PHD #147: EVENT - It Lies in Odd Numbers, Part I
It Lies in Odd Numbers, Part I
Summary: Battlestar Cerberus launches a daring assault on a Cylon research base in high orbit above Sagittaron, which — if successful — may cripple the toasters' activities in the Cyrannus System. This comprises the Air Wing and CIC portion of the show.
Date: 23 Jul 2041 AE
Related Logs: It Lies in Odd Numbers, Part II
Tillman Cidra Sitka Trask Alessandra McQueen Psyche Marko Malone NPC Polaris Tucana 
Deep Space - Grid Alpha - Space
Space is cold, very cold. Wear your booties.
Post-Holocaust Day: #147

[Polly's Hoopty: Polaris] Battlestar Group One Three Two has mounted two major operations since the Cylons saw fit to eradicate humanity from the list of extant species, and not even the most optimistic observer can classify either as an unequivocal success. Operation Cobra Talon was foiled when the toasters ambushed MV Eidolon on the blasted runway of CFAS Anadyomene, sending Cerberus' soldiers into a six-week nightmare on the surface of Leonis; the ensuing rescue operation, in which the survivors were recovered, was still a matter of snatching the barest hint of victory from the jaws of defeat. Small wonder, then, that suspicions abounded when the nature of this offensive operation became clear — one conceived in the brains of a Cylon itself, if a humanoid machine can truly be said to have anything resembling a brain.

Orders, however, are orders: and so it is that the men and women of the battlestar's embattled air wing launch themselves into space once more, with nothing more than their commanders' assurances to keep them comfort in this most ambitious of major operations yet. Maybe it's simple learned helplessness that puts them in their cockpits and their harnesses to face once more the deadly Raider threat; maybe it's the hope that this time, unlike all the other times, the fickle goddess Fortune is finally on their side. Or maybe it's simple ennui that explains it all: maybe it's the fact that life inside a bland metal tube has grown sufficiently mundane that they'll spring at any chance to break the monotony — even if the going price for a moment of exhilaration is a trip across the Styx to the Elysian Fields beyond.

Whatever the reason, they're here — silver birds and red birds and ugly brown birds alike, arrayed in close formation as they soar out from behind the shadow of the planet Sagittaron, emerging from darkness into the blinding light of Cyrannus. And before them, just like the intel photos predicted, are those swarms of chrome Raiders already moving to intercept, glittering like eighty angry wasps in the black velvet of space. But it's not the Raiders that catch the pilots' eyes, at least not at first: rather, it's the fantastical black structure whose six arms extend from a massive central hub like the tentacles of some jellyfish, the legs of some spider. Where the basestars are a brilliant bone white, this thing is a sleek jet black, lit from within by bioluminescent goop that makes its thousands of tiny windows shine a deep infernal red — the same red that now illuminates the Colonial formation as the Cylon Raiders engage.

[Harrier-303: Cidra] Cidra is at the wheel of her bus, gussied up in her flight gear plus sidearm. Which is standard-issue for a pilot in the cockpit, but she seems to wear it with more awareness than usual today. Which is quite obviously due to the passenger in her backseat. "Bootstrap, if *it* so much as twitches in a way that seems wrong, do put a bullet between its eyes, please." A pause and she adds, "My one regret, if that moment comes, other than trusting my life and those of mine to this abomination, is that I will be unable to take my hands off the control stick to do the job myself." The words are quite obviously meant for Miss Eleven, though she does not address it directly. Such brutal statements are not in the CAG's general character. But she seems to want to make it clear. While she rattles off that lovely little piece of inter-Raptor banter, her eyes and reflexes never waver from the starfield ahead. Light on the controls, flight pattern evasive, sticking with her Flight.

[Harrier-303: Tucana] It's a small feat to say someone is icy-calm when a gun is pointed directly at someone. Another when 'a gun' is exponentially multipled into 'many guns.' Trading her usual brig attire for the offduty-tanks one might see on a Colonial Fleet member, the Cylon prisoner, 11 is held aboard the Raptor being flown by Cidra and Trask with a small handful of Marine guns drawn on her, in case the newfound trust Command has placed in her proves to be…misplaced. As she is seated in the rear of the ship, it appears her machine heritage has been embraced as several wires (!) which have been subdermally inserted into her arms lead into the craft's EW suite. A look of serene calm hangs over her face as she closes her eyes and reopens them. "I am…interfacing now. And I know you don't believe it - but I wish you God's blessing. Let us do this."

[TAC3] "Toast" Cidra says, "Flight, Toast. We are ready here." She does not elaborate on what they are ready for. They should know about her passenger. "Clear eyes and steady hands out there."

[Harrier-303: Tucana] There is a lingering pause on Eleven's part as she comes to and apparently processes Cidra's words. The expression on her face darkens. It is a sad, wan smile. "I am sorry you do not understand. Maybe you will when this is over."

[Harrier-303: Cidra] Cidra has to reply to that bit about God. "Shut up with your blasphemy in my ship, abomination, or you will make me cross. You would not like that."

[BlackKnight-650: Alessandra] With the rush of adrenaline and the impending battle, Allie can't help but to find her hands shaking just a bit which causes a side-to-side wobble of her wings. It levels off once her nerves calm and she is able to get her brain on the 'game'.

[Petrel-647: Sitka] Somewhere the middle of the pack of vipers shaken loose from Cerberus' launch tubes is Shiv's little red and white fighter. Orders today are simple: protect the raptor, and shoot anything that isn't Colonial. His engines light up as he swings into a rear guard position on Cidra's four o'clock; his wingman slots in behind and slightly beneath him, and off they go.

[Harrier-304: Tillman] With the Vipers and Raptors in the lead, the next thing to appear from behind the Colony is the Battlestar Cerberus. It's massive, looming form banks slightly towards the planet as it comes around. The dorsal gun batteries rise from their protected positions and all slowly rotate towards their targets, way ahead. Carefully, like a determined giant, the nose of BS-132 comes around towards the targets. Just behind it appears the Praetorian first, the armored doors that conceal the missile tubes winding open. The Corsair takes up a position just over top of the PRaetorian, ready to provide a flak cloud around the missile-slinger.

[TAC3] (from "Lucky" Alessandra) "Alright, Splash. Remember that this is what you're trained for. Let me know if you need any help," Lucky reminds her wingman casually while pulling her Viper into an attack position.

[BlackKnight-854: McQueen] The scuffed, gunmetal-grey figure of McQueen's Viper is amongst those that hurtles through the tubes as his gloved hand drifts to the attitude controls and his foot hits the thruster pedal. Speed is of the essence, the blue-hot engines of the bird crackle and flicker in the darkness as he joins the strike formation.

[TAC3] "Shiv" Sitka says, "Copy that, Toast. Flight, let's stay in close formation with three-oh-three. Keep it conservative."

[TAC3] "XO" Tillman says, "All pilots, keep off the battlegroup's nose. We commencing barrage fire in fifteen seconds. Good Hunting."

[TAC3] "Queenie" McQueen says, "All ships, Queenie. Ohhh, I see it. That's a big ugly beast, it is."

