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

It's raining — thick droplets pinging off hardened armor, clinging to fiberglass viewports, sinking into dirt and grass and pulverized rock until the ground beneath this desperate convoy turns to sludge. Six hours have passed since their salvaged shuttle-buses lifted off from the City of Kythera en route to the vehicles sitting fueled and idle in their shelters, but it's only been two hours since these tracked monstrosities rumbled out into the forest through which lies the quickest path to Colonial Fleet Air Station Anadyomene. Lined up in single file, they wind through a wide wilderness path that hasn't heard such noise since the day the nukes fell — the dull thrum of their engines drowning out the pitter-patter of that endless, ceaseless rain.

"Well, it's not exactly like the tractor back on Aerilon," Tyr Bannik, Deckhand turned Lookout turned VLF engineer turned Tank Driver remarks to the others in his tank. "And she doesn't exactly handle too well, but we're getting along." He's a bit hesitant on the bulky tank controls, but, being point, he does the best he can not to hold up the train. "Huh. What's that out there? A — deer?"

[TAC1] Bannik says, "Convoy, Tank Lead. I've got a dead deer in front of us five hundred feet. Shouldn't slow us up, though."

His left arm still hanging limp and sling-bound, Oberlin is the ride-along in the last tank, huddled against the vehicle's inner hull. "Still wonder how we could have these things up and running right under their noses." he inquires in a slightly dull tone of voice.

Samuel is in place on top of Bannik's tank, manning the machine gun. Pausing a bit as he hears the driver's words, he looks in that direction, frowning a bit as he studies the thing in the distance. "Looks like it's been shot recently. Those bullet wounds look quite new."

It's not a Raptor, but being behind the main gun of a tank is close enough for Trask, at this point. He's a heavy artillery man. The lack of visuals, electronic or otherwise, does leave the ECO somewhat antsy. Hearing about the dead deer over TAC1, he comments, "That thing hasn't decomposed yet?"

[TAC1] Samuel says, "Looks like the bullet wounds on that dead deer is quite new. Better keep an eye out for trouble…"

The steady rumble and rattle and thump of the armoured beasts makes conversation difficult, to say nothing of comfort. Sitka, therefore, has elected to remain mostly silent during their foray out to Anadyomene. He's taken the liberty, unsurprisingly, of lighting a smoke a few minutes ago, and takes a hit from it now and then while absently studying his grainy black-and-white display.

[TAC3] (from Oberlin) Adding to the com chatter is Lt. Oberlin. "Fresh kill. That means possible contacts." Lt. Obvious has spoken. "Cylon or otherwise."

There's a scratchy snort from Tisiphone at Bannik's announcement. She's seated at the main cannon controls for the second tank, her attention everywhere but out the tiny and deeply unsatisfying gunner's viewport. So many buttons and blinkenlights, so little time to learn. "Deer?" she mutters to her compatriots, over the mechanical racket of the tank's treads. "Like we'll even feel going over it."

The problem with tanks is they don't come with the best shocks in the world. Sawyer's teeth are literally clacking together in her mouth as she rumbles along in the driver's seat, a white-knuckled grip on the levers that control the great beast of a machine. "You know, when I said I could drive, this wasn't exactly what I had in mind." The commotion over the comms has Sawyer paying closer attention to the landscape they are rolling over. "I, uh…copy that." She looks over to Tisiphone and gives a helpless shrug as if to say, 'am I doing this right?'

[TAC1] "Scoop" Sawyer says, "I, uh…copy that."

[TAC1] (from "Bootstrap" Trask) "Hey, Sammy," quips Trask, "best be careful, just in case it's a killer deer anglin' to lull you into a false sense of security." The mauled by animal jokes have yet to go stale.

Evandreus can't see any dead deer. He's just trying to keep his eye on the butt of the tank in front of him, between the rain on the viewscreen and the fuzz on the camera feed, doing his best to stay in line, grabbing the tank controls with both hands and shoving his feet forward against the slanted flooring to brace himself.

Lunair is quiet in her place atop the tank behind the machine gun. Lunair frowns, "I see it too," She points out - mostly to the others in her tank. An eyebrow lifts at the mention of new bullet wounds. There's a faint frown and a soft grunt in acknowledgement. She seems to be working on paying attentiion to things and not feeling like a bean in a can shaken. "Got it." Although there's a giggle stifled at the joke.

"Mother frakkin' godsdamned piece of frakkin' shit," Cilusia gripes from her spot in the lead tank. "Doesn't this thing have air conditioning?" Even as small as she is, this ain't a real comfortable ride, squeezed up as she is in the loader's position…practically on top of her gunner - hi Sitka, nice to know you, phew you could use a shower! She doesn't seem to mind the smoke in her face though, just scowls a bit in her too-big tank gear to replace various broken, lost, and damaged pieces of her original gear.

Cora mans the machine gun atop the second tank in the convoy, and she too peers ahead at that lump in the road, starting to call down into the tank, "Looks like there's a—" when Bannik comes over the radio and she cuts off and finishes, "What he said." Samuel's addition draws her gaze to the dead animal again and she squints but shakes her head a little, and shifts to focus on the edges of the forest around and up ahead of them, instead. Though when Samuel starts getting made fun of over the wireless, she shoots a look his way as well.

