PHD #042: EVENT - The Ostent Evanescent
The Ostent Evanescent
Summary: An away team dispatched to investigate a ghost ship finds said ship to be very much alive.
Date: 10 Apr 2041 AE
Related Logs: None
Abbot Damon Haeleah Lunair Nibbles Stavrian Temperance Trask Polaris 
MV Eidolon
Parnassus Space

Her arrival in-system is announced by a blast of sirens — activated by some trigger-happy lieutenant on watch in CIC who upon hearing the words "Unidentified contact!" immediately orders the general alarm sounded. The Vipers on CAP get eyes on target after opening up their throttles to max, this rusted ship emerging from the stars, and call in a provisional visual ID: she's a civilian freighter, if the bulbous cargo containers protruding from her stern are any indication of her purpose. But preliminary scans from the Vipers' Raptor guardian reveal no sign of life on board, human or Cylon, and it's with a sigh of relief that the jittery el-tee in Tactical stands down from Condition One. The order to investigate comes down not one minute later from the admiral, still suffering from a bad case of bed head, and five minutes after that the battlestar's intelligence apparatus has produced six gleaming copies of the briefing document now in the possession of that order's six lucky recipients.

Now, as the sword-like profile of Motor Vessel Eidolon drifts ever closer to O'Sullivan's steadily-advancing Raptor, the differences between picture and reality become ever clearer. Her hull is scarred with the burns of battle, inflicted no doubt by relentless Cylon cannons, and a gaping hole has been slashed through her port storage pod — through which little tendrils of solidifying gas still fizz and spray. The logo of ARK Shipping Lines is faintly visible on her unlit bridge, its instantly-recognizable octagon a blur of crimson and black against darkened gunmetal grey.

<FS3> Temperance rolls Alertness: Success.
<FS3> Trask rolls Alertness: Success.

To Trask and Temperance: Even a cursory survey of the portside pod is enough to tell you that entering there would be a horrendously bad idea; however, it is possible to dock at the opposite side of the ship, which for all the blast damage looks surprisingly unscathed.

Everything is a bit of a blur for Damon, and he stares vacuously out toward the growing ship in the distance. His arms are crossed, hands staying away from the pistol at his side which hangs like one of many tools on his belt. As they get closer and closer, he glances about at the faces in the Raptor - the ones he can see, anyway - with a questioning kind of look, though he remains silent. The only sound that escapes his lips is a nervous sort of sigh.

[TAC1] "Crash" Michael says, "Discovery Flight, this is Cerberus Actual. To confirm, our scans are picking up nothing out of the ordinary. You are cleared to initiate boarding operations at your discretion."

Stavrian has his usual things along with him — medical pack over one shoulder and rifle over the other. Oh the lines that an away medic blurrs. He too is sitting in silence, letting the Raptor drivers do their thing.

Lunair is here, quietly. She doesn't seem as nervous as before - almost quietly calm. She has her rifle with her and watches the drivers, curious. A brief glance to Stavrian, but mercifully the Marine seems much steadier than before.

Haeleah is seated in the Raptor, double-checking her equipment as they land. Engineering kit, check. Sidearm, check. "Ready to hit this thing up, Petty Officer?" she asks Damon. "I figure we try and get to the bridge first. If the issue's technical and there's something like an auto-pilot jump control of slave command set up, that'll be the easiest place to access it. And disable it. I don't terribly want to be stuck on this vessel if it skips to Gods Ass Wherever again." If it's technical. She can hope. Dark eyes go out the viewport, passing pensively over the ship they're coming in on.

"Port side's frakked," Trask relays to the redheaded pilot who is not Quinn, "So, I'm voting starboard hatch."

[TAC1] Haeleah says, "Cerberus Actual, Discovery One. Acknowledged. We're inbound. Will update as we get our boots on the ground into this thing."

[TAC1] "Crash" Michael says, "Discovery One, Actual copies five by five. We'll be monitoring your progress from CIC. Stay safe."

[TAC1] Temperance says, "Actual, O'Sullivan. Headin' ta th' starboar' side o' things, t'other seems ta be too damaged ta be safe fer dockin'."

Temperance doesn't exactly look over the moon to be flying with Trask as her ECO yet again with the Admiral on the coms - but hey, at least this time, she's not hungover. She peers intently at the ship as they near and calls back behind her with an arched eyebrow. "Agreed, sir. Far ta much damage ta be safe, fer sure." She glares at the ship, and speaks quickly into her comm before adjusting the ship's path accordingly.

"So long's she don't hit us back, sir," Damon replies with a wry smile to Haeleah. He's only half-joking. "Between everything at Parnassus Anchorage and those Gods-be-damned turrets, a ship jumping in with no signs of life just gets my hair standing on edge." Deep breath in, deep breath out. "Good to go, though. Good to go." He looks down at his toolbelt for a quick double-check just to have something to do until they dock. Waiting and being still are not his strong suits.

Hard seals and the like aren't Stavrian's forte', unless you're taking about a hard seal around someone's mouth for CPR. He shifts his foot on the Raptor floor, softly clearing his throat. His blue eyes flicker to Lunair and then Haeleah, ready to go when they are.

If Lunair is uneasy about it, it's nearly impossible to tell. Her expression is serene and solemn. She looks almost like /a marine/, shock and awe. She's listening for now, watching the group around her. Hmm. Deep breath. All appearances aside, she does need oxygen periodically and cannot be put in a pot. She'll nod. She watches quietly and waits. Any help she gives on the hard seal business would be gruntlike.

"We're clear." To dock, that is. Or so the ECO tells Temperance.

"You and me both," Haeleah says to Damon. She looks about the ship. "Once we're in, Lieutenant Lunair, you'll take point. Out of the Raptor first for a security check. Be careful. Once we're out, Lieutenant Stavrian, tag along with the Petty Officer and I in back. Eyes sharp in case this bit of hyper-weird isn't technical." Eyes go between the Raptor folk. Settling on Trask, as he's working the big board. "Watch our asses from this thing. If this goes tits-up, you might get a reading on it with your instruments long before we do."

With a mild scoff and a wry smirk, Trask notes to Haeleah, "Hey, you're me 2.0," with class and tits, "which means G-Force will be a cranky koala if you're not brought home in a functional state. You're on your own when it comes to safeguarding your ta-tas, though." That joke is never going to go away. Never.

Temperance grits her teeth as they near the docking site, glancing from one control dial to the next, gauging and re-adjusting, until she's got them finally lined up just so - and they dock, they seal, they're ready and set. "We're clear," she calls back to the crew behind her, relaxing slightly. "Hard seal green." She leans forward to speak into the comms again, not moving. She stays with the ship, so at least she doesn't have to worry about being attacked by Cylons in there when she steps out.

[TAC1] Temperance says, "Actual, O'Sullivan. We've docked, the team is ready to go."

The JiG nods. Lunair can dig it. She smiles a little, some weird thought hitting her. A glance to Trask and the Temperance as well. At least she's alert. Sadly, they could not afford a full sized Marine and so here she is. She blinks at the Ta-tas joke and looks at Haeleah… Trask … Haeleah, at Haeleah's- wait, no that's bad. Blink. Well, she'll try to keep those ta-tas safe at least. She does look faintly amused, if quietly shy. Alas, she'll be first out - with her helmet on, nice and secure. Nodnod. For now, she will wait for her cue.

[TAC1] "Crash" Michael says, "Roger that, O'Sullivan. Actual reads the same. Carry on."

At the cue, Lunair takes a deep breath. Right. Look the part. She quietly opens the hatch and neatly steps out. Curse you short legs! But she makes it without looking a fool at least. Takin' some point here.

