PHD #016: EVENT - Tug of War
Tug of War
Summary: The Colonials aren't the only one looking for salvage.
Date: 14 Mar 2041 AE
Related Logs: None
Alessandra Bell Cidra Damon Daphne Evandreus Laskaris Malone Rojas Sitka Tisiphone Trask Zosime NPC Polaris 


[Polaris:] There's something majestic about this graveyard of the Fleet — something beautiful about this endless sea of broken hulks and shattered planes, arrayed above bombed-out Virgon like the black ships before Troy. The wreckage looks largely undisturbed since the Wing's previous trips out into the wild blue yonder, though by rights it's impossible to tell whether anybody else has ventured into this field, and with the Raptors' DRADIS systems on passive, it'll remain impossible to tell for some time yet. Only the faint pulsing of ten blue signatures on Cidra's console reveals that anything's alive inside: six big signatures and four little ones, the latter fanning out into this field of twisted metal while a lumbering Raptor follows in tow.

[Harrier-303: Cidra] Cidra is driving her tow truck. Or piloting her Raptor, as the case may be, though that's the duty it's pulling today. Eyes flit from her console to the space - and debris field - beyond. She's relying as much on her eyes as her instruments in the wreckage-laden area. She's gone about the task in a generally businesslike manner throughout the operation, though she does occasionally engage in some chit-chat with Trask. "How're we faring back there, Bootstrap?"

[Petrel-648: Rojas] Magnetic landing struts clamped on to what was once part of the outer hull of a Colonial Frigate, Spanner's viper lazily rotates in place, lamprey to the large remains of a bulkhead. All systems shut down or switched to minimal mean zero light coming through the canopy. Even the helmet light on his suit is disabled, giving the appearance that this was one viper that never even got to take to the skies on warday. Hopefully he's not asleep in there.

[BlackKnight-312: Laskaris] Shift to the side. A short distance frmo where the Raptors are slowly making their way through the debris field, several of Cerberus' Vipers float, powerless, looking by anyone's estimation just like any of the other crippled, mangled fighters drifting in the starship graveyard. In their case, though, it's only an illusion; powerlessness aside, the Vipers are untouched, and the pilots within them are very much alive… if a little bored. Lasher yawns in the cockpit of his darkened Mk VII. Despite that, though, there's no way he'll sleep here, his fighter and others parked in the shadow of a battlestar's corpse as they are. More than a little unnerving, that.

[Harrier-303: Trask] "Oh, I'd say we're failing at the whole being lulled into a false sense of security bit, but the night's still young, right?" That would be Trask's way of stating all's clear. So far. "I suppose the trashcans could just be tryin' to kill us with boredom."

[Harrier-303: Damon] "Steady… steady…" Damon floats through space, spinning slightly. "Haven't done this… in a while," he grunts, latching onto the Viper he just jumped for. Movements slow, he starts looking over it for damage. Whole minutes of silence pass by, after which he shakes his head and flashes the no-go light. "It's fried. We can pull parts from it at best." Hanging on with one hand, he lets his feet swing free until he's perpendicular to the bird. "How we doin'?" he asks the others.

[Petrel-649: Sitka] Shiv's viper, like the rest of the wing's, is systems black. Everything from weapons to comms is powered off; the red and white fighter drifts among the boneyard of scrap with what little inertia it still possesses, belly up so he can observe the starfield 'below' them.

[BlackKnight-650: Alessandra] Lucky's doing as Lucky does when bored while in the cockpit which is trying to keep herself amused by doing dips and shallow banking turns. She'd be chatting with her fellow pilots but with communications over the radio put on hold she doesn't have that to rely on for entertainment, leaving her to have to talk to herself instead. "…frakking panties…" she grouses to herself as she looks between her DRADIS screen and the white-dotted void of space. "…godsdammit if they go to Lasher and ask him I swear I'll frakking airlock every single one of them…"

[BlackKnight-308: Daphne] Daphne inhabits her viper with the same level of restlessness as a boy inhabiting his sunday school shoes. Eyes dart from one side of her dead cockpit to the other. Though the pilot tries not to dwell on the wrecked battlestar or even (especially) the husk of the colony, her eyes can't help but draw towards them, like the ultimate in rubbernecking. It's an experience she will surely pay for later, but not right now.

[Harrier-303: Cidra] "Boredom produces few fatalities, despite the popular saying," Cidra replies dryly to Trask, holding her ship steady as she goes so the EVAers will have as little trouble as possible getting their cargo hooked up. "I have to admit, Bootstrap, I have been curious for the opportunity to fly with you." Precisely what she means by that is unclear, but it sounds vaguely complimentary. If typically somewhat inscrutable. "It seems an age and a half since we served together on the Aegean." Says the old lady.

[Harrier-303: Zosime] Amid all that beauty and destruction, in an EVA suit that makes her indistinguishable from the other Deckhands, is Zosime. It's been hours already of sifting through mostly blown apart parts and unusable parts. There have been a few good finds, a few close calls, but mostly the deckie has been trying to make sure she doesn't go careening off into space. Already with her feet planted firmly on a Viper not far away from Damon, she kneels at the bottom of the ship in an attempt to quickly poke about in the inner workings of the bird. See what hasn't been shot to hell and if those parts would give them a mostly working and intact Viper.

[TAC3] Zosime says, "Mmm…a whole lot of nothing. Though—wait! This bird may have something."

[BlackKnight-310: Tisiphone] Tisiphone's Viper sits roughly 'upside down' to the nearest shattered Battlestar, her cockpit pointed away from the most wreckage as possible. She's drifted herself up against a Viper Mk. VII that's little more than a pair of twisted wings, having gently bumped off it as the last of her inertia bled away. She waits within, eyes focussed off somewhere in the distance, her prayer beads tangled carefully around bulky flightsuit gloves, the tassel drifting in lazy, catlike flicks as the beads slowly march their way around.

[Harrier-303: Toots] Sylvia Tutarian (Toots for short) surveys the area near her. She is crouched near an open access point, arms extended and tools a-working. If she had gum, her jaw would be working at it and bubbles would be cracking. But, it's dumb… to chew gum… in an Eeee Vvvvv AAAAaaa. The melody in her head is almost audible as she works. The majesticly slow swirling dance of dead and nearly dead ships seems almost a playground to the chipper and chirpy knuckledragger. She sort of bounces as she tugs on a something, her lower body gyrating until she can plant her feet on the hull of the ship. This gives her leverage and she finally pulls the flight computer out of an otherwise chared husk. Holding it up, she waves to Damon and Zosime, her body language fairly shouting the words spoken into the com. The trouble is, of course, that force and velocity are tied and the viper she is magnetically stuck to begins a different rotation as her movements are translated to it.

[BlackKnight-312: Laskaris] For his part, Lasher keeps his ship right side up, all the better to study the debris field with. It's a macabre scene, and each glance at a wrecked Colonial ship is like a fresh wound, but he watches nevertheless. Like all the other Vipers, he remains at radio silence as his ship slides quietly through debris-strewn space. Doesn't stop him from talking to himself, though. "Join the Fleet, they said. Do cool shit, they said. Meet new people, they said See interesting places, they said. Hmph. Someone should have frakkin' told those buggers about that old curse about living in interesting times. Bloody hell."

[Petrel-647: Bell] Doc Bell's viper is angled away from the planet, offering an unobscured view of space and dead steel. In his cockpit, he's got a small leather-bound book. His attention alternates between its pages and the windscreen. A paragraph, a glance. Still nothing? Good. His gaze lingers over the slowly twisting starfield before he repeats the process.

[TAC3] Toots says, "Got one! The rest of this beastie's crap, though."

[Polaris:] As the EVA team works, the more appreciative among them might notice the star burning dully in the distance — the same star that lit their worlds in another, calmer life, when they weren't hovering in the dead of space with just a few inches of suit between them and the vacuum. Its insistent rays pierce Virgon's protecting veil, reflecting against the planet's irradiated atmosphere before bouncing back off, and its light makes glimmer those bits of metal in the field — doomed to turn and turn for an eternity and a half.

As for the salvage in question? Those Vipers the team is now securing are among the more intact specimens the team has seen, though they've been punctured here and there by bullets still lodged into their thin metal frames. The cockpit of Zosime's bird has been punctured not once but four times, the pilot within turned into a grisly mess of blood and frozen flesh; the port wing on Damon's has been ripped to shreds, its bird's nest of wiring exposed for all to see. And as Toots starts to spiral off into the distance, her counterpart moves to stabilize her by pushing back against the Viper in question, offering her a thumb's up while he roots around by the tailfin to retrieve a few salvageable tanks of fuel.

[Harrier-303: Trask] In a somewhat scampish manner, Trask replies to the CAG, "A-ha! The /real/ reason Jugs has been grounded." For all his mad skillz as an ECO, working with the man is still an acquired taste. "Gotta warn ya, Toast: she'll totally throw down to keep me. Gal's got a mean hook." As for the Aegean, "Yanno… I had considered swiping a memento from the wreckage, the first time I was here," this would be visit number three, "but the whole gettin' our asses outta here alive thing took precedence. Since you're not frakshitinsane like the last Major I was sharin' a ride with, maybe we can make a wee detour. Stroll down the wreckage, for memory's sake. Just don't get any ideas about makin' out in what remains of the supply closet. I'm a professional. Outside of these flight suits… well, I might be open to a bit of pretendy fun times role-playing."

[TAC3] "N/A" Damon says, "Slim pickings over here. This bird's been shot to hell. I might be able to rescue a board or something, though. I'm goin' in."

[Harrier-303: Damon] It's hard to see, being completely suited up and all, but Damon is having a hell of a time trying to keep himself steady. He's crawling about on the Viper with usually three points of contact at any given time, his movements jerky and sometimes panicked. Like he says, he hasn't spacewalked in a while and it shows to those who know what to look for. "Come on… come on." Managing to pry the hatch open without flinging himself into the nearest star, he crawls inside, now mostly out of sight to everyone else.

