PHD #216: EVENT - There's No Place Like Home
There's No Place Like Home
Summary: The Quinn Farmstead is explored by a team from the Cerberus. The results are somewhat chilling.
Date: 30 Sept 2041 AE
Related Logs: None
Madilyn Lunair Constin Lysander Trask Quinn Croke Smythe 
Post-Holocaust Day: #216

They decided to take just one Raptor. If there was anything or anyone left, it wasn't going to be much according to the initial scans. But there had been water in that well, and there were caves. There was a chance. So, the single craft has been outfitted with Marines, a medic, flight staff, and the one face that possibly shouldn't be on this mission, but has wiggled her way on board — Captain Margaret Quinn. They fly lower and lower towards the Northern Blue Mountains, just between the large Isle and the winding, high elevation landscape. The sight alone from the Raptor's windows is breath takingly beautiful, morning dew making the entire landscape glitter and shimmer, vividly green, navy and robin's egg blue.

Constin is fitted out in battledress blacks, sitting on the bench among the quartet of marines, taking to occasional look out at the verdant world on the other side of the craft's aft viewport. The last minute triple check of chinstrap, weapon, ammo, and radiation gauge are pure reflex after this many landings. The sergeant's narrow blue regard goes from Captain Quinn, to the mission's ranking officer. Madilyn gets a short nod, and the drawled words, "Good to go, sir."

The good Sergeant Lysander is there within the Raptor amongst the others, reaching up with a gloved right hand to sweep over the forefront of his helmet from right to left before he sits back. He closes his eyes for a lingering moment. When words are spoken up, the marine opens his right eye to peer out into the cabin and then his left upon that. He inclines his head to the side, looking out to the world beyond. For now, the man's quiet.

If members of the Air Wing were wondering just why Quinn was going on this excursion, not a single one of them bothered to ask Trask. "No joy but all clear, Mouse," the ECO relays over the fly-by of the homestead. "Looks like we have a date with the Plan-B LZ." And so it is that the Raptor continues on its course, drawing closer to the mountains carved with caves.

Lunair is quietly here too, also in blacks. She peers and listens, the shortest Marine about. She is watching, leaning back and considering the words. There's a polite smile here and there though.

"My eyes say one thing, but this little badge says something else," Madilyn comments in a melancholy way. With the other marines in the back of the Raptor, dressed the same even, she's leaning forward a bit in her seat to get a good view out of the front windscreen. Her eyes drink in the landscape that blasts by the Raptor in streaky, colorful blurs the closer they get to the Raptor.

The land below is a large and very old farmstead at the bottom of the Blue Mountains on Aerilon's northern province. The farm has clearly seen better days, but it's in at least standing condition. A large well is still in operation about half a mile up the mountain slope, and a pale on a pulley system looks like it has been used fairly regularly. The home itself isn't very large. Two floors of peeling paint and faded wood, it's an old house but well loved. The few broken windows were tenderly boarded up and the outside bushes are only now growing into wildness. A few cattle, now gone to the wild, roam in the large pastures around the house. A crop of corn grows wild, no one left to harvest it, so it seems. There is no house number, but wrought iron has been twisted into a stylized 'Quinn' above the front entrance.

Mouse has been fairly quite this entire time, her shy eyes just on her controls. She nods towards Trask, "Bringing her down now, sir. Should be smooth sailing. Beautiful weather, this morning…" She chimes in, doing her best to be almost cheerful, even if (once she's got the landing sequence going), she sneaks a nervous look back towards Captain Quinn behind her.

Maggie, for her part, is dead silent. Just staring out the windows. Staring at home. Pale as a ghost beneath her own BDUs, oversized and borrowed to accomidate her growing stomach. She holds nothing in her hands, not here to be anything more than a guide and a witness.

Constin will remain on the Raptor's bench until the bird is down, at which point the big marine takes his feet and holds his tongue, turning a narrow eyed look over the details of the farmstead and double checking the radiation gauge.