Engineers and deckhands train for this every week. Thus, short though the notice for this mission might have been, it doesn't take very long at all for the team to verify the hard-seal so elegantly established by their ferrymen. The door opens with a hiss to reveal — well, nothing, really, except a yawning blackness stretching as far as the eye can see. The smell of reeking cat food hangs heavily in the air, and if these courageous officers haven't ever had the pleasure of smelling the stink of rotting processed tuna, they can count this as their first horrific exposure to the reason why Admiral Abbot prohibits pets aboard his ship.

As the Raptor's dim interior illumination filters out into the storage bay beyond, the source of the smell becomes obvious: a single purple bowl to the right of the entrance, whose weathered plastic lip has been covered by bright pink polka dots. On its edge is scrawled in painfully girly handwriting the single word 'POOFS.' A dead rat lies beside it, its bloodied body scored by what looks to be sharpened claws and fangs. And when the away team's high-beam torches flicker on, what lies beyond finally comes into view: row upon row of standard sixteen-meter containers, the doors to which have been blasted to smithereens by precision-guided bullets. Pools of water have gathered in the hollows and valleys of the floor — or at least something that looks like water, clear and odorless as it is. Light glints off their still surfaces, casting rippled reflections on the sides of these endless rows of corrugated blue metal.

<FS3> Lunair rolls Alertness: Failure.
<FS3> Stavrian rolls Alertness: Success.
<FS3> Damon rolls Alertness: Success.
<FS3> Haeleah rolls Alertness: Success.

To Haeleah, Damon, and Stavrian: Gods bless your sharp eyes. Something very, very fast darts across your field of vision, leaping over a jagged piece of fallen door before vanishing into the distance — like the sudden glint of metal.

Stavrian breathes slowly through his nose as he follows Lunair out of the Raptor, boots touching down on the vessel's floor. An eyebrow raises immediately at the sight of a…bowl. With a word on it. "The hell?" A slight squint as lights start to rove over the place, and his body tenses. "Movement, twelve o' clock. Did you see that?"

Ew. Tuna stank. Lunair's nose wrinkles. She loves kitties, but- alas. She is busy considering the place. Her dark purple eyes narrow as she looks this way and that. Hmmm… She blinks. Movement? Her head turns towards 12 o'clock, but says nothing either way. Peer. "12 o'clock?" She asks softly, but in a steady tone. The sort one uses to not be too loud, but not meek sounding either.

Haeleah smirks at Trask, letting out a snort. "I keep telling you, Lieutenant, spend more time in the mess hall and you can grow a pair of your own." It's quipped off lightly, but the humor is a little forced. Her underlying mood is uneasy, though she tries her best not to look /too/ unsettled as they dock on the Good Ship Weird. She stands. "Alright. Wait for the all-clear from the jarhead before we go in." Though as the door opens she calls a sharp, "I see it, too. Lieutenant Lunair, eyes on your twelve o'clock. It went off that-a-way." She gestures in the direction in which is flitted. Wrinkling her nose and trying not to gag on the ripe tuna.

"Aye aye, El-Tee," Damon says quietly to Haeleah. Tools all double-checked and secured, he makes sure his pistol is ready to go. He visually confirms a round in the chamber and holds onto the weapon, pointing it down to the floor right in front of him. Lights, camera… action. Immediately, he recoils from the smell, one arm coming up to cover his face even as his fingers tighten on the sidearm. "I… I think I saw it," he answers to Stavrian, looking all around. His knuckles are just about white around that pistol grip. "It was too fast to make out."

Unlike Parres, Trask has no problem being facetious pretty much anywhere and at any time, including here and now. "Like I told you before, El-tee, if I grew my own, I'd end up in the brig for dereliction of duty." Even before the team disembarks, he's already firing up certain sensors.

Nod. Lunair is on her tippy toes, ready to move and peering at the 12 o'clock, 11 and 1 as well, perhaps to catch it if it were moving. She stays in point though. Inchinch. She cautiously peers and tiptoes a couple feet forward. "I'll move ahead a little bit. If I explode, die, burst into flames or become a politician, please stay back," The last comment is for quietly lightening the mood, but the tone is very solemn. She is iiiiiiinching along at a hunkered pace to try to catch sight.

Temperance makes a face at Trask's last comment, but at least she's facing away from him. She wrinkles her nose as the smell of the tuna comes rushing in from the hatch - but really, most her focus is out there, in space. You never know when a Cylon might just pop by for a neighborly visit.

Stavrian seems to find nothing funny about this, regardless of banter on all sides. His rifle's pulled off his shoulder and kept at ready, pointed at the floor for now. "Whatever it was isn't clanking, at the very least," he says under his breath as he follows behind Lunair at covering distance. Steps slow and careful, the rock from heel to toe of each boot controlled.

The away team progresses slowly but surely into the bowels of MV Eidolon, the echoes of their rubberized boots oddly magnified by the metal containers rising like trees nearby. Beams of light flick this way and that in search of the mysterious thing that three out of its four members would swear they saw; alas, their beams of light reveal nothing save corrosion where the liquid on the ground has met the edges of their metal containers. Inside those containers are various smashed bottles surrounded by distinctly Cylon shell casings, leaving little doubt as to what happened to cause them to break. Most importantly of all, Lunair catches sight of a pair of exits, one far larger than the other — the former leading aft, the latter leading forward.

[TAC1] "Crash" Michael says, "Discovery Flight, Actual. Status?"

"Follow the Marine's lead if this gets hot," Haeleah says to Stavrian and Damon. She's an engineer, not a fire-team leader. She follows in once Lunair doesn't get blown up right off. That's a sign they can all get inside, at least. "You familiar with Motor Vessel standard layout, PO?" she asks Damon, tone audible but low. As they get in, she gets on the comm again.

[TAC1] Haeleah says, "Actual, Discovery One. We're in. Somebody on this ship had a cat, I think. Reeks like bad tuna. We spotted some movement when the Raptor door opened but it was too fast to make out. Proceeding with caution. Destination one is the bridge."

[TAC1] "Crash" Michael says, "Discovery One, Actual copies. Don't shoot the kitten."

A pause. She squints. "Cylon shells," A motion to the spent things. Lunair frowns. She motions once she's not obliterated on entry. "One looks like it leads aft, the other forward," She goes quiet though, checking to see if there is any preference on destination. She's going slowly enough to let the others pick up what they need and stay close to yell at her if they need to but far enough ahead if she gets shot, they can move away. She smiles at the kitten comment. Kitty. No distractions now. All business.

[TAC1] "Bootstrap" Trask says, "Actual, Team: Bootstrap. Commencing electromagnetic sweep." A few seconds pass. "Readings seem normal. No spikes or-" There is an abrupt pause. "Scratch that. It's subtle, but there's one system that's reading a bit more juiced than it should. Surprise, surprise: whatever it is, it's somewhere at the bow of the bridge, so you might want to reconsider heading that way. I'm gonna do a thermal scan. See if there's someone in there."

Stavrian keeps his eyes on Lunair even as he opens his front jacket pocket, removing a small clear plastic tube. He wiggles the cap loose with his thumb and slowly kneels by one of the puddles, dipping the edge into it. It might just be water, but these aren't exactly ordinary times. As he stands back up, the cap's pushed back in, a glance over his shoulder at Haeleah and Damon and then back to Lunair. A brow raises at Trask's voice over the comm.

[TAC1] Haeleah says, "Actual, no contact with Cylons at this time, but we have spotted toaster shell casings. Uncertain if they're still aboard. Copy, Bootstrap. You getting any spikes near the engineering section?"

