PHD #177: EVENT - Sleeping Hippo, Delicious Zebra
Sleeping Hippo, Delicious Zebra
Summary: A team from Cerberus finally encounters a survivor who doesn't seem to mind the idea of being rescued.
Date: 22 August 2041 AE
Related Logs: None
Cilusia Coll Sawyer Sitka Tisiphone Ulixes 
Sagittaron - somewhere in the Jharkand Basin
The coordinates sought fall in a wooded portion of the basin so it takes a bit before the Raptor locates a place to land. It sets down eventually in a clearing just barely large enough for the ship. It's not exactly heavily forested, most of the trees scrubby and thin as befits foliage growing in the thin soil of a sometimes-desert region, but they grow close together and in quantity, and this close to the river the brush is particularly dense. The terrain is no more helpful, rising up away from the water into uneven hills and rock formations that spring up and drop away unpredictably. It is not easy ground to anticipate, or for the unfamiliar to search thoroughly.
Post-Holocaust Day: #177

The exact spot the team is supposed to be searching is deeper into the forest, somewhere off to the west a ways, the forest having prevented the Raptor from taking you any closer to it than this. Looks like it's time for some hiking.

The marines take the lead, of course, jumping out of the raptor and spreading out around the clearing as they do, looking for immediate threats. Finding none, the rest of the personnel are waves out of the ship, with the ECO in the backseat informing them, "We must have more of those ore deposits in the hills around here: I'm picking up biologicals, but they could just as easily be wildlife as people and the interference is making it tough to fine-tune it any more than that."

Tisiphone's still looking a little haggard after her slumber party with the mountainfolk, and the earlier jaunt of picking flowers (culminating in a touching display of lion vs. foal) hasn't helped her sunburn. Still, she'd need to be shipped back to the Cerberus in a box for her to refuse another foray into the wilderness. She listens to the ECO's words with a distracted glance, her real attention on her sidearm as she checks it in preparation of moving out.

Having sat up front in the co-pilot's seat, in order to free up space in the back of the transport craft, Sitka is one of the last to disembark. He's got a crude hand-drawn map in hand, which is checked one last time before being folded and tucked away into one of his gear's many pockets. It's far too hot for this getup; he's already sweating a little, and wipes a trickle of it off the back of his neck. "Make sure you check your weapons before we start moving," he cautions the group, lumbering off a short way to verify his radio's working. A brief glance over his shoulder at the backseater talking in their direction. "Let me know if you spot anything strange, yeah?"

Coll, as per the usual, is one of the last off the Raptor. She hops off the winglet and does a walkaround of the ship like a habit she just can't shake. Another drop to her knees and she checks the skids and underside quickly. Once back up after a brief moment, she dusts her knees and circles back to the canopy to knock and give them two thumbs up. There isn't immediate awknowledgement of what the ECO had to say, though she does unholster the sidearm she has. A quick rack of the slide and she drops it back into the thigh rig, waiting for the order to move out.

Oh goody, more hiking. No, really, it's good. A nice little break from all the tedium of shipboard work. Besides, down here Cilusia gets to carry a gun! And breath fresh (?) air! Dressed in expedition blacks rather than deckie orange, the little slip of a woman seems at home in this sort of brush and heat. Weapons check? Sure thang bossman. Her pistol gets pulled out of that thigh holster, given the ole once over, and then she gives the good-to-go sign…by milling about and waiting.

"Copy that, Shiv," replies the ECO, shooting the captain a thumbs up, "We'll keep systems online, anything out of the ordinary pops up you'll be the first to hear about it. Besides Tripper, at least," he grins, jerking his chin towards the pilot up front.

Sawyer finds herself strapped in the back in a tiny jumpseat once more, being of the realm of 'non-essential' personnel that some how schmoozed her way down to the surface and on a mission once more. She at least looks a part of the team in her marine black combat gear, the blonde pony tail hanging down out of the back of the helmet looking ever longer. Her eyes flick around the others of the team as they file out, being one of the last to unclip her safety harness and slip out onto the Raptor's wing to disembark. Priority, of course, is given to those that are actually trained for this sort of thing and can ensure their safety and secure the landing zone. She pauses once her feet hit dirt, taking a deep lungful of air that's probably little better for her than the cigarette the journalist is going about lighting now. Once that's through, she checks her weapon like Sitka suggested. Yup. Still on her hip.

After verifying his radio is indeed working, Shiv skims his eyes across the little clearing, trying to pick out a path that might— aha. "Right then." A weary-sounding breath is blown out his nose. "Let's go." Tugging once more on his harness to make sure it's secure, he begins tromping off toward a straggly little path that cuts through the brush to the west.

Even air off a brackish river smells good after the recycled air upon the Cerberus — at least at first. A few more days, and it might start losing its charm. Maybe. "Hot enough for you?" Tisiphone asks of the petite deckie, a brief and feral grin flitting across her face. The smell of cigarette smoke draws her attention to Sawyer like a dog with a steak waved at it. She seems on the cusp of trying to bum a drag when Sitka speaks up. Reluctantly, she moves out, instead.

