advises the reporter.

Jump jump jump. Such hopping seems to suit Mouse, who might twitch and bolt into a hole at the slighest sign of alarm. She hums softly as she pilots along. "Okay. If you see something that looks important or you want a photo of, please let me know. We're in radio silence - so you can just tap me on the shoulder," She smiles a little. She's nervous, to anyone paying attention though it doesn't seem to be showing much beyond her face. She nods as Marko scans DRADIS and puts in the final coordinates. She is concentrating and prepares them for the final jump. "Well, one for the money, two for the show… I forget the rest, but here we go." She offers quietly. All business now and the last jump begins. It might get bumpy as the Raptor prepares. "We don't normally fly this low," She notes before falling into a silence.

Low and behold, the reporter actually has been on enough missions that she has her own assigned flightsuit now, no more Marshmellow Sawyer anymore. Damned if Sawyer doesn't actually look at ease now, when she reaches up to adjust the buckles keeping her secured to the little jumpseat she occupies. "I'm good." She reports rather dryly back to Marko, head craning slightly to get a clear view out of of the front viewport.

"Copy that." Marko replies, nodding and smiling a little behind his face screen. "Okay, folks, final count. Five, four, three, two, one…Jump." And with that, Marko turns the switch and fires the Raptor's FTL engines. Now you see them, now you don't.

And jump they do. The Raptor winks out of its quiet corner of space and into former Colonial territory. To perhaps use the term loosely, in regard to Sagittaron. The planet, in all its post-nuclear holocaust glory, comes into full view. Though they've jumped in high enough that they'll have to descend to get into atmosphere and near the surface. Space here is quiet as well, come to it. Too quiet.

"Jump complete." Marko reports, voice growing slightly more tense as they reach their target zone. "Scanning DRADIS." he says. "Nothing. Not a Gods damn thing." he breathes, shaking his head a little. "Going to cameras, making a three sixty visual sweep." he adds. "And…nothing. Not a single toaster in the whole system that I can detect on DRADIS or visually." he reports a few moment's later. "Mouse, I am not liking this." he adds. "Might be using the planet to mask their presence."

A good job is always a relief. Mara/Mouse wriggle a little in their seat. She wrinkles her nose. too bad she lacks whiskers for the full effect. Her eyes dart here and there. Her expression betrays her surprise. "Huh. There's like… no debris. I wonder if they called in the maid service?" For a place that had 8 basestars, buckets of Raiders in both flavors, and a research station that got blasted - there's practically nothing. Her eyebrows furrow, and she frowns, biting her lower lip. "It really is weird. Either they ran away humiliated or I don't know," She admits. She seems worried more than before. There's a soft sigh. "We'll just have to really keep our eyes open. And be sure to let me know if we need to zoom in or something. It probably wouldn't go over well if we just left now," She notes quietly despite her unease. Can't bail on a mission because of a bad feeling. She will begin descent unless there's objection.

After the ship jumps (not a thing Sawyer is particularly fond of) there's a snick of latch as Sawyer releases herself from the confines of the straps and shoulders out of the harness to creep forward a bit. Curiousity might have killed the cat, but that's why they have nine lives. It's a wonder which number the reporter is on. A hand grips the back of the pilot's chair, as if that will give her some marked degree of safety. "Clear skies…that's….unexpected. Where's all the refuse? The wreckage that's around the other planets we've seen?" Like Mouse, she wonders aloud, eyes moving excitedly behind her face shield as if she can suss out the answer with a visual sweep.

"You got me, Scoop." Marko replies, giving a little shrug. "I can't figure out how they would've gotten that much of it cleared out." he says, pursing his lips thoughtfully as he continues to let his passive DRADIS scan the system and find…nothing. "Yeah, you're right Mouse." he says at length. "But before we do, let's give ourselves single high orbit pass. "I wanna know what's behind that rock. Cause if I were them, that's where I'd be waiting right about now."

"Or even why they'd bother, at least besides reasons of pride. Or maybe to salvage from what they lost," Mouse frowns. She doesn't seem to mind Sawyer coming closer to peer out and get a better view. That's what reporters do, right? Or maybe there's some odd reverence for Sawyer. Or maybe Mouse is just a pushover. Hard to say really. She just nods again. "I wish I knew," She admits in her soft voice. She sighs a little. She even scootches a bit to let Sawyer see more, but her attention is mostly on getting them around without blowing up. She doesn't descend for now, instead going for that single high orbit pass. "Rodger that," She notes quietly. "Makes sense."

"Maybe they're planning on moving a high volume of traffic through here, and didn't want to bother with navigating their own disaster zone." Sawyer speculates, her conjecture purely part of her thought process. "Or maybe Cylons are like cats. Hate to see their own messes, so now they're busying themselves with covering it up. But no matter how much they scrape the shit off…you can still smell it." Her tone is somber, clearly waiting for the other shoe to drop in this situation.