[TAC1] "Crash" Michael says, "Bootstrap, Actual. Tactical cannot — " There's a brief pause as the handset is set down; then: "Say again, Tactical cannot confirm your reading. Proceed at Discovery One's discretion.""

Damon gives Haeleah a terse nod. He's got his sidearm up and is scanning the side and rear of the party constantly. "Not, uh, it's been a while, El-Tee," he says, looking at the two exits. "If we're lookin' for the bridge, my guess would be to continue forward." He falls silent to listen to the comm chatter, then just gives Haeleah a single nod.

Lunair tenses at that news. Near the bow. Duly noted. She's quiet at the comm chatter at least. "Forward then, unless someone has a reasonable objection." She begins her steady inching forward, looking over her shoulder a second. Habitual headcount. Good. She has her rifle steady and moves along. Meatshield is go.

To Stavrian: As Stavrian bends down to collect a sample of the liquid, he might catch sight of a few flecks of paint drifting like tiny boats on its rippling surface. For a moment, he feels heat on the exposed skin of his cheeks and chin, but it vanishes as soon as he straightens.

[TAC1] "Bootstrap" Trask says, "Actual, Bootstrap. Copy, but that's what's pinging down here, sir. Parres, negative. It's possible that there /is/ something there, but whatever it might be would be overshadowed by the FTL's signature, which is reading as it should for having jumped."

"The ECO picked up something near the bridge. I don't want to just go wandering in there," Haeleah replies. "Let's head aft. Try to hit the engine room. It might take a little more work but we should be able to access the main controls from there." She motions Lunair to continue that direction. And on the team can go.

[TAC1] Haeleah says, "Trask, Parres. Copy. We're heading aft rather than fore to the bridge. Trying to hit the engine room. Keep us posted, and keep an eye on those thermal readings. See if you can get a better read on what's lurking near the bridge."

Stavrian blinks slowly as he stands back up, frowning as he moves further away from the pooled liquid on the floor. He checks the seal on the cap and slides it into his pack, mouth tense. "That's not water." Looking back up, he notes quickly to the others. "Stay away from the liquid on the floor. I don't know exactly what it is, but I felt…heat." Which is very strange, and that reflects in his low voice.

[TAC1] "Crash" Michael says, "Discovery One, Actual. Aft it is. If you do encounter enemy resistance, you are to eliminate it by any means necessary. Is that understood?"

<FS3> Trask rolls Ecm: Success.

[TAC1] Haeleah says, "Actual, Discovery One. Understood, sir."

Haeleah gulps softly.

Lunair blinks at Stavrian, but nods steadily. She takes a deep breath and moves to go in that direction then. She's good at being steered at least and doesn't seem to fuss about it. She listens and moves. Towards the engine room she inches, just ahead enough to stop bullets and let the others react accordingly.

[TAC1] "Bootstrap" Trask says, "Team, Actual: Bootstrap. Commencing thermal scan, checking for possible biological life." A few seconds pass. "The readings on the bridge are suggestive that whatever is causing the spike is neither human nor Cylon." A few more seconds pass. "Team, heads-up. Engineering is hot. We're talkin' it shouldn't be this hot even after a jump hot. To state the obvious, proceed with caution."

"Heat…?" Damon echoes, stepping sideways away from the puddle he's standing beside. The decision to go aft declared, he steps up behind Lunair. "Wonder what the frak was in these containers," he murmurs. "You figure it can't be coincidence that this mysterious ship full of mysterious shit shows up right here out of the blue," he muses aloud, glancing at the others. "There's something about this place - everything here's weird and out of place."

<FS3> Haeleah rolls Repair: Success.
<FS3> Damon rolls Repair-10: Terrible Failure.

Further into the storage bay the away team goes, doing their damnedest not to step on the puddles of water — or not-water, as the case may be — as they proceed abaft the cargo pod. The way only gets harder the deeper into these artificial hedgerows they go, and it begins to take much more in the way of agility to hop what glimmering puddles are visible. But so careful is the team that no splashing can be heard from any of their boots, and soon enough, the massive door leading towards the engine room comes into better view. The ground in front of it is smeared with blood that looks as if it's come from several sources: bodies, perhaps, dragged towards the door by clanking metal monstrosities?

Who knows.

Temperance, not seeing anything going on outside her window, decides to move over and come stand by Trask's area. "What'dya think tha' means, bein' so 'ot like tha'?" She frowns at his screens and wraps her arms around herself. "S'not like gettin' ready ta explode an' th' like, is it?"

Haeleah nods to Damon as she follows Lunair. "This whole thing feels seriously frakked. If this is a technical issue and somebody's been frakking with slave commands to another ship, it might've fritzed the hyperlight drive. Be careful. I'd rather come across a Centurion than an FTL that's about to blow on a ship this small." Though perhaps she spoke too soon. She steps light around the pools on the ground, stopping short when they near the engine room. And the blood smears. "Frak." The hand signal is an all-stop sign. She directs her flashlight slowly around the corridor. Not just at the blood, but at the hull plating on the ceiling. "Double-frak. The heat's starting to buckle the plating. We have got to head back fore. ASAP. Doesn't matter what's on the bridge. It's on the opposite end from this, and that's where we want to be. With the plating in this shape, our asses would be vacuum-bound if this thing suddenly jumped."

Stavrian's lashes are beaded with moisture, eyes slowly getting more and more narrowed as they progress. Blinking rapidly a few times, he exhales through pursed lips. The room's a little blurry between blinks, tears stinging them. "Anyone else's eyes burning?" He stops as Haeleah gives that direction, frowning sharply at the plating she points out.

Walkwalk. Stare. Ewh. She avoids the not water. She's getting ready to go poke at the door, hesitating at the sight of the blood smears. She pauses. She looks to Haeleah and nods. Got it. She'll start back to where Haeleah is telling her. Back fore it seems. "Aye aye," She nods. Lunair is taking point off again. The news makes her frown though.

[TAC1] Haeleah says, "Actual, Discovery One. We've got signs of blood by the engine room. Can't investigate here further at this time. Whatever's heating up this ship is really hot here and it's making the plating in this section start to buckle. We want to get far away from this area in case the ship jumps again. We're headed back to the fore section."

[TAC1] "Crash" Michael says, "Discovery One, Actual, copy that." The admiral allows himself a quiet chuckle. "I hope, for its sake, that the kitten isn't back there."

Blood. Damon stares at the ground in front of the door, his eyes not really focusing on it, before suddenly jerking his head away and back toward the corridor leading forward. "Wh… wait," he says, waving his flashlight around from spot to spot. He's seeing the exact same thing Haeleah's seeing. "You sure on that, El-Tee?" he asks Haeleah, his flashlight's beam coming back down to the bloodied path. "Floor looks stable enough, at least." He shakes his head in response to Stavrian's question. His eyes seem to be fine, at least for now.

<FS3> Trask rolls Ecm-10: Success.
<FS3> Temperance rolls Alertness: Failure.

Haeleah blinks a little herself. "I feel it, too, a little," she says to Stavrian. "It's not painful, really, just irritating." She just nods to Damon, double-timing it away from that cracky corridor. The sight of those spooked her more than the blood on the floor. A look to the medic. "Any idea what might be in those pools we passed, or what could be causing it?"

Stavrian makes a coughing sound, through his nose first and then through his mouth. The inhale sounds labored, a slight wheeze wrapped around the passage of air. His eyes are definitely watering, a tear finally streaking down his cheek, and he clears his throat hard. "Chemical…aerosol." His voice is scratchy. As Haeleah says her eyes are burning too, he grits his teeth. "Can't stay here, something in the air. Need to get out of it."