Lunair watches with a faint, sad smile. Once this was something more. Spirits, a skeleton. She's been quiet, much like Mouse and company. She looks to Maggie, tilting her head. She looks to Constin and the others, eventually following once the bird is down. She pauses. "Do you need a hand sir?" This to Quinn.

Madilyn's in absolutely no rush to get up and out of the Raptor until the craft is completely settled onto the ground, at a dead stop, and the post-flight checklist is taken care of. Bad experiences in the past you see, and no need to barrel out expecting Cylons; Trask has already confirmed. Instead, she relaxes back into the seat, eyes closed for a moment, reviewing something. Or praying. Take your pick.

Even this close, the readings aren't clear. Hell, they're even MORE frakked up than they were over head. Whatever stone is in those mountains is practically a feedback mirror to every sensitive equipment on the ship. Of course, it meant the cylons probably weren't getting anything from this area of the surface either. Between that and the well, it gives some sort of hope. The ship shakes, just a bit, as they set down solidly and begin to take it into reserve power, going through the post flight check list. Mouse voices quietly. "All clear, sir…" At least, ship wise, to her eyes.

Lysander looks aside again and then draws up a low and lengthened whistle under his breath with an inhale. He almost starts to comment on the farmstead but after looking in Quinn's he decides against. With the Raptor coming in for a landing and settling down the sergeant clears his throat and rises into a stand. "Well," can't be melodramatic forever now, even if he has to lie, "I'm lookin' forward to this one."

The CMC had been briefed on the region, complete with rough maps constructed from Maggie's memory, and given details about the last known inhabitants. Since Quinn isn't cleared to leave the Raptor any more than the pilot or ECO are, here's hoping that info will be anouth.

"Right," Bootstrap gets to the point once Mouse has brought the bird to land, "Y'all know the drill about radiation levels and makin' sure to take all your gear. Caves don't go so deep that there should be any problems with the comms, but you're otherwise goin' in there blind. The ore in these mountains causes all kinds of interference with the sensors, so we can't get a read on what may be inside. The skies, though, we've got covered. Any problems, you'll hear about 'em on TAC 4." That all said, the hatch is popped and the Marines are bid adieu with a simple, "Happy hunting."

"Yeah," is Constin's evenly voiced reply to Lysander. A short look toward the cockpit at Trask's words, met with a curt nod, short sniff, and a turn of his eye back to his fellow sergeant as the door cracks open. "Lets move," he drawls.

Lunair grunts softly at Lysander's words. "Suppose that's for the best," Best to know right? Lunair is quiet. She nods at Bootstrap. "Thank you sir," She offers before heading out with the others. She tends to stick towards the front. "I'll be keeping an eye out, but I know you two have good heads on your shoulders," Lunair states simply to the two Sergeants. She … seems loathe to countermand senior NCOs. That's likely her way of stating she'll be supervising and doing her best to lead, but there's acknowledgement of talent and experience. Wahey. She's learned.

The information briefing that Maggie gave them was a basic run down of the area. There are a few caves to the far back of the property, beyond the fields and pastures, but the house is of more interest. Inside, last known, there were 15 inhabitants. 7 of Maggie's siblings, 2 of their wives, her mother, three nephews, and two nieces. The house is barely large enough to have 6 rooms, three on the first floor and three upstairs. Poor, that's the first word that might come to mind. These people lived very… Very poor. Where farm bred, freckled Maggie was raised… Their crops were mainly corn and wheat, though they kept cows and chickens to feed the family and nothing more. Other than some grain, the only real asset from this mission would be survivors. Other Quinns.

And, of course, seed stocks in the storage shed out back. That is, if there was enough harvest last year for them.

Quinn swallows back tightly, looking from the Marines to Trask, her eyes half begging him. Let her go. Let her see her family. "…If I can't go, Kal… Go. I'll keep the ship running with Mouse. They know you…" She explains softly, her voice half heartbroken. It's taking every breath she inhales to keep herself controlled, sitting in her seat, not running out of the cabin, screaming her family's name, running for them. Her fingertips are white knuckled against her BDU pants, nails ripping into fabric, struggling against that control over and over.

