PHD #009: EVENT - The Issue of Echidna
The Issue of Echidna
Summary: The return recon to Virgon puts Marines and Engineering face to face with a mystery…and the Cylons' evolved walking weapons.
Date: Mar 07 2041
Related Logs: None.
Arkat Aziza Cadmus Damon Demos Marcion Ren Sabien Silas Sofia Stavrian Stephens Polaris 

Tonight's mission is just a simple milk run, or so said the hyperactive Operations eltee detached from CIC as a briefer some hour and forty-five minutes ago: get in, smash doors, grab gear, and get out. The fact that the target in question is a half-dead battlestar didn't quite seem to register in her frizzy blonde head — but as the men and women of Cerberus thread through the massive debris field above Virgon space, the true contours of this task become quite apparent. Visible through the clear glass port of their boarding Raptors is the wreckage of sixty-eight battlestars, their four hundred one escorts, and more bits and pieces of planes than even Intel has been able to count. One of their pilots has to make a distinct effort not to throw up in his helmet; another simply recites a hymn for the dead — nine hundred thousand souls in all, give or take, entombed in steel above the irradiated ruins of the planet below. But by the time the detachment arrives in their target's hangar bay — miraculously intact — their pilots have stopped speaking entirely.

Down through the retracted flight elevator the Raptors go, depositing their crew bird by bird in the hangar bay below. Searchlights from the transports slash through the darkness, searching out the hatch in question while a squad of engineers in EVA suits hook up portable generators to the nearby walls. Finally, after nearly an hour of waiting, the chief in charge gives his men the thumbs-up, lifting his helmet and breathing the recycled air now circulating through the room. "Seal is good," he snaps rather briskly. "We've got enough juice for three hours if our estimates hold, so take your time and good luck out there. Wish we could come with."

Marcion shakes his head as he looks out the window. "Should be something. No debris clearances from forming FTL bubbles. Someone should have at least TRIED to jump. Likely suffered systems problems like Picon fleet." He sighs. "Keep eyes open for useful parts. Focus on fine machinery. If we can machine it on Cerberus, lower priority. Wish path to engineering was open. D-class FTL drive had useful parts."

Stavrian is at the back of a load of Marines, rifle strapped to one shoulder and a forward-duty medical kit slung over the other. The ultimate medical dichotomy. His feet are loaded in those clunky-ass magnetic boots, which he leans down to activate before unclicking his safety belt and standing up, waiting for the battle dress ahead of him to clear on out.

"Lords of Kobol, hear my prayer. Artemis, grant me your keen eye and the luck of the hunt. Bless us with something to hope for, give us protection from our enemies, may our arrows strike true, and let us return to our fellow warriors without harm. With your blessing, may we pass through the hands of the enemy unscathed…" Cadmus whispers quietly to the silver pendant of Artemis slung around his neck, pressing it to his forehead and kissing it quietly. A moment later, he tucks it back into his flak vest and checks the chamber on his GMAR for about the fifth time. Glancing to his right and left - Demos and Stavrian - he gives them the thumbs-up, and begins attaching his flashligh to the underbarrel rail of his rifle.

Stephens is settled into the back with his rifle, with the MP's, ready to go, awaiting orders, relaxed, sitting back in the harness, prepared to move when ordered.

Aziza has been utterly silent on the trip down. Goggles pulled up over the top of her helmet, rifle trapped securely in the crook of her elbow with the muzzle pointed at the floor, the only sound from her is the occasional snap of her gum. As the raptor finally makes landfall with a solid thump, she too bends to tap something on her boots, unhooks her harness, and looks immediately to her squad leader du jour for the signal to move out.

Damon can't even count how many Battlestars are visible through the viewport. A lot. Too many. His expression is dark as he looks out, trying to see everything. "Gods," he mutters, neck twitching. He stays silent and doesn't make eye contact with anyone until they're landed and cleared to go. No prayers, no hymns, just utter silence and downcast eyes. Once the Chief cites the time of three hours, he glances down at his watch momentarily, making a mental note of the time. "Ready," he reports to Marcion. After all, he's only carrying a pistol and a flashlight.

Ren is double-checking his gravity boots, fastening them as securely as humanly possible. Another double-check to the flashlight ready at his belt. He's packing a sidearm, too. Maybe the first time he's worn one off-ship. But it's the flashlight, and his engineering kit, that seem his main concern. A nod to Marcion. "We'll keep an eye out, sir. For the black box as well. Maybe it can give the Higher Ups a clearer picture of what happened here."

During the long wait, gear has been checked and double-checked, then triple-checked just to be sure. Demos sits near the other MPs, her voice quiet, but assured, "By the book boys and girls. Pay attention to Sergeant Galyian and his Marines. They are forward. Keep an eye on the engineers. Make sure that, if they run into trouble, we're there if the Marines are occupied. But, most importantly of all. If there are survivors, we take charge of them and get them home." She pauses to listen to Cadmus' prayer, then murmurs, "So say we all." Switching on her boots, she releases her restraints and stands.

Somewhere in the dark cthonic heart of 3M, cloaked figures hiss at the loss of such precious materials. They'll have to pitch a virgin into a volcano to make up the loss or something. Or just cancel another Joss Whedon show and harness the rage. Whichever really. Sofia is here for some reason or another, and looks to Cadmus. Hey! She knows him. A faint smile. Sofia offers a quiet prayer to whomever feels up to listening really. Religious conviction is not her strong point. She has her flashlight, a sidearm, some engineering kit and enough weaseliness to power a salesman factory. Deep breath. Triple check gear. Nothing on fire, with holes in it and she's wearing pants. It'll do. "Righto." Incredibly, she has a clipboard among her kit. Maybe it's a source of dark managerial powers. Who knows? Sofia just looks around, shifty as ever.

Stavrian lifts a thumbs-up back to Cadmus, signaling back to the Marine that he saw the gesture. As he gets out of the Raptor and onto the floor, he waits for his PO to get down as well, keeping track of Demos in the crowd of Marines. His flashlight's clicked on and kept in hand, his rifle staying in position on his shoulder rather than at the ready for now. "We're on you, Sergeant."

Magnetic boots. They make moving around a little undignified and ungraceful. Right now Sabien is reacclimating himself to this bit of equipment with a straight-legged toddle that makes him look like some crappy stop-action monster film. RArrr. Sabien smash Caprica City! When he's got a feel for it, he gives Stavrian a quick nod, his expression thin-lipped. He, too, is outfitted with medkit and rifle, the bright red cross on his sleeve's shoulder marking him as MEDIC.

Stephenss helmet turns to Demos, then nods, showing understanding as he prepares for the unglorious, yet needed, Engineer Babysitting duty. Unsnapping and freeing himself from the harness, getting ready to move out.

With the hairs on the back of his neck at full attention, Sgt. Galyian double-checks the maglight on the side of his rifle before giving his feet a little stomp, checking out the seals on his own magnetic boots and hopping out of the Raptor. "Alright." His head nods to both Kohl and Silas. "Babysitting. Nice and easy. Watch your corners and stick close. This place feels like a bad horror movie." Arkat throws himself on point, keeping an eye on the Engineers for their move. Hey, they know what to look for.

Pvt. Silas Trista, the FNG with the marine rifleman, loosens, then tightens the chin strap on her helmet for just about the seventh time. Her hair pokes out from under it in a pair of short black pigtails. The only thing that's kept her from gnawing off her fingernails is a pair of gloves. She adjusts her explosive kit, then re-shoulders her rifle, and shifts her weight side to side as if she has to pee. She finally stops clicking the release on her seat harness, and is up and out just as soon as the order is given. She shoves a pen cap into her mouth to chew on, and forms up on Galyian.

"Parthenos Iokheaira, roloi pano mou," Aziza whispers, words soft in the clamour of boots hitting the ramp as the raptor disgorges her crew. She tugs the goggles down over her face, doublechecks her explosive loadout — one, two, three, four — and swings on out of the raptor to take Arkat's right wing. Rifle up, eyes sharp as she acclimatises to the strange sensation of moving in the anti-grav boots.

Demos moves out after Galyian, her footsteps kind of a squish-thump that is lost in the sea of others. She disembarks and stands near the other MPs. Once the Marines have their orders, she nods to her team, "Fill in any gaps, keep your eyes peeled." Her gaze flickers to Marcion, then out into the gloom. Finally, she clicks on her torch, afixes it to her belt, and turns on the maglight on her rifle.

Stephens snaps to, ready to move out and forms up in a spot that seems like it needs a warm body taking it up to promote security. He holds his weapon at a relaxed alert stance and is prepped for trouble. As always.

Stavrian snorts quietly at Arkat's horror movie comment. He lifts his chin to Sabien, unsmiling, and makes a gesture with palm splayed towards the corridor. "Let's go. You take right side as we go, I'll take left. Alert if you see anything, and watch the Marines' backs as you go." Without the benefit of thermal scanners, they're down to eagle eyes and ears for signs of life.

Falling in after Demos, Cadmus falls erily silent - both in terms of speech and the sound of his boots. Make no mistake, they make noise like everyone else's, but he's taking pains to minimise the sound; it seems a habitual action rather than a conscious decision. Nodding at his sergeant's orders, he begins to step up a few spaces, eyes darting down the corridors and hollows as the train moves out. Always checking corners. Always sweeping hiding spots.

"CIC's up those stairs," says the chief in charge, the arm of his bulky EVA suit pointing to an entrance his men have illuminated on his order. As beams of light cut through the darkness, bits and pieces of life come into view: there by the stairs, a mug of coffee floating at eye level, its contents frozen solid from exposure to the vacuum; there in the corner, four bodies in orange huddled together for one last moment of human comfort, their faces purple from the exploded blood vessels underneath their papery skin; there near the ceiling, two notepads and pens leaking red. "Priority one is figuring out what triggered that ELF burst. We'll hold down the fort. Believe you me, these Raptors aren't leaving without you." His expression is grim. "Too many damn dead bodies here to add your names to the list."

Marcion nods, then gestures the path towards the CiC. "After ELF signal, find and secure black box. Intelligence on attack top priority. And mind the marines. They keep us from getting shot, we keep them from stepping on high conductive wire dislodged by weapons fire. Be polite."

Ren wordlessly nods to Marcion, though his eyes are focused on the belly of the beast they're venturing into rather than the officer. He knows, more or less, where he needs to go. A nod to the bulky chief and a quick, "Thanks, man. See you guys later." He says it almost like he's trying to convince himself of it. He /will/ see everyone later, darnit. There's no mourning about him. As he hefts his engineering kit and trudges toward CIC, he's all about practicality.

That's good enough for Arkat. With a sharp whistle, his hand waves two the two marines flanking him and makes his way to the CIC, taking point but allowing plenty of room for both an engineer and a medic to be close behind. For wires that could kill him and corpses that won't, respectively. "If a crazy guy with a knife chases either of you-" He says over his shoulder to the two female Marines he's supposed to be 'leading' "-I will shoot you myself if I catch you running upstairs into the bathroom." Still thinking about the horror movie, obviously.