The fly-over pass along Sagittaron's high orbit can be made easily enough. There's nothing - apparent - up there to interfere with them. It reveals more of the same they noticed upon arrival. There is a pronounced lack of debris, lack of noticeable Cylon activity. Lack of…anything, really. Though it would be wrong to call it peaceful. The blasted remains of one of the Twelve Colonies below them, though still distant, looms in evidence to what the Cylons did here before.

From this altitude the surface, as the space around the planet, is quiet. Again, almost too quiet. The planet's northern continent has been reduced to a wasteland. As evidenced in the previous mission here, and it's just as apparent now. No signs of activity there. A pass over the planet's southern region would reveal something perhaps worth a closer look. Signs of bases. Large ones, and none of them on the pre-attack maps in the Colonial's data stores. The Cylons were building something down there.

"Scoop might just have a point." Marko replies, nodding a little. "As much junk was in orbit here, it was going to be tough just to fly a Raptor through her." he sighs as the DRADIS reports, again, a big fat nothing. "Nothing. Nothing at all. Okay, let's earn our rations and our bunks. Take us down, Mouse." he says, tightening his straps. "Scoop, this might be the time you'll want to strap in." he says, "Lemme see what we can get from this altitude." he says, pivoting the Raptor's optics package onto the planet below and zooming in and finding that scene. "Oh Frak me…" he breathes. "Okay, Mouse, time to do a little creative snooping. Let's get low." he says, double checking that the computer's recording all of this. "So that's what they wanted. They turned a space station into a ground complex."

"Yeah…" Mouse notes quietly. She's aware of the limitations after all. Mouse rolls her shoulders a little. "So they moved down?" She frowns. "That's kinda clever, I guess," After all - does the Fleet REALLY have a lot to bomb with or even want to bomb the colonies? She looks to Scoop and Marko, almost for reassurance. With a deep breath, she steadies herself. She starts to take them down so they can get a better view and hopefully not run into anything ugly. For now, her attention is on getting them down safely and a good view.

"Yeah yeah." Sawyer mutters about the warning of entering atmosphere, but she does obediently slink back deeper into the Raptor to retake her seat. There's a creak of her flightsuit as she bends at the joints, flopping back into the jumpseat with a heavy knock of her helmet back against the hull. Okay, so she's used to wearing a flightsuit. Doesn't mean she's graceful in one.

Mouse does indeed get them down without too much jinking or roughness as they fly lower and lower into atmosphere. Perhaps those who saw Leonis before this might be taken back down memory lane. It's a strange contrast, signs of bombed-out nuclear craters and rubble, while miles away some terrain still stands almost untouched. What can be seen of the cities, even from above, is not encouraging. Bombing was concentrated heavily in the urban centers here, and has reduced them to (formerly) smoking rubble. What buildings are standing are those spotted from above. Their construction is strange, architecture obviously nothing Colonial. Or human, for that matter. The Cylons built /something/ down here before they left.

"… huh, um. Is it just me or does that kind of look like a prison or a farm? Like … pens of people," Mouse asks quietly. She seems to be fairly decent at this, though her movements are cautious, gently pleading with the controls rather than commanding. Her expression is troubled. "It's not military or I would think you'd put some giant cannons on it or I don't know, but I'd totally put lasers on my base," Mouse remarks and adds. She takes a deep breath, looking uneasy. "I think this might be a good place for pictures?" She's no reporter, but she seems willing to help and point out. "And um, sorry. This might be a bit rough at times. Normally Raptors don't fly this low-" And this is about as much as Mouse is willing to speak in one go, as if any more might just break her lungs or make her break into hives.

"Damn…" Marko breathes, making sure he's got all of the available passive scanning gear on the Raptor running. "Don't overfly it." he cautions Mouse. "Just because it looks abandoned doesn't mean it is. Start taking your pictures now. Get as much as you can." he adds. "Okay, let's see if there's anything on thermographics." he says, toggling a switch and shifting the optics package to IR scanning. "Weirdest looking buildings I've ever seen."

Relegated to the back of the Raptor, the Journalist is deprived of the best view. She can't seem to get a good angle, and as the CAG denied her request to be strapped to the front like a hood ornament, Sawyer will have to make do. "What buildings? What do they look like?" She strains forward in her harness, trying to get a better view but seems to be failing. Damn helmet. Damn blindspots.