[TAC1] Ashwood says, "Du-u-u-de." The guy driving the first APC is none other than Colin Ashwood, reporter extraordinaire. "Just go over it already, man, cause I mean come on, it's not like the animal rights guys are alive to bitch you out.""

Tisiphone flashes a quick and toothsome grin at Sawyer before giving her a thumbs-up. The tank rattles over some rubble as she does, and she narrowly misses jamming it against one of the controls in the clastrophobic tank interior. "Identify yourself next time," she suggests, raising her voice to Sawyer. "Convoy, this is Sawyer. I see a bunch of stuff that doesn't matter to a tank. Y'know. Good practice for when we do this again." Snort.

And indeed there is a deer — a doe, to be precise, fallen near the side of the road, her pretty skull punctured by a pair of bullets aimed precisely for her brain. Her body seems to have suffered quite severely from radiation poisoning, and before her death she must have been in excruciating pain. Was this a … mercy killing?

It's a mystery that must remain unsolved for now, insofar as the path continues further on into a small clearing entirely devoid of trees — cut down, no doubt, by loggers in the aftermath of the state's decision to open up the park to heavy industry. The mud only gets thicker the closer they get to that open space, it's nothing these treads shouldn't be able to handle.

Sitka could also use a shave, a haircut and a mojito, but whatchoo gonna do? He pins the cigarette between his lips so he can unbutton his jacket, what with the lack of air circulation in these things. The close quarters don't seem to bother him much, which probably just speaks to an upbringing on that backwater third world colony of his. "I think I've mostly got these controls figured out," he tells Cilusia conversationally. "How's your end looking?"

Ka-crunch. Bannik's tank rolls right over the deer. Tanks mean not having to say 'you're sorry.' Or get out of the way. Leading the way, Bannik glances down just briefly at his map showing the way back to the airbase where Raptors will lead them out of here.

Oberlin's eyes roll up back in his head as he listens to the com chatter, particularly reacting to Ashwood's narration. "Hope he's not DUI. I /really/ hope he's not DUI." He comments, humorlessly. "So far so good."

[TAC1] Ashwood says, "Ho-lee shi-i-i-t, brah. You popped that deer."

"Open hatch. Insert bullet…shell, I mean, pointy side out. Close hatch. Plug ears. Toasters go boom. Yeah, I think I got it." Cilusia smirks a bit at Sitka when she answers the question. "Hey, you got any others? If I'm gonna have to sit here and smell it, I might as well be smoking it, yeah?" Grabby hands are held out to see if she can bum a smoke.

"Add that to the list of my life experiences. Sex with a stranger in the dark room? Check. Bungee jump off the.." Sawyer makes an adjustment to stay in line with the rest of the convoy, and the gears grind beneath her, causing her to grit her teeth and pause, "…Blackard River bridge? Check. Mudding in a tank? Check. My ass is going to be so sore…"

Lunair has both eyebrows lifted now. "I didn't know this trip came with a running commentary," She notes wryly. Though, the deer gets a curious glance before it's made into a two-dimensional animal. "Huh… odd," She considers it. There's puzzlement in her voice, but she shakes it off to look around. Least it's not quiet so hot here? She looks a little amused at Oberlin's remark. She just clings to her position for now. Her stomach is probably petitioning this as a violation of safe working conditions at this moment.

Samuel looks around rather carefully, unable to hold back a half-smile at Ashwood's words. It only lasts briefly, though.

[TAC1] "Money Shot" Tisiphone says, "Convoy, this is Money Shot." You can take the Ensign out of the Viper, but… "That clearing ahead look burned down to anyone else?"

[TAC1] Ashwood says, "I swear it wasn't me, dude. I only lit up where there weren't wardens."

[TAC1] "Bootstrap" Trask says, "Money, Boots. Yeah. That's not the work of loggers. Not unless they're pyros."

"Sure, I uh.. I think I've got…" Sitka presses his back into the narrow compartment reserved for the gunner, and tries to wedge two fingers into the pocket of his fatigues where the smokes reside. Thusly, he isn't paying as much attention to the viewport as he probably ought. "Here." It's tossed over when Tisiphone makes her announcement, and he hastens to adjust the controls for a looksee.

[TAC1] "Money Shot" Tisiphone says, "Can't see any smoke, though. Maybe- whoah!" The sound of the tank's main gun spinning a few degrees to one side, apparently unexpectedly. She continues with an embarrassed chuckle: "Heh. Sorry. Doesn't look like it's recent."

[TAC1] "Shiv" Sitka says, "Convoy, this is Shiv. I can confirm on what Money Shot's seeing."

"At least you're dry," Cora points out to Sawyer, "And a lot less likely to get shot in there than out here." Not that it sounds like she's complaining, really, so much as just pointing it out. When burned out clearings are mentioned, she swivels to take a look, lifting a hand to swipe above her eyes before peering ahead at the clearing.

"I think the Corporate Bullshit Generator would call the commentary 'added value." Oberlin sputters out a single snort-laugh in Lunair's general direction as he stands by the third tank's loading mechanism, otherwise keeping quiet as he processes the tactical chatter. "Not too far now. Just need to get there by nightfall."

[TAC1] Ashwood says, "Whatever it is, man, I'm gunning this beast through that clearing — if the fatass in front of me does it first." A merry chuckle. "Hear that, dude?" This, presumably, to Tyr. He'd honk if he could."

