PHD #112: EVENT - O What Light
O What Light
Summary: The rescue team scrambles to get its birds in the air.
Date: 18 Jun 2041 AE
Related Logs: Concordant with The Twisted Gyves and concluded in Rain.
Alessandra Cidra Coll Constin Ethan McQueen Psyche Jenkins NPC Polaris 
Colonial Fleet Air Station Anadyomene — Kythera — Leonis
The silence here is deafening, for not even the winds dare to disturb what remains of Colonial Fleet Air Station Anadyomene. Its three runways are littered by the wreckage of Vipers and Raptors, their grotesquely melted frames maintaining a sick parody of their original shape. Blasted barracks stand in eerie tribute to the people who died here, their windows completely shattered, their doors completely wrecked. Poured concrete runways are black and rippled, having been liquefied and reshaped by the heat from the Cylons' neutron bombs. They're dotted here and there by the still-feathered skeletons of over a thousand dead birds: the first victims of the radiation that still hangs like an invisible mist over the mountainous ridge into which this base has been built.
It's fortunate, then, that the reinforced concrete blast doors leading into that ridge still stand, though the northern passage has been rendered completely inaccessible by virtue of the fact that its doorframes are now one with the taxiway leading inside. The southern entrance looks to have handled the destruction better, though it'll still take some effort (and more than a few explosives) to pry them open.
Post-Holocaust Day: #112

It's raining — thick droplets pinging off battered asphalt, clinging to broken planes, sinking into dirt and grass and pulverized rock until the cliff-face above Colonial Fleet Air Station Anadyomene has turned entirely to sludge. The endless downpour lends a gloomy mood to what has been a truly hectic day for those brave volunteers who chose to jump with the advance team in preparation for the imminent escape. At dawn, so many hours ago, the main jump was canceled — and then rescheduled not one hour ago, after Cylon activity was spotted in the forest and around the ridgeline.

And so it is that the pitter-patter of rain can barely be heard over the clanking of metallic feet against the mud-covered ground: Centurions, at least sixteen of them, dropping down from the open hatch of a Heavy Raider, each of them advancing slowly but steadily toward the Colonial position while above them the newest wave of soldiers prepares to fall…

High, high above.. When the doors open on the six Raptors, the view and feelings might be enough to make a few nauseous. The pull of gravity can be felt but hardly anything can be seen from within those flightsuits. The local star is just fading over the horizon and illuminating some of the cloud cover below - yes, cloud cover. The base can barely be seen, the runways about to disappear behind an turgid, black raincloud below. Above them, the stars twinkle brightly before a trio of bright flashes interrupt the almost serene combination of heaven above and hell below. The three ships, two hundred thousand feet overhead, begin a slow, menacing roll to port the seems too well-coordinated. Guns lift from their positions against the hull and turn to face the surface of Leonis. Its past the Point of No Return. Jump now or never.

"Count off just as we practiced as you freefall, then pull your shoots once we are a thousand feet to ground," comes Cidra's voice over the wireless to her pilots. Voice raised even on the mic, with the rain and the sound of the Raptor engines around her. "Ready on the mark. Five…four…three…two…one…mark!" And off she goes, stepping out into the darkened blue yonder. Freefalling. As the rest of them should be right behind her. When she had those girlhood dreams of flying in Colonial skies, this is probably /not/ what she envisioned.

Fresh was contacted by his superiors, it seems that there's the possibility of usable Raptors being down there, so he jumped on the opportunity to, well…jump. Needles to say, the delay of the jump got him a bit nervous but when he was virtually pushed into a ship along with the rest of the team, his focus came back to him as fast as Speedy Gonzalez. He stands close to the CAG, looking at the Raptor's door while he waits for Cidra to give the order. At the countdown, he nods in silence and he jumps just a few seconds after she did. Couple seconds spent to reorganize his thoughts into the task at hand and now the man placed his arms to his sides, looking straight ahead, falling…fast. Hell yeah.

Lucky has been fairly quiet during their prep time, whatever banter she might normally exchange with people nowhere to be heard, the seriousness of this mission having been driven home over the last couple of days. When Cidra reminds them all of the proceedure they're to follow she nods, letting that suffice for reply. As the countdown is given she positions herself at the hatch which she then leaps out of, making sure to give herself enough room between her body and Fresh's, her arms held tight to her side.

Coll is busy running around the inside of the hanger. The whine of jet engines slowly builds while the ground crews are getting the jets warmed. It nearly drowns out the sound of the rain falling outside for the Marines out there. Its hard to tell what all is going on in there but there is a ton of shouting running back and forth between Coll, Cambell, and Peters. Its not frantic yet but by the tone it sounds like they aren't twiddling thumbs.

The blackened ruin of the Eidolon has been forged anew into an instrument of humanity's battle by the emplacing of what appears to be a minigun atop it. Behind that gun is a bloodied, muddy, and snarling Constin, blue eyes narrowed against rain and enemy, blasting away in two-second bursts at the oncoming Cylon hulks.