Following the other Marines out of the Raptor, Madilyn thumps down to the ground. Blinking out into the sunlight, she shields her eyes with the palm of her hand - hefting her rifle in the other - and observes the farm. The fields. The house. Looking to the back of the property to see if those cave entrances are viewable. The hand from her helmet comes down and points at the house. "House first. Check it for survivors and supplies. Someone seems to be taking care of these animals, and that well looks like it's being used regularly."

Unmoved SL is unmoved. "Our job is to stay put and keep watch while they do /their/ job, Mags," is drily pointed out because, really, Quinn /knows/ better. "Besides, if Anne's there, you know she won't hesitate to follow some strapping Sergeant." Cue the wry smirk.

Lysander begins to file out with the other blokes and ladies, lifting up a hand to mildly salute those that must stay within the bus. He dryly grins to the comments made and then makes to the dirt and steps off, looking skyward while he brings his rifle to the foreground of his body. "House it is then, on it, Sir," is called out before glancing over his shoulder towards the Raptor. He lingers there, briefly, and inhales, before turning back forward and aiming himself in the direction of the house. Don't make him go into the ghost house first.

Nearing the door, upon a closer look, it's slightly open. Like someone meant to pull it shut and the door didn't catch all the way, not full set into it's frame. No need to break any lock, it will swing right open, inviting Marines almost welcomely inside, the front wooden steps framed by overly largely blooming green and white bushes, pregnant with late harvest and a warm summer.

As the group does approach the house, they'll hear a low, lazy, 'Mmmooooorrrrrhh….' from the drowsy cow about 10 feet off of the front lawn. The black and white dairy cow seems actually fairly hearty, though her udders are overflowing. She's in an uncomfortbly severe need of milking.

Lunair can dig it. She shuffles along after the others, towards the front. She will go first then, if the Sergeants aren't too keen on it. She gently nudges the door and sticks a foot in first. Then peer. The rest of her follows after. She waits a long moment, making sure she's not shot or anything. A blink at the cow noises. Well, okay then.

Like a good little Major, Madilyn brings up the rear of the group of Marines. As they thump up onto the steps and into the home, Lunair's given the task of sweeping the interior for hostiles. Even if the door's open, it's still a door-breaching exercise: get that thing open and make sure nothing inside is going to shoot at the rest of your pals when they pile in. Rifle up at her chest (but not yet to her shoulder), Madilyn keeps an eye out over those fields as the others head inside until it's her turn to face forward and pile in as well.

Once the door is open, Lysander's prediction of a ghost house might very, very well be true. The large front room was the living area and it seems to have been actively used. Curtains were drawn, protecting the room against the summer warmth and any outside lookers, but they've been cleaned and nicely hung. Moths haven't gotten to them yet. An old wooden playpen rests against the wall, a faded pink baby blanket hanging out the side. In the middle of the worn wooden floor there is a large area rug, the edge of it covered with a hand whittled train set which has been kicked off it's tracks. The coffee table holds an open magazine collecting dust and three tea cups. Two of them have been turned over, staining the pages of the magazine, but the third still has a bit of tea and leaves in the bottom. Most has evaporated away — but not all.

Everything looks like it was abandoned mid-use, not so very long ago. The buzzing of flies can be heard one room over, a large archway leading into a sunlit kitchen. It is almost encouraging, except for turning back around. On the wall, streaking towards the door, is a bloodied hand print. It's drug all the way around the door's frame.

Lysander's gaze trails to the side for a lengthy bit of time, thanks to the cow and him then looking to the others to make sure they are seeing the same thing. A joke doesn't come to mind so he's left with looking back from the cow and back to the building. The sergeant makes with the basics and with a trained ease helps support the other marines in clearing past the initial door. He steps further in, just a touch, and lowers the barrel of his rifle while his body relaxes from its maybe-getting-shot-at posture. The young man comes to the kitchen and slows, giving it a once over before looking to the side. "Sir," he's looking at the blood on the wall, and then down, at the blood there too. "I see a trail here, an', well."