"It's not too rough now, do you think it's okay for her to get up?" Mouse considers, remembering their reporter. She looks to Marko and Sawyer. "I can't really let go to use a camera…" At least the wriggly young pilot seems somewhat thoughtful. She doesn't look too happy about the idea of a people pen. She nods at Marko's order not to overfly it. "I'll just circle and see if we can get a good view, kay?" She peers over.

"Okay. nothing on thermographics, no power anywhere and there's no radio traffic. Think we can safely call this place abandoned. But why?" Marko asks rhetorically. "They went through a hell of a lot of trouble to build the Godsdamn thing." he notes. "Eh, I dunno how to describe 'em to you, Scoop. We're talking totally alien architecture here." he adds. "We document as much of this spot as we can." he says, then nods at Mouse's suggestion. "Yeah, c'mon over, maybe you could make heads or tails of this."

You don't have to tell Sawyer twice. She's already unsnapping her buckle again by the time Marko finishes his sentence. There's a bit of commotion as Sawyer scrambles back up to the forefront, half leaning over Mouse's shoulder to get a better view. If she could perch there, she would, and look like a Colonial Garfield cat with suction cups on his paws stuck to the viewport.

Squeek. Mouse doesn't seem to minnd Sawyer half leaning over her shoulder. "Pardon," She squinches a little to give the reporter a good view and keep her grip on the controls. She nods at Marko. "I wish I could tell you. I - know we kicked their backsides and that skinjob lady helped us but…" She's baffled really. "Did we hurt them that badly?" She wonders. A little shrug. "I see more than one, though. But I do see some AA guns still operational. They don't really aim /at/ you, but flak flying around will get you as good as a missile," Mouse frowns. One can practically see her curling her toes. Not something she enjoys thinking about flying through. "So I won't get too close, sorry," She doesn't like the idea one hair. She considers, "I mean, I don't see that they'd be manned or anything but still…" AA guns BAD as far as instinct tells her.

Marko continues his scanning, both of the Cylon bases and as many radio channels as the Raptor can pick up, which is, frankly, a lot. The thought of putting down and investigating one of the Cylon sites crosses his mind, but he knows that Major Hahn would have his guts for garters if he even suggested it aloud. "Folks, we got zip here. Not a frakkin' thing stirring at any of these bases. This is starting to give me the creeps a little. " he sighs.

Sawyer makes a little noise under her breath that sounds like a grunt of 'huh'. Whatever she was expecting to see, clearly that was not it. "It looks as if they…pulled out. Like they did on Leonis. No activity? No hostile signals at all?" The reporter eases back a pace, reeling with the implication. "When they were getting ready to abandon the towers, they tried to execute all their prisoners. If there were any here…"

Mouse frowns. "Yeah, it really is kinda freaky," She admits. "I just have a hard time believing we hit them that hard," Her brown eyes shift as she looks. Though she may miss things as her primary job is not getting them blown up. "…" At Sawyer's comment about prisoners, she looks fearful. "I hope not…" Is all she manages quietly. Her going pale beneath her helmet might suggest that she does grasp the implications of such a thing. Farming people. Her stomach turns just a hair. "Is this a good angle?" She asks quietly.

"Hey…wait a second here." Marko calls. "Getting some intermittent thermal blooming to the southwest." Marko calls, turning the optics package in that direction. "Frak, it's all jungle. Still, our orders were to see what we can see, so let's go and see. "Too far away right now to get an idea of size. Mouse, if you would be so kind.." he says. "And stay sharp. You could hide a frakking batallion of SAM launchers under that kind of canopy."

"We didn't." Sawyer says definitively about having scared them away. "They were pulling out of Leonis long before we made any kind of effective strike against them. They're planning something. Or moving on to something worse." She glances over to Marko's display, as if she can read the thing herself. "Thermal, but not nuclear?" She asks, looking for clarification born out of trepidation.

The tree cover is too thick to make out much in this area of the planet from above. The vegetation, again much like Leonis, still shows signs that it's clinging to life on the irradiated planet. How long that will last is an open question. Large swathes of the jungle remains green, other patches are already turning sickly shades of yellow and black, like cancer sores on the body of the planet below.

Mouse pauses at Marko's call. She frowns. There's a wince at the mention of SAM launchers. Not something she enjoys thinking about. A soft sigh. "Yup. We got all we can find from this then?" She'll linger long enough for any last moment pictures and start turning them to where Marko indicates. "Those plants really don't look healthy at all," Mouse notes. Poor plants. She just takes a deep breath and brings them to where they need to be. She just nods at Sawyer's comment. "Guess so."

"That's affirm, Scoop. Just your regular heat blooms." Mako replies. "If it was anything nuclear, we probably wouldn't have needed the optics package to pick it up. There would've been a really big _boom_." he smirks. "Okay, let's see what we can see." he says, double-checking the radio scanners to ensure they're still soaking up as much ambient RF as they can pick up.