[TAC1] "Crash" Michael says, "DISCOV — Discovery One, Actual. We read a massive thermal surge abaft of you consistent with an FTL spinning up. Get out of there!"

Wince. "Yes, my eyes burn a little," Lunair admits after a moment. She shakes her head trying to shake it off. But nothing helps. Aerosols. She will trust their judgement. And then comm gives the news. Ohcrap. "Go-" She urges quietly and will let them go first. That's part of her job after all.

[TAC1] "Bootstrap" Trask says, "Actual, Bootstrap. Confirmed. ETA of 10 seconds. O'Sullivan, get your ass outta this bird, now!"

The admiral's final words are interrupted by a loud thrumming whine that rapidly increases in pitch, starting low and rocketing up the scale until it pierces the team's eardrums. The engineer and deckhand will know the sound well: an engine in its final stages of powering up.

<FS3> Trask rolls Athletic: Success.
<FS3> Temperance rolls Athletic: Success.

"Back to the Raptor. Run." Haeleah says shortly. They all book it, hopefully.

[TAC1] Haeleah says, "Actual, Discovery One. Copy. Booking it back to our transport, double-time."

"Disregard my last," Damon says as he starts to follow the others back. "Spoke too frakkin' soon." He rubs at his eyes, blinks them rapidly, and rubs at them again, like he's trying to dislodge a piece of debris that's irritating him. "Wh - what the frak!" he shouts. "The FTL - " No time to talk. It's time to run. He books it with the others.

Temperance doesn't see much, and even if she did, she wouldn't have the technical wherewithal to understand it. But she knows enough, sees enough, to SCRAMBLE back to her pilot's seat as fast as she can, and start the prelims for unsealing the hatch. But then Trask makes the obviously more sensible call, and she rips out of her seat and fucking /dives/ out the hatch, not even looking where she's going first. She screams as she goes, "STAY IN, DO NOT BOARD TH' RAPTOR!"

Stavrian coughs hard again, turning on his heel. Tears track their way down both cheeks now, the room swimming through the salty sheen that just won't go away. He starts to book it after the engineer and deckhand, but gets stopped cold by the sound of Temperance's screaming. "What the /frak/?"

Wait, what? Don't board he raptor- but - they gotta get out! Lunair's coughing by now, looking like she's coming out of a bad chick flick, eyes watering. "Wha- but -" She looks confused, having run back there. Frak frak frak. "The frak!"

Fast as he can muster, Trask unbuckles from his station and books outta the Raptor, making certain that Temperance is out before him and that the hatch is closed. It's not the smoothest landing, but he takes off running, hauling his pilot to get the frak out of the way. There's no way they could have detached in time, which means the Harrier would've been blown to Hades when the ship jumped. As much as the current situation sucks, no one is going to get exploded.

The whine becomes a shriek becomes a scream, one that sets the Eidolon's entire hull vibrating in some sickening semblance of harmony — and suddenly there's a hiss of static and that queasy feeling one gets when a ship this size hits the big red FTL button — and then, two seconds after Trask tumbles out of the Raptor behind his red-haired pilot, one second after the rusting hatch hisses closed, the freighter lurches backwards, then forwards with that topsy-turvy motion common to old faster-than-light engines. A massive explosion is audible through the ship's thick spaceframe as the Raptor outside ignites —

And then upon their six panicked heads comes crashing down a series of creaks that soon fade into silence.

Well, at least they didn't jump into the middle of a star.

MV Eidolon
Parts Unknown

Haeleah skids to a dead stop as well at the sound of screaming from Raptor-land. Well, kiss that idea good-bye. She ducks toward the fore corridor, motioning for the others to dive that way. She's thrown off her feet by the force of the jump, knocking hard into the wall. "Frak…" she breathes. The softness makes her dread more apparent. She tries, without much hope, to comm through coughing…

[TAC1] Haeleah says, "Cerberus Actual. Discovery One. Do you copy? Does…anybody copy?"

[TAC1] (from Polaris) The team eats nothing but static.

…! Lunair is queasy at that topsy turvy motion. She latches onto the wall before she gets knocked into it. Take THAT. She looks like she's been at a funeral or something, tears streaming down her face. But there's something off. She's quiet at the series of creaks. She's unusually quiet, her voice straining. "Sorry," She manages after a moment. At the sound of only static, Lunair is a bit worried. "Anyone - hurt?" She has to force her words, standing after a moment.

Stavrian stumbles when the ship jumps. Normally this doesn't happen but it caught him well off-guard. His shoulder thuds into the wall, hands slamming against the bulkhead as his knees wobble. "Son of a /bitch/." Hopefully he hasn't staggered into any of that devil-water.

Noise. So much noise. When it all stops, Damon finds himself on the floor, down on his knees. "What just - " he doesn't even get to finish his sentence before the hacking and coughing kicks in. Doubled over, he tries to catch his breath - just barely managing to. He brings his left arm up over his mouth and nose again, trying to control his breaths. "Thank the frakkin' Gods… you didn't listen to me," he says to Haeleah. The eyes are getting worse, too. Tears flow forth freely from his eyes, and he gives up trying to wipe them away after the third time. "We can't st - " HACK. COUGH.

<FS3> Haeleah rolls Reactive-10: Success.
<FS3> Damon rolls Reactive-10: Success.
<FS3> Lunair rolls Reactive-10: Success.
<FS3> Stavrian rolls Reactive-10: Good Success.

Temperance shakes her head and looks around, back to the path of mystery puddles she slid through, down to the Trask who bashed into her. Slowly picking herself up off the floor, she looks around at all the faces she barely took note off as they piled in the ship - now the only people they've got contact with. "Weren't time ta get away," she offers awkwardly as way of explaination for her scream. Making a face, she peers down at one of the puddles, and then at her flight suit, covered in whatever the liquid is. "Anybody know iffn' this's gonna be a problem?"

"Anyone … else … finding it a bit," Lunair gets cut off, speaking a lot like William Shatner. She's making a concerted effort to breathe. She holds up a hand in a 'please wait' gesture. She just. Needs. A. Moment. She's crying like she just missed free cake, booze and massage day. Snifft. Well, rather - her eyes are watering.

To Trask and Temperance: After a minute or two, you notice that the places where your flight suit made contact with the devil-water have started to char, to the point at which you can see smoke rising from holes within.

Stavrian leans over, coughing once. THe back of his hand rubs moisture over his cheek and he sucks in a tight breath through his teeth. "Shit. Need to get out of this pod or we're all going to be choking to death." But…wait. University chemistry, don't fail him now. Acid plus heat equals — frak. His blue eyes turn to Haeleah, quickly. "El Tee. If this shit in the air is what I think it is, we're swimming in hydrogen gas right now. This thing jumps again, it might blow." He points back towards engineering. "If don't block that off, the heat could ignite the gas."

Damon points to Lunair and nods, face still buried in the crook of his arm. It has the dual effect of covering his mouth as he coughs and soaking up his stream of tears. "Br, bridge," he manages before succumbing to another fit of coughing. He can barely even breathe right now. In fact, he's coughing so much that he turns away and pukes his guts out.

"Frak frak frak frak frak…" Haeleah swear-coughs as she gets to her feet. Under her breath. Must keep the panic /somewhat/ tempered. She motions them fore, toward the corridor to the bridge. "I…the comms to actual are dead. Or…out of range of Cerberus." The latter is obvious the correct one to her mind, judging by her tone. She motions down the fore corridor to regroup and head toward the bridge, coughing. "Come on…"

If ever Temperance had fantasized about being underneath Trask's body, it probably wasn't like this. "Unsurprising that you make a good cushion, Ensign," he tells her, getting to his feet. The woman /is/ curvy, thus soft. She also seems to be uninjured, so he starts to follow Haeleah. While walking however, he begins to notice that his flightsuit is starting to smoke in the places that landed in a puddle. "So, in case any of you were unaware, the liquid on the floor is corrosive. We're gonna need to make a pit stop an' ditch these duds."

