PHD #310: EVENT - Raiders of the Lost ... Raider
Raiders of the Lost … Raider
Summary: A little lost lamb goes home. The Black Knights follow.
Date: 02 Jan 2042 AE
Related Logs: None.
Psyche Roland Trask Cora NPC Polaris 
Space — Tauron
Post-Holocaust Day: #310

[Polly's Hoopty: Polaris] CAP hour three: an impression. Five great ships — grey and black colossi — huddle together like birds for warmth, hugging the darkness where Cyrannus doesn't shine. The angry livid face of a bombed-out planet stretches out in a languid curve so many klicks below, grand in its pockmarked beauty. And three tiny fighters — two silver, one brown — soar around the fleet like they've done so many times before, locked together so closely they might well seem like one from afar.

[BlackKnight-309: Psyche] In the eerie glow of her instrument panel and helmet, Psyche yawns — and winces at the faint pop of her jaw. Ow. "That can't be good," she mutters to herself. She banks slightly starboard, following a flight path that she could by now run backwards, in her sleep. She rolls back her shoulders and opens a channel with a faint burst of static.

[TAC3] "Bubbles" Psyche says, "Blue, Bubbles. How you hangin' in, darlin'?"

[BlackKnight-855: Roland] Viper 855 follows the slow blank, keeping the distance between the fighters, as Blue pushes slightly on the stick. He glances at the dradis for a second before clicking the mic, and answering.

[TAC3] "Blue" Roland says, "Just fine, Bubbles. Next time though… Let your wingman know where the snorers sleep, will ya? It will make CAPs a whole lot shorter for me."

[TAC3] "Bootstrap" Trask says, "So will gettin' blown to bits."

[Harrier-303: Trask] Another day, another CAP. Thus far, the most exciting thing to happen probably has been Psyche no doubt seething when she realized she was flying with Trask. Perhaps it's a sign of another impending apocalypse that he hasn't rubbed in that he's in-charge. Surely, though, he must've enjoyed the rankling. That was hours ago, though, and the memory isn't enough to slice through the tedium. Still, tedium is better than getting blown to bits, right?

[TAC3] "Bubbles" Psyche laughs. "Hey, sweetie, I wasn't there when you chose your bunk, man. I woulda had your back. Could be worse, though. I slept above Spiral for months… snoring AND farting AND fapping — the fun just never. Frakking. Ended."

[Polly's Hoopty: Polaris] It doesn't take long for a new player to enter this magnificent tableau, announced by a streak of silver paint daubed onto the canvas by some careless painter's hand. 'NEW CONTACT,' sings DRADIS — and so it is. The solitary Cylon Raider tickles the very edge of the Colonial fighters' range, coming into sensor view some hundred klicks away in a flash of blurry chrome.

<FS3> <FS3> Trask rolls Ecm: Great Success.

[BlackKnight-855: Roland] Blue chuckles, about to answer when the screen flashes, and the contact appears on his DRADIS. In a split second his mood changes as his mind gears up for the potential action. He clicks on the channel.

[TAC3] "Blue" Roland says, "Bootstrap you got that bogie?""

[TAC3] (from "Bootstrap" Trask) No sooner than when DRADIS announces a new arrival, Trask quips, "Looks like legends of those epic fun times reached Cylon space." Which is to say that he certainly sees it. "Maybe it doesn't want the others to know it's hot for Spiral 'cuz, believe it or not, the frakker's alone." A moment passes where he undoubtedly is doing some ECO type foo. "Hold your positions." Then another moment, while he verifies something.

[TAC3] "Bubbles" Psyche says, "Copy that, Bootstrap. Tracking target and holding position. Will engage on your mark."

[BlackKnight-309: Psyche] Psyche shifts in her seat and flexes her fingers on the stick, the nose of her Viper slowly tracking the Raider's arc through space. She breathes deeply through her nose, muttering off channel, "What the frak… come on…"

[BlackKnight-855: Roland] Viper 855 slows to a stop in response to the order. Blue picks up his visual scans for a moment, as he listens for the ocmmand, hand on the throttle.

