PHD #112: EVENT - Rain
Summary: Parting is such sweet sorrow.
Date: 18 Jun 2041 AE
Related Logs: This logs concludes the events of The Twisted Gyves and O What Light.
Bannik Cilusia Cora Evandreus Lunair Oberlin Samuel Sawyer Sitka Tisiphone Trask Alessandra Cidra Coll Constin Ethan McQueen Psyche Ashwood Frankie Jenkins Marty NPC Polaris 
City Outskirts — Kythera — Leonis
A forest shouldn't be this quiet. The loudest sound comes from the gentle breeze ruffling the canopies of this vast expanse of evergreens, their trunks groaning ever so softly — mourning, perhaps, the fate of the Colony's inhabitants. But the strange silence notwithstanding, this remarkably well-preserved stretch of land seems completely untouched by the destruction the Cylons have wrought. Wide clearings open into azure skies or starlit vistas; knee-high grass sways beneath pillowy clouds or the overhanging moon. A small creek snakes through leafy ground and loamy soil, its clear water burbling softly over a bed of weather-worn rocks. So peaceful is this bucolic place — a full eighty kilometers from civilization — that it might even dispel, if only for a while, the nightmares of the preceding months.
Post-Holocaust Day: #112

It's raining.

It's been raining for a while, and now it only rains harder — the sharp sparkle of water against metal ringing nearly as loudly as the sharp and shrieking whistle of bullets, the quick and endless clacking of guns. Grey cumuli are run through with yellow-orange filaments as the sun dips beneath the horizon, transforming the treeline into a nest of glowing red eyes that sweep from left to right to left to right to left in that endless Cylon search. And towering above the wet green canopies are the rotating antennae of the Cylon SAM tower, the creaking of metal announcing that it is, in fact, quite ready to fire.

"Try to get it on its side." Sawyer mutters under her breath regarding Evan's last comms transmission. The tank she was elected to drive is sitting off-kilter in a vat of mud, so much so that one set of treads can't seem to get purchase. "Gods damn it!" Sawyer's boot shoots out to the side, delivering a kick to the metal hull that only seems to satisfy her long enough to realize now her /foot/ hurts too. She makes another swipe at the tickling trickle of blood that creeps down her temple, shooting a glance behind her to Tisiphone and Frankie. "If you two love birds are done making out back there, I'm open on ideas here…" Nuke falling from the sky, whut?

Bullets sting. They really do. Lunair closes her eyes, pained briefly as things whistle, shriek and tip over (TIP OVER NOISES). She looks u— whoa. Ignoring her gurgling breath, the nagging stomach pain, she resumes trying to hassle the Cylons on the ground and throwing up a quiet prayer that those AA things either get shot or spontaneously combust. Please. She doesn't want to end up nuked. She keeps the HMG singing as she can.

Samuel was knocked out for a little while from the bullets hitting him, but now he's waking up again, grimacing a bit to himself. "Not good…" And he moves to get the HMG firing again, at the Cylons on the ground,.

[TAC1] "Toast" Cidra says, "Flight, Toast. Reading nuke on DRADIS on intercept trajectory. Concentrate targeting on it as soon as it is within range."

[TAC1] "Lucky" Alessandra says, "Toast, Lucky. Roger on that. Will be keeping an eye on that bad boy."

Tisiphone was hoping for better luck. They're stuck. The Heavy Raider smashed to flaming bits wiped their top gunner off. And now, all two hundred and eighty pounds of panicked, crying, bleeding Frankie is between her and the cannoneer's seat. "Get off me. FRANKIE. Get. Off. Me." It's like all the terrible frathouse parties she never had a chance to attend. Her struggling and shoving devolves into an entire breath's worth of savage Sagittaran syllables, culminating in several knees to poor Frankie's, ah, gentleman's region. He finally rolls away — only to lurch into Sawyer, in her driver's seat, as Tisiphone climbs back toward her spot.

[TAC1] "Bubbles" Psyche says, "Toast, this is Bubbles — you want Queenie and me to move to intercept? I figure the less we wait for that bad boy to come to us, the better chance we have of getting it out of the way before it arms."

[TAC1] "Queenie" McQueen snaps off, "Toast, Queenie. I see that fat ugly bastard on the scope an' copy. C'mon Bubbles, time to be a hero."

[TAC1] Ashwood says, "Now I ain't a pilot, here, but how about a-a-a-ll you guys get the frak up to the godsdamned nuke?!" There's tension in Ashwood's voice — finally — as he jerks that APC around. "I'm making for the treeline, guys. Guns out. Let's see if we can't rip those Cylons out of their hideyholes."

Tank cannon phallus and impotent shell jokes aside, Trask's irritation at missing the mark is short-lived. "Yanno, just because we're the last remnants of a dwindling race is no excuse for continued genocide attempts to be so lacking in creativity. Nukes are so last season." That season being nuclear winter, but hey. "Even so, I'm not wanting to die from an exploding assembly line, either," is called back to Oberlin. The Intel officer is /never/ gonna live that one down.

"Shit. Shitshitshit." Oberlin's initial statement on the state of affairs is this simple word being repeated, over and over again. "Yeah," he says up towards Trask, checking the shell in the chamber /again/ for lack of a better task, he amends, "I'm just bothered by the lack of creativity, you know."

[TAC1] "Toast" Cidra ignores Ashwood. "Copy, Bubbles. Lucky, you and I with them. Let us get it."

Stavrian hasn't been the best shot since his shoulder got ripped up at the prison. He's still wearing bandages on it after a week and some, and the muscles all up and down his back shriek as the APC swerves and he jams his rifle butt up against his shoulder. "Covering. Take us in!"

"Frak!" shouts Frankie in that tinny, high-pitched yelp of panic. "Oh — oh shit, shit, shit shit shit shit — " Down the massive man goes in a massive pile, his hands shielding Those Precious Parts from bald-girl-kicking before ramming into the back of Sawyer's seat. "You frakking bitch!" he screams, thick face a mask of agony. "I'm gonna frakking die here and I gave you some frakking weed and I'm going to die with crushed frakking balls as the last thing I feel and shit shit shit shit shit!"

Corinna isn't one for banter. She's too busy trying to keep her gun and eyes trained on anything that has an intent on harming them. The gun is pointed out a (window-like orifice). She nods to Ashwood as he yells out the plan.

Evandreus isn't going anywhere, at this point, any further nudge forward of his tank apt to bring the great metal brute crushing into some other vehicle. When he squints upward through the tiny little window and spots the nuke coming down, he's still for a short moment before a calm hand rises to slide down the thick metal shutterslab on the inside of the window. "Maybe next time they'll send a herd of encephalitic elephants," he remarks. "I'd like to see that."

McQueen /totally/ looked up in his cockpit. Not even bothering to harass those tiny specks of centurion on the ground any further, he pulls hard up on the stick and brings his Viper into a sharp climb, pressing on the throttle and leading his section towards the angry streaking warhead descending from the sky.