Coll glances to Tisiphone and shrugs. "Ain't bad, sir. Grew up in the country. Hot and humid days are nothing new. Just wish we could take a dip in the water at some point." She seems fairly non-chalant about the whole endeavor. "No ghosts this time. No fundies. No screaming women. I'm ten shades of a-ok, Ensign." The woman takes a little look around before falling into the middle of the group to head off down the path.

"Oh you know how it goes. A few more degrees and we'd be pushing into bathing suit weather," Cilusia replies to Tisiphone. But then, when was it ever not bathing suit weather in the steamy climate of Scorpia? But then…yup, time to move out. The strap holding that gun in place is double-checked before Cilusia starts to tromp off after Sitka, ferns and other leafy greeny underbrush swishing along the black pants and boots.

Today, Sawyer has opted for a little voice recorder, her camera once more slung around her neck. It'd be hard to say in a pinch which the journalist would reach for: her camera or her gun. Hopefully, the latter. As she steps in line with the group, she starts narrating their journey in quiet hushed tones as an optimal way to keep notes. Occasionally her voice is punctuated on the recording by a whoosh of air, an exhale where she's expelling nicotine laced smoke from her lungs. "Post Holocaust Day one hundred seventy-seven, approximate time is…" And so on she goes.

The path winds its way through the forest, in some places choosing the easiest ground and in some places winding strangely, giving those with good heads for direction the vague sense that this may not be the most strictly efficient way to get where they're trying to go. Still, it is a path, and it is going in the general direction they're supposed to be traveling in. It wends now and then near the river — or at least a river, more likely a tributary than the Jharkand itself, judging by how quietly sluggish its current is.

Sitka forges ahead of the little group, electing to take point rather than shove a marine meatshield in front of him for this endeavour. All he lacks is a fedora, a machete, and a sense of direction— judging by the path he chose. He'd almost certainly rather be relaxing back at base camp with a bottle of beer and some pr0n, but whatchoo gonna do? "Making a documentary, or something?" he asides casually to Sawyer, not too far behind him. His eyes are trained on the path ahead, and occasionally cast to either side, squinted when the sun hits them full-force.

The marines are not thrilled at Sitka taking point, but given that trouble is as likely to come from the sides as the front, they don't quibble, moving in a rough perimeter around the team and bringing up the rear as well, weapons ready.

Coll just moves along in silence. Her eyes move around the high brush and then the trees whe nthey enter the forest. She reaches out once in awhile to touch one of the towering wooden lifeforms, running her fingers over it with a smile.

"The life and times of Ibrahim Sitka." Sawyer responds to Sitka with a wry twist of amusement on her lips, "Grow up any where near here?" She asks, which is a rather silly question, given there is an entire planet he could have come from, but seeming how she doesn't even have a jumping off point to narrow it down to, that question is as good as any. Her head swivels back, mentally taking a count of the others as she clips the little recording device to a pocket on her vest so it'll still pick up her voice, but frees up that hand. The paper of her cigarette crinkles as she takes another drag, and when she ashes it, she makes sure the silt falls into one of the puddles.

Of all the things she's lost, Tisiphone misses her sunglasses the most. The early evening sun keeps a perpetual squint upon her face as she follows after Sitka. Now and again as they move past a tree, she glances behind, checking the rest of the group. She's still happier /seeing/ the Marines bringing up the back of the group than just trusting them to be there. At least she seems less skittish about her footing today.

"Say-ya, Cap…should we be leaving breadcrumbs to get back? Or will all that GPS work well enough if shit hits the fan?" Not to start shit, but…if something goes down, it would make it infinitely easier to have a nice path to follow. "But man…there's something I'm pretty happy to see. A river, or something like it, that looks like we don't need a frakkin' super highway to cross." Those things seem to be nice targets for Cylons.

Of puddles, there are plenty. Sitka's boot so happens to hit one, just as Sawyer's explaining the 'title' of her 'documentary', half-soaking the leg of his fatigues — and possibly spraying the blonde — in the process. "Nowhere near here, nope," he replies, ducking under a low-hanging branch as they trudge onward. "Unless something fraks with our equipment, we should be able to find our way back just fine. But, you know.." SPLOOSH. "..breadcrumbs aren't a bad idea. If you can figure a way to mark the path, it certainly wouldn't hurt." To Cilusia, to whom he'd bequeathed the binoculars, "Spot anything yet?"

"Good way to mark a path, sir?" Coll pipes up. "Rip some of the bark off a tree at eye height in the direction you're going ot be travelling on the way back. Unless someone has some paint or tape." She just trundles along in the group, looking up at the trees, more admiring the view than anything else.

Sawyer stops in her tracks, but after a spanse of time it's clear she's not paused because her trouser pants are now sullied with muddy water, no, she has a slight cant to her head and her eyes are rolling around in their sockets as if she's trying to pick out something in the distance. "Didja hear that?" She asks Sitka and those closest to her, her voice a pinched sort of whisper that has a hint of urgency to it.

Rustlerustle. SPLOOSH. Crunch, cru- "Wait!" rasps Tisiphone on the tail of Sawyer's whisper, attention snapped over to a cluster of dense brush to the left of the advancing group. "Something moving over there." She brings her sidearm up a bit, feet shifting nervously in the undergrowth.