[TAC3] "Bootstrap" Trask says, "CIC, Bootstrap. Picking-up a contact with a Raider's signature about twenty clicks out, proceeding at high speeds in a line parallel to the fleet. It's emitting encrypted transmissions. Commenced recording. Gonna see if I can narrow it down some, but my guess is that it's either scanning or taking readings. Flight, time to go wrangle the stray. Let's see what's so interesting out there. Set a course for carom sixteen fifty-eight twelve. Hold fire but prepare for more company."

[Harrier-303: Trask] That said, Harrier-303 alters its course in favor of the relayed coordinates.

[TAC3] "Bubbles" Psyche says, "Blue, Bubbles. You heard the man. Carom sixteen fifty-eight twelve. Bootstrap, confirm — we are to pursue, but not fire on the Cylon?"

[BlackKnight-855: Roland] Blue hits the throttle, the Viper jumping to keep up with Bubbles. He shakes his head thinking, "Sit in one place, and now no guns…" He corrects his course, and hits the channel to broadcast.

[TAC3] "Blue" Roland says, "Aye aye, Bubbles. I'm on your left… A little low. Lets go to work."

[TAC3] Cora says, "Boostrap, CIC. We confirm your reading. Keep us apprised of the situation. Over."

[Polly's Hoopty: Polaris] It doesn't jink. It doesn't weave. It doesn't even engage in evasive maneuvers. Like a drunken punter making a beeline for the nearest toilet bowl, the lone Raider burns rubber on its way to — well, wherever it's going, as no matter how hard Trask tries, he can make neither heads nor tails of the high-powered EM radiation scattering in all directions in the wake of our little lost lamb. And oh — it's moving quickly. Really quickly. So quickly that, if the Vipers are just a hair's breadth too slow with their burners, they might miss their chance to intercept altogether.

<FS3> <FS3> Psyche rolls Vipers: Bad Failure.
<FS3> <FS3> Roland rolls Vipers: Good Success.

[TAC3] "Bootstrap" Trask says, "Affirmative, Bubbles. It's after something and, for once, it appears to not be us." Shifting gears, "Copy, CIC. We're tracking it. See if Corsair can get a better reading. Squadrons are to stand-by 'cuz this bugger may not be alone for long. Over."

[TAC3] "Blue" Roland says, "Bootstrap… Blue. He's running hot. Too fast. Request weapons free."

[BlackKnight-309: Psyche] Something's amiss in Bubbles Land. She's sluggish on the throttle, badly under-estimates the target's velocity, is a hair off course — all of the above. The end result is spectacularly bad flying — she falls behind formation and has to throttle hard to keep back up. She might miss the interception entirely. Stay tuned, True Believers.

[BlackKnight-855: Roland] Blue smashed the afterburner, quickly getting his Viper to top speed, and pushing it toward the red line. A glance at the DRADIS tells him something is wrong, but keeps the speed on. He mutters under his breath, and clicks on the channel.

[TAC3] Cora says, "Flight, CIC. Copy that. EXLORAD is still booting up, we'll keep you posted. Over."

[TAC3] "Blue" Roland says, "Bubbles… Blue. You still with me? I'm fifteen seconds to intercept."

OOC: Psyche uses Luck!
<FS3> <FS3> Psyche rolls Vipers: Good Success.

[Harrier-303: Trask] Bubbles has fallen behind? Perhaps it's a credit to her being such a good pilot that Trask simply assumes that she's being insubordinate and not simply having issues. Annoyed, he jumps on the comms.

[TAC3] "Bootstrap" Trask says, "Just because you don't like the plan, Bubbles, you don't get a pass. Get your ass into gear. You're leavin' your wingman exposed. And negative, Blue. You do not have permission to go weapons free. Over."

[TAC3] "Bootstrap" Trask says, "Copy, CIC."