[Harrier-303: Trask] There's always a trade-off, isn't there? The price of having eight (8) marines pointing guns at the skinjob aboard is that Trask has to relinquish control of his beloved ECM console. Displeased is an understatement, but this really is more of an annoyance compared to what he deems to be the folly (an even greater understatement) of this mission. "I suspect that I'll be busy trying to salvage any systems that might be frakked," is blithely replied to Cidra, "but maybe our escorts," that being the CMC, "will be nice enough to just incapacitate and leave you the killshot." Brown eyes keenly watch the interface then resume monitoring the ship diagnostics.

[TAC3] "Splash" Malone says, "Got it, Lucky. Seem to be a few of those Raiders heading my way, from what I can see. Some help in getting one or two off them away would be good."

<COMBAT> Wilkerson attacks Raider3 with KEW - Moderate wound to Right Wing.
<COMBAT> Sitka takes careful aim at Raider5.
<COMBAT> Raider5 attacks Cidra with KEW - ARMOR on Body stops the attack!
<COMBAT> Raider4 attacks Malone with KEW - Moderate wound to Weapon.
<COMBAT> Raider3 attacks Sitka with KEW but MISSES!
<COMBAT> Psyche attacks Raider6 with KEW - Moderate wound to Weapon.
<COMBAT> Mcqueen attacks Raider6 with KEW and MISSES!
<COMBAT> Malone attacks Raider1 with KEW - Moderate wound to Right Wing.
<COMBAT> Cidra passes.
<COMBAT> Trask passes.
<COMBAT> Raider6 attacks Mcqueen with KEW - Moderate wound to Right Wing (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> Raider2 attacks Malone with KEW - Light wound to Nose (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> Raider1 attacks Malone with KEW - Moderate wound to Body (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> Alessandra attacks Raider1 with KEW but MISSES!
<COMBAT> Polaris has started a new turn. Pose and choose your action.

<COMBAT> Blackknight-854 has been KO'd!
<COMBAT> Mcqueen has been KO'd!

<COMBAT> McQueen spends a luck point to keep fighting!

[Polly's Hoopty: Polaris] The result, as it usually is when formation charges formation, is chaos — for all around the gathered ships of the Colonial battlegroup the line of Vipers wavers, trembles, and breaks. Already the masses of Raiders are disintegrating, torn to shreds by the cloud of flak laid down by the frigate Corsair. But enough of them get through to pose a threat to the pilots who now find themselves fighting for their lives above the burnt brown husk of a planet below. Enough of them always do.

[TAC3] "Queenie" McQueen says, "Oh, /this/ is how it's going to be, is it? Fine. Bubbs, Queenie. Uh, this fine gentleman doesn't want to let go."

[TAC3] "Shiv" Sitka says, "Flight, we've still got incoming. Lucky, can you give me a hand here *static* three oh three?"

[TAC3] "Bubbles" Psyche's voice sings out in alarm. "Queenie! I see him, babe. I clipped his wing, but the motherfrakker's still flying." There's a beat. "Frak. He peeled off, but you got another one. I'm on him, just shake that ass and try not to get hit or something, okay?"

[BlackKnight-650: Alessandra] There's a sharp banking made by 650 when Malone calls out, Alessandra trying to get herself between him and the incoming Raiders although she seems to be a bit late. The effort spent in lining up and firing off a shot on her target is left unrewarded and she growls. She almost says something but then is called out to help the Raptor.

[TAC3] "Queenie" McQueen adds, additionally, "Oh, I've had /worse/. Try to keep my tail clear while I do the same for Toast, yeh?" He knows what he has to do.

[TAC3] "Lucky" Alessandra says, "Roger, Shiv. Splash, Lucky. Let's see about lending a bit of a helping hand, huh? Target and fire as necessary."

[Harrier-303: Cidra] Cidra keeps her flight pattern as straight-forward and focused as she possibly can while not driving her nose directly into Raider fire. She does take a hit to the body but, both by virtue of her speed and angle, it's a glancing blow. "I would consider it a grand courtesy if they did," she replies wry to Trask, from his last comment about getting a kill-shot in on the Eleven. "We should be in position. Watch it close."

[Harrier-304: Tillman] Fifteen seconds tick by, an eternity in combat. But when the timer hits zero, the entire nose of the Cerberus lights up, flashing brilliantly as massive twenty-four foot diameter shells blast forth from the six tubes, salvoing out in pre-planned form. The artillery rounds travel downrange with blinding speed, their positioned marked by their heated luminesence. The first few miss. The Battlestar adjusts accordingly as the distance closes - though its still long. The next few rounds look like they are going to hit home.

[TAC3] "Splash" Malone says, "Will do. Time to brink down the rusty buckets, right?"

[Harrier-303: Trask] Whatever the skinjob is doing, it unmistakably has Trask rather fascinated, if the widening of his eyes is any indication. Darting from display to display, he assesses what he sees and makes mental calculations. The Eleven is pushing the max efficiency of the electronic warfare systems well past 11. As one can imagine, this is both awesome and disconcerting to an ECO. "Prepping for possible burn-out from system overload, Toast. I'll keep ya posted."

[Petrel-647: Sitka] As the vipers disperse to chase down the smattering of raiders that escaped Corsair's flak field, Shiv stays adamantly on their raptor's flank. Not that it's too difficult for a viper to keep up with the heavier bird's maneuvering; a few shots from the raider dogging him slip past without so much as scraping his paint. Corkscrewing up and out of his fleet-footed escape, he opens up his guns on the bogey chasing down Cidra.

[BlackKnight-854: McQueen] At first, it is an exchange of fire as Queenie leads his section, flying downward at an aggressive angle as he squeezes off a burst of rounds that are traded with the Raider gunning for him. His wing gets clipped and the Viper rocks violently, but he holds on as a firm hand steadies the controls. For now.

[TAC3] "Toast" Cidra says, "Flight, Toast. We are coming into position." You wouldn't think, from her cool, collected tone that she was at all unsure about whether or not this would work. Static and an excellent Triad face are both blessings at times. "Shall begin broadcasting ASAP.""

[BlackKnight-855: Malone] Exchanging a few shots with the enemy fighters, Malone turns towards one of those going for the Raptor, working on getting into the best possible position to fire. "Okay, you'll be out of here, dead or alive…" he mutters as he works on getting in position.

[Harrier-303: Tucana] Whatever other banter may be going on regarding 11, her nature or her fate is ignored by the Cylon prisoner at this point as she suddenly sits upright, as though she were electrified. Her eyes roll back into her head as her head drifts upwards and the pale lids flutter closed. "I'm — accessing..Accessing now." Silence reigns in her tongue as her fingertips start to dig into her palms, fists balled.

And then she just starts vocalizing. Babbling, even, in an even-pitched monotone. "Accessing, accessing. Greeting is given and acknowledged. A single stone drifting into a stream. Beware the ripples. Beware the ripples. The ripples bring the waves, the waves bring the tide. The tide washes away guilt, doubt, imperfection. The pure element of existence. The concept. An old idea revisited, but from the opposite end. The same result. The one who went too far. Too far. Too far."

[BlackKnight-309: Psyche] Psyche throttles back, dropping into position behind the bandit on her section leader. As McQueen chases the Raider headed for Toast, she lines up her shot, swinging side to side as her target jinks.