"Yeah well. You can never be too careful." Sawyer's voice sounds tinny in the hollow of her helmet. "Sitting on the ground, looking up to a giant nuke being dropped on…" Her voice drifts off, and then, "How's the saying go? Nuke me once, shame on you. Nuke me twice, shame on me."

"Tell me about it," Mouse frowns. "I don't think they'd use a nuke on just one raptor though. That's like hitting a gnat with a sledgehammer," Her eyebrows furrow. She sighs. "But-" Best not to sit pretty or get cocky. She keeps peering out, steering them along.

"Heh, yeah, just keep thinking those happy thoughts, ladies." Marko chuckles, dialing in the optics on the heat blooms. "Okay, definitely something alive down there. Can't pick up a firm location with this equipment. Too much damn cover down there. But it's a start. Mouse try vectoring over to…" he begins to say when the RF scanning pings. "Hello…what's this?" he asks, bringing the scanner's output onto his screen. "Bingo…We've got confirmed RF down there. Multiple frequencies, looks like an agile frequency kit. Serious encryption. Computer can't make head nor tails of it." he says. "Looks like we're getting incoming and outgoing traffic, long distance stuff." he grins. "I'm gonna try to take a crack at breaking one of these cyphers." he says, calling up a decrypt program.

While half of what Marko is spouting off is foreign to Sawyer, she seems to understand and perk up at one thing. Hacking. She shifts from her frontline view to the bare sidestep it takes to loom over Marko's shoulder. For once, the journalist falls blissfully quiet, watching and learning.

Happy thoughts huh? Mouse's face just twists a bit. "It's all Gemenon to me," She admits quietly. She sighs. "Yeah, might as well be sitting under a blanket down there," She notes unhappily. She blinks. "Okay. Just let me know where you need me to take us if it helps," She offers. Mouse is quiet from then on.

"Okay, that's a bust." Marko sighs, looking over to Sawyer. "You getting anything out of this? Looks like is Saggitaron resistance speak, I hadda hazard a guess." he says. "I'll record as much of it as I can, see if Cerebrus can do anything with it." he says, toggilng the RF recorders. "Oh, and Mouse, guess where it's coming from? Direction of the Jharkand Basin." he grins. "Looks like Money Shot and Shiv's intel was right on the money."

Sawyer watches the readout with intensity, trying to make heads or tails of things herself even though there's probably a more capable man sitting right in front of her. The journalist is a hands on sort of gal, though, so she's trying to keep up. After a long moment, she's leaning back, shaking her head with a snort. "I've got nothing. I'd need a week in a dark room to sort that shit out. I'm going to cross-eyed that looks like an old encryption I ran across years ago. This little sect of antidisestablishmentarianists…" Is that even a word? Must be, if the reporter is using it.

"… that is the biggest word I have ever heard," Mouse admits to Sawyer. She doesn't seem to mind Sawyer's handsonness at all though. Whether that's genuine patience or lack of spine remains to be seen. She blinks at Marko, "Really? Want me to take us over that way?" She offers quietly. "Guess we should at least buzz it a little," be pretty bad to ignore a lead like that. "And we'll have to thank them. Old habits die hard," She notes, before going quiet once more.

"Yep. Just a quick buzz though." Marko nods. "Let's not spook anybody." he adds. A short hop later and Marko's reporting heat signatures around the basin proper. Someone is definitely home down there. "Heh, frak me. Gods bless ya, ya crazy little Saggitaron frakkers." he grins to the screen. "You managed, somehow, you actually managed." he sighs happily.

"That's them? We found survivors?!" Sawyer's sudden joy bubbles over into a little whoop and a hop, slapping Marko on the shoulder for good measure. "There's people down there?" Of course there's always the chance that they're waltzing into a trap, but Sawyer's content to give herself a moment to hope.

Owlish blinking. Mouse will take them around just enough for confirmation. She smiles and grins too. "Well. That's frakking good news," She remarks, voice happy - but soft. Does her volume ever go up? "But I think I can understand why," Sagittarons would be most familiar with how to survive military incursions… for better or worse. "But I'm really glad. I hope they will trust us if they authorize us to go down there," Mouse considers. She seems to think ahead, move, think, move. Strange, giving her a hopping sort of conversation but it seems to work.

"Well, it _could_ be." Marko says, frowning for a moment. "It could also be a big damn set up, but I dunno. If the toasters are smart enough to use Saggie codes to lure us in, we're cooked." he says. "Either way, we need to get this intel back to the Cerb and _fast_." Marko says. "Mouse, if you'd do the honors, let's get orbital and get jumping home." he says, settling back in his chair with a long sigh of relief.

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