To Daphne, Damon, and Zosime: Out of the corner of your eye, you see a faint blinking in the distance, one that looks like the twinkling of a star, or the reflection from a particularly shiny bit of debris. It's hard to identify but it's definitely there — and it recurs five times more in rapid succession before, at last, it stops.

To Trask: You thought you saw contacts, but you can't be sure — just a twitch on your DRADIS that might well be one of those sensor ghosts you've been dealing with for the past three hours.

[Petrel-648: Rojas] Ye Gods, Rojas is actually awake. While his Mark II stays firmly clamped to it's bulkhead buddy, the Ensign's fingers drum along the top of his console. That tiny little motion being the only sign that absolutely anything at all is going on in there. It's only because his helmet doesn't have to move while he belts out old TV theme tunes, mind you. Something about a human and his antonym-version of a housemate who always messes up his plans.

[BlackKnight-650: Alessandra] "…frak me, this sucks. If I wanted to play coy I'd be…er…hell, I dunno what I'd be doing. But it'd be a helluva lot more exciting than this, I know that." Waiting games were never Allie's strong suit so that's bad enough but add to it the inability to do anything while waiting is just sheer torture. "Okay. Let's play Twenty Questions," she suggests to herself. "Let's see. Where to start. Is it bigger than a breadbox," she starts the rounds of questions off, asking the first question that almost always comes to people's mind during games like this. "Yes." Okay. One question is spent.

[Petrel-649: Sitka] If this weren't what it is, it'd sure as hell be a good time for Sitka to catch up on some sleep. As it is, with them having been out here for hours already, he's got his arms folded behind his head, and is doing his best to get comfortable in a seat not precisely designed for such. Every so often, his eyes tick to his blank displays, to the windscreen, and then fight the desire to sink shut entirely. It's.. mostly working.

[Harrier-303: Cidra] Cidra's reply to Trask's banter is a snort. "I was never much on supply closets," she replies, tone dry as dust. Her eyes continue to flick from debris field to console, but nothing is spotted out of the ordinary yet. She holds position as her latest tows continue to be hooked up. An ear is kept to the comm channel and the EVA team, but she doesn't add to the chatter unless she has something of note.

[Harrier-303: Toots] Toots kneels as her compatriot steadies thing. She mouths the distinct 'Frak me', then gives him a 'thumbs up'. Damon is not the only one who has not been on an eva in a while. Sylvia moves with a lot more caution over the skin of her bird, carefully tucking the flight recorder into a salvage bag attached to her belt. She glances around, then gives Damon a thumbs up, too. In fairly short order, she stops by the maintenance compartment. Pulling it open, she surveys the damage, then begind quickly dismantling the ship's innards.

[TAC3] Zosime says, "This one's shot up, but it may actually still be able to fly after some tinkering. The cockpit's…the cockpit's bad, but everything else looks okay. I think we may have something here, Damon. Hey…what is that?"

[Harrier-303: Zosime] Luckily, being on the underbelly of the Viper, Zosime doesn't have to stare at the frozen dead pilot of the bird she's hoping to salvage and bring back to Cereberus. However, seeing how most of the inner workings here seem to be alright, she pulls herself up onto the wing, floating freely for a moment before her feet find purchase again. Heart beating too fast, she takes a breath to get herself under control again. The cockpit she studies is a different story entirely. "Poor soul," she whispers to herself, but she studies the mechanics, attempting to not stare too long at the bloody mess of the pilot inside. She glances over in Damon's direction to see his reaction and that's when she notices the flashing in the distance. Standing up, she squints, wondering if it's just the sun, but it looks too…consistent to be nature. Waving at Damon and Toots, she points to the flashing in question.

[BlackKnight-308: Daphne] Daphne's eyes dart towards a spot on her canopy, or rather a spot far beyond the boundary of her canopy. Her eyelids narrow somewhat, and then return to normal. Otherwise, her craft stays perfectly motionless, drifting ever so slightly with the solar wind, as it were. She takes her hands off of the controls for a moment to adjust her flight gloves, then flexes her fingers and returns them to the stick and throttle as if by reflex.

[Harrier-303: Trask] "How d'ya feel about possible company that probably isn't into a good grope in a supply closet?" Despite his words, there's a definite note of seriousness in Trask's voice that is not simple deadpanning. "DRADIS just twitched. Can't be sure if it's another sensor ghost goin' WOOOoooooOOOOOooooo," yes, he makes the spooky noise, "but my gut instinct registered them as contacts, an' I'm thinking those frakkin' toasters underestimate the human survival mechanism that is paranoia." Which is to say that he has a feeling that those phantom blips were not phantom.

[BlackKnight-312: Laskaris] Lasher is still muttering to himself, punctuating his words with the occasional glance outside, around the cockpit. He's not tired, at least… thank goodness for small favors. Eyes linger on Kolettis' fighter on his wing for a moment, then back to his controls. Laskaris sighs as he resumes his internal monologue. "Frakkin' navigation program," he mutters. "All this because some frakking blighted hacker of a toaster crunched our code… like a frakkin' goat with a hay bale." There's a snort. "Poor bugger Baltar, though. Man's work deserved better bloody end than this." He doesn't notice Trask's DRADIS ghost, being that, well, his DRADIS has no power.

[Harrier-303: Cidra] Cidra promptly stops bantering when Trask's words actually turn to business. "Understood. A certain amount of paranoia right now is healthy, I do think. See if you can get a clearer picture of what may be out there." And she gets on the comm to the EVA team, with that.

[TAC3] "Toast" Cidra says, "Salvage Team, Toast. My ECO just got something on our DRADIS. May be a sensor ghost, but I don't feel like taking any chances. Finish what you can and be ready to extract back to the Raptors on my mark."

[TAC3] "N/A" Damon says, "Copy, Toast. We're seeing something strange over here, too. Salvage Team's inbound ASAP, over."

[Harrier-303: Damon] Damon's inside the Viper already by the time that Zosime waves at him - but he sees it out the corner of his eye. Crowbar still in hand, he twists over to face the strange light directly. Flashing. He's distracted for a moment as comms go off, and by the time he looks back again, it's no longer there. Still, he doesn't want to take any chances - just in case. He waves the crowbar to get Zosime and Toots' attention, and points back toward the Raptors in case they didn't catch everything over the wireless.

[Harrier-305: Evandreus] 305's been through this soup before, and so its pilot's drawn her out to that patch of dead Raptor he'd noticed on his last way through, parking by and looking as near as possible to one of the slaughtered flock while the EVA team's picking through the group for the best bets on towing, hooking up this one and that one but not this other. At the call from Toast, Evan squints out front and then looks back to his backseat, recently back on flight suty as she is. "You see anything out there, Stiff?" he wonders, then, opening up the line to the suits outside, "We might have company. How're we doing out there?"

[BlackKnight-312: Laskaris] The one-sided conversation in Laskaris' cockpit dies down as Cidra's warning sounds over the radio. The Viper squadron leader stiffens slightly in his seat, but remains unpowered; best to see if there really is something out there before playing his hand.

[Harrier-303: Toots] Toots doesn't initially see Zosime's wave, so engrossed is she in tugging and deconstructing. Besides that, the melody of her new song about gum chewing EVA wearing badass women is filling her mind with sweet sweet melody. An idea for a musical is clearly forming and her toes tap-a-tap in her boots. That is, until she hears the com. Then, she pulls her head out of her musical and looks up and around. That is when she spots Zosime pointing and her gaze follows the other woman's indicated direction. A squint, a wince and she turns back, grimly determined to finish quickly and get the frak out of Dodge. Or dodge the frak out of Virgon space. "Come on… Come on… Frak me blind."

[TAC3] "Click" Daphne says, "Toast, Kolettis. I observed a blinking light in the distance. No bearings because my system is down, but it was definitely there."

[Harrier-303: Trask] Bootstrap replies to his pilot, "Not much I can do, runnin' passive, here." Hearing what Damon just said over the channel, though, he adds, "Although it's probably prudent to wake-up the lazy bastard." After Daphne's 411, he fires it up to active and starts scanning. "Imagine a bugle playing in the background."

[Petrel-649: Sitka] When that message crackles over the radio, Shiv abandons his lackadaisical slouch, and his attention immediately snaps to his windscreen. He squints, but spots nothing. A gloved hand closes over the flight stick instinctively, and he briefly scans his instruments, reviewing the quick startup procedure they all ran through before suiting up.

[BlackKnight-650: Alessandra] Voices draw Allie outside of her head and for a moment she simply gawks while reaching forward, instinctively reaching towards the controls which will power her DRADIS and other systems up. It's only at the last second that she remembers and pulls back, her hand drawn away quickly only to then be placed in her lap along with her other hand.

[Petrel-647: Bell] At the radio traffic, Bell snaps his book shut and returns his eyes to the cockpit canopy. He squints. Nothing. The book is stowed, just in case, and he continues to stare into the inky void. One gloved hand moves to stroke his goatee, stopping awkwardly as it encounters his helmet.

[BlackKnight-310: Tisiphone] How many times has Tisiphone marched her prayer-beads from one wrist to the other, in these hours? Three, three, three. One alone. Three, three, three. One alone. The tassel gives a petulant flick as the beadserpent uncoils another loop from wrist, recoils between the fingers of the other. Her eyes are half-lidded and unfocussed as she measures out her wait in beads. The comm crackles to life, and her eyes open fully, hands moving automatically to uncoil and stow away the beads while her gaze moves from her dead console to her canopy, then back again.

[TAC3] "Toast" Cidra says, "Copy, Click. Good eyes. My Raptor's switching to active DRADIS, but all other craft stay in passive mode until we confirm what we've got. No sense lighting all our fires. Salvage team is inbound back to the buses.""

