PHD #173: EVENT - Peace, Love and Cylons (Gemenon Recon)
Peace, Love and Cylons.
Summary: Nothing about the Gemenon reconnaissance goes as planned.
Date: 18 Aug 2041 AE
Related Logs: All other reconnaissance missions.
Evandreus Marko Serpens 

All systems show green, all checklists are completed. The FTL drive spins up, and beyond the Raptor's canopy, the starscape shimmers, squeezes out — and re-opens to the gray-blue-green orb of Gemenon.

Somewhere far, far below lies Lampridis Falls, the Kobol Colleges and, for now, the unknown.

<FS3> Marko rolls ECM: Bad Failure.

Initial scans show three Cylon Basestars; one in low orbit, one in high orbit, and one perfectly in between.

Very oddly, they seem to have no Raider patrols guarding them. Perhaps the Cylons, too, believe in shore leave and time off.

When Evan gets the coordinates of the three baseships ported up to his console from the back seat, he maps them in his mind as they come up, one, two… three? "No frakking way. What the hell," Evan murmurs. "Get a cap of that data, Flasher. Wonder if anyone's ever seen something like that, before." Meanwhile, his fingers are busy clattering over the oversized keyboards before him, plotting a circumference around the planet that has the weird stacked basestars as its midpoint, rendering the planet into two hemispheres dependant upon proximity to the weird behavior, and seeing which of their targets are in the 'dark' hemisphere, so to speak. On the other side of the planet from the weird tower o' basestars.

"No worries, Bunny, started taping the second we jumped-in." Marko replies, peering at the DRADIS screen and quite unconsciously moving the ECM suite from 'OFF' to 'STNDBY', warming it up, just in case. "Got nothing else in orbit worth talking about, Bunny." he adds, touching various command keys at his station. "Going to visual." he says, keying up the Raptor's powerful optics package and focusing it on the nearest of three Basestars.

If that readout's correct, those three Basestars are orbiting together like some sort of high-tech totem pole, each one staring down upon the head of the next, the lowest with an undisturbed view of the nuke-sullied surface of Gemenon.

/If/ that readout's correct.

The Raptor's optical suite has unfortunate news, however — for the moment the ECO brings the cameras around to bear, it's only the Basestar in low orbit that can be seen-

-and then, a second later, the proximity alerts go off, as two Raiders wink in behind the Raptor.

<FS3> Marko rolls ECM: Failure.
<FS3> Evandreus rolls Raptors: Success.

Proximity alerts! "Those are not good noises, Flasher," Evan points out, tone not dissimilar to that of a kindergarten teacher explaining rules of classroom decorum to a wildling youngster, even-keeled but urgent as his hands fly over the boards to load and deploy one evade sequence after the other, even before he knows what he's evading.

"DRADIS Contact!" Marko calls, "Two, repeat, zero-two Cylon Raiders at three one four carom one four five." he reports. "Coming in hot!" he calls, "Recommend going hot on countermeasures." he advises, voice tense. "Must've jumped in right after us…Gotta be a detection grid in this system."

They're not good noises — nor are the sounds of autocannon fire peppering the back quarters of the Raptor, and the subsequent alarms warning /here/ of leaking tylium, and /there/ of failing engines…

As Evandreus jockeys the Raptor through its desperate steeplechase, one of the Raiders ceases firing and tries to come up alongside the vessel — as if it, too, was a wildling youngster, bored with throwing rocks from afar and wanting instead to push and shove.

"Do it." Evan's not going to pussyfoot around the matter, almost giving the go-ahead before Marko even finishes his suggestion on countermeasures. He aims the Raptor vaguely at the planet, grimacing into the shuddering of the airframe when they're hit, getting on top speed possible while trying to roll away and arc south of carom to avoid getting his Raptor humped by a Raider, diving for the distant sphere of a planet, "And get FTLs up RFN."

<FS3> Marko rolls Repair: Success.
<FS3> Evandreus rolls Raptors: Success.