In the APC goes, Ashwood revving the engine with aplomb before the massive machine trundles forward. In the back, civilians crouch low on the floor, flattening themselves against armored plating to give the soldiers room to shoot.

[TAC1] Ashwood says, "Just like a sports car. C'mon, girl! That's it!"

Shell loaded, Cilusia waits for Sitka to pull the trigger on the canon and take out that damn SAM. She's already waiting and ready to reload once the thing thunders to life, pushing her helmet back up over her eyes since it keeps sliding down.

[TAC1] "Lucky" Alessandra says, "Gotcha, Toast. On you and begining to align myself…crap, I will be sooooooo glad when these frakkers run out of those things."

"Maybe they could," send a herd of encephalitic elephants, "if, yanno, they didn't nuke 'em all," Trask quips.

[TAC1] Polaris says, "Toast, this is Berry!" How this pilot got that callsign is a story for another day. "Raiders closing fast on my six — weapons up! Thirty — thirty-five — frak, I can't count them all, my shit's pinging all over the place!"

Ashwood's APC rakes past the Cylons emplaced in the forest, their accelerated rounds pinging harmlessly off its hard shell before — muzzles flaring — the porcupine at last shows its quills. One red eye blinks off in the distance — and is immediately replaced by another. Yet as the firefight continues, blue-white tracers slashing past orange-yellow ones, the volume of lead spewing out of the Cylon position has lessend considerably. Either they're moving back — or they're changing guns.

The Vipers, meanwhile, find themselves in a mess not their making. A full wing of forty Raiders sets upon the outnumbered Colonial forces whose silver birds cut beautiful arcs across the night sky. And as the pilots aiming for the nuke cut upwards, heedless of the danger, they realize something else: the nuke itself has split into two componet missiles. A MIRV, from the looks of it — warheads flaring green as they plummet toward the ground. Don't let them get to 2,000 feet, guys, or the ballgame's over.

"Ugh." This is Sawyer's ineloquent response to getting body-checked by Frankie while she was midway trying to rock the tank forward and backward to see if she could gain any purchase. Instead, she has to deal with Laurel and Hardy back there, and her body gets shoved hard into the controls, making them both get jammed forward. "Frak me sideways with a chainsaw." She says with a pained expression, and a labored voice. Finally, she gets back on the comms. Defeat in her voice. "Convoy, Averies. I can't do it. I…I think we're sinking and something is crushed on top of us, I'm not sure if we can get out of the hatch…I'm…I'm sorry.." And with that, Sawyer plunks her little helmeted head down and her shoulders slump.

[TAC1] "Scoop" Sawyer says, "Convoy, Averies. I can't do it. I…I think we're sinking and something is crushed on top of us, I'm not sure if we can get out of the hatch…I'm…I'm sorry.."

"They could make new ones," Evan reasons, reasonably enough, voice bland and flat while his head spins with mental juggling tricks in the course of trying to decide whether the tank can stand up to a nuke. Soybean's voice over comms calls him out of the depths of his thinkmeats.

[TAC1] Ashwood says, "Ye-a-a-a-h! Now that's what I call hot off the presses. Nice shooting, boys!"

Lunair isn't terribly chatty, although she's quietly happy one Cylon goes down. She's relieved. A lifted eyebrow at Ashwood's commentary, and it's hard to stifle a faint smile even in light of the horrors taking place and that may take place. She takes a deep breath and hopes for the best as she keeps trying to pick ground cylons off.

"They could," Trask snarks, "but, again, that would require creativity." Hearing about the other tank's problems, he asks, "Anything we can do to help 'em out there, Bunny boy?"

"They should have just stuck to cloning hot chicks. Without behavior problems. Then everyone could have been happy." Oberlin observes, chiming in as he stands by.

"Come on, come /on/…" Stavrian hisses through his teeth just before he pulls the trigger. His shoulder jerks as the recoiling rifle smashes into it, bringing a hot sting to his eyes, but he's at least rewarded with the bullet going in the right spot. What he thinks is the right spot. Good enough. "Keep on 'em!" He calls to Ashwood, then turns back around to try and get another shot. His eyes narrow, partly because of the whipping wind, then he blinks.

Evandreus's brows draw together. "We could try to…" he opens up the window again. "I guess we could try to give them a shove. I've never tried shoving a tank with another tank before. But we've got traction and they have none. It -could- work."

Samuel growls a bit, shaking his head a little as he looks over at the Cylons. "Now won't you guys just… die?" he calls out towards those ground Cylons, turning his MG around a bit to focus the fire on one of them.

[TAC1] (from "Bunny" Evandreus) "It's okay, Soybean. We're going to see if we can give you a nudge, here," Bunny calls over. "Just hang tight."

Sitka's attention is split between the comms chatter, the ETA on that nuke, and the SAM tower he and Trask are trying (without much effect) to take out. He adjusts his sight as Cilusia finishes loading him up, and prepares to engage the firing lever again. "I want you to go help out Sawyer and the new girl," he asides to the woman. "Get down there, give them some suppressing fire, see if you can get them out. Do you think you can do that?" The question doesn't seem rhetorical.

Ashwood's APC rumbles forward in time with the reporter's triumphant cry; then, revving once again, it moves backwards, giving the men and women within another free shot. His handsome face is locked in a mask of concentration, blue eyes narrowed.

[TAC1] "Able Five Actual" Stavrian says, "Rocket-propelled grenades at one o'clock! On the right of the three forward ones, watch your asses."

[TAC1] "Queenie" McQueen growls, slightly, "Flight, Queenie. Taking fire. These dogs /love/ me. Listen, uh, we're only going to get one bloody shot at these things, so stay on target."

[TAC1] Polaris says, "Ack-ack coming in hot!" This from Berry, once again, her clipped voice shaking. "They have me! They have me!"

Corinna blinks as she looks inthe treeline, about to shout out when Stavrian does. "Yeah.. Not good.. I'm going for 'em!" She says, ready to let loose with her rifle.

[TAC1] "Shiv" Sitka says, "Bunny, hold for a moment on that. I'm sending Fasi over to help."

Having only seen two skinjob models, Bootstrap notes, "They failed on both counts. Shaker is not a hot chick, and the other one is an ice cold bitch." Prepping his shot, he replies to Evan, "Can we maneuver to their front and back-up?" Seeing how pushing from behind would result in the tank going upside-down.

[TAC1] "Lucky" Alessandra says, "I'll try, McQueen. Won't be easy but I'm going to do everything I can to stay on it."

"Shut the frak up and get back to frakking loading, Frankie, or you're dead for frakking sure!" Tisiphone shouts back at Frankie, as she swings the tank's cannon around, bloodied face against the gunner's viewport. It's no use — sinking in the mud as they are, there's no way to bring the cannon to bear on the AA emplacement. To Sawyer, an edge of panic creeping in, "Sweet merciless Eris, frak that, keep trying! I'm trying the hatch." She'll plink at the AA with her rifle if she has to — IF she can get the hatch open. It takes several battering attempts with her armoured shoulder — WHAM. WHAM. — before she gets the hatch open a crack, wreckage scraping against it. With a heavy grunt of effort, she starts heaving the hatch open further.