It's been a whirlwind trip back to duty-land for McQueen. Ever since getting his pins back and rejoining flight rotation, it's been a tense time for him and he's been a bit jittery and pensive, quite unlike his usual jovial self. For him, the past two weeks have seemingly shaken him more than the Holocaust ever did. He lingers in the Raptor in his jump gear behind Alessandra, frowning a bit at the viewport. As the countdown is given, he finally bellows, "Ahh, /balls to this!/ and jumps, the howl that ensues is flat-out wolf-like as his body goes flying out of the hatch and into the air.

Bubbles has been indulging in her eponymous bubblegum habit the whole ride, perhaps to ward off the nausea-producing anxiety of the task ahead. When the doors open, she chokes and goes from grey to grey-green, swallowing her gum. "Oh, frak me…" she whispers. It might seem incongruous for a pilot to be afraid of heights — but there's piloting a plane through them, and then there's leaping bare-assed from them. For the blonde Raptor-ette, these are two VERY different things. Whatever her reservations, however, once she's in line for the jump there's no turning back. And no hesitation. She takes a deep, shaking breath, and then the plunge: "OH FRAK FRAKKING FRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAK!!!" Geronimo.

Looking around, just out the door, all six Raptors are disgorging their pilots at almost the exact same instant. The free-fall looks like the Raptors are quickly climbing away as everyone accelerates towards Leonis at the same speed. With the last skydiver out the door barely ten seconds, the Raptors jump away. The sound is tremendous as the shockwave crosses them, possibly knocking the breath out of a few of the last pilots out for an instant. The altitude begins dropping faster..and faster. Meanwhile that thick blanket of black down below has begun covering the runways and almost completely obscuring it. With the defilade of the sun disappearing around the side of Leonis, the night has set in almost completely around the HALO jumpers. The only way to identify positions are the small glow-in the-dark patches on the back of each pack and the gentle blue glow from within the helmets.

The Cylons begin firing, too, matching Constin two-second burst by two-second burst. The lead four in the formation don't even both going to cover, striding ahead on those mechanized legs while sweeping their machine guns from side to side; the others fan out to encircle the enemy position, already forming that dual-horned semi-circle they plan to use for precisely that purpose. Just two hundred yards out, now, and closing fast — and the ground below is suddenly lit by streaks of yellow and blue. Will-o'-wisps in the dark; heralds of those terrors that go bump in the night.

Constin can't even hear himself speak as the roar of his gun competes with the rattle of incoming bullets to drown out all hearing. His head is snapped to one side by a shell which glances off his helmet, howling thorugh ghritted teeth as another bullet registers as having blasted apart his arm. Even though he can't hear himself, the corporal grits out through his return-fire, "Ah am a soldier and proud member of Corp." Two second burst. "Ah am /of/ the Troops and /for/ the Troops.." Two second burst.

With the sound of gunfire rising, the activity in the hangar has hit a fever pitch. The sound of engines winds up louder and louder. Then a new sound - the twin engines of the Raptors' distinctive whine. Oh yes, the Raptors are working. Coll dashes out of the hangar a few moments later, grasping up her rifle that was leaning against the blasted bunker doors. She dives into a perpared concrete pile right outside the hangar and lifts her rifle to her shoulder. Its a good thing nobody can see the look on her face because its ashen white beneath the pounding rain. A wince to her side and she takes aim. "COLL UP!" she announces herself onto the line. Her free hand brings up her survival radio and makes a call on Tac1.

[TAC1] "Bud" Coll says, "Ground Team to HALO!" The sound of rain and gunfire around her voice is nearly intolerable. "Vipers are warming!! Two Raptors capable! Over!"

Beside him, young Jenkins demonstrates the remarkable strength of will instilled in him by the hell that was the Crucible. Gritting his teeth, the Marine focuses fire on the wounded Centurion, tapping out a three-round burst without regard for the pain searing through his body. "You want me to blow some shit, Con-El, you scream!" he manages, depressing that trigger even as the Cylons continue their relentless advance.

Its felt but not seen. The sound is impossible to miss. A bellowing -BOOM- crosses the thirty-three pilots as they descend past 100,000 feet. Then another. They start coming faster. Anyone looking behind them would see the guns of the battlegroup winking. Those massive rounds, barely smaller than a subcompact car, are travelling at hypersonic speeds towards the ground. When they reach that ugly cloud deck below, they cut large, perfectly round holes straight through them. Through these holes.. tracer fire can already be seen. The battle for Anadyomene's Vipers has already begun raging 80,000 feet below. Directly in front of the jumpers, their views suddenly become a bit obscured. A small vapor cone appears almost like a perfect oval shield. It gets closer and closer, slowly, until it passes right over each individual. To any pilot having flown in the atmosphere, the significance is clear: the speed of sound has been passed. It only takes a few seconds for the view below to become clear again. More holes are cut through the cloud by the incoming rounds. More tracers can be seen. Explosions light the clouds from underneath, turning them a soft white like lightning. There's no telling how low those clouds go, either. Diving through the holes in the threatening grey-black is going to be the best bet to have any visibility. 50,000 40,000 30,000 20,000 10,000 The cloud deck is approaching fast.