Cilusia has no idea what's got everyone so spooked: she can't hear a godsdamned thing! Regardless, when they stop, she stops. Breath hangs in her throat, and she looks around with her mouth slightly agape. Her hand slips down to the gun on her hip, unsnapping the strap and holding tight on the grip.

Sitka is about to respond to Coll, when he too — roughly simultaneous with Sawyer — seems to hear something. Pausing, he pivots in the same direction and begins reaching for his sidearm. It isn't drawn yet; his hand merely rests on it lightly while his eyes scan the bushes. "Fasi, you want to take a look for us?" Since she has the binoculars, of course. He finally draws his weapon, as likely the marines do as well. "The rest of you, get ready to get behind cover." Well, what cover exists here.

Coll stops when everyone else seems to. Her hand drops to the thigh rig and she removed the sidearm with a simple flick of her wrist. She listens for a moment, closing her eyes as she cants her head forward, stepping to lean against a tree beside her.

Tisiphone brings her free hand up to shade her eyes as she squints at the underbrush. Searching. "I'm sure of it," she mutters. The way her eyes dart around over the vegetation doesn't exactly inspire confidence in her words. Nevertheless, she gestures with her sidearm at The Shrubbery What Spooked Her.

Sawyer very, very slowly pulls the cigarette from her mouth, moving to drop it to the wet leaves at her feet where she slowly grinds it out of existance. It's a waste of tobacco, to be sure, but she wants to make sure there are little distractions in case things go down hill fast. Slow as molasses, she starts to back up, finding her footing carefully to be as quiet as possible as she takes a few steps away from the noise while she fumbles with with the strap securing her sidearm.

There is no further movement from the shrubbery what spooked Tisiphone, nor those surrounding it. All that can be heard as the colonials pause and listen so hard are the usual noises of the woods: leaves rustling in the breeze, birds overhead, the very faint sound of the river behind them.

Though there may not be any threat from the shrubbery, Cilusia lifts up those binocs and takes a gander on in that direction. "Well, I don't know what you heard, but I don't see a frakkin' thing. Brush, brush, and oh, a little more brush over there. Looks like normal-ass plants to me. If one of you that heard something wants to take a look, be my guest!" she adds, pulling the binoculars away from her face and offering them around.

And, as if on cue, there is another crack from the bushes, this one no louder than the last, but with the lowered noise level it's enough for everyone to hear.

Coll opens her eyes and looks around to the ground. "I'll go," she offers easily. She's still got the sidearm up. "Send a Marine with me and we'll go walk a bit. Woods are someplace I'm pretty comfortable moving around." The second crack has her lean off the tree and step around it, tilting her head.

"You're awfully keen on going off alone like some lamb to the slaughter, Lauren," Shiv mumbles, beginning to shove his pistol back into its holster. "We move together—" Just about then, there's another crackling in the bushes, and he slides the weapon back out again. Click as the safety's disengaged. "Sawyer, you've got good eyes. Tell me what you see?" He nods to Cilusia for the binoculars to be handed over.

Sawyer's hand falls away from her hip, leaving the sidearm unsecured but still within its holster. She takes the equipment silently as it's passed over, if they don't come from Coll one of the marines is offering to cough them over. The reporter flicks a gaze towards Sitka, then she's lifting the small round lenses to her eyes and directing their field of view towards the bushes in question. Her left hand makes a slight adjustment on the focus and then drops them all together to peer the short distance away as if to confirm. She then mutters under her breath her report to the Captain. "Can't say for sure. Cloth. Brown. Not organic." Meaning she's not sure what she sees, but it sure as hell isn't a bush.

"So unless these crazy-ass Saggies are in the habit of dressing up their wildlife, we're dealing with a human being, huh?" Cilusia puts the binoculars back to her eyes for just a moment, before looking around at the group. "No like…offense meant or anything," she comments, since, you know, a few Saggies here in this little expedition. "I still don't see anything," she adds, still sweeping back and forth in the general direction Sawyer is looking.

Coll shrugs and looks back to the Captain. "I've died twice, sir. I'd rather go on a colony than the cold space. Might even get a burial here. I can go if you don't want to risk the team." No surprise. There's a long, still-red y-shaped scar that runs the length of her throat and disappears under her armor and clothing. She leans back against the tree and watches the bushes where the crack came from. Coll seems utterly relaxed as if the woods had a calming effect on her that overpowered normal self-preservation.

Just as the suspense of trying to sort out what to do about whatever is in the bushes begins to come to a head, there is a louder rustling, a blur of movement like something coming towards the path at speed.

"Get down," barks the Captain, a little more sharply than his usual tone of voice. Sidearm palmed in both hands, he drops to a knee in the dirt and muck, soaking the leg of his combat fatigues and squinting as he tries to spot what's moving toward them.

Get down? Don't have to tell Cilusia twice! For what it's worth, she gets down behind one of the larger plants. Wearing flat black isn't necessarily the best choice of camouflage that she could be in, but thankfully the plant does a pretty nice job rivaling her twisted up, kneeling form for size. That sidearm that was unsnapped is now officially drawn and unsafetied, while the binoculars go back to resting on the strap about her neck.