[Polly's Hoopty: Polaris] Whatever it's doing, one thing's for certain: with the pace the Raider is setting, it's already smashed Intel's estimate of the spaceframe's top speed, leaving behind a trail of superheated plasma as it goes. This must be the Cylon equivalent of the trusty Colonial afterburner, one far more efficient than the fuel injection Vipers use to accelerate to maximum speed. But with a burst of her own, Blue's Mark VII is right there behind it in not fifteen but thirteen seconds, with Bubbles and the lumbering Raptor just two hundred-odd meters behind.

Of course, the way this machine is flying, two hundred-odd meters might be all it needs.

[TAC3] "Bubbles" Psyche says, "Blue, Bubbles. I'm on your six, babe. Keep your eyes on the prize — I'll be there."

[BlackKnight-309: Psyche] At Trask's rebuke, Bubbles grinds her teeth. "Die in a fire, sir," she mutters — and borrows a little trick from the Areion sticks (a thing which she will never admit, under pain of death.) A few quick adjustments and she dumps half her fuel straight into the engine intake, giving the bird a colossal jolt of speed. Her engines flare a blinding blue as she catapults into position.

[TAC3] Cora says, "Flight, CIC. EXLORAD reports bingo additional contacts. So far crypto computers haven't got anything more on the nature of the signals its emitting. Continue to pursue and record, hold fire for now. Over."

[BlackKnight-855: Roland] Viper 855 is falling behind in this race. Blue curses under his breath, trying to keep his fighter in a good firing solution. He glances at his his speed indicator, and shakes his head. He makes a minute adjustment trying to keep the raidier targeted.

[TAC3] "Blue" Roland says, "Bootstrap… Blue. He's running away from me. I'm running out of choices here."

[Harrier-303: Trask] "Hephaestus' vibrating dildo," Bootstrap exclaims at the discovery of the Raider's speed threshold. Forget Intel's estimates. He's an aerospace engineer and even he was unsuspecting. The numbers don't lie.

<FS3> <FS3> Roland rolls Vipers: Failure.
<FS3> <FS3> Psyche rolls Vipers: Success.

[TAC3] (from "Bootstrap" Trask) Over to Cora, "Copy that, CIC. Maintaining pursuit and documenting." To Roland, "Then make the most of the ones you have." Not missing Psyche's recovery and closing of the distance, he wryly adds, "Maybe Bubbles will teach you her trick."

[Polly's Hoopty: Polaris] The Raider doesn't seem to mind that Colonial fighters have managed to grab its scent. By this time, the pursuing Vipers have put more than thirty klicks between them and the slow-moving Raptor struggling to keep pace. Just a few more seconds of this and the CAP's two interceptors will break the range ceiling imposed on their operations. Indeed, if either pilot bothers to take a look back, even massive Cerberus appears to be nothing more than a map room model.

[BlackKnight-309: Psyche] It's damned hard not to lean into the throttle, hoping to get just a little more speed, but Psyche knows the limits of her machine. Well caught up now, she edges a bit ahead of her wingman, taking the lead — but still laser-focused on pursuing the mark. She eyes dart once to the buried needles on her panel, nostrils flaring with a breath as she course corrects.

<FS3> <FS3> Roland rolls Vipers: Good Success.

[TAC3] Cora says, "Flight, CIC. EXLORAD reports the Cylon transmissions don't match anything in the current file. Encryption is all over the map and changing too rapidly to counter. Also, you're about to leave the area of operations. Alert Vipers launching to take over CAP duties. Bubbles, Bootstrap, Blue, you're cleared to pursue the Raider as long as possible and continue documenting that signal. DO NOT LOSE IT. If you can't keep up, bring it down. We can't risk it escaping since we don't know what sort of scans it might have acquired. Over."

[TAC3] "Bubbles" Psyche says, "Flight, Bubbles. Does it bother anyone how frakking far we're letting this thing lead us?" It's a general question, perhaps even rhetorical. She's just sayin', is all. Then, muttering, but still on coms, "Motherfrakking thing flies at the speed of thought. Must be nice to have your plane jacked into your brain."