Clunk. Thunk. A little bit of escaping gunsmoke, the smell of powder filling the tank a little bit. Then a clang, and Sitka's loaded up to fire. "What? You mean get out there? Who's going to load this thing up then?" Cilusia yells out to Sitka over the rumble of the tank's engine and the gunfire from outside.

[TAC1] "Toast" Cidra says, "Flight, Toast. Took a direct hit. My systems are buggered. Trying to compensate. Focus on those nukes."

"I'll do it myself," Shiv calls back, teeth digging into his lower lip as he fights to keep the gun's sights steady. "Go!"

[TAC1] "Lucky" Alessandra says, "Roger, Toast. Try to stay on my ass if you can."

[TAC1] "Bubbles" Psyche says, "You got it, Toast. We're on 'em."

[TAC1] "Bunny" Evandreus says, "Shiv, Bunny. We should keep everyone inside the vehicles, at this point. If that thing comes down… well, if we're all closed in, at least there's a chance. We're not going to be able to outrun the blast in these tanks."

[TAC1] "Shiv" Sitka says, "If that thing comes down, Bunny, we're as good as dead, in or out of these things."

Those on the ground with a spare second to look up might see a magnificent sight: four streaking yellow sparks shooting up from the ground at nearly a ninety-degree angle, engines burning and straining while a stream of tracers sparkles around them — and into them. It's almost like a fireworks show — except that when those two green things go boom, the resulting explosion is going to be a lot crazier. And that SAM unit? A missile shoots up from the treeline, casting a dull red light onto the treetops before it snakes toward the hapless Berry — one of the Vipers directly above the clearing. The fighter evaporates above the battlefield, showering it with debris that clatters onto the tanks and APCs in the area. And though it's raining, the ground itself by Sawyer's tank is now on fire — lit oil only spread by the water pouring from the sky.

[TAC1] (from Polaris) I'm — I can't shake — " Berry's voice crackles out into a haze of static. Ever wondered what an explosion sounded like from the inside? There's your answer.

"I like the stone cold bitches. Call it a flaw." Oberlin quips. "Fire control, take that A-A /down/!" Well, at least he's back on topic.

[TAC1] (from "Bootstrap" Trask) "Pray tell, dear Shiv," Trask drily pipes in, "how do you expect to take the frakking thing down if your loader isn't loading your ammo."

[TAC1] Oberlin says, "Team, focus fire on that AA battery, big guns."

Samuel glances up to the sky for a few moments, noticing the explosion up there. "Frak…" he mutters, ducking down a bit, while making sure his MG is still pointing where it's supposed to.

"I'm just getting us caught FURTHER!" Sawyer grits her teeth against her own despair, the mounting headache and the ache in her chest all adding up. "We didn't have time to stop by the bookstore and pick up a copy of 'Tanks For Dummies', I…shit." Sawyer slams her hand down. "Don't send anyone else! You can't risk another tank getting bogged!" Fear alone makes her try again, a sob tripping on her ribcage and tumbling out her mouth as she yanks this gear, and presses that pedal and PRAYS.

[TAC1] Samuel says, "Hate to say it, sirs. But less talk and more action would be appreciated about now. It's only a suggestion, though."

[TAC1] "Shiv" Sitka grunts over the radio, "That's how. Got any more sass for me, Kal?"

[TAC1] "Scoop" Sawyer says, "Don't send anyone else! You can't risk another tank getting bogged!"

[TAC1] "Money Shot" Tisiphone says, "A little-" WHAM. Scra-a-ape. Tisiphone's voice, thin with exertion as she tries to shove the hatch further open. "-less mouthing and more frakking help over here-" WHAM. WHAM. "-would be great!"

[TAC1] "Bootstrap" Trask doesn't miss a beat. "Always, Abe. Always." For now, though, he addresses the other tank, "We're gonna try to tip your tea kettle back over your ass, Sawyer."

McQueen either isn't quite as adept at atmospheric flight as he'd like, or those Raiders are just /that/ good. Maybe a little of both. His deft bobbing and weaving results in a twofold failure. Both missing the warhead completely and taking a couple salvos from a pair of pursuing Cylon Raiders. Today isn't a good day.

And there's one for the good guys. A pair of tank shells — elevated just so — takes off the top of that DRADIS assembly and Berry's death is avenged. The tower transforms into a veritable beacon above the trees, consumed by a flame that burns and burns and burns — lighting the battlefield in the process. And the light it provides shows that Stavrian was in fact not lying: for indeed, a magnificent rocket-propelled grenade in the hands of the Centurion on the right now streaks toward Sawyer's fallen tank, the easiest of easy targets.

[TAC1] "Queenie" McQueen says, "Gettin' a little /hot/ here, don't you think? Get off my arse, you dogs, or when I'm done with this thing I'm going to land in that basestar's guts and rip you limb from limb."

Cidra's Viper took Cylon fire directly to its figurative face, so she's not flying it so pretty just now. But targeting systems weren't among the parts that Raider hit shredded, thankfully. She keeps something resembling formation with Alessandra as they converge on the weapons of mass destruction. She manages to aim and fire her guns at the incoming nuke. And actually manages to hit something.

To Oberlin and that man's comment about digging the ice cold bitches, Trask comments, "That actually explains a few things."

The Viper Alessandra's piloting veers off a bit, the speed she's flying in pretty much balls-to-the-walls despite the fact that Cidra's a bit gimpy due to damage. Normally she'd slow down for her wingman but there's no time for that. The first of the two newly-dropped payloads is targeted and shot at, her expression tight. Grim. People's lives on the ground depend on their accuracy.

Cora manages a shot at one of the remaining centurions, and to avoid their return fire as she dodges that spreading fire on the ground around the tank. Tisiphone's efforts with the hatch draw her attention and she starts to head that way to help shove raider-wreckage out of the way, but if another tank is inbound… she starts to step away, around those flames, and then spots that in-bound grenade and gives up slogging through the mud to dive, shouting a warning into the comms in the process.

"Okay. Ow," mutters Bubbles, dinged by fired from the pursuing bandits. She stays on target, however, hyper-focused on that second nuke, practically on a collision course, refusing to peel off until the last possible second. Every chance at a shot is one she can't afford to pass up.

Evandreus edges the third tank backward, checking the video feed and window frantically for a good angle as it shifts about in the relatively tiny space it has to maneuver, trying to get the tank at a good angle to shovel the back right corner of the thing up against the tank wedged in the mire. He doesn't gun it, yet, though. "Is there anyone out there?" he asks. He'd been told to wait, after all.

[TAC1] Cora says, "Grenade inbound, tank 2!"

[TAC1] "Toast" Cidra says, "Evasive maneuvers, Queenie. Those toasters seem attached to you. One rad alarm still going. Let us blow that last nuke."

The Vipers are in full view, now, as one nuke comes crashing down, green engine sputtering wildly before cutting out entirely. Down it goes — but it's harmless, now. But what certainly isn't harmless is the gigantic bone-white ship now humming toward the clearing, long shadows flickering in the light from the shattered AA unit. And from the basestar there now come the silhouettes of not one but twelve Heavy Raiders, all of them doubtlessly loaded to the brim with Centurions. Just in case the nukes fall.