Oh sure, weird eyed Marine goes in first. She looks around and keeps her neutral expression. Lunair considers it, before glancing over her shoulder. There's a momentary pause and flash of realization. Lunair frowns. "Be prepared for casualties," She states simply, quietly to the others nearby. She pauses, as Lysander points out the trail. If she winces, it's inward - her bearing locked neatly to avoid panic. She glances over it. "We can follow it at least, to see if there's injured." Or corpses is the unstated alternative.

Cue the understatement of the day: "Well, that can't be a good sign," Madilyn says with complete and total seriousness. Once Lysander points out the droplets on the floor, they're fairly easy to spot without having to get down and personal with them. The hand print is a lot harder to miss. "Coming, or going?" she idly wonders, out loud. Knees creak and pop a bit as she puts her rifle horozontally across her chest and kneels down to look for any directionality of the trail of blood drops.

The drops of blood lead into the kitchen/dining area and it is a bit more worrisome than even the front room. The flies aren't coming from a corpse, but from… Dinner? An entire table is laid out and decaying — 9 plates with mismatched cutlery, though some of it's moved and two knives have been thrown across the room it seems. There's a chicken carcass collecting flies that probably was once a very robust, yummy looking bird. It's matched with a large, mold covered casserole dish. Three of the chairs are over turned and there's a splatter of blood on the kitchen counter complimenting another splatter on the wall going out, back into the front room. An ancient HAM radio has been throw onto the floor and kicked into several pieces. The sink is full of mold bearing dishes. Off to the far side of the sitting area is an old staircase leading up. Several of the bannister's spindles have been kicked out or cracked. There's a long streak of blood all the way down the wall too. Someone fought like hell coming down those stairs.

Lysander isn't the only one to stare at the cow. No, PO2 Preston "Toad" Croke remarks, "Mmm. Cheeseburger." Being no farm boy, the swollen udders aren't noticed. Upon entering the house, he actually is disappointed that the coast is seemingly clear. The medic is something of an action junkie, after all.

"I vote going," comments Lysander in reply, based purely upon him looking back and forth over the trail made by the bloody hand. He then turns around in order to return to his descent into madness: head into the kitchen. The smells are growing stronger and the buzzing of flies incessant with the marine tightening his jaw reflexively and holding his rifle up with his right and covering his lower face with his left. Breathing into his gloved palm and through his mouth, he looks over the kitchen and steps over the destroyed radio. His eyes turn to following the blood as if it will help verify his previous claim; and slowly, carefully, his boots lead him to the far side of the kitchen area.

Constin snorts bullishly at the stench, but every survivor has smelled worse at some point. Scanning over the kitchen, taking note of the trail as the others point it out, his narrow stare lingers on the bloody smear at the stairs. "Gonna clear the upstairs, by your leave, Major," he drawls aloud.

In fact, though if there is a body somewhere maybe it's rotted enough not to smell any more, there is no scent of human death in the house at all.

Lunair might be more amused by the medic's antics if not for the blood and … dinner? Lunair's eyebrows lift. Why would someone destroy the radio and … "I guess I should check up the stairs," She offers quietly. A nod at Madi's question. Lunair pulls her collar up, and is beaten by Constin's urge to search upstairs. She nods at the Sergeant.

"Not by yourself. Take Lunair, clear the upstairs. Keep a running mental record of all these oddities." That's exactly how Madilyn is thinking of all these blood streaks, the fact that full-on feast was laid out and left to rot. "I want hyptheses about what happened to the family here, and I want them soon. Blood and no bodies," she says while she strolls through the first floor talking loud enough to be heard throughout. "Eventually, someone's going to have to get on the radio and start relaying all these pieces back to Capt. Quinn."