[Petrel-648: Rojas] Rojas just keeps on belting out those show tunes. "BA DA DA DA DAAAA! BA BA BA BA DA DAAA DAAA." The fact that only he can hear it seems to serve his purposes quite well. Even the sound of voices on the comms can't make him stop, although an idle scanning of the view from his spinning position does take place.

[Polaris:] You know that feeling you get when you know you're being watched but you aren't sure how or why? It exists in space, too — and the hair on the back of this anonymous crewman's neck begins to prickle as he looks in the direction Zosime's pointing. Judging from the way he's squinting, though, he doesn't see what she has in mind, and returns his attention to the business at hand. Hands trembling, mouth twitching, he does his best to extract the last of the fuel tanks, tools moving feverishly as he works, doing his best to avoid the sparks now flying from his torch.

Then, several things happen at once. The moment Trask powers up his DRADIS console, the field resolves before him, junk readings clearing out to reveal not one but six separate contacts flying in tight formation, two of which are transmitting something much different from the 'regular Cylon signature' the ECO teams have come to learn and love. And then, suddenly, his own warning light begins to whoop and scream — for the Cylons have gone active, too, hopping from band to band as they search. There's no possible way the Raptor could have remained undetected — and yet the Cylons don't break formation, preferring instead to inch through the edge of the field some thirty klicks out.

Looking for something.

[Harrier-305: Evandreus] "I can see… exactly… shit and frak, back here, Bunny," Stiffy tells her pilot, one finger tapping at the top of her console. "Alright, well," Bunny goes on, "Salvage, get your fishies on the line, and roll back in," he tells the crew out there, following suit with 303.

[Harrier-303: Zosime] Already unnerved by being out here where Damon said that Cylons attacked them before, the lat thing Zosime wants to do is be out and vulnerable in space if more come. Right at the cockpit, she abandons the idea of bringing the full bird in and instead quickly starts to pry apart the cockpit's main boards from the wing. "Come on, come on, come on," she coaxes it, pulling and unwiring as she goes. She wants to get the hell off this bird and inside the relative safety of a Raptor, but she's not willing to go back empty handed. "Sorry, sorry," she tells the anonymous dead pilot without looking at him. With a triumphant yank, the board comes out, cords dangling and then floating about her like tentacles. "Time to get out of here."

[Harrier-303: Trask] "Frak." Quiet. Simple. Concise. Utterly eloquent in conveying so many meanings. In this instance, it means that Trask's instincts were spot on. "So, you've seen me work, Toast. Now I get ta see command's decision making process up close an' personal 'cuz DRADIS is lit up like a frakkin' bonfire. I'm bettin' they know we're here. That, or they just like pingin' scrapyards like crazy just for kicks. Who knows with frakkin' trashcans… For whatever reason, they don't appear set on interception. /Yet/."

[Harrier-303: Cidra] "I do not trust them to wait. They cannot have but spotted us," Cidra says. She still keeps her Raptor steady, with the EVA team still needed to come in from the cold, but her fingers lace themselves a little tighter around her controls. "I knew the boredom was too good to last."

[Harrier-303: Damon] "Come on, you frakking…" Damon grumbles, not even trying to be subtle or cautious. The bird's a write-off for the most part, and Damon wants the boards more than anything - so he's smashing and cutting through everything in his way. Every once in a while, he glances up at the Raptor above him, like it's going to tell him when he's running out of time or something. "Got…cha," he says, reaching in to coax out the board. "Come to daddy." He lifts the board up over his head to examine it in whatever light he can get, turning it around a bit. Apparently satisfied with what he sees, he stashes it and prepares to return to the Raptor.

[TAC3] "Toast" Cidra says, "Flight, Toast. We've got six Cylon signatures. No move to engage us at present. Behavior's odd. They seem to be looking for something. Permission to break silence and prepare to engage. Salvage team, it is time to be going home. I suspect we've worn out our welcome.""

[BlackKnight-312: Laskaris] Lasher is tense in the cockpit; he might not be able to see what's going on out there, but he can still hear just fine, and Trask's announcement-followed-by-muffled-cursing is doing nothing for his sense of well-being. A hand hovers about his Viper's power controls, but again hesitates… that is, until Cidra gives her order.

[TAC3] "Lasher" Laskaris says, "Toast, Lasher. Copy that. Knights, power up, fangs out."

[Harrier-303: Toots] Toots is not really paying as much attention to her companion as she should be. She is shoulder deep in the guts of the bird she is working on, tools flying as she dismantles the engine housing to get inside. Just a few more panels… Every part freed is stuffed a bit uncerimoniously into her sack. Finally she reaches whatever treasure she was seeking. A few more minutes. Just a few… and she will be able to return victorious to the raptor. Toast's comment gives her pause. To return with only her current haul or go for the gold? Her tools hang poised. Then, with a slump, she gives up and backs out. Turning to the guy she is working with, she nods toward the Raptor in a clear, 'let's buggy, baby' look.

[Polaris:] The two strange blips come to a halt some four and a half kilometers into the field, flaring brighter and brighter as something in their aspect profile changes. Their escorts follow suit, settling into a patrol formation that should be more than passingly familiar to the ECOs watching on DRADIS — the exact same pattern taught to every pilot in the first week of Intermediate Flight. But it's as Trask said: none of the Cylons make any move to intercept, preferring instead to remain where they are and do what they've been doing.

As for the boredom being too good to last? While those Cylons are idle, the two that have just jumped in on top of the EVA team certainly aren't. The flash of gunfire announces their presence just as it did in the window of the Grand Ballroom back in Picon, cutting through the fuel tank where Toots and her partner are working. Tylium ignites in a flash of fire, sending the latter exploding backwards as tracers cut their way through his suit; Toots, for her part, is forced away, the front half of her Viper spiraling out of control — and taking her with it as it goes. And as they move back for another pass, threading through the shells of broken battlestars and frigates and gods know what else, Zosime and Damon can see their red eyeslits scanning and scanning and scanning —

[Harrier-303: Trask] It's not Bootstrap's job to be issuing orders. That's the domain of his pilot, AKA the CAG. His job is to monitor those blips, be poised to commence jamming, and enter coordinates so he can start to spool. "Death is death, right?" That's his sole quip about boredom.

[TAC3] "Lasher" Laskaris says, "Let's go ruin a few toasters' day, shall we? Tallyho."

[BlackKnight-650: Alessandra] A sigh of disappointment is ggiven even as she begins powering up her Viper systematically - first the DRADIS and weapons and then the others are turned on afterwards, Lucky's fighter quickly brought to life.

[Petrel-647: Bell] Bell begins the process of reheating his craft as soon as the C word comes over the channel. "Bloody machines have no respect for the sanctity of some quiet reading time," he mutters into his helmet. He glances out the canopy towards Rojas' Viper, looking for his wingman's powerup.

[TAC3] "Lucky" Alessandra says, "Roger. Lucky's green and ready for a rumble."

[BlackKnight-310: Tisiphone] "What's going on? Huh? What's going on?" Prayer-beads stored away in her thigh-pouch, Tisiphone rapidly changes from zero-G monk to restless Ensign. "Some- one- tell- me- something-" Fingers flick back and forth near switches she's not allowed to touch until finally, /finally/, the sweet sounds of the CAG, Squad Lead directly on her heels. Time to dance.

[Petrel-649: Sitka] Shiv's hand hesitates a heartbeat, then reaches for his console once the CAG's voice is heard over the comms. His radio's flipped to 'on', and his own voice crackles across shortly after Lasher's.

[Harrier-305: Evandreus] Evan, for his part, remains blissfully unaware of the patrol, only knowing that his team's coming in and they're getting the hell out of there. Some of the salvage crew already on board, fastening down the last of their spoils just in case the road gets rough on the way back, get themselves into seats as the others continue to reel in from hooking up their towlines. The chatter over comms then quickly heards toward the combatative, but the Bunny just sits there, poised, ready to shut the doors when the last of the team's in.

[BlackKnight-311: Malone] Staying silent for the moment, Splash glances around at the blackness out there. Growling a bit to himself as he hears the order, he hurries to power up his Viper now, making sure to get all systems up and going.

[TAC3] "Shiv" Sitka says, "Petrels, power up and weapons hot. Let's— shit. Move out and engage, I repeat, engage. I have hostiles at three o'clock and closing on one of our raptors."

[TAC3] "Doc" Bell says, "Copy. Spanner, Doc. Let's make some magic happen. Form up."

[TAC3] "N/A" Damon says, "Tutarian! Gods-frakkin'-dammit! Salvage Team, get out to the nearest Raptor, now!"

[TAC3] "Money Shot" Tisiphone says, "Lucky, this is Money Shot. Systems are green. Forming up on your portside wing."

[BlackKnight-308: Daphne] Daphne powers her viper up with hands that tremble only slightly. She may not have the slightest idea what's actually going on outside, but she's not about to sit here and find out the hard way. She exhales as her viper charges to life, finding some peculiar comfort as the HUD and all the instruments bathe her flight helmet in useful data, and then she pulls back the throttle.

[Harrier-303: Toots] The gunfire is sudden and horrifying. Toots watches her companion be blown away, then realizes the hull she is standing on is spiraling away. She ducks, holding on, even though her boots are activated.

[TAC3] "Lucky" Alessandra says, "Roger, Money. Let's get out there and save some people's asses, huh? Lasher, this is Lucky. We're going to be coming in, weapons ready."

[TAC3] Toots says, "No! NO! Nonononono, oh Gods, no! Someone! Anyone! Help! Oh, please…"

[TAC3] "Click" Daphne says, "Lasher, Click. Systems are green. Am mobile, will target your target."

[Petrel-649: Sitka] Sitka's viper sputters to life with a bright blue flare of afterburners, and a ripple of systems coming online. He switches his weapons to live, closes his hand over the stick, and kicks his engines to full throttle as he attempts to weave through the debris and bear down on the hunting party.