[TAC1] Ashwood says, "Sw-e-e-e-e-t Lords of Olympus, what is that?"

Stavrian was totally not lying. And he tried his damndest to shoot the thing, but his bullet pings off the armor uselessly. "Shit!" He slams the rifle butt against the section of inner wall and lifts it again, using his own weight against the barrel to try and steady it for a shot.

[TAC1] "Bubbles" Psyche can't let up on the banter — even on the edge of doom, perhaps particularly on the edge of doom. "Queenie, you're so sexy when you're making impotent threats."

"Let's find out," Trask tells Bunny while waiting for Oberlin to reload.

[TAC1] "Bootstrap" Trask says, "Anyone around Tank 2 /not/ wanting to get crushed by the cavalry best get outta the way."

Lunair watches the world spin by. So much banter. So much information all at once. SHe's a quiet decoration atop the tank, trying to ping groundbound Cylons. As if worrying about the impending nukes would do much for her.

Oberlin continues, silently, the one-armed man struggling with the shell as he stuffs it into the chamber.

Corinna fires off at the offending Centurians with the RPG's and misses as well, She changes the setting on her rifle and tries again.

Tank two? Wait. Sawyer's head pops up. She's in tank two. "Out out out out…" With a flail of arms and legs, Sawyer's pinwheeling herself out of the seat, ignoring the aches and pains that echo through her body. "Out out out OUT OUT OUT OUT." That's the most intelligible thing she can manage as she comes up behind Tisiphone and her efforts to get the hatch open. Hopefully Frankie will get the idea, too.

[TAC1] "Shiv" Sitka says, "Frak's sake, Kal, you are not ramming that godsdamned tank. Keep your eyes on the sky."

[TAC1] "Bootstrap" Trask blithely responds, "You're right, Abe. /I'm/ not the one driving. I'm also not sending my loader out into the fray." Although, at this rate, chucking Oberlin outside might be a good idea.

Frankie does in fact get the idea, moving his ponderous frame as quickly as he can — which isn't very quickly at all. "Did she say grenade?" the man half-shouts, half-whines. "Oh, shit!"

Samuel keeps his fire focused on that same Cylon now, growling to himself. Glancing around, he shakes his head a bit while he listens to the comms. "Remind me to hope they never put pilots down on the ground again…" he mutters to himself, shaking his head a bit.

[TAC1] "Queenie" McQueen chuckles initially, "Nothin' about this is impot — Shiiitee" His Wireless signal starts to crackle as his Viper takes hit after hit after hit after hit. "I hope — " " —using as " — "Decoy! Shot to Hell and back here!"

Tisiphone still isn't getting her luck. All that effort to heave flaming wreckage out of the way so she can push up to add some sort of contributing fire against the AA — only to find it blasted away, and an RPG hurtling toward their tank. "Oh, frak, get down-" is the last Sawyer hears from Tisiphone before the hatch is dropped behind her and she throws herself off the far side of the tank into the fire and mud. At least there's a tank between her and the explosion, now. How bad could it be?

It's four torn-up Vipers that win the day against the nuke — and at what cost, for they've left themselves open to withering fire from the four Raiders on their tail. But at the failure of extreme measures, simpler ones will be sufficient. Those dozen Heavy Raiders now converge on the clearing, taking their sweet and happy time while the Cylons on the ground make sure to keep everybody pinned. This time, it seems, the machines are taking prisoners — and those who assaulted Rutger Tower know what Cylons do to prisoners…

[TAC1] "Lucky" Alessandra says, "Mother frakkers. What the…You're alright, Queenie?"

Fantastic eyes, Team APC: because without you, that Cylon likely would have had plenty of time to line up its shot with more precision. But even as that grenade streaks out from its launcher, the Centurion is pushed back by bullet after bullet, heavy slugs shorting out its body right as the RPG leaves the tube. The thing explodes in the air three feet above Tisiphone and Cora, sending shrapnel flying every which way — mostly into the fire now surrounding the ground around the central tank. The oil has swept across the battlefield, now, carried through grooves cut into the ground by whirling treads and pounding feet, until the mud-splattered hellscape is alive with flame. And still the Cylons shoot, two more of the ten — now nine — on the ground moving forward to take their partner's place, while the roar of the basestar's repulsors nearly deafens the unfortunates down below.

[TAC1] "Toast" Cidra says, "Flight, good shooting. Nuke down. Lucky, Toast. You have got a Raider on your tail. My systems are still mussed. Have to try and correct. I shall cover you as soon as I can, but evasive in the meantime. Try and shake them."

[TAC1] Oberlin says, "Thanks for that, Major, but I see Heavy Raiders inbound." Heh. "This might be a slow death instead of a fast one unless you can take them and the basestar."

[TAC1] "Lucky" Alessandra says, "Toast, thanks for the heads up. Will be trying to take the bastard out."

[TAC1] "Bubbles" Psyche says, "Shit. Hang tight, Queenie-baby. I've got your ass."

[TAC1] "Queenie" McQueen transmits, still-choppy, "Got" — "Still holding," — "repair," — "Magic out of my arse."

[TAC1] Ashwood says, "I sure hope this thing is fireproof. Come on, guys! Let's make them pay for this shit!"

"Forget it," Sitka mutters to Cilusia, as he squints into his viewport. "We've got heavy raiders inbound. Just.. just load me up." The frustration in his voice is palpable, and he takes a moment to lean back and loosen the straps on his helmet.

[TAC1] "Queenie" McQueen blares more static, "…Know," …"seven's" … "unlucky number!"

"/Thank/ you frakking /Ares/," Stavrian spits as the hail of bullets rips through that grenade launcher. "Ashwood, can you get closer to the ones out of that frakkin tank?"

Allie brings her fighter about, trying to get good enough position to get the Raider that Cidra mentioned lined up via targeting system. "Gods…" she whispers in a single-worded prayer before she shoots, her eyes closing in a quick blink.

[TAC1] "Shiv" Sitka says, "Apostolos, Sawyer, Nikephoros, what's your status? Are you hit? Can you get to cover?"

Cora lands in mud and flame and flaming mud and rolls away from the last two, only to get clipped in the chest, the bullet failing to penetrate armor but apparently knocking the wind out of her just as that grenade explodes overhead, drowning out any pained protests. The combined blows seem to stun her, and for a moment she stays on the ground, unmoving.

Samuel frowns a little, firing at all the Cylons he can see on the ground now, growling a little bit in the process.

Corinna cheers as her Centurion is taken out. She now finds more targets.

Well, that was….rude. Sawyer barely has time to blink, much less voice her disapproval at having a hatch clanked shut in her face before the concussion of the gernade and the shrapnel rains down on them. At least the crashed Raider on top of them provides extra armor! Still, the woman cringes down, curling towards Frankie. "This has /got/ to get better." Right? Right? Back up and out and continue Operation GTFO.