[BlackKnight-855: Roland] Blue dodges his Viper around the plasma streaming from the raider. For a moment he loses concentration, glancing at their range. His hand slipsinside his glove. Overcorrecting slows his Viper down as Bubbles slips by him. He curse under his breath, and mashes the afterburner again, staying barely in range.

[TAC3] "Blue" Roland says, "Frack me he's fast. We won't be in range long. You got a shot on him, Bubbles? Bootstrap. Cut us loose."

[Harrier-303: Trask] As the end of the CAP range rapidly approaches, Bootstrap is opening the channel to get permission to go weapons-free or to continue pursuit. Before he can say anything, however, Cora has already answered his question. Like Bubbles, he's not so keen to be so far out, but dying during recon actually rests better with him than the usual ship defense. Knowledge is power and all that rot.

<FS3> <FS3> Roland rolls Vipers: Success.
<FS3> <FS3> Psyche rolls Vipers: Success.

[TAC3] "Bootstrap" Trask says, "You heard the Captain, Blue. Keep up until you can't, then blast it to the Nine Hells." Not one to pass up a smartass remark, the jerkass adds for Psyche's benefit, "I'm not thinkin' any of our birds need a sparkly pink paint job, a shopping spree, and a day at the spa."

[TAC3] "Bubbles" Psyche comes back over the coms, terse and impatient. "The frak does that even mean, Trask? Does thought happen before your mouth opens? Ever?"

[TAC3] Cora says, "Bootstrap, CIC. If you can't say anything relevant, don't say anything at all. Over."

[Polly's Hoopty: Polaris] And on and on this merry chase goes. Looking at it from above, it must be quite some view: three silver darts en route to parts unknown, blasting forward soundlessly in the vacuum that is space. Not that the Vipers themselves are quiet; indeed, they're anything but. As the Colonial pilots keep trembling fingers steady on the stick, their cockpits rattle loudly with the roar of afterburners firing for far longer than they should. And soon the rattling is joined by creaking of their fighters' joints and bolts, as jury-rigged welds from almost a year of non-stop fighting begin to feel the pressure of the fight.

Chalk up one more nice thing about not being a Cylon: as fast as the Raider is going, its very body must be tearing itself apart under stress, not that it's got the nervous system to make the pain register as more than a buzz of ones and zeros in the pulsing thing it calls a brain.

[BlackKnight-309: Psyche] Psyche keeps up, and could possibly keep up indefinitely — were it not for the finite nature of tillium and the way stress can wear away at one's edge over time. But right now, she's frosty, and wherever their friend goes, she does as well. But she clearly doesn't like it, and she comes back on coms to say so.

[TAC3] "Bubbles" Psyche says, "Flight, Bubbles. We are being played, here. If this thing's in such a frakking hurry, why hasn't it jumped? I'm telling you, this reeks."

[BlackKnight-855: Roland] Blue keeps his Viper in range but the shaking in the cockpit tell his that maintenance isn't going to like him much when he gets back. He listens to the back and forth on channel before adding.

[TAC3] "Blue" Roland says, "Bootstrap, Blue. He's in a straight line. What he's pointed at? This course heads somwhere…"

[TAC3] Cora says, "Bubbles, CIC. Crypto techs have torn apart EXLORAD's logs and are saying the broadcasts are gibberish, no pattern at all. They think it's probable the raider is malfunctioning. It has to have come from somewhere, and there is not supposed to be any Cylon presence in the region that we've found, so we're hoping it'll lead you home. Its home, that is. Orders stand. Over."

[TAC3] (from "Bootstrap" Trask) Blithe as ever, "I forgot shoes in there, didn't I? Sorry. Shoes are /so/ relevant." To Blue, "That /is/ the Million Cubits Question, innit? CIC, what's ExLORAD's status? Any projection about the current trajectory? Skilled as our pilots and deckhands are, these Vipers won't be able to withstand much more of this pace. That Raider will go down before my people are torn apart. Over."