"Oh come on Bubbs, pretend you're /immortal/. It's not the fall that kills you, just the bit at the ennnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnndddd!" It's unlikely just /any/ of McQueen's sudden rebuttal can even be heard, but at hearing the blonde pilot's unease at the situation, he can't hesitate to deliver a one-off crack, even if it is lost to the harshness of Leonis' atmosphere. As the HALO jumper goes hurtling through the air, he's probably praying to whatever god willing to listen that his advice is worth a damn.

Constin screams on channel to Jenkins in the midst of his next two second burst, "Jenkins, Actual! Fourth perimeter- NOW!" Belatedly, the corporal notices- as he swings the heavy weapon back onto target, his right leg won't support his weight as it should. He can't even spare a glance down to check, simply leaning more heavily on his left, and laying down all the support fire he can.

Cidra hurtles through the air, the darkness and rain and thunderous sensation of war pounding around them making a rather tense crucible to jump in. Fingertips are tense on her shoot. There's that urge to yank it right off. Had the gods wanted women to fly, after all, they'd not have given them aeroplanes. "Shield of Athena be with us…" she prays soft, before acknowledging the wireless chatter in her ear. She holds herself steady, falling straight through one of those holes in the clouds. Sparking earth below growing closer and closer.

[TAC1] "Toast" Cidra says, "HALO Team to ground. Acknowledged. En route, in freefall."

Alessandra's muttering to herself, her own voice so much of a whisper that she can barely hear it in her own ear. "…this is insane," she says although it's not her bitching. No, she really is having too much fun to complain about the jump although she just might once they catch the weather that's raging beneath them. Rain. The dampener of moods since the beginning of time. A quick glance to her altimeter to check on whether it's time to pull her chord or not and then she's back to simply waiting, watching.

Rounds impact Coll's chest and she grunts against it, rolling down behind the cover quickly. Rounds explode the concrete around her and slowly chew bigger holes in the cover that she's trying so hard to hide behind. After a quick abatement, she rises again. "Heavy Raider!!! What the frak is that?!?!" Her rifle comes up and she let's off another angry burst before picking up the radio once more. Once done, she takes a small grenade out of her leg pouch. The pin is yanked and she hurls it into the empty field beside her.

"Roger that!" Jenkins lets out a strangled cheer as Coll plugs the Cylon for which he'd been aiming, swapping out his rifle for the crude detonator kept nearby. And then, as a trio of oncoming Centurions stomps towards Eidolon's right flank, a bomb buried beneath a thin veneer of crumbled asphalt explodes between them, shrapnel flying every which way as brilliant heat surges through the muggy summer rain. One and three down; just twelve to go.

Well. Twelve plus those Centurions that are likely to be offloaded from the second Heavy Raider already surging towards the battlefield, its tremendous hatch opening to disgorge more of the bulletheads: four by four by four by four.

[TAC1] "Bud" Coll says, "Copy that, sir!" The gunfire hasn't let up. It only seems to be getting louder. "Marking your landing position with smoke in five.. four..!"

Ethan keeps his focus and tries to keep his breathing as relaxed as he can. Out of pure luck, he manages to catch at least the edge of one of those holes. His visibility, while disrupted a little bit, is still working well for him. Lips pressed tight, silently counting seconds while his arms are pretty much attached to the sides of his body. Booooy this is fast.

Nope. Bubbles — though she would have likely appreciated the banter in the face of imminent death — hears nothing over the scream of the wind, the thunder of ordinance, and her own frantic monologue of profanity. Somehow she manages to keep from hyperventilating as she lives her favorite nightmare — you know the one you've had since childhood that can still wake the adult in a cold sweat? This is hers. Somewhere subliminal to all this, she keeps count, ready to frak the brains out of whoever invented the parachute — provided the mother-frakking thing deploys.

Its almost surreal to fall through a clean hole in the cloud. Something akin to 'tumbling down the rabbit hole' might be the thing to come to mind to a few. The altitude counts down so much faster once that fifth digit is lost, too. 4,000… The orbital bombardment seems to have stopped but having slowed dramatically this close to the ground, new sounds can be heard. Massive explosions tear across the atmosphere, thundering through the clouds like Clydesdales on a wooden floor. Radical amounts of gunfire can be seen. 3,000… Tracers from two sides can easily be seen, the winking lights of heavy weapons fire clearly demarcate who is where. 2,000… Someone seems to have mounted a minigun to the Eidolon's hulking wreckage and has put it to use. Near the bunker entrance, someone has popped an incendiary grenade to mark their landing zone - and none too soon. 1,000… They crews blast through the cloud deck and break through to view the entire battle below unobstructed. Three Marines and three Deck personnel seem to be fighting a desperate engagement. Time to pull the ripcords or risk a harder landing someplace less pleasant.

[TAC1] (from Polaris) The last three counts of Coll's transmission aren't heard as ear-piercing static rips to life. It's loud enough to cause Jenkins to twitch backwards in surprise, tearing his headset from his ears before he retrieves his rifle and lifts it to his shoulder. "You okay there?!" he screams into the pounding rain, not even glancing Constin's way as he lines up another shot. "Frak! Coms are out."

