PHD #413: EVENT - To Own the Skies
To Own the Skies
Summary: The battlestar's Combat Air Patrol is de-fanged.
Date: 15 April 2042 AE
Related Logs: All Areion logs.
Trask Evandreus Pallas Burke Kepner NPC Polaris 
Space — Planet Ophion — The EurynomĂȘ Sector
Post-Holocaust Day: #413

[Polly's Hoopty: Polaris] Flying CAP over the gas giant Ophion is a lot easier than flying in the murky hellstorm that is the upper atmosphere of Audumbla. Out here, a pilot doesn't have to contend with whipping tendrils of blue-white ions ready to fry the controls of whatever poor frakker gets engulfed in the burst, nor does he have to sift through DRADIS fuzz just to figure out where he is. No: life in the EurynomĂȘ Sector has been anything but complicated, which also means it's been anything but interesting.

The time is 1438 hours on the fifteenth of April, two thousand and forty two years after the great Exodus from Kobol — and soaring above the roiling green mists of the massive planet below, one might be excused for wishing that the Cylons would just come back.

[Petrel-647: Pallas] Pallas is bored. He is immensely bored out of his all too sober mind, which makes every minute seem like hours in and of themselves. The first few CAPs after the Swarm disappeared were bearable, since he was learning the ins and outs of his Viper 2.5; now, no amount of fancy flying will keep him entertained for these uneventful rotations. So he's just coasting in his Viper, yawning, and counting down the minutes until he's back to Cerberus.

[BlackKnight-855: Burke] Burke keeps his Viper in formation, not toying with any fancy moves or the like even though it feels like this might be the time for it. He glances over his instruments idly, adjusting a battered old photograph of a car tugged into the console so he can see it better, and reaches down to flick his radio to life. He makes certain to enunciate lest he get chastised for speaking gibberish over the wireless.

[TAC3] Burke says, "Ain't do much 'cept fly but I tell y'what - that's one nice view."

[Harrier-303: Evandreus] Evan, for his part, could get used to being bored. The usual avenues of conversation having worn themselves thin at about the two hour mark, a nice, peaceful lull has set in between him and his backseater, and somewhere inside his helmet Evan is singing to himself, half-mumbled lyrics to a song he doesn't really remember so much as remembers remembering at one point. And keeping his hands on the panelling keeping his front brain busy with the minutiae of driving the bus.

[Harrier-303: Trask] Who needs Cylons when humans are perfectly capable of self-destructing? Between the recent bout of illegal detainments and now the decoded Cylon messages, the seeming peacefulness of Ophion's space is likely the only genuine calm within and without the BSG-132. Still, life goes on, as evinced when Trask tells his cohort and pilot, "It's disturbing how something so small can crap so damn much." This in reference to their respective 'niece' and 'sister' Kallistei Anne "Mayday" Quinn.

[TAC3] "Spiral" Pallas says, "Got tired of it after the first ten minutes. Areion must be as frakking bored as we are if they're sending out four birds."

[TAC3] Zooms says, "Just looking at the view. Now ain't that gorgeous." CPT Jenny "Zooms" Carmichael's warm alto breaks into an amused little chuckle. Her voice might be familiar — or not. She's one of Areion's Evocati: a Viper ace from VX-4 "Foxfires," who's developed something of a reputation as one of the best dancers at Colonial Pete's occasional Amateurs' Nights. "Mind a little company? Niner says we've got to put these birds through their paces. Just fixed them up after the Swarm hit, if you can believe that bullshit."

[Harrier-303: Evandreus] "Hm? Heh. Growing girl, she needs to run a lot of stuff through to keep her getting big and strong. You know she rolled over onto her back the other day?" Evan asks back to the Boots. With help, but— he leaves that part out. He doesn't call out hello or goodbye or anything in between over comms.

[Polly's Hoopty: Polaris] Zooms sure is right about her birds. The four Viper 7.5s now zooming out of Areion's hangar look a little less banged up than usual — which just means that only a few of their surfaces aren't dented or charred. Unpainted like the rest of their ilk, the sleek little fighters dance nimbly through space, little silver-brown specks against a field of green.