[TAC3] "Bubbles" Psyche says, "Why would it lead us home?" Bubbles is practically conversational. "A human pilot might lead us home. Might put its survival ahead of the collective. A machine — an immortal machine? Would take itself out, or make US take it out, before it would give up the position of the enemy. I can do this all night, people, but if it's broadcasting garbage — let me blow it up. I'm begging you."

[Polly's Hoopty: Polaris] By now, Tauron has dwindled to the size of an oversized Pyramid ball in the Vipers' proverbial rear-view, with BSG-132 little more than flyspecks above the faint purple glow that separates its exosphere from space. DRADIS says the Vipers are more than a hundred thousand kilometers away from the Fleet and the comfort of its flak ring. Small wonder, then, that Lieutenant Athenos' fuel gauge now momentarily blinks yellow. There's the soft and mellifluous female voice every pilot hates to here: "Forty percent fuel," says Bitchin' Betty, her comforting voice doing very little to soften the blue.

[BlackKnight-309: Psyche] Psyche winces as the sweetly melodic voice chimes in, reminding her that she can't actually do this all night. Especially not with that fuel dump she did earlier. Still, there's orders. "Fly and fight and die, Betty," she tells the voice, her expression set and grim.

<FS3> <FS3> Cora rolls Intel Analysis: Success.

[TAC3] Cora says, "Flight, CIC. Its current trajectory doesn't seem to lead to anywhere, but I think there might be a minefield, an old First War battle site, about 300k klicks ahead if it doesn't change course. Eyes open for that. And yes, you're free to open fire. Over."

[TAC3] (from "Bootstrap" Trask) Bootstrap already announced that Raider will go down before he'd jeopardize the Vipers and pilots to fatal structural damage. For all the ill one can say about the ECO, he remains a man of his word. It's simply beneficial that he doesn't have to disobey orders to do so. "Copy that, CIC. Flight, you're clear to go weapons-free. Keep it as intact as possible. I want something to tow back home to scour. If it's malfunctioning, we can compare it to the Raiders we already have an' see what's what."

<FS3> <FS3> Roland rolls Vipers: Good Success.
<FS3> <FS3> Psyche rolls Vipers: Good Success.

<COMBAT> Psyche attacks Lostraider with KEW - Moderate wound to Body.
<COMBAT> Lostraider passes.
<COMBAT> Trask suppresses Lostraider with ECM. <unsuccessful>
<COMBAT> Roland attacks Lostraider with KEW - Light wound to Left Wing.
<COMBAT> Polaris has started a new turn. Pose and choose your action.

[Polly's Hoopty: Polaris] At long last the Vipers unsheathe their fangs. With the Raider flying in a straight line, the challenge isn't hitting: rather, it's staying in position behind its six as the kickback from the Colonial fighters' KEWs threaten to fling them off course. And though both pilots manage to draw first blood, the lone enemy craft doesn't waver, shaking off the damage before plowing forward, ever forward.

[BlackKnight-309: Psyche] Weapons free? You don't need to tell Bubbles twice. She's been twitching over the safety and flying with the target in her sights so long, all she has to do is flick her thumb up and down again. KEWs zip through the vacuum, exploding dead center on the fleeing cylon. She flies straight through the explosion, not even daring to bank, lest the raider gain distance.

[BlackKnight-855: Roland] Blue pulls the trigger a split second after Bubbles, the KEW rounds rip the the left wing of the raider, rocking it but not slowing it down a bit. He keeps the speed on staying on Bubble's wing angling for another shot.

<FS3> <FS3> Psyche rolls Vipers: Great Success.
<FS3> <FS3> Roland rolls Vipers: Success.