Constin's job in this mission is to draw enemy fire. Let it never be said that Eleftherios Constin isn't good at his job. Amidst the hail of incoming bullets one in particular slams into his chestpiece, briefly robbing the marine of his breath.. but not the use of his trigger finger. Two-second burst. "Hrrh!" he grinds out with a wince, tasting copper. Two-second burst. "Ready on- Hrh! Ready on Third perimeter, Jenkins!" Two second burst.

Cidra's shoot unfurls not a tick after they pass the 1,000-mark. Somehow, between the low visibility and increasing enemy presence on the ground, Toast meets landing zone. She tucks in, legs loose so as not to risk breaking her timbers as she hits the ground. A proper aerobatic jumper would probably have a few critiques to give of her technique. But she makes it without doing herself an injury. She'll take that as a win.

"Frak the third perimeter!" shouts Jenkins right back at his nominal superior officer — and it's with surpassing skill that he plucks a frag grenade from beside him and stuffs it into the launcher attached to his rifle. "Gotta take care of those guys charging at us first or there won't be anyone for the third perimeter to defend!" And it's in one magnificent arc that the grenade plunges forward, cutting a path through the torrential rain into the three Centurions that have nearly closed the distance to the ruins of MV Eidolon.

Aaaand, things are getting closer, closer, close enough for Ethan to actually pull the ripcord of his parachute. Lucky for thing, it works and the things comes out immediately, slowing down his descend. In an abrupt way but heck, it's better than letting the ground stop the fall. Right? The young Raptor pilot finally touches ground, his legs hurt a bit after the impact and he falls to his knees but stands up almost right away, looking around only to find the CAG and make his way towards her.

Coll lets off her burst just in time for her position to get raked hard with gunfire. Her shots go way wide and she takes hits to her arm and hard, screaming in pain. Some people jsut aren't built for this. She rolls down the pile behind her and grits against the pain as she gathers up the rifle, climbing back up to the pile. As teh first pilots come down she starts yelling: "Vipers are hot!" Her country accent is in full force with the volume she's putting out. "Two Raptors are at the far end! I'll provide steering once you're in!! Watch for visual cues from me at the hangar door, sirs!!" The rifle is then lifted again, the stock bloody from her hands. She lets off another heavy burst.

Over jammed wireless, nobody can really hear you gloat. Or howl. And nobody can see the rush of exilhiration on Queenie's face as he goes through the descent process and his chute opens, slowing his hurtling through the sky to a slow, peaceful drift, which is deeply at odds with the carnage that has gone on here and is going on now. His limbs go just slack enough to absorb the energy of the rest of his descent, and he manages to avoid getting stuck in a tree or other obstacle as his legs hit the ground with a soft 'thump.'

Alessandra's own landing is a tad on the rough side but she, like the CAG, is uncathed despite the slightly hard impact she makes. The first thing she does is roll before she gets herself to stop and then it's the hurried task of chucking off her chute's pack so she can get back up onto her feet. It takes a moment for her to get her bearings but she's soon heading in what seems to be the right direction.

"Be gentle with me!" Bubbles squeaks, the ground coming up to meet her at alarming speed despite her chute having deployed as it should. It's just a little unnerving is all, and her boots meet terra firma hard. She OOFS! and stumbles forward, though she manages not to fall on her face, straightening quickly and taking a somewhat stunned look around. "Wow. I'm totally not pudding…" she murmurs. She gives herself a shake, detaching from her lines and hustling over to join the others. "Hey, I'm totally not pudding!!!"

Parachutes damp with rain fill the sky as those new Centurions raise their rifles to the sky. Hot lead smashes the parachute of an unfortunate Viper pilot, punching multiple holes through her parachute before severing her ripcord entirely. She falls the rest of the way with a scream audible even over the rat-tat-tat of ceaseless gunfire, tumbling a hundred yards until her body splatters every which direction — and then her shattered bones are further crushed by not one but two Centurions stepping over her body en route to the hangar doors.

"Shit!" The sight of the trampled pilot is enough to break Jenkins' calm demeanor — or maybe it's those weirdly-buzzing, weirdly-humming torpedo-like contraptions whose engines glow a brilliant red as they hover above the battlefield. But while only the gods know just what they're broadcasting, if indeed they're broadcasting anything to speak of, there is something mildly comforting in the fact that they're not in fact shooting.

Cidra picks herself off the ground, fingers going instantly to her earpiece to fiddle with her wireless as she heads toward the sound of Coll's yelling. She gets nothing but static, however. "Pilots! Toast. Call out. We all make our landings?" Her first concern, to get all her bodies accounted for. Or as many as there are to be accounted. The call comes a second before those shots, and that horrible scream. Well. There's one who won't reply.

Meanwhile, swiveling Centurions immediately train their sights on the direction from which that hand grenade came. Stopped in place but for an instant, they pepper Jenkins' hiding place with an endless stream of fire. Well. This should be fun — particularly now that those other Centurions have now taken up flanking positions on either side of the runway, looking to bracket Eidolon when they get closer.