[TAC3] "Spiral" Pallas says, "You can join us here as long as you don't mind me joining you afterwards at Pete's."

[TAC3] (from "Bootstrap" Trask) Four birds lacking proper CAP formation. Case in point: no Raptors. "Might wanna take 'em dancin' elsewhere, Zooms," Bootstrap notes in his blithe way, "This ain't Pete's. Only partners we dance with on-duty are those assigned to double-CAP. Plenty of space for you to conga without steppin' on any toes. Over."

[Harrier-303: Trask] "That's significant, I take it…" Kalli rolling over on her back. All Trask seems to know about babies is that they eat a lot, sleep a lot, puke a lot, cry a lot, and poop a lot.

[TAC3] Zooms says, "Spiral, Zooms, you know I'm always up for a night on your pole." Carmichael's laugh is easy; relaxed. "Might even ask your CAG to show me some moves just for you, if the word on the street is true. And pet, don't you worry." Pet, presumably, is Trask. "All we're gonna do is run these burners a bit, see how fast we can get. Don't you wish you weren't stuck holding your dongs."

[Petrel-647: Pallas] Pallas breaks from formation and flies out toward the incoming Areion birds after his transmission, though he checks his flightpath a bit after Trask's. Like it or not, Bootstrap is in command here, and Spiral's well aware of that. So he holds somewhere between the Cerberus CAP and Aerion Vipers, marking time with slow barrel rolls.

[BlackKnight-855: Burke] Burke's Viper holds course, whatever may be going on here isn't anything for him to comment on so he just keeps on truckin'. He cranes his neck to try and get a better look at the source of interest, leaning back into his seat after a moment and tapping his fingers idly on the display in front of him.

[TAC3] "Bootstrap" Trask is quick to quip back, "I somehow doubt /anyone/ knows tricks involving poles that you don't already know, Zooms. And the trade-off for not holding our dongs is having small cocks and a lack of balls, so I'd say we're quite content with our lot."

[TAC3] Zooms says, "I don't even know what that last bit means." Zooms' tone sounds genuinely confused. "Anyway, heads up. Time to light these joints and pop some smoke, boys and girls. On my mark — three — two — one — mark —"

[Polly's Hoopty: Polaris] Breaking into pairs of two, the unmarked birds line up alongside each other directly outside their carrier's hangar, their hulls flaring gold as they fire their RCS points one by one. Then, satisfied, the race begins — and whatever Areion's knuckledraggers did to those modified Vipers must have been some truly brilliant work, judging from the way they explode from the starting line like sprinters after the gun. Plumes of burning tylium flare a distinctive orange-white from four blackened nacelles as the fighters charge forward, their pilots holding on for dear life as they arrow toward a point in space slightly behind the CAP. Keep on going and they'll overshoot even Cerberus.

[Harrier-303: Evandreus] "Mhm," comes the answer from Evan, but it's not elaborated upon, and is almost lost, meekly voiced as it is, as the conversation over the comms distracts the driver to a significant degree. "… Boots," comes a monosyllable laden with disapproval after Trask's last. "You don't have to answer them back, you know." But Bunny has never been one for frivolous chat on the comms. Comms are for important messages, as far as he's concerned.

[Harrier-303: Trask] "I swear, raging dickheads and skanks, all of 'em." That appears to be Trask's assessment of the Evocati. "I heard she's called Zooms for reasons that have nothing to do with flying." The crack about 'poles' and 'burning' and whatever else he could muster from twisting Carmichael's words gets aborted as he notices something.

[Petrel-647: Pallas] Whistles into his helmet as the Areion Vipers burn hard. Stopping his slow, lazy spinning through space, he fires up his Viper to loop around, bringing him back in close formation with Burke as he speaks over the comms.

[TAC3] "Spiral" Pallas says, "Frak me, look at those bastards go. Let's show 'em what we got, no-name."

[TAC3] Zooms says, "Think you can play, Spiral? Come on!"

[TAC3] "Bootstrap" Trask says, "Zooms, Bootstrap. Whatever the frak your Deckies did, they frakked up. Pull back or your engine is gonna blow. Spiral, maintain formation."