"The professional term," Trask adds to Oberlin's comment, "is in-flight entertainment. Well, minus the flight part, in this instance."

"Hey man, you're a lifesaver!" Cilusia grins, swatting Shiv's shoulder after he forks over the cig. "Spare a light?" she grins around the cig, after stuffing it in her mouth to see if she can light it off of his already burning one.

"Really guys?" Bannik complains to the two smokers in the tank with him. "Really? First I need to get all six feet hunched into this thing and then?" Being down on Leonis for a month seems to have made him a little less impressed with officers or at least less formal with them. He frowns at the mention of fire in the clearing, but he trundles ahead at his own rate.

Tisiphone gives another embarrassed chuckle after she's done on the comms and leans back from the gunner's viewport to eye one of the controls. "Oh," she mutters to herself. "Wrong-uh. Yeah." Wrong nothing! Fear not, compatriots. The Ensign knows exactly what she's doing. She realigns the tank's cannon and glues her eyes back to the viewport.

"I'm missing the entertainment part too, but nice try." Oberlin doesn't even /hesitate/ on the reply to this one.

[TAC1] Bannik says, "Ashwood, Bannik. I can barely get this moving forward as is. I'm not drag racing you through the clearing. We're on pace for an on-time arrival, though. Approximately thirty kliks out."

"That's because you have a poorly developed sense of humor," Kal quips back to Cal.

Samuel grimaces briefly at the mention of it being burned. Looking around very carefully for now. "Something'll probably go wrong around here…" he mutters.

The lack of formality doesn't seem to bother Sitka in the slighest. He turns away from his viewscreen only long enough to hold out his cig — so Cilusia can light her own — before hunkering in again to do another sweep of that razed clearing. "Six feet? Are you really six feet?" he murmurs to Bannik without looking over. "You'd love being in a viper cockpit, Tyr."

Lunair grins at Oberlin's snort-laugh. She looks amused, if somewhat nervous. Not to mention her organs are getting a thorough dusting by being shaken about. She smiles at Trak's remark too. She seems a bit hesitant to reply, perhaps growing more thoughtful in these past days. Before she speaks, something catches her eyes. Into the wireless, she speaks though, squinting. "H-hey, I see one of those silver crafts like when the Eidolon was hit-" She points, then pauses. that was pointless. "In the distance just about the treeline," She speaks into the wireless. "I think I see a Heavy Raider and Centurions," She leans forward. "Oh frak." She rubs at her eyes. Yup.

Cora is peering ahead, focused on that clearing, its edges, and then turning to make some comment to those in the tank when a glint catches her eye and she looks back up rapidly… and then blinks, and then half-turns calls down into the tank, "Centurions!" Onto the wireless she goes, a split-second after Lunair.

[TAC1] Lunair says, "I see a Heavy Raider - I think it's unloading Centurions. On the treeline. Like the one kind of when the Eidolon was hit."

"I hate being right…" Samuel mutters as he notices the Heavy Raider and the Centurions. "Company incoming…" Turning his gun to face the incoming enemies now. "Let's give them a warm welcome?"

[TAC1] Cora says, "Centurions at the treeline across the clearing! Looks like a heavy raider?"

[TAC1] Samuel says, "Let's give them a warm welcome, shall we?"

The gunners aren't lying: they're merely the first to see the Heavy Raider looming over the horizon, exposed as they are atop their lofty perches. From the belly of the beast leap a quartet of centurions, their machine guns already blazing, the light from their red eyeslits refracting and reflecting in the downpour. Behind them jump four more, and there's four more behind them

Here comes the boom.

[TAC3] Oberlin pipes up, for now banishing all talk of entertainment routines. "Enemy contacts? Ready main guns and fire at will. Maxium coverage. Machine gunners on those Centurions."

There's a clearing ahead? Evan obviously doesn't have the altitude for that sort of observation. He eases off, just a little, and puts a little more space between him and the tank in front of him, for safety's sake, finding his foot growing a little leaden in his eagerness to get to the end of the trail. "Oh, for frak's—" he mutters, heart jumping into his throat, hurrying on over a lump in the route.

[TAC1] Oberlin says, "Oberlin pipes up, for now banishing all talk of entertainment routines. "Enemy contacts? Ready main guns and fire at will. Maxium coverage. Machine gunners on those Centurions.""

[TAC1] Ashwood says, "Dude, let's run them over like in that video game."

Sawyer likely had some amusing quip about rain and needing a shower for Cora, but all her humor has dribbled out her ears at the mention of company. Couldn't just get off this planet all peaceful like, could they? "Am…am I supposed to keep going?" Her voice pitched over the loud rumble of the tank back at the others.

Heavy Raider, eh? The Eidolon? Yeah. /That/ brings back memories. Memories of having his Raptor's cabin shot to shit and needing to forcibly eject. Darkly, Trask smirks and locks onto the ship. Turnabout is fair play. Never mind that he's inclined to fight dirty.

So much for smalltalk. As multiple calls of enemy contact crackle over the radio, and the tactical officer gives his orders, Sitka once again mans his primitive viewport. It sure ain't a viper, but when you boil it down, a big gun's still a big gun. His hand closes over the firing lever as he tries to line up a shot on the raider disgorging centurions.