"No need to tell Captain Quinn til we've got shit to tell, sir," Constin returns dryly, nodding once to Lunair as the Lieutenant is assigned to accompanying the big sergeant. "I've got point," he states simply, before starting up the stairs, P90 rifle shouldered as he climbs, step by step.

Lysander returns towards the dinner meal laid out and in several shades of putrid decay. He swallows down something of a comment and uses his lifted hand to reach out for the remains of the chicken. He pokes it, hard enough for the skin to drag downwards and then silently pop open when stretched too far. He wrinkles the bridge of his nose and takes a step back after wiping his hand on the tablecloth. The marine returns to following after the blood and that causes him to circle around the main table and some of the upturned chairs. He returns to the main room and the others. There's a mild glance given to the stairs. "Good luck," is murmured before he looks to the Major: "I've got my ideas, but…" He looks back up the stairs.

"Yeah, I'd rather have more of the story before we make her panic," Lunair admits. She opens her mouth, almost to protest but shrugs and just follows Constin meekly. She is a quiet back up at least.

Upstairs is hotter and miserably humid. There's water somewhere, evaporating into the warm, Indian summer air and yet not really able to escape out closed windows and doors. One door has been kicked open and is splintered. It leads into a children's room with three sets of bunk beds, faded, painted animals on the walls and a crib in the corner. The sheets in the beds are a mess, one of the ladders is broken. It looks like there was as good a fight as any kid could put up in here. Blocks rest on the floor, the corner of one coated in blood, like it was bashed against someone's head. The only place in the room not a mess is that crib. It's very carefully set straight, in the corner, the tiny baby blankets on it even made up neatly.

Decomposing dinner isn't what whets Toad's appetite. The blood smear, however, may be promising, so he posts himself at the foot of the stairs, bouncing a bit on the balls of his feet in anticipation of something interesting (by his definition) happening.

Lunair seems to agree, grunting softly. She frowns, at this assessment. She peers. She looks around, hunting for a closet or a trail perhaps. She glances around slowly, squinting. "Yeah but then…" Hm. Frown. She takes a moment, trying not to breathe too deeply. "I'm gonna see if there's any closet space or something. Maybe other rooms…" She's still peering around this one though.

Downstairs, the smell of decomposing dinner is taking its toll on Madilyn. Leaving Constin and Lunair to investigate the upstairs while she strolls around the first floor, the first thing she does is cover her mouth with the sleeve of her BDUs. That works for a while - until Lysander is poking and prodding the stuff with his finger, resulting is a wet, gross pop. The bile starts to bubble up, and before the wretching turns into vomiting, she's out onto the steps and back out into the fresher air. People in the Raptor might see her hasty exit before the chow hall food makes its hasty exit.

Two other rooms. A massive, more adult sleeping area. The walls are lined with bunks, though there's two big beds in the middle of the room too. No one seems to have been in that room, but sheets were unmade from people getting up in the morning, dusty books abandoned on bedside tables, bedclothes hanging over the edges of posts. No moths, nothing but that damp, sickening heat in this room. Like everyone was expecting to come back to bed that night as they did every night.

The other room is the bathroom. This is where the damp heat is coming from. The bath tub is mostly full with water. Blood stained water, gathering a bit of moss on the top now. It's evaporated, leaving the interior of the white, claw footed tub stained on the edges. The mirror has been ripped out of the wall and shattered, as has the door. It looks like whoever spilled blood all the way down the stairs started in this room. They had the most fight of anyone. And yet, once more, not a single body left in the whole house. Like there was life one hour, and not a hint of life the next.

"Bathroom door got smashed in," Constin voices. "Had to take a guess, would say this is where the bad shit started." A short breath, drawn and released. "There ain't fifteen folks worth of dead in here, but somebody was bleeding pretty good." Raising his voice, the sergeant calls, "Upstairs cleared."