[TAC3] "Bootstrap" Trask says, "Cerberus, Bootstrap. Just captured an encrypted ultra-high-frequency transmission from Areion. Be so kinda as to inform them to conduct such training exercises when /their/ people are running CAP, over."

[TAC3] Zooms says, "Yeah, yeah. Space is big, Boots. And relax, buddy, I've got this under — WHOA." The woman's transmission is interrupted by a burst of static. "Shit — must've — bzzt —"

[TAC3] "Spiral" Pallas says, "Bootstrap, can't you frakking - whao, Zooms; Spiral. RCS explosion on your starboard wing. A panel's blown off, check your - wait, what the frak?"

[Polly's Hoopty: Polaris] And just like that Zooms' Viper blasts out of formation, a panel on her starboard wing having exploded in a shower of sparks. The light from her engine flutters, flickers — and fades entirely, leaving her with only a shred of manual control. The other Vipers will need some time to maneuver back, having accelerated to their top speed in a little under five seconds.

[TAC3] Zooms says, "Kryp — kssh-click — er, this is Zooms, we have — " And then Carmichael's voice cuts off entirely.

[TAC3] Burke says, "Woah! Since when them Vipuhs got parts in th'wing that a'splode?"

[TAC3] (from Mix-Up) "Krypter, krypter, this is Mix-Up! Bird down, say again, bird down, requesting SAR!"

[Harrier-303: Evandreus] Whatever chiding Boots was about to get from Bunny for judging people before he knows them is cut off when the latest bit of excitement unfolds. Couldn't have a nice solid four hours of puttering in circles like grannies on their way to the temples. Newp. "Boots, send me up her coordinates," he calls back, ready to set a course to pick her up, going on comms the meanwhile.

[Harrier-303: Trask] "Negative, Buns. Maintain CAP formation. That's our job. SAR will be disptached." To reiterate the point, Trask hops back on the comms.

[TAC3] "Bootstrap" Trask says, "This is Bootstrap. Affirmative that Zooms' bird appears to be down. RCS explosion on the starboard wing. Spiral noted a panel that was blown off. Dispatch SAR to last known coordinates. Over. CAP, maintain formation. This is one for the barn."

[TAC3] Mix-Up says, "Godsdammit, you insufferable son of a bitch! Can't you see — " Mix-Up's voice is tinged with just a bit of rage as he drops his Viper alongside the slower-moving Raptor, just close enough to give Evandreus the one-fingered salute. And then he's peeling off to check up on his wingman, arcing up over the bulky brown ship, slowing to make sure he doesn't collide with anyone or anything."

[Harrier-303: Evandreus] Evan switches off the comms again as Boots cuts him off, having to bite his lip to stop from saying something. He's used to being in control in his own boat, and having his SL in his backseat totally messes with his usual way of running things. "We're -right- here, Boots. We can have Cerberus launch someone into CAP rotation," he points out, "It's not like it'd—" he stops himself from arguing, as arguing with the SL is never the plan, but he gives Mix-Up a sort of helpless shrug in return for the finger.

[BlackKnight-855: Burke] "Ah shoot," Burke murmurs to himself as the photograph of the car lodged into his console comes unstuck, leaning down and taking his eyes off the outside world for the moment so he can fumble around for it and retrieve it in the space by his thigh and the inside 'wall' of the Viper.

[TAC3] "Spiral" Pallas says, "Are you frakking serious, Bootstrap? You're going to leave Zooms dead in the water and get them to launch a SAR bird when we're right frakking here? There's no parts that explode where her wing blew up, so something's wrong with her bird."

[Petrel-647: Pallas] Pallas maintains course as ordered, but cuts his thrusters and spins around to face Zooms' Viper as he continues on the flight path so he can watch for any more explosions. She's one of his favorite dancers, after all.

[Polly's Hoopty: Polaris] While her wingman flips Evandreus the bird, Carmichael's Viper is spinning lengthwise, up and over and up again like some demented children's toy. But as everybody's attention is elsewhere, nobody notices that gunmetal grey fighter suddenly right herself with a flare of her RCS. Indeed, so consumed are the Vipers by the emergency taking place in their midst that they don't see the two Areion Vipers suddenly cut power to their afterburners so as to drop themselves in place right behind brave Burke and crass Pallas.