Coll is taking heavy fire and her own shots sail WAY over the top as she finishes shouting to the pilots. The concrete cover is blown apart around her and two rounds rip into her ribs. She rolls away once more, not even able to yell this time. The rifle is a blasted metal hulk that was shot away from her hands and finally lands on the concrete beside her as she looks down to the flightsuit she's wearing, the whole this full of various holes. The explosions rock the ground around her and she barely seems to notice as the pilots go charging by. Lauren grabs the remain shards of her rifle and uses it as a crutch to stand and she makes her way back towards the hangar door remains. She leans against it heavily, just inside with her wounded hand clutching her ribs.

"Can't frakking see-" Constin growls, shaking his head to clear the sweat, grime, and rainwater from his eyes as he continues to blast away at the still-closing ranks of Centurions. However much he disparages his sight though, he does see Coll take wounds again. "Up here you hunks of motherless scrap!" he bellows half the words drowned out by the sound of his own gun firing.

And Jenkins? His second grenade is fired with hopefully better aim, though he finds it difficult to move his right arm or neck. Worried eyes dart over to Constin — that beast of a man with his beast of a gun, pouring lead into the incoming enemy ranks as quickly as he can. Words fail him. That grenade better not.

"Fresh here, made the landing, Major" hurriedly says Ethan as he follows Cidra to where Coll is. He heard that scream and it is now something that he will hear for days and days to come. Still, there is an assignment to complete and he is going to see that it happens. The Raptor Pilot keeps himself low, not that it would prevent enemy fire to reach him but, at least it's something.

"Naw, you're not, Bubbs." McQueen calls out some yards away as he starts to shed the useless husk of parachute, it having served its purpose. A cursory glance up at the sky catches the slaughtered pilot and brings a momentary darkening to his demeanor. "Poor girl." It's but a mutter. "Toast, Queenie! Ready for orders." There's a pause as he narrates, "Never beeen better, yeh?"

If Allie notices the fate of the hapless pilot who is nothing more than a Rorschach test on the ground she doesn't let on, this being the wrong time to wig out over losing someone. "Lucky's here, Toast," she calls out from around having to catch her breath, her body heaving as she struggles for air. It takes a minute longer than it probably does the majority of the others, her body still having to adjust to the damage she took when she was shot in the chest.

"Good shit!" screams Jenkins, his voice raw — "Leeroy, get our frakking pilots in their frakking birds! We're getting shitkicked out here!" Calling out to a deckhand who's just appeared by Coll, his own rifle in hand — who promptely gets popped by a headshot to the brain. Jenkins crumples forward as he fires, face contorted in equal parts hate and fear: "No! Leeeeroy!"

Coll is just reaching up for a hand from the other Deckhand when the headshot arrives. She's peppered across the face with pieces of gore and she staggers with the rifle as her crutch, the Crewman's form crumpling a bit with the sight. Her eyes are wide as she watches the man fall to the ground in front of her. She blinks a few times against the rain falling and trailing into her eyes as she looks back at the pilots then down to the other Deckie on the ground. A gentle crouch and she reaches down to take the sidearm strapped to his leg, still leaning against the doorway. It smears blood as she bends.

The ugly wound on Constin's right arm is screaming with every jolt of the minigun, eventually forcing the marine to halt his fire- however briefly to at least reduce the flow of blood seeking to escape his body. "Eh Hell.." he snarls through clenched teeth, looking up frantically as the pilots FINALLY begin piling into their birds. "Might have to try comething stupid," he mutters.

"Keep moving!" Cidra calls. "Pilots, get to the Vipers! Fresh, get that Raptor ready. We can extract the Deck and Marine personnel down here in it. I do not think anyone terribly wants to linger here."

A fleeting pang of concern hits her as she notices the jammers, her brow knitting as she recognizes them for what they are. "Jammers….the mother frakkers got godsdammed jammers." She'd pick now as the time to stop and break down into a string of angry cussing but Cidra has given them an order, Allie deviating from it long enough to give the CAG the news. "Those bastards got jamming tech," she yells out while pointing in the direction said things can be found. "What are we going to do?"

"Yes, Major" calls out Fresh as he runs towards the Raptor. With all the chaos and mayhem, his focus is everywhere right now, but he does spot Coll. The man starts to slow down but knows that he has to get that Raptor ready, and it would be way better to get them out than to slow down to chatter. "I'll get you guys out of here…!" shouts Ethan to Coll as he approaches her and he keeps moving towards the bird. The jammers are also spotted "Ah /Frak!/…" and he hears Allie after that. Yes…bad jammers.

"We're blowing number three," announces Jenkins at last — because he won't let the pilots fall without a fight. Soon enough, the ground beneath another trio of Cylons opens up in flame — a veritable inferno that melts even the hard metal alloy that makes up each Centurion's shell. "Frak! We could keep on blowing them up all night long and they'll still keep on coming!" Matted hair clings tightly to his face as he looses another burst of fire, heedless to the fact that Eidolon is nigh-on surrounded.

"So what we can assume, is the bastards knew we were coming." McQueen is ever one to jump to conclusions. At least in this case, as he points vaguely to the torpedo-like structures in the distance. "We'd better blow those things." He doesn't waste any time now, though, as he heads off towards the shiniest awaiting Viper he can get his hands on, running at a full clip. "Go go go! Before they start usin' us for arse blotter."