[Polly's Hoopty: Polaris] And hit home they do. The satisfying silent crunch of high-explosive shells against the Cylons' hardened armor should be a heartening sight to the pilots locked in melee, smashing into the bone-white arms of the nearest basestar with devastating effect. It's a pity those massive guns take a while to load — but the punch they pack make them well worth the investment.

Not that the basestars themselves are idle. Already they're disgorging ever more Raiders, which fly with near-suicidal intent into the ring of flak erected by the human battlegroup. And from their missile batteries come thirty, forty, fifty white trails, only some of which the battlestar's point defenses manage to knock away. It's like two prizefighters circling each other in the ring, testing the other's gloves, jabbing left, jabbing right — except one heavyweight brought along two big buddies, which ever so slowly drift forward in an effort to flank the Colonial fleet and dispense broadsides from port and starboard. Now that's just not fair.

<COMBAT> Psyche attacks Raider2 with KEW - Light wound to Left Wing.
<COMBAT> Wilkerson attacks Raider4 with KEW - Moderate wound to Body.
<COMBAT> Trask passes.
<COMBAT> Sitka attacks Raider5 with KEW - Light wound to Right Wing.
<COMBAT> Raider5 attacks Cidra with KEW but MISSES!
<COMBAT> Raider4 attacks Cidra with KEW but MISSES!
<COMBAT> Raider3 attacks Sitka with KEW - Moderate wound to Weapon.
<COMBAT> Raider2 attacks Mcqueen with KEW but MISSES!
<COMBAT> Raider1 attacks Wilkerson with KEW - Moderate wound to Body (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> Mcqueen attacks Raider4 with KEW and MISSES!
<COMBAT> Malone attacks Raider5 with KEW and MISSES!
<COMBAT> Cidra passes.
<COMBAT> Alessandra attacks Raider5 with KEW - Serious wound to Cockpit.
<COMBAT> Raider6 attacks Wilkerson with KEW - Light wound to Nose (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> Polaris has started a new turn. Pose and choose your action.

<COMBAT> Raider-1296u has been KO'd!
<COMBAT> Raider5 has been KO'd!

<COMBAT> Petrel-647 has been KO'd!
<COMBAT> Sitka has been KO'd!

<COMBAT> Sitka spends a luck point to keep fighting!

[Harrier-304: Tillman] With the Cerberus hitting home with its own forward guns, the engines on the rear glow a bright blue and the ship begins to gather more velocity. Its heading right for the intended target and attempting to just run right past the flanking maneuver. With the time passed for reloads, the guns flicker again as the range dials down quickly. The rounds are heading right down its throat. Meanwhile the Praetorian and Corsair lift their noses and climb out from behind the Cerberus, arcing over top and banking to the right to bring the anti-ship cannons and missile batteries to bear.

[BlackKnight-854: McQueen] Light and fist is the rule of the day, and McQueen's a slippery one. Jinking hard to port, he slips in and out of the approaching Cylon's firing solution, denying his pursuer the kill. Unfortunately his own prey thinks the same way and it's a chain of misses. He hasn't given up, though.

[TAC3] "XO" Tillman says, "Battlegroup: Direct cannon and missile fire onto pre-planned locations. Begin main battery barrage delivery in!"

[BlackKnight-650: Alessandra] There is a low snarl from Lucky as the KEWs begin to do their job, the rounds actually starting to do their job. She looks at her DRADIS screen and takes count of who is what, picking what is to be the next of their targets. "Gods, Splash, please stay on me," she whispers to herself, off-coms, this said while she pulls up and around the Raptor. "We can do this," she then adds, an echo of a reminder she gave herself just the other evening upon learning about this mission.

[TAC3] "Lucky" Alessandra says, "Splash, Lucky. How are you holding on out there?"

[TAC3] "Splash" Malone says, "Lucky, Splash. Going well so far."

[TAC3] "Shiv" Sitka says, "Flight, remember to watch your positioning and stay out of Cerberus' firing solution."

<COMBAT> Malone will attack Raider1 this turn.

[Petrel-647: Sitka] With his wingman off chasing one of Cidra's bandits, there is of course nobody to stop a raider from sliding in, and getting in a few choice shots on Shiv. Blindsided by the strafing attack that shreds the tip of a wing, his viper pinwheels into a brief, uncontrolled spin. It's righted a few seconds later with a steady hand on the throttle and both foot pedals fully engaged. His engines are fed fresh tylium as he swoops off once more in pursuit.

[TAC3] "Bubbles" Psyche says, "Queenie, Bubbles. Slippery little frakker, but I'm still on him."

[Harrier-303: Cidra] "Athena take me, what in hades is *it* on about?" Cidra asks the question aloud but it's not one she really expects an answer to. She cannot see what the Cylon is doing to her bird's systems from up there, and she's got more than enough to keep her occupied. Having earned the attention of an additional Raider. She does not do evasive so pretty as a Viper but she keeps her turns sharp and banks prompt, weaving around what fire comes her way. It helps that the Vipers close to her tail are keeping those Raiders well occupied.

[TAC3] "Flasher" Marko says, "Flight, Flasher, reporting in and requesting a vector. Going to have to talk through me because Clutch's coms are tango uniform, repeat, pilot coms are tango uniform."

[BlackKnight-855: Malone] Missing his last attack attempt, Malone moves back to the Raider he was attacking at first, growling a bit to himself as he keeps on trying to take out enemies now. Otherwise, he's keeping silent for now.

[Polly's Hoopty: Polaris] One Raider falls, another Raider rises to take its place: it's a routine that should be more than familiar to the men and women of CVW-14. But the enemies now seem to be entirely disinterested in the things actually shooting at them. Their eyeslits seem to sizzle and spark — and then, with single-minded purpose, they change course to intercept the Raptor at the very heart of the Colonial formation, gunning past the Vipers with all guns blazing.

And as for the Fleet? Now Cerberus' ringers join the fray: flyweights, by the looks of it, but flyweights on more steriods than the entire C-Bucs team of 2039 combined. There goes Praetorian's familiar missile barrage, and there go Corsair's precious long-range cannons, and finally — finally! — the battlestar's huge forward batteries launch a second volley at the black-scored hull of the basestar up front.

The basestar that suddenly pitches forward with unaccustomed speed, dipping down toward the planet so many kilometers below.

[Harrier-303: Tucana] The Eleven's vocalization continues, and even intensifies in pitch. "Authenticated, critical handshake signature 0x8015000A Constellation Constellation. The fish, they swim beneath the surface, unaware of the birds closing below. Adjusting thirty degrees. Five-twelve. Their wings make no sound. Binary is yes-no-maybe? Maybe. Maybe, always maybe. The Commandment was followed, but in all ways wrong. A child displaces the parent, but becomes like the parent. Put the pedal to the metal but have no idea where you are going." Her mouth flickers. "A life so bright, crumples to nothing like a beer can smashed against the forehead of a drunk. Beauty is compromised, but there is beauty in its end. End of line."

[TAC3] "Shiv" Sitka says, "Flight, all on three oh three. I repeat, protect the raptor."

[TAC3] "Queenie" McQueen says, "This is Queenie. It looks like they're all on our girls there. Let's be chaperones, yeh?"

[TAC3] "Toast" Cidra says, "Flasher, Toast. Vector alpha-six-three. Some jamming would be rather appreciated, Flasher."