Only Evandreus gets a hint as to what's about to come. As Mix-Up swings up and away, he catches sight out of the glimpse of his eye something that really shouldn't be strapped to the hardpoints of a just-repaired Viper — or any Viper on exercises, for that matter. It's long, it's grey, and it's got —


A half-second later, four fighters launch four missiles at almost point-blank range. Their onboard DRADIS systems barely have a chance to switch to active before they're five feet away from their targets: one per Viper and two for Boots and his boy. And just in case the message wasn't clear, Zooms' miraculously recovered bird looses a spray of KEW fire from her very much working guns.

[TAC3] (from "Bootstrap" Trask) Sounding unruffled, Trask remarks, "She didn't eject, did she? And her frakking up doesn't warrant us canning /our/ job to save her ass. Waiting a few minutes /won't/ ki—" And then the Viper playing dead is up like a rage zombie after blood.

[BlackKnight-855: Burke] Burke's Viper doesn't even attempt evasive maneuvers, apparently entirely unaware of the two coming up behind him and firing. He's just in the process of tucking something into one of the external pockets on his flight suit when the whole thing goes up in flames, the ship disintegrating around him. He only just manages to eject in the nick of time, working on instincts drilled into him during training. Nevertheless, his Viper is nothing but a small cloud of scrap materials now.

[Petrel-647: Pallas] Pallas' instincts take over before his conscious mind can even interpret what's happening. He goes from zero to GTFO in the blink of an eye, narrowly escaping the brunt of the missile's blast. But the shrapnel's hit him hard, and his Viper's spinning out of control. He wrestles with his bird against the G-forces, cutting off everything but manual controls and attempting to regain control.

[Harrier-303: Trask] It's automatic the way Bootstrap switches on. "Buns, can we reach the rook?"

[TAC3] "Spiral" Pallas says, "Frak, I'm hit! I say again, I'm hit, the Areion Vipers have fired missiles. My bird is intact but out of control. No-name, sound off."

[Harrier-303: Evandreus] Evan's tapping away at a manual course correction just in the off-chance that Zoom's viper gives him the first clue that he ought to screw Boots' orders and go over there to help her. Or course, he ends up seeing clues of an altogether different nature, as the boat rights itself suddenly, making the hairs on the back of his neck stand up as he reaches for the comms controls, mouth open but speechless as his hand veers away from the comms controls and to the flight panel, mashing go on that flight path and shoving it to the limit, getting past the worst of the damage aimed toward his boat, though the shrapnel rocks and twists the madcap half-plotted course "Guh!" is his answer for Boots. "Uh… uh…" The Bunny is running like a scared rabbit, at this point, "Where?"

[Polly's Hoopty: Polaris] One bird is very much down; two birds are very much close to going down — but Areion's pilots don't let up. Zooms and Mix-Up paste themselves on the Raptor's six, keeping poor Evandreus in their gunsights. The other two Vipers scream after Pallas' out-of-control 2.5, lighting their burners to bracket the temporarily disabled ship. It'd take just a flick of a thumb to turn both of them into fireballs the size of the explosion where Burke's ship once was.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is game, set, and match.

[TAC3] Zooms says, "Business is business, boys." Zooms' voice is ice cold. "Stop maneuvering right now or we blow you out of the sky. Don't worry about your rook — we'll be sending out an SAR for him and bringing him in for treatment. And I think — yeah. Here he goes."

[TAC3] "Bootstrap" Trask says, "Cerberus, Bootstrap: LAUNCH ALERT BIRDS, RIGHT THE FRAK — " But then Trask is suddenly cut off.

[TAC3] "Spiral" Pallas says, "Does this look like frakking maneuvering to you? Gods-frakking-" And then Pallas is cut off as well by a blast of deafening static.

[TAC3] Kepner says, "Men and women of the Fleet: I am Commander Rudolph Kepner of the escort carrier Areion, and I have taken command of this battlegroup."