"Oh, frak." Tisiphone's teeth catch at a well-worried spot on her bottom lip. She presses closer to the viewport, as if it'll somehow help her view. "Swing out to the side a little so we can get a clear shot," she calls down to Sawyer as she swings the cannon around to line up on the Heavy Raider.

If Cora were a cylon, now would be a pretty decent time to open fire on the tank in front of her with that machine gun she's holding. Fortunately, she is either not actually on the side of the centurions, or is just playing a much longer con, here, since she takes aim at the mass of giant silver death robots headed towards them.

Well, that's a nasty little surprise. The Heavy Raider explodes into flame as two shells hit it squarely in its most vulnerable parts, sending it crashing down towards the ground. Yet its Cylon pilot will not go down that easily — and pulling up into a shallow dive, it uses the last of what power it has remaining to turn back towards the lead tank in the formation, aiming its nose directly at the ground while behind it twelve Centurions hang back to avoid being caught in what will soon be a truly epic fireball.

Oberlin, meanwhile, manages to nurse his slightly-impaired self into action as he hefts a shell and places it in the chamber. "I think I bitched about a desk job once." He observes, to well, nobody.

"Frak! Incoming Raider debris!" Bannik slams his hands onto the controls of the tank, and then yanks backwards on one of them. "I hope to the gods that this is the reverse." Apparently it is because the tank begins to roll back — back — back towards Ashwood's APC, but comes to a stop just inches in front of it, the ground in front of the lead tank in the convoy is showered in the metal and gooey debris of a destroyed raider. "That was close."

Lunair wishes she weren't right sometimes. She takes a deep breath and lets it rain lead and steel at the Cylons. Her breath catches at the sight of the Raider crashing down towards the ground. Oh frak. That's a fine how do you do. Shee seems pleased it's dying, but not so much at the plan to bring it with them. "… Hey. I think they're dashing at the APCs-" She frowns. Wireless on. "I see two Centurions moving towards the APCs'." Presumably to get in and empty them.

[TAC1] Lunair says, "I see two Centurions moving towards the APCs. Might be trying to board."

And Tisiphone thought blasting Cylons out of the sky was exhilarating. "Ha-haaah!" she cackles, giving the cannon controls a fond slap. "Suck on THAT, frakkers." She looks away, to their shell-loader. "Load this baby up again, hey?"

"Yo, O," Trask calls out to Oberlin, right as he discharges the first round, "Ready another load." It's not like he can really see it being done from his angle. As the tank shell zooms Raiderward, the Taurian relays quite chipperly, "Barto sends her regards." Whether or not it connects is moot; the Saggies blew it up like the good savages they are.

"Looks like we've got company," Shiv mutters, not really with enough volume to be heard by anyone but himself. After squinting through the viewport just long enough to verify that his round hit, he leans back, clenching and releasing his fingers a couple of times to bleed off tension. Sweat's wiped off his forehead and upper lip as the tank shudders to a halt after its narrow escape. "Ready when you are," he asides to Cilusia. And louder, for Bannik's benefit, "Nice work, Tyr. Nice frakking work."

Enemy contacts? Time to load it on up. Part of the process is automated, since those shells are frakkin' heavy, but Cilusia still has to grunt as she pushes the shell into the canon and latches the breath. Puffing like a steam engine, Cilusia gets it shut with a clang, and gives Sitka a tap on the helmet. Good to go!

[TAC1] "Bootstrap" Trask says, "Frak. Confirming what the El-tee sees. Two Centurions are making a break for the APCs."

"I've got your load right here. Ordinace secure." Oberlin says, delivering the obvious joke with a straight face. He tenses up, however, as the comm chatter is heard and he pipes up himself.

The gods only know how Frankie managed to fit into a tank that must be at most half his size, but in the tank he is, placed there solely because of his vaunted skills at manipulating heavy machinery. It's those skills that fail him now — for even as he packs in the relevant shell, hands trembling, he realizes quite belatedly that he's forgotten to take off the fuse. "Sorry," he mutters, opening up the breech once again — "Shit, shit, shit, shit, shit — "

[TAC1] Oberlin transmits, frantically, "Get MG fire covering those APC's!"

Samuel fires off some shots for the Centurions, grabbing hold of something as Bannik reverses the tank. Ducking down for a few moments, he offers some words to those down in the vehicle's interior. "Good work." The words over the comms make him frown a bit, and he looks out there again, looking around for some targets now.

Cora takes aim at the advancing Centurions and… misses all around, the last couple rounds widely off target as she catches a ricochet off the hand and drops it from the weapon for a moment with a "Frak!" Her right hand is drawn in close to her chest for a moment as she grits her teeth and looks back up at the exploded raider and running centurions and takes aim at them again.

Yeah. Right. Swing out a little bit, that's easier said than done. Sawyer drops her gaze to her hands and the two different levers she's holding, trying to remember which one would actually help her execute that particular maneuver. Teeth sink into her bottom lip and she yanks and pushes and generally just PRAYS that damn machine into some semblance of what Tisiphone requested. There's really no time to celebrate and the noise in here is deafening.

[TAC1] Ashwood says, "What the bro said!" Ashwood's voice is cool and collected — a news anchor's voice — even as his APC is sprinkled with flaming debris from Broken Raider. Back he goes, nearly ramming into Sawyer before he manages to turn off to the right, mud from its tracks splattering over the Centurions making a play for his vehicle. It looks like he really is going to try to run them over — just in case those heavy machine guns don't knock 'em out first.

