PHD #079: EVENT - Schadenfreude
Summary: The Cylons take a little time out to ruin the fleet's day. Cerberus and her escorts are forced into a hasty retreat from Sector 641.
Date: May 16, 2041 AE
Related Logs: none
Ethan Malone Marko Psyche Tillman 
Outer Space
It is very cold, in space.
Post-Holocaust Day: #79

[BlackKnight-309: Astrid] Space is a cold and lonely place. This lesson has been driven home tenfold for the remaining pilots on the Cerberus ever since the Leonis mission went awry; with many of their most experienced pilots braving the irradiated wilds to bring back sorely needed Vipers for the battlestar's air wing, it's left to Cerberus' remaining knights of the stars to patrol the barren wasteland that is Sector 641, shorthanded as they may be.

Shorthanded indeed, as this particular patrol is made up of some of Cerberus' youngest and rawest pilots. Lieutenant JG Athenos normally serves not even as a section lead, but as Lucky's wingman, and she's the most experienced of the pilots out here tonight. She'll be backed up by her squadmate, Ensign Malone, whose Viper follows her launch from the adjoining launch tube. Joining them is a Raptor flown by Marko and Ethan, which emerges from the flight pod to join the pair of Vipers, hanging back behind the protective cover provided by the fighters.

With a quick application of thrusters, the trio of Colonial craft jet away from the Cerberus, hurling themselves once more unto the breach.

[Harrier-651: Marko] "Okay, Fresh, looks like we're good here." Marko reports from the ECO's station, settling in for what he hopes to be a long and thoroughly uninteresting patrol. "DRADIS is completely clear. Nobody home but us Colonials."

[BlackKnight-855: Malone] Rolling a bit to the side as his Viper clears the tube, Malone takes a few moments before he gets back on track, joining up with the other Viper. Leaning back in his seat in the small spacecraft.

[Harrier-651: Ethan] "Copy that, Flasher" offers Ethan to the ECO. He does a visual scan of whatever is around him and nods once again "Let's follow those Vipers" Oh yes, he also hopes the same thing.

[BlackKnight-853: Psyche] Doubtless feeling the weight of being the 'senior' pilot out in the black tonight, Bubbles is quiet and grave. She flies steady and sharp, focused on her instruments, shooting one quick visual from the corner of her eye to confirm her wingman's position.

[BlackKnight-855: Malone] Looking around both at his instruments and outside of the cockpit, Malone keeps silent as he does his flying. Once in a while trying to hold back a bit of a yawn.

[Harrier-651: Ethan] Ethan takes a deep breath and keeps silent, for the moment he just dedicates his attention to fly behind the Vipers, keeping his ears and eyes open, just in case. So far so good.

[Harrier-651: Marko] Marko keeps his eyes on the DRADIS console, carefully monitoring the passive scanners for the first hint of enemy activity. "How you doing up there, Fresh?" he inquires over the intercom.

[TAC3] "Bubbles" Psyche says, "Splash, Bubbles. Skies are clear. Read any good books lately? Keep me awake over here."

[TAC3] "Splash" Malone says, "Any good books? How about a History of Ancient Libran Law? That one's always interesting."

[Harrier-651: Ethan] Looking around, looking around. Ethan hears Marko's comment over the comm and offers to him "So far so good, Flasher. How's about you?" Now the Ensign leans a bit forward to broaden his visual range but sits back just a few seconds after. "Everything clear" At least on plain sight.

[BlackKnight-309: Astrid] Marko's scanners remain clear to this point, as the CAP trundles on through space and Cerberus shrinks behind them. For the time being, it seems as quiet as the pair of Raptor drivers were hoping for; until, however, about the time that the three Colonial ships reach their first waypoint. As they turn to begin the next leg of the patrol, all four of them will notice what looks like a DRADIS hiccup. The screen goes fuzzy and out of focus for a moment, but it's only for a moment before all screens are once again nominal and oh-so-empty.