[TAC3] Kepner says, "At 1438 hours, Commander Laughlin was executed for acts of treason against the Colonial Military. Colonel Pewter, Colonel Ionis, Major Hahn, Major Willows-Cavanaugh, Captain Makinen, Captain Bia and Chief Petty Officer Damon are in custody for mutiny, sedition and colluding with the enemy in a time of war. The executive officers of Corsair, Cerberus and Praetorian, having endorsed these treasonous acts, have been subdued so as not to interfere with our mission."

[TAC3] Kepner says, "What is our mission, you ask? The time for planning garden parties with Cylons who murdered our friends and families by the billions is finished. The time of giving aid and comfort to enemies within our ranks is finished. The time for cowardice, for timidity, for fleeing like so many confused sheep — that time is finished."

[TAC3] Kepner says, "This is a time for heroes. This is the time to fight."

[TAC3] Kepner says, "Amplified by the ships in this Fleet, the Gun is finally ready to strike a crippling blow against the Cylons. As such, I am ordering our battlegroup to jump to the heart of Colonial space. There, we will take the fight to the major Cylon outposts on Caprica, Picon, and all the rest. We will eliminate their foundries, annihilate their troops, and destroy the resurrection depots that grant them their profane immortality. We will strip them of their bodies and render them mortal at last."

[TAC3] Kepner says, "Make no mistake of it: our mission will be hazardous. But should we die, we will die like men, like warriors, winning sweet vengeance against an enemy that has destroyed everything we hold dear. Our other choice? To limp along out here in the hidey-holes of space until the Cylons pick us off Viper by Viper, while our spirit is sapped by some foul plague of their engineering. Well, I am no coward, and I say that if humanity is to go down, we shall at least take the Cylons with us."

[TAC3] Kepner says, "Some among you will undoubtedly object. Before you do, know this. Colonel Pewter and the others are being held safely and securely aboard this vessel. But should this treason spread — should you launch any attack against my ship, attempt to jump away, or refuse to comply with these directives — we will execute one of your Department Heads every thirty minutes. Their lives are in your hands and, though they do not deserve your loyalty, they will suffer the consequences for your disobedience. And if you require additional incentive, know also that my people have access to the launch codes of Cerberus' nuclear missiles and are prepared to detonate them on my orders. If mission preparations are incomplete after six hours have elapsed, we will not hesitate to do so."

[TAC3] Kepner says, "I know in my heart you will make the right decision. I know brave and righteous humans still exist in this Fleet. And together, we will see our mission through to the end."

[TAC3] Kepner says, "Your Commander has spoken. Kepner out."

[TAC3] Burke says, "Boz, if it's all the same I'd rather not get treated by th' folks who done blew me up …"

[TAC3] "Bootstrap" Trask says, "Well, since you're so dead-set that we can our CAP, Zooms, we'll pick up our rook, thanks."

[TAC3] Zooms says, "Try and die, Boots."

[Petrel-647: Pallas] Kepner's speech provides a dark voiceover to Pallas' struggle to gain control of his Viper. Once he does, though, he keeps his bird spinning and spinning as though it were still going haywire. Buying a little bit of time to think and figure out if he should fight or surrender. Or try to make it back to Cerberus.

[TAC3] "Spiral" Pallas says, "Your orders, o fearless leader?"

[TAC3] Burke says, "If'n it's all the same t' you guys … it ain't gettin' any more cozy out here …"

[Harrier-303: Evandreus] Not having anyone shooting at him anymore suddenly isn't enough to calm the Bunny, as the announcements make his head pound in an unsettlingly familiar fashion, heart racing and throat tightening, breath coming at a high wheeze, fingers poised trembling over the controls as the Raptor drifts on without the intercession of its pilot.

[TAC3] Zooms says, "We'll make this easy, ladies." Zooms again, in whose voice can still be heard lingering bits of admiration for Kepner's speech. True believer much? "Point yourselves back to the barn and take a pill, we let you go. Go anywhere but and, well. Hope someone's ready to pay the ferryman."

[TAC3] (from "Bootstrap" Trask) "I don't suppose we can take our rook, too, if we say please?" asks Trask. "And we'll RTB just as soon as the relief Raptor is on the scene, seein' how CAP still needs to be run, but we'll see about hookin' Spiral, if you'd be so gracious as to permit."