"Frak! C'mon, Bunny, do some of that pilot cack!" Marko calls as he hears bullets bouncing off, and then, more worrisome, into the hull of the bird. "Engine failure…dammit…" he sighs, unstrapping himself and tearing the internal repair bay open before diving into it up to his shoulders. "Okay….this isn't so bad." he notes, snagging the tool kit and frantically making repairs. "Try the engines now, Bunny." he calls, bounding back to his seat to fire up the FTL's. "FTL's coming hot.." he adds. "Co-ordinates set…."

Evandreus' skillful piloting twists their Raptor away from the Raider's amorous advances — leaving the Cylon vessel to slide by overhead, so close it's hard to believe there was no accompanying sound of unhappily-traded paint.

Marko's repairs bring him one step forward, two steps back as the Raptor's rattled by a second strafing of autocannon fire — the tylium leak stops /here/, and the engine threatens to cut out /there/; the engine comes on /here/, and the FTL starts losing power /there/.

A third burst of gunfire, and there's the sudden, sickening feeling any spacefaring sort knows — that of No Engines, that of /drift/.

Pilot cack. Pilot cake? Whatever that means, Bunny doesn't react well to being goaded to provide it, since he's already, believe it or not, trying not to get killed without having to be reminded that he's supposed to be doing so. The ship's trajectory spins and shifts in fits and starts as Evan tries to go just about anywhere, the engines working as it damned well suits them and sending them flailing like a goose with a shot wing. "I would have better -cake- if we weren't collecting ammo in our eng—" driiiffffffft. "… ines." he finishes, the syllable hanging in the eerie engine-free silence.

"Oh holy of holies…" Marko sighs as, just when it looks like they're out of the soup, the Raptor's engines and FTL _die_ completely. "If you've got RCS, keep us rolling." he calls, diving back into the repair bay, grabbing up the toolkit and assessing the damage. "Try and make it look like….nfff…" he calls, wincing as he tries to squeeze more into the compartment. " Like we're dead and drifting…..matter of fact, make it all random….tumble, twist, roll…." he calls. "Just buy me ten minutes….." he pleads, breaking out the tools and setting to work like a madman! The deck gang's going to have his guts for garters for the mess he's making in the bay, but at least they'll get home……if all goes well…

Dead in the metaphorical water — and dead silence, from beyond, as the gunfire cuts out as soon as the Raptor's engines do.

The Raider that narrowly missed its shoulder-check, before, sweeps out in front of the Raptor and starts leisurely circling around. A few seconds later, the one responsible for so much of Marko's good news chases after, falling into unnervingly perfect synchronicity with the first. In five or ten seconds they'll be around, coming straight back toward the nose of the Raptor.

"Make it look like we're dead and drifting," Evan replies, voice dry. "I'll, uh. Make it -look- like that." It's easy, 'cause they… are. Sort of. Landing thrusters are checked, but out here do little more than shift the course of the drift as the piece of boat ambles moon-like toward Gemenon's orbit. Evan looks up from the controls and out the fore of the craft, watching the sunlight spark off of the crafts out there as they roll and then stay still— or so it seems, until that stillness is made more disquieting as they grow slowly larger in their approach. Oddly enough, the only thing going through Evan's head at this particular moment is the old joke about the Aerilonian pyramid player— who stood there wondering why the ball kept getting bigger. And then it hit him.

"Flasher, sitrep on FTL, NOW," Evan calls back as he wakes up from the split-second of panic-induced delirium.

<FS3> Marko rolls Repair: Success.

"Five minutes!" Marko calls, frantically re-wiring the damaged boards and cursing steadily under his breath as he does. "Aphrodite's _cunt_, arse, teats and tongue….." he growls as he tries to get the Raptor's FTL back up before they fall into Gemenon's gravity well…

"Optics! Bunny! Grab the optics!" Marko calls, snapping out of his lust for FTL, if only for a minute. Never has the thought of the Cerberus seemed more like home….

The Raiders finish their leisurely circling and, with an almost cheeky puff of their own thrusters, push gently toward the drifting Raptor's windshield.

Closer and closer they get, flying wingtip to wingtip, so close a show pilot would flinch — and then, when an impact seems imminent, they match velocity and… start to drift along with the crippled Raptor.

Marko is yelling something at Bunny. Bunny can't be bothered to figure out what he's yelling, though, the world sort of simmering to a dull haze around him as his boat drifts slothfully into orbit with a pair of Raiders quite literally staring him in the eye. What exactly is below them on the surface, he doesn't know, but the ship's cameras are picking it up, since they evidently haven't been shut down, yet. "What are they doing?" he has to wonder, pulling on the strap length release to let him ease a little bit forward in the cockpit, leaning straight -toward- the Raiders, of all things, peering at them at this unnervingly close range. "Huh?" he finally seems aware that Marko's asking him to take pictures. Which— seems like a good idea. He leans back, and the straps draw back into their recesses, holding him in tight once more as he aims the camera directly at the Raiders in front of them. "Say cheese," he directs them, under his voice.

"_cunt_ _arse_ tongue….._teeth_……slit, slot and frakking armpit." Marko growls as he continues his fight with an FTL that seems to be flirting with him. Almost going hot, then cold, hot, then cold.. Popping up to snag the heavy, three-ring bound folder of schematics from their holder. "Where the HELL is this power drain coming from?"

What /are/ they doing? They waver slightly, back and forth, as they drift along with the Raptor — almost as if they're quarrelling with eachother over who gets the better view of the ship's contents.

Like kids at an aquarium.

There's a soft chirrup of data that comes across the ECO's consoles as he frantically repairs, and the pilot documents the Cylons' peculiar antics — a message about the EW suite, a reminder that it's 100% operational. Something to puzzle over, when the atmosphere isn't approaching at an alarming rate.

They haven't killed him, yet, which scores big points for the oddly behaving raiders outside in Bunny's book. It's almost beginning to remind him more of swimming with the wild pigs in the crystal waters of the Adonaian Archipelago than anything else. Baffled in the face of this sort of opportunity, he just keeps snapping shots with the hand-controlled optics while the tape keeps rolling on the land below. Cidra wanted low-orbit footage. She's going to get it, even if Bunny really can't much control -what- footage is gotten. When Bunny looks up from the optical display to the actual Raiders just beyond, he gets it into his mind to try to say -something- or other to them, whether or not they'll actually understand it or not. Palm forward at just above shoulder height, two fingers extended upward, parted slightly. Peace, dudes. For serious.

Marko spends 1 luck points on Repair.
<FS3> Marko rolls Repair: Good Success.

"Okay…okay….." Marko says, using the meter to track down where the FTL's losing power to a point _deep_ in the Raptor's exposed guts. "12-A to 12-B……" he says, mantra-like as he trances the schematics with one finger, then the actual systems as far as he can reach…"Means 12-C's where the drain is…" he says.."13-C's still good…..12-B's still good….Oh, the knuckle draggers are going to hate me for this." he says, before yanking the wires free hard as he can and burning off the sheathing with the repair kit's torch before literally hot-wiring them. Suddenly, the ECO's station flashes green lights across the board. Looking up, Marko all but levitates out of the bay. "Bunny! Green lights! Jumping, now, now, now!" he calls, then turns the magic key….

Do those roving red 'eyes' pause for the tiniest of moments, in the wake of Evandreus's gesture, or is it a trick of the mind and the weirdness of the encounter that makes it seem that way? What the pilot /does/ know, for certain, is that their side-to-side jockeying for position stops when he raises his hand to them. For a small eternity of seconds, as he holds that gesture, there's no movement at all except for their shared inertia.

Then, as if startled by the sudden, glorious array of green lights springing to life across the ECO's consoles, the paired Raiders burst away in tandem over the top of the Raptor.

Whether they jumped away, made it to a safe distance, or were caught in the Raptor's jump wake will require later review — all the pilot and ECO know for now is that the magic key makes the magic happen, and an instant later the Cerberus is there before them, welcoming them home.

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