Upstairs cleared. Downstairs cleared. Nothing more to see here, so Croke moseys back outside. "Not losin' your lunch over that dinner, are ya, Major?" Oh, but then he sees the cow. Mmmm. Cheeseburger.

Lunair nods at that. "Sounds like it," She wrinkles her nose. "Think maybe someone lost it and got sick or went bonkers?" She offers a theory. But then, who would deal with the bodies? She's no MP, but it's really not adding up. "Wonder if they've got a basement, cellar or anything like that…"

Quinn sits with Trask in the Raptor, stiff backed and white knuckled. She stares as she watches Madilyn come out of the house and lose her lunch quite so quickly. Maggie just swears, her head dropping, hiding the sudden wave of tears and anger which threaten all too damn fast…"…Frak me…frake me…" She whispers faintly, over and over. She suddenly very much doesn't want to be here.

"I love you but not that way, Magpie," Kal quips to the increasingly emotional redhead's refrain of frak. For his part, he's keeping his cool, but that's the beauty of compartmentlization. From where he's sitting, though, Trask is in no real position to see Madilyn's speedy retreat from the house. Sensors remain clear and the TAC signals are functional.

Lunair nods and frowns, following Constin. She finally moves along, uneasy. This time she manages not to pants fail, or notice shiny boots. She frowns, looking to the ground. "I … really don't see any drag marks or anything going this way or that," She admits. "It just doesn't seem quite right."

Perhaps if Croke were less distracted by the deliciousness of a cheeseburger and the thought of washing it down with some moonshine he's sure has to be stashed somewhere — hey, it's Aerilon — he might notice more than he does. And what he notices isn't any more than what Lunair just voiced.

Constin steps out into the fresh Aerilon air, and looks around the grounds anew. The sergeant stiffens at some sight, scowls, and changes the clip feeding into his assault rifle: out goes the standard anti-personnel rounds and in goes a clip of Armor Piercing bullets. The motion is steady, practiced, and unhurried. "Over thatta way. By the edge. Want a closer look to be sure, but those look a helluva lot like a Centurion's steps."

After an uncomfortable bout of being doubled over and heaving-ho lunch, Madilyn gets a chance to re-evaluate what she's looking for outside the house, given the evidence inside the house. "Agreed…no drag marks. None that I see. Just this one path getting used," Madilyn says while motioning to the path that the marines used to get from the Raptor to the front door. "None of the others seem to have been…" she starts, but never finishes. Constin's mention of the magic word (no, not please - when has he ever used thatta one?) piques her interest in all the wrong ways.

Lysander goes for his radio with his off-hand but then thinks better of himself and dips his chin low, looking down at the ground. He sniffs somewhat at the air and turns in place in order to head in the general direction of around back. Then, he stops. The marine settles in a couple of paces away from the others and bends down at the knees. His hand goes out again, not to poke old food or anything, simply to touch the dirt. Garret lifts his gaze from the ground and shields it with that hand, looking into the distance. Something catches his eye and he begins to walk again, down the path in the general direction of landing zone. "Yeah," is muttered and he moves his rifle into both hands upon exchanging magazines, "Reminds me of Jharkhand before you all found me."

The long, metal foot tracks, which aren't their own, are probably rather old. Just on the edges of the property, where mud would lay for days after a rain, and then dried in the late summer sun. Those are the clearest marks, but they're weeks, if not months old, depending on weather patterns. Everything else is erroded away. The clear tracks, however, lead towards, roughly, where the Cerberus crew themselves set down — the most logical landing spot for this whole area. And then nothing.

Constin steps toward the spotted tracks along with Lysander, commenting as he does so, "A centurion wouldn't need to drag any bodies. Could straight-up lift and carry. Wouldn't explain the lack of forced entry, and no bullets sprayed all over the house.." Musing silently for a moment, he turns to regard Madilyn and Lunair before suggesting, "Might have been a skinjob inside the house. Posing as a survivor, or somesuch?"