"CIC. ELF, Black Box," Damon repeats under his breath. He gives his pistol a quick check before starting to clunk off in his gravity boots, staying close with others nearby. The pistol is held lowered and at his side - definitely a noncombat mentality in this knuckledragger, or he just doesn't think they'll run into problems here. "CIC, ELF, Black Box. Salvage, too. Okay. Let's frakking do this thing and get out of here."

Stephens takes his stance, determined to be the guy who goes down in a blazing flare of repeating gunfire that does NOTHING to the monster, as opposed to the screaming little bitch who can't run without tripping for NO reason when running from the monster.

Noting the evidence of life lost, Demos' squares her shoulders and nods to the Chief. She does not add her voice just now, but moves with the Marines forward. Her gaze lights on the three huddled bodies and then looks into any shadows beyond them. The horror movie analogy seems more than a little apt until the remark about the crazy guy with the knife. Demos half smiles, "You won't have to worry there, Sergeant. We'll arrest the frakker before he gets the chance." She motions for her team to move in tandem with the Marines. She does not take point, but does take the rear, glancing from time to time over her shoulder to be sure nothing is sneaking up on them.

Stavrian's flashlight beam flickers over those floating lifeless faces, blood-rich faces turning a glowy shade of orange in the light. His lips thin, teeth pressing together in his mouth. As he passes by them, he reaches up and grabs each jumpsuit, pressing his fingers into the side of each cold neck. Nothing, of course, but ethics dictates they must check. Then it's onwards, flashlight swept in a tightly-knit grid over where he's going.

"I dunno, you lose control of your bladder when you die. I guess I'd be okay dying in a bathroom," Sofia shrugs. Ever practical. She goes quiet though, hoping not to get zorched or eaten by anything although anything that eats Sofia will have a stomachache for /weeks/. Ew. She is mostly closer to the front, to search for things. Sharp green eyes narrow at the signs here. Her flashlight is on, beam flickering. She looks to Stephens then back around.

Having employed the age-old technique of duct tape, flashlight and rifle, Sergeant Kohl's light source moves with the direction of her gun barrel. She sweeps left, illuminating the floating coffee cup for a second before moving on again. "Nice to know you've got our backs, Sarge," is her grinning reply to Arkat's faux warning. It's impossible to move either gently or quietly in boots like these, so she doesn't even try to mask the grind-thunk that each magnetised step makes as she heads up the stairs.

"Never got much into Scifi movies," Marcion mutters as they walk. "Time travel through overcharged FTL drive completely unrealistic." He keeps looking around for any sign of internal combat damage or survivors, or a panel he might be able to coax some info out of, if he gave it a charge."

It's crowded in these damn halls. Really crowded. Cadmus grits his teeth for a moment at the mix of bodies and living crewman, and proceeds to place a foot on the wall of the corridor. He takes several short careful steps that lead him toward the ceiling - partially inverted from the crew on the floor - and begins to proceed in a careful crouch-walk, near the upper part of the ceiling. It appears that he is attempting to use this unusual vantage point to check areas that someone on the floor might otherwise miss.

Ren shrugs to Marcion. "Unrealistic? Maybe. I saw one where they sling-shot a battlestar around the sun that was pretty choice, though." He tries to catch Sofia's eye and flash her a quick smile as he levels his flashlight around.

Sabien ticks off two fingers from his forehead in a salute to Stavrian. "Sir, yes sir." Comes his gravelled reply. The air in here may be breatheable, but the sneer on his lips means he likely doesn't find it palatable. He slips a toothpick in his mouth, clamping down with his back teeth and breaking off right with the pack and trudging along, his boot making hollow clunking sounds as they lift and drop back to the deck plating. Not much for chit chat, this one, but he sure is grinding that wooden splinter into oblivion, his eyes remaing watchful.

The corridors of Battlestar Chimaera stretch out before the assembled group, long and winding, devoid of life. The combined force of twelve torches is more than enough to light their way as they proceed through the anonymous A-frame hall, pushing past heavy crates now levitating in the air. They part without offering so much as a little bit of resistance, spinning in place as they're disturbed: perpetual motion, or as close to it as these men and women will ever see. The path should be familiar to anybody who's served aboard a Valkyrie-class before, linking as it does the Hangar Bay to the crew quarters on Deck 7, the hatch to which comes now in sight — welded in place from the other side.

"Get that out of your mouth, PO." Cripes, Stavrian's got eyes in the back of his curly head. "You swallow that shit and you'll have a load more holes in you that you started with." His flashlight continues to move, and he pushes a few things aside that might be hiding limbs.

Silas' dark brown eyes flick to Arkat at his attempt at a joke. She chews her pen cap in silence, but flicks a glance to Aziza. She swaps the pen cap to the other cheek, the beam of her flashlight cutting through the darkness. Yes, she's careful not to shine it in the face of her fellow soldiers. The pvt waddles in her heavy g-boots, reaching up to shove a floating crate gently away from her shoulder. She checks her peripheral vision several times, but it's always a spinning crate or some other debris.

Demos notes Cadmus idea and nods once. She motions to Stephens, then gestures to the other wall. Silently, she indicates that he should follow suit and take the other wall. She turns to walk backwards for a few paces, her torch swinging from one side to the other, then back again. When she is certain that they are not followed, she turns front again in time to side-step a floating crate. Ahead, the hatch comes into view.

Arkat may be taking what conversation there is entirely un-seriously, but make no mistake his eyes are scanning everything. Corpses, cabling and any sign of movement is glimpsed at, His rifle sometimes homing to point at whatever caught his eye. Swift-moving torchlight dragging out hard shadows of the corridors in a wonderfully surrealist fashion as a result, before they're quickly snuffed by another light from someone else. Scorch marks on the door catch his eye, tell-tale signs of heat being applied to the other side bleeding through. Either it's a last-ditch attempt at protection, or he's walked into the weirdest hostage-situation ever. "Silas!" His hand waves, pointing two fingers towards the door. "3 Cubits says we'll need a breach. You're up."

Stephens listens to the ameauters jawing about Scifi and shakes his head, but the gesture from Demos moves him into place to the wall to cover the activity. time to work. and by work that means possibly shooting things.

Aziza is still chewing away on her gum. Every so often, a snap that's mostly muffled by her helmet and the sound of several sets of magnetic boots rhythmically hitting the deck. Catching Silas' glance, she returns it briefly, then levels her rifle on the welded-shut hatch. When the Private is called up to deal with it, she hesitates a moment, then drops back to cover the imminent breach.

The Stavrian's a year younger then Sabien, but he's still the medic's superior. Sabien grunts, then turns his head to the side, ticking the toothpick to the otherside of his mouth before spitting it out near his feet as a little wooden projectile. Fine. He'll just grind his teeth. As the merry band of players draws up to the secured hatch, the thunk of Dominic's boots come to a halt, and he shifts the weight of the medpack on his shoulder to swing it around to a more handy position.

Turning gingerly about on his wall perch, Cadmus raises his rifle to scan down the opposite direction. Slowly, his breathing regulates, his shoulders relax, and he seems to settle into a calm, collected stare down that long metal a-frame ribbing. The stare is interrupted at various points as he glances down at the others working on the door and collecting around it.

Sofia smiles at Ren and nods, she even gently lifts her flashlight. She looks even weasily-er than before. As if she might just up and tunnel somewhere then come back wiggling her whiskers. Shifty git. She turns to look this way and that. As if she just might have missed something.

Demos nods to Stephens when he is in position, then reaches her hand up. Two fingers point to her eyes and then forward. A 'spider's eye view of what the hatch hides' then. Looking over to Cadmus, she nods once. When the Marines have established themselves by the Hatch, Demos once more turns. She kneels, rifle raised to her shoulder. The light is held so it follows the slow sweep of her barrel.

Must have come with having kids. Next Stavrian will be telling Sabien to clear his plate before leaving the table. He comes to a stop in the corridor as the Marines start fiddling with explosive shit, arching a dark brow. Great. An eye's cast around and behind him towards the engineers, then the rest of the corridor, making sure he missed nothing in the moving flashlight beams.

No point in adding useless commands. Gesturing to his people to stay out of the way while the hatch is opened, Marcion waits for the professionals to do what they do.

Stephens is in position, ready and set to ruin someones day, keeping an eye out on the hatch and ready to react. okay. focus.

Ren is quiet now. He holds himself in place, eyes on the Marines.

The pen chewing private advances as she's called up, slinging her rifle over her shoulder. "Onnit, Sarge." She reaches up to remove her gloves with her teeth, shoves them under her arm, then goes digging about in her kit. She pokes around at the door for a moment, then begins applying the explosive. She's fairly quick about it. And it's unlikely anyone will notice the tiny shaped charge she wedges on, right in the middle. But if they do, it's a tiny smiley face. How much det cord is too much det cord? One critical look is taken, and the private moves back to pass the word.

In those high-budget low-plot science fiction movies being discussed, Colonial Marines typically open welded hatches with detcord wrapped around G-4 wrapped around detcord wrapped around a five hundred pound bomb: a package that's apparently capable of exploding doors off hinges with the power of a thousand burning suns while keeping everything around it intact. Nothing so spectacular happens here: all that's really audible is a faint little "pop" as electricity surges through the wires Silas has deployed upon command; then, one controlled explosion later, the doorframe itself comes loose, heralded only by a flash of light and the smell of charring paint.

And beyond? The folks on the roof are the first to notice the small red bubbles propelled backwards by onrushing air from the now-open hatch, splattering walls painted the soothing beige of every anonymous hotel in the colonies. It doesn't take long for them to see why — for indeed, those floating polka dots trace a clear path through another maze of crates less crowded than the first, following precisely the crimson-black smears on the hardened deck below before making a ninety-degree turn to starboard some twenty meters ahead. The tang of blood greets the gathered soldiers behind, sharp and acrid and tasting of rust. But bodies?

None are in sight.

Marcion frowns at that, and turns to one of the medics. "Blood fresh?"

Stavrian's nostrils flare as he takes in a sharp breath, smelling that familiar stench. He steps to the side of the line of Marines and thins his lips, squinting a little down at the blood trail that he can see. "No. No way that's fresh. Two or three days, at least."

Stephens averts his eyes, just a flick down to avoid being flashblinded, then looks back to the door as it blows in, ready for an eldrich horror of massive ooze to eat 1D6 people before you can start shooting, but.. nothing like that, so he holds.

The sound of the *pop* catches Demos' attention, but she does not turn to look. There are Marines up there, and her own people are on watch. Her job is to guard there backs and she means to do it right. Still, the acrid smell of blood is noted when it wafts back to her. Never a good thing, it is all the worse for the talk of horror films.

Happy that there's not a vacuum on the other side to suck them all into space, Arkat's boots make heavy and hurried stomps as he passes through the door. The rifle-torch scans one half of the room as he moves on the right-hand side. Far corner, wall, near corner. He's not sure what he's aiming for the element of suprise on, exactly, but he's doing his best anyway. "We're good." Well, the room is, anyway.