"Yes, sir!" Bubbles responds over the din, keeping low as she hustles to liberate a plane. She scrambles into the cockpit and straps in, checking the instruments quickly before getting the bird off the ground. "Arse blotter?" she mutters as she works. "Seriously?"

[TAC1] Polaris says, "Ground team, come in, this is Base, over! We are under heavy fire and will not be able to maintain the position for much longer — " The voice of Ethan's ECO filters through those headsets as the Raptor's EW systems cut through bits of the Cylon jammers. "What is your status, over?"

"We are going to blow out of the water. As it were," is Cidra's shouted reply to Alessandra's question as she piles into a Viper. That second Raptor is given a look, but it's the little plane she hops into. The Vipers were the priority for this. And, hopefully, Ethan can handle the extraction. Her pre-fight check is hasty but, thankfully, that ship is revved up and ready to go for them. A quick murmur in old Gemenese, likely thanking the gods for small favors.

"While they keep coming, ah'll keep shooting," Constin hollers back at Jenkins, taking hold of the minigun once again, before instructing the demoman, "Get Coll into the Raptor, Jenkins, that's an order." Teeth clenched he unloads anew at the enemy Centurions, roaring, "Semper Fi, Do or Die!"

As Coll rises with the sidearm the concrete of the doorway explodes around her with incoming fire. A round plugs another hole into her chest and she crumples HARD onto the ground. Only down a second, she rises back up again and begins dragging the headshot Leeroy out of the way of the exiting ships. She can barely stand, pushed on by the sound of engines getting real power down. Dragging him a few feet clear, she falls to her knees and pulls out a flashlight to signal the exiting aircraft. There's only fifty meters of clearance between the hangar door and the Eidolon. Someone is going to have to signal launches when the overhead Vipers are clear… The flashlight comes on and she begins rolling it as she settles back against the concrete pile's remains. The singal: "Clear for takeoff." She can't even hear the radio anymore.

"I was speculating." McQueen's last words to Bubbles before he piles into his viper, going through the checklist much like Toast does, flicking knobs, pushing buttons and squinting at the console readouts. "Airbase takeoff. This is a change o' pace." He observes, finishing affixing himself.

"Roger!" And cradling his rifle, Jenkins scrambles down from his perch, patting his squadmate on the shoulder before scurrying down broken stairs and precariously-positioned I-beams to reach the spot where Coll has fallen. "On me, Lauren!" he shouts, trying to shoulder her weight as well as he can.

"Right!" Allie runs to and climbs into a Viper, scrambling like she never has before. Seems like running for one's life while preparing to fly is good motivation. The straps are thrown over her shoulders and buckled firmly, her pace just about record-setting. Canopy's slide closed and then she blinks, giving all a thumbs-up before starting to maneuver her Viper to a launch position. "Here we go again…"

Ethan jumps on the Raptor and reaches the pilot seat. He gets himself secured to the seat right about the time in which his ECO calls out for the ground crew to jump on the Raptor. His attention goes out only to find Coll dragging Leeroy, and Jenkins calling out for here. "Where the hell is Constin…??" mutters the man. This Raptor is ready to leeeeave! "Come on, come on…." speaks the man with a low tone of voice, waiting to see if the Marines appears around the corner or not.

"They gotta get airborne, first!" Coll shouts at Jenkins. She tries to fend him off, but she isn't exactly in much of a position to fight. Her head lolls and she looks up towards the Marine on the minigun. "CONSTIN!! YOU FRAKKER! GET DOWN!" Its probably the last sap of energy she has, trying to bicycle her feet to keep moving. The flashlight is left discarded on the grass by the concrete and Jenkins nearly has to drag her inside. Passing the first Viper up, she lifts a salute from the hand that's got a nice gash across it.

"See that bigass hole in the hangar?" yells Jenkins, his bloodied face pale with fury. "I think they know how to fly the frak through it, so shut your frakking mouth before you bleed out of it." Into the Raptor the two of them go — if she'll have any of it at least. Jenkins, at least, is getting in, already leaning out the hatch with his gun so he can provide suppressing fire from the sky.

Cidra is off like a shot. The speed of the Viper, the agility of the craft, always seems to half-take her by surprise. And it works against her instincts, accustomed to man-handling the heavier bus. She manages take-off without planting her nose directly into a tree, however. Once she's in the air, guns zero straight in on one of those jamming drones. It's a non-moving target, so even for the Raptor-pilot-in-Viper-body it's not too difficult a shot to line up.

[TAC1] Oberlin says, "Base — " Bzzzzzt. " — through some — " Kssh! " — repeat — " A surge of static. "Hostiles! Our new friends don't — " And after a few more seconds of static: "Encountering heavy resistance."

And McQueen's Viper goes hot as the engines flare and systems are on-line. "Guidance systems. Comms…Well, never mind that." He gives a thumbs-up to some invisible force, if none of the other pilots are looking, and proceeds to punch the engines as his Viper goes hurtling out of the hangar, on a beeline towards the ground forces.

Cid's followed by Lucky, she too having it in her mind to try and remove the drones from the equation, nasty little frakkers that they are. She flies alongside the Major and depresses the 'trigger', hopefully able to cut a large swath out of their little sneaky-poo plans.