When the man barks, Sawyer listens, if only out of some deep seeded need for self preservation. She drops like a sack of bricks, going down into a deep crouch just behind and slightly aside of Sitka who she was just casually conversing with moments before. The binoculars get dropped to the soggy earth, skittering away an arm's reach in the smatter of sodden leaves and twigs. Gun, she should go or a gun, but right now she just doesn't have the presence of mind.

Twigs crack, brush moves, tree branches whip and snap and what comes barreling out into the path? A brown, short-coated deer. It pauses in the path for a moment to stare at the group crouched in the mud, and then hurry on its way back into the woods.

Coll, actually responds this time. She slides around the tree and comes back the other side with her gun up. While this blur moves, she glances around. Her head covers almost every direction of the compass before coming back to look out. The sidearm is aimed out into the woods but kept low and off target. When the deer pops out, she chuckles. "Venison, anyone?"

"Man, all that for…Bambi?" Cilusia just shakes her head a little bit, little a nervous little smile creep over her face. The sidearm that was pulled out and held at her shoulder, pointed into the air, is safetied and pointed down at the ground. This whole using guns thing is getting a little more familiar than she might have ever thought. She signed on to fix ships and take care of survival gear, not be faced with survival situations.

"Frak's sake," Sitka growls under his breath, shoving back to his feet again as the deer bounds past. More quietly, as he re-holsters his service pistol and continues trudging off down the path, "I hate the backwoods."

Sawyer glances off after the bounding deer, a slight color to her cheeks rising. "I guess I should have specified with just: fauna, not flora." Slowly, she starts climbing to her feet, brushing off the bits of forested refuse that sticks to her pants legs. "Leather is a cloth, right?" She clears her throat, then searches around to find the binoculars she lost in the shuffle to retrieve them.

The path continues as it's begun, winding up hills and down, around massive, cracked boulders and odd rock pillars, downed trees and one little creek. It's not the longest hike ever, but it's not the easiest either, and eventually they begin to near what should probably be the rough position of the coordinates.

Crunch, crunch, crunch goes Cilusia's boots over the path as they resume the hike. The knees of her black pants are covered in drying mud from taking shelter behind that bush. The crunching and snapping of twigs had been going on for the whole hike, but as they grow closer, it seems to get a lot more frequent. The path itself grows wider, though you might not know it, since there's a lot of leaves and branches. "Hey…Cap. You see those branches up there?" Cilusia says, pointing up the path where it gets to its widest. "Do they look out of place? Another of those shit pits, you think?"

Coll watches the party's reactions to the deer and she beams, though she does not comment. The gun is just dropped back into the holster and she pushes from her lean on the tree. Lauren appears in no hurry and just serene when they move off towards the coordinates. She even stops for a moment to dip her hands in the creekwater. But when they arrive at the wider part of the path and things look off, she stops on her own and leans against another tree. Lauren glances around at the ground by her feet and picks up a small rock, hefting its weight. Eyes lift back towards the section of path ahead and then over towards Sitka. She's either thinking about throwing the rock into the path or playing a game of catch with the Captain in the widened area.

Sitka, being at the front of the pack, slows as the path begins to widen. He pulls out his little makeshift map again, cross-references briefly with the handheld GPS unit most of them possess, then draws to a halt entirely when he spots what looks like it might be.. "A trap?" That's in response to Cilusia, whom he shares a brief look with before dropping into a crouch to get a better look at the thing. After a glance upward to ensure nothing's going to drop on them from above, he rolls back to his feet and backs off a few steps. A nod toward Coll. "May as well give it a shot," accompanies a grin, and a swipe of sweat from his upper lip.

If Sawyer sees what the others are seeing, she's sure as hell keeping her mouth shut about it this time around. Besides there's enough people catching the same change in variance, that her voice need not be heard. Instead, she just mumbles something into the little voice recorder on her chest. Still, she moves off to the side of the rock toting Coll and the possible booby trap. Just in case.

Coll clicks her teeth, shoots the Captain a wink and a thumbs up. Her eyes drop back to the rock in her hand before she looks around the treetops. Its a brief moment, trying to spot anything else. Her neck cranes around them and she looks back towards the path. Stepping off the lean once more, her arm underhands the rock high enough to come down with some force. It seems to be a fairly decent toss and heading for the middle of the path ahead. Moment of truth.

The rock hits the leafy branches…annnd drops through them. Yep, that's a pit.

Physics is fun! Or at least, that's what they had been telling Cilusia all those years in bumbling through secondary school, then in vocational training and all that stuff. Somewhere along the line, she was pretty sure this was an exam problem…but you know, minus the booby-trapped pit. Rooted in place, she watches the rock go up, up, up, then arch down, down, down (with an entirely predictable trajectory - science be damned!). There's an impish little grin on her face when it snaps through all those branches and into the pit. "Yeah…glad we didn't walk over that."

Well, that's one theory verified. "I, uh, didn't mention that some of the natives around here were a little primitive, did I?" Shiv mumbles, turning his attention away from the pit in order to search out the surrounding brush for a few moments. Looking, maybe, for a way around— or a sign of those survivors that their present coordinates match.