[TAC3] Zooms says, "Don't you worry your little socks off. Zooms'll take care of your rook." How she manages to make 'take care of' sound lascivious at this moment in time is anybody's guess. "And — " One can almost hear the woman's smile. "I think we've got CAP under control. Time's a-tickin'. Get a move on, or my finger might just slip."

[TAC3] Burke says, "Seriously? Dang."

[TAC3] Zooms says, "It's your lucky day, rook. What can I say."

[Harrier-303: Trask] As to what Bootstrap /wanted/ to say… well, Evan certainly hears, "Try and die? Seriously? Can't she come up with something better than that? Really? They've planned this coup /how long/, and they've have had /how long/ to plan some witty rejoinder to the sass that they /surely/ knew what was coming, and /that's/ what she offers, during this, the moment of their supposed crowning glory?" Beat. "Lame."

[TAC3] "Bootstrap" Trask says, "Copy that, Zooms. You heard the lady. Spiral, we're en route. Rook, we'll catch you later. Bootstrap out."

[Harrier-303: Evandreus] Evan isn't hearing much besides his blood rushing in his ears, at this point, going lightheaded and white-knuckling onto the consoles in panic before his gloved hands fly to the back of his helmet, trying to catch onto anything at all back there in a vain effort to release the thing. The Bunny needs some space. Or air. Or those pills Zooms was talking about.

[TAC3] (from Burke) .. shoulda stayed on Aerilon.

[Petrel-647: Pallas] The terms are laid out simply, and Trask's decision is made. But Pallas hasn't decided if he's going to comply or not. He slows his Viper down to a stop, facing toward the Areion birds.

[TAC3] "Spiral" Pallas says, "I'm not leaving my frakking wingman behind."

[TAC3] "Bootstrap" Trask says, "Maybe if /you/ ask her nicely and promise to let her dance on your pole, she'll let you take him home, Spiral."

[TAC3] Zooms says, "Not likely. But that's fair enough, Spiral. Jumper, Slacks, just go ahead and do that thing you do." Zooms manages to sound just a tad bit regretful. "It's nothing personal, you understand."

[TAC3] Burke says, "Don't go gittin' yerself blowed up on my account."

[TAC3] "Bootstrap" Trask says, "Actually, Zooms, I'll admit that, for once, I /don't/ understand. By Commander Kepner's own account, you have our CO and our Departments Heads, and we've been tasked to prep for an assault on Cylon outposts that will likely result in the annihilation of the Fleet even if we manage to tear them several new gaping, bleeding orifices, so, /why/ do you feel the need to keep our rook? You're knocking us down one man when we need all the numbers we can muster."

[TAC3] Zooms says, "He went and gitted hisself blowed up." Zooms mocks the man's accent without shame. "More useful as a prisoner as a pilot, I'd say. You should be flattered — we need you, Boots. Now go home and wank over that. Zooms out."

[Polly's Hoopty: Polaris] And do that thing they do … they do. All it takes is a touch of a cannon so feather-light, applied so delicately from nose to stern, before Pallas' crippled bird disintegrates around him. Skilled though the old man might be, in a broken bird he really doesn't have much chance at all — and it'll be a slightly charred lieutenant that Evandreus and Trask pick up on their way back home.

So it is that the shredded remnants of Cerberus' Combat Air Patrol limp their way back to the barn, their fighters leaking plasma from their bleeding, broken bodies. And as, beaten, Toast's men stumble out of their broken birds, more unpainted Vipers join the vanguard above that glowing green planet, fanning out across the sector in diamonds of four. Soon enough they're the only game in town, joined as they are by boxy Raptors applied to empty space like blobs of brown spackling paste. Zooms makes good on her promise, to a point: poor Beau Burke is reeled in and delivered unto the carrier's waiting maw, but presumably he won't get any of the promised intimacy.

The time? 1445 hours on the fifteenth of April. And after those seven minutes, not even the most jaded pilot will be able to call life in the EurynomĂȘ Sector anything but interesting …

For the legendary Evocati now own the skies.

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