[Petrel-648: Rojas] "BA DAA DA DA DAAAAAAaaaaaaaah CRAP." Rojas' performance is interrupted. He looks bitter. Fingers run over the controls with a skill that comes from a little something beyond just 'practice', and the Mark II viper's magnetic gear disengages from the bulkhead he was coupled upon, disappearing into the body of the craft as the directional thrusters point him away from the bulkhead. When his engines flare up, the bulkhead rockets off in the opposite direction, careening off of other wreckage in a wanton burst of destruction.

[BlackKnight-312: Laskaris] Likewise does Lasher's ship come alive, the steel-gray Viper appearing from out of the shadows of the hulk of a battlestar. With Daphne on his wing he screams after the raider that just did its level best to scrag the salvage team. He follows the raider, trying to line up a shot as he ducks and weaves around pieces of floating debris.

[Harrier-303: Zosime] The sudden appearance of Cylon Raiders right above them sends Zosime right into panic mode. Not the flailing, screaming kind, either. Instead, she reacts much like a deer caught in the headlights. She pulls a stupid face and freezes where she is, terrified as she watches the Cylons circle back after killing Tutarian and sending Toots flying. Clutching the board she was so determined to get out of the cockpit, she stays locked in her crouched pose.

<FS3> Laskaris rolls Vipers-10: Success.
<FS3> Rojas rolls Vipers-10: Good Success.
<FS3> Sitka rolls Vipers-10: Success.

[Harrier-303: Damon] It all happens so suddenly. One second, Damon's standing there with a board in his hand, and the next… everything's spiralling into madness. Looking up for his Raptor, he can see the red dot moving back and forth, scanning. All that stands between him and them is his EVA suit. And that's a little overwhelming. Disabling his boots again, he hangs off from the Viper and looks around for the rest of his people, trying to make sure they've all headed back to their ships.

[Harrier-305: Evandreus] With all the targets going active in the air, Evan and Steffi are keeping off the radar as best they can, for now. No active DRADIS, still, no shouting out over comms. They listen in silence while their team boards, they drift there with the other downed Raptors, just barely beginning to inch along. Hearing the cry for help, "Stiffy, get ready to bring DRADIS systems up and run SAR once we get our full number on board."

[Polaris:] New juicy targets for the incoming Raiders mean Zosime and Damon have a brief reprieve — for even as the Cylons line up their shots, the heroic Vipers have cranked on their engines and moved to intercept. KEW fire skids off of metal and scrap as, silently, the Raiders turn to engage these far more threatening targets, their eyeslits moving all the while — passing within just four feet of the EVA team's heads.

[BlackKnight-650: Alessandra] Lucky tries to get to where the Cylon who just started to reek havoc on their people while also trying to navigate the junk that is floating about, the latter surprisingly easy for her, this time. Guiding Money Shot to a target, she starts to open fire, getting a good shot on the target. She doesn't take time to celebrate, however as she's banking hard afterwards, trying to see if the Raider survived or if they'll need to take a second shot.

[Harrier-303: Toots] Okay. Okay. Spiraling is bad. Toots crawls over the edge of the bulkhead and grabs a couple of hand holds. Using her menauvering jets, she tries to stop the spin and get the thing headed back toward where the team is. At least this way, she will have some protection, "Come on… Come on… Take me home…"

[Petrel-647: Bell] Doc takes it slow and steady, by the book, fingers wrapped white-knuckle tight around the flight stick as he guides his Mark II around the floating hunks of junk. The debris serves as excellent cover, however, allowing him to drop in right behind the second raider and open fire at point-blank range. Cannon rounds slice into the mechanical beastie and it goes tumbling end over end under the barrage, eventually crashing into a defunct Raptor. "Textbook," Bell remarks to no one in particular.

[Polaris:] As the EVA team desperately scrambles back aboard the waiting Raptors, the ECOs' scanners pick up movement of an altogether familiar sort — the spooling of FTLs, as the six Cylon ships Out There suddenly take an interest in what's going on Over Here. In a flash, they've rematerialized among the melee — four Raiders of the same design as the two that now just got destroyed and a pair of massively intimidating beasts packing more armor than a squadron of tanks. Row upon row of Centurions are visible through their open hatches, exposed to the vacuum — Centurions that move to recover the bodies, if you can call them that, of the Raiders that have just bitten the dust, covered by a stream of lead from their counterparts. The fact that they've now parked themselves between the EVA team and the stationary Raptors is, of course, incidental to their goal.

[TAC3] "Doc" Bell says, "Splash one bandit. Spanner, take it easy out there, you'll put your eye out flying like that."

[TAC3] "Lasher" Laskaris says, "Splash two — frak. Flight, Lasher. Those other frakkers out there just took an interest."

[TAC3] "Lasher" Laskaris says, "What the frak are those things?"

[Petrel-648: Rojas] Good successes means Rojas gets to make sparks, and that's exactly what happens when one side of the Petrel's appearance in this fight concentrate their attentions on Jumper2. The Mark II rolls in a barrel fifty feet from Bell's craft, the edge of a wing catching the pineapple ring of metal that used to be he inner ribbing of a ship and sending short-lived sparks in space before he too is opening fire on Jumper2, rounds ripping home to set Bell up for the killshot.

[TAC3] "Lucky" Alessandra says, "I see them, Lasher. Mother frakkers are wanting to dance, let's give them a dance to remember, huh?"

[TAC3] "Lucky" Alessandra says, "Money, this is Lucky. How are you doing?"

[TAC3] (from "Spanner" Rojas) Spanner sighs deeply over the Petrel's local comms. "Whatever, MOM. Gawds."

[TAC3] Toots says, "Oh, Lords of Kobol, hear my plea. Get us all out of here safely. Please, o please oh please."

<FS3> Rojas rolls Vipers-10: Success.
<FS3> Sitka rolls Vipers-10: Good Success.
<FS3> Laskaris rolls Vipers-10: Failure.

[Petrel-649: Sitka] There isn't even time to see who got the killshot on that radier. The instant he has a firing solution, Sitka jams his trigger and sprays his target with bullets. Three separate bursts, just to be certain, before he barrel rolls his bird around a hunk of shredded flight pod that once belonged to a battlestar, and finds himself face to face with one of the fatboys.

[TAC3] "Click" Daphne says, "Lasher, Click. Two bogeys on you. Bogey one bearing one one six carom ought two niner. Bogey two bearing two one five carom one four one. Interecepting bogey two. Moving to engage."

[BlackKnight-311: Malone] Moving for the Cylons, Splash pauses a bit before he moves to fire at one of them, hitting one of them in the wing, before he turns around to go onwards now. Time to help taking out those enemies again.

[TAC3] "Shiv" Sitka says, "Petrels, Shiv. We're not out of the woods yet. I don't know what the frak to make of these beasts, but you know what to do."

[BlackKnight-312: Laskaris] The initial pair of attacking Raiders is quickly destroyed, but that's when the other six — including the pair of heretofore-unseen big suckers — dive in. He growls at Daphne's report, rolling his Viper around violently to face the new threat.

[BlackKnight-650: Alessandra] With new tincans coming to join the party, Lucky starts to go for round 2 - a raider is picked out and targeted while she silently prays that her wingman is able to stay in the battle and that she's okay.

<FS3> Cidra rolls Raptors-10: Good Success.
<FS3> Evandreus rolls Raptors-10: Success.

[TAC3] "Lasher" Laskaris says, "Copy, Click. I'll take number one."

[Harrier-303: Trask] Trask successfully suppresses the two toasters and gears up for round two. All the while, he's whistling "Jammin'".

[BlackKnight-310: Tisiphone] This is hardly sporting. The flight sims had asteroid belts, sure, but as for rendering realistic post-apocalyptic debris fields? Shite. Utter shite. Tisiphone goes into a spiralling evasive maneuver as bullets strafe her fuselage, pulling up hard at the last minute and ba-a-arely missing the blown-out husk of a Raptor.

[Petrel-647: Bell] :notes the bogey bearing down on Rojas and pulls 'up' away from Rojas. At the apex of his turn, he inverts his Viper, boots mashing yaw pedals to the floor, and makes a low-angle beeline for the Raider.

[Harrier-303: Cidra] There are no prayers or profanity from Cidra. No audible ones, at least. She is all of business. Her finger are tight over her piloting controls, but that death grip is the only outward sign she gives of whatever nerves she might feel just now. "Work it, Bootstrap. We're going in for a pick-up." And so her Raptor swivels out of its steady hold in space, toward the blocked-off Deckhands. Moving in for Damon's bus stop first.

[Harrier-305: Evandreus] With the last of his own EVA crew on board and getting strapped in, "Alright, stiff, lights on," he calls, "OHgods!" he then adds, as the raiders suddenly become all too visible. He leaves the hatch open and makes a run for it, twisting the raptor in its course to point the open hatch away from the oncoming Cylons, trying to angle the hatch to catch a migrating Toots on the way back. The extra Raptors he's currently hauling float on after him, making him look rather like the head of a small school of fish, and they knock into one another behind him as he maneuvers.

[TAC3] "Doc" Bell says, "Spanner, bogey your nine o'clock high. Break left and evade."

[TAC3] "Money Shot" Tisiphone says, "Lucky, this is- Money Shot." Her voice is a little thready, drawn out taut with adrenaline. "Heavy damage. Life support green. I've got- new target on me, not a blessed clue what it is, Lucky." Twinge of desperation there. Her wingleader knows what it is, right?"

<FS3> Tootsrolls 6: Success.
<FS3> Damon rolls Athletic: Success.

[TAC3] "Spanner" Rojas says, " ."YOU! ROBOT! YOU ARE FRIEND." Rojas goes russian in confirmation of Bell's warning. "Doc, Spanner. I see him." He sounds a little bit… exciteable."

[TAC3] (from "Lucky" Alessandra) There's a sigh of relief upon hearing Tis' voice, Lucky unable to conceal it. "I'll try to get to where I can cover you in a moment, Money. Just stay on my wing and we'll come around together."

[TAC3] "Shiv" Sitka says, "Can the farting around and focus, Spanner. Splash, let's slash and dash."