Well, unlike the pit of shit they encountered the other day, this one is easily manuevered around. No mud or river to flank it, so the creators were probably counting on it being missed all together. Perhaps still flustered from the deer, Sawyer starts tromping off around the pit. Stepping through the mush of the decaying leaves, she suddenly looks down, quizzical, and that's the last expression visible on her face before she just…disappears. Well, that is to say, she's suddenly inverted, dangling twenty feet in the air by a snare around one ankle. Boing…boing…the rest of her limbs are all akimbo and there's a distinct grimace of pain on her features.

"I think that was pretty well verified just now, huh?" Cilusia can't help but smirk a little as she edges off the path, into the brush at the side. The openness of the path was meant to be inviting, to lure one in it would seem. Brush once again rustles at her legs and calves, as high up as her waist and armpits…until there's a little glint of something that catches the evening light. "Hey…hey watch yourselves up here!" she calls out to the others. "Looks like some kind of trip wire…right where I'm at!" she calls, straddling it. And then…up goes Sawyer!

Coll nods a few times as the rock drops through the pit. "Ain't so much primitive as a nice deadfall. Dated a guy in high school that used to catch deer like this. Pretty effective." She doesn't seem to be talking to anyone in particular. Lauren's slight country drawl has returned, as well. She steps away from the tree and starts to go around the pit..then stops. Her head lifts once more and looks around into the woods, eyes squinting against the light. Then Sawyer hits the trip. Coll watches the woman swing high into the air before she takes a knee and looks around. "Got a tripwire here, too." Her gaze then returns to Sawyer briefly before looking around once more.

"All right, I guess we keep moving," calls back the captain to the rest of the party. "Eyes open-" And fwooomp goes Sawyer, tits over teakettle up into a tree. "-well, shit." Moving off at a jog, he begins slapping down the pockets of his gear for the knife that's sheathed.. somewhere. "Got it," he tells Coll. "Fasi, could you spot around and see if there's any other surprises lying in wait for us?" Of course, he's so busy trying to help Sawyer, he probably doesn't spot the fact that he himself has stepped in something. And it ain't deer poo.

There's a distinct CLICK as Shiv's boot hits whatever-it-is, and there's a moment where he starts to move off it— then seems to think better of that idea. The curse that slips out of his mouth, this time, isn't in Standard. "I think.." His voice is remarkably calm. "..I think I've found a mine. Lauren, could you get Sawyer cut down?" Tisiphone and one of the marines are beckoned over to assist, while the captain tries to decide what to do about his little dilemma.

Arms flail for a minute before Sawyer is gathering her bearings (as well as can be upside down) and then she's clutching at her thigh and trying to crawl up it towards her ankle. "As much as I love being a pinata at a seven year old's birthday party, could someone for the love of frak get me down?" Her face is starting to gain more and more color the way she's dangling upside down. She tries again to get to the snare. Failing, she flops backwards and her arms dangle down towards the ground, "I hate your frakking planet…" She huffs down to Sitka, but grows stony and quiet at Sitka's plight, just the creak of the rope to punctuate her slight swing as she looks down to the man's face.

Coll suddenly looks much more alert when she hears that click. "DON'T-!" she orders quite firmly..despite lacking the rank to do so. She flattens her hands before saying more gently. "Don't move, sir. It might be pressurized. Any lift of weight might set it off." Her eyes lift to Sawyer and back to Sitka. "If we don't have any EOD Marines, I'd an ordnance tech, sir. I can probably defuse it if they can't." She slowly rises from her kneel and moves Oh So Carefully towards Sawyer. "Miss Averies? How does your leg feel? Is it twisted?" She looks around to find where the snare rope is tied to.

The marines look at each other and then Coll and shake their heads. Not EOD marines, sorry. They seem ill-at-ease, and move carefully closer to Sawyer and Sitka, but slowly, eyeing the ground all the way.

"Uh, you sure that's a real good plan, given…you know, that little gorilla?" Cilusia replies to Sitka. "What if there are more of those bad boys around here? Easier to deal with one that a shitload, right?" For the moment, she's staying put, feet right where they are, straddling that tripwire. No chance in hell that she wants to go airborne, whether by snare or by being blown up. "If you can find where that shit is tied up…I got a knife to cut her down with, if we can get her lower," Cilusia says to Coll, and any number of marines that feel like helping her. The sure as shit don't seem to want to help Sitka with his problems, at least.

"Vaysa!" shouts a rough voice from up in the trees, followed immediately by the familiar click of a rifle's bolt sliding a round into place, "To ki hasti?!" Up in the tree, situated on a branch that can comfortably support him, is a man in a ragged bottom half of a Colonial flight suit and a sleeveless shirt. His hair is long and unkempt, as is his beard, but the Milirem 700 he has pointed at the group has been kept in top condition.