[TAC3] "Flasher" Marko says, ""Flight, Flasher, I just got a really weird hiccup on my DRADIS system.""

[TAC3] "Bubbles" Psyche says, "Yeah, Flasher, I got it here, too. Funky. Reading any radiation or… you know… cosmic stuff that could account for that?"

[TAC3] "Splash" Malone says, "Got that here as well, whatever it was. Almost gave me a heart attack, for a few seconds."

You paged Marko, Psyche, Malone, and Ethan with 'It's a pretty barren system. There wouldn't be enough radiation to cause a spike like that, to the best of any of your knowledge.'

[TAC3] "Fresh" Ethan says, "Flight, Fresh. Anything on sight?"

[TAC3] "Flasher" Marko says, " "Psyche, Flasher. There shouldn't be enough ambient radiation to cause a spike like that, at least not according to Intel. I'm gonna run diagnostics just to be sure. Recommend you guys start thinking about heating up your weapons, just in case.""

[TAC3] "Bubbles" Psyche says, "Better paranoid than dead, I guess. Splash, weapons hot — stay frosty and keep your eyes peeled."

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

[Harrier-651: Ethan] Ethan clears his throat after hearing the last comments on the COM and levels the Raptor to fly more in formation with the Vipers, still behind them of course. "Flasher, let me know what you see" Keeping eyes peeled? He's doing that indeed.

[BlackKnight-855: Malone] Making sure to get his weapons, and everything else, ready in case something should drop in, Malone glances to the DRADIS once in a while, and then out to the space out there, studying the vast blackness rather carefully, for now.

[Harrier-651: Marko] "Copy that, Fresh, running diagnostics now." Marko announces, fingers flying over the keyboard as he puts his DRADIS system through its paces.

[BlackKnight-853: Psyche] "Be cool, babe," Psyche whispers to herself, off-com. "Everything's going to be fine." She takes a breath, weapons hot, eyes scanning the panorama of nothingness outside the viewport.

[Harrier-651: Ethan] While he waits for Flasher's report, Ethan keeps his eyes open, looking around the darkness of space while he follows the Vipers. His attention drifts for a second towards the controls of the Raptor and then back to whatever is outside.

[BlackKnight-855: Malone] "Can't those guys that's off on their little trip get back so the rest of us can get a good night's sleep at some point in the future?" Malone mutters to himself as he works on the looking out there, and staying awake, part of this. Otherwise keeping silent for now.

[Harrier-651: Marko] ooc back
[TAC3] "Flasher" Marko says, "DRADIS contact! Flight, Flasher, I've got two bogeys incoming right at edge of detection range. Speed is buster. Approximate co-ordinates one four two carom two one four. Negative, repeat, negative transponder signal as yet. Evaluate contact as probably hostile."

[Harrier-651: Marko] "Frak….It's just like the man said, 'Just because you're paranoid, don't mean they're not after you'." Marko sighs, tightening his restraints and setting up the ECM generators without switching them on just yet. "Fresh, things are about to get interesting." he calls.

[TAC3] "Bubbles" Psyche says, "Okay, boys. Let's move to engage — Cerberus, do you copy? We have two DRADIS contacts, negative transponder sigs. We are moving to engage."

[Harrier-651: Ethan] Fresh hears the com communication and Flasher's words to him right after that. "Here we go then…" says Fresh. He takes a deep breath and shifts on his seat as if getting ready for action. "Keep tracking them, Flasher. And hopefully we'll get a visual sooner than later." He opens the com to say something to the other ships.

[TAC3] "CerbTac" Tillman says, "Copy CAP. Cerberus confirms bandits. Going to condition one. Spooling the FTLs."

[TAC3] "Fresh" Ethan says, "Flight, Flasher. I'm on your tails guys."

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

[BlackKnight-853: Psyche] Bubbles throttles forward, accelerating smoothly and banking towards the coordinates Flasher gave. Her eyes flicker between DRADIS and her viewport, straining for that telltale glimmer of starlight off chrome.