[TAC3] "Splash" Malone says, "Will do, Shiv."

[Harrier-303: Zosime] Getting back to the Raptors turns from hard to impossible as the Cylons get between the deckhands and their rides. Terrified, the movement of the toasters putting themselves between her and her escape changes terror into petrified. "Ohgodsohgodsohgods," she gasps. As the raptors move in to intercept the others, she attempts to take deep breaths. They're coming for them. They're coming for them. It will be okay.

[TAC3] (from "Lucky" Alessandra) There's the sound of static coming from Alessandra's Viper for a second but it clears, her coms still operational. "Frak me! Took a hit but am alright so far. Money? Still with me, yeah?"

[TAC3] "Shiv" Sitka says, "Lasher, you've got a— shit. Sound off, sound off!"

[BlackKnight-312: Laskaris] Lasher guns his ship around as he moves to engage the oncoming pair of Raiders, but in his haste, he pours on a little too much thrust. His fighter fishtails in space, and Lasher can't compensate before his ship slides into a floating piece of what was once a frigate. The jagged piece of hull tears into Lasher's wing, sending the fighter spinning and knocking him off course… deeper into the debris field. All of a sudden, he's flying for his life in the careening Viper… not only from the Cylons, but from the shards and chunks of twisted metal flashing past his cockpit as well. As if that wasn't bad enough, weapons fire from the pursuing raiders nips at his craft, which only serves as further detriment to his attempts to rein in the wounded fighter.

[Harrier-303: Damon] Nothing left to do but jump. Damon crouches down against the Viper and then leaps off - no time to think or calculate. He twists as he floats the distance from the bird to Cidra's Raptor, arms outstretched, still holding onto that board. He comes in hard, much harder than he should have, but at least he's in and through the hatch.

[Polaris:] One more Raider goes down to the crazy vicious Bell, its right wing exploding in a haze of light — chalk up another piece of debris for the field. Its counterparts, though, are far more successful, peppering the madly-maneuvering Vipers with streams of fire — brilliant yellow sparks flowing forth in silent rivers, guided by those calm and blisteringly red eyes. The heavier Cylons, by contrast, spit shells of red, their huge turrets thudding back and forth, in and out while Centurions work to reel in their fallen. They work with mechanical, unfeeling precision, bringing in the remnants of those Raiders destroyed in the first Colonial salvo, eyeslits glowing in the frozen darkness.

[BlackKnight-308: Daphne] Hot off the wreckage of Jumper1, Daphne twists her craft between two asteroids, banking her wings for a little extra clearance, and curls around the starscape, hot on the trail of one of the things attempting to blast her wingmate into bloody chunks. She weaves behind it, letting careful, controlled busts of gunfire stream forth from her weapons. When that doesn't seem to do the trick, she just lights the afterburners and holds down the trigger. The shots go wide, not striking the cylon but, instead, tearing into a chunk of space rock and cutting it to pieces. Her wide bank hits a few pebbles, but nothing more.

[Petrel-648: Rojas] Rojas' wing gets a new piercing, KEW rounds sending him into a backwards spin as he flips the Viper end-over-end to get a shot on the Raider chasing him. His shots go wild at about the same time Bell's don't. His persuer explodes, and Spanner's Mark II wing-waggles before righting itself in the correct direction, dropping back behind Doc. There are more… visible wires han there were before.

[TAC3] (from "Lasher" Laskaris) Static chokes Laskaris' comm channel. "*static static*, I'm *static* here — fraaaaaaa *static*"

[Petrel-649: Sitka] Sitka, so far, has been either incredibly lucky, or pretty damned skilful with the ballerina-ing through wreckage. His Mark II fighter swoops, spins and wheels through the detritus, putting all those years of doing dog and pony shows to good use. He comes in a little fast, and his shots pepper the wing of the enemy fighter bearing down on Tisiphone— but the hits are glancing at best, and the damage is minimal.

[Petrel-647: Bell] Bell purses his lips, face losing color as his target unleashes a torrent of blue gunfire on his wingman too fast for him to take action. He goes full throttle after the offending Raider, letting loose a series of controlled bursts as soon as he's within effective range. The last of these has its intended effect on his target's wing, causing a Terminal Alteration of Flight Plan and putting the scythe-shaped craft out of the fight.

[TAC3] "Click" Daphne says, "Lasher, Click. Hold on. I'm getting you out of this."

[TAC3] "Spanner" Rojas says, "Son of a bi-! Doc, Spanner. Thanks. Find us a target."

[TAC3] "Click" Daphne says, "Money, don't you dare die on me or so help me Gods I will track you down in the afterlife and kill you myself."

[TAC3] "Doc" Bell says, "Spanner, Doc. From where I'm sitting you look spaceworthy. Let's put some holes in those unidentified craft - back off the throttle a bit and stick tight."

<FS3> Daphne rolls Vipers-10: Success.
<FS3> Laskaris rolls Vipers-20: Success.
<FS3> Rojas rolls Vipers-10: Bad Failure.
<FS3> Sitka rolls Vipers-10: Good Success.

[BlackKnight-311: Malone] Managing to get through the field somehow, Malone's shots miss the target, before he twists and turns again, moving to follow Sitka to the next target, while glancing over his shoulder for a few moments, then back to the front.

[TAC3] "Shiv" Sitka says, "Splash, you've got a tail, jink. Toast— *crackle* —not getting much out of Lasher, but he might need a tow."

[Harrier-303: Trask] 4 out of 5 ain't bad. And the one that got away? The Vipers took it down. So, really, Trask is currently jamming at 100%. "PO," he tells Damon, not peering from the ECM console, "Buckle-up. The in-flight entertainment is more than in 3D."

[Harrier-303: Toots] When she is in range of the group, Toots pushes the plating she used as a shield to one side. Looking frantically around, she spots the inbound Raptor. The hatch is open and she uses the last bit of her jets to head in the right direction. When she gets near enough, she lifts her arms, snags the edge of the opening and pulls herself in all summersaults and hard landings. "Ohgodsohgods… Thank you. I… Oh gods." Snaking into a seat, she clicks the restraints over her, then collapses in a quivering mess of terror in the corner.

[BlackKnight-310: Tisiphone] Tisiphone breaks into full-out evasive maneuvers, sloughing her bird out and around the debris in wild, erratic sweeps. She peels one way, and Lucky peels another, locking onto a fresh target, and a second later over the comm is a hoarse /shriek/: < < Where the FRAK are you GOING, Lucky?!?! Godsdamnyou- > > It's skin-crawlingly similar to the sound of a pilot being snuffed mid-communication. Another twist and double-back — if she hasn't disengaged the G-limiter, it's shrieking in her cockpit right now — in the direction she last saw her wingleader.

[Harrier-303: Cidra] Cidra's wings are wide open for Damon. Well, her Raptor wings, that is. "Strap in, Petty Officer," she says to him simply, eyes not leaving the road. Though she does sound generally glad he's alive and no longer out in space dancing with Raiders. When he's more or less inside she comes about. There are still a few more to collect out there.

[TAC3] "Toast" Cidra says, "Shiv, Toast. Copy. We're collecting the last of the salvage team. Will be ready for SAR. Lasher. Lasher. Do you copy? What is your situation?"

[BlackKnight-650: Alessandra] Banking, Allie begins to mutter under her breath, trying not to worry about anything but doing her job while making sure Money Shot's alright, her mind reeling as she tries to find the same Raider she hit just seconds ago. It takes a bit but it is eventually found and she starts to fire openly, nothing held back in the least.

[TAC3] "Splash" Malone says, "Oh, I started wondering when they would do that. Let's see what I can get done with that Big Ugly back there."

[Petrel-648: Rojas] Rojas is watching his wing. He's not watching the piece of Raider wreckage that ploughs it's way through the intake of engine number 3. Straight. Straight. Straight. Spin. Spanner spirals in an entirely uncontrolled fashion through the field of debris. It's not a pretty sight.

[Harrier-305: Evandreus] Bunny scoops Toots, "Hey, no problem, tie yourself to something, Toots, this could get bumpy," he reminds her, even as she's already on it. "Stiffy, get ready to deploy the SAR cables."

[TAC3] "Bunny" Evandreus says, "Toast, Bunny, we've got one of your number accounted for here. And we're green for SAR if you're still picking up your ducklings."

<FS3> Rojas rolls Vipers-20: Good Success.
<FS3> Laskaris rolls Vipers-10: Success.
<FS3> Sitka rolls Vipers-10: Good Success.

[TAC3] "Shiv" Sitka says, "Splash on your bandit, Money— *crackle* kicking in there? Flight, one of our raptors is under fire *crackle* —tercept."

[BlackKnight-312: Laskaris] Whoever said that bit about war being one percent sheer terror wasn't lying. For several moments, he's quite certain that this ship is about to serve as his funeral pyre… but the white light never comes. Instead, his craft recovers, and once again starts to respond — if a little sluggishly, thanks to the damage — to his commands. Suddenly the terror is gone, replaced by white hot rage. With a vicious snarl, he trips his RCS thrusters, throwing his ship end over end as his afterburners propel him back into the fight. Diving back into the furball, his KEW fire spears one of the Raiders that had been attacking him, turning its Centurionesque head into scrap… followed a half second later by the rest of it.

[TAC3] "Lasher" Laskaris says, "Toast, Lasher. I'm *static* here. Tore up but good, *static* still in it."

[Harrier-303: Damon] "We gotta get the others," Damon says breathlessly as he lumbers over and straps in. Being fully suited and strapped in is not the best thing ever, but it's a lot better than being out in space while Cylons are going nuts firing everywhere. "Thanks," he adds, and it's spoken like a sigh of relief. "They came out of frakkin' nowhere. One minute, just a blinking light, and the next…"

[BlackKnight-650: Alessandra] "That's two," Lucky counts to herself as the second target is finally taken out, that being with the help of several others who have aimed and hit it as well. One of the larger enemy fighters gets her attention now and it's that one she targets next, her hand trembling slightly thanks to the rush as she does.