"I think…I think I pulled a muscle in my leg…" Comes the rather winded reply of Sawyer down to Coll, her tones quiet as if by voice alone she could disturb the mine beneath the Captain. Again one arm raises to clamp onto her hip and upper thigh. And then there is that gutteral voice, coming from the distance. "I think we have company…" Swing…swing…

"Fasi. Get over here and help Sawyer. Do not step on any leaves that aren't flat on the ground. Watch exactly where you plan to step." Coll doesn't sound like the country-addled Crewman anymore. Those Lieutenants pins she used to wear just came out in full force. "Figure out a way to get her down with the Marines." She then points at the battle-clad gents of Bulldog descent. "Give me a rifle cleaning kit. Now." She's just about to step off when she hears the shouting. Lauren freezes in place. "Colonial Standard!!" she yells off over her shoulder, hands slowly lifting up.

The marines have been picking their way carefully towards the booby-trapped pair, but at the sound of Ulixes voice they turn in unison, searching out the man in the tree until one spots him and they train their rifles on him. Well, three do. One is trying to pull a rifle-cleaning kit out of his pocket, and he tosses it hap-hazardly in Coll's general direction in his haste to get Ulixes in his sights along with the rest.

Step. Pause. Look. Step. Pause. Look. That's how Cilusia starts to take a few very cautious steps until that strange voice cuts through the air. It's coming from above, but it's not easily visible right away. She pulls her pistol back out however, and points it up, in the direction where she sort of vaguely heard the sound. "Hey…hey what's he saying?!"

"What?" Ulixes, the man perched in the tree with the rifle trained on them, clears his throat a little bit before he speaks. By the sound of things, he hasn't had to say anything out loud in a long time and it isn't coming easily. All the same, his Colonial Standard has no trace of an accent when he switches over to it, "I want to see all your faces now or I'm triggering that landmine your friend stood on. No sudden movements. Even if you are marines, I bet I can pop one of you before you get me and we don't want that."

Sawyer really has no say in what direction she's facing, at the whims of gravity and the stir of the wind, so she just merely holds her hands out to both sides so Ulixes won't take her as a threat. Hey, you never know how fancy Sawyer can get with her shooting. When inverted. And slightly spinning. While dangling from one leg.

Coll looks down to where she's standing and slowly turns to face where the voice is coming from. Her eyes search the woods before spotting the man. "You'd be killing a Captain in the Colonial Navy and yourself if you did that, sir," Lauren calls back. "We're a search and rescue team here purely for non-combat reasons. Just looking for survivors. We've already lost people to anti-government factions and we're not looking to lose more. We'll happily be out of your traps and gone if you'll allow?" She tilts her head towards Sitka, then Sawyer.

The marines are wearing helmets and they don't seem inclined to remove them, let alone to drop their weapons to remove them. Aimed up as they are, though, their faces are visible enough.

Since everyone is pretty much staring up, mouths agape, at the monkey man that's got the drop on them, Cilusia joins in the crowd. "I know I'm pretty, but come on…help a girl out here! She doesn't even have a gun pointed in your direction, and you can't eat her for dinner…why not cut her the hell down?" Well, he could, but that's pretty damn gruesome, so she doesn't really think or say that.

"Colonial Navy, huh?" Ulixes calls down, rifle still raised before his face and his eye still firmly pressed against the sight, "I've heard that before. I've also met a Caprican noble who promised me a million cubits if I helped get him to the ocean. A guy who claimed to have the only working ship on Sagittaron and another guy claiming to be Apollo and that we'd ride to Asphodel in his chariot if I gave him something to eat. Excuse me if I'm not coming down there for a group hug just yet." He blinks a couple times, not moving his head to get a better look at Sawyer, "Girl? Okay. Counter-weights just behind that tree. Don't let the rope go all at once. No sudden movement."

"Woman, thank you very much, not girl." There. Clarification. Details are important to reporters, it seems (and perhaps their pride) "And I'm not military, I'm a journalist. Oh shit, speaking of…here…" She removes her camera that had been dangling precariously by a lucky hitch on her helmet. "Someone hold this, I don't want it to break in my fall." As she holds her gear down to Cilusia. "So…if you can set that thing off from afar, mystery man, can you also disarm it? That would be swell. I'd rather not end my day with bits of Captain splattered all over my duds." Demanding little harpie, for dangling upside down.

Coll glances to Cilusia when the stranger finishes and gives her a nod and grin. "Niiiiiice," she says quietly before looking back up to the man in the tree. "You don't have to believe us. You can even stay if you want. No skin off our backs. We'll just go back to our Raptors, Vipers, hot meals, showers, and warm bunks." She slowly drops a hand to her canteen, pointing to it and showing it to him. "Here. Consider it an olive branch. Take it or leave it." Lauren lifts the canteen out with two fingers and unscrews the cap. She tips a bit of water out before resealing it. Might as well prove what it is. Another underhanded toss and the canteen lands at the base of his tree. "Now. Can I please go defuse that mine?"

"Any mines I need worry myself with there, oh wise mastermind of boobytraps?" Cilusia calls up to the guy in the tree. "Gonna take me about two years to close the distance to that tree. Lot less time required if I know there's no mines in between me and it." As for no sudden movements, it's probably not a good time to have her pistol out and waving it around through all of this, so…back into its holster it goes. The marines have it locked down if he needs to be shot out of a tree. Until he tells her otherwise, though, Cilusia's taking her time and stepping carefully - it's slow going, needless to say!