Wince. Sofia looks a little green. She's clearly not used to the smell. She MIGHT be used to the eldrich horror, and heck - she could even bring him coffee sometimes. Not a bad guy, but he's awful when he gets started on his stories about family barbeques. Awkward. And he likes to show you ALL the pictures of his kids. Not so bad you might think, but he has thousands. At any rate, Sofia follows along, halting when the others do. Squint.

"Frak me." Cadmus utters these two simple words just above a whisper; the draining enthusiasm in his eyes tells the whole story. He doesn't expect to find anybody living through that door, not for any reason. He keeps glancing back over his shoulder toward that door, and eventually he begins slowly stepping backwards in tandem with Demos, bringing up the rear of the procession.

Sabien drops his gaze to his feet as the hatch pops, the first instinct to protect his eyes should something go amiss. When the metal gives, he flicks his peepers back up and they instantly round out at the image in fron to him. So that's what blood looks like at zero g's. "The color. The color is what gives it away." Dominic grumbles after Stavrian's answer to Marcion. He sniffs, that sneer once more lifting his upper lip to show a flash of teeth.

Blood! Fantastic. Damon's been able to keep it together so far, though he is all tensed up and his lips tightly pursed. At the sight of the blood, though, he does recoil a few steps and brings his left arm up over his mouth. Grip tightening around his pistol, which still hovers by his side, he hesitantly follows after those in front of him, scanning all around him with much more paranoia than before.

Stavrian looks up at the Ceiling Marines above them. "Don't let those droplets get near your mouths or eyes." There's common sense and then there's biohazards, and he's taking no chances. He looks over at Sabien, lowering his voice. "You got a collection kit handy? See if you can get a couple of those drops." His blue eyes flicker to Damon, sharply.

Ren looks a tinge green himself in the dim light. He tries not to breathe too deeply. Or look too close at what falls within the beam of his flashlight. Though, when he forces himself to, the lack of visible bodies earns some puzzled furrowing. "Just get the job done. Get it done," he mutters to himself. His version of prayer. Or a nudge to force himself to get this over with quickly. Sooner he's done, sooner he can leave after all. In he goes.

"Curious. Would have expected old blood to be more clotted and dried, even in zero gee." Marcion shrugs. "Never paid much attention to biology." He looks around to his people. "Focus on the job. Drinks on me when we get back home."

Do Ceiling Marines watch you- oh boy. As if Basement Managers weren't enough. Sofia tries not to inhale any of the droplets or get them in her eyes. She doesn't want some horrible space disease. If sci fi taught her anything, it's that anything in space becomes more badass. Even old people and sheep. She lifts an eyebrow at Marcion. "Kind of you," She's on the hunt then. Best not to linger.

Stephens was expecting something.. worse, so, blood? Meh. He is ready to cover the engineers. Go engineers, go. He focuses on keeping this from becoming a bad movie scene.

Aziza keeps her rifle steady, though her head does a quick turn away at the moment of the detonation. The instant the dust clears, she's up and moving again, covering Arkat's egress into the room. As soon as they're in, she fans out to the left; the torch taped to her rifle picks out various bits of floating debris as it's scanned across the bulkheading. Splat as a few droplets of blood strike her cheek. What'd the medic say about letting that stuff touch them? She wipes it off with her glove, and then wipes that off on her armoured thigh. "Not seeing anything over here, Sarge," she tells Arkat, chewing more slowly on her gum now.

Demos moves with Cadmus as the Marines move forward. She walks backwards, her rifle still moving left to right. The woman's concentration does not waver, even with the talk of collections and blood. She knew it would be there the moment the smell hit her nose. Once she clears the hatch, she stations herself at one side of it and crouches again. This way, she can watch the forwrd avenue and their exit. Looking up at Cadmus and then to Stephens, she motions for them to follow the Marines forward, eyes high. Settling in her corner, she angles her rifle back the way they came.

"I'm fine, just… didn't expect that," Damon says to Stavrian as the man's eyes turn to him. A bald-faced lie, since he looks as though he's about to puke at any second. But he doesn't. Yet, anyway. He keeps the arm up over his mouth and nose as he moves forward, careful to not let any droplets near his eyes as ordered.

Sabien quirks an eyebrow at Stavrian, but doesn't outright question the order. Samples? "Sure thing, El Tee." His voice never raising above that hoarse mutter. Rifle and medical kit, Sabien might as well be a pack mule. He certainly plods like one in those ridiculous boots. Flipping open the flap of his bag, he rummages in one of the interior compartment until he comes up with what he needs. Flicking open a little plastic test tube, it has a cotton swab attached on the inside. He makes quick work of swiping the absorbant collection tool over a few drops on one of the walls, then snicks it back away securely. Further, he pulls out another little vial, and collects one of the floating drops like a child collecting fireflies on a warm summer evening.

Stephens nods to Demos, moving to cover a corner. Yes, he's covering the room in general, but THAT corner, if any hand shaped aliens intent on latching onto anyones face and shoving a tube into their chest to implant an egg? AW HELL NAW! That little crawly alien is getting shot. Alot.

Down the path they go, their magnetized boots clanging loudly against the floor as they move through the crates. It becomes increasingly more difficult for even the most careful of them to avoid completely the blood in the air, which hangs in place like drops of rain from some Tartarean cloud. It gets in their hair, sticking in blond and black and brown like the macabre highlights worn by strix-worshipping adolescents from Aerilon to Virgon; it gets on their uniforms, creating curious splotchy patterns akin those a psychiatrist might ask patients to analyze; it even gets on the exposed skin on their hands and faces, splashing upon impact, growing warmer as they move — almost fresher —

And then they turn the corner, flashlights flaring, the stench of rot overwhelming — to reveal row upon row of bunks through the hatch directly opposite, all of them empty, their former inhabitants nowhere in sight. Block letters to the right of that hatch proclaims this to be the home of the enlisted ratings deployed aboard; black graffiti scrawled in marker beneath the sign announces that "We fix shit so you don't have to."

Stavrian moves forward as the Marine line starts to shift, eyes much sharper now that something's been bleeding in here. He's more used to that smell than some others, still breathing through his nose rather than chance opening his mouth. A glance back to Damon and he nods, watching both the deckhand and Ren for a few seconds before continuing on. He tugs a small collection tube out of his vest pocket himself, kneeling down to swipe a q-tip on the edge of the smears on the floor. That's jammed carefully back into its home and capped shut. As they keep moving he raises a hand in front of his face to shield it, the back of his hand slowly growing more and more red with spatters. Hell. "Where the frak is the smell coming from," he mutters.

Cadmus crouch-walks past the room's threshold, along the interior of the next area's ceiling after the main contingent of crewmen and engineers. He keeps waving one hand in front of his face, absently warding off the droplets that threaten to get in his face - eventually, it just gets too much for him, and he drops his goggles over his eyes. "I swear to the frakking gods, this was an EVAT training setup on Scorpia," he grumbles, too far behind the main contingent to catch any glimpse of all those lonely bunks.

Silas sucks a breath in through her nose, then clenches her teeth against the plastic of the cap in her mouth. She goes right as Aziza goes left. She grunts and drags a pair of plastic goggles over her eyes. Gnaw, gnaw. She does that now with her mouth closed. She almost swallows the cap with the intake of breath laden heavily with the smell, then snorts as she reads the marker scrawled addition. It's just so ridiculous. That time she does swallow the pen cap. Herk. Hack. Hack. It remains caught in her throat. Hork. Then she resumes chewing the plastic. Probably no one noticed.

Stephens looks to the hacking. ALIEN?! No Alien, no facehugging little bugger. He looks back to cover his zone. Ready to shoot.

The torch on Arkat's rifle goes out, the Sarge's hand flicking the switch before adjusting the sling so the long firearm can hang somewhat secure against his back. Satisfied that he's covered, he then bends to disengage his boots. One hand stays on the pistol at his thigh, the other pushing along what purchase he can get. It becomes faster when he reaches the rows of bunks, his hands letting him drift to one, check, then move on. "Pick a row, people! Call out if they're occupado." If anything's getting to him, he's not showing it. While his head peers in one bunk, there's a muffled addition of "Quit choking, Private."

Ren gets a little splattered with blood as he makes his way down the corridor. Not too much, but the spots that get on his coveralls and in his hair make his skin crawl nonetheless. And then comes the smell. "What the frak…?!" It's exclaimed in a half-gag, and he takes a moment just to struggle not to retch. He manages not to. Barely.

Marcion moves through slowly, letting security do what it do. His eyes go to the omnipresent porn lining the enlisted bunks and smiles. It is good, sometimes, to be a little too focused. Walking from bunk to bunk, he occasionally checks out under the bunks as well, sidearm still holstered. "Bled in here. Bled and fled? Would expect bodies on bunks if battle ended here…" The floating blood goes almost unnoticed.

Just what Sofia would needs. The horror of Alien Wing Wang in your face. HORRORS. By now Sofia is more ill looking than a mime tossed into a dryer. Eeagh. She's wishing she had some sort of bubble to keep it all away. Did she dry heave a little? Uh oh. She is trying very very hard not to dry heave. *hrk* Uh oh. It makes no sense to her, green eyes narrowed and eventually almost going completely cross. They're going to stay that way one day. "Maybe they pulled back after they were wounded or- the blood got sucked into something that circulates?"

As the last of them ease around the corner, Demos leaves her post. She motions for Stephens to move with her, then backs through the hallway to the bend. Blood splatters her hair, her back, side and arms. Then, it begins to swirl around to splatter her front. Reaching the bend, she turns to look after the knot of people, then motions for Stephens to round the bend before she does. "Let's catch up. Won't do to be seperated."

Stavrian lifts a hand, motioning Sabien on into one of the rows. He takes one himself, jaw set and one eye quickly shutting as a droplet of blood splashes against his forehead. Not that it was necessary with goggles on, but it's reflex. His magnetic boots make their soft clump-thunking sounds along with the litany of others', moving up through the bunk rows and checking each one for signs of bodies. Or parts of them. His eyes lift and look up around the walls, checking the trajectory of any other obvious heavy smears. Arterial sprays, blunt force droplet spatter.

Aziza keeps her own weapon out and at the ready, but follows suit with Arkat in switching off the gravity inducers on her boots and half floating, half clambering her way down to the bunks. Lining herself up for the farthest row, she begins the process of drifting along them by grasping the bunk's frame and propelling herself along. Visual checks are corroborated with the occasional poke of her rifle at a still-closed curtain, setting off a lazy motion of slowly swirling drapes.

"Heurgh," Damon comments helpfully. No wait, that's the sound of him choking down some dry-heaving. The smell of rot does manage to overwhelm him, but he adamantly refuses to throw up. He does spit, though, once he gets himself under control. At the order, Damon moves down one of the rows, checking the beds. Nothing, nothing, PUKE, nothing. That third bunk gets its sheet pulled up just a little bit to tuck away the vomit. He doesn't even glance around to see if anyone saw him throw up - some probably at least heard him. Just wipes his mouth and keeps on moving. "Row's clear," he reports once he gets to the other side.