Evandreus lifts a hand to the little window. It's sweaty hot inside the tank, and the sheen of sweat on his forehead gets mirrored by a fog on the thick composite as his breath comes rough and fast, looking for a glint of metal and seeing, instead, the orange glow of the explosions.

You really have to hand it to the Cylons: having identified the heavy machine-gunners as the primary threat to their continued mechanical existence, they focus the furious fire of their own guns on the dreadfully-exposed soldiers sitting exposed in the turret. Bullets scream through the air, clang against metal, slash into flesh — and after the onslaught is over, it's truly remarkable that they've only managed to draw blood from one out of three.

Meanwhile, the Centurions assaulting the APCs find themselves lodged in the same mud that's been stymieing those tracked vehicles — slowed to a crawl just a few feet away from the door to Ashwood's vehicle. Their chrome plating is speckled with flecks of brown — like makeshift heraldry from a different age. And as they plunge forward, cogs and gears churning up and down and up and down, a second Heavy Raider zooms by overhead, hovering above the convoy as its bay door opens —

"And /forward/." Bannik doesn't really have much time to appreciate the carnage nor the explosions nor the beauty of taking on the Cylons with heavy tanks. Instead, as the lead driver in the convoy, it's Bannik's job to make sure they don't get bogged down and die out here. The tank may not have much of a turning radius, but he's table to jerk it around the remains of the Cylon raider, keeping it chugging forward. Keep moving; keep living.

Impotent to do anything but wait for his loader to finish working, while Centurion rounds rain down on the convoy, Sitka takes the opportunity to scan the treeline for any sign of hostile air support. "Focus your fire, Blaine," he calls back to Samuel. "We have to keep those two off the APC." The instant his helmet's tapped, his hand closes over the firing lever again, and he squints to line up his shot on the airborne craft coming in for a landing.

[TAC1] Bannik says, "Convoy! Tank lead! I've got a path around the debris! On me! Keep moving!"

Shot made, door opened, spent casing expelled, new one loaded, checked for fuse, barrel checked…all that good stuff. Once more Cilusia gets the thing loaded up with a little grunt, and taps Sitka on the helmet. "Good to go."

Frankie gulps as his thick fingers finally finish up with his shell. "Sorry about that," he mutters, his distinctive voice as apologetic as it can be. "Shit, shit, shit!"

Samuel ducks down a bit as the incoming shots are fired. Nodding a little at Sitka's words, "WIll do," he offers, moving to fire at just those charging ones now.

Cora avoids getting hit again for the moment, but still doesn't manage to hit the other raiders, possibly due to the fact that her dominant hand seems to moderately disabled. Left hand takes over trigger-duty on the machine gun and she waits until the tank begins to rumble forward again, taking a moment to get a feel for its motion (and to look up at that second raider and its opening bay doors before beginning to fire at the muddy Centurions.

Frankie and Tisiphone have a tense back-and-forth quasi-conversation as he fumbles with the shell. "Ready?" "Shit!" "It's okay. Ready now?" "Shit!" "Frankie. It's okay. You can do it." "Shit!" By the end of it, she has the cannon swung around, harmlessly tracking the Heavy Raider while her loader fumbles the rest of the way through the procedure, her white-knuckled fingers twitching restlessly on the controls.

Variety is the spice of life. Unfortunately, maybe Lunair should have stuck to getting shot in the face. She handles it better. There's no verbal contact from the Marine for now. Only the flash of pain and a moment where everything goes so very peaceful and grey for a moment. She puts a hand to her throat, startled. That's a lot of blood, a startling warmth adding a sharp red color to her clothes and skin. She wheezes a second, system briefly shocked. Structually superfluous holes add /pain/ not speed. Duly noted. She struggles to cling to the machine gun. Those APCs. Room now for only one thought.

Sawyer grits her teeth together as if her tongue is trying to escape her mouth and her pearly whites are the last defense. Through the clench she starts to mutter a song, which is enough to keep her mind off second guessing herself and manuevering the tank with a bit more ease around the growing debris field. "The ants go marching one by one, hurrah. Hurrah. The ants go marching one by one, hurrah. Hurrah. The ants go marching one by one, so hurry up and kill'emwithyourgun.."

The Centurions are relentless — keeping up those overlapping fields of fire every Marine learns how to set up at infantry school while advancing forward all the while. But perhaps realizing that he's going to get little help indeed from Marines pinned down by concentrated bursts, Ashwood takes matters into his own hands. His monstrous APC rumbles forward as he jams the accelerator down, tracks taking it directly towards the first of the two Centurions stuck in front of him. A stream of bullets glances harmlessly off the lip of his vehicle before the Cylon's alloys are crunched by those treads.

Meanwhile, still hovering above the convoy, the second Heavy Raider is shedding all sorts of metal and fire, shaking from side to side as it attempts to maintain position behind Evandreus' tank — lodged as that one is in the mud. Fortunately, its loading hatch has been blown to smithereens, smashed to pieces by Colonial shells — meaning that there's still only ten functional Cylons out there for the soldiers to face.

Evandreus leans hard forward into the controls, almost as if trying to urge the big metal contraption to duck along with him as the raider comes up over it. And, as if by some sympathy of spirit— it does, jarring hard down over a cluster of rocks and bucking straight down into some thick mud, which it starts kicking up with its treads, coughing up huge thick rocks as it churns them apart. Great boulders vaulted like rebounding hail // or chaffy grain beneath the thresher's flail.