Having got a clear look at the faces of those in the group, Ulixes seems satisfied and he lowers his rifle and lets it sling around so it's at his back and no longer in his hands. He waves a dismissive hand in the direction of the mine, "Just step off. There's no charge in there. You think I want to frak around with explosives? They're all the same. It's the click-click sound I need, not an explosion that's gonna bring every tin can and rebel within twenty miles running." Definitely a little short of stable, he's now simply sitting in the tree looking down at them, "So, what unit are you with and how come you're not dead?"

"Got it," rasps Tisiphone to Sawyer. The reporter held her sidearm while she went off to try to get blown up by a rowboat full of G4 — the least she can do in return is hold her camera while she tries to break her neck. It's draped around her neck before she takes a step back. Holding the woman's camera is one thing. Breaking her fall is another.

Sitka, for his part, has been letting Coll do most of the talking while he takes a gander at what he's stepped on. And the ground nearby, for that matter, in case any other suspicious lumps are visible. At Ulixes' voice however, he cuts his gaze back to the man in the tree. And squints a little. "We're crew off the Cerberus." His voice carries the slightest hint of something foreign in its brash consonants and almost throaty pronunciation. But it's very slight. "And you?" Finally, he takes a slow breath— and steps off the mine.

Coll lets off an audible sigh of relief with the annoucement of the mine's being duds. Her shoulders sag and she stoops to pick up the rifle kit and toss it back to the Marines. Her attention then turns back towards Sawyer as she steps over and almost under the woman. "Battlegroup one-thirty-two," she calls after Sitka finishes. "Anyone else up here or just you? And are they going to shoot at us?"

Sawyer just merely goes limp while she waits to be let down. "You people are far too trusting." She mutters underneath her breath.

"Well, that's a handy dandy little godsdamned trick, now isn't it? You've got some balls," Cilusia snarks. Without the threat of any real minds, it's just a matter of cutting through the bush to get to those counter weights. It's a pretty simple setup…even a deckmonkey like her can figure it out! A little tug here, pull out some weight there, and it's just down to a matter of letting up enough weight to unbalance the snare and let Sawyer's own weight pull her down…slowly, hopefully!

"I was on the Victory," Ulixes calls back down when the question was asked, "VAQ-136. Lieutenant Ulixes, T. J. - 452881." He rattles off his identification with needless formality and follows it up with a laugh, shrugging his shoulders and looking down at Coll, "If there's anyone else around here, I haven't seen 'em and that's a trick. Few rebels here and there but not as many as there used to be. Tin cans cleaned them up pretty good."

Slowly is a matter of opinion, but at least it's not at break neck speed. Sawyer tries to curl up at the last moment, so her shoulders connect first instead of her head, helmeted as it may be. As the rope is gradually let out, she sort of just puddles there on the ground as her muscles groan with relief. She'll need some help wobbling back to the Raptor with her pulled muscle, but otherwise she's unscathed from her little stint as a living chandelier.

Well, it was either trust the crazy in the tree, or consign himself to standing around here for the rest of his natural life. Sitka, some might say, is a little too trusting of strangers though. After ensuring that Sawyer's down safely, he drags the back of his hand across his forehead to wipe away the sheen of sweat that's collected again. Blue eyes are squinted up at Ulixes in his tree. "Captain Ibrahim Sitka. We were under the impression there were survivors out here. Are you the only one, aside from the rebels?" The last word, of course, isn't spoken in Standard. It probably doesn't even translate directly to 'rebels'; it's more of a colloquialism for those who operate out of the nearby compound.

Coll reaches up to help Sawyer down and back up. "Well you gotta start somewhere," she says quietly to the reporter. "Show a little dignity and reason and once in awhile it pays off." The Crewman then looks over towards Ulixes. "Fair 'nough." Sitka can handle the rest of this apparently. The woman steps off from where she was and moves to lean against another tree, slotting her thumbs into her tacvest while she looks around.

Tisiphone's eyes narrow at Sitka as he steps off the (faux?) mine he's been caught upon. She holds very still for two or three seconds, as if unconvinced Sawyer won't be cleaning chunks of Captain off her outfit back at base camp tonight, after all, then finally relaxes. Fractionally. She snorts wryly at the reporter and her comments about trustworthiness. "Man," she mutters, "Nikephoros just got made an Officer of the Watch before we came down here. Don't even /start/ about who's trusting who too much."

"Far as I know," Ulixes says, giving Sitka a careful look at the use of non-Colonial Standard words before launching back into his native tongue, "So, do I get to have some of these promised warm meals and showers too or were you guys just saying that so I wouldn't shoot anybody?"

With them all speaking in tongues, Cilusia just sort of steps back out to watch the dude in the tree and stay out of the way. She's not in charge, so, she let's Sitka do all the real talking now that he's found some breath to talk again. Is this the reason they came all the way on out here? To pick up a survivor?

Sitka grins slightly at whatever it is Ulixes says, and eases a pace closer to the tree he's parked himself in. The captain's reply is rattled off in the very same tongue that's oft grating and harsh to non-Sagittaran speakers. "Well, climbing down would be a start. We can talk on the way back to our camp. I can't promise you anything, but I can put in a good word for you." He sniffs sharply, clearing his sinuses. More sweat's wiped off his brow. Is he the only one shedding buckets of it?