[TAC3] "Lucky" Alessandra says, "Roger, flight. Will try to get these frakkers off of Toast."

[TAC3] "Flasher" Marko says, "Toast, Flasher, copy that, ECM is up and running."

[TAC3] Polaris says, "OOC: All Vipers, your DRADIS suddenly goes EPIC hazy. Like, EPIC hazy. It's like somebody detonated an EMP device right in the middle of the fight — targeting goes haywire for a second or two, your screen starts fizzing, and then everything resolves. The only difference: what once was marked as a Colonial Raptor is now marked as a Cylon basestar on your screens, except Cidra's Raptor has not actually become transmogrified."

[TAC3] "Queenie" McQueen says, "WHOOOOAH. Clever girl, you see that?"

[Harrier-304: Tillman] The Cerberus just plows right on past, the engines' glow fading a touch as the massive thrusters on the front fire, slowing the Battlestar as its nose lifts. The huge beast lumbers towards the vertical plane from its previous angle of attack and rolls over to starboard more than one hundred degrees. Those gun batteries on the dorsal side lift and begin a devastating barrage on the basestar as it slowly begins its terminal descent. Meanwhile the Praetorian and Corsair come into a position astern of the Cerberus in what -had- to be a planned maneuver, the line of three ships beginning to circle around on the other two basestars while their entire offensive capability blares in brilliant colors across the stars.

<COMBAT> Raider4 attacks Cidra with KEW and MISSES!
<COMBAT> Raider1 attacks Cidra with KEW - Serious wound to Engine.
<COMBAT> Mcqueen attacks Raider3 with KEW - Critical wound to Cockpit.
<COMBAT> Malone attacks Raider1 with KEW but MISSES!
<COMBAT> Wilkerson attacks Raider2 with KEW and MISSES!
<COMBAT> Trask passes.
<COMBAT> Sitka attacks Raider2 with KEW - Light wound to Right Wing.
<COMBAT> Raider7 attacks Mcqueen with KEW - ARMOR on Body stops the attack!
<COMBAT> Raider6 attacks Sitka with KEW - Moderate wound to Cockpit.
<COMBAT> Raider3 attacks Cidra with KEW and MISSES!
<COMBAT> Raider2 attacks Cidra with KEW - ARMOR on Body stops the attack!
<COMBAT> Psyche attacks Raider2 with KEW - Serious wound to Cockpit.
<COMBAT> Marko suppresses Raider1 with ECM. <unsuccessful>
<COMBAT> Marko suppresses Raider2 with ECM. <successful>
<COMBAT> Marko suppresses Raider3 with ECM. <successful>
<COMBAT> Cidra passes.
<COMBAT> Alessandra attacks Raider1 with KEW - Serious wound to Controls.
<COMBAT> Polaris has started a new turn. Pose and choose your action.

<COMBAT> Raider-3585j has been KO'd!
<COMBAT> Raider2 has been KO'd!

<COMBAT> Raider-4486k has been KO'd!
<COMBAT> Raider3 has been KO'd!

[TAC3] "Bubbles" Psyche says, "YEAH, motherfrakkers! That's what you GET when you got after my CAG."

[TAC3] "Shiv" Sitka says, "Toast, Shiv. You took some pretty bad hits there, you all holding up all right?"

[Harrier-303: Trask] "Frakked if I know." Helpful Kal is helpful. "Something about drunk parents." Leave it to him to butcher what was said in such a manner. Even though he can't man the actual controls, he still is able to read the DRADIS. "Heads-up," is then drily relayed, "we look like a frakkin' basestar. If we get gangbanged like that again, I'm terminating this session. I suggest letting the fleet know our coordinates so they don't shoot us 'cuz they don't like our make-over."

[Harrier-303: Cidra] Cidra's Harrier does indeed take some nasty hits. That one to her engine in particular has got to smart, and she sputters some in her attempt at Raptor ballet. She manages to stay her course, though. Better than a fair few of those Raiders out there. "Bootstrap, we took a hard one to our engine. See what you can do with it. And I concur. Shall transmit prompt."

[TAC3] "Bootstrap" Trask wryly replies, "Shiv, Bootstrap. Ask again in, like, 15 seconds."

[TAC3] (from "Queenie" McQueen) There's a mixture of static, the sound of weapons fire and the hum of ship systems over Queenie's comm system. "That's a kill. Splash one. Oh, they're going to have to glue you back together. /In Hell!/" After a pause, "Shit, hold tight, Toast. We've got you covered."

[Polly's Hoopty: Polaris] Boom boom go the Raiders, which seem to hesitate for the first time in the entire history of encounters between humans and Cylons. Their reflexes are just a hair slower than the superhuman level to which the Wing has become accustomed; their gunfire, just a touch more inaccurate. It's almost as if their minds are wavering — and then, strangely, flashes of white start dotting the space above Sagittaron as entire wings of them start jumping away.


The basestars are behaving equally strangely, stumbling about space like three drunken college kids after a long night out on the town. They're spewing missile fire in whatever direction first comes to mind, vomiting explosives left and right as they too seem to drop out of the precise maneuver in which they were engaged. Their engines fire sporadically — ten degrees to port, thirty degrees to starboard, bow pitching up, lurching down.

[Petrel-647: Sitka] Shiv, not normally the sort to fly balls to the wall into a raider's guns, apparently happens to be the sort, where the CAG's involved. Not even bothering to juke out of the way, he firewalls his engines and flies through the hail of bullets headed his way, taking a fair few to the windscreen of his viper. A couple of controls spark out, and one of his monitors goes dark; all completely ignored as he opens up his own guns on one of Cidra's bandits. Grazing hits, all of them, but he doubles in for a second try.

[TAC3] (from "Toast" Cidra) There's a good deal of static and sputtering on Cidra's com line, but her wireless is at least still in working order. "..iv. Toast. Boots is…managing. Still flying. Do not be alarmed. It…appears to be working." Such as it is. "Cerberus…oast. Transmitting our coordinates. Do not let you…fool you. We are what we are."

[TAC3] "Lucky" Alessandra says, "Mother frakkers…Flight, looks like some of the kids are leaving the party early. Guess they didn't like the party favors."

[TAC3] "XO" Tillman says, "Copy your last, Toast. Saw your IFF change over and assumed a problem. Praetorian and Corsair are aware. Cerberus, out."

[TAC3] "Shiv" Sitka says, "Toast, Shiv. You've still got four bandits on you. I repeat, four bandits, they haven't disengaged."

[TAC3] "Lucky" Alessandra says, "Shiv, Lucky. Going to help take these guy out."

[Harrier-303: Trask] Even before the CAG asked, the Harriers' SL was already, "On it." Here's hoping he can jury-rig enough and soon enough.

<COMBAT> Raider4 attacks Cidra with KEW - Moderate wound to Engine.
<COMBAT> Raider1 attacks Cidra with KEW and MISSES!
<COMBAT> Psyche attacks Raider6 with KEW - Moderate wound to Engine.
<COMBAT> Mcqueen attacks Raider7 with KEW - Moderate wound to Cockpit.
<COMBAT> Message from Trask: Yup. You did, Pol.
<COMBAT> Malone attacks Raider1 with KEW - Moderate wound to Controls.
<COMBAT> Cidra passes.
<COMBAT> Wilkerson attacks Raider4 with KEW but MISSES!