[TAC1] Ashwood says, "DUDE. This shit is r-a-a-a-w!"

Oblivious to what has happened to his machinegunner, Trask gets that second Heavy Raider into his sights and makes with the ka-BOOM! "Have a parting gift from Quinn." Beat. "Reload!"

Oblivious as well, is Oberlin, who's alternately listening to the chaos of the comm chatter and Trask's call for ordinance, responding more quickly to the latter. Just to be safe. After Ashwood's voice comes over the Wireless, it's an almost unconscious recital. "Oh baby I like it raaaaw."

"Shit," mutters the Captain, as that blasted raider manages to shrug off the combined firepower of he and Trask. "Fasi, load me up. Blaine, are you hit?" Sitka has to raise his voice to be heard over the din of fighting, and steadies his viewport's pivot while craning his head to get a look at their gunner. Half an eye is kept on Cilusia's reloading of the tank's main weapons, while the passengers are bumped and jostled about by the vehicle's steady progress.

After all, Oberlin's just a little gimped. One and a half arms.

"Good job not driving into a ditch!" Cora calls down to Sawyer. She's crouched down low in that turret, firing away at the remaining Centurions not yet crushed under the APC.

"Well, if Ashwood isn't going to keep formation and they're going to rip apart our APC …" Bannik decides to take his cue from the crazy reporter dude. He guns the tank forward, treads grinding through the mud, the front of it heading directly towards one of the front Cylons charging at the APC. /Crunch/ goes the metal.

[TAC1] Bannik says, "Convoy, Tank Lead. Tanks break and ram Cylon threat, then reform."

"Careful. Careful. That's it! Perfect!" Tisiphone gives a tense nod along with her shouted words as Frankie finally finishes with loading and she gets her turn to fire. "C'mon, you twitchy bitch," is muttered, as she rattles about in her seat, trying to get her shot lined up.

There's a few long moments of silence from Samuel, after some bullets hit him. "Think I should bleed all over them, sir?" comes the quiet words, after few moments, before the bleeding marine moving to fire off a few more shots at the Cylons.

"The ants go marching two by two, hurrah. Hurrah. The ants go marching two by two…just don't get hit!" Sawyer yells the last up to Cora. "Hurrah. Hurrah. The ants go marching two by two, we'll crunch the cylonsbeneathourshoe…" Lame, but it's keeping her forebrain occupied otherwise she just might FREAK THE FRAK OUT.

One more time, Cilusia gets that canon to spit out a shell, and gets another loaded. Man that thing is getting warm! Sweat is starting to pour off of her forehead and arms now as she works getting those things in and out of the massive cavity, keeping that thing firing. Tap tap on the helmet, and Sitka's good to go.

[TAC1] (from Polaris) szzzzzst — "team, come in, this is Base" — bzzz — "under heavy" — crack — "over?"

Part of a Marine's training apparently includes learning to bend the path of a bullet. Some just don't grasp the 'away' part. Lunair staggers back up - fires and gets nailed again in the chest. Stupid lungs. There's a soft, husky whisper over the wireless, "More of them…" She offers. She doesn't seem eager to talk, almost gurgling a bit. What the hell? Gargling? The frak is she doing up there? Either way, from her end - she goes quiet to keep pinging at the infantry. Lunair is hanging in there though.

"Oh, come on. Oh, come -on,-" Evan cajoles the bemired tank as it continues flinging up the Sacred River at the heavy raider coming in hard, sans lube. "Twenty eight, four, Boots!" he finally calls out to the backseater, giving him verbal warning to shift the angle of his sights as he jerks the tank's path abruptly sideways, the huge machine toppling to its side before advancing and evening out, rushing forward toward the ranks of Centurions.

Two up, two down — as this time a shell from Tisiphone's gun finishes off what her comrades in the other tanks started. The explosive shell lodges deep in the Heavy Raider's cockpit before a blinding flash takes out whatever unfortunate Cylons were lingering within, and then the sky is raining molten metal as, spiraling around and around, the Heavy Raider breaks in two — one half for each tank. How very convenient.

The Centurions seem to waver, now, most of them falling back as they watch their cavalry get torn to shreds by these ancient tanks — all except the one by Ashwood, who seizes the opportunity to leap on top of the onrushing ATV with superhuman strength. Spindly fingers smash repeatedly into the reinforced window as it moves, its gun at the ready —

[TAC1] Ashwood says, "Oh, shit — get it, get it, get it!"

As the tank bobs and weaves with the rough terrain, Oberlin leans against the hull, grasping with his good hand to keep his footing. "Frakking," and then his head snaps up as he transmits over the Wireless channel hurriedly.

[TAC1] (from "Bootstrap" Trask) "Nice shot, Money Shot." Hey, Bootstrap is capable of giving some positive reinforcement. Why he doesn't even mention that he and Shiv did most of the work.

[TAC1] Oberlin says, "Base, Convoy. "We're punching through some hostiles. Repeat, encountering hostiles. Our new friends don't want to say goodbye." He repeats, just to be safe, "Encountering heavy resistance.""