<COMBAT> Triggering new turn.
<COMBAT> Psyche attacks Lostraider with KEW - Moderate wound to Body.
<COMBAT> Roland attacks Lostraider with KEW but MISSES!
<COMBAT> Lostraider treats Raider-4696d:
< Body (Moderate): successful
< Left_Wing (Light): successful
< Body (Moderate): successful
<COMBAT> Trask suppresses Lostraider with ECM. <successful>
<COMBAT> Polaris has started a new turn. Pose and choose your action.

> <FS3> <FS3> Trask rolls Ecm: Good Success.

[Harrier-303: Trask] While the Viper pilots do their thing, the ECO works his own brand of mojo. Abracadabra! Something appears.

[BlackKnight-309: Psyche] Bubbles hammers the fleeing raider with another, flying so straight and true that she actually gains on it for a moment — but only a moment. Then things go horribly awry. This time, her shooting knocks something lose, and the debris slams into her viper like a bullet, spider-webbing her canopy, actually knocking her plane up and back. She goes into a spin from which she quickly recovers — but time. Distance and time. She's lost both, and with another bright flare that sacrifices precious tillium, she dashes to catch up again.

[Polly's Hoopty: Polaris] Four shots, three hits. Not a bad ratio, but it's almost a guarantee that Cidra won't be pleased, for there's something seriously lacking in the Viper pilots' stats: a dead Raider. Still the stubborn thing flashes forward, disregarding the bits and pieces of it sloughing off where Colonial bullets have found their mark. A hundred and fifty klicks. Sixty-five. Eighty-five. They're going on two hundred, now, when over their coms comes an automated warning.

[BlackKnight-855: Roland] Blue is pressing on the trigger when out of the corner of his eye he notices the other Viper start to spin. The pilot doesn't even get a "frack" out as he jerks the stick away, sending his rounds wide. He corrects, and glances up at the warning. This time he does have a moment, as he mutters, "Frack me."

[TAC3] (from Polaris) "Warning." A tinny male voice recorded in a truly awful sound studio. "Restricted area ahead. Proceed at your own risk. Warning. Restricted area ahead. Proceed at your peril." It's an old-school beacon set to broadcast on all open frequencies. It's a testament to the engineers who designed its power supply that it's still active.

[TAC3] "Bootstrap" Trask says, "Flight, CIC. Pickin' up a really faint heat sig in the approximate area of the mine field. Whatever it is, it's more than just mines to be pinging this far out. In fact… it's reminiscent of a foundry, except, judging by these readings, massively larger than any I've encountered."

[TAC3] "Bootstrap" Trask says, "Bubbles, Blue: how're you holdin' up?"

<FS3> <FS3> Psyche rolls Vipers: Bad Failure.
<FS3> <FS3> Roland rolls Vipers: Success.

<COMBAT> Triggering new turn.
<COMBAT> Trask suppresses Lostraider with ECM. <successful>
<COMBAT> Roland attacks Lostraider with KEW but MISSES!
<COMBAT> Psyche passes.
<COMBAT> Lostraider attempts to treat Raider-4696d but Raider-4696D has no treatable wounds.
<COMBAT> Polaris has started a new turn. Pose and choose your action.

[TAC3] "Bubbles" Psyche says, "I'm in one piece, Blue. But I'm gettin' tired of looking at your ass. Nothing personal."

[TAC3] "Blue" Roland says, "Come on up here, Bubbles. I'm not doing any good."

[TAC3] "Bubbles" Psyche says, "Stop flying like you're going home, Bluebell. Push it like it's the last time you're ever gonna be out here. Then let's see how you do."

[TAC3] (from Polaris) "Danger." That annoying voice again. "You have now crossed into the restricted area. This area is under the jurisdiction of the armed forces of the Confederation of Leonis and Tauron. Turn back, say again, turn back."

[BlackKnight-309: Psyche] Somehow, someway miraculously recovered from her disastrous spin, Bubbles leaps up on her wingman's eleven, angling to get another shot at the elusive raider. "Yeah, yeah. I hear you," she mutters to the automated warning. "Whatever."