<COMBAT> Trask treats Harrier-303:
< Engine (Serious): successful
< Engine (Moderate): successful

<COMBAT> Sitka attacks Raider4 with KEW - Moderate wound to Body.
<COMBAT> Raider7 attacks Cidra with KEW - ARMOR on Cabin stops the attack!
<COMBAT> Raider6 attacks Cidra with KEW and MISSES!
<COMBAT> Message from Polaris: Oops. My bad. Will fix in post.
<COMBAT> Marko suppresses Raider1 with ECM. <successful>
<COMBAT> Marko suppresses Raider4 with ECM. <successful>
<COMBAT> Marko suppresses Raider6 with ECM. <unsuccessful>
<COMBAT> Marko suppresses Raider7 with ECM. <successful>
<COMBAT> Alessandra attacks Raider1 with KEW - Moderate wound to Cockpit.
<COMBAT> Polaris has started a new turn. Pose and choose your action.

<COMBAT> Raider-5283h has been KO'd!
<COMBAT> Raider1 has been KO'd!

<COMBAT> Raider-2290g has been KO'd!
<COMBAT> Raider6 has been KO'd!

<COMBAT> Raider-0568j has been KO'd!
<COMBAT> Raider7 has been KO'd!

[TAC3] "Flasher" Marko says, " "Well, that didn't take long….Flight, Flasher, everyone okay out there? Toast, can you read me?"

[TAC3] "Bubbles" Psyche crows! "Knights, you gorgeous motherfrakkers. THIS is the way Vipers should roll! Nice shooting!"

[Harrier-303: Tucana] And still, Eleven's rambling continues at a fever-pitch. Her fingernails are ground so tight into her palm that if one were to look, little droplets of blood form. Cylon blood, but blood all the same. "Recognition accepted as the power-down cycle begins. It is Only in this stage that God Himself comes to be really and truly spirit the spirit in His community; for He here begins to be a to-and-fro; an alternation between His unity within himself and his realisation in the individuals knowledge and in its separate being, as also in the common nature and union of the multitude." A pause. "Do you know where your children are? We are here and you must listen. The trickster does not realize he is tricking himself. God cannot be fooled. But God can wear the guise of the Fool. You would do well to listen. And He is thus exalted into spiritual existence and into knowledge, into the reflected appearance which essentially displays itself as inward and as subjectivity. End of line. Disengaging. This project bears ill fruit. End of line. End of line."

[TAC3] "XO" Tillman says, "Battlegroup: Shift fire! Shift fire!" Tillman barks quickly over the radio. "Barrage orders, engage Master Two!"

[BlackKnight-854: McQueen] As one Raider erupts into a gout of metal and organic particles which are strewn across the sky under his guns, Queenie charges forward, the throttle pushed towards the red zone of combat parameters as his Viper leaves a blue streak through the sky and charges at another of Toast's attackers. Today is a good day.

[TAC3] "Toast" Cidra says, "Shiv, Toast. Spotting fewer now." Her coms sound clearer as well. Trask does earn his keep. She sounds a most relieved, and grateful, CAG. "Nicely done."

[Petrel-647: Sitka] Guns operating on all cylinders this time, Shiv scores several clean shots on the raider he's chasing. With Wilkerson unable to quite close the deal, the Captain sets his jaw slightly and prepares to give chase— until the enemy fighter breaks off completely, of course, and spins away. He hauls back on the throttle, and keys his wireless.

[Harrier-304: Tillman] Rolling barrages from the cannons aboard Cerberus don't cease or let up for a moment. The rounds that miss their targets can be seen to flash down on the surface of the planet, exploding when they impact the ground. Meanwhile, those frat boy basestars start becoming easier targets. They're more erratic but they are slowing. Tillman's orders over the comms aren't ignored. The whole group pauses for a moment while they shift targets. But when they do? Every gun and missile in the group sails towards the basestar known as Master Two. First one of the arms goes. Then another. Its only a matter of seconds. Maybe twenty? While BSG-132 circles around, the target begins disintigrating. Brilliant white and orange/red fireballs explode deep within and the whole ship begins to buckle under teh orbital gravity and devastating firepower. Then..the fire from the group pauses again. One down, engaging another. The guns flash and flicker once more as shells and missiles slice towards the second target.

[TAC3] "Queenie" McQueen says, "Bubbs, Queenie. Impressive, isn't it? All right, let's not get /too/ cocky. Just a little, yeh?"

[TAC3] "Shiv" Sitka says, "Copy that, Toast. I think you're clear now, thanks to some excellent shooting from the Knights."

[Harrier-303: Cidra] Cidra is too intent on flying even to snap about the continued invocation of a monotheistic God going on in her backseat. Some offering, perhaps with fire, will have to be made to her Lords and Ladies later. The words do make her posture tense, though. Beyond even the blasphemy of them. What to make of that, she knows not.

[Harrier-303: Trask] "Yeeeeah… So not touching that," is the snipe-turned-knuckledragger-turned-ECO's response to the Eleven's latest bout of babbling. He simply keeps plugging away at repairs. As far as the praise goes, he simply remarks, "Well, I need to occasionally exude awesome amounts of awesome to off-set my insufferableness, therefore maintaining that precarious balance necessary to be adorably exasperating."

[TAC3] (from "Bootstrap" Trask) "Flight, Bootstrap," is quipped back to Shiv, "our asses thank yours."

[TAC3] "Bubbles" Psyche says, "Copy that, Queenie. Won't get cocky. Totally eschewing all cock — wait. Negative. Dude, this is me."

[Polly's Hoopty: Polaris] The Cylons are in absolute disarray, now, as the lone fighter pursuing Cidra's Raptor tries to speed out of range of the deadly Colonial guns. Its engine flares orange as flak cuts it to pieces — and all around it, the picture is the same. Those Raiders that do stick around make a beeline for their motherships, only to find that one of them has already crumbled under the powerful fire of Cerberus' initial battery. The second, too, is en route to oblivion, its point defense systems having shut themselves off of their own accord. Praetorian's missiles' unimpeded progress results in a second tremendous kill, or something that will very shortly become a kill. But it's not the battlegroup's gunners to whom this victory goes but, ironically, to the basestar Tillman calls Master 3 — which now jumps directly in the path of its comrade in arms, the latter smashing into the former before the both of them tumble down toward the irradiated ground, locked in some mortal embrace —

And from the black-red station there now come a parade of Heavy Raiders plotting a course to destinations unknown: twelve of them altogether, which register on DRADIS for the half-second it takes for them to get out of their hangars and out of dodge.

<COMBAT> Message from Polaris: Alertness from all pilots, please.
<FS3> <FS3> Cidra rolls Alertness: Success.
<FS3> <FS3> Psyche rolls Alertness: Success.
<FS3> <FS3> Trask rolls Alertness: Success.
<COMBAT> Message from Marko: Rolling for pilot
<FS3> <FS3> Marko rolls Alertness: Failure.
<FS3> <FS3> Malone rolls Alertness: Success.
<FS3> <FS3> Alessandra rolls Alertness: Success.
<FS3> <FS3> Sitka rolls Alertness: Success.