A nod at Damon. Mercifully, Lunair doesn't barf. She does cough and wheeze a bit. She will try to follow Haeleah and help out there. She doesn't comment on the pilot under Trask. That's probably how they greet each other for all she knows. Like 'hey' 'sup' or something.

Temperance starts to follow Haeleah, but she happens to look down and stops dead in her tracks. "I, uhh…m'suit. M'suit's burnin'. Meltin'?" She glances over to Trask and eyes his suit too. "/M'suit is burnin' an' meltin'!!/" she says again, slightly panicked tone of voice for extra measure. There's total 'getitoff getitoff getitoff' going on in her eyes. But at Trask's suggestion of getting out of their suits - which she takes to mean get naked - she just gapes at him.

Even unable to breathe entirely well, Lunair holds up a hand. She'll go down it first to sponge whatever's coming down. Although the sounds behind her make her blink. Oh hells. She doesn't speak much, preferring to keep her energy to breathing and moving.

"Keep your helmets on if you can till we get clear!" Stavrian calls to the two pilots. His voice is scratchy and hoarse now, from coughing and something else. "It's sulfuric acid, it's in the air. /Don't/ breathe it if you don't have to." Following Haeleah towards the bridge quick as he can, while trying to keep an eye on the others. Which isnt' easy, seeing how badly his eyes are tearing.

Barfmaster Damon finishes up his away-team ritual of losing his lunch, wipes his mouth, and forces himself to continue on, following after Haeleah and Lunair. He glances to Temperance and Trask, but says nothing, just motions 'Let's go' as best he can. At least there's a short reprieve from the coughing, even if he can't breathe too well at the moment.

The nice thing about a ship built for thirteen (of whom only four or five need to be awake at any given time) is that the amount of her meant for humans is far smaller than aboard a ship built for twenty-five hundred. It doesn't take terribly long for these six intrepid soldiers to plod down the corridor, choking all the way. On the upshot, though, the mucus now clogging their nostrils and respiratory tracts makes it difficult to smell that roasted tuna — or, for that matter, the charred remains of a calico cat, whose paws look like they've been cooked off by a grill. The piteous whining of her kitten, though, can't quite be blocked out. His claws are stained with the blood of the rats he's been hunting for however long he's had to subsist off Eidolon's native fauna. His little head nudges his mother's limp figure, his whiskers quivering as his underfed body twitches beneath the team's combined beams.

Beyond the kitten is another hatch, to the left of which hangs a portrait of thirteen men and women taken by what looks to be a pair of picnic tables in some anonymous natural preserve. Of all ages, shapes, and sizes, the picture looks to be an advertisement for some Colony's Embrace Diversity! Campaign, but the small brass plaque at the bottom of its simple pine frame tells a different story: 'MV Eidolon, 2035: We like Wide Loads and Cannot Lie.'

"We should…be able to seal and vent it from the bridge," Haeleah coughs in reply to Stavrian as they go in that direction. "Strip those suits off as quick as you can, flyers." She goes right past the poor kitten. Hard to tell if she's focused on other things, gagging too much to notice, or is just a dog person.

Poor kitten. Lunair pauses, hearing it - and noticing the mother's state. Oh. oh no. Poor baby. Lunair pauses. She holds up a hand, "C-an - we take him?" She motions to the cat. If no one objects, she'll try to move towards him to pick him up. "Poor baby- but how is he -" How is he breathing? She wonders. Eithe way, she'll scoop the bitty feller up to keep him safe from acid. Lunair may be the softest Marine ever. Except for the experimental Marine made of pillows.

"Lieutenant, would you kindly walk?" Stavrian may not be a card-carrying member of the SPCA either. That or he's more concerned about six humans breathing atomized acid. He nods quickly to Haeleah at the bridge thing, spitting onto the floor. His throat's so tight he opts for that rather than swallowing. "Damon, you okay?" Still walking, trying to look back at the man to check that he hasn't bowled over.

Not all the team is choking, tearing, and gagging. Apart from his suit slowly being eaten away, Trask is quite fine, thanks to his flight helmet. "El-tee. Eyes on point." Which is to say: frakkin' do your job, miss Marine. He, however, is spared a bit more luxury. "Damn, buddy," he reaches towards the kitten, attempting to carefully take it from Lunair. "I know what it's like to lose a mom. If you don't mind possibly getting shot into ground round, you can ride with me." Presumably on his non-smoking shoulder.

Damon almost barrels right into Lunair when she pauses. He can hardly see anything by now, but he at least manages to avoid knocking the Marine over. "Hard to - breathe," he says to Stavrian between coughs. Even when he does manage to catch a break, it's short and shallow breaths, which lead him right back into the coughing. But he hasn't bowled over quite yet. He makes a circular gesture with his finger pointed upward. "Spinning." He points at his forehead with the same finger. Not gonna last much longer, it seems.

Lunair looks duly annoyed. He took the kitty. But she looks used to this sort of thing, and so nods meekly. She looks a bit sad though, once kitten gets taken. Oh well. She turns to do her job then. She offers some support to Damon, a shoulder.

Haeleah doesn't object to taking along the kitten. Whoever grabs it. She's more focused on getting to the bridge. She sidles up to Damon. Not that she's in that much better shape than he, but she can be adjacent to give him an army if he needs it. Onward.

These are, in fact, the quarters of Eidolon's crew. Six bunks are stacked on each side of the room in three columns of two; a single bigger bed rests to the right of the hatch at the opposite end of where the team entered, on which luxurious sheets can be seen a wisp of red silk stuffed beneath a beautiful down pillow — Captain Evans' adventurous lingerie, no doubt, its frilly lace spread out across pure white fabric like filigree traced in blood. The rest of the bunks are similarly richly appointed: apparently, the rumor that the merchant marine makes more money than your average everyday defender of freedom and civilization has a basis in fact. Various knick-knacks are scattered across the table at the center of the room, where it looks as if a magnificent dinner has just been served (or a once-magnificent dinner, at any rate): custom ARK Shipping Lines' mugs with the faces of their owners etched in black into gleaming porcelain, silver cutlery, even a chessboard locked forever in zugzwang.

Oh, and there's a severed arm lying on the floor, separated from its body by an unremitting stream of bullets — next to which a broken Centurion is sprawled, knocked out by a lucky shot to its eyeslit. But no biggie, right?

<FS3> Damon rolls Alertness-10: Success.
<FS3> Lunair rolls Alertness-10: Good Success.
<FS3> Stavrian rolls Alertness-10: Success.
<FS3> Temperance rolls Alertness: Success.
<FS3> Haeleah rolls Alertness-10: Success.
<FS3> Trask rolls Alertness: Success.

To Lunair: You know that broken Centurion? Broken Centurions hit in the eyeslit really shouldn't have that eyeslit start blinking…

Sadface. Lunair does look a bit sad as kitty goes. She must like cats. Blink. She makes a loud wheezing noise. "GUYS-" She motions to the cylon. "No- blinking- it shouldn't be-" Finally, the Marine notices something. Must be her brief cuddle with the kitty.