Hey … that they do, Lunair frowns and furrows her brows. "Yeah," She nods. "Could've been," She offers Constin, "I heard about the skinjobs being stronger than normal folks," She notes. Lunair shakes her head. "I guess at least it's news," She remarks quietly.

Sergeant Lysander bends back down and holds a fist over his mouth, thoughtfully, looking down at the tracks and then taking a half-step back in order to look off into the distance. He rises into the fullness of his height. "There were, potentially, fifteen people here. We've got at least one set of tracks here, old, way frakkin' old. Signs of obvious struggle in at least two rooms, and I'm not tellin' the others about this, but they need to know. After a glance down to the GMAR firearm held in his hands, he gives off a low whistle. "What was upstairs?"

Constin shakes his head to the Major's query. "Pure leverage. A man-shaped machine couldn't carry more than a couple bodies.. and those treads a full-sized Centurion, no doubt," the sergeant mutters back to Madilyn. "Thinking the Centurion might've been called in by the skinjob after, but that's all conjecture, sir." A short breath let out. "S'possible a Heavy Raider set down right about where our bird is. Or maybe the tracks just dried up." A look back at the farmhouse. "Was that barn cleared, yet? Should double check that before going cave-diving." Eyeing Lysander aside, he notes, "A bloodied up bathroom, and a kicked in nursery door. Not good shit."

Lunair nods quietly at that. "Might've been. Seems like the likelist thing, more likely than someone going loony and turning on the others," She notes. She frowns. "I suspect it might just be kindest to tell her they passed on." She seems to dislike the deception but… Well. She doesn't offer more. "If not, I'll go with someone to check the barn. Might be someone or something there."

Lysander looks down at Constin's response and he nods while his head is thus ducked. He spits forward and then covers the spot with his boot, grinding his heel into it. "Barn's the lesser of two evils. I'll take point on the caves." He was moderately adamant about not wanting to talk about Dead Quinns but he lingers in place with the others. "I vote we tell her the truth. All of it. Better us to talk to her than for her to find out any other way. And she will find out. It's her family."

The barn is nothing but some very poor seed stocks. Possibly eaten, no signs of struggle or being raided in here, more than likely they were just a poor family with not all that good a harvest. That's all they had. The caves are totally empty, the faint traces of a fire pit that looks like it was from -last- summer, no time recent, and that's it. The corn fields are undisturbed. There are no bodies anywhere. No blood anywhere. No more signs of struggle, or tracks. Nothing but the fight in the house, the tracks leading to the landing field… and the present party. There was one shallow grave, but it was a dead barn cat, and nothing else. Otherwise, the ground is solid. No one dead. No one anywhere. And despite there being blood spilled, there wasn't enough blood to have even killed anyone. No bullet signs. The blood looks like from slammed heads or bloodied noses. Broken fingernails. It wasn't a massacre — it was a kidnapping.

"This ain't a damned vote," Constin mutters to Lysander's concerns. "She's an officer of the frakking fleet. Unless the Major orders otherwise?" he regards Madilyn at the words, before concluding, "I'll answer what a Captain of the fleet asks me. That's how it is."

There's a thoughtful look then a slow nod. "You're probably right, better to have her freak out now than later," Lunair admits. She looks around in the barn and wrinkles her nose. Sigh. "Wonder why they'd kidnap…" Unless. Memories of Leonis. Lunair does not seem to want to go there. "Right."

"Well, we aren't going to lie to the woman," Madilyn insists. "We have a working theory that's supported by evidence. As unlikely, as random - or disturbingly targeted - though it may seem, we have to tell her what appears to have happened here. The abandoned downstairs, the lack of barricaded doors except upstairs, the tracks leading to one locale where they rendezvous with Centurion tracks in the very same LZ we're currently using." This is all discussed on the trip to and from the barn and caves, where Lunair is given the okay to take those seed stocks for the hyrdroponics projects. "Given the circumstances, I wonder if the rules can be bent enough to let her see first hand. Or if that's even a good idea."