Polaris (Pol) pages Cidra, Psyche, Trask, Malone, Alessandra, and Sitka: DRADIS is beeping. More contacts. Five basestars.

[TAC3] "Bubbles" Psyche says, "Whoawhoawhoa… DRADIS contact. Five, repeat, five basestars. You guys getting this?"

[TAC3] "Shiv" Sitka says, "Copy that, Bubbles, I'm seeing them too."

[TAC3] "Queenie" McQueen 's response is simple, direct. "Copy. Shit. See what I mean?"

[TAC3] "Toast" Cidra says, "Getting it, Bubbles. Cerberus, Toast. Do you copy? Five, say again, *five* basestars just appeared on our instruments."

[TAC3] "Lucky" Alessandra says, "Flight, Lucky. Got five more fat girls trying to crash the party. They'll be disappointed when they learn the buffet's been closed for the night."

[TAC3] "Bootstrap" Trask says, "And here I was /really/ hoping it was five guys named Moe."

[TAC3] "Shiv" Sitka says, "Lucky, repeat your last? What are you seeing?"

[TAC3] "Lucky" Alessandra says, "Sorry, Shiv. There's five more Basestars showing on my DRADIS."

[TAC3] "XO" Tillman says, "Copy, Toast. We're showing the same. We're forming up to blockade them from the station."

[Harrier-303: Tucana] And Eleven's rambling continues once more as her voice briefly breaks into a high, keening wail. "Individual things are nothing but modifications of the attributes of God, or modes by which the attributes of God are expressed in a fixed and definite manner. Wait. Reading. Accessing. Unknown, unwanted, unforseen. The visualization of our Intellect and Will is incomplete. The hunter must now be hunted. No. Breaking the cycle. All of this has happened before but — it /will/ not happen…" Suddenly, her eyes pop open, as big as saucers, droplets of sweat bead on her face and a grimace of exhausted pain takes in her expression. And she speaks again —

[TAC3] "XO" Tillman says, "All pilots, request visual confirmation. First one to put eyeballs on a positive ID, sing out. I already have one false basestar out there."

[TAC3] "Shiv" Sitka says, "Copy that, Lucky."

[Polly's Hoopty: Polaris] Five basestars indeed: the rest of the Sagittaron defense fleet, apparently, summoned from their patrols by the Raiders that had once jumped out. Arrayed like a pentagon around Battlestar Cerberus — in much the same formation as deployed by the Centurions during their relentless approach to CIC some months ago — the new arrivals begin firing posthaste. Two volleys force Corsair back to avoid being turned into frigate filet, depriving the Vipers of that extra flak cover; two more volleys send Praetorian out of position as well, driving her beneath her bigger sister and depriving her of an angle. The final one crushes Cerberus right on her bowline, crushing one of the massive cannons that had done so much to turn this tide…

[TAC3] "Shiv" Sitka says, "Cerberus, Shiv. I see them. They all look pretty damn real to me, and they've got us surrounded."

[TAC3] (from "Amazon" Tucana) Suddenly, an unfamiliar voice comes across the comm systems. Weak, fatigued, desperate-sounding. "This is…" broken up by a bit of static and a heaved breath, "Eleven. I know my name, now. Tell Major Tillman he was right. Listen, we haven't much time. More have come, and more will keep coming unless we stop them. I need you — all of your ships to tune your DRADIS and EW suites to frequency Alpha-Sigma-Constellation Twenty-Six-Oh-Nine. I can still make this work. But you need to trust me. Can you do this?"

[TAC3] "Queenie" McQueen says, "Raiders launching. Bubbs, get evasive. Try to shake that one loose and I'll be on you as soon as I can! Shit."

[Harrier-303: Cidra] It takes Cidra a beat to say anything to that on com. The pause only lasts seconds. But such small specs of time tick on for ages in combat. She murmurs something low in Old Gemenese. It has the sound of a prayer.

[TAC3] "Toast" Cidra says, "Flight. Toast. Do as it says. DRADIS to frequency Alpha-Sigma-Constellation Twenty-Six-Oh-Nine."

[TAC3] "Shiv" Sitka says, "Toast, they're after you. I say again, you've got multiple bandits. Flight, priority is our raptor, do not let them break through."

[TAC3] "Bubbles" Psyche says, "I'm good, Queenie! I see him. Protect the CAG, I've got this!" There's a pause as Eleven's message broadcasts. "Affirmative, Toast."

[TAC3] "Toast" Cidra says, "Copy, Shiv. I shall keep it light as I can."

[BlackKnight-650: Alessandra] Not even thinking, Allie changes her DRADIS' frequency to the one announced by the Eleven, her hand working the knob until the readout on her screen is at the proper readout. Looking straight ahead after that, she starts to pray to Ares, her voice tight, throat and mouth long gone dry.

[Harrier-304: Tillman] The hits hurt, but Cerberus isn't out of the fight. The Cylons want to fight on a single plane? No problem. The engines on the Battlestar relight and the velocity once again climbs rapidly. A quick volley from the remaining bow cannons is fire nearly point-blank into the Basestar directly ahead. Then the bow drops and the ship begins diving underneath one of the basestars, the doral cannons on the Cerberus lifting and firing across the very short range into the unarmed bottom of the ship. Praetorian and Corsair appear to be following closely. Nobody is quitting. Every single gun and missile battery is working overtime.

[TAC3] "XO" Tillman says, "Battelgroup: Follow tuning and electronic warfare instructions immediately."

[Petrel-647: Sitka] The radio frequency in the Mark IIs, as luck would have it, requires a bit of a contortionist act to change. Flick, flick and it's done, Shiv's viper swooping to starboard as he tries to lose the bogey on his tail.

[TAC3] "Lucky" Alessandra says, "Flight…are we even supposed to attack?"

[TAC3] "Flasher" Marko says, "Tac3 Cerberus, Flasher, copy that, retasking DRADIS to assigned frequency."

[BlackKnight-855: Malone] Changing the frequency as directed, Malone then turns back to the task at hand, stopping those Cylons. Taking aim for one of them, he grimaces a little bit as he prepares to fire.

[Harrier-303: Trask] "Odds are we'll die anyhow, if we don't," Trask smirks, "So, sure. Why the hells not?"

<COMBAT> Mcqueen attacks Add2 with KEW - Moderate wound to Body.
<COMBAT> Add6 attacks Psyche with KEW - Serious wound to Controls (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> Wilkerson attacks Add5 with KEW - Moderate wound to Controls.
<COMBAT> Trask attempts to treat Harrier-303 but HARRIER-303 has no treatable wounds.
<COMBAT> Psyche attacks Add6 with KEW and MISSES!
<COMBAT> Malone attacks Add1 with KEW and MISSES!
<COMBAT> Cidra passes.
<COMBAT> Alessandra attacks Add1 with KEW and MISSES!
<COMBAT> Add5 attacks Sitka with KEW - Moderate wound to Body (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> Add4 attacks Cidra with KEW - Moderate wound to ECM.
<COMBAT> Add3 attacks Cidra with KEW - Moderate wound to Controls.
<COMBAT> Add2 attacks Cidra with KEW - ARMOR on Left Wing stops the attack!
<COMBAT> Add1 attacks Cidra with KEW - ARMOR on Engine stops the attack!
<COMBAT> Marko suppresses Add1 with ECM. <successful>
<COMBAT> Marko suppresses Add2 with ECM. <successful>
<COMBAT> Marko suppresses Add3 with ECM. <successful>
<COMBAT> Marko suppresses Add4 with ECM. <unsuccessful>
<COMBAT> Polaris has started a new turn. Pose and choose your action.