Bannik runs his tank smoothly over the Cylon in front of him, and keeps pressing forward as the Cylons begin to fall back. As he's facing forward and Ashwood is alongside or behind him, he doesn't have any idea of what's going on with poor Ashwood. "Going good, Tank Lead," grins Bannik. Oh, the blissfully unaware.

[TAC1] (from Polaris) kzzsht — "Vipers taking — " More crackling, more static. "Ack-ack by your — " There's the sound of a massive explosion in the background. " — again, ack-ack by your position! Take it — "

Samuel grimaces a bit as he hears Ashwood's words, and sees the Centurion on it. Turning to face that one. Sending all his bullets for that lucky one at the moment.

What's that Lassie? Timmeh fell down the well? Let's dive in after him, shall we? Sawyer manuevers the tank up over a fallen tree trunk, but as they pitch down on the otherside, the tank shifts listlessly in the mud. They don't /quite/ go tits over tea kettle, but the metal beast is resting at such an odd angle, the left side of treads can't seem to get purchase. "Frak. FRAK ME. C'mon baby…come on…." Sawyer tugs and pushes at the control to no avail. And it just gets worse from here…

Evandreus' tank nearly seems to jump up out of the pit, the thing going full throttle off into the ranks of Centurions, romping like a great puppy in a field of flowers as the remnants of the raider slam into the swamp they'd been stuck in moments before.

[TAC1] "Money Shot" Tisiphone says, "Thanks, Boots! I thought so-ungk!" Tisiphone's voice cuts off with the sound of a horrible, rattling impact somewhere near her. She continues, a second later, though the pained words are cut off mid-sentence. "Frak, you okay? Where-"

As the tank grinds to a halt in the mud, Cora looks up. Nope, not out from under that splitting raider just yet. She lets go of the machine gun and leaps — well, really, just throws herself — off the turret into the mud below, just as flaming bits of raider come raining down onto the top of the tank.

Sitka doesn't even catch Tisiphone's beautiful finishing shot, as he's already pivoted his sight away, and is scouring the treeline once more for the telltale flash of silver in the rain. "No joy on raiders," he murmurs, keeping his hand steady on the firing lever as Bannik puts the pedal to the metal. He too seems oblivious to what's going on with the ATV Ashwood's comandeering, though he does spot the tank somewhere off to their right getting jammed in the mud.

Frankie screams in terror as he's thrown from his seat inside the tank, landing on top of Tisiphone — all two hundred and eighty pounds of him, his chest heaving up and down as blood spurts from a gash in his upper arm. "Shit shit shit shit shit!"

[TAC1] Bannik says, "Convoy, Tank Lead. I have visual on the ack-ack. One o'clock, just above the tree line. Sight and fire the main guns!"

[TAC1] "Shiv" Sitka says, "Uh, Convoy, Shiv. I think Sawyer's stuck. Can you get it moving, or are you going to need a shove?"

"Wait, Kal, wait." Oberlin suddenly snaps after staring at the chamber. "We got a jam. HOLD FIRE!" He subsequently is able to multitask — sort of, even as he speaks over the com channel again.

[TAC1] Oberlin calls out, "Base, Convoy, say again? We've got anti-air spotted. We'll try to clear it but we're going to /need/ support once we do." There's a delay, "Convoy, Tank Charlie, see if one of you can get a big gun on that Ack Ack once you get a fix on its position."

The 'ack-ack' Bannik referenced is indeed present directly in front of the convoy — six hundred feet as the crow flies, its antennae towering up above the treeline as the Cylons finish setting up the stationary emplacement. And the sharp ones among the crew may remember the briefings informing them that a CSAM-714 takes up to two hours to put together — which implies that the Cylons have been here, lying in wait, for quite some time. Almost as if they knew exactly where to be.

The other Cylons have withdrawn behind the treeline, now, leaving the tanks alone beneath the pouring sky. Sawyer's is in particularly bad shape, dented here and there by chunks of broken metal, but it's miraculously still functional. And Ashwood? Even as he scoots his APC to the left in an attempt to shake off his pursuer, Samuel's machine gun rakes up and down the Centurion's abdomen, sending it flying off the windshield towards the treestumps beyond.

Sawyer gets bandied when the Raider decides now is a great time to use their tank as a landing pad. The reporter gets thrown like a rag doll into the controls, but even /that/ doesn't help to get them unstuck. Slightly dazed, she tries to right herself in the little cup of a chair, lifting a hand to wipe sweat off her brow. She doesn't even notice that when she goes back to jocking the sticks that her hand is now smeared with red. "I don't know if I can get us out…" What with the vat of mud beneath them and the Raider pancaked on top of them. Meanwhile the heavy metal treads churn up the dark brown earth, doing nothing but digging the rut deeper.

A jam? Lovely. Trask gets on it. "It woulda been nice if you'd noticed it /while/ you were loading, but thanks for pickin' up on it /before/ we were blown into ground round." An entire assembly exploding in a tank = D-E-A-D. This time, the ECO makes sure the ordnance is in all right and proper. There's more shit to shoot, after all.

[TAC1] Ashwood says, "Good shots, dude! Saved my ass."

"Shiv! Get fire on that ack-ack gun out there!" Bannik is shouting to his gunner. "Vipers need us!" Those Deck instincts just kick in, pointing at the spot on his screen where the menacing Cylon item is. He rolls forward, closing the range on the towering assembly.