The fact that Oberlin is struggling means that the reloading is taking longer than it should. This sets off one of Trask's internal alarms. In a heartbeat, the ECO maneuvers to check the assembly line. "Oh, for frak's sake," Kal with a 'K' exclaims with a dramatic rolling of his eyes, "I swear, the 'C' in 'Cal' must stand for crap at loading frakking ammo." Deftly, the shell is removed, what needs to be cleaned cleaned, and the ordnance reloaded. Admittedly, deftly still takes some time.

Lunair is still pelting the Cylons with bullets. She frowns, "Bit low on Machine Gun ammo…" She notes with some worry. She just shakes her head, listening and firing. She'll figure something out once her HMG is done for.

The momentary hesitation between Sitka ordering her to get our and the sounds of the com chatter - you know all that stuff about grenades and it not being such a great idea to get out there and help, not wanting to bog another tank down and all that stuff - keeps Cilusia sort of half in-half out of her tiny little seat there in the loader's spot. She stares at Sitka, then hits the inside of the tank with a closed fist. "Godsdamn it!" she gripes and starts toward the interior hatch.

Operation GTFO is complicated by the fact that the Cylons are doing their best to keep everybody in the clearing, dead or alive. With so many civilians loaded into the APCs, what's a few dead soldiers here and there? Because their organs are just as valuable if harvested quickly, right?

[TAC1] "Scoop" Sawyer says, "Shiv…Averies. Intact. I think we need to abandon ship. Money Shot and Cora are on the outside. Permission to …come aboard?"

[TAC1] Ashwood says, "Yeah, dude, got it! APC moving!"

The sound of shrapnel ripping into wet earth sounds an awful lot like shrapnel ripping into flesh — or at least it seems that way to Tisiphone. An eternity of a heartbeat crawls past before she dares to move and finds herself relatively unscathed. Scrambling up through the flaming mud, she casts about — THERE. Toward Cora she goes, struggling to get the other woman up to her feet. "C'mon, move Move MOVE-!" she shouts, hauling her toward the troop transports. "Gotta get to the frakking APCs!" Thank the Lords for adrenaline — it keeps them moving.

"Oh, I'm /so/ sorry." Oberlin's voice is strained after he calls into the Wireless, "You /do/ know they don't provide manuals on how to do this without a busted arm, let alone with one, right?" He goes to the ammo store again and continues to soldier on. Or tries to.

[TAC1] "Shiv" Sitka says, "Give us a second to maneuver around. We'll, uh, we'll try to cover you but you need to stay low and wait for the HMG fire."

[TAC1] "Money Shot" Tisiphone says, "Shiv, this is- Money Shot. Got- the Lieutenant." Splash. Crackling flames. Echoing explosions. She's probably shouting too loud, half-deafened by the RPG. "Heading for APCs!""

Cora takes a moment, but when Tisiphone starts grabbing at her she shakes herself with a grimace and a pained cough and scrambles to her feet, stumble-running with the pilot towards those APCs.

Stavrian aims back out the window, trying to lay down some cover to the fleeing. His shoulder bashes the side of the APC as Ashwood turns the vehicle to head for the exposed little ants running around out there.

Ashwood executes a rapid three-point turn, swinging the lumbering APC around to meet Cora, Tisiphone, and the others on the ground. Down into a puddle of mud he goes, flame engulfing his left tread — extinguished by the rain even as the vehicle picks up speed. Back the armored vehicle goes, its back door opening while its front half is raked by bullets. And above it those hulking silver heavies fly closer — their payload already dropping from an open hatch.

The momentary hesitation between Sitka ordering her to get our and the sounds of the com chatter - you know all that stuff about grenades and it not being such a great idea to get out there and help, not wanting to bog another tank down and all that stuff - keeps Cilusia sort of half in-half out of her tiny little seat there in the loader's spot. She stares at Sitka, and loads up the cannon once more without trouble. "I wasn't going to go out there anyway…." she grumbles.

There's a grumbled curse from Shiv as his shot with the tank's main gun goes wide, and he drops back in his seat, turning to regard Cilusia for a moment or three. "I'll keep that in mind, next time it's your ass hanging out a tank under enemy fire, Fasi." Glancing away, he repositions himself at the viewport once more. "Load me up. We've still got incoming."

The noose is closing — slowly but surely, the Cylons advance, their lead element moving out of the treeline while to the north and south mass more and more Centurions, legs smashing into ankle-deep mud, guns at the ready. The sky is full of Raiders and Vipers both, though there's many more of the former than the latter, and above it all looms that still-humming basestar flinging out more machines while the ground beneath it flickers with still-unquenched fires.

[TAC1] (from "Bootstrap" Trask) There are traces of exertion and irritation in Trask's voice when he relays, "Convoy, Flight: Bootstrap. Lost my loader. Pulling double-duty, so I'm gonna be slow in shooting my load." That's right. Oberlin has been fired. Also, he totally cracked a wanking reference.

[TAC1] "Shiv" Sitka says, "Money Shot, Shiv. I copy. Let me know when you're both in. Where's Sawyer?"

Yeah, because /this/ was better. Sawyer would regret the decision to leave the safe (by comparison) womb of the tank, had she the split second to. The moment slithers out of the hatch, she has to cringe down close to it as a hail of bullets from not one but three different sources eat up the metal around her faster than a hungry termite party on a 2x4. The tink tink tink sound would be pleasant, like hail on a tin roof, were it not death trying to hammer it's way into her fleshy self. Like a perverted slip and slide, Sawyer's butt plants in the mud caked hull of the tank and she sliiiiiiiiiiiides down the side, hoping Frankie is close on her heels but not brave enough to look.

Not that the Colonials aren't putting up a fight. The fire from the APC catches one of the advancing Cylons by surprise, knocking it out of commission, while Sitka's massive cannon shoots a shell that, though it bursts harmlessly beside one of the heavies, reminds those on the ground that the battle isn't lost yet —

Especially once that heavy disintegrates in a flash as two Raptors materialize around it, the combined shockwave from their precisely-timed jumps catching the ship just so. And around the clearing, more and more Colonial ships appear in the sky while from the skies above come missiles galore — ripping into the basestar's pristine frame, wrenching apart welded seams, turning white to a furious bloody red —

[TAC1] "Gravel" Pewter says, "Y'all lookin' for a hand?" rumbles an unfamiliar voice over the coms. "Damn, y'alls, this big mammy sure can sing. All Vipers, back to the barn!"

[TAC1] Oberlin says, "Gods, I don't know who that is, but those look like friendly Raptors to me. Everybody out for immediate evac! Cover our LZ!"

"Go, go!" Stavrian shouts at Ashwood. "Pull out in front of them, see if you can take some of that fire on this thing instead of them." He keeps his rifle muzzle trained on the thing he's been shooting at, ignoring the bullets that make a terrifying whine as they ricochet off the side of the APC. And then Oberlin's transmission about something at the LZ and he blinks. Friendlies? You're shitting him.