"Yeah, I'll remember that when it's your family like this," Lysander is readily commenting in turn towards Constin before moving to follow after the Major. With Madilyn speaking up, he keeps his peace about things.

Quinn is half catatonic by now. It's all she could do to keep herself inside the Raptor. Why did she even come. The only indication there is any of Margaret Quinn left inside her skull right now are the tracks of tears down her face. Now, well into her pregnancy and more than a bit hormonal, tears aren't all that -rare- these days. But the dead silent, icily still, barely breathing tears that have come in the Raptor over the last hour and change? Those are different. She's marked bloody half moons into her own palms with her fingernails. Waiting. She knows it's not good.

Quinn whispers, very faintly, "Shouldn't have come… should never have come…" She had been so certain they were alive.

Constin shrugs once to Lysander's retort. "The only family I had that didn't get ashed with the rest of Mangala is sitting on ice in an evidence locker on the boat," the big man states flatly as the marines trudge back to the waiting Raptor.

Of course, as the team comes back to their shuttle, their old friend the milkin' cow greets them, 'Mrrrrrooooooo….' It's almost haunting sounding, after the totally abandoned farmstead.

A sympathetic look to Constin. Lunair pauses and looks to Croke. "We should ask Quinn first, it's her cow," She points out. Blue blood runs through those veins and with it, an understanding of the weight of material possessions.

Croke gets a swift Gibbs-ian smack on the back of his helmet courtesy of Madilyn at the mention of using that cow for meat. "The Lieutenant's right. It's Captain Quinn's cow, and you'll ask her what she wants to do with it. But after she hears what we're about to tell her, I wouldn't want to be the one to ask her." Yeah, it'd be a real dick move. House checked, barn check, caves checked. Sadly, there's no family to tell Quinn about, only the evidence of the presumed kidnapping. Rather than do that by radio, telling her face-to-face seems like the more compassionate thing to do.

Thus smacked by the Major, the PO2 looks both peeved and perplexed. "Oh, as if /I'm/ the only one hankerin' for a cheeseburger," Croke mutters. Narrowing his eyes at the cow, he tells the beast, "We'll meet again, meat."

Lunair's jaw drops a little. Poor Croke. "Hey, look. If it's hers, we could possibly take it with us or erm, dispense of it if she doesn't want it." She'll save poor Croke a burger.

The moment a full all-clear is given, Maggie gets up. She can't take it any more. Fortunately, it saves anyone from actually having to -give- Quinn the news. The pregnant pilot stands up, looking across the scene, the collective faces, and she murmurs quietly. "They'e all gone… aren't they?" A silent nod or two is all it takes. "Let me through." She whispers coldly, flatly. When nothing happens, she echoes again, the rasping, harsh edge of a command in her voice. "Let. Me. Through, Soldiers." And she will stare down Lunair and company until she's permitted past. With guard, no down, Maggie goes back to her home. Her -home-… Silently, she will take the same path the Marine's did, with guard behind her. As she goes through, a few things are straightened. The chairs at the table, the tea cups. She grabs a pillow case, taking a few things from each room, apparently pieces of sentimental value. She's not crying any more. She's not saying anything. She inspects the whole house in dead silence before returning to the Raptor. She'll pause on the way, noticing the cow's udders. "Bring me canteens." She orders. The only real task she manages to complete is finally relieving that poor, poor cow… bringing back three canteens of fresh milk. And then she's back aboard the Raptor. She doesn't say a single word otherwise, or shed a single tear. Only her white knuckled grip on the pillow case of things she's grabbed shows any hint of emotion.

It's true that the pilot and the ECO really are not supposed to leave the Raptor without leave from the CAG or their Squadron Leader. Seeing how Trask is the latter, he grants himself permission to follow Quinn. "Unlikely we'll have company," he tells Smythe on his way out, "but get the frak out if tincans arrive before we return." Awkwardly, he lets his best friend do her rounds and assists as he's able. Then, just as silently as the grieving redhead, he returns to the bird and plots the course back to the base.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License