Temperance hangs her head. She doesn't even notice the kitten as she plods along. Cringing at Haehleah's order, she opens her mouth to say something, and thinks better of it. Hesitating, she reaches up to her zipper and yanks down. Closing her eyes, she slowly steps out of it. That's right, folks, she's wearing her regulation tank top…but there are no pants under this suit. O'Sullivan's in her undies. And looks like she wants to die. She's lagging behind most of the team, so she hasn't really seen the Cylon or half-a-arm just yet. She's avoiding looking at everyone, and averting her gaze. To the floor. Through her feet.

This isn't a time for stupid pride. After all, he's already thrown up and everything. Damon accepts Haeleah's support with a nod of thanks, leaning on her somewhat. It's more to make sure he keeps going in the right direction - leaning on her to steer his path while he makes sure his legs keep moving. When Lunair calls out to them, he opens his watery eyes - and sees the severed arm. Good thing he's already puked. The Centurion takes a while to focus in his vision, but once it does, he starts and takes a step back.

Stavrian stumbles against the wall as they get into this room, sucking in breaths through his unwilling throat. His head's buzzing and eyes still burning, but he pauses a moment, staring at the arm on the floor. Then up, and around. "…here. It's stopped. Must have air filters in here, can hear them still." He pushes off the wall, pointing back at the entrance. "Get the hatch shut before it filters in here."

Trask closes the hatch, emaciated kitty perched on his shoulder. That all done, when Stavrian calls it clear, he carefully puts the fuzzball down on the bed's pillow and starts to remove his helmet and gloves. "Get comfy, kid," he tells the critter. "We might be here a while." Meanwhile, he surveys the room, hoping to espy something sharp enough to cut through his suit.

"Careful," Lunair mumbles. Her eyes are watering. She keeps her eyes on the Cylon, though the kitty gets a smile. Cat person. She shakes it off, and focuses, moving between the others and the DOOMTOASTER. Time to nudge it.

The kitten mewls pathetically as he is removed from omg-this-girl-is-soft-and-nice, his paws and claws scrabbling for purchase against Lunair's vest. His eyes quiver, his body twitches, his throat emits a catlike whimper — but that might just be because he, too, has been suffering from the effects of exposure to that nasty aerosol in the starboard cargo pod. And even as Lunair taps the Centurion with the tip of her rifle, a cascade of bullets sweeps up from the floor to the ceiling, firing a endless stream of rounds from the once-dormant Centurion — or more precisely, from the hand cannon attached to said once-dormant Centurion, the sparks from which cannon reveal that the awesome brown pattern traced into the room's beige rug was in fact caused by the Colonial equivalent of a Jackson Pollock who works with blood instead of paint.

Haeleah has another fit of coughing, as much to clear her lungs as anything else as they hit the fresher bit of ship. The puts her free hand against the wall for support, showing no small trace of relief as Trask seals the hatch. It takes her a beat to notice the severed arm. And the Centurion. She steps back with Damon. "Lieutenant…!" is squawked in alarm to Lunair, as much in shock as anything else. Ideally the Marine's close enough to cap the broken thing. "Get down!" She hits the deck next to Damon. Taking him with her to ball there if need be.

Aw. Sir Whiskers liked her. That makes it really tough for Lunair. But she can work something out with Trask later perhaps. "GET DOWN!" She manages, as bullets fly. She's trying to stay between it and the others. But for now, she's going to get to the thing, put her gun to its head if she can and try to fill it full of lead like a number two pencil from uh, Heck. She's more intent on capping it then taking cover.

"Frakking /shit/." The words explode from Stavrian's mouth and he yanks his rifle forward, dropping down to one knee. His finger curls on the trigger, quite happy to help Lunair put the thing out of its misery.

Seeing that he was right there, it's pretty automatic that Trask ducks behind the captain's big bed, although he makes a quick grab for the kitten while hitting the floor.

When Lunair pumps the Cylon full of lead, the roar of a light machine gun is met with the rat-tat-tat of a standard-issue assault rifle, which is soon joined by the report of Stavrian's own weapon. It doesn't take long before the sound of three firearms shooting with abandon becomes the sound of just two — and then, just like that, the Centurion's blinking eye dims for what one hopes is the last and final time. But when the guns fall silent, the noise does not: for lost in the clamor no longer, the distinctive whine of the Eidolon's FTL begins to make itself known once more…

As for the adorable fuzzy creature the team picked up? He's caterwauling — or kittenwauling, as the case may be — especially when he's snatched off his feet by brutal-callused-bitter-rough Trask. Animals really do have a sense of people.

Damon has a split second to yelp, "Frakkin' - " before Haeleah goes down, taking him with her. He hits the deck hard, which partially knocks the wind out of him - which is when he realizes he can kinda-sorta breathe again. Moving against the wall, he takes in a long deep breath. It causes him to cough again, but nowhere near as bad as before. "Oh Gods," he says as he hears the FTL spooling up once more. "We're going to jump again."

She's not wearing pants and there's a dead?Cylon shooting bullets everywhere. Temperance meeps, glances from left to right, and hits the floor. Where else is she going to hide, in a bunk with some pillows for armor? She cringes with each shot until it's over, and then lifts her head up just in time to hear Damon. "We ain't never gettin' 'ome," she announces to nobody in particular. But really…where's home, anyway?

Pantpantwheeze. Lunair coughs and has to hold her chest. "dead … it's dead," She gasps. Phew. "Hey, do you guys hear that?" She manages looking around. And a blink, as Damon confirms. She winces. The cat gets a sympathetic look. She wants to pet it, but that would invlove getting close to the Trask and abandoning her duties. Soft squishy Lunair. She's more worried though, about that FTL noise. She's quiet. Gotta catch her breath.

Stavrian is breathing hard as he lowers his rifle. Not just from adrenaline; it's still very painful to draw breath. He freezes at the sound of the FTL, way more concerned about something else than the cat: "The gas…/frak/, the /hydrogen/. We have to get out of here, that'll ignite out there!"

Haeleah picks herself up, cautiously, when the gunfire stops. Offering a hand-up to Damon as well. "Frak me." That in reference to the ominous sound of the FTL spooling. She motions toward a far door. "That should take us to the bridge. We can shut it down from there." Or try to. One must remain optimistic. A look to Temperance, but she can't really come up with anything too reassuring just now. She books it, double-time, at Stavrian's words. Fear of explosions is a good motivator.

Maybe the kitten is caterwauling because of, say, RICOCHETING BULLETS. At Stavrian's warning, Trask gets up and deposits the fluffykins in his helmet, carrying it in that, and snagging his gloves before getting the hell outta there. "Knickers," he calls to Temperance, "Move that underclad ass of yours."

Lunair moves. She adores the cat, and hopes to live long enough to pet it again - but both fuzzybuns and her will live longer if they focus and run. Also, breathing. Oh lords breathing. She books it along with Haeleah. "Sorry." About the gunfire at least. She looks over her shoulder, making sure they don't lose anyone.

Damon pulls himself up into a sitting position with his back against the wall for a second, holding his head between his hands, eyes closed. Just for a moment. Opening his eyes again, he accepts Haeleah's hand up. He's a heavy boy, don't you know. "We'll make it back, Ensign," he grunts to Temperance, eyes only barely passing over her as he speaks. "Gods, my head." Wiping at his eyes one last time, he glances skeptically toward the Centurion, then the assumed bridge. Damon follows after the others, but at a slower pace.

Temperance, who is actually still wearing her useless helmet - not having had the time to yank it off just yet - grimaces at Trask's behind as she hurries towards the door. Impending doom and 'splodies, though, aren't going to stop her from reaching out a hand and yanking something random out of the Captain's locker as she goes by. ARK jumpsuit, score!

"Go, /go/!" Stavrian struggles back up, hand wrapped around the rifle so tightly his knuckles have gone white. His medical pack bangs against the side of his leg as he runs after them, grabbing Damon's arm on the way. If he has to shove people through the hatch, he will.