[TAC3] Cora says, "Flight, CIC. Copy that. It may be a Cylon installation, so approach with caution but see if you can get further readings or even a visual, to confirm that nature of the signal. Over."

[Polly's Hoopty: Polaris] If the Cylon hears the warning, it doesn't bother showing it. Bits of wing and sparking wire are visible in the light as it guns ever faster past boxlike specks of metal: defunct mines, from the looks of them, scattered here and there on this abandoned space lane. And suddenly, off in the distance, something happens: the dull whizzing of the Raider's red eyeslit is matched by a magnificent crimson pulse several times as powerful, illuminating for a single moment the wreckage of a passenger liner more than a hundred years old — and something else emplaced in the debris.

Something chrome, which by now is no more than fifty klicks away.

It figures, then, that Bitchin' Betty picks this time to prod Psyche's attention back to her fuel gauge: "Ten percent fuel." Whatever happened to the warnings for thirty and twenty, nobody knows. Something to yell at the Chief about, no doubt.

<FS3> <FS3> Psyche rolls Vipers: Great Success.
<FS3> <FS3> Roland rolls Vipers: Good Success.

<COMBAT> Triggering new turn.
<COMBAT> Trask suppresses Lostraider with ECM. <successful>
<COMBAT> Roland attacks Lostraider with KEW but MISSES!
<COMBAT> Psyche attacks Lostraider with KEW - Serious wound to Controls.
<COMBAT> Lostraider treats Raider-4696d:
< Controls (Serious): successful
<COMBAT> Polaris has started a new turn. Pose and choose your action.

[TAC3] (from "Bootstrap" Trask) Definitely annoying, for a few reasons. "Just a friendly reminder, Flight, that you're entering mine country. Stuff from that war is so archaic, there's nothin' to jam."

[TAC3] "Bubbles" Psyche says, "Flight, Bubbles. Fuel is at ten-percent and that raider has a few dings, but it doesn't look like it's going down any time soon. I'll continue pursuit as long as I'm able."

[BlackKnight-855: Roland] Blue just shakes his head, as his rounds go wide again missing the raider. He stays with his wingman, trying to ignore the warnings in his helmet about the minefield.

OOC: Trask spends Luck!
<FS3> <FS3> Trask rolls Ecm: Success.

[Harrier-303: Trask] Ten-percent fuel during a high-speed chase in an ancient minefield is bad news. What's even worse is what Trask discovers, which prompts a murmured, "Frak."

[TAC3] "Bootstrap" Trask says, "Flight, Bootstrap. Blow your last load an' shoot it to shit. Salvage is no longer an option. At the rate you're flyin', two Heavies will be here in, oh, just about now." Which is to say the next round. "Oh, an' that sig, CIC? Definitely mechanical, pulsing, and no doubt Cylon. Whatever it is, it wasn't here when Corsair did the initial sweeps. Over."

[Polly's Hoopty: Polaris] The silhouette of the passenger liner is as clear as day, now, and it should be familiar to anybody remotely interested in Colonial history: she's none other than MV Cassandra, whose destruction in 1943 AE led Caprica to align with Scorpia and Picon to create the Triple Alliance whose combined might won the Great Civil War, and whose battered but elegant lines can be found on many a peace protester's poster. But of more interest to the Colonials than this ironically named artifact of their past is the massive chrome thing that dwarfs not only the liner but the hundred-odd mangled escape pods scattered about the field.

Roughly the size of bulky Corsair, the Cylon facility — for it is assuredly Cylon — looks like a crudely formed hourglass forged from the same metal as all other Cylon craft. The protruding curves of its thickened hull are broken up every so often by vents the size of a Viper, vents which emit plumes of white heat on Trask's infrared display. Most dangerously of all, a pair of cavernous doors at the end of one bulb has opened to disgorge those two Heavy Raiders, revealing in the process row upon row of throbbing crimson lights going all the way from hangar to the dark recesses beyond. There, a sickly red assembly line moves with surpassing precision, implanting slimy organic "brains" into cradles that look suspiciously like so many unfinished Cylon fighters.