[TAC1] "Bubbles" Psyche sounds frantic. "SHIT! TOAST! QUEENIE!"

[TAC1] (from "Queenie" McQueen) ..More static…"About"…"SHITE"…"NOW you show up and…"Fat man..I'M HIT!"

Corinna finds plenty of targets and keeps shooting. A smile reaches her face upon hearing that help is definitely on the way.

[TAC1] Ashwood says, "I'm not asking any questions. Everybody out! Marty!"

"Put it on my bill." Oberlin sighs up wearily at Trask as he gets his pistol ready and piles out towards the hatch, approaching the LZ. "Frak this planet and its hospitality and its…C'mon. Let's go. Move out."

Cidra's Viper takes yet more Cylon fire directly to the face. Her plane goes into a tailspin. Down, down, down…desperately, she manages to get it together enough to level off and avoid cratering. The thing sputters, gimped and beaten, back into a proper altitude. But she doesn't crash. There's that, at least.

And, just like that, McQueen, fumbling with his controls, his shot-up bird wobbles in air and manages to somehow still hold together. Some frakking how. Having baited the Raiders enough, he barely holds the controls steady as he starts proceeding on a vector towards Cerberus, just as more rounds take a bite out of his Viper. He doesn't respond on comms, but there's someone still flying this thing. Somehow.

[TAC1] "Toast" Cidra says, "Flight, Toast. I must RTB. My plane is shot to hades and back, can barely manage the controls."

Stavrian pulls his rifle out of the shooting window as Oberlin and Ashwood shout. His shoulder smashes into a hapless civilian behind him and he nearly trips with the movement of the APC. "Heard the Lieutenant, let's go." He pushes his way to the back of the APC to help lay down some cover as this train of big TARGETS exits the vehicle.

As the order's given to move out, Sitka shoves the viewport's pivoted sight away from him and fumbles for his rifle. Its strap is slung across his shoulder as he reaches for the bar above his head, steadying himself as their driver brings the vehicle to a halt. "I'll go first," he tells Cilusia, hauling himself up and out. "Cover me."

Swiftly come the Raptors from the sky, their RCS points firing as the first of those brave rescue pilots swoop down — but the ship doesn't make it, blasted by the concerted effort of a heavy raider now putting its main cannon to use. The offending raider is punished almost immediately by a quartet of Vipers streaking across the battlefield, pierced in four places before plunging into the forest. The second Raptor has more luck — and as bullets from the Cylons to the north slam into her port wing, her starboard hatch opens as she hovers just a foot off the ground. Civilians from one of the APCs have already started piling aboard, ten of them cramming inside before the ship lifts off — and winks out after a high-pitched whine from her FTL. Emboldened, two more make their move, slotting in under heavy fire as above them the crumbling basestar fires those majestic missiles up to wherever Cerberus may be.

Samuel frowns as the MG clicks empty after that last attack, readying his rifle now. Preparing to get off the tank, he grimaces a bit. "I've got a bad feeling now…" he mutters, dropping off it.

With Cora able to move on her own, Tisiphone shoves her sidearm away and pulls her rifle out, instead. As they near the APC, she turns around, backing the rest of the way toward it as she sweeps a hectic, adrenaline-bright stare back toward her — their — tank. Reporter. Reporter. Where is our- THERE. "Sawyer!" she shouts, trying to raise her voice over the din. It probably doesn't work, but she tries anyway. "This way!" Rifle up, she starts laying down covering fire of her own.

[TAC1] "Toast" Cidra says, "Toast. I am hit! Going down. Must eject…!"

[TAC1] "Money Shot" Tisiphone says, "Money Shot here!" Tisiphone's still shouting too loudly. "I see Sawyer, she's heading for the APCs!"

"Alright," Cilusia replies with a firm nod. Tightening that strap up, and grabbing her rifle, she gets up through the hatch after Sitka. She doesn't have much time to do anything about anything out there though, trying to get her bearings on where and who is firing, as she hangs her head and torso out of the hatch.

Cora finds her feet as they're almost immediately jumping back out of the APC, ears still ringing as she calls a too-loud, "Thanks!" to Tisiphone just beside her. She follows the shouting to Sawyer, and takes aim at one of the nearby centurions, joining the others in providing covering fire.

Cidra's Viper does not make it very far. No sooner has she managed to get the thing back on an upward trajectory than…it's hit again. And banged up as that ship is, there's no recovering from the tailspin this time. It's engines are smoking, plane actually beginning to consume itself with fire as it hurtles toward the ground. Those looking would see the ejection seat pop successfully, and the flurry of a white parachute as Toast goes down. At a slower speed than that Viper she grabbed from the air base, lucky for her. The plane itself smashes to fiery smithereens on the earth of Leonis.

They might as well call it Raiderfall — and it's all courtesy of Bubbles, who downs still another Cylon fighter with a hit straight into its left wing. The men and women getting out of the tanks are pelted with debris, chunks of exploding metal slashing into their faces, cutting into ragged clothes. Frankie, too, is hit — having just gotten out of that tank, he has nowhere to go when the remnants of a Cylon nacelle smashes his neck at a truly absurd velocity. The man lets out a gurgle before his head dips limply to his side, blood spurting from his neck.

"I'm sorry, sir," Trask deadpans to Oberlin in a snooty waiter accent, "but your credit has been denied." Ordered to evacuate, the finally loaded ordnance never gets put to use. C'est la vie. Up the ladder, out the hatch, and somehow down the side and to the ground doth the ECO and his assault rifle go.

[TAC1] "Bubbles" Psyche curses. "Gods-speed, Toast, sir. Lucky, Queenie, recommending you two GTFO — I've got this last one."

Those two other Raptors depart as the Centurions advance, one of them wobbling slowly in the air as Cylon fire smashes into her engine — but their jump, too, is completed. Vipers and Raiders dance their deadly dance while three more Raptors come down to land, remaining still for ten brutally long seconds while civilians pack in haste. Some of them don't make it — cut down by flanking fire from the east, set alight by fiery pits still burning in the rain — but those who do find themselves whisked away to safety. And now it's just the soldiers on the ground — who must needs make a mad dash for the last trio of Raptors swooping in to the LZ while the basestar's mammoth frame begins to crumble under the weight of Cerberus' withering fire…

Sawyer starts scrambling towards Tisiphone, her progress difficult in mud that threatens to suck the boots right off her feet, "FRANKIE?!" Her progress halts abruptly and she swivels back towards the tank, ready to slog back for the man, ignoring Tisiphone's directions until she can find the big man.

Sitka isn't too graceful about climbing out of the tank, but he gets the job done. The minute his boots hit the ground, he drops onto a knee, thumbs off the safety on his rifle and takes careful aim through the tangle of friendlies moving for the raptors. As he tries to shuffle back for cover behind the tank, a few rounds are winged his way, and slice through his armour like it was butter; blood spatters across his cheek and gun. With a soft grunt that's half pain, half irritation, he takes aim again and fires.

Samuel gets hit straight to the front, and stumbles back a bit, before falling over. He's still trying to shoot at the same Centurion, though, even when down on his back and bleeding quite a bit.

"Go, /go/!" Stavrian shouts over his shoulder at the 20 civilians. He's walking almost backwards himself, as quickly as he can while trying to suppress the cylons bearing down on the retreating Colonials. The noise of bullets is nearly defeaning, the sound filtering through a fuzzy clog in both his ears.

Lunair scrambles off the tank. She winces as her chest is hit /again/ and coughs. Stupid lungs. She scowls and takes another potshot at a passing Cylon to provide cover for the civilians. She starts moving and offers a hand to pull Samuel up. "C'mon," She growls softly.

[TAC1] "Money Shot" Tisiphone says, "Sawyer, come on! He's gone!"

Corinna makes her way out of the APC, firing at targets while the civilians get air-lifted. Her right arm gets grazed by a round and she growls.. "Frak!" She looks down at the wound and shrugs it off. She'll live,for the time being. She finds more metal targets to keep firing at.

Tisiphone is half-turned to start moving toward the landing Raptors when she sees Sawyer hesitate and turn back. She's caught there a second, wild-eyed, before she stands her ground and adjusts her line of fire to keep Sawyer covered.

Cora backs up with the others, offering just barely enough cover, it seems, to let load after load of civilians make it into the raptors. She too notices Sawyer turning the wrong way, and yells into the wireless along with Tisiphone even as she fires off a few more rounds.

[TAC1] Cora says, "Sawyer we're leaving! Get over here!"

It's a pale-faced Ashwood who emerges from the APC, blue eyes wild, shirt somehow torn to expose those rippling muscles — and an even paler Ashwood who leaps for Frankie beside that burning tank, a strangled cry caught in his throat. "This wasn't how it — " he whispers, feet slogging through the mud as he closes the eyes of his dead friend's body. "Dude, I'm so sorry — so — MARTY!" And leaping over his dead friend he sprints back toward his APC, beside which left track he can now see the crumpled frame of his fiancee. Up into his arms she's taken, his breath failing him as bullets soar by — shielding her with his body while he runs and runs and runs —

"Come on, come on, almost there!" Cilusia yelps out to Sitka. She's sliding down the tank right behind him, leaving her backside all smeared with mud and whatever else the treads had been kicking up. There's not much time to fire before she starts slogging through the muddy clearing toward Sitka and the Raptors, aiming at the first Cylon she sees and firing.

[TAC1] (from "Bootstrap" Trask) Now that he's no longer tasked with keeping Oberlin from nearly blowing up the tank, and subsequently both loading and firing the vehicle's cannon, Trask can catch-up on other matters. "Toast, Bootstrap. Did you get an S&R or should we be expecting you dropping by for a visit?"

Sawyer stumbles forward a few more steps, then stumbles backwards, back towards the pleading voices. She plops down on her ass in the mud and for a second it's as if she plans to stay there. Giving up. Still something makes her twist, planting her hands in the muck and the mire and sinking her fingers into the moist, churned earth to haul herself back towards her feet. It's more like a dazed stumble after Tisiphone and Cora, but at least she's coming.

Lumbering out with his arm hanging limp, his pistol drawn, Oberlin scrambles outside the tank, giving it one brief forlorn look. He's going to miss this thing.

[TAC1] "Toast" Cidra says, "Bootstrap? Argh. … Raptors are presently preoccupied. I…I am trying to see if my transponder is intact. Came down in a clearing. Lost my sense of proximity to the LZ in the fall."

"Go, go, I'm covering you," Shiv calls out to Cilusia, rolling back to his feet and advancing hot on the deckie's heels once he's taken his shots. Spotting Sawyer struggling back to her own feet, not too far off, he veers away and reaches for her arm— fully intending to haul her along with him, if necessary. Never mind the stray round that goes pinging off his chest and shredding kevlar on its way by.

[TAC1] "Bubbles" Psyche crows. "Woo-HOO DIE you — !!!" *garbled* *SCREECH* "FRAK I'm hi — " *crackle* *BZZT*

Bullets wiz by but not nearby Trask. If he can keep it that way, all the better. Seeing how he got off a headshot at one of the Centurions, odds are he's now on their radar. For the nonce, he continues to cover the herd of humans, whilst making his own way to the LZ.

[TAC1] (from "Bootstrap" Trask) That wasn't something Trask wanted to hear. "Talk me through it, Toast. I'm comin' for you."

The Centurions close with single-minded purpose, if indeed they can be said to have minds. Gunfire cuts down several members of the team — but none harder than Ashwood, who takes a pair of massive hits to his chest and neck before crumpling, breath coming hard and fast as glassy eyes stare at the pilots moving past — "Help her," he gasps, blue eyes widening as above him the basestar begins its final voyage down to the surface, riddled with holes from Cerberus' guns — and what an inferno that will be when it hits.

Samuel fires off his shots, then gets hit just as he reaches out for the offered hand, but falls back as more bullets violates his body. Grimacing a bit as he looks up to the sky. "I'm sorry…" he mutters, trying to focus his attention on something.

Sawyer's feet are heavy, her progress slow, and then an arm is clapping on her arm and the world suddenly gets…lighter. "I drove a tank." She says to Sitka, her voice a million miles away. But she's moving faster now, a fire lit under her ass, as the saying goes.

"Frak that! You're hurt! You go first!" Cilusia calls out to Sitka, busy retrieving Sawyer. She grips the rifle tight and backs up along with him and her, keeping turned toward the Cylons since she's a lot less injured.

Lunair winces as Samuel is hit, but she doesn't seem to have much luck either. Lunair hisses in pain as the side of her head is clipped. So much for growing hair ever. "Don't be. C'mon," She reaches down to help pull him up and keep moving. She winces as Ashwood goes down. Poor fellow. It's tragic to see those going down - much as the pain settles literally and metaphorically in her heart, she's got to save those who can be and help drag her fellow along. "Move," She'll drag Samuel if she has to which must be a comical sight to see a 5'4" marine lugging around a larger fellow. "Gentlemen first and all that…" Mutter.

Stavrian feels a bullet scrape his leg, nearly causing him to lose his balance. His ankle threatens to give out but a quick stumble rights him again and he keeps sprinting. "Corporal!" He calls out as he gets closer to Samuel…just as something wet spatters on his face and neck. Rain? Motor oil? No, those were bits of Ashwood.

[TAC1] "Toast" Cidra's is audibly pained, but she can at least still answer. "I ended up north of the landing zone, I do think. In a clearing in the trees."

Firing rounds indiscriminately with his pistol at anything shiny and metal, Oberlin advances on the general position of the Raptors. "Come on. Move move move!" He registers Ashwood's position and pretty much anyone else he can see dropping, scanning to those still moving. Stopping on Stavrian, he bellows, "Doc! Can you move?" Hearing the transmission, he stops, wheeling to spy Trask. "You got her?"

Corinna fires off more shots as she turns and looks. "C'mon, people. Hobble, gimp, hop, whatever you need to do to move, do it!" She fires off more shots, trying to corral the wounded into the Raptor, waiting to get in with the last.