[Polaris:] And down goes another Raider, taken down by a well-placed shot from Laskaris' bird — spewing forth red-orange fire the color of its eye, which blinks and blinks and then winks out when Alessandra's KEWs track up and down its body. The heavies are still moving, now, grabbing as many corpses as they can — the pieces of the first two birds are have now been safely stowed, treated with delicate and almost loving precision. Reclaiming them for scrap — or giving them the burial they deserve? Chances are the Colonials don't have the mental energy to spare, even if that latter was the case. But it can't be the case, right? Because they're just … machines …

[TAC3] "Lucky" Alessandra says, "Money! Lasher! Go for the big boys if you guys are able to."

[Petrel-648: Rojas] Spanner regains control of his Mark II just shy of kissing a large floating chunk of metal in the worst way possible, sharply snapping around in an attempt to bring himself back to the fight. Engine three is making a horrible, horrible sound.

[Harrier-303: Toots] In the back, Toots nods frenetically to Evan, entirely unaware that the man probably cannot see her. She closes her eyes and hugs herself in an effort to keep from shivering into a mass of goo right here. It would be impolite to mess up Evan's bird and if she melted, someone else would have to clean it up. Rocking a little, she whispers, "Ohgodsohgodsohgods, please get us out of here. please please please."

[TAC3] "Spanner" Rojas says, "Doc, Spanner. Watch your ass, I can't help right now."

[TAC3] "Toast" Cidra says, "Copy, Lasher. Good to hear you. Toast, Bunny. Excellent. Be ready if it's called for. I'm moving to collect the last of my load now."

<FS3> Cidra rolls Raptors-10: Success.

[TAC3] "Doc" Bell says, "Spanner, Doc. Concentrate fire to protect the SAR Raptors."

[Harrier-303: Trask] "Yeaaaah," Trask idly tells Damon, "Those frakkers tend to do that. Y'a'right, though? The Chief'll be seriously po'd if his PO got pwnd." Yes, he said pwnd. P-long O-W-N-E-D.

[Petrel-649: Sitka] After pouring round after round into the raider dogging Tisiphone, the beast finally comes apart under his and Daphne's combined fire. He throttles back at the last minute, peeling his fighter up and away from the exploding wreckage, and seeking a firing solution on the heavy bearing down on Evan, next.

<FS3> Zosime rolls Athletic: Success.

[TAC3] "Lucky" Alessandra says, "Flight, Lucky. I'm going to try to plink at these big bastards. Nasty frakkers."

[TAC3] "Shiv" Sitka says, "Flight, Doc's got the right of it. Focus fire on our raptor's bogey."

[Harrier-303: Cidra] "We'll get you home, PO," Cidra says to Damon, all focus still on her instruments on the debris field in front of her. She angles her craft toward where poor Zosime is still drifting, engaging in some weaves and sharp tips of her wings to avoid the fire of the Raider whose guns are fond of her. IT's nothing fancy, but she stays in one piece.

[BlackKnight-308: Daphne] With nothing on Lasher, Daphne pulls her craft around good and hard, scanning the Dradis and finding the craft that's zeroing in on Tisiphone for the kill. She goes full afterburners, barely weaving around rocks as she recklessly shoots across the asteroid field. Her movements are more meant to keep the ship that's trying to kill -her- off from succeeding. COming around with plenty of velocity, Daphne points her craft directly at the raider, shooting past Tisiphone and pointing her guns directly into the cockpit. She tears large chunks off of the thing and turns away just before colliding with it. This is when the shots from her own shadow catch up with her, tearing part of her wing off while she makes that wide, over-exposed turn.
[Petrel-647: Bell] Bell's first shots go wide as he and spanner come into weapons range of the strange Cylon SAR craft, but he stays on the guns - the closer he gets, the more likely a hit becomes, right? And those are awfully big targets, growing in the viewscreen as the pair of Mark IIs advance at full throttle.

[BlackKnight-311: Malone] Missing that Raider, but still being out of the way of the incoming enemy fire for now. Malone frowns as he still sees another enemy heading for himself. "Looks like you're starting to get popular, Tommy," he mutters to himself as he glances around, trying to spin around for a little while as he heads for one of the big fat frakkers again.

[BlackKnight-310: Tisiphone] Tisiphone flew a mission like this in the sims, once, with Daphne. Somewhere in the Cerberus archives, there's a recording of them laughing until they cry over how drunkenly their birds flew as they kept adding more and more faux-damage to their simulated craft. It's not quite so funny, now. Her bird caroms off a shredded plate of debris as she tries to corner — having located Lucky again, she's doggedly attempting to form up on her wing as ordered — and tumbles like a lumpen ball through some nightmarish pinball game before righting itself.

[TAC3] "Click" Daphne says, "Lasher, Click. Bogey on your six, bearing one eight four carom one niner eight. In pursuit with minor wing damage."

[TAC3] "Lasher" Laskaris says, "Don't waste time telling me about it, Click, just bloody kill it, eh?."

[TAC3] "Shiv" Sitka says, "Spanner, we need you back in the fight. What's the issue?"

[Harrier-305: Evandreus] Having scooped in Toots from the black with as tender care as is possible, Evan does note, as he comtinues to roll out toward a watchpoint for SAR, the larger Cylon vessels doing the same— or is it his imagination? Momentarily entranced by the mirror image on the other half of the battle, the comms chatter and the prayers of those huddled in back fade to a dull murmur around him, his eyes narrowing into the sight, mouth opening in a moment of wonder. And then, like that, the spell's broken, as he looks into the eyes of the Heavy Raider and it turns around to look back. Weapons hot. "Oh, shitcakes," he mutters, "Hold on!" he calls to those in back, banking to evade.

[Harrier-303: Zosime] Last of the team to be picked up, Zosime clings to her broken Viper. Though she would like to close her eyes and pretend like none of this is happening, she knows that's suicide. Plus, she's a professional, dammit. Seeing the Raptor maneuver for her, she tries to get her shaking hands under control. The board that she's been clutching this whole time like a safety blanket remains in her white knuckled hands. As soon as Cidra has flown close enough, she does't think, can't think, don't think about if she misses she'll be careening off into space and into Cylons. Whoosh, she goes flying off the junked Viper. Misjudging the distance, she bounces off the side of the hatch on the left and then the top before finally, blessedly, tumbling into the Raptor.

[TAC3] (from "Spanner" Rojas) "Shiv, Engine 3 decided to eat metal. She's twitchy, boss." Rojas sounds a little nervous, and there's a high-pitched whine in the background.

[Petrel-648: Rojas] Spanner's viper finally rejoins the fight, his lower left engine flaring in and out like an easily-distracted signal light. Every turn looks… off, somehow, with the nose of the Viper pitching in before the rest begins to move. It's like he's skidding around corners. Nonetheless, he's back.

[Polaris:] No longer are the Raiders shooting at the first targets available. Instead, threading and weaving their way through the field of debris like they were born to fly in such conditions — which, arguably, they were — they focus fire on the Vipers trying to take out their heavier counterparts. Those, for their part, now concentrate fire on the Raptors whose EW suites have been pushing their systems to the brink, turrets pounding in silence all the while. Light from the stars reflects sharply off their hulking chrome hulls, spotless despite the pounding they've taken.

[TAC3] "Spanner" Rojas says, "Doc, Spanner. With you."

[TAC3] (from "Shiv" Sitka) The Petrels' Captain's reply is curt, and a little strained as he tries to talk while applying significant pressure to his thrusters: "If anyone can make her sing again, Spanner, it's you. Flight, stay on target, juke if you've got company."

[TAC3] "Money Shot" Tisiphone says, "Luck-" There's a storm of static, the sound of cockpit warning klaxons half-eaten away by the noise. "-mpression. Oxygen supplies hold-" Cracklesnap. Her voice might be sounding a bit weak in there, too. "-wing. Target your tar-"

[TAC3] "Toast" Cidra says, "Flight, Toast. We've got the last of the Salvagers aboard. Raptors, head in. Vipers, cover our backsides. It is time we were homebound."

[BlackKnight-650: Alessandra] The shots from Lucky's ship totally miss, causing her to snarl animalistically in frustration. Thankfully she's not hit by anything that she's aware of, it allowing for her to stay on course. Pulling the ship into a banking turn to the starboard, she gets herself behind the target she totally didn't hit the last time, taking her time in lining up a shot for the mother frakker's engines before shooting.

[Petrel-647: Bell] The blue tracer rounds passing his cockpit succeed in frustrating Doc's efforts yet again, forcing him to break off his attack run on the Cylon heavy. Instead, he breaks into evasive maneuvers, rotating his Viper ninety degrees and plummeting on the Z axis - at least, as fast as he can go without slamming into anything. He searches desperately for cover in the melee.

[TAC3] (from "Lucky" Alessandra) There's a tension in Lucky's voice as she responds. "Money, aim for what I'm guessing might be the lead fat ass."

[Petrel-649: Sitka] With his wingman having taken heavy damage during the last pass, Shiv swings away from the bead he was keeping on one of the heavy raiders, and swoops in instead to help out Malone.

[TAC3] "Splash" Malone says, "Anyone got some tape here? Looks like the Tincans are trying to make holes in my Viper."

[TAC3] "Doc" Bell says, "Spanner, Doc, bogey's on me like glue. Light him up if you see him."

<FS3> Sitka rolls Vipers-10: Success.

[Harrier-303: Damon] As Zosime tumbles into the Raptor, Damon reaches out for her, still strapped in to his seat. "We've got you. We've got you. You're all right." Though it might be himself that he's trying to convince, since his outstretched hand is shaking pretty badly. Hearing Cidra broadcast that they're heading back to Cerberus, he unlatches himself from the seat and heads back to help Zosime. "Are you hurt?" he asks, looking over her suit.