First, Tisiphone bounces her face off the gunner's viewport. Ouch. Next, she realizes that there's no more automatic gunfire coming from above them, since the impact. Finally, Frankie — dear, sweet, gentle, appallingly HEAVY Frankie — lands across her, shrieking and bloodied and did she mention the heavy? "I think we lost our gunner!" she wheezes to Sawyer, half-drowned out by Frankie's manchild shrieking. "Dude. Dude. DUDE, get UP-"

[TAC1] "Bootstrap" Trask says, "Sorry 'bout that, folks. Had a bit of technical difficulty." Thanks, Oberlin! "Back on line and locking on target."

Samuel frowns a bit as he sees his shots hitting the enemy, before he leans back a bit. Eyes closing as he seems to be slumping a bit. Must be some after effects of the hits he took earlier, or something.

Oh frak. Those civvies! Lunair's eyes go wide. There's no time to consider much else. She's taking shots at the cylons as she can. Mind you, having more holes than your average romance novel's plot really isn't helping her aim. /Especially/ not with the shaking. It's a wonder the top of Tank3 isn't a marine fountain and no one's throwing coins at Lunair to make a wish. She's pained, flashes of grey rushing across her eyes. But. No time for sleep. Not till she's dead. Not while each cell protests this madness. Things are whirling by, bouncing and - it's too much to tryy to keep up with and so she just tries to take potshots as things come and go.

Cora hauls herself up out of the mud, shaking off bits of raider goop. She turns to look at the tank, stuck, and the machine gun likely crushed beneath the debris and so hauls the rifle off her back, taking aim at one of the remaining centurions. "You going to be able to get that moving again?" she shouts at the tank beside her.

"Way ahead of you, Tyr," murmurs Shiv, squinting up into his viewscreen as he lines up his shot on the tower looming into the fog, just ahead of them. "Get me a little closer, and to the left, could you?"

"Not blowing up the tank would be good," Evan peeps up feebly from where he's pivoting around in the midst of the scattering Centurions, grinding the ones trapped underneath the tank into the dirt and scattering limbs everywhichway. "Crap, Soybean—" he begins, spotting the nearly vertical tank.

This is the closest Frankie's ever gotten to a girl — but he's hardly in any condition to appreciate it. "Shit!" he screams, voice getting ever higher — "Oh shit! I'm bleeding! They got me! I'm dead! I'm — shit!" And then, bear-like paws trying to hugging Tisiphone close, he tries to bury his face in the woman's right shoulder, blood and panicked tears streaming down his face. "I love you, man! I love you!"

[TAC1] (from "Bunny" Evandreus) "Soybean, Bunny, try to get on your side,

[TAC1] "Scoop" Sawyer says, "Convoy…uh.. Sawyer. Frak. I'm stuck. I'm frakking stuck. And my machine gunner is /outside/. Repeat. Man over board."

A blaze of fire erupts from the Centurions on the opposite side of the clearing, shooting more for effect than for damage — almost to keep the Colonials in one place…

[TAC1] (from "Bunny" Evandreus) "Soybean, Bunny, try to get on your side," Evan calls over into the other tank, gently offering the suggestion based on his own experience getting stuck in the mud. "There she is. Need to evac?"

[TAC1] Polaris says, "Get it down fast!" Whatever was jamming the signal at Anadyomene has cleared, though the sound of battle has by no means dimmed. "We've got Vipers inbound, ETA thirty seconds, and they don't want your frakking missiles greeting them — ""

Ker-plop! goes the latest spent shell into the mud outside the tank. It's like little sweet breadcrumbs that this super-cute death-dealing cutie is leaving through the clearing. Cilusia is in a groove now. Eject shell. Rack new shell, inspect. Clear the breech, check the breech, load, seal, double-tap the helm. So this is what it's like to be mechanized. Pretty efficient!

Maybe it's relief that causes Trask's shot to fly wide, sending his tank's shell arcing up and over the towering anti-aircraft station already limbering up to fire. It's certainly luck that saves the installation from Sitka's massive gun — for the shell his unit fires is a dud, clanging harmlessly off the rotating DRADIS array before falling into the treeline before. Bullets from the Colonial APCs slam into the brush in which the ten surviving Centurions have now crouched, one of whom takes a magnificent hit to the neck from Lunair the bleeding Marine — but still they don't stop firing, pumping round after round into the exposed Colonial position. It's a wonder that the wireless signal from Anadyomene can come in as loudly and clearly as it does, though that may be a function of the news the WIRELO is bearing…

[TAC1] Polaris says, "Convoy, this is Base. Vipers are closing on your position. And — " There's an audible gulp. "We're reading a radiological alarm in your vicinity. Don't look up.""

And it's the ol' heave-ho for Oberlin as he fumbles with another shell, while silently cursing this firing system for not coming with an onboard manual. "I'm getting to it. I'm /getting to it./" As this lastest news comes through, he groans, looking a little more pale than usual. "Nuclear? /Come on/, show a little creativity."

But of course people look up — and those who do will see a sleek chrome device plunging down towards the ground from twenty thousand kilometers in the sky, its engine glowing the same deep and venomous green as those swarms of nuclear missiles that vaporized Picon so many months ago — while muzzles flash yellow and orange beneath the dull, darkening sky, their tracers glowing blue and white in the dusk while rain falls and falls and falls.

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