Stephens nods to Demos, "Copy." He says, simply, and moves to catch up. Seperation is the end of the whole thing. taken out one by one. Don't seperate the party. He moves to meet up, covering the corners, and running his lookout by the numbers.

Silas flashes a thumbs up, and moves down to a row to have a lookie-loo. Choking resolved. Look, she does stuff on command! She follows Aziza's lead, and makes her way down the row with the occasional poke at a bunk.

Blood spatters Sabien's cheeks like the others until they're all now wearing some twisted sort of war paint. The back of his hand makes a swipe at his nose, drawing a crimson line across the bridge. "This is ridiculous…" He says to no one in particular. Maybe he's used to the smell, maybe blood rains on him on a daily basis, or maybe in the back of his mind he's qualifying this as a paint ball game. Red team's winning.

The bunks are as empty as they looked, and there's thankfully quite little in the way of floating blood inside once the team gets inside. Crates have been replaced by the miscellaneous possessions of the room's hundred inhabitants, and it's almost harder not to stumble upon silent relics testifying to souls now completing the transit to Hades' clammy hands — a worn teddy bear, an "I'm with Stupid" tee, a souvenir mug from Aerilon bearing the silhouette of a famous Aerilonian sheep behind which somebody has rather helpfully drawn the figure of a bent-over man. Stale water from the head in back — running no longer — has flooded into the rear of the room from a shower left on for far longer than its user probably intended.

And still no bodies, and still no survivors.

Jogging - or as near to jogging as one can manage in microgravity - Cadmus follows Demos and the other members of Able Three-One along the hall, up toward the empty bunks. He slowly clambers down from his ceilingward position, clanging back to the floor with a soft 'oof'. And then he starts to recognize what it is he's looking at. "Oh, frak me…" he whispers quietly, "Oh, frak me." Slowly, he pulls the Artemesian medallion out of his flak jacket and rubs it with his off-hand.

Stavrian is now frowning visibly, lips pressed together, as he gets to the far end of a row and those crimson-black streaks just…stop. "What the shit?" He turns back around, looking at the room full of Marines whose faces he can see between rows of empty bunks.

"Nothing here!" Aziza barks out, smacking her rifle against the frame of the last bunk in her row before dragging herself up to the next. At some point, midway along that row, she finally succumbs to the traitorous retch reflex. Before she can stifle it, there's a muffled sound of her dinner coming back up. Thankfully, nobody needed that mattress anymore.

Marcion closes his eyes, carefully conteplating. "Shower left on. Indicates quick exit, surprise." He gestures to the hatch. "Hatch welded shut from inside. Indicates long haul. Siege, maybe. No need to weld for anything other than boarding…" he glaces over at Stavrian. "What?"

Demos lowers her goggles and continues her crouch-walk backwards until she catches up with the rest of them. She notes Cadmus as he comes down from above. At first, that is enough and she glances up to see where Stephens is. That is when she hears Cadmus. His comments get her to turn around and look at the scene. "Gods." Then, she touches Cadmus' shoulder, "Eyes forward, Marine." Her tone is kind, but the intent is to get his head back in the game. "Remember why we are here."

"Where'd they all go?" Ren mutters. Not really speaking to anybody but himself, but it's audible. And said as he passes a bunk with the teddy bear in it. "Where're the…?" He looks down at the spats of blood on his coveralls and leaves the question unasked.

The sound of the chief's voice crackles over the Marines' wireless. "Our Raptors' passive thermals have got you on our map," he announces. "CIC should be near. Up another two flights of stairs, turn to port. Passives show the room's dark but we really can't risk powering up. Already pinging too godsdamned bright with that battlestar group up above; Command won't let us add high-powered EM to the mix."

Snrrrk. Aerilonian sheep jokes. It's enough to briefly stop the nausea. Briefly. Sofia frowns, looking over the possessions. "Hey, you alright?" Sofia looks towards Cadmus. She's checking a row of bunkers and winces at Aziza. Uh oh. "Oh that's-" The Vomit Chain. It's begun. Certain metal musicians had helpfully documented it. HRRRK. Sofia joins in after a moment, trying to muffle it.

Reaching the end of his row, Arkat reactivates his boots just in time to gain purchase on the far wall, slowly rolling to meet it with his feet. "I got nothing but sundries and sentiments." He starts walking back down the wall and taking a ninety-degree turn so he's floor-bound once more, re-claiming the rifle back into his hands. There's the sound of retching. "USE THE BUNKS, PEOPLE." He moves foward, rifle aiming down the path they need to go. "We really don't need that shit floating about."

Stephens looks around the scene, and frowns, eyes narrowing, shaking his head at something in his head, but he doesn't voice it. He just focuses on what he's doing, covering his zone. now's when they jump out. when you least expect it. Vomitting everywhere. Domino effect. He just keeps covering corners.

Stavrian's icy blue eyes find the faces of a couple vomiting people. Thank the gods the medics at least have stomachs of steel. As he turns his head, his attention gets stuck on that teddy bear floating there, and for a long few moment's he's almost paralyzed. Dragging his hand over his lips, he clears his throat and looks at Marcion. "Streaks were leading here, sir. Should've been at least /some/ signs of what happened. Violence doesn't leave no spatter. But there's not even that." Beyond the droplets hanging about.

"Roger that, Sarge," Cadmus says, shaking himself slightly. Tucking the medallion back under his jacket once again, he exhales heavily and begins moving again. To his credit, it doesn't seem like he has any inclinations towards vomiting - but at the same time, it's apparent this is probably the first time he's seen anything on this scale of uncannily creepy. "This is seriously freaky, sir," he notes after a moment. Understatement has its uses.

Aziza dry heaves for a second or two, gloved fingers knotted tightly in the bunk's sparse bedding, before wiping her mouth and shoving off it again. She twists around mid-float, and 'swims' the air closer to Arkat. "There's nothin' here, Sarge. Nothin' but ghosts. Shouldn't we be gettin' our boys up to CIC?"

Sabien trails behind the sweeping crew, reaching out to paw an t-shirt off someone's bunk where it got tangled. Using the material, he makes a wipe at his face, careful to keep the smears of red away from his eyes and mouth. At the sound of stomachs turning inside out, he merely shakes his head at all the vomiting, "You folks need menthol rub? For under your nose?" He fishes it out a little jar, then nudges it at the nearest Marine.

"Like someone packaged up all their damage and took it with them," Stavrian mutters. "Why the frak would they do that." Not that there's time to debate it now, as he looks at Aziza and then Arkat. Blood continues to cling and smear.

Woooo, that's gross. Sofia winces. At least the vomit chain didn't go critical. Phew. She shivers a moment. "Maybe what did the damage isn't something we're used to?" Headtilt. Somewhere, Occam is shaving, so you can't use his razor and that's just gross. Sofia will wipe at her face carefully with a lost hand towel. She pauses. Sad, all these lost things. She frowns.

Marcion wishes he had a whiteboard. "Keep notes. Blood spilled after gravity loss. Door welded. Shower taken. Maybe to store drinking water before system went out?" He shrugs. "Go to CIC. Black Box tells more than sleuthing."

Demos does hear the heaving and retching. Her stomach, while not steel, is cast iron, thank the Gods. Cadmus is given a pat on the shoulder and Demos nods, "Good man. It is seriously freaky. I will give you that one." She inhales carefully, then motions foward, "Chief said CIC's up that way. Let's keep moving." Noting Sabien's work with the shirt, she adds, "Good idea. Find a clean shirt to protect your mouths on the way out. Let's move it, people."

The pungent smell of rotting flesh grows stronger the further they march down hallways painted red with blood. The soft thwip-thwipping of slowly-turning ventilation fans doesn't do much except spread the molecular odorants about, embedding them into high-impact cloth and skin alike. Yeah, the entire team's going to need a shower — or four — after they're done with decontamination. But no more horrors greet the team as their boots lock onto the red-stained floor — just more crates looming out of the reaching darkness beyond, until — two flights of staircases later — they reach at last the way to CIC, pointed out by a black arrow stenciled on the cream-colored wall before them.

Stephens moves along, ready, covering, prepared for reanimated crewmembers, and controlling necromancers revived from essential salts. Yep, he's ready for anything.

As the tub of menthol gets passed around or not, Sabien himself discetely smears a little bit beneath his own nose. He's not a super hero, dammit. They say you can get used to any smell after three minutes, but this isn't really one he has any intention of acclimating to. Out of curiousity, perhaps morbidly driven at the lack of bodies, Dominic kicks one of the crates then unlatches it to peer inside almost hesitantly. Nope. No dead bodies. Just lightbulbs.

The second that directional arrow comes into sight, Arkat's hand raises to get his team and (hopefully) everybody else to stop short, a sharp snap of the digits telling his fireteam to scatter. He looks directly at Aziza, then Silas; a thumb touches his ear before pointing to the corridor beyond.

Sofia fortunately, likes salt. She'll take some menthol, trying not to lose it again. She doesn't seem aware of anything unusual. Erm, hm. Stuff. And things. Her head bobs almost comically as she searches.

Stavrian gives Marcion a strange look as the engineer just totally ignores the actual issue. Expression set, he just looks away again and starts walking as the Marines begin moving along. His flashlight comes up again, sweeping the floor and then the space in front of them as they go. Arkat's motion, he catches out of the corner of his eye, and he gestures to Sabien to back up towards the right wall. He's still at the left.

Ren continues on the path to CIC, stepping heavy. Not that one can really step light in the boots he's wearing. His grip tightens around his flashlight so that his brown knuckles pale. He gags at the smell again but still manages not to vomit. Not vomiting is Priority One for him just now. He halts when the Marines in front of him halt, trying not to breathe too deep.

Marcion is following along, still processing the clues he has seen… and his lack of focus suddenly manifests. He doesn't see Arkat's gesture, and continues to walk forward, albiet slowly.

The hand signal triggers a dead stop on Cadmus' movement. He takes two quick steps to the wall, drops to one knee, and readies the rifle. His mouth opens for a moment, as if he might say something, but after a moment it becomes apparent he's just got it open to increase his hearing acuity. His thumb slides slowly along the rifle's frame, coming to rest at the tip of the safety, ready to drop it into action if something untoward pops its' head up.

Demos accepts the tub of menthol with a quick smile to the medic. Delicately, she daubs some around her nostrils, then swipes some beneath her nose. "Thanks." It is handed back just before the team sets out again. The walk ahead proceeds as usual. Demos keeps to the rear, her rifle trained behind them, ready to protect the backsides of those ahead of her. Used to working in near silence, she uses hand gestures to signal her team either forward or back. When they reach CIC, she frowns, one hand coming up in a 'stop' motion. Looking to Cadmus and Stephens, she touches one ear, then points in the direction Arkat indicated. While they cover that direction, she crouches again and covers the rear.

"Lieutenant," Stavrian hisses at Marcion as the man goes right past. "Lieutenant." Frak's sake. "Sir, stop and get back with your team. They got something up there."

Stephens looks to Demos, and settles into a firing position in the direction indicated, frowning, and listening. Nope he hears nothing, but follows indicated orders.