Sitka's got Sawyer by the arm, and there's nobody left behind them that's still alive. Tisiphone starts a proper retreat, rifle-muzzle sweeping around the battlefield in twitchy arcs. She stumble-skids through the muck, coming up near the dying Ashwood, his fiancee still held in his arms. She snaps a look either way before staring down at him. "Long as she makes it, you're good, huh?" A conversation a long time ago in an embassy far, far away. She stoops, starts dragging Marty out of the reporter's arms.

Heading towards the vague coordinates, Trask calls out to Oberlin, "Not yet, an' I'm not leavin' without 'er." Run, Bootstrap, run!

[TAC1] "Shiv" Sitka says, "Toast, this is Shiv, I'll be along to help Bootstrap as soon as we've *grunts* got these civilians loaded. Do we have any other raptors inbound?"

[TAC1] "Bootstrap" Trask's breathing is much heavier because he's now sprinting. "En route, Toast. We'll get'cha out before you burn."

"I'm good, sir!" Stavrian shouts back to Oberlin. He's trying to get Samuel to stop bleeding like a stuck pig. While Lunair is pulling him, which is a feat but nothing a field medic isn't used to having to deal with.

Sitka releases Sawyer once they're a few feet from the raptor's lowered hatch, briefly checks the blood seeping through his armour, then turns and moves off again in Trask's rough direction. It clearly ain't bad enough to keep him off his feet.

"Tell my parents…" Samuel begins as he's helped to his feet, stumbling onwards rather badly. "I was wrong…" He looks quite out of it too now, just blinking at the others as he stumbles along with them. "Tired…"

"Gun — " rasps Ashwood, blood dripping from his lips. "It — gun — emp — " The last syllable dies on his throat as his eyes lose focus, mouth opening slightly as the reporter breaths his last. A smile.

Cora retreats towards the choppers, walking backwards to help continue with the cover, especially given the growing number of wounded and out of commission. As Ashwood nearly explodes under that hail of bullets and Tisiphone grabs up his girl, she shifts the rifle so she can try to reach out a hand and help drag the civilian (Marty, not the obviously-dead one) to safety.

Sawyer doesn't have an heroics left in her, and damned it all if she didn't forget her guns in the bogged down tank. She merely flicks a ghost of a smile towards the Captain for his aid, then ducks into a Raptor to help others load themselves on.

[TAC1] "Bubbles" Psyche's com screeches and buzzes. "Fli — " *bzzt* " — can't barely *SCREEE* this bird. Damage — " *crackle* "RTB. Repeat — "

"Thanks. Thanks," Tisiphone pants, bobbing a mute and breathless nod at Cora as she's helped with the unconscious woman. They make (somewhat) speedier process through the muck until the Raptor's within reach. As soon as Marty's hauled aboard by those inside, she's reshouldering her rifle, trying to provide covering fire for Boots and Shiv as they leg it toward the downed CAG.

[TAC1] "Toast" Cidra says, "Copy, Boots." Cidra sounds more than a little vague over the comm. "Shiv? That you. I said we would be back. Sorry we are late. I think I might have broken one of those Vipers we were trying to retrieve for you. So sorry…Raptors are inbound, aye, but most occupied with extraction."

"We got you, man," Stavrian tells Samuel. Stumbling along, his hands covered in blood. Someone at health risk assessment would shit themselves at this, but who's got time for gloves? He drops half his roll of gauze as he gets bumped by the moving crowd, yanking more out of bag and trying to see the worst of Lunair's injuries as they keep shuffling.

Following Sawyer, Cilusia's the next one to climb up into the Raptor. Standing out the hatch a little, she helps pull people up and in with Sawyer. "Come on, come on. Get in and get home!" she calls out.

[TAC1] "Shiv" Sitka says, "Sure is, boss. It's.. it's good to hear your voice." Shiv's speech is interspersed liberally with panting and the sound of something being jostled, likely while he jogs. "Keep.. keep talking to us, we're closing in on your position."

Cora helps Tisiphone manhandle Marty into the raptor, or at least into the waiting arms of others inside the raptor, just nodding back a wordless 'you're welcome' before turning to help with that covering fire as the last few are rounded up.

Yay for adrenaline and sheer Taurian stubbornness. Trask practically stampedes, searching for his CAG. "Toast?" he calls out. "Toast, that you down there?" Looks like a grounded pilot, so that's the way the ECO goes, rifle at the ready just in case it's not. Thankfully, it is. "Frak. It /is/ you. Shit. You injured?" Rifle is shouldered while the Major is hauled upon on the other.

"Boots?" The shout comes from Cidra proper, not over the wireless, as they converge on her position. She was fortunate in her landing spot, as she managed to make it to the ground without entangling herself in a tree. Or some other unpleasantness. She's sprawled in a clearing, still attached to her shoot, which she seems to be having some difficulty getting herself untangled from. Her left arm is hanging at a funny angle and, as she's managed to remove her helmet, one can see the quickly purpling bruise that's forming from some sort of impact to her head. That one isn't bleeding, at least.

Lunair looks apologetically to Stavrian, "Sorry-" She murmurs as they shuffle. Better to shuffle than absorb more bullets. "Thank you," She finally manages. She doesn't complain though, about the blood on the medic's hands, simply grateful. She keeps them moving though. Lun will help stuff Samuel into the Raptor and wait for the medic too, "You first. I'm fine." She'll scramble in after Stavrian is in.

Samuel just blinks as he's placed into the Raptor, looking around for a few moments, and keeping silent for now. Eyes starting to close a bit.

Sitka hauls ass onto the scene of the downed CAG maybe thirty seconds after the more athletically-inclined Trask. His rifle's slung across his shoulder before he reaches for the knife sheathed in his combat gear, and begins cutting away any rope that might impede their rescue of the woman. "All right," he grunts, sliding his arm under her other side. "..let's go. If we need to shoot, we do it on the move." And assuming the Taurian is on board, off they go.

The Taurian is the frakkin' conductor. "All aboard. Next stop, not frakking here." And away they go!

"We've got to go!" scream the Raptor pilots, terror written on their faces as they look up at the conflagration above them. "Get in, get in, get in!" Already their FTLs are spooling; already their engines are flaring — but before their hatches close the soldiers of Battlestar Cerberus can see everything out the still-open doors —

A legion of Centurions running across the battlefield, leaping above the abandoned tanks with machine guns ablaze — wounded men reaching desperately from the ground, wriggling like worms in the muck — fire scorching the trees, setting even sodden wood ablaze — Vipers screaming upwards into atmo with countless Raiders in pursuit, wings reddening from the unbearable heat — the crippled basestar scourged by cannons, shedding metal like a molting bird as it glides to this her final port of call —

And the rain, everywhere the rain — the rain that dances through the stormy skies, that flutters through waxy leaves stained red like fall, that sends peaceful ripples through puddles in whose shimmering surfaces are reflected three lights that flare a blinding white before winking, blinking out —

For somewhere in the Colonies there will always be rain, which endures and shall ever endure no matter the horrors of this age or the next.

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