[TAC3] Polaris says, "Toast, this is Cerberus CIC, we hear you and are inbounding to the debris field. ETA three minutes."

[TAC3] "Bunny" Evandreus says, "Toast, Bunny, I hear that. We are RTB."

[BlackKnight-312: Laskaris] Lasher's shredded fighter bucks as he opens fire, but his shots go wide of the oversized Cylon ships. His eyes flick to DRADIS, however, as the chime of a weapons lock warning again sounds. Thruster jets propel the Viper to one side as he flips his fighter over to engage. Deal with the immediate threat first, then go back to those big assholes.

[Harrier-303: Toots] Huddled in the corner, Toots holds on. She closes her eyes for a moment, then opens them in a determined effort to bear witness to what is happening. She looks out the back, trying to figure out where the rest of her team is. At least she has stopped chanting out loud.

[BlackKnight-311: Malone] Similarily, Malone starts turning for the one moving for him, grumbling a little. "Let's see how you like this…" he mutters as he turns in the general direction of the Raider, twisting and turning as best he can to avoid taking the hits from said enemy.

[TAC3] "Lasher" Laskaris says, "Click, Lasher. Under attack, cover me, dammit."

[Harrier-303: Cidra] Cidra is still flying a hasty pick-up between the debris and the firefight around her, and she winces when she hears a bit of Zosime's rough landing. But, at least the Deckie is in. "Hold on," she advises her passengers simply, coming about with slightly more daring evasive moves now that all her bus stops are made.

[BlackKnight-308: Daphne] Daphne stays on target, keeping to her wingmate like glue. The craft manages to avoid her shots, her misses punctuated by the predictable display of rocks shattering to pieces, as a missed volley of bullets has to go somewhere, afterall.

[TAC3] "Click" Daphne says, "I'm on it."

[TAC3] "Shiv" Sitka says, "Doc, stay on target!"

[Harrier-303: Trask] At this point, FTL would be pretty pointless, so Bootstrap just sticks to frakkin' up Cylon sensors. "Thanks for not dyin'. Now, buckle-up for some serious flyin'," he tells Zosime.

[Harrier-303: Zosime] Now that she's safely within the Raptor, Zosime's haggard breathing of panic turns into something a bit more like hyperventilating. Now that she's inside and not swimming with toasters, she feels like she can properly go to pieces. With Damon's help, she pushes herself up off the floor of the Raptor and makes it to a seat to strap in. "I'm…I'll…I think I may be sick."

[TAC3] "Doc" Bell's normally monotone voice sounds the slightest bit testy. "Shiv, Doc, be with you in /just/ a moment."

[Harrier-305: Evandreus] Evan makes good on his claim, arcing into a new bearing for home, drawing its loaded towlines behind it. Fortunately, the dragged cargo doesn't weigh anything out here in the dark, and if Evan can swing some of those dead vessels around between him and that Cylon vessel in pursuit, well— all the better.

[Harrier-303: Trask] "Feel free," Trask tells the newest passenger. "Hells, bleed all over, too, if need be. I'm drawin' the line at discharging weapons, though." Admittedly, that last is a sardonic crack only Cidra would fully understand.

<FS3> Laskaris rolls Athletic: Success.

[TAC3] "Shiv" Sitka says, "Splash— splash on your bandit, Malone. Doc, get the frak on target. Unless your wingman is sporting speed holes, guard the motherfrakking raptors."

[Petrel-647: Bell] Doc lets out a sigh of relief as either his twisting and turning, or the Cylon's ADHD, free up his six. He watches his own shots miss the mark, course too erratic for accurate targeting, but nods with satisfaction as one of the Knights splashes his intended target. The Petrel punches up his afterburners and moves to rejoin Rojas in his attack on the heavy craft.

[TAC3] "Doc" Bell replies simply, "Shiv, Doc. Read you five by five."

[BlackKnight-650: Alessandra] "Stay with me guys," Allie murmurs with a soft whimper, that said off coms, spoken to herself as she looks at her DRADIS. She can see the Cylon numbers slowly start to get weedled down but not as fast as their own numbers are getting hit hard, a fact that puts ice into her belly. "Frak. Me."

[TAC3] "Splash" Malone says, "Appreciate it, Shiv. Heading for those big fat pigs again now."

[Petrel-648: Rojas] Weaving through debris with his viper acting like it's on a skidpan gets old. Quick. Spanner's shots ring well wide of the heavy, causing a nice lightshow on the wreckage around it as his craft seems intent on flatspinning on every touch of the throttle. Then, everything levels out, with the second lower-engine flicking out of life along with it's adjacent twin. Yup. His Viper is running on one. it's not like the speed is needed darting through here.

[Polaris:] Down goes another Raider, tracing a beautiful arc past the wreckage of Laskaris' ship before crashing into the engine of the frigate in which Rojas and company had been hiding — disintegrating in an explosive spray that causes the thing's dormant tanks to begin sparking with a panicked, urgent light. And still the heavies continue their work, though only a single Raider is buzzing about them: preternaturally calm, confident and cool, as their Centurion minions stow more and more pieces of the shattered Cylons nearby.

[TAC3] "Lucky" Alessandra says, "tac3/. As Lucky works on helping everyone as much as she possibly can, Raptor crews and Viper pilots alike, she starts to circle a bit before she tries yet another shot. "Flight, this frakker's taking a lot of punishment but I think I'm chipping away at its frakking armor. Try to gang up on it's stupid metal ass. Money, Lasher. You okay?""

<FS3> Trask rolls Ecm: Success.
<FS3> Evandreus rolls ECM: Good Success.

[BlackKnight-311: Malone] Missing, and getting missed, Malone lets out a bit of a relieved sigh as the Raider he's going for goes fireworks. Turning to head for the Heavy Raider once again.

<FS3> Rojas rolls Vipers-20: Success.
<FS3> Sitka rolls Vipers-10: Success.

[Petrel-649: Sitka] Shiv's little gambit pays off; he slots in behind the raider who's about to take a shot on his wingman, and blasts it to smithereens just as a few rounds slice toward Malone. Who, thankfully, manages to roll away just in time. With a hard breakturn to angle him out of his pursuit, the Captain strafes in on one of the remaining heavies targeting the CAG.

[BlackKnight-312: Laskaris] Finally, Lasher's luck runs out. The last remaining healthy raider spits a burst of KEW fire, catching Laskaris' abused Viper amidships. A cacophony of alarms starts going off, including one that chills him to the very core: EJECT. EJECT. "FRAAAAAAAAAK!" Laskaris screams, but he does so, yanking on the ejection handle and sending his seat roaring away from the dead Viper. Not a moment too soon, either, as the thing explodes a second after he's gone. He's out of range of the worst of the backlash, but he's not far enough away to escape completely unscathed. His flightsuit is leaking air from a dozen tiny holes, and charmarks on the flightsuit suggest he picked up a burn or three on the way as well.

[TAC3] (from "Spanner" Rojas) In the background of the static as Spanner hits the comms, the whining engine is suddenly replaced with… silence. "This is Spanner. Fixed it. Keep your distance. They weren't meant to fly like this."

[TAC3] "Shiv" Sitka says, "Good to hear, Spanner."

[Harrier-303: Damon] "You can puke all you want," Damon reassures Zosime as he helps her get strapped in. He gets back into his seat too for the ride home. He glances to Trask and Cidra, but doesn't say anything to them - just watches and stays out of the way so they can do their thing. "Y'know," he says with a crazy little half-laugh, "jumping's not the same thing when you're under fire, is it?"

[TAC3] "Doc" Bell says, "Spanner, Doc. Take section lead, I'll watch your six."

[TAC3] Polaris says, "Toast, CIC here — sixty seconds away. Be advised, our DRADIS is picking up an unidentified contact thirty klicks from your position consistent with the Cylon motherships detected around Picon — wait, belay that. Two unidentified contacts. Can you confirm?"

[TAC3] "Shiv" Sitka says, "Lasher, Lasher, sound off. I've lost sight of you.. Toast, possible SAR needed, I'll send you the approximate coordinates."

[Harrier-303: Trask] "Frak." This time, it's two for the price of one. "I suggest haulin' ass to nab Lasher 'cuz there is a BIGASS frakkin' contact that just popped-up about 30 clicks away."

[Harrier-303: Toots] Looking out behind the Raptor she is riding in, Toots watches one of the Cylons sort of pull in behind them. The chanting rises again, "Ohgodsohgodsohgods." Abandoning her initial plea to her personal Lord of Kobol, she calls on them all at once. At least she keeps her running litany off the com channel. Thank the Lords for small blessings.

[TAC3] (from "Bunny" Evandreus) "Shitshitshit. CIC, Stiffy, I can confirm one of those contacts. Thirty klicks. And the frigate at seven twenty carom eight is about to blow. All points, Stiffy, get CLEAR of that frigate, it's going up."

[TAC3] (from "Lasher" Laskaris) There's no reply on the com from Laskaris. A distress beacon, however, can be detected not far from the coordinates Sitka provides.

[BlackKnight-308: Daphne] Sometimes Situational Awareness can be a real bitch and a half. Daphne manages to land a good shot on the raider in front of her, ripping pieces off of its wing in a fashion which matches the damage to her own craft, but it's not enough to down the thing. Where the situational awareness part comes in is the fact that she's very, very aware of where the bullets strike Lasher's viper, the way it smokes up, the sound of his voice over the comms, and the ensuing fireballl. She plows through the explosion, pieces of debris smashing into her starcraft. She breaks off, aiming for one of the two heavy raiders, as per orders, though her skin crawls and her mouth begins to taste of iron and bad air.

[BlackKnight-650: Alessandra] There's a start when she sees Lasher's fighter go asplody on them, her face going pale as she looks away. Her heart starts to race and a faint red begins to color her vision.