Aziza happens to be the marine who catches Sabien's little tub of menthol. She extracts a little with her gloved thumb, dabs the tip of her nose with it, and screws the cap shut before tucking it away in one of her gear's many pockets. He might get that back. Some day. Rifle out again, boots switched on, her eyes scan left and right as the fireteam proceeds along the hall to the CIC. At the silent order from Arkat, she immediately twists her body to the side, and flattens her back against the wall before dropping into a crouch. A few floating crates serve as 'cover'; one's nudged aside by her rifle so she can properly sight the hatchway to CIC. The engineers behind her are given a sharp wave of her hand to stay back.

Marcion glances up, thought process finally interrupted, and starts backpedaling. Makes a little more noise than maybe they wanted, but at least he is getting out of the way. His look sheepish, he doesn't say anything.

Sabien stops his crate investigation at the motion from Stavrian, then moving to cozy up to the right side of the formation and crouches down, with his flashlight trained on the boot heels of the person in front of him. Waiting. As the marines go silent and resort to flashy hand signals, it's just the sound of his breathing keeping him company.

Scatter? Check. Silas moves off, and takes a knee with her rifle raised. She tilts her head just slightly, and listens for what the Sgt obviously heard, weapon trained in the direction indicated. She entirely passes on the tub that seems to be making the rounds. Her pen cap ticks against her teeth.

Stavrian checks the clips on his medical kit, unsnapping the first layer of cover. The equipment inside's kept in place by two straps now, easily dug out, and his hand snakes around behind him, resting on the back of his rifle. His eyes sweep over the engineers once, making sure they're somewhere manageable, then go back to the Marines and what's ahead.

Arkat punctuates the hissed silence with the sharp sound of his rifle chambering a round, sighted a little sideways to direct any casings downwards and limit them from causing havoc in low gravity. No fire comes. Nothing comes. It's a moment before he's satisfied, and he raises enough to start moving in a deliberate low-walk towards the corridor, leading with the barrel of his rifle.

Uh oh. Sofia notices. She pauses. He heart is thumping madly, like drummers given speed and shaken a few timees. Her green eyes are nearly slits, squinting and searching. Makes her look positively ferret-esque. Remember to breathe. Oxygen good. She looks to Ren then back towards Arkat on hearing the sharp sound.
Arkat has partially disconnected.

So much care is taken by the Marines and for what? As they spin around the corner, boots locking firmly into place, they see — nothing at all save the hexagonal doors to Chimaera's CIC lying flattened on the ground. They've been blasted open by a hail of bullets, the lead from which is visible as embedded chunks in etched white-black metal. But sweeping flashlights reveal nothing else out of the ordinary — nothing their noses can't already detect, that is. The smell of death is back with a vengeance, slipping into their nostrils and lingering. And illuminating the inside is the cold blue glow of active cathode tubes, humming and buzzing like flies above a corpse.

Stephens keeps to his position to one side, part of the rear guard with the MPs, ready to avenge eaten comerades.

"Sir?" Ren comes to an abrupt stop and blinks ahead of him at Marcion as he keeps going then backpedals. He holds himself in place, however, turning his head to offer Sofia a little nod. Then he starts moving again at Arkat's signal. On and on. To the belly of the beast. Or the combat information center of the beast, as the case may be. He grunts, hefting his engineering kit as he heads in at the back of this procession.

Aziza has long since either stowed her gum, or swallowed it. The tick, tick of Silas' pen cap briefly draws her attention, and she makes a little slicing motion across her throat. Lose it. Her eyes snap back to the blasted-open hatch in front of them, and after a beat of three, she rolls fluidly back to her feet and hustles on in after Arkat.

Arkat's rifle leads the way into the CIC, the rest of him forced to follow, no matter how much he protests. The noise earlier and the sights that assault him the second he's through send every single 'bad thing' sense he has screaming in primal caution. He moves to the right; quickly, and scanning as he goes. He's through first, the Aziza and Silas in a staggered line close behind. The engineer-cluster are kept in the corridor while they breach, with Marcion bringing up the rear as MP's move foward to join the marines in 'Securing' the CIC.

Stephens moves up as indicated. Ready to secure CIC, 'Secure' being Marinespeak for shoot everything.

A far cry from Cerberus' glass-filled CIC, this: designed more for functionality than for looks, its small and cramped space resembles nothing more than a crowded office — that is, if said office suddenly were invaded by gunmen of surpassing malevolence. Flashlights glint too late over the chrome domes of three metal figures crouched behind the planning table at the very center of the room, which now spring out of cover with spindly fingers extended — cannons, several of them, which pepper the room with fire. And from down the hall behind the engineers comes the sound of metal clanging loudly against metal — the sweet sound of inevitability as the Cylon trap is sprung. Two decomposing, electrocuted bodies lie ignored on smashed panels inside, their limp flesh soaking up bullets of the same caliber that took down the door, and still the ventilation shaft hums and hums and hums —

Stephens frowns as the exchange happens and sets himself to shoot one of the bulletheads. Grrr, die freak.

Marcion looks up in surprise as bullets start pinging all around him, and then his eyes bug out of his head as pain explodes in his right hand. "What… frak…" He crashes into the wall, holding the wounded hand up almost in wonder. "Wondered what that… felt like…"

"CONTACT!" Arkat's bellow echoes around the room, somehow much, much louder than the sound of Centurion weaponry. There's a reason he's called pipes. And a reason he's sprinting in magnetic boots, heading for anything that looks like it could work as cover. "MASS FIRE ON-" His words are drowned out by the echoes of his own rifle, but the first two rounds being tracers say the rest.

Bullets clang off the Cylon centurions looming up behind the planning table, only a few of them making their mark. Their eyeslits glow an ominous red as, silent except for their guns, they fire and fire and fire, lead sparking as it pings off their heavily-armored torsos. These aren't the goofy-looking Cylons of old, with armored skirts and all; indeed, it's a fair bet that not even Fleet Intel has seen anything like these mechanical monstrosities before, whose machine gun systems now move to rake the room.

Silas follows along behind Aziza, covering her ass while the female Sgt covers Arkat's ass. She stays low as well, her eyes scanning the interior of CIC as they advance. She hooks a shoulder on the lip of the doorway leading in, then tucks around the corner and goes low by a console. Her hands tighten on her rifle as the giant chrome jobs come into view, metal death robots startling the new marine, even as she flips her rifle over to burst mode. Her hands operate the weaponry while her brain goes into a silent chant of 'shitshitshitshitshit'. And so on. Her finger finds the trigger, and gently squeezes. A spray of fire cuts across the Centurion's faceplate, but most of the fire promptly whizzes on by the hulking metal monstrosity. "Poop." The best thing about sustained gunfire is that it's unlikely anyone will hear the stupid things you say to yourself during.

Aziza pivots on the balls of her feet as she catches a glint of metal— and then all hell breaks loose. Bullets are spraying the room, some aimed at her, some at the more squishy techies. "Shit! Shitshitshit-" Rather than dive behind cover, she strafes closer to Marcion's group, leveling her rifle at the nearest threat to the engineer, and firing off a burst of rounds. And then another. "I hear somethin' coming, I'm dropping back!" she barks at Arkat, still moving.

Oh dogs! Sofia flails a little and winces at Marcion is shot. "Ack!" And hearing Arkat boom, sets off some training. It's almost instinctual. "… whoa." She manages to stop, noticing the Cylons now. "Duuuuuuuuuuude. That's not what they had in the videos or training or - Dude!" Oh gods oh gods. Muttermutter. She fires off a popshot. GO FOR THE EYES!

Catching Arkat's call, but not the target, Demos fires. Bullets begin spraying around her. She curses softly, then yells, "Concentrate fire on that one." She gestures to Cent3, then drops to one knee to minimize target area. That there are more coming from behind is certain. First things first.

The gunfire ringing out and the flow of marines into the room beginning, Cadmus' eyes have suddenly gotten very wide. He follows the group in, rifle snapped up to his shoulder as he does so. A moment's pause as he sights down the posts, and then he lifts his rifle an inch or so, two three-round bursts ringing out as he begins sidestepping towards some more readily available cover.

Stavrian spins around on his heel at the sound of clanking. Whatever he was expecting to see, that wasn't quite it. His rifle safety's flipped off and he fires a shot at the first hulking metal thing that he can see clearly, his shot pinging off the thing's armor and burying itself in a bulkhead. "Shit." He drops to a knee as the fire starts swinging wider.

"Frak!" That's Ren's only real contribution to the war effort as the Centurions suddenly appear in CIC. "Frakfrakfrakfrakfrak…" And so on. For a moment he just freezes. Shocked. It's only after the bullets have gone off around him that he remembers he has a gun. He fumbles to get it in hand and aim it in a vaguely Cylon-ish direction.

Stephens fires on the indicated Centurion and scores a hit in the center mass. He grits his teeth and keeps the pressure on. What game was this again? right right, Steel Destroyers. Okay, let's go.

Gritting his teeth, Marcion tries to remember his training. He reaches for his pistol and barks a laugh… hard enough to shoot as it was, much less with a wound to that hand. "Not going to be worth much in a fire fight…" he mutters.

The pounding from the corridor beyond is starting to get pretty damnably loud, audible even over the sound of battle being joined, and as one Centurion topples over, clawing forward before falling back, two more arrive to close the metaphorical jaws of steel. The soft and puny engineers are the first to get hit by these onrushing newcomers, bursts of fire lighting the corridor in ways their torches can only dream of doing.

Arkat has little choice when two of the Centurions open up. It's a split second between his hand slapping his boots and the marine leaving the floor with a stong shove, firing his rifle as he absconds from normal orientation and rotates to hit the ceiling with his feet. At the very least he can try and split the oncoming fire between him and the door. None of his rounds hit, mind you… He was spinning through space, and it did the job. He's not dead, and he got aggro. The Marine is tanking.

"Your mother was a fruit juicer and your father a cheese grater!" Sofia glares. There's a PINK! noise as her shot pings off the Cen2's armor. She pops out to fire another little shot. She looks terrified, but tries to hide it. Unfortunately, she's failing miserably.

Cadmus swears loudly, almost incoherently, as he lets loose his rounds at the Centurion's head. Sliding toward the nearest table, he crouches and readies the next shot. There's no hesitation in his hands now - the iron seeks its' own, rail-mounted flashlight sending ripples of light off the target's chromed exterior. "Artemis, grant me strength. Guide my aim, and see my arrow true," he whispers under his breath, letting off another double-tap of FMJ.

Demos's shot hits the toaster, but the plating on it's leg stops it. She curses softly, then glances at Marcion, but only for a moment, "Put pressure on that wound!" Her attention then returns to the fight. Lifting the rifle, she again takes aim and fires.

Stavrian's arm flinches, shoulder tensing as a bullet rips his uniform sleeve. "Son of a bitch…" The extra clanking in the hallway makes him look up, blue eyes wider now, and he grits his teeth, lifting the rifle and aiming it for one of the metal hulks of death bearing down on the young engineer. "Specialist, get your head down!"