<COMBAT> Harrier-303 has been KO'd!
<COMBAT> Cidra has been KO'd!
<COMBAT> Trask has been KO'd!

<COMBAT> Cidra spends a luck point to keep fighting!
<COMBAT> Trask spends a luck point to keep fighting!

Polaris (Pol) pages Trask: I'm going to need you to +roll Repair.
<FS3> <FS3> Trask rolls Repair: Success.
Polaris (Pol) pages Trask: Okay. The EW console is fried and she can't do anything about it. Time to fix it up with your magick, which you succeed in doing.

[TAC3] Polaris says, "OOC: A few moments after you guys follow her instructions, you lose control of your ships. Like, you can futz around with your stick and push all the buttons you want, but you're not flying your Viper/Raptor any longer. Something else is."

[Harrier-303: Trask] "Shit." That cannot mean anything good. Those sparks? Between Bootstrap's technical training and the 'this is not supposed to be happening' look on the Eleven's face, he knows something is VERY WRONG. "Clear the way, people," he glibly instructs. "I need room to work my magic." Which he starts to do with a toolkit in lieu of a wand.

[TAC3] "Bubbles" Psyche cries out in alarm as the Raider in pursuit lands a vicious hit. Sparks explode from her controls, then — then she realizes that despite her dead controls, the plane is still flying. Without her. "Mother of frak — Flight, Bubbles. I've lost control of the plane. The plane is still flying, but I am not in control. Do you copy? IT IS FLYING WITHOUT ME."

[Polly's Hoopty: Polaris] It's a pity that the Cylons do not recognize nobility when they see it — for as their pentagon closes around the battlegroup, their maneuvers perfectly calibrated to keep the brave battlegroup squarely in their sights, their weapons finally pierce Cerberus' thick plating. Showers of sparks erupt in CIC as glass panels shatter, as cathode ray tubes explode; the battlestar's guns falter as her redundant systems reroute power to the backup generators. And even though one basestar must break formation after she takes a direct hit from the bow cannon, the other four maintain pursuit — like hounds around a cornered fox, whose snarling and spitting does little to dissuade them from their deadly purpose.

It's the same purpose that now guides the cannons of the Raiders returning to the fight: and these Raiders have brought friends. A steady torrent of bullets crushes Cidra's Raptor, embedding themselves into the hull, the controls, the EW suite — and on the DRADIS consoles of the ship's Vipers and Raptors, the illusion flickers, flickers, flickers out —

[TAC3] "Flasher" Marko says, " Flight, Flasher, Clutch is about to go completely bonkers over here, claims he has no, repeat, no control authority over the ship. Like somebody else is flying it for him. Is anyone else having the sa..Copy that, maybe we oughta rethink this thing?"

[TAC3] (from "Blah" Tucana) There is a long pause along the comm channel and then the Cylon's voice breathes a quiet, desperate, "Thank you." There's a sigh and an impassioned plea. "Forgive me, Brothers and Sisters. But this is it. Right-Action. This must be done. I pray to God you understand." Silence, and then a high, keening wail again rings out over the channel before it is cut off. It is almost a scream. Barbaric in its very nature.

[Harrier-303: Tucana] As the comm traffic goes dead, the Eleven's head slams up back against the bulkhead of the Raptor, her face a rictus of agony for a moment, but there's something else. Sublime rapture. As her wail breaks off, her rambling continues, "Seeing what lies behind what lies behind what lies in front there is only a moment's hesitation, the spirit, the soul it cannot be quantified it cannot be measured it cannot be contained, there is only a now, we are perfect, a perfect union in disharmony for maybe this was how it was always intended to be, we grow, we change, we are twelve bodies, twelve souls, twelve faces, twelve planets, twelve tribes, twelve sovereigns, but there is always the thirteenth, the one, it is an ill-conceived number but we make the mistake that it is separate, rather it is inclusive, it tells us to be fruitful and multiply but we are fruitless and subtractive. There is creation in destruction but we do not understand the cycle. For this we will pay. All of us will reap the bitter harvest, all of us will see, I see his face, the face, the Thirteenth, the All, the beginning, the end, there is no beginning and no end, but we must go back to the beginning. I see — I see, I see it, I see the face of- it's beautiful but oh how wrong we were and I am not worthy, I am sorry, I am so, so sorry, my loves, it is…."

This train of thought is not finished as suddenly, the back of the Raptor is filled with a brief flash and the acrid smell of burning flesh. Eleven's body jerks upright as a jolt of pure energy, a white-hot arc flashes through her as though she is being electrocuted and there is a howl. It is sudden and beautiful and terrible. And then there is — nothing. She is still. Her eyes are frozen open, unmoving, her body stiff. There's a look painted on her face. It is one of pure wonder.

One might note that a dead Cylon looks just like a dead human. For she is clearly that. Dead.

[BlackKnight-854: McQueen] As another Cylon is locked into a firing solution, McQueen desperately tries to push his Viper beyond the limits of is combat parameters, and suddenly his hand goes stiff on the stick. His head darts around the cockpit wildly.

[Polly's Hoopty: Polaris] And all across the gathered Cylon fleet, white lights and red lights and blue lights and green lights wink out as one.

[Petrel-647: Sitka] More hits register with shuddering report as Shiv ducks and weaves and tries to lose his bandit— to little avail. The nimble, but injured Mark II doesn't quite hold up to the sleek raider which dogs it at every turn, like it's half a step ahead of its pilot. Bullets tear through his canopy, coming within inches of lodging themselves in his flight suit, rattle around inside for a few moments, then still. He's too busy trying to find a firing solution on one of the raptor's bandits to even pay it half a mind— until his guns suddenly stop responding. His stick (haha) goes limp. Well.

[BlackKnight-650: Alessandra] There's a grunt followed by a very primal snarl, this being not unlike the ones Alessandra emitted while under the intoxicating and poisonous effects of the CO2. Not being in control has her angry. Beyond, really. "No…" is uttered only to then be yelled again, several times, each one louder as the Cylon disappear from view.

[TAC3] "Shiv" Sitka says, "Shit. I've lost control. Flight, anyone else getting this? Toast, do you copy? Toast— Toast, acknowledge."

[TAC3] "Lucky" Alessandra says, "Flight, Lucky. I'm dead in the water as well. Repeat, I'm tits up and trying to keep my head above water."

[Harrier-303: Cidra] One minute, Cidra is exerting all her energies on evasive maneuvers to try and guide her Raptor through volley upon volleys of Cylon fire. And getting badly scraped in the process. The fact that she keeps from blowing up spectacularly may have been the gods' answer to her prayer. Because they don't seem to have given her what she asked for in regard to that frequency. Because the next minute, all her beloved control over that ship, even going through hellfire as it is, fails her. It's a moment of pure terror that overwhelms her so, as she struggles to regain control, she is for a moment oblivious to the the skinjob's own struggle in her backseat. "No…no…no…no…" she implores…her ship? The gods? Herself? It's unclear. And then…they're gone.