[Harrier-303: Cidra] Cidra continues to bob and weave her Raptor. Well, as much as a Raptor can. The boxy craft can't manage the evasive ballet the Vipers can showcase. "The deck plating has seen worse, I assure you," she says simply to Zosime. It's probably been vomited on before. A wince and sharp turn of her head as she catches the ominous burst of Laskar's Viper. Wince. Back to Trask she says, "Wise suggestion, Bootstrap.." And she commences to head to those coordinates she gets from Sitka.

[TAC3] "Click" Daphne says, "Lasher. Lasher. Please read. This is Click. Come in."

[TAC3] "Money Shot" Tisiphone says, "-ney Shot. Ox- oxygen's holding. Showing total-" Snapcrackle, underlaid with the same strident klaxons as before. It cuts out entirely for several seconds before her voice returns: "-ur target."

[TAC3] "Toast" Cidra says, "Shiv, Toast. I've got them. Commencing SAR. CIC. Confirmed. We've got one of our pilots out in space to evac. Rest of us are headed in ASAP."

[Petrel-649: Sitka] If Sitka realises that Tisiphone's wingman is not covering her.. well, he probably does not, or he'd drop back himself. A mistake he may well berate himself for later.

[TAC3] Polaris says, "Toast, Cerberus CIC, we have alert Vipers scrambling to cover your egress — contact, contact! Twenty — belay that, forty, say again, forty signatures —"

[Harrier-303: Trask] "Yeah, well, like I keep sayin': I'm more than just delicious eye candy." Even now, Kal is cracking quips… and doing what he can to keep the course plotted and the jammer ready to fire.

[TAC3] "Lucky" Alessandra says, "Money, come up tight on my left. Will try to get you out of here. Flight, are we going to try to get rid of all these tincans or are we going to go?"

[TAC3] "Shiv" Sitka says, "We're covering the raptors' retreat, Lucky."

[TAC3] "Lucky" Alessandra says, "Roger, Shiv. So chaotic I missed…frak."

[Harrier-303: Zosime] While she did give the warning, the blonde deckhand doesn't throw up. It seems like she may be getting herself under control until she hears Trask confirm that there are two large Cylon ships and even more Raiders on their way toward them. No less than a moment after hearing the warning, Zosime boots right onto the floor. So much for being a professional, dammit. When she straightens, her face is sheet white and she gamely wipes at her mouth. "I'm gonna have to be the one that cleans that up later, too," she groans.

[Polaris:] Anybody with a working com system will hear the Prophecy of Doom from the tense ensigns working up in CIC, but really, anybody with eyes shouldn't need to listen in. Two bone-white ships the shape of malignant asterisks have just jumped into the system, the same ships that had wasted an entire Colony without breaking a sweat — from which bristling hangars now spring forth blur after silver blur of red-eyed fighters. It doesn't take a genius to figure out just where they intend to vector, their engines flaring as they punch into the field.

As for the frigate? That engine begins to crackle and fizzle with unexpected energy, lighting the area a sickly pulsing yellow — the distinctive color of an engine powering up without the requisite coolant to control the blast…

<FS3> Cidra rolls Raptors-10: Success.

[BlackKnight-310: Tisiphone] Tisiphone's Viper, doing its best impression of a cheese grater stuffed full of damp sparklers, is on Lucky's portside wing as tightly as it can manage. That's not saying a lot, at this point.

[Harrier-303: Laskaris] A dazed Lasher sits, still in his ejection seat as he tumbles lazily through space. A thin trickle of blood drips down his face, but his vision is mostly unobscured. Thankfully, the Colonials seem to have the upper hand, finally, though those big bastards seem to be a chore and a half to kill. The wounded Viper pilot grimaces from the pain of his injuries, his eyes falling shut.

[Harrier-303: Cidra] Raptor don't fly as pretty Vipers, but Cidra's gets the job done. It's in like a shot, right on target to the coordinates of Laskaris' beacon, and she scoops him up into her talons as smoothly as one can in this sort of situation. He's in safe. Mind the vomit on the floor, Lash.

[TAC3] "Toast" Cidra says, "Toast over. We've got Lasher. Let us get out of here."

[Petrel-648: Rojas] Any joy Rojas has at nailing a pretty-damn-fine shot through his heavy raider target, not to mention being able to control his viper (kinda) with one engine is soon ripped away by the sight of Money's Viper… well, getting money-shotted. The irony is lost on him.

[TAC3] Polaris says, "Toast, Cerberus CIC, we are in position and ready for recovery. Alert Vipers outbound; establishing flak ring to starboard. Come in to port."

[BlackKnight-650: Alessandra] It's only after Money Shot gets in close that she notices the last of the lighter Raider's on Tisi's ass, it causing her to make a snap decision; pulling a loop of sorts, Lucky tries to get a shot in on it's cockpit but with how she is doing this maneuver-and-shoot thing hastily she misses horribly. "Okay. That was frakked…"

[Harrier-303: Damon] You know, they say that vomit is contagious. For some people, it's hearing someone vomit. For others, the sight or smell of it. Well, whatever it is for Damon, it kicks in and he's shifting about in his seat uncomfortably a bit after Zosime loses her lunch. He barely has enough time to start twisting his helmet off before he pukes. Which means that he gets some splashback right on his face. Lovely! But he uses the helmet as a pukebag and manages to catch the rest of it inside. He just kinda sets it down on his lap upside-down and wipes at his face with his sleeve.

[TAC3] "Lucky" Alessandra says, "Money, nevermind that. Let's stick with our original plan. Stay on the same Heavy as we've been shooting at."

<FS3> Rojas rolls Vipers-20: Success.
<FS3> Sitka rolls Vipers-10: Good Success.

[Petrel-647: Bell] Doc never lets up off the trigger during the attack run, gunfire raking across the heavy's hull with little to no visible effect. He breaks off to follow Rojas around for the next attack run, or back to the Battlestar, as orders may come down.

[Petrel-649: Sitka] The Petrels' lead bird does not deviate from his target, once he's got it in his sights. As Alessandra swoops in to take care of her wingman, he pummels the heavy raider chasing after the Harrier with live rounds. It doesn't go down, but the damage it sustains certainly slows its pursuit; he lights his engines and streaks in hard on its tail, whipping past hunks of detritus fast enough now to put him at considerable risk of plowing into something.

[BlackKnight-308: Daphne] Appropriately enough, Daphne chases after the heavy raider after Cidra's Raptor. Afterall, they've got her wingmate aboard that thing. She can't let it go down. Mindful of her broken wing, Daphne bursts her craft upwards, and then zipz forward on a gust of superheated gas, streaming her available ammunition into the cockpit. Chunks of… whatever that is, fly off, though it continues running just the same.

[Harrier-305: Evandreus] Evan isn't sticking around with that frigate about to blow, and having, besides, already gotten his gitfo orders: at the approach directive from the CIC he alters course to come in from the port, drawing the spoils like a bunch of balloons behind him, angling for the tubes instead of regular Raptor docking since he's dragging extra boats behing him.

[Polaris:] No longer concerned with saving their fallen, the heavies — taking withering fire — begin spooling up their FTLs, guns squeezing off a final wave of shots before they and the surviving Raider wink out of sight. The blast wave from three ships vanishing into nothing is enough to trigger a chain reaction in the side of the long-lost frigate. As the Colonials' targets vanish into nothingness, they're confronted with a far more dangerous sight — that of a ship tearing itself apart at the seams, subsidiary explosions making their way through its missile bays as the entire thing prepares to blow —

[TAC3] "Money Shot" Tisiphone says, "-in frakking Hades didn't-" The rest of Tisiphone's near-hysterical outburst is mercifully devoured by static as she wrestles the shuddering bird after Lucky's."

[Harrier-303: Trask] That doesn't sound good. One deluge of puke followed by another. "Not plannin' on makin' it a trio, I hope, Lasher." Since Trask's attention is firmly on the DRADIS and ECM console, he is unaware that Damon hurled in the helmet and subsequently is no longer wearing it. Last time someone removed a helmet to puke, that person died. True story. Granted, that person also was frakshitinsane from radiation poisoning and discharged a weapon that pierced the windshield.

[Harrier-303: Laskaris] Lasher's in a bad way, but thankfully for him, not too bad. He's a bit of a crispy critter, but nothing worse than a few second degree burns. Likewise, he's got a couple scratches and cuts that are bleeding but look worse than they really are. Slumped against the wall of the Raptor, his breathing is ragged and his eyes are fluttering; he manages a shake of the head for Trask, though, at least. His stomach is stronger than that.

[BlackKnight-311: Malone] Shooting, and missing. That seems to be what Malone does now. So he switches to a bit more agressive flying, attempting to help take out that remaining Raider at the moment.

[Harrier-303: Zosime] The last thing Zosime meant to do was start a vomiting train, but that seems to be what she did. Adjusting her helmet back on, the PO looks pale and shakes from all the twisting and turning and terror that she's feeling. If she vomits again, the helmet's gonna stay on. And it will be gross, but she'll manage. The glamorous life of a deckie. There was nothing about this in the military recruitment pamphlet.

[Petrel-649: Sitka] Sitka is just about to acquire a firing solution on the heavy, when that rogue raider flashes across his windscreen yet again, hot on Tisiphone's heels— and uncontested. Hissing softly inside his helmet, he feeds his engines more tylium, and breaks formation to streak off after it.

[BlackKnight-650: Alessandra] Lucky is not done yet and foolhardily follows after that damned Heavy. A volly of KEW fire is sent toward it's ass, hopefully before the jump is made by the Cylon.

[Harrier-303: Damon] Damon gives the pool of puke in his helmet a baleful eye. Pursing his lips, he holds it out to the side and dumps the vomit out of it, shaking it as best he can to clean it out. "This… ugh," he mutters to himself. Not one of the best ideas he's ever had. He looks like he's about to chuck again as he slowly pulls the helmet back on. He has to. Better to have a faceful of regurgitation than to not have a helmet on in case something happens. It's getting all into his hair and face, and boy, does it ever smell. "Living the dream," he says to Zosