PHD #295: EVENT - Pressure Points - Air Wing
Pressure Points - Air Wing
Summary: A Cylon force appears over Tauron, and the Knights try to defend Areion's Raptors long enough for The Gun to work its magic.
Date: 18 December 2041 AE
Related Logs: Pressure Points - Damage Control
Cidra Devlin Malone Psyche Trask Wade Pewter Kepner NPC Polaris 
It's black. It's cold. The bit in question today is over Tauron.
Post-Holocaust Day: #295


03:31 PM

[Polly's Hoopty: Polaris] It begins, as these things usually begin, with a burst of light and a river of silver, for Cylon space forces are not so individualistic as to attire themselves in wondrously festive coats of paint. Not that the Colonial Vipers are tie-dyed either, of course, this being the military and all, but the sharp-eyed might note some decidedly non-regulation decals on those rough-hewn fighters from Areion: there, a jagged shark's mouth over the nose cone; there, a red poppy on the port engine intake; there, a barely-clothed blonde below the starboard wing. These days, even the smallest acts of defiance help recover the spirit of humanity — for these days, there are far more spirits than humans, with more of the latter joining the ranks of the former every sortie into the black.

"All points, this is Tango," comes a languid voice over the coms. Major Winifred Foxley, head Raptor in charge. "This'll be just like we practiced: let them get close and the Gun'll light them up. Networked birds, find your sector and stick to it like glue. Vipers, you know what to do."

And they do exactly what they've done the last hundred times this has happened: hit the burners, warm the cannons — cue the lights, camera, explosions.

[Harrier-651: Cidra] Cidra took to wing from the Cerberus in the Screwtops' Raptor that'd been 'on loan' to the Cerberus deck crew for some time now when the fighters were scrambled. She'd played around with the thing before but had long wanted to 'test' its capabilities in the field. No time like the present. Still, if one were to get a look at her expression beyond her helmet, it's perhaps a little tight-jawed. As this means answering Tango's commands. Which the CAG is…not used to. To put it mildly. "Let us see how she flies, Boots," she says, angling into formation. "Coming about."

[TAC3] "Toast" Cidra says, "Tango, Toast. Copy that. On your mark, heading carom one-two-six. Keeping us close to Cerberus. Bubbles, take a section of Vipers and keep the toasters off of us so we can work."

[TAC3] Polaris says, "Remember, Toast, keep her steady." Tango sees fit to instruct the other woman in the intricacies of this delicate business. "One hole in the amplification field and — well, you've seen the numbers. That goes for all you Tops, too." An afterthought, to keep things cordial. "Three. Two. One. Mark!"

[BlackKnight-853: Devlin] Devlin scrambled along with the rest of the Knights, quick through pre-flight and launch, catching up with the squad near the array of networked Raptors. He forms up on Wade's wing, fingers drumming on the stick in the background as he speaks into the coms.

[TAC3] "Toast" Cidra says, "Tango. Toast. Copy that."

[TAC3] "Decoy" Devlin says, "Drips, Decoy. I'm on your six, just point us where you want to go."

[TAC3] "Bubbles" Psyche's voice buzz-chirps over the coms. "You got it, sir. Here we go. Splash, stay on me — let's play cavalry, try to take some of the heat off. Engaging."

[BlackKnight-662: Wade] And the Viper Pilots will do what they do best. Wade is already on his bird, flying at full speed to intercept and engage. Damn Cylons, always screwing everything up. The pilot looks at his Dradis to check a couple things regarding the enemy contacts and then looks out there. Tight grip on the controls, narrowed eyes, time to dance. After hearing Decoy over the coms, he responds.

[TAC3] "Splash" Malone says, "Got it, Bubbles. Lead the way."

[TAC3] "Drips" Wade says, "Decoy, Drips. Good to have you. Let's take down one of those Heavy Raiders."

[Harrier-651: Trask] Bootstrap is no fan of Major Foxley. Surely, Cidra's experienced his scathing review of the Screwtops' SL. "Think you can color inside the lines, Cid?" he smirks in response to Tango's 'friendly' reminder.

[BlackKnight-309: Psyche] The glow of Bubbles' engines flares sudden and bright, her bird shooting out ahead to but off one of the heavy raiders swarming on the lead screwtop.

[TAC3] "Decoy" Devlin says, "Drips, Decoy. You got it. Engaging same target."

[BlackKnight-855: Malone] Moving his Viper to follow Bubbles, Splash looks around in his cockpit a bit carefully for a few moment, then back to the happenings in front of him now.

<COMBAT> Cidra passes.
<COMBAT> Wade attacks Heavy1 with KEW but MISSES!
<COMBAT> Trask suppresses Heavy1 with ECM. <successful>
<COMBAT> Trask suppresses Heavy2 with ECM. <unsuccessful>
<COMBAT> Trask suppresses Heavy3 with ECM. <successful>
<COMBAT> Trask suppresses Heavy4 with ECM. <successful>
<COMBAT> Trask suppresses Raider1 with ECM. <successful>
<COMBAT> Screwtop3 suppresses Raider1 with ECM. <successful>
<COMBAT> Screwtop3 suppresses Raider2 with ECM. <unsuccessful>
<COMBAT> Screwtop2 suppresses Heavy1 with ECM. <successful>
<COMBAT> Screwtop2 suppresses Heavy2 with ECM. <successful>
<COMBAT> Screwtop2 suppresses Heavy3 with ECM. <successful>
<COMBAT> Screwtop2 suppresses Heavy4 with ECM. <successful>
<COMBAT> Raider2 attacks Screwtop1 with KEW but MISSES!
<COMBAT> Raider1 attacks Screwtop1 with KEW - ARMOR on Body stops the attack!
<COMBAT> Heavy1 attacks Screwtop1 with KEW and MISSES!
<COMBAT> Screwtop1 suppresses Heavy1 with ECM. <unsuccessful>
<COMBAT> Screwtop1 suppresses Heavy2 with ECM. <successful>
<COMBAT> Screwtop1 suppresses Heavy3 with ECM. <successful>
<COMBAT> Screwtop1 suppresses Heavy4 with ECM. <unsuccessful>
<COMBAT> Psyche attacks Heavy2 with KEW - ARMOR on Right Wing stops the attack!
<COMBAT> Malone passes.
<COMBAT> Heavy4 attacks Screwtop1 with KEW and MISSES!
<COMBAT> Heavy3 attacks Screwtop3 with KEW but MISSES!
<COMBAT> Heavy2 attacks Screwtop3 with KEW - ARMOR on Body stops the attack!
<COMBAT> Devlin attacks Heavy1 with KEW - Serious wound to Cockpit.

[Polly's Hoopty: Polaris] There must be a hundred of them in all: DRADIS registers at least two wings of boxy Heavy Raiders and three of their sleeker and more maneuverable counterparts, only a quarter of which leap directly into the fray via the patented Cylon micro-jump the Colonials have grown so used to seeing. The ones that do fight are fighting with unaccustomed tentativeness — testing the waters, so to speak, with this simplest of opening volleys. All the others have yet to engage. Circling the battlefield like a wake of vultures, they fly in perfect formation just a klick or two away from the fight, watching and waiting like machines do best.

[BlackKnight-662: Wade] Wade triggers the cannons and starts firing heavy and evil KEWs as the Heavy Raider. However, when Decoy hits, there's a 'Yes!' that can probably be heard over the comms as well. "Alright, hopefully I won't miss the next one" There is a beep in his DRADIS and he looks down, he narrows his eyes and looks up again. The man shakes his head and speaks over the com.

[Harrier-651: Cidra] "You know, Boots, when I did first hear your opinion of the Major, I assumed your prejudices were coloring your judgment." Cidra pauses. "I apologize for that." She's not really a fan of Foxley either now, it would appear. Still, she follows the Areion SL's lead to the letter. "Inside the lines? I think I can manage. Thus far I must say this does not fly so different than one of our Harriers. I do hope this net of theirs lives up to its promise."

[BlackKnight-853: Devlin] Devlin follows Wade in, keeping to a standard attack pattern, and squeezing off lines of KEW at the heavy raider as they pass. He nails it in the cockpit, and chuckles a little over coms at Wade's 'yes!' before getting distracted for a second.

[TAC3] "Drips" Wade says, "Flight, Drips. I'm seeing a Basestar on my DRADIS, and I have a visual…barely but it's there. Only thing is, it's not where the DRADIS is showing it to be. Can you confirm?"

[TAC3] "Decoy" Devlin says, "Flight, Decoy. I swear I just saw a basestar jump in about fifty klicks back? But not where it shows on DRADIS?"

[TAC3] (from Polaris) "Steady hands, Tops." Tango's warm voice is as collected as it's always been, though the sound of bullets clanging off her ship can be heard in the background as she talks.

[BlackKnight-309: Psyche] Psyche hoots as her KEWs explode against the wing of her target, swinging back around in a fast, tight arc to make another shot. She squints and mutters a few rather foul invectives as she sees nothing but scorch marks where a lack-of-wing should be. "Ass-licking mother of frak…" Then DRADIS blips, and her eyes fly — wide with alarm — to get a visual. And find none. "Frak me… whaht?"

[TAC3] "Toast" Cidra says, "Basestar? Copy, Drips, Decoy. Cerberus Actual, Toast. Can you confirm?"

[TAC3] "Bubbles" Psyche says, "Flight, Bubbles — same DRADIS weirdness here. Also — Splash? Sing out? Still with me? Where were you on that pass, man?"

[BlackKnight-855: Malone] Not getting the shot off at the moment, Malone keeps on moving for the moment, ready to fire the next shot. Something makes him look to the instruments, then out there, then back to the instruments and back out there again now.

[TAC3] "Splash" Malone says, "Same weirdness here, folks. And still here, yes. Didn't get the target properly in the sights…"

[TAC3] (from Polaris) "Weird," comes the tense and sharp voice of Commander Rudy Kepner. "The Gun's frakking recharge time is still too damn long. Lure the fighters closer before we fire or they'll rip us to shreds after we shoot, understood?"

[TAC3] "Bubbles" Psyche says, "Splash, Toast's picked up a friend. Engaging — stick with me."

[TAC3] "Splash" Malone says, "On it, Bubbles. Let's take this one out of circulation, shall we?"

[Harrier-651: Trask] Four out of Five isn't bad. It also isn't good enough for Trask. "They certainly don't fail to disappoint when it comes to disappointing," is his reply about the Screwtops and their birds. As for his prejudices, they get put on the backburner. "It's pinging right in the fray." The basestar, that is, but Toast getting no visual makes no sense, so he peers. "It's not where it's supposed to be."

[TAC3] Polaris says, "Weirder than a cat drinkin' milk with a leg loose," Pewter rumbles. "Broadside, Blowback, divert to bearin' six-two-two carom oh-niner-four and draw 'em closer. Escort Vipers, remain where y'all's at. And Toast, ain't no such thing as an invisible ship, but that's what my spooks are tellin' me is goin' on. We'll keep y'all advised, over."

[TAC3] "Bootstrap" Trask says, "Flight, Bootstrap. Not sure what's goin' on, but the basestar is actually about 50 clicks out from the primary contingent. I think it's safe to say that DRADIS is compromised. Somehow." There's a pause. "I'm gonna see if I get figure out how they're pullin' this hocus-pocus."

<COMBAT> Trask passes.
<COMBAT> Screwtop3 suppresses Raider1 with ECM. <successful>
<COMBAT> Screwtop3 suppresses Raider2 with ECM. <unsuccessful>
<COMBAT> Screwtop2 suppresses Heavy1 with ECM. <unsuccessful>
<COMBAT> Screwtop2 suppresses Heavy2 with ECM. <successful>
<COMBAT> Screwtop2 suppresses Heavy3 with ECM. <successful>
<COMBAT> Screwtop2 suppresses Heavy4 with ECM. <successful>
<COMBAT> Raider2 attacks Screwtop2 with KEW - ARMOR on Body stops the attack!
<COMBAT> Heavy3 attacks Screwtop2 with KEW but MISSES!
<COMBAT> Cidra passes.
<COMBAT> Psyche attacks Heavy4 with KEW but MISSES!
<COMBAT> Malone attacks Heavy4 with KEW - Light wound to Engine (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> Heavy4 attacks Cidra with KEW - Light wound to ECM.
<COMBAT> Heavy1 attacks Screwtop1 with KEW - Serious wound to Controls.
<COMBAT> Devlin attacks Heavy1 with KEW - ARMOR on Controls stops the attack!
<COMBAT> Wade attacks Heavy1 with KEW - Moderate wound to Body (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> Screwtop1 suppresses Heavy1 with ECM. <unsuccessful>
<COMBAT> Screwtop1 suppresses Heavy2 with ECM. <unsuccessful>
<COMBAT> Screwtop1 suppresses Heavy3 with ECM. <unsuccessful>
<COMBAT> Screwtop1 suppresses Heavy4 with ECM. <unsuccessful>
<COMBAT> Raider1 attacks Screwtop1 with KEW - ARMOR on Body stops the attack!
<COMBAT> Heavy2 attacks Screwtop3 with KEW - Moderate wound to Body.
<COMBAT> Polaris has started a new turn. Pose and choose your action.
<COMBAT> Raptor-3150t has been KO'd!
<COMBAT> Screwtop1 has been KO'd!

[Polly's Hoopty: Polaris] Forty Vipers detach from the dogfight on Pewter's orders and make their way to the lowest of low-hanging fruit: a single wing of Raiders that's ventured a little too close to the battle at hand. One exploded Raider later and the others are galvanized into action, especially at the point at which the Cylons realize Pewter's audacious counterattack consists of only two squadrons. And so the true battle is joined at last — as evinced by the fact that Tango's Raptor spirals out of control after a well-placed hit from a Heavy Raider's cannon. The machines aren't messing around any longer, it seems.

[TAC3] (from Polaris) The sharp tearing sound of static greets everybody's ears, followed by Tango's insufferably calm voice. "Controls ionized," she declares. "Tango is dead in space but our EW suite's still functional. And — " One can almost hear her brow furrowing above the crack-crackling of squealing electronics. "Bogeys are disengaging from my ship." Weird.

[Harrier-651: Cidra] Cidra's ship gets nipped by Raider fire itself, but she doesn't break formation. Trusting in her ECO's jamming capabilities and her Vipers to keep her intact. One has to in these situations, really. "I am a believer in ghosts, Boots, but not of the spacial sort. What game are they playing at? Or perhaps they are done with games. It has been long since they sent a basestar against us."

[BlackKnight-662: Wade] Wade hits the Heavy Raider this time, but it seems it's armor is doing a hell of a job "Tough mother frakker…" mutters the man and shakes his head. He speaks to his wingman over the comms and then takes a deep breath.

[TAC3] "Bubbles" Psyche hisses in frustration as her shot flies wide of the mark. "Splash, Bubbles. Nice shooting. Stay on it."

[TAC3] "Drips" Wade says, "Decoy, Drips. Our friend here has placed it's attention on Toast, let's bring that frakker down."

[TAC3] "Splash" Malone says, "Will do."

[TAC3] Polaris says, "Areion Actual here. What was that, Tango?"

[TAC3] "Decoy" Devlin says, "Drips, Decoy. Copy that. This one's got to be about ready to blow."

[BlackKnight-309: Psyche] Psyche pushes the throttle, nearly climbing into the fuselage of the heavy raider in her sights. She can miss if she's right the frak on top of it, can she?

[TAC3] "Toast" Cidra says, "Understood, Cerberus Actual. Flight, Toast. Keep your eyes sharp out there. The Cylons are playing some strange games with our DRADIS and there is a basestar lurking. Tango, status? Do you copy? Was a nasty hit you took."

[Harrier-651: Trask] Whatever it is that Trask is doing requires the full extent of his concentration. No jamming emerges from his console. "Holy what the frak…" he incredulously exclaims at his discovery, only to then have the Raptor take a hit that ends up causing a hiccup in the sensors. "Oh, it's so on, you frakkers."

[TAC3] (from "Bootstrap" Trask) Once more, the voice of Trask comes over the comms. "DRADIS is /definitely/ compromised. That basestar is geared for electronic warfare. It can create ghosts without swallows. Which, for those not in the know, is a HUGE frakkin deal." Statesman, he is not. "Based on what I'm reading, it has the capacity to gather massive signals intelligence."

[TAC3] Polaris says, "I'll live, Toast." Is that a little tightness in Foxley's voice, too? Heavens forbid these two women get into the same room. "I say again, Actual, bogeys know I'm not dead yet but are moving away from my ship, over."

[BlackKnight-853: Devlin] Devlin's shot pings off the armor and despite Wade's hit, their target refuses to die just yet. He glances around the field as he speaks into the comms and then follows Wade after that first heavy raider as it retargets on the CAG's Raptor. An eye is kept on DRADIS, but given the irregularities, he pays closer attention to the view through his cockpit, too.

[BlackKnight-855: Malone] Firing at the heavy raider, while staying a little to the side from where the other Viper attacks it, Malone nods a little as he seems to hit the thing, at least. Trying to roll around to get a good shot off at it again."

[TAC3] (from Polaris) And from Captain Valance, a whoop of joy: "Holy shit, splash one, splash one! Tag them and bag them into that fancy little amp-field — ooks like they're falling for Old Man Pewter's little trap. WAHOOOOOOOO — " The rest of the transmission cuts out in a blaze of KEW fire.

<COMBAT> Heavy1 attacks Cidra with KEW and MISSES!
<COMBAT> Devlin attacks Heavy1 with KEW - Light wound to Body (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> Wade attacks Heavy1 with KEW - Moderate wound to Engine (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> Screwtop3 suppresses Raider1 with ECM. <successful>
<COMBAT> Screwtop3 suppresses Raider2 with ECM. <successful>
<COMBAT> Screwtop2 suppresses Heavy1 with ECM. <successful>
<COMBAT> Screwtop2 suppresses Heavy2 with ECM. <successful>
<COMBAT> Screwtop2 suppresses Heavy3 with ECM. <successful>
<COMBAT> Screwtop2 suppresses Heavy4 with ECM. <successful>
<COMBAT> Raider2 attacks Screwtop2 with KEW - Moderate wound to Controls.
<COMBAT> Raider1 attacks Screwtop3 with KEW - Serious wound to Engine.
<COMBAT> Heavy4 attacks Cidra with KEW and MISSES!
<COMBAT> Screwtop1 treats Raptor-6289v:
< Controls (Serious): successful
<COMBAT> Malone attacks Heavy4 with KEW - Moderate wound to Body (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> Heavy3 attacks Screwtop2 with KEW and MISSES!
<COMBAT> Trask suppresses Heavy1 with ECM. <unsuccessful>
<COMBAT> Trask suppresses Heavy2 with ECM. <successful>
<COMBAT> Trask suppresses Heavy3 with ECM. <successful>
<COMBAT> Trask suppresses Heavy4 with ECM. <successful>
<COMBAT> Trask suppresses Raider1 with ECM. <successful>
<COMBAT> Psyche attacks Heavy4 with KEW - Moderate wound to Controls (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> Heavy2 attacks Screwtop3 with KEW - Moderate wound to Body.
<COMBAT> Cidra passes.

[Polly's Hoopty: Polaris] Two engagements have turned into one. Blowback and Broadside aren't just good at pissing off the CAG; they seem to have a preternatural talent for making machines angry with all their frat-boy sorority-sister chirping, too. The downside? They've dragged slightly fewer than seventy-five other Cylons into the main engagement, obliterating completely what numerical advantage the Colonials might have possessed when the strike force numbered just twenty-five. And should Areion's amplification field not work as advertised, their tombstones will say only this: Expected Value Fail.

[BlackKnight-662: Wade] Wade hits again, and he sees that Decoy hits the mark as well. His eyes narrow because of the fact that, the damn thing is still flying. "What the…." The man keeps flying his Viper at top speed and tailing that stupid Heavy Raider "Die already, damn it."

[TAC3] "Drips" Wade says, "Decoy, Drips "Good shooting out there. This Heavy Raider wants to keep fighting, let's give the thing exactly what it wants""

[TAC3] "Toast" Cidra says, "Matise, Valance. Toast. Steady hands out there and all of them on the guns. Light them up." An unusually aggressive statement from the CAG, perhaps, but praying the Areion's field will work and work as well as claimed has her on edge. "Bubbles, Toast. Good shooting. Keep those toasters off of us. We still need time."

[TAC3] "Decoy" Devlin says, "Drips, Decoy. You got it. I think that thing's immune to KEW or something."

[TAC3] (from Polaris) "I don't talk in tech, Bootsie." There's mild irritation in Pewter's voice as he processes what Trask has said, though his annoyance must be a product of circumstance. Don't worry, Mister Insecurity: it's not personal. "Ghosts without swallows means — hold one." The sound of a phone receiver hitting planning table echoes loudly through the com; then — "Miss Cora's just translated. She's sayin' y'all's sayin' that that thing's here to … record our business."

[TAC3] "Bubbles" Psyche says, "Toast, Bubbles. We've got you covered, sir. Splash — that's my Tommy-gun! Now you're in the game! Stay on target. This one's done pissed me off."

[BlackKnight-309: Psyche] Hyper-focused on keeping her target off its target, Psyche's tuned the Areion's showboaters into the background noise. Jaw clenched, she dogs the heavy raider old-school, swooping and diving at it physically to interrupt its targeting. She drops back to get off a shot at the last instant.

[BlackKnight-853: Devlin] "Gods!" Devlin exclaims off-comms as two more hits still fail to turn that heavy raider into light debris. He whips the Viper around for another run at it, staying in tight with his wingman, and out of the way of their squadmates.

[TAC3] (from "Bootstrap" Trask) "Give the Captain a cupie doll as a prize," is the ECO's wry reply. "No way to determine /what/ it's gathering, though, and it's currently outta jamming range. It's a bit of a long shot, but we could advance and see what, if any, effect this networked ECM might do…" Against the basestar.

[TAC3] "Splash" Malone says, "The warmups are over, Bubbles. And the big game has started."

[TAC3] "Toast" Cidra says, "Bubbles, Toast. Redirect a section to defense on Screwtop designation Vector-5-0-1. She is being taken to pieces. I can manage."

[TAC3] (from Polaris) "Think a little, Bootstrap. There's just one thing here worth recording," says Kepner nonchalantly. "They already have all your specs. The only thing they don't know about? The can of glorious whoop-ass that's currently at fifty percent charge." He pauses — undoubtedly to smile a smug little smile. "But that's the nice thing about a gun, you know. It doesn't help the guy it's pointed at if he knows how it works. He can recite all the tech he wants; at the end of the day, there'll still be a bullet in his brain. Stay the course, fellows, and we'll all get through this."

[Harrier-651: Cidra] "Let is go, Boots," Cidra says, with tight-jawed patience. "But this beast of theirs had damned well better do its job."

TAC3] "Bubbles" Psyche says, "Drips, Decoy — you heard the lady. Screwtop designation Vector-5-0-1 — defend her, boys. We'll keep with the CAG."

[BlackKnight-855: Malone] Firing off those shots again, Malone rolls to the side onvce more, to get into a better position to fire off his shots at the Heavy Raider. "Fantastic move, going in for the shot now…" Making sure that piece of sports commenting doesn't go out on the comms now.

<COMBAT> Screwtop1 suppresses Heavy1 with ECM. <successful>
<COMBAT> Screwtop1 suppresses Heavy2 with ECM. <successful>
<COMBAT> Screwtop1 suppresses Heavy3 with ECM. <unsuccessful>
<COMBAT> Screwtop1 suppresses Heavy4 with ECM. <successful>
<COMBAT> Psyche attacks Heavy4 with KEW - Serious wound to Controls (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> Raider2 attacks Screwtop2 with KEW - Serious wound to Body.
<COMBAT> Raider1 attacks Screwtop3 with KEW - ARMOR on Right Wing stops the attack!
<COMBAT> Malone attacks Heavy4 with KEW - Moderate wound to Body (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> Devlin attacks Heavy1 with KEW - Moderate wound to Engine (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> Cidra passes.
<COMBAT> Trask treats Harrier-651:
< ECM (Light): unsuccessful
<COMBAT> Screwtop3 treats Raptor-5010y:
< Body (Moderate): successful
< Engine (Serious): successful
< Body (Moderate): successful
<COMBAT> Screwtop2 treats Raptor-1170v:
< Controls (Moderate): unsuccessful
< Body (Serious): successful
<COMBAT> Heavy4 attacks Cidra with KEW and MISSES!
<COMBAT> Heavy1 attacks Cidra with KEW and MISSES!
<COMBAT> Heavy3 attacks Screwtop2 with KEW but MISSES!
<COMBAT> Wade attacks Heavy1 with KEW - Moderate wound to Body (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> Heavy2 attacks Screwtop3 with KEW - Serious wound to Body.
<COMBAT> Polaris has started a new turn. Pose and choose your action.
<COMBAT> Heavy Raider-6935c has been KO'd!
<COMBAT> Heavy1 has been KO'd!
<COMBAT> Heavy Raider-6144l has been KO'd!
<COMBAT> Heavy4 has been KO'd!
<COMBAT> Raptor-1170v has been KO'd!
<COMBAT> Screwtop2 has been KO'd!
<COMBAT> Raptor-5010y has been KO'd!
<COMBAT> Screwtop3 has been KO'd!

[TAC3] (from "Bootstrap" Trask) Naturally, Boots does not let it go. Blithely, he replies, "Last I checked, stun guns don't shoot bullets. And then there's the whole circuitry angle." At which point, he rolls his eyes in a 'how very silly it works that way but I did not make those rules' manner. "I'm guessin' you didn't major in electrical engineering at the academy, huh, Commander."

[Polly's Hoopty: Polaris] Shards of metal explode outwards from the stricken Heavy Raiders as the Colonial Vipers finally finish what they've started. One of them disintegrates in a haze of burning tylium; the other, its fuselage leaking plasma, turns right into Cerberus' battered hull before one final pass from Wade's fighter finishes it off entirely. Pieces of shrapnel the size of a man slam into the battlestar's starboard hull before bits of the Raider itself — not quite detonated — pierces the "soft" skin where Cerberus' venting pipes open up into space.

That'll leave a mark.

But all good turns do not in fact deserve another, for in the time it's taken the good guys to notch their first two kills, two of Areion's Raptors have already succumbed to ceaseless Cylon fire, winking off DRADIS and leaving the amplification field woefully incomplete.

[TAC3] "Decoy" Devlin says, "Bubbles, Decoy," Devlin replies, with just a little hesitation over the callsigns, if not over his response to the LTs directive, "You got— oh. Screwtop Vector-5-0-1 no longer on DRADIS, Bubbles," he says, apologetic, "I think we're too late."

[TAC3] (from Polaris) "Shit." That's cold fury in Tango's voice. "Tops in Gold Sector, collapse your field, say again, collapse your field! Jump to Able and re-link now, now, now — " Which means the net that once covered a hundred percent of the Cylon fighters will now cover just under seventy percent of the attacking ships.

[Harrier-651: Trask] "How again is this supposed to be better than how we do things?" Trask asks his CAG while prepping to relink.

[TAC3] "Bubbles" Psyche curses and growls. "Decoy, Bubbles. Copy that."

[BlackKnight-662: Wade] Wade is throwing heavy heavy bullets at that Heavy Raider, and as soon as the thing finally bites the dust, he hears Bubbles voice. "Copy that Bubbles, Decoy change course to….ah frak!" Too late. Now, now he spots that he has a Raider wanting to do some shooting at him, he speaks over the comms again.

[TAC3] "Drips" Wade says, "Decoy, Drips. Got one one my tail, I'll shake my ass a little bit but don't worry, keep covering the Raptors."

[TAC3] "Decoy" Devlin says, "Drips, Decoy. Copy that. I've got the Heavy Raider on Toast in my sights, let me know if you want me to peel off and take a shot at yours."

[Harrier-651: Cidra] Cidra's quick as she can be on her controls to get her ship into position as Tango advises. Like her or not, the CAG is not going to be the weak link in this field. This has to work now. "At this point, Boots, I just pray it works. And that whatever that basestar is recording does not involve calling yet more of its fellows. Kepner is confident." Whatever that's worth. Hard to tell what it's worth to her, precisely. She makes sure to *sound*

[TAC3] (from Polaris) "No, Bootstrap, I did not." Kepner's voice is still jocular. "But I'll tell you what: after this is over, feel free to drop by and have coffee with my tech people, all of whom will be more than pleased to explain to you why they think your head's full of more shit than a public toilet in a Taurian slum. Their words, not mine. In the meantime, do your damn job. All points, be advised, Areion is at ninety-five percent and charging. Firing in T minus thirty."

[Harrier-651: Cidra] … *sound* like she believes it'll work as promised.

[TAC3] "Bootstrap" Trask banters right back, "I see none of your tech people are plumbers. There's no room for anything in my head other then awesome and ego. I guess with their heads up their asses — or perhaps their noses up someone else's — everything must seem full of crap." As for his job, "See, there's so much awesome, I can multitask." Cheeky ECO is cheeky. "We are also advised, sir." Beat. "Don't miss."

[BlackKnight-855: Malone] Firing off his shots, and then looking around to see the happenings around him, Malone shakes his head a bit at the talk on the comms. While going towards the next target, he frowns, "A little less conversation, a little more action please…" Making sure that doesn't go out on the comms, he adds, with another shake of his head, "…sir."

[Harrier-651: Cidra] "Boots, stow it!" Cidra snaps. "That is an order." For her part, she just sticks to her business. With increasingly tight-jawed urgency, albeit. This had better work.

<COMBAT> Malone attacks Heavy2 with KEW - Moderate wound to Body (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> Cidra passes.
<COMBAT> Wade attacks Heavy3 with KEW - Serious wound to Engine (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> Psyche attacks Heavy2 with KEW but MISSES!
<COMBAT> Trask suppresses Heavy2 with ECM. <successful>
<COMBAT> Trask suppresses Heavy3 with ECM. <unsuccessful>
<COMBAT> Trask suppresses Raider1 with ECM. <successful>
<COMBAT> Trask suppresses Raider2 with ECM. <successful>
<COMBAT> Screwtop1 suppresses Heavy2 with ECM. <successful>
<COMBAT> Screwtop1 suppresses Heavy3 with ECM. <unsuccessful>
<COMBAT> Raider2 attacks Psyche with KEW - Moderate wound to Controls (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> Raider1 attacks Wade with KEW - Moderate wound to Controls (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> Heavy3 attacks Cidra with KEW - Light wound to Left Wing.
<COMBAT> Devlin attacks Heavy3 with KEW - Serious wound to Body.
<COMBAT> Heavy2 attacks Cidra with KEW and MISSES!
<COMBAT> Polaris has started a new turn. Pose and choose your action.
<COMBAT> Heavy Raider-3190n has been KO'd!
<COMBAT> Heavy3 has been KO'd!

[Harrier-651: Trask] Impertinently as ever, Trask protests, "He started it."

[Polly's Hoopty: Polaris] Areion's engines have flared a deep and furious purple all throughout — and when Foxley gives the go-ahead they blink out, right on cue. Just like the last time the Gun was fired, all the lights aboard CEX-300 suddenly fizzle, shatter, and break. Only the gods know how many spare bulbs the escort carrier must be carrying in her hold — not only for herself but for her Raptors, whose humming EW suites have been slaved to all others to emit electromagnetic bursts across a precisely-defined set of frequencies far quicker than a mere human can do. And as the venom of a snake spreads through the veins and arteries of its hapless victim, so too does the cloud of radiation flung forth from Areion's Gun, excited so many fold by the Raptors' glorious tune.

When the DRADIS interference clears and the intership coms calm down, the result is as expected. Those working Raiders that haven't already jumped away are dead in the water, intact but listing to port at the same exact angle. It's as if they've all suffered from a collective seizure that's left all of them unable to move. And behind them all sits the triumphant black hulk that is the good ship Areion, dwarfed in size but not in lethality by Cerberus' gunmetal grey.

[TAC3] (from Polaris) Kepner doesn't bother responding to Trask's provocations any further, instead letting out the breath he realizes only now that he's holding. "That'll do," he murmurs, fingers tapping restlessly against the mouthpiece of his phone. "That'll do. Tango — " There's a long pause. "We'll talk when you RTB. Vipers, open season. Leave no useable salvage. Areion Actual out."

[Harrier-651: Cidra] Cidra ignores Trask's grade-school level tiff with Kepner. She's occupied with other matters just now. Eyes widen at her viewport. Just in time to see a wink of white. "Forget him. Are you able to parse anything on our DRADIS, mussed though it is? I could have sworn I saw our basestar flash away just now. About fifty clicks out…" Not that she really has time to think too hard on the answer to that at present. Hands tighten on her controls as the network her Raptor is linked to is kicked into high gear. Eyes can't help but widen at the readings on her instruments, and the Raiders that suddenly go dead in space. *That* is certainly different than her Harriers typically manage.
TAC3] (from Polaris) "Roger that, Actual." Tango's voice is taut with cold fury. "Tops, RTB. Debrief in fifteen. Tango out." And then her Raptors — not ten but eight — file slowly into the carrier's open hangar, not bothering to stay and witness the fruits of their victory.

[TAC3] "Bubbles" Psyche says, "Flight, Bubbles. Everyone intact? In that case — let's get in some target practice. There's a lot to clean up, out here."

[BlackKnight-662: Wade] It seems teamplay is working rather well for Decoy and Drips. Wade hits the target altho the amor protects it a little. But Decoy, he hits on full target and that gets an exclamation over the coms. Now, it's just a matter of getting those dead Raiders, do some cleanup, shooting cans, or whatever you want to call it. Wade does some shooting now.

[TAC3] "Drips" Wade says, "Decoy, Drips. Nice frakking shooting out there! That's what I'm talking about! Bubbles, Drips. Copy that, target practice."

[TAC3] "Decoy" Devlin says, "Drips, Decoy. At least that one went down easier than the first. Bubbles, Decoy. Not so much as a scratch over here, how 'bout you? Copy on target practice, sounds good to me."

[TAC3] "Toast" Cidra says, "Blowback? Broadside? What is your status?" Cidra's tone quite composed, though she checks prompt on her Lions and Checkmates. They were thrust into some heavy fray earlier. "Form up with Bubbles and commence mop up of the field out there. Cerberus Raptors, RTB.""

[BlackKnight-855: Malone] "Some people make a mess then head off without cleaning up after them…" Malone mutters to himself, nodding a little bit at the words over the com, turning slightly to do that target practice thing.

[Harrier-651: Trask] Reviewing the DRADIS display and even going so far as to examine the console for technical issues, Trask finally decrees, "Far as I can tell, it's gone." Even so, he doesn't sound all that convinced. Case in point, "But I'm not convinced… That basestar… it's a spectre sent to deal with the spooks." And he doesn't like it. "An' screw Kepner. I want some of those ships intact. A few of 'em might even be piloted by skinjobs."

[BlackKnight-853: Devlin] Devlin watches The famed Gun in action curiously after he and Wade manage to fry their latest toaster target. "Whoa," he says quietly to himself as the raiders, abandoned by their basestar, hang dead in the black. He flies more slowly, now, wheeling around to begin moving towards them, giving his systems a minute to recover. Or… not, as the case may be. He glances down at the alarms, and frowns.

[TAC3] "Decoy" Devlin says, "Flight, Decoy. I've got a radiological alarm? Anybody else? Probably just systems still untangling or whatever after that gun thing, right?"

[BlackKnight-662: Wade] Wade moves in to engage those dead Raiders, firing angry bullets at them. His DRADIS starts to emit those nice attention noises and he looks at the thing for a moment. What he sees makes him stop shooting. He speaks over the coms now.

[TAC3] "Bubbles" Psyche replies, "Decoy, Bubbles. They singed my tailfeathers, but no big — huh. Hang on…" A beat. "People? FLIGHT? DRADIS might be crazy, but I've got a RAD alarm pinging INSIDE Cerberus. Repeat, RAD alarm registering inside Cerberus. It was there and gone."

[Harrier-651: Cidra] "The Heavy Raiders particularly. I am most curious how the Areion's Gun truly does affect their systems. Quite so," Cidra says, slowing her RTB, for her part. She'll linger to salvage a Cylon, if there's time for it. Though there may not be. "Or not. Worst is not over just yet."

[TAC3] "Drips" Wade says, "Flight, Drips. I got exactly the same thing here. Radiological alarm *and now he hears Bubbles* Oh frak."

[TAC3] (from Polaris) Pewter's trademark growl announces his return to the intership com. "Bubbles, Actual. Location — now."

[TAC3] "Splash" Malone says, "I got radi… What the…?"

[TAC3] "Bubbles" Psyche says, "Starboard! Deck 10 or 11!" Her voice is a panicked squeak, quite identifiable despite her dropping the transmission protocol.

[TAC3] "Toast" Cidra says, "Cerberus Flight, Toast. All points, belay RTB. Cerberus Actual, orders?"

[TAC3] (from Polaris) "For what it's worth — " This is Broadside. "I'm not reading much of anything at all." There's evident frustration in his voice. "DRADIS is still squawking like a parrot on meth. I've got visual on about half of my Lions, Toast, but we'll do a full count when we finish up out here."

[Harrier-651: Trask] "I'm thinkin' they're not goin' anywhere any time soon." Whereas the starboard Deck 10 or 11 might be going kaBOOM. "Frak. We're fried back here, Cid." No ECM for the ECO. That just means Trask breaks out the toolkit to commence repairs.

[TAC3] (from Polaris) Pewter grinds his teeth. "Hold, Toast. Ensign Carmichael! Get me the DC teams on the emergency line!"

[TAC3] "Bootstrap" Trask says, "Flight, Bootstrap. Our suite took a beating. I'm gonna try to get it operational."

[TAC3] (from Polaris) When the Colonel next speaks, a slight tremolo is evident in that intensely deep voice. "All ships, Pewter, DC teams confirm radiological alarm aboard Cerberus. Clear our sector, say again, clear our sector: we are about to blow!"

[TAC3] "Toast" Cidra says, "Viper Flight, you heard the man. Clear battlestar's sector. Cerberus Actual, do you have an ETA? I can have our Raptors inbound to evac."

[TAC3] "Bubbles" Psyche gasps, sucker-punched, "The frak?! NO!" Probably didn't mean that to go our over the coms. It's quickly followed by, "C-copy — COPY, Toast. Vipers, get the frak out!"

[TAC3] (from Polaris) "ETA is now, Toast." Pewter's managed to bring his voice under control in just a few seconds, though it's hoarse from shouting orders — as indeed he does, for as he sets down his phone he might be heard ordering bow down and portside thrusters on.

[TAC3] "Drips" Wade takes a deep breath as he hears the orders given by Toast and then Bubbles. He looks at Cerberus now and says "Bubbles, Drips. Copy that. Decoy, on me, move out."

[TAC3] "Toast" Cidra says, "Copy, Cerberus Actual." Cidra's tone is muted and a touch hollow. "Raptor Flight. Move clear of Cerberus. Repeat. Get yourselves clear.""

[TAC3] "Decoy" Devlin says, "Bubbles, Decoy," says Decoy, tone hovering in the middle ground between shocked and confused, "Copy. Clearing Cerberus's sector. Drips, sticking on your six."

[TAC3] "Splash" Malone grimaces as he hears that, "Clearing…" he offers, a bit quietly, as he starts moving away. Voice kept carefully neutral for the moment.

[Polly's Hoopty: Polaris] The sluggish battlestar's engines spring to life as she awakes from hibernation, maneuvering thrusters firing to take her as far away as possible from anything remotely mechanical. Stationary Areion rests helpless and blackened behind, silhouetted against the bombed-out shell of Tauron beneath, while like so many gnats the surviving Vipers fling themselves beyond harm's way. The Fleet waits with bated breath for the inevitable mushroom cloud that should mark the Cylons' final triumph —

The seconds draw on, each tick of a clock like an earthquake in the pilots' ears. Seconds turn into minutes of yawning silence as Cerberus inches further and further away —

Until at last a muted flash of light from those unprotected ventilation shafts sends her careening toward the planet, her trajectory arrested only at the last moment by the firing of emergency thrusters.

[TAC3] (from Polaris) The com crackles. The com pops. The com fizzles and burps and twitches. And then, fully one hundred and forty five seconds after the alert first went out, the com resolves at last. "Well, sheeyit," Pewter drawls, his exhausted chortle evidence enough of the mental roller-coaster to which he's just been subjected. "Guess we're still frakkin' here. Guess they used up all but the pussy-ass nukes in that genocide."

[TAC3] "Toast" Cidra says, "Cerberus Actual, Toast. Copy that. What is the ship's status? Is the hangar deck intact? Can be RTB? And should we prepare for jump?"

[Harrier-651: Trask] Well, then. "Looks like the MPs are gonna be workin' overtime," Trask quips, still busy with repairs. "What I wanna know is how long the thing's frakkin' been there." Beat. "Was there. It's not like the strays we've taken home coulda smuggling one aboard."

[BlackKnight-309: Psyche] In the cockpit of her viper, Psyche slumps and utters a soft, relieved sob, one glove splayed over her helm. She whispers prayers of gratitude for the ship, saved… and prayers for the souls undoubtedly lost in the explosion.

[TAC3] Polaris says, "Toast, Actual, direct all birds in need of repairs to Areion, which is being prepped to receive them. The rest of y'all, stay out there with y'all's eyes peeled. No more surprises." Oh, and as for jumping out? "Because it doesn't look like we'll be goin' anywhere any time soon." Can't win 'em all. "Gravel out."

[BlackKnight-855: Malone] Watching the battlestar very carefully for a while, Malone leans back in his seat as he sees how things have gone. "Close…" he mutters to himself, keeping quiet for now. Just sitting there for now.

[Harrier-651: Cidra] Cidra withdraws a long, shuddering breath, whispering something in old Gemenese under it. A prayer, undoubtedly, though not one she voices aloud. "I am taking us down to Areion, Boots," she says simply. "We shall get the tally of all this soon enough." Tone grim. She knows it'll be high.

[TAC3] "Toast" Cidra says, "Copy Cerberus Actual. Toast inbound to Areion for repairs. Those able, stay in the air until further notice and take up defensive positions around Cerberus. We shall rotate down to double-CAPs in an hour if encounter no further contacts."

[BlackKnight-662: Wade] Wade closes his eyes as he sees that light from Cerberus, signaling an explosion. He is certainly relived to see that the big ass Battlestar is still there. The man mutters something, possibly not a prayer but more like a 'Thank you, Thank you' Now, he hears Cidra's words and nods to himself.

[BlackKnight-853: Devlin] One major benefit to not being precisely the smartest around or the most educated on all of this military stuff, is that Devlin doesn't catch on quite as quickly as the others to the idea that the battlestar might be about the blow up. By the time the thought has occurred to him, the nuke has exploded without the battlestar blowing up, so there really isn't time to freak out or anything. So he just sort of sits in his Viper and watches, until Cidra's orders come through, at which point he moves to take up his part in the defensive position with the others.

[Harrier-651: Trask] Oh, the Areion. How lovely. "Maybe you can arrange a play date for me a Rudy." Afterall, what would be a calamity without Trask's typical flippancy?

[TAC3] "Drips" Wade says, "Toast, Drips. Copy that, taking defensive positions. Decoy, let's do some rounds out there…we'll be here for a while."

[TAC3] "Decoy" Devlin says, "Drips, Decoy. Copy that. Lead the way, I'm on your six as always."

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