Coll's just chilling at the tree, watching the two men discuss…whatever it is they are discussing. She let's her eyes wander once in awhile, her relaxed state slowly returning.

"Cerberus is in frakking orbit," Tisiphone answers, cutting her hoarse and testy words toward Ulixes. It's Colonial Standard for her, with the same backwoods Southern Continent colour it always has. "You stop trying to kill us and we decide you're not a Cylon, you'll get all the frakking galley slop you can eat." Her attention is divided between Sitka and the newcomer, and Sawyer, whom she's trying to make sure is able to walk.

"You've got a Raptor there, don't you?" Ulixes says with a quirk of his eyebrow towards Tisiphone, turning his attention away from Sitka for the moment, "You try living in a rat-hole for months and see how many people you trust straight off the bat." He frowns and glances sidelong at Sitka, "Cylons? Really? I'd only seen a few of them … got some clones or something working for them. All the same guy, by the look of him. As for trying to kill you. If I had, you'd be dead. First rule of killing someone is don't shout 'Hey, I'm up here in the tree. Let me show you how to get out of those traps!'"

This time, Sitka actually laughs. "You must be a colonial pilot," he offers in return, switching back to Standard. "You're sure cocky enough for one." As far as coaxing Ulixes down from the tree goes, he seems to have no intentions of spending any more effort on it. Instead, he moves toward the pair of blondes— more specifically, Sawyer. A quiet conversation ensues, wherein he determines she could use some help walking back, and slides an arm around her waist to help support her. A nod is given to Tisiphone, presumably to precede them in the trek back. "If you'd like to join us," he calls back up to the stranger, "feel free to tag along." To the others, "Let's go. Sergeant, take point and bring us back the way we came, if you would." This, of course, to one of the marines.

The marine sergeant nods at Sitka, stepping around the pit to lead the way back down the path, the other three taking up positions around the group.

Coll watches everyone go about their business and quiet discussions. She only seems to have mild interest in it all until the orders are made to move it. She grins up at Ulixes. "Grab that canteen I tossed you if you're coming with." She gives him a wink and shoves off the tree to travel with the group.

Ulixes slings his way down from the tree gracefully, landing at its base and picking up the canteen. He takes a strange, weaving path to catch up with the group (obviously there were a few traps nobody got to) and shakes his head as he trudges along behind. "I'm back in the military five minutes and I'm already being bossed around."

Tisiphone looks pointedly from Sitka and Sawyer to Ulixes, and back again. The Ensign is Displeased(tm). Lords only know about /what/, this time. She doesn't move to precede the Captain and the journalist until the Marines move in behind them — /then/ she turns away with a snort and tromps away with the rest of them.

"Welcome back, heh. That's how shit goes," Cilusia adds. "I came out of the brig, and not even a day later, they got me right back to what I was doing before. Cilusia sort of hangs near the back of the group, but trudges on back to camp with the rest of them.

It's beginning to dim, on the walk back, the sun dropping below the level of the trees, the forest turning to dusk more quickly than it would outside. Still, the path back can be followed if one is careful and has a decent memory for it, eventually leading back towards the river.

Tisiphone's content in her sullen silence for most of the trip back — maybe her ill temper really /does/ keep her warm at night — until the trees are cleared and she can look out across the ember-orange ribbon of the sunset-lit river. Something she sees makes her grin, and her steps pick up in speed. "Walk faster," she suggests, casual as can be. "Hippos are coming out to forage." She starts to whistle, poorly, as she closes the last of the gap to the Raptor.

"I hear they're carnivorous around here," one of the marines comments when hippos are mentioned, "Somebody was talking about it back at camp." They pick up the pace as well, speeding the team back to the raptor, which is waiting to take them all back to camp.

"Good idea," Ulixes murmurs quietly, picking up his pace a little as well with a careful glance over his shoulder at the grove of trees that has been his home for quite some time.

"Carniverous. Hippos." Coll suddenly doesn't seem so chill and relaxed. Nope. "Okay. I'm all for this 'leaving' thing." She unholsters the sidearm from her thigh rig and trots along with the group.

Shiv, for all his apparently trusting nature, does at least post one of the assault rifle-toting marines two paces after Ulixes. Either he isn't worried about the stranger shooting one of them in the back, or he's just got other things on his mind. Or Sawyer's been eating a few too many quesadillas. His head comes up when Tisiphone mentions the hippos, and a faint smile slants across his lips. Carnivorous hippos, indeed. "Almost there," he murmurs to the woman hobbling along with him. He, of course, does not draw his weapon.

"No shit?" rasps Tisiphone, looking to the informative Marine, her sun-bleached brows shooting upward. "Glad the word's getting out," she adds after a few steps, clearing her throat. She climbs into the back of the Raptor and looks to Sitka for a second as she scratches the corner of her mouth, then busies herself helping the others in. (re, clarity)

"Better a hippo than a zebra," Ulixes says as he plods along with the group, not spotting (or ignoring) the Marine assigned to keep an eye on him, "Fast as a horse and fangs like you only read about." He gives a rather convincing shudder before tilting his head to one side, still talking to himself, "Tasty, though."

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