There's nothing on the mind of the CMC's youngest marine right now aside from fire, fire, fire, keep them off the squaddies. It is in Silas' zeal with assassinate the shiny enemy that she doesn't quite catch when one of the metal foes turns its targeting arm closer to her position. Maybe it was something to do with a yell of 'cheese grater' from the back, between bursts of fire. "What the frak." Eloquence, not this Saggie's strong suit.

Ren's shot makes contact, albeit not very impressively so. It's at least a sign he's pointing his gun in the right direction and paid some /basic/ attention during basic training. He edges up a little to get a better angle on his shot, keeping his gun leveled in the same direction. But his eyes are still wide and wild, and seem to go everywhere at once. Gaze flicking over the Marines. To Marcion, wounded. To Sofia. Blinking very fast. Military though he is, the specialist had clearly never expected anything like this. "What the frak am I doing here…?" It's muttered under his breath, like some kind of prayer gone awry. He doesn't move. He doesn't seem to hear Stavrian.

Aziza shoots and backpedals, shoots and backpedals, her hip thumping one of the consoles as she 'retreats'; it's hard enough that it'll probably bruise later. But for now, it isn't even noticed. By the time the two tincans at the back start firing on the hapless engineers, she's within range to return the favour. "Get the frak down!" she barks at Ren, her voice mingling with the similar shout from Stavrian.

Stephens fires, bullets ripping into the robots center mass better this time. Shoot shoot shoot! Rar! Damnit.

Demos is not aware of the fight behind. Not at the moment. She is concentrating on the tin-cans in CIC. She inches forward and squeezes off another burst. Arkat's acrobatics gain him a soft grunt of approval, but she remains where she is crouched.

Marcion watches in horror as Ren takes hits, and grits his teeth. "Dammit, Marcion, you're a Ph.D., not a hero…" still, he draws his sidearm, preparing to to defend his fallen compadre. Marcion is shooting. Heaven help us all.

Squeeze. Silas' attack on the centurion in her sights pings across its chest. Though several of the rounds ricochet or are eaten by its armor, at least one penetrates and sparks. The beast doesn't go down, which means they're entirely too sturdy for this private's liking. She drops a knee to the floor and braces her rifle, eyes narrowing as she draws down again. "Come an' get it, clanker."

Having finally reached a solid block of metal - a heavy bank of readouts and fire control systems - Cadmus seems to decide tactical forethought is better than prayer. He drops down behind it, rolls to the side, and takes three quick breaths before looking out. His head is quickly whipped back in as large-bore rounds hail around that section of the room, sending shards of metal flying.

Stavrian starts forward, trying to get through the haze of gunfire to the shredded form of the engineer. Good /gods/ that's a lot of blood pooling around the man's body. The rifle's not dropped yet, not with all this distance and fire between him and Ren.

Ceiling Arkat is watching you get shot. He's also trying to draw a bead on one of the centurion's heads, but it goes well wide. He grunts. He spends half a second thinking. He launches from the ceiling towards the Centurion that just tried to kill him. He rotates again. Feet first, boots engaged… Rifle pointing 'Down' at the target. There's no way this can go wrong.

Uh oh. That was not the best battle plan Sofia;'s had. Her eyes widen in horror at Ren's being hit. Nooooooooooooooo. Too bad she can't go all mel Gibson on the Cylons. For now, she's taking popshots as she can. A few blinks at Arkat. She's impressed.

Let this be a lesson. If you're told to 'Get down,' getting down is probably a good idea. Ren did not. The specialist chokes in pain as the first Centurion's bullets strafe his abdomen. Stomach wound. It bleeds a lot. It is perhaps merciful the second round of fire gets him in the chest. If nothing else, it makes the kill quick. He falls, gun dropping from his stiffened fingers. He wasn't wearing a vest, so the Cylons have made a pretty messy job of him.

The upgraded Centurions don't seem to be particularly perturbed by the fact that one of their comrades has just fallen; indeed, it's with methodical precision that they sweep their machine guns over the unarmored soon-to-be-corpses by the pile of blood and guts that had once been Specialist Elijah Ren. Metal feet bearing several hundred pounds of steel crush the man's face and torso as they press towards the folks in the room, and it won't be more than a few seconds before the vise is closed at last — the classic encirclement maneuver the Cylons now employ to against the descendants of those humans who first programmed it into the electronic pathways that passes for their brain.

Aziza fires off another burst at the centurion who was spraying Ren with hot lead, teeth gritted as she focuses on firing as many rounds, as fast as she can. Seeing him drop, she barks, hoarse-voiced, "Medic! Lieutenant, over here, man down!" Her rifle's pivoted to sight the next flash of metal intent on killing, booted feet backing her up closer to the bleeding Specialist.

Stephens fires! Bullet sparking off the neck. "Neck armor?" He readies for the next target, "What the frak designs robot warriors with NECK Armor?"

"The last time I saw something that looked like you, I recycled it," Sofia point sout helpfully to the cylons. "Um, we did," Sofia comments. "It looks kinda stylin', and they could wear ties…' She points out. But then she yelps as she's pinged on the hand. Ow! Hey. She returns the favor. Grrr. Squeak noises ensue as she pops out like a ferret on speed, ducks, pops out as fire pings the cover she's behind.

Cadmus coughs, chokes for a moment, and quickly glances over his body. No wounds. Covered in blood. What? No time to think. He rolls out from behind the console he's using as cover, grits his teeth, and growls in a rising tone as he resumes firing. "Come ONNNN!!!!" he finally shouts, voice hoarse in the acrid and stale air.

Arkat's boots hit Centurion 2's chest as he fires, sparks flaring off of the shiny armor as he and a hell of a lot of other people fire at it. Somehow, he doesn't get shot by them, and say what you want about cylon construction, 160+lbs of Marine launching itself at you with minimal friction to slow him down makes anything think twice. The boots engage, and he's soon spiraling slightly around the CIC, taking the incapacitated tin can with him. "SILAS!" Squaddie got shot. This would be the first time there's been fear in his voice.

When the Toasters in front of her go down, Demos rises, rifle trained on them. Nothing. Turning, she slips to the side and goes again to one knee. That is when she spots Ren. "Ah, frak." So far, she has been lucky, but clearly others have not been. Silently, then, she takes a bead on the nearest Centurion, "Concentrate fire." She aimes at Centurion 4

The machines are made of stern, stern stuff. Most of the soldiers' fire is turned away by armor, though given the hail of bullets flying this way and that, some of them are bound to hit. And so it is that the Centurions by the podium are gunned down at last, triggering not the least bit of concern on the Cylons' expressionless faces. Merciless killers, they, as the reflection from glowing consoles and high-beam flashlights turns their metal skin a beautifully rich shade of silver.

Once Aziza gets near enough to Ren's crumpled body, it quickly becomes obvious that first aid is not going to be necessary. She opens her mouth to say something, clamps it shut, and backs away from the bloody and bullet-riddled once-engineer. Her finger depresses the trigger, and she fires until the mountain of metal goes down under her and her teammates' bullets. She doesn't have time to notice that Silas has been shot. She swings her rifle around, and she fires on the centurion aiming at Arkat.

"Mother frakker sonofaBITCH." That's all hissed out of Pvt. Trista without so much as a gurgle, but there is a gasp for serious breath. She also says this from her back. Rounds slamming into her vest took her off her feet, you see. She gasps, rolls over onto her belly, and shoots from that position. Ow. Anger and a rush of adrenal response keeps her from cursing too much more. That comes later. She coughs, then sounds off, "GOOD." For the moment. Oh, that's gonna hurt in a few moments.

Stavrian makes it to Ren's body, but…well. Shit. Doesn't take a medical degree to know that's a lost cause by exsanguination alone; there's no heart beating in there. He presses the butt of his rifle back against his shoulder, moving backwards now towards Silas.

Wait, Ren? Seriously? Like, gone gone? Pauly Shore's career gone? Sofia's eyes go wide as saucers. "That is IT! I have had it with these cylons on a mother frakking ship!" She pokes out of cover and goes for broke. No one shoots her buddies and gets away with it if she can help it. RAWR. Now all she needs is some music to power up or something.

Stephens fires, pinging bullet flying off of armor. sonofabitch. He maintains the concentration of firepower. fall, damnit, fall!

Bullets spray around her but none connect. She mutters a soft prayer that this continues. The pulped once Engineer is kept in the corner of her vision, grim determination to avenge the fallen engineer. Once more, she calls, "Concentrate fire," to her team.

Marcion's eyes bug out as Sofia charges forward. "Wait, back, let marines…" frak. Raising his gun, he tries to get another shot in before ANOTHER one of his people drops.

Silas thumbs her rifle to a new mode. A mode she's only tried a couple of times on the range, for funsies, or for suppression in drills. Being shot in the chest makes a small marine vengeful, and a large hail of bullets helps with these feelings of burning anger. "Nobody shoots our Engine nerds."

Aziza doesn't stop, doesn't think, doesn't grive. Her finger is white-knuckled on the trigger, her teeth grinding hard enough to give her headaches later, when this is all said and done. If there is a later. She fires, and fires, and fires some more as the centurion turns its sights on Sofia. If something else is shooting at her, she'll take her chances.

Cadmus fires. Resets. Fires. Resets. The muzzle flares across the room paint a surreal picture - brass spilling in all directions, micrograv playing havoc with the spent shells. "ROGER THAT, ACTUAL!" Cadmus shouts, attempting to be heard over the massive blasts of machine gun fire, "Concentrating fire, leftmost tango!"

How one Centurion went down from a glancing hit to the head while another plows forward after being filled with more holes than a sieve is beyond human understanding. Its legs shot out from under it, its chest armor gashed and sparking, the near-broken Centurion claws forward to bring itself in range for one final burst of fire. Its lightly damaged counterpart — feet still slick from pulpy bits of Ren — crunches loudly against the doors on the ground as it trains its gun on the hyperactive engineer.

The hell is it with engineers? "Crewman, what the frak is your problem? /Get the frak down/." Stavrian shouts at Sofia. And now they have to split fire to cover engineer ass. Such as it goes, his rifle muzzle turning to the centurion she's trying to blow off with a pistol.

Arkat's slowly tumbling through space and sliding another magazine home when rounds thud into his arm, completely avoiding what little bodyarmor he has. It also adjusts his spiralling, mind you. With a jump, he's landing near enough to Silas to bring him into full-auto range, but close enough to join her in concentrating the fire. "KEEP IT UP."

Stephens fires, hardcore, causing neat sparkly sparks off of the armor. but as the bullets drop the robot he reorients on the last enemy Metal sucka.

DAMN. Marcion winces with each hit to Sofia, but maintains fire. What else can he do?

"Tango down! Switching targets, actual!" Cadmus barks, swivelling all of about ten degrees as he sights in the new target. "Come on, you goddamn chrome son-of-a-bitch. Gimmie some of that frakkin' visor," he growls, thumb flicking the selector switch over to fully automatic mode. And then he just holds it down, only pausing once ten or so rounds have left the chamber.