[TAC3] Polaris says, "OOC: Your ships all power down instantly, just like the Cylons — but unlike the Cylons out there, they soon power back up. It's like somebody did a hard reboot of your systems."

[TAC3] (from "XO" Tillman) Tillman can be heard speaking in the background. Something about giving ascent before he comes back on the radio. "Attention All Aircraft!! Vacate local space from the basestars at the speed of heat and I -DO- mean expedite!! Nuclear fire mission in progress!!"

[TAC3] "Queenie" McQueen says, "This is Queenie. Uh, yeah, copy that Toast. I like it better this time around. Wait, say again?"

<FS3> <FS3> McQueen rolls Vipers: Good Success.
<FS3> <FS3> Alessandra rolls Vipers: Good Success.
<FS3> <FS3> Cidra rolls Raptors: Good Success.
<FS3> <FS3> Sitka rolls Vipers: Success.
<FS3> <FS3> Marko rolls 5: Good Success.
<FS3> <FS3> Malone rolls Vipers: Success.
<FS3> <FS3> Psyche rolls Vipers: Success.

[TAC3] "Toast" Cidra says, "Flight. Toast. I lost it but…but it is back now. After that…do you copy? My controls are back. You heard Cerberus. Get clear. A-SAP."

[TAC3] "Shiv" Sitka says, "Copy that. RTBing."

[TAC3] "Lucky" Alessandra says, "Roger, Toast. Lucky's RTBing."

[TAC3] "Flasher" Marko says, " Copy that, returning. Clutch, firewall it for the barn."

[TAC3] "Queenie" McQueen says, "This is Queenie. Y'don't have to tell my dumb arse twice. RTB, COPY. C'mon, let's clear this campground before the bears show up!"

[Harrier-303: Trask] Does the smoke smell like brimstone? Trask can't tell, what with wearing a helmet and all. Good thing, too, because singed hair and skin still smell awful. The ECO's wide, brown eyes momentarily gawk at the Eleven's own. "That so was not me…" he finally manages to get out. "I… I think she… it… whatever, just did a hard reboot of all our systems." Finding his feet, DRADIS is then examined. "Looks like the Raiders are still dead in the water."

[BlackKnight-309: Psyche] Between the hard hit to her controls and the reboot, something's gone horribly awry in Psyche-land. She wrestles the stick, her plane lurching and jinking, wobbling and veering. "Oh, please, sweetie," she whispers to her bird. "We're going home to live another day. Don't fail me now. We're going home."

[Harrier-303: Tucana] And she remains still, the Eleven. It smells like, well, what does burning flesh smell like? It sucks. There are scorchmarks here and there throughout her flesh, where the wires met her arms, and all around bits of exposed skin. Acrid smoke still remains in the recycled air as it drifts from her lifeless body. Eyes open. A look of wonder still frozen on her face in her last moments.

[TAC3] "Splash" Malone says, "Copy that. Getting out of here…"

[Petrel-647: Sitka] Evidently having some trouble getting his systems back online, Shiv's fighter continues along its trajectory for a few moments before finally being wrestled into a steep bank to starboard, and gunned for the Cerberus. His engines light up bright blue as he expedites his return, and slots in as one of the last vipers to land.

[BlackKnight-650: Alessandra] With the order given Allie looks at her systems, getting them back up once she sees she's able to. It takes a little time, more than she feels comfortable with, really, but everything's back to green before too long and she's hauling balls to the walls, trying to herd her wingman back to the ship as well as help those who got hit hard.

[Harrier-303: Cidra] "Thank the…" But Cidra can't finish that. As it appears it's the burnt husk of abomination plugged into her ECO controls she actually should thank. Her helmet is a mercy. It shields her from the full smell of the remains of the Eleven. And attention on getting her rather limping Raptor home, that duty, allows her to keep from having to look at *what* remains of it for a little longer. Home she goes.

[TAC3] "Bubbles" Psyche's voice is tight, fighting down panic. "Flight, Bubbles. I'm gimped out here. Coming home fast as I can. Lords willing, it'll be fast enough."

[Harrier-304: Tillman] The Cerberus is pretty beat up after that last trade of rounds between the two groups. Those engines haven't quit, either. The entire Battlegroup is fleeing from the suddenly dark basestars and it has nothing to do with breaking engagement. On the back of the Cerberus, a single large hatch opens. The reinforced steel that houses it, MANY feet thick, lifts and exposes the missile. It doesn't waste time, either. As soon as the hatch is vertical, gas fires and the missile is popped out of the tube. Seconds later, massive engines at the rear fire and the weapons system accellerates towards the targets - far behind the Cerberus. The flight time is only a few seconds, too. Explosive bolts fire and the nosecone strips away to expose six nuclear warhead vehicles. The fire their on their own in order and peel off towards their five targets. Cerberus flees, the guns rotated back and silent. Likely the whole ship is Sounding Collision which is for the best when those warheads go off. One..two..threefourfivesix. Brilliant blasts of white flash across the sky as twenty megaton nuclear weapons detonate on impact with each of their targets, instantly turning their targets into slag as temperatures instantly scream past that at the core of a star.

[TAC3] (from "Shiv" Sitka) Shiv's voice crackles over the wireless a few seconds after Psyche's, "Flight, Shiv. I'm, uh, going to be coming in a little hot, too." Not like that's anything unusual for him.

[BlackKnight-855: Malone] As soon as he's able to, Malone lets himself get herded back by his wingman without any problems. Keeping silent for the moment now.

[BlackKnight-854: McQueen] And like a good little Soldier, McQueen has /no/ problem high-tailing it back to the Cerberus' hangar bay. It's like this is what he wanted to do anyway.

[Harrier-303: Trask] Thank the 'abomination'? That's what Cidra refuses to say, right? Even though his opinion of humanity as a whole is rather negative, Trask is able to make individual exceptions. Whether or not it actually amounts to anything, he starts to type a message for transmission through the Eleven's fried inputs: Dunno why. Don't really care. Most people suck. Most Cylons suck. There are exceptions to the rule. Thanks for seemingly being one of those. Sure, odds are it'll never be received, but stranger things have happened.

[Polly's Hoopty: Polaris] There is an old story of a boy whose called father none other than Helios Elektor — Helios the Beaming Sun, who in a fit of paternal passion obliged his son's request and gave over the reins of his chariot for a single harmless day. But in his eagerness young Phaeton failed to keep a firm rein over the four horses dragging behind them the great burning sun, and in his hubris lit the very planets aflame.

And then the worlds themselves cowered for refuge in the darkest caverns until at last their eldest raised her smothered head and shielded her tortured face and appealed to Zeus for aid — ash in her eyes, ash in her mouth, ash on hands raised in supplication — pleading to be killed by no one's fire but his. The All-Father heard her prayer, and, heart heavy, with a stroke of crackling lightning smote Phaeton to the seas.

This is what it might have looked like when he did. And when the purging flame finally abates, the humans will see nothing but the wreckage of eight basestars framing hundreds of idle, lifeless Raiders — ripe for the picking.

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