Ethan looks at the ones getting inside the Raptor and nods firmly "Alright, let's get the rest." says the Pilot, not wanting to wait a bit longer. He handles the controls of the bird, getting it to reach a very very low altitude, almost dragging metal through the floor as he moves the Raptor a bit closer to Constin's location but without risking the safety of the ones already inside. "Constin! Corporal!" screams the Pilot to the guy that seems far to focused on shooting things. Which, is good, really.

"Frak you, Jenkins," Coll sighs as she's crumpled into a jumpseat. "Like you know jack shit about.." A heavy sigh and she coughs up a little blood. "..Flying." The woman holds both her arms across her body the the gunshot wounds as best she can, laying down a little involuntarily as the Raptor slides across the hangar deck and into the air.

Down go those two final Centurions in a disgustingly accurate surge of fire, and even as they fall the sky is filled with silver of a different sort: a veritable squadron of Vipers, swarming out of the hangar in their gleaming silver planes, wobbling this way and that as the blast from so many active engines sends them wobbling forward. One stalls mid-strafe, smashing into the ground and sending Centurions running away from the blast radius; the rest, however, flip into high gear once they clear the hangar, a few joining Cidra and Alessandra in taking out the drones while the rest light up Cylon infantry — whose flesh-piercing bullets do nothing against the armored frames of their ships.

There's something liberating about the moment in which one ceases to worry about getting killed. Abandoning cover in favor of a clearer field of fire, the Corporal feels every one of the hundreds of rounds which scream out the minigun shaking up his mangled arm into his acheing chest. But the results are what he needed. He fires longer than two seconds that time, knowing it's his last shot. The gun's barrel will be warped by the time it finishes spinning down, but the broken remnanta of the last two Centurions near the hangar's mouth go to the ground followed by a spray of bloody spittle from the marine Corporal. He can;t hear the shouts from the hangar, but with a stab of agony up his wounded leg, Constin slides down from the gun position and hobbles toward the Raptor.

[TAC1] Polaris says, "All ships, this is — " A voice recognizable amidst the static as belonging to Ethan's ECO. "Interference is lifting. Don't need to kill all the drones — just enough to break the field they've got set up!" Of which there are now only six — drones, that is. "And you'd best frakking hurry, too — DRADIS shows our convoy in deep thirty clicks out." His voice turns grim. "They won't make it here in time."

Bubbles takes McQueen's wing, lighting up the ground with KEW fire — the two pilots in concert managing to give one of the Cylons a little owie. She mutters darkly, bringing her bird around for another pass. "Let my people go, motherfrakkers…"

Cidra doesn't try many fancy flying maneuvers in the dim light but she does slip into something resembling formation with Alessandra. On Lucky's wing. The CAG doesn't generally take section lead when in the dogfighters, and tonight is no exception. She veers to target another one of the drones. One more go at those buggers to break that field.

"Nice…" Allie says while looking at the drones, the fact that they're getting plowed down making her feel a bit more at ease. "One…maybe two more passes. Should get them." The Assault Cylon are left alone, left for the others to target, Allie's attention mostly on getting rid of those jamming systems.

Cutting away from the hangar, McQueen's guns flare and tear a small salvo into the ground in front of one of the harassing Cylon forces, dipping his wings to one side and signalling to Bubbles as he curves around and takes on his previous target's neighbor.

With the creppy Cylons out of the way, Ethan can grant himself the liberty to get the Raptor a bit closer to Constin, at least to make his walk, a little less long. "Someone help him up!" shouts the Pilot still looking at everything in front of him. When things go boom so close to the birds, it's no good sign and they need to get the frak out of there, pronto. More Centurions will appear, that's the truth.

[TAC1] Polaris says, "Convoy, Base, Vipers taking heavy fire!" shouts the ECO. "And worse — just broke through the drones' jamming. Ack-ack by your position — " A loud explosion sends shockwaves through the air as Cidra and Alessandra kill two more of the drones. "Say again, ack-ack by your position. Take it out, take it out, take it out!"

[TAC1] Oberlin says, "Base, Con — " The channel fizzles, sputters, pops. " — to clear it but we're going to /need/ support once we do." A brief delay as, for one blessed moment, the interference crackles off. "Convoy, Tank Charlie, see if one of you can get a big gun on that Ack Ack once you get a fix on its position."

Constin is hobbling hurriedly toward the ride home, as Cylon bullets light up the warped asphalt around his boots, but he does make the mouth of the hangar before any more shots find flesh. His face is a twisted snarl of determination and pain, as Ethan taxis the Raptor closer, he reaches his left arm (bloody only due to its proximity to the rest of him) up to accept the offered hand into the relative safety of the freshly restored Raptor.

Coll looks up to the Marine as he climbs aboard and her face falls into relief. "You frakking son of a bitch.." she mutters. "Thank the Gods." Weaks words. Her head falls back onto the jumpseats she is laying across and tries to focus on the ECO board while she coughs some more. Those wounds are still bleeding all over the seats and its started to pool a bit on the floor.