Wild fire from the Centurion on the ground causes sparks to fly from the screens above, shattering glass that floats in the air after being so violently dislodged. Sparks shoot everywhere, lighting up the room like flaming shots at a frat party, as the last Centurion standing turns its attention from Sofia to Stavrian.
Cadmus spends 1 luck points on Attack bonus.

Arkat pulls the trigger, and the rounds bounce from the centurion's armor. Compound that on top of watching yet another person take a few rounds, and it's some kind of hidden restrain that lets "Cover the wounded! Bring that frakking thing DOWN!" escape without a hint of cursing. If he's noticed the wounds he has himself yet, he's not mentioning it.

Silas' weapon clicks empty before her fullauto spray is through the first arc. She does a sweep with the weapon, but only gets through the top part of a T before she clicks out. So much for writing her name on the enemy's sparking corpse. Frak. Reload. An empty clatters across the deck, and the marine yanks out another, slamming it into he weapon.

Brave. Sofia is /brave/. "They shot Ren! I'm go—" Sofia nails the chrome kritter with a shot and seems a bit pleased. Instant karma. She somehow regrets perhaps, buying magnetic underwear. Or that magnetic neck tie. There's a little wail before she gets cut off. Thankfully, she gurgles and falls back to cover. She's learned her lesson. She looks a bit horrified by the blood from her throat. That's important plumbing! And nary a man in overalls in sight! Wheeze! It's largely instinct that takes over as everything goes on red alert in her system. Craaawl to cover.

Demos says, "Roger, that." She rises and turns to draw a bead on the last remaining Centurian, "Concentrate fire on remaining." She sidesteps as she sees the Engineer hit with shot after shot, "Ah, frak. Going to recommend training for engineering staff on how to survive a gods'damned firefight."

"Godsdammit." Stavrian sprints from his spot, trying to edge in front of the wounded engineer as she starts crawling. The gunfire is almost deafening, ringing in his ears as it ricochets everywhere. "Keep your frakking head down, crewman."

Aziza has four rounds left in her clip. She knows this, because she's been counting them with each press of the trigger. As Stavrian sprints over to try to reach Sofia, she brings her rifle to bear on the centurion who's suddenly spotted him. "Got your ass, Lieutenant!" she calls out, booted feet taking her in a slow strafe to the left as she sprays her target with bullets.

Stephens fires, teareing into the chest of the last centurion.. along with everyone else! Woo, gone robot. He searches for more targets. No more?

As Silas goes through the motions of reloading, Arkat opens up, joining with Aziza and most of the folks still standing to put enough rounds downrange to send the shiny tin-can to the floor. "Casualty report!" What? People wanted time to catch their breath? Not a chance. How pissed the Sergeant looks should summarise how much of a break they can expect before he's working on getting the chief down in the bay up on comms.

Cadmus's GMAR clicks empty; automatically, without looking, the box magazine is out and another is slapped in. "Negative contacts! I have negative contacts on port side of the room!" he shouts, barrel swivelling left and right. He's still definitely dialed in, ready to shoot anything that looks chrome and mobile. But his thumb ever so slowly slides to the fire selector, and clicks it three times - three, single, safe.

"…" Sofia just looks at Stavrian, pained. She wants to say something and starts, though her voice sounds like she's speaking through water. "… no marksman … that good to hit anything important …" As far as headshots got. "Ren?" She asks, although it's apparent she's swimming in a sea of pain equivalent to skinny dipping in nails, fire ants, bullet ants, lemon juice, salt, that bikini wax that never pulls off just right and a stack of broken glass for measure. Or she's a giant weenie and her brain is trying to keep her from doing something stupid. Sometimes your brain just has to go: 'Hey dingus, we're made of MEAT, not AWESOME.' And it did. And so Sofia is in cover meekly.

Marcion glares hard. Two of his people down, and his right hand hurting like mad. He barely has the werewithal to safety the firearm before holstering it and going to check on his people, then thinking better of it, leaves that to the pros. He doesn't have much useful to say, anyway. So he sets himself to find the black box.

"Aw." Silas says softly, to the floor, once the centurions are down. "My ribs." It's all very quiet, and probably partially covered by the lingering sounds of gunfire. Reloaded, she flips back to burst mode, then removes her finger from the trigger, and shoves off the deck to get up. She snags her empty from earlier, and shoves it into a pocket. She uses the round ridden console nearby for support as she gets to her feet. Her weapon remains raised, though held left handed, covering the fallen machines. Why? Always be prepared for the double tap. She raises a hand, glove still removed from earlier, and the fingers of her right hand spider over her vest looking for breaches in the armor.

Stavrian gets another bullet in the SAME DAMN ARM, striking the shoulder just a few inches from the last one. Thank the gods the last centurion goes down, because it's about then that he nearly drops his rifle, his left sleeve soaked in his own blood. "Frakking…" Another 'frak' hisses between his pursed lips, only making the first sibilant sound. His teeth press together, half in pain and half in pissed off, rifle slung messily around his right shoulder. Turning on his heel, he kneels down at Sofia's side. "Hold still," he tells her, yanking the makings for a field dressing or five out of his bag.

Demos fires a burst into the tin can. Unfortunately, the thing's armor stops the bullets for the most part. Rising, she prepars to fire the last of what is in her clip, if need be. "Anyone with first aide, report to Stavrian to assist." She looks over to Arkat, nodding to indicate she is talking to her team. "Anyone without, report to Marcion for lugging duty. Double time it. We do not know that those are all the toasters in this place."

Demos fires a burst into the tin can. Unfortunately, the thing's armor stops the bullets for the most part. Rising, she prepars to fire the last of what is in her clip, if need be. "Anyone with first aide, report to Stavrian to assist." She looks over to Arkat, nodding to indicate she is talking to her team. "Anyone without, report to Marcion for lugging duty. Double time it. We do not know that those are all the toasters in this place." She touches the safety into place, then slings her rifle to her back and walks over to report to the medic.

Aziza holds up a gloved hand, with a single finger raised when Arkat calls for the casualty report. It's possible she didn't even notice her shots ripping through the machine's chest and doing — along with Cadmus — the bulk of the damage there. "One dead." Three fingers. "Three injured, at my count. Anyone else hurtin', sing out now!" She, meanwhile, is slinging her rifle across her back, and hoofing it over to where Stavrian's crouched. "Need some help there, sir?" she asks, panting slightly.

Ren is still laying where he fell, coveralls a mess of blood, unmoving. His eyes are open.

"Shit." Stavrian mutters under his breath. He cranes his neck, looking up at Aziza. "Need to get the Specialist, Sarge." That would be Ren, or what's left of him. "Not going to be able to carry him myself."

Stephens reloads and shoulders his weapon. "Firstaid." He says, moving to Stav as he unslings his kit, ready to help with passing things off. "I can get him, if that's what you need, sir."

With a last rattling burst of fire that slashes into Stavrian's arm, the final Centurion falls, propelled backwards into the wall by the force of concentrated fire from the Marines inside CIC. Brass shell casings ejected from Colonial assault rifles drift limply through the air, spinning like tops as they meander through their predetermined trajectory; the buzzing of cathode ray tubes by the door hums softly in the deafening quiet that falls. The pair of rotting bodies arrayed by the floor have been filled with fresh wounds. And not much of Specialist Ren is left except his booted feet and the lower part of his torso, the lower half of his skull crushed in by hard-stomping feet.

As far as what the Cylons were doing in CIC? That much isn't difficult to tell. The planning table where the black box is stored has been torn apart by precision shooting, its contents cut free with remarkable delicacy. The source of the ELF transmission isn't terribly hard to figure out, either: a Colonial emergency failsafe designed to trigger whenever somebody tries what the Cylons have just pulled off. The box itself is gone — just like the hundreds (or thousands) of bodies that should by rights have been inside this massive metal tomb.

Pushing himself to his feet, Cadmus spares a moment to gaze at the Centurion which was so recently the most terrifying thing he could comprehend. Little by little, the anger seems to drain away from him; it's just not there any more, and he's back to his deadpan, distant look. He moves quickly toward Stavrian, but stops at Ren, instead. He's not much of a med… and something about his manner says this is more important. He kneels, teeth gritted, and fishes for the hexagonal dog tags. "Lords of Kobol, hear my prayer… Take this child to you, in peace, and let him find his rest." CHINK. He snaps the tags loose. And then he closes Ren's eyes, looking away as he does so.

One dead? One dead? Sofia's head swims a bit. No. No way. It isn't fair. She closes her eyes, trying not to show any tears. Stupid. Fruit juice mother having robots. She closes her eyes tight. Her fingers curl a little. She takes a deep breath. "No…" This was a bad dream, too much spicy food. Surely she'd wake right up… She offers a little thank you though, for the bandages.

"Wake up, Crewman." Stavrian's voice is a little sharper than he'd normally use, but they don't have time for people to curl up in the fetal position. "Get up, we're going. Now." He ties off the last quick dressing on Sofia's wounds, his hands covered in a mix of her blood and his own, and leans down, shoving his good shoulder under her arm. "Come on."

Marcion shakes his head, pounding the table and immediately regretting doing so. Hearing the prayer, he turns and sees Ren being cared for spiritually. It was too late to do so physically. His eyes widen. "Black Box gone. Removed. Same as bodies." He takes a deep breath. "Other vultures got here first. Need to get out now… send word to Cerberus. Recommend immediate jump away as soon as Raptors land."

Stephens moves to collect Ren and start carrying his corpse back to the ship. Stimpy stays here.

Arkat takes the casualty report with a slight sagging of the shoulders. It's only then that he actually touches his hand to the right one. It comes back sticky, the gloves coated in slick blood that shines in what light there is. He saves the bitching about it for later, though. "Get what we need, treat who you can. We are LEAVING." Goes to the room before he's on the comms to the hangar. "Chief? Search team. This ship is not secure. I repeat. NOT secure. Centurions. Secure that door as best you can." His head turns back to the CIC. "Double-time, People!"

Aziza doesn't have time to notice, or deal with the missing black box. Marcion can handle that minor hiccup. Nodding quickly to Stavrian, she rolls back to her feet, and begins klunking her way over to where Ren lies in a rapidly spreading pool of blood. "You got him?" she asks Stephens. He's got him. The marine doesn't wait for a reply, and instead takes up a defensible position by the hatch while the others prepare to move out. Just in case the party's not over yet.

Sofia eyes Stavrian a moment, and nods. "Yes sir," There's obedience programmed in. She frowns at the lack of a black box. But - Ren. No way. She staggers up, more stunned than anything else. She moves though, easily enough. She's just - stunned.

The faint crackle of static tears through the buzzing of the tubes. "Chief copies," comes his quiet reply. "Birds are waiting. Come on home."

As Stavrian has Sofia under control, Demos nods to Aziza, then turns. She walks toward Ren's remains. Cadmus and Stephens are each given a nod, though no smile. Not with Stephens taking the lower half of Engineer Ren. "Right." She fades back a bit, rifle pulled again to the fore. "Maragos, take point with the Marines. Stephens, if you are carrying the body, stay in the middle with Marcion." She nods to Aziza and waits for the others to head out. She will take rear again.