[BlackKnight-309: Astrid] Oh yeah, they're Raiders, all right. But then, did you expect anything different? The Raptor's DRADIS range is slightly longer than the Cylons', and the pair of Raiders continues on, seemingly blissfully ignorant. It doesn't last, though, and after a moment the Cylons accelerate and close with the CAP, the UNKNOWNs on DRADIS quickly changing into CYLON RAIDER. A few haphazard shots are fired on the Colonials from extreme range as they close, all missing easily.

However, just then, their attack run terminates as quickly as it began. Seeing three Colonial ships, and a battlestar behind them, the Raiders apparently come to the determination that discretion is the better part of valor as they angle off on a parabolic course away from the Cerberus itself. They're not going quite fast enough to avoid being overtaken by the speedy Vipers, though.

[Harrier-651: Marko] "Man, it sucks being right all the time." Marko grumbles as the Cylons reveal themselves. "Going hot on the jammers." he calls.
[TAC3] "Bubbles" Psyche says, "Let's keep together, Splash. We'll take these little bastards one at a time."

[TAC3] "Splash" Malone says, "Got it, Bubbles. One at a time, down they go."

[Harrier-651: Ethan] "Sometimes, sometimes it doesn't…it really depends" says Fresh as he looks out. "Going to Evasive Maneuvers mode, we'll see how it goes" Lips pressed now, full focus.

[BlackKnight-309: Astrid] The Cylons turn end over end in space as the Vipers close behind them. Can't let these puny humans win without some kind of fight, after all. They break apart, each speeding to one side as they pick one of the Vipers to target. At least one of them will get a clear shot, too, provided the Vipers follow standard combat doctrine.

[BlackKnight-855: Malone] Turning his Viper for one of the Raiders now, Malone grimaces a little, working on getting the Cylon well into his sights.

[BlackKnight-853: Psyche] Bubbles floors it, leaping toward the lead Raider like she means to fly headfirst into its nose, taking her shot before banking port — doing her best to draw the enemy into pursuit.

<COMBAT> Psyche attacks Raider1 with KEW - Light wound to Left Wing.
<COMBAT> Raider2 attacks Malone with KEW - Moderate wound to Controls (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> Raider1 attacks Psyche with KEW - Moderate wound to Left Wing (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> Marko suppresses Raider1 with ECM. <successful>
<COMBAT> Marko suppresses Raider2 with ECM. <successful>
<COMBAT> Malone attacks Raider1 with KEW - Light wound to Controls.
<COMBAT> Ethan passes.
<COMBAT> Astrid has started a new turn. Pose and choose your action.
<COMBAT> Raider-2311c has been KO'd!
<COMBAT> Raider1 has been KO'd!

[BlackKnight-309: Astrid] At first, it doesn't seem like much. Psyche's tracers glance along the edge of one Raider's portside wing, while Malone's KEWs nip lightly at the Raider's fuselage. Must have struck something vital, though, as the crescent-shaped ship explodes in a burst of flame and red goo. It lives long enough to score a decent hit of its own on Psyche's wing while in its death throes, however… and the second raider, ignored by the Colonials for the moment, has no problem getting in behind Malone and putting a shot on the Viper amidships.

That's not all of the CAP's problems, though. Only a few short seconds after the first raider is destroyed, there's a bright FLASH — and two more Raiders jump into the fray, flying in close formation. Both of them bear down on the Raptor, their glowing red eyes sliding side to side hungrily as they scream towards their target.

[TAC3] "Flasher" Marko says, "New DRADIS Contacts! Two Cylon Raiders, range four, bearing two one one carom three one two!"

[Harrier-651: Marko] "Whatever you're doing, Fresh, keep doing it." Marko replies after calling out the new sensor contacts. "Retasking ECM generators." he announces. "Fresh, see if you can veer us over to one four four, get a better broadside for the port emitters. Really throw some sand in these clowns' eyes." he calls, retraining the Raptor's ECM generators to try and blanket the two new arrivals while maintaining a ping on the other.

[TAC3] "Splash" Malone says, "Thanks, Bubbles." A brief pause, then a half-growl, "Frak! I'm hit!" At the announcements of the new contacts, he pauses. "We spilt up now, Bubbles? Take the one that's been following me, I try to help out Fresh and Flasher back there?"

[Harrier-651: Ethan] "Copy that, Flasher" says Ethan and shakes his head "Frak…they do seem to love Raptors." with that said, he gets a good grip of the controls and veers the ship to the offered coordinates. He is still holding the idea of Evasive Maneuvers in his mind so, very very in mind.

[BlackKnight-855: Malone] Grinning as the Raider he's been targetting goes down, Malone's expression turns to frustration as the bullets from the other raider makes his viper shake a bit. Growling, he starts moving for the Raptor, and its unwanted visitors.

[TAC3] "Bubbles" Psyche says, "I see 'em, Flasher. Splash, I've got your back — go for it."

<COMBAT> Raider2 attacks Malone with KEW - Serious wound to Cockpit.
<COMBAT> Raider4 attacks Ethan with KEW - Moderate wound to Controls.
<COMBAT> Raider3 attacks Ethan with KEW - ARMOR on Controls stops the attack!
<COMBAT> Psyche attacks Raider4 with KEW but MISSES!
<COMBAT> Malone attacks Raider4 with KEW and MISSES!
<COMBAT> Ethan passes.
<COMBAT> Marko suppresses Raider2 with ECM. <successful>
<COMBAT> Marko suppresses Raider3 with ECM. <unsuccessful>
<COMBAT> Marko suppresses Raider4 with ECM. <successful>
<COMBAT> Astrid has started a new turn. Pose and choose your action.

[BlackKnight-309: Astrid] The addition of the two new Raiders seems to turn the battle in the Cylons' favor. The second of the original pair is made of sterner stuff than its wingmate, and it twists around the fire from both Vipers while placing another shot right on target. Blue KEW rounds tear into Malone's fighter, inflicting even more damage on the ensign's controls. The ship bucks and jolts, but Malone is able to keep it under control. For now.

Meanwhile, one of the new arrivals manages to get a shot on the Raptor; again, a Colonial craft is struck amidships, and the Raptor's cabin is filled with sparks and smoke as their control systems take a hit, as well.

The upper hand on their side, now the Cylons go for a knockout blow. The CAP is still pretty far out from the Cerberus, and the Raider attack has drawn them out even further; the reasons for that are apparent, as a great flash off the Cerberus' port bow heralds the arrival of a single Cylon basestar, pumping missles into the nearby battlestar and disgorging Raiders from the hangars along its central axis.

Oh, and there is the minor matter of it being between the CAP and the safe haven of Cerberus' hangar pod.

<COMBAT> Message from Astrid: SURPRIIIIIIISE

[TAC3] "CerbTac" Tillman says, "CAP! Cerberus! ABORT! COMBAT LANDINGS!" The comm becomes muffled as the yells something about Weps and opening fire. "Get back here NOW!"

[Harrier-651: Marko] "Dammit." Marko growls, thumping the ECM console as one of his targets skirts out of the jamming envelope. "Fresh, try vectoring over to one four eight carom two one one, that oughta put them between our jamming envelope and maybe the Cerberus' flak ring." he suggests, retasking his ECM jammers once more before he freezes. Oh FRAK ME! Flash, get us the hell out of here!" he calls.

[BlackKnight-853: Psyche] Bubbles winces, baring her teeth in a grimace as her wingman is hit hard. Steady as she tries to fly it, her shots go wide of the mark. "Frakking HADES frak frak…" she whispers, taking a breath. Then the flash, and the Basestar… and the little blonde pilot's blood goes ice cold. "Oh… Gods…"

[BlackKnight-855: Malone] Firing off his shots, Malone then grimaces a bit as his cockpit is showered with bullets. "Oh frak it all!" Grimacing a bit as he takes the hits, starting to twist and turn in his seat. Frowning as he sees the arrival of the big ugly in between themselves and home. "And here I thought we'd have one good day…" Frowning a bit as he listens to the comms, he starts turning around once more, attempting to shake the enemy behind him.

[TAC3] "Flasher" Marko says, "Flight, Flasher, Cylon Basestar at three one four carom one nine two! Ah hell, it's between us and the hangar pods."

[TAC3] "Splash" Malone says, "Not sure how well this will handle. But it's time for a long and tricky attempt to get home, right?"

[Harrier-651: Ethan] Ethan is shaken around as the the controls go boom. He shakes one arm to clear the smoke, at least some, while his other remains holding the controls. "Frak!" He turns around for a milisecond to look at Flasher and then looks outside again "Copy that Flasher, you don't have to say that one twice. And off they go… "Frak! Frak!"

[TAC3] "Bubbles" Psyche says, "Affirmative, Cerberus — we are on our way. You heard the man, guys — RTB pronto. Evasive maneuvers all the way — do NOT try to be heroes."

[BlackKnight-309: Astrid] It doesn't take long for the Colonial forces to respond; the three capital ships open up on the basestar, missles and shells and flak spewing from the fleet's guns at the sudden onslaught. Raider after Raider and missle after missle are hacked out of the sky, but it doesn't quite seem like enough as the slowly turning basestar rotates to bring new weapons to bear. Some of the Raiders move to act as point defense against the missle storm hurtling in from the Praetorian; a few of them even charge the missles desperately, sacrificing themselves in a flaming pyre to thin out the missles while the basestar continues to spend its fury on the Cerberus.

As for the CAP? Well, the only Cylons still interested in them are the three chaps they were tangling to begin with. They're zealous sorts, though, and they immediately heel over to pursue as the CAP flees for the hangar pod.

<COMBAT> Psyche attacks Raider4 with KEW - Light wound to Right Wing.
<COMBAT> Malone attacks Raider4 with KEW and MISSES!
<COMBAT> Raider4 attacks Ethan with KEW - ARMOR on Engine stops the attack!
<COMBAT> Raider3 attacks Ethan with KEW but MISSES!
<COMBAT> Raider2 attacks Malone with KEW - Moderate wound to Cockpit.
<COMBAT> Marko suppresses Raider2 with ECM. <unsuccessful>
<COMBAT> Marko suppresses Raider3 with ECM. <unsuccessful>
<COMBAT> Marko suppresses Raider4 with ECM. <successful>
<COMBAT> Ethan passes.
<COMBAT> Astrid has started a new turn. Pose and choose your action.
<COMBAT> Blackknight-855 has been KO'd!
<COMBAT> Malone has been KO'd!
<COMBAT> Malone spends a luck point to keep fighting!

[BlackKnight-309: Astrid] Poor Malone. Once again, KEW rounds perforate the area around his cockpit, but defying all reason, the craft stays in one piece. It'll be a while before it flies again, though. Psyche manages a hit on one of the Raiders' right wing — and then they've reached the general melee. Space around them is a flashing, hellish storm of missles and gunfire as the Cylons do their best to rend the Cerberus limb from proverbial limb, while the Colonials spare no effort in an attempt to return the favor. Unfortunately for the CAP, it's going to take some pretty fancy flying to even get close to Cerb's landing pod, the way things are.

[BlackKnight-855: Malone] Taking that last beating, Malone works on getting the now sorry excuse for a Viper through the mad world of guns, ships and missiles. Pilot inside the craft muttering lots of things to himself now, without really being sure of what he's muttering, it would seem.

[Harrier-651: Ethan] Ethan takes a deep breath now that he sees what's up ahead. "Ok babygirl…" this said to the ship of course. Given the urgency of things, he speeds up a little and says "Don't worry Flasher, I'll try to get us there in once piece…" A few missiles fly past the Raptor, forcing Ethan to make abrupt movements but luckily enough, he is soon past the baseship and approaching Cerberus.

[BlackKnight-853: Psyche] Psyche cries out as her wingman's plane is nearly torn apart by enemy fire. "FRAKDAMN you, Splash! I said EVASIVE MANEU — !" But a second later, they're flying through fire and Hades and there's no time for tongue lashings. She banks hard, rolls, dives in a dizzying succession of reflexes that her brain's taken a backseat to. It's all instinct and relentless training now, eyed dilated into inky black pools, blood singing with fear and adrenaline. Then, almost as soon as the storm enveloped the pilot and her fragile craft, it's over. The sky is still on fire behind her, but Cerberus looms ahead.

[Harrier-651: Marko] The young ECO grunts sharply as the Raptor he's riding in suddenly begins to bounce around wildly as Ethan plays 'thread the needle' between the Basestar's flak ring, the hordes of Raiders and the storms of gun and missile fire around them. "Whatever you're doing, don't stop!" he calls.

[BlackKnight-855: Malone] It's hard, landing a Viper that's as battered, beaten and broken as the one Malone's in. Working at getting the craft into the landing pod, he grimaces, and the landing, which includes a bit too high velocity, goes bad. The Viper turns a bit sideways after landing, and then finally tips over on one side before coming to a stop. And as for Malone, he's knocked out, with some blood coming from some cuts, and also a number of bruises from all the times he's been knocked around the cockpit now.

[Harrier-651: Ethan] With Cerberus up ahead, Ethan only needs to land the bird and possibly call it a day. However, after being evading missiles for a bit, and at the speed he's going, his angle is not right "Flasher, hold onto something, this is going to be a bumpy one" He forces the ship to retake a correct landing path but now he's coming to high, an abrupt drop of speed and altitude makes the Raptor connect harshly against the deck, bounce once or twice -and this will shake the entire thing- and the come to a halt, not before leaving a nice pretty set of skid marks on the deck. After the stop, and not yet letting go of the controls, Fresh looks over his shoulder and asks "Flasher, you alright man?"

[Harrier-651: Marko] Marko barely has time to swivel his seat to face the front and grab hold of the armrests before the Raptor skids and bounces down the flight deck. The impact rattles him hard enough to nearly remove teeth, but soon enough, the ship is stopped and they're out of danager. "Allright enough." he replies, giving a thumb's up. "I'm okay….you?"

[BlackKnight-853: Psyche] Psyche's approach wobbles just a fraction ashe compensates for the damage to her wing and the unadvised speed; she comes in hot but smooth, sticking the landing textbook, barely even leaving a mark on the deck. She's out of the cockpit before her thrusters have even stopped glowing, yanking off her helmet and clearing the steps in a leap. "Frakfrakfrak," she whispers, looking at the wreckage that was Splash's Viper with sick disbelief. "MEDIC! Can we get frakking medical here NOW, please?"

[BlackKnight-309: Astrid] The LSO is screaming over the radio the instant the last of the CAP is aboard, and it's not a moment too soon, as explosions blossom along the Cerberus' centerline. The pilots don't see this, of course, ensconced as they are in the hangar deck — or, in the case of Malone's fighter, spread across the hangar deck.

In the CIC, Tillman gives the order to jump as soon as the LSO's frantic calls reach his ears. There's that familiar sense of vertigo as the jump drives engage — and, one by one, the Colonial ships jump out. All in all, they got off lightly in the short term — a Viper wrecked, a pilot wounded, and relatively minor hull damage to the Cerberus.

This begs the question, however… just where did Tillman's hastily ordered jump take them? And if the Eidolon team really is still alive and attempting to return, what happens when they return to Sector 641 and find nothing? Or a hostile welcoming committee? They might be alive, but they've got a whole new heap of problems, and the Cylons can at least take solace in the fact that once again they've put a crimp in the Colonials' day.

There's a word for that sort of thing: schadenfreude.

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