It's a foundry all right. For it's in these biomechanical monstrosities that new Raiders are born.

[TAC3] Cora says, "Flight, CIC. Copy that. Get us whatever readings and images you can and RTB."

<FS3> <FS3> Roland rolls Vipers: Bad Failure.
<FS3> <FS3> Psyche rolls Vipers: Failure.

<COMBAT> Triggering new turn.
<COMBAT> Trask suppresses Lostraider with ECM. <successful>
<COMBAT> Psyche attacks Lostraider with KEW - Moderate wound to Controls.
<COMBAT> Roland attacks Lostraider with KEW but MISSES!
<COMBAT> Lostraider treats Raider-4696d:
< Controls (Moderate): successful
<COMBAT> Polaris has started a new turn. Pose and choose your action.
<COMBAT> Polaris has stopped the combat.

[BlackKnight-309: Psyche] Possible the fact that she might not have enough fuel to get home has thrown her. Even more possible that the gruesome sight of baby raiders being born has diverted some critical measure of her attention. Whatever the case, her last shot on the raider is good — her reaction time, not so good. She's pummeled with debris and flies wide in her attempt to evade, once more — and for the final time — falling behind and losing her hellishly fast target.

[TAC3] "Bubbles" Psyche is, apparently, too stupefied by the sight before her to even curse the loss of her target. "Frak me. I take it back. It was leading us home."

[BlackKnight-855: Roland] His Viper catches enough debris that Blue can't do anything but slam on the breaks. His flat spin slows him enough that Bubbles flashes by him. He pulls around to try to get his gun camera on the ship, and checks over his shoulder for his wingman.

[TAC3] "Blue" Roland says, "Bubbles… Blue… I'm off. What's your sit rep?"

[TAC3] (from "Bootstrap" Trask) Cue the facetiousness, for this truly is an unsettling sight. "See what we discover when we don't immediately go weapons-free on an erratically behaving Cylon vessel?" This program has been brought to you by the letter 'C' and the number '86'. "CIC, Bootstrap. Turns out that baby Raiders aren't delivered by storks. They come from this massive facility we've discovered. We'll get what we can undetected, but Bubbles is at 10 percent fuel, and I'm not gonna risk an encounter with the two Heavies in the vicinity and who knows how many more lurking. Over."

[Polly's Hoopty: Polaris] Like a wounded animal, the Raider speeds towards the embrace of its most familiar place, bracketed as it is by still more Colonial bullets. Its fuselage leaks a viscous fluid that looks suspiciously like blood, but — stubborn as a raging bull — it springs forward with one last burst of energy before its engine putters out, sending it on a collision course with the Foundry's gaping maw. It'd ram the thing, too, if not for the pair of Heavies that have made it their business to retrieve their fallen comrade. As the Vipers flip upwards and backwards to make their way back to base, they might see why they've got nothing to fear: the turrets on those spaceframes have been replaced by a harness and cranes, respectively. The former catches their wounded friend; the latter deposits it in a receiving cradle. Like putting a baby to sleep —

Except in this case "sleep" is a literal thing. The sides of the cradle crunch closed, turning Raider and its contents into a compacted box of metal and flesh. Only when that's done do the Heavies retreat, withdrawing into the Foundry like Hephaestus' golems of old. And without even the slightest of creaks — such is the wonder of space — the blast doors swing closed, causing the poisonous crimson light to vanish into the faintest of flickers where chrome vents reflect the burning heat within.

Waste not, want not. The Cylons know it too: but why wouldn't they? They were, after all, made by Man…

[TAC3] "Bootstrap" Trask says, "Aaaaaaand nix that. The Heavies retrieved the wounded Raider and compacted it into a cube, then withdrew back into the foundry. We'll still scan what we can then RTB. Bootstrap out."

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