"None of you guys bringing back pieces of the party?" Stavrian's bloody chin lifts, indicating the busted centurions floating around. "They'd shit themselves to have the brains of that thing to pick apart." He's still got Sofia, zero-g notwithstanding.

Stephens hups Rens body and nods to Demos. He then gets ready to move out. He's got pieces of Ren, so no room for robot pieces.

"Roger that, sir. Taking point," Cadmus says, and begins the double-time jog, tags clinking in his off-hand. He unslings his rifle, bringing it back up at the ready in case the Chimaera has any further surprises for the Cerberus crew. Once near the front of the group again, he answers Stavrian, "You think that's a good idea? What if they got a location transmitter in their heads? I don't want anyone coming to visit unless a good EW specialist is doing the collecting."

Marcion considers. "Good point, eltee." he walks over and collects one Cylon carcass. "Also inform Cerberus bringing back a prisoner. Assume we need full custody. Cannot trace us past FTL jump."

Pvt Silas Trista is still on her feet, still moving under her own power. The damage really isn't that bad. She straightens, just as the pain starts to make itself known. The little Saggie grits her teeth, and concentrates on her job — covering the other military as they egress with wounded and any other bits they may find interesting. She poses a silent mental question to self: if a cylon part twitches, do you wait for the grunt carrying it to drop it, or just open fire. Open fire. Only way to be sure.

"We should…" Sofia gurgles softly. She nods and looks to Stavrian, "sorry…" He has to help lug her doesn't he? Though, she's willing to give it a fighting go on her own. Sigh. Her eyes nearly go cross. And Ren. For now, she says nothing, her head spinning.

Stavrian jerks a thumb at Marcion, at Cadmus' question. "He'd know." The medic doesn't do electrical shit, yo. He cranes his neck, grimacing as he looks back at the two dead guys that got fried on the panels. "Need to bring them back, too. Only signs of humans we've got here."

Aziza frowns slightly at the talk of bringing back a cylon, though doesn't speak on the matter. Her job's to follow orders. If those orders happen to be ripping a tincan's head off, blowing its brains out just to be sure, and hauling it back— no, wait, that's wishful thinking. She smirks slightly at Marcion, and turns back to hoist one of the rotting corpses off the panel it's slumped against. They don't pay her enough for this. Then, with the nod from Demos, she turns and heads off on point with her cargo.

At that, Marcion shakes his head. "Cannot be overburdened. Take dogtags, leave corpses. Carrying too much already. Must keep moving." He has stopped looking at Ren. "Time may be short already."

"That's one of the worst frakkin' ideas I've heard in the history of… history." Arkat spits, slinging his rifle and securing it against his chest. It makes a pretty good support for shot-up right arm to slide into, too. his blob of spit bounces and disintergrates against a wall. "But you're the techies. Just put my complaint on file. Marines!" He's hopping through topics like he was hopping from walls. Which, by the way, he looks to do again, shutting off his boots and drawing his pistol so he can move that little bit quicker. "We're moving." In all honesty, he looks about to yell at Stavarian's suggestion as he drifts to the corridor. Marcion's reply makes sense, however. he gets a nod.

Stephens looks to Marcion, then Demos, and nods, "Aye, sir." He says, just follow orders. He snaps Rens dogtags off, and leaves the body here. He grunts slightly as he settles the corpse in something slightly respectful for zero-G.

Sofia ntoes, "I know… jam electronics," She gurgles. Then she goes quiet and sighs. She says nothing for now, to scoot along. Boy, she needs some duct tape.

Silas flicks a look at Aziza, and then to Arkat. There's a faint tightness around her eyes, but she's young enough that even moderate injury doesn't slow her down too much. "Sarge." Her acknowledgment is simple. The private brings up the rear, guarding their asses. First in, last out. Oorah. Owrah.

They want to leave the intel behind. Stavrian raises an eyebrow, but orders are orders. There's a look cast back at CIC, thinned lips, and he starts to move. When Stephens puts Ren down though, he grits his teeth. "Not him, sir. You can't."

There's a double-tap on Aziza's shoulder as Cadmus moves up behind her, and takes a forward position on the opposite side of the corridor. His barrel sweeps left and right, corners once again checked. By the numbers. "Clear right," he says, stepping swiftly past a side passage and once again bringing the barrel and beam back again toward the front.

Demos sighs just a little. She nods /again/ to Aziza as it seems to be a habit. After Aziza takes one of the corpses, she lifts the other. "Zero G. They are mostly just awkward." And gross. Settling the truly stiff 'stiff', she rests her rifle over the corpse. "The autopsy might be illuminating. And if engineering gets new toys to play with, medical might as well."

Aziza pauses at the conflicting orders, arm still slung around the body, and looks to Arkat for the final word. Dogtags it is. Ignoring the blood and gore slathered across her arm, she fumbles for the crewman's tags, and rips them off with a quick turn of her wrist. What's left of the body is watched for a second or two, then she turns her back on it and files on out.

Demos glances at Arkat, then sidles a look Stavrian's way. "Yes, sir." The body is lowered again and she reaches to snap the dogtags from the corpses neck, "Sorry, whomever you are." Rising, she nudges the corpse over to where the one Arkat had lies. The tags are tucked into a pocket and she moves back into position, ready to leave.
Marcion's mouth opens to protest as Ren's body is dropped, but then closes again. They need to deal with the living. And the Cylon could be valuable. The bodies would just be given space burials, anyway. "Will give memories full honors. Promise. But must keep moving." he looks to Arkat.

"That's it!" Arkat swivels in the air, his back to a wall as the marine hovers horziontal. "What we have now is what we're leaving with." If he's trying to be stealthy, it's not working. It's Marine-Order shouty time. Which explains why he looks pissed. "This ceased to be a salvage op the second this boat was filled with hostiles. It ceased to be one even more that the frakkin' box is gone." Everyone's getting looked at. "We are now ex-fil-frakkin-trating from a boat containin' unknown numbers of tin-shittin'-cans." His good arm points down the corridor. "Bitch later, MOVE NOW."

Wait, Ren? Ren? Noooooo. Sofia looks like she's going to protest soon. She looks mournfully to Ren's body. Sorry. She'll build a paper mache model in his honor or name a Roomba afte rhim or something. She just opens her mouth and closes it. Moving along then.

Stephens looks around. All agreed. Bugthefrakout. Got it. Clump clump clump goes the Mag boots as he heads off the boat.

The back of Marcion's head gets a death glare from Stavrian as the man leaves his own department specialist behind. As the Marines start to move out there's a crush at the door anyway, and he uses the precious minute to dart to one of the charred bodies, at least getting a good look at it. And something…/something/ makes him blink, brows drawing together sharply. He tears himself away as the traffic jam at the door clears, filing things in his head as they go.

Hastily stuffing the dogtags into a compartment of her gear, Aziza jerks her head around at Arkat's little motivational speech, and barks an "OORAH" for good measure. Not that it stops her from doubling back to collect Ren's body by the hips, and slinging him over her shoulder with a muffled 'oof'. Even in zero G, it's awkward. But damned if she's going to leave one of their crew behind. Arkat can ream her out later. Or just shoot her and be done with it.

Marcion's eyes are dead. They take in the surroundings, refusing to be caught unawares again, but his usual curiosity is gone. "I'm sorry, Ren…" he whispers. Only the Centurion really could have caught it.

Stephens misses the recollection of Rens body, clumping along as he is, weaspon ready, and covering the others in the retreat.

"Clear left. Moving up," Cadmus says, the words tossed back toward Arkat and Demos even if they don't care about protocol. Shifting quickly in an alternating pattern now that Aziza is burdened, he takes far lead down the corridor - but always within sight of the main group. Occasionally he will pause behind one of the crates, push it to the floor, and crouch behind it as he waits for others to catch up.

"… you're sure I can't walk on my own?" She offers. Sofia looks a bit unsure of this being helped along thing. She's poor at hiding. For now, she doesn't notice Aziza taking up Ren - but she'd be grateful. She is moving though.

Stavrian catches up to Aziza as he makes it into the hallway, something untensing at the corners of his eyes when he sees what she's got in her arms. "Thank you," he says under his breath to the Marine.

Demos does not miss the recollection of Ren's body. Aziza gets a quick thumbs up before Demos falls in behind at the end of the line. She hears Cadmus' call, "Roger that. Clear left." She moves forward as the hatch clears, her rifle set and ready just in case.

Stephens keeps moving, clearing and moving, clearing and moving as he covers the group back to the birds.

Aziza meets the medic's gaze briefly, in that second or two of one passing the other. She nods quickly, blinking the trickle of sweat out of her eyes that she doesn't have hands free to wipe away. And then she's on the move, as quickly as she can with a full grown man weighing her down. She drags, really, more than carries, and relies on her squadmates to cover her and her precious cargo.

Wait- aw, Sofia smiles a little at Aziza and keeps moving. She's a bit dazed for now.

Stavrian stays close to Sofia, helping the engineer along. Her request to walk alone…oh well. Blame it on gunshot deafness.

Arkat doesn't say a word about the corpse collection. There's moving going on, so it's good enough. In fact, Aziza might get a nod, even. "Maragos!" he starts to make his own way through the hallway, using the hand with the pistol to gain purchase and propel himself towards escape and freedom. "You hear metal, you scream like a girl." His voice quietens, and there's a frown with more than a little hint of regret as he catches one last glimpse of the CIC before the entire group is moving to GTFO, cargo in tow. "Someone tell the Chief we're coming."

Marcion sighs as he boards the Raptor, putting the broken Cylon bits in a storage crate. Seeing Ren being carried, he sighs, his eyes grateful. "Thank you," he whispers. Then he leans forward to the pilot. "When you can, request full security detail for potential Cylon prisoner. Also request immediate jump away from system based on continued Cylon presence in system." He leans back, nursing his hand in a wrap. Medical can look at it later. Nice job on your first field trip, eltee.

Silas echoes Aziza's oorah, and she's on the case of ass covering. Nobody's getting past her. Unless… they're heavily armed.

Stavrian's eyes are still ice-cold on Marcion, the man that wanted Ren left behind. He climbs up into a Raptor after Sabien, making sure Sofia can get aboard along with them.

It's three far heavier Raptors that lift off from the hangar bay once the EVA team stows its portable generator and gives the all clear — heavier in body as well as in spirit. All told, some eighty minutes have passed since the team's magnetized boots hit the deck, with only three of those minutes being the firefight in CIC.

With a mournful wing-waggle, the transports' spotlights wink off, returning the strangely-empty ship to the embrace of death; reprocessed air hissing out into the vacuum as the bay doors open. A flare of engines and they're out past the wreckage; another flare of engines and they're lumbering through the field of debris. It doesn't take long for the battlestar to fade back into an ocean of debris so vast that even her massive frame can no longer be picked out in the gloom — until even the men and women of Cerberus might find it easy to believe that she never even existed at all.

So passes Chimaera, the issue of Echidna, the bane of Lykia — the hecatomb of souls.

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