More bullets flash into the sky as the Colonial advance team piles into the other salvaged Raptor, which lifts off and settles down on Ethan's wing. Below it, a pair of Cylons have broken off from the main formation to set up a nasty-looking miniature SAM directly beneath the Eidolon, using what cover the wrecked freighter can provide to do so. Above them — interspersed with the radioactive rain and the first red rays of sunset — plunge the wreckage of three more drones, taken down by snap-shots from those Vipers that slotted in for the CAG and her wingman when the two of them broke off to deal with the new threat below.

[TAC1] Polaris says, "Get it down fast!" Whatever was jamming the signal at Anadyomene is finally clear, though the sound of battle has by no means dimmed. "We've got Vipers inbound, ETA thirty seconds, and they don't want your frakking missiles greeting them —"

Cidra breaks off from the drones after zapping another in her last pass. The Cylons demand attention. Still, as she sees the Raptor work extraction on the Marines and Deck, she allows herself the faintest of smiles. "Good flying, Fresh," she murmurs. Not that she takes any real time to celebrate. She flies with Alessandra to engage the Cylons properly now, going in low to fire her KEWs at those Cylons working those missiles. And she hits. Palpably. Though she gets a face full of toaster machinegune fire for her troubles. Plane spins in a somewhat limping arc as she pulls up to regroup.

[TAC1] "Toast" Cidra says, "Flight, Toast. Comms clear. Repeat. Clear. Status?"

Targets keep getting mowed down, each one removed out of the equation for good. Alessandra would relax as she sees one blow up, that being the one she unknowingly targeted along side of Toast but the jubulation is short lived as she hears a familiar tone. Looking at the control board, she takes a deep breath before she speaks, the damage to her fighter noticed, that info a bit less chilling than the first.

[TAC1] "Lucky" Alessandra says, "Flight, this is Lucky. I got a radiological alarm going off in my cockpit here. Can you confirm? Repeat, got a radiologic warning. Can you confirm…"

Constin rolls over onto his back on the Raptor's deck, leaving a little splash of blood on the gorund where he's landed. "Yeah, yeah.." he grunts to Coll's admonition. "I'm a bastard.. now can we get the frak out of here yet?" Turning his head toward Coll, he blinks once, before moving to sit up painfully. "Frak me, Coll you look-" A sharp look aside, "Jenkins, gimme a hand up and get the bird's triage kit!"

[TAC1] "Bubbles" Psyche says, "Bubbles here. My rad's beeping, too — I'm hit, but I can still fly."

[TAC1] "Queenie" McQueen says, "This is Queenie. This one's a tricky bastard. What kind of guns did they put on these things, anyway? I can't hit this for —- Rads. I See 'em!"

"I got the first-aid kit right here," says Jenkins, blood gurgling out from his neck as he winces in agony. But seeing as he's the least hurt of all of them, he powers through the pain, cracking it open to offer bandages to his mate. CMC first; Deck later. That's Marine triage for you.

When Constin gets inside the Raptor, Ethan nods to himself and gets a firm hold of the Raptor controls "Alright, lets gets the frak out of here, shall we?" says the Pilot, trying to keep his calm during a time in which…it's kinda hard. The Raptor does gain a bit more altitude now and while the Pilot uses his eyes to scan whatever is outside, he sets the Raptor in a safe route, being mindful of possible incoming fire. Alright, rescue not done yet "If everyone agrees, I'm going to make another stop to get more people…" says the man with a dead serious expression, looking ahead, letting the others reach the medical kits in the bird.

[TAC1] "Toast" Cidra says, "Confirmed, Lucky. Rad alarms are lighting up for me as well."

And McQueen comes along for another pass in a frustrating exchange of fire, large and small. He keeps on his target, though.

Constin glares at Jenkins with the words, "Ah'd smack you if mah arm didnt hurt so much- start with her," he mutters pointing at the frighteningly pallid Coll. Constin calls up to Ethan, "We got some folks hurt real bad back here, sir. Need to hit a medbay mighty frakking fast."

The Cylon with the missile goes down in a hail of fire, turned into scrap by the dynamic duo of Psyche and Cidra. The missile itself falls dormant to the ground — and is taken up by the Centurion's partner, who now struggles to aim it skyward while Vipers buzz and zip around them. But all of that is suddenly for naught as another shockwave ripples through the air to buffet fighters and Centurions alike. And when the onrushing of wind has passed, the cloudy sky is plunged into shadow as above the fighters appears nothing less than a Cylon basestar, its bone-white wing-like hangars flinging out Raider after Raider into the deepening dark — a dark lit only by the flaring of engines and the glow of red-green running lights blinking merrily beneath the gigantic shadow stretching out for ever and ever above.

[TAC1] Polaris says, "Convoy, this is Base. Vipers are closing on your position. And — " There's an audible gulp from the ECO. "We're reading a radiological alarm in your vicinity. Don't look up."

Unfortunately, McQueen's previous course of action may not be altogether wise. He did exactly what the base warned him not to. He looked up.

But of course people look up — and those who do will see that sleek asterisk of a silhouette hovering not five thousand feet above ground, the same silhouette of those multitudes of ships that vaporized Picon so many months ago — while beneath it muzzles flash yellow and orange beneath this artificial sky, their tracers glowing blue and white in the dusk while rain falls and falls and falls…

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