The Eidolon's bridge is small and cramped, a far cry from the living quarters just aft of the hatch and corridor leading within. The captain's console and three navigators' banks at the center of the room seem the most used — apart from the cargo monitoring station behind the captain's chair, whose screen is blinking in silent warning: "Critical atmospheric contamination in starboard cargo hold." The technology really should be referred to in finger-quotes: if she was commissioned nearly four decades ago, her last major upgrade must have been no later than thirty-five years back.

As the acid aerosol is left further and further behind, the vision of the away team clears — but they might wish it hadn't when they see what's inside. One solitary body — or rather, the bones of one solitary body — 'sits' beneath one particular navigation station, its flesh chewed off by little teeth roughly the same size and shape as the marks on the dead rat in the corridor way back. A small metal object is clasped in the bones of its right hand, the muscle and skin of which have been chewed clean off.

And as for what's on that station? You guessed it: a timer, which has just ticked down to the last minute and a half.

Haeleah swallows hard at the sight of the corpse with the eaten hand. This would be a bad time to barf. Well, she can table doing that until the work is over. "We've got to power down the FTL," she says, to techies Damon and Trask both. Fingers flex a little over the controls. It seems to be a nervous gesture, to keep her hands from doing anymore shaking than that. "My gods, frak me…" It's not prayer, just profanity.

<FS3> Haeleah rolls Repair: Success.

Damon gets pulled by the arm for a bit before he shrugs off Stavrian's grip - not rudely, mind you, but still forcefully enough. It's more of a 'I can do it on my own now' than a 'Frak off'. Nevertheless, he's among the last if not the last to enter the bridge. And what a bridge it is. "What do you need?" he asks Haeleah, voice still ragged. He leans against a navigation station. Hello, there's a body here. This one doesn't even make him gag. Maybe he's starting to get used to the corpses. Leaning down a bit, he tries to get a better look at what the corpse is holding, trying to ignore the rest of it.

Upon entering, Trask immediately tries to determine where his skills would be best put to use.

Lunair… feels a bit like tits on a boar, but that seems to be a usual thing somedays. Either way, she's keeping an eye out and keeping out from underfoot as needed. Gotta make sure there's no snakes or cylons on this plane.

Stavrian stops as he gets through the hatch of the bridge. That little run winded him, which it surely wouldn't have if he hadn't just breathed ten minutes of sulfuric acid. He leans over and coughs hard again, then rubs his eyes as he straightens up, eyes pinned on the corpse. Hoshit. He steps to the side, staying out of the techies' way — nothing he can do about the timer. But the body, his eyes narrow at as he draws up closer.

Damon leans down farther to grab the metallic object. Straightening up, he holds it up before his face, examining it with a frown. A silver-white disk. "This…" he says, eyes narrowing. It looks familiar, but he can't quite place it. "Looks like… something out of the Heavy Raider that we had back on Cerberus, but I can't remember what." He holds it up over his head, looking at it silhouetted against the light. There's no flash of recognition, just disappointment - he sets it aside on the console. Puzzles can be dealt with after they stop the ship from exploding.

It doesn't take Haeleah that long to figure out what's up with the FTL. The system is ancient and the stuff of Engineering 101. She motions Trask closer, so he can get a good view of it with her. "It looks like they slaved the hyperlight system to the jump if the DRADIS picks up any contacts. It must have sensed your Raptor incoming. We're lucky this damn thing is so old, or it would've skipped again long before now. We need to get the FTL powered down entirely." She gives him room to work on that, looking back to Damon. "Petty Officer, go close the hatch to the cargo bay. Get us sealed. If this doesn't work, we'll need that buffer."

Temperance sees everything in here, the timer warning, the chewed corpse. But the kittynibbles cause the color to drain out of her face, so she just focuses on getting her new duds on. They're a little…cramped, to say the least, but she's not exposed anymore. She'll let those who are qualified deal with the impending doom - she doesn't know how to do anything but fly. "Who's 'they'?" she pipes up. Maybe the answer's obvious, but maybe she's hoping there's another one, not as sinister.

Stavrian glances between Damon and Haeleah, then at the little object. Frowning, he looks back down at the body, crouching next to it. Gloved fingers touch the front of the corpse's jacket, inspecting a hole in the material and then another, then he looks over his shoulder and down at the floor by the hatch. Then up, then back to the bag of bones, mouth still in a thin line.

"Daddy's gotta save all our tails, now, fluffykins," Bootstrap tells the kitty in a casual but kindly tone. "I'm gonna get you some nice red string to play with, though, k?" The cat in a hat — well, helmet — is then proffered to Temperance. "Here. Keep 'im company, Knickers." Trask has decided that is the Ensign's callsign, thus it is so. With that done, he gets to work. "On it, El-tee," is said to Haeleah, and then to Damon, "Be sure to leave the doohickey behind, PO."

Blink. Lunair looks a bit sad as she's totally ignored in regards to the cat. She just shrugs and looks to the door then. Ho hum. Useless marine is useless.

<FS3> Trask rolls Repair: Good Success.
<FS3> Haeleah rolls Repair: Great Success.
<FS3> Damon rolls Repair: Success.

"Aye aye," Damon says to Haeleah. Cargo bay doors. Those probably don't close by hand. He slides around to the cargo monitoring station blinking the critical warning and tries to figure out if there's any controls for the doors that can be used from the bridge. "Come on… Come on," he mutters under his breath as he looks the thing over. "I'm a knuckledragger, not a CIC-frakkin'-operator."

Haeleah flexes her fingertips once more and gets to work on shutting the engines the hell down along with Trask. She's quick on the controls, going through the thing like clock-work once she's paid more than a second's attention to the system. No more swearing from her.

Lunair is quiet, watching for cylons. She does smile at the cat from time to time, but it seems to be a lost battle. She resigns herself quietly.

The ECO is more than just tasty eye candy. Engineering background aside, he was a snipe for 6 years and then a knuckledragger for 6 more before he entered the Air Wing. Between him and Haeleah, it doesn't take much at all to de-link the ship's DRADIS from the FTL. They even finish with a full thirty-four seconds to spare. Behold the Awesome. "Clearly, the class and tits were excellent upgrades. I know I said it before, but I thoroughly approve of you being the new me." That, in Trask-speak, is a genuine compliment.

Temperance eyes Trask for a moment, and then looks down at the helmet handed to her, full of kitten. "Hey, li'tle boyo," she murmurs to him, setting the helmet down somewhere for a moment to strip off her own. Lifting him from the helmet, she holds him in her arms and tucks him under her chin. "Tweren't yer fault, eatin' up all tha' grossness. Ain't like ya 'ad a choice, 'ere all alone an' wha'not. 'S gonna be alrigh', you'll see. M'name's Knickers, 'pparently." She paces from one end of the bridge to the other, watching everyone work - but without a job of her own to do, she's just talkin' to the kitty.

The FTL-fixin group, Stavrian keeps an eye on. But his focus is on the body, his brows drawn in a slightly troubled fashion as he keeps looking it over. Really, you have to be a medic to get your face as close as he does to a chewed-up corpse, his nose just an inch or two from exposed gristled ribs as he peers at something inside. Then he sits back on his heels, looking down at the corpse's feet. His posture is tense, trying not to twitch the frak out while the techies work. He can imagine that timer…

Damon slams his fist on the console in frustration more than once as he navigates the banal maze of menus, trying to figure out how to close that frakkin' door. "Who the frak designed this ancient obfuscation machine?!" he roars in rage, backing out of yet another menu. "Here, I think I - no, that's the other hatch, Gods-frakking-dammit…" This continues for, well, almost a minute and a half before a shout of exultation is heard from the Petty Officer. "Got it! OK, hatch is closing. Frak, that was a close one."

If this were a film, the combined forces of Good and Holy would have taken precisely one minute and twenty-nine seconds to prevent themselves from going up in a tremendous CGI explosion. Fortunately, true life-threatening scenarios are sometimes a hell of a lot more predictable than the movies would suggest, especially when a trio of highly-competent tech-hounds are doing the work. The timer stops its silent countdown shortly after Haeleah's speedy keystrokes bring the ship's FTL to heel; several — okay, more than several — seconds later, Damon announces success as well, having apparently fist-pounded his console into submission.

Okay, maybe two highly-competent tech-hounds and one old-school dog who believes in the direct approach to problems. But either way, the crisis is averted at last.

"Mother-frakker." But, this time, the profanity from Haeleah is happy. And filled with an exhausted sort of relief. A rueful, side-long look to Trask. "What? You think they outfitted me with some frakked up new CNP on refit? For shame. Thanks. I think. Looks like we got it." And under-time. "We should get that gas vented now that we've got some time. Then we can figure out where the frak we are." Some of her relief fades as she mentions that last. She's good at bringing herself down.

Stavrian's eyes flicker from tech to tech. He doesn't speak Tech, but that does sound like a good thing. "What was he doing…" The medic mutters, looking back at the corpse. "He was shot, either pulled in here or dragged himself in here, and probably died very slowly." He frowns slightly. "The decomp that's left…he must have died around the time the cylons came for the colonies. This death wasn't recent." A glance at the timer, now puzzled.

"Okay," Damon sighs, leaning forward on the console again. "Okay, okay. Now that we're theoretically not going to explode, I have a question." He looks to Haeleah, pointing at the console in front of her. "If this ship's set to jump every time there's a DRADIS contact, then the first time it jumped was because of our Raptor. What triggered it this time?" And then after Stavrian speaks, he adds, "and then the second question - how long has this ship been jumping around like this for?"

"If you were dead in the water, like the recipients of the last frakked-up CNP install, G-Force wouldn't keep you," he wryly smiles. Crisis averted, Trask thus rises, "I think now's as good a time as any to get outta this suit. I like my skin non-corroded." Unzipping to reveal his tank, the ECO goes over to the kitty. Being that the fuzzy one is calico, apologies about the gender snafu about to happen will need to be made later. "Hey, there, little lady. You havin' fun with Knickers?" It's not quite baby-talk, but there is a certain fondness to the man's expression and tone. To the others conversing, "Check the logs, if they're not fried. I'll be there as soon as I'm not at risk for having caustic substances burn holes in me."

Temperance looks over at Stavrian in alarm. "Go' 'nother question," she adds from across the room. "Where's he from? Wha' colony were they at when th'got hit?" She glances over to Damon, with just as much alarm when he suggests a DRADIS contact is out there right now. "An' where th'frak are we now?" She looks to Trask when he comes over and talks to the kitten tucked under her chin, and wrinkles her nose in good humor at him with the additional mention of Knickers. "Stuck wi' th', am I?"

Haeleah shifts a look of concern back to Stavrian. And the body. She can't look at it for two long before she has to lower her eyes back to the console. Nice machine. Not corpse-like at all. The dead body is so, so left to the medic to play with. She nods to Trask. "Should be able to change in the crew quarters. It looks like we /should/ be able to unslave the engines from the DRADIS without too much trouble. Petty Officer, you dealt much with Raptor DRADIS controls? It's the same principle, so you should be able to get it done. After that, the FTL still works. We can jump our asses back to Cerberus."

Haeleah does answer Damon's question. Really. "The DRADIS is picking up a lot of asteroid garbage. This system's so old that it probably triggered it, especially with the mess with the gasses by the engine."

Stavrian looks back at the body, still searching it for more clues as to what the hell happened here. The talk of unslaving drives and all that goes over his head. "I don't know, Ensign," he answers Temperance without looking at her. "The ship's logs will say, I'd think." He pauses a moment, chin lifting again. His lips purse and he stands halfway up again, looking back towards the hatch. "Did…any of you see any other bodies on your way in here?"

"Probably," Damon echoes with a slightly raised brow. "Either way, I guess I'll find out as I'm frakkin' about with the DRADIS controls. I, uh, I'm more on the mechanical side than the software and electronics, but I can figure it out, El-Tee. I know the systems, anyhow." With a nod to Haeleah, he grabs a wrench off his toolbelt. He'll be damned if he doesn't feel safer with a wrench in hand instead of a pistol. "I don't recall seeing any other bodies," he says to Stavrian as he moves back to one of the navigator's consoles - not the one with the corpse this time. "Did anyone see water on the way in? I'm frakkin' parched."

Haeleah shakes her head to Stavrian's question. "No bodies. There were trails of blood in the Engineering section, though. Place was too gassed to check it at the time, but you should be able to get in there with some of the Docs when we get back to base."

Stavrian exhales slowly through his nose, nodding to Haeleah. "Alright. We'll have to go after it's vented and deconned. Thanks." The last word's kind of empty. Thanks for spotting more signs of dead humanity, Hae. "Anyone who's been breathing that acid needs to get checked out," he adds, leaning back against the bulkhead. "Get your eyes and skin flushed, and some oxygen. Shit can cause permanent lung trauma."

Trask goes to undress, Temperance goes to re-dress, and somewhere in there Lunair finally gets her hands on the little kitten she's coveted since blowing out the brains of a dormant Cylon Centurion; Stavrian, in the meantime, finds that a half-eaten corpse can sometimes give more information than can a living, breathing body. And after Damon's search for potable water comes up with nothing, he and Haeleah can concentrate on getting everybody back where they belong.

There's something strangely comforting about this FTL's high-pitched whining now that it signifies not impending doom but imminent salvation, though it still causes the feeble kitten to twitch once or twice as his brown-black ears pick up what overtones they do. Back lurches the freighter, then forward, and then, with a bang and not a whimper, she finds herself within the protective clutches of a trio of DRADIS contacts — two Colonial frigates and a Colonial battlestar so new she hasn't even been registered in the system —

Home again.

And in the cramped confines of the ship's bridge, hissing and crackling from four tinny speakers installed above Captain Evans' former chair gives way to an altogether familiar voice:

[TAC1] "Crash" Michael says, “Actual. MV Eidolon, this is Cerberus Actual. Please respond, over. MV Eidolon, this is Cerberus Actual. Please respond, over.”

[TAC1] Haeleah says, "Cerberus Actual, Discovery One aboard MV Eidolon. Ran into a glitch with the jump engines. It's taken care of. I'll get you a full report once we're home. This thing isn't going anywhere again unless we want it to. Ran into one Centurion, already wounded, and dispatched it. Recommend full Marine team to secure remainder of the ship. We're all back safe. No survivors found. Except the cat."

[TAC1] "Crash" Michael says, "A glitch, Discovery One? My frakking ass." There's evident relief in Admiral Abbot's tone when he replies, his cultured voice ringing loudly in the ears of the freighter's makeshift crew. "The cat is mine, Discovery One. Stand by for extraction and debrief. Oh, and — " The man's words catch momentarily in his throat. "Welcome back."

And thus does this battered ship slot herself into formation beside her newfound protectors, arrowing towards the station still spinning in geosynchronous orbit above the green-blue planet below —

"The ostent evanescent,
The substance of an artist's mood or savan's studies long,
Or warrior's, martyr's, hero's toils,
To fashion his eidolon."

Behold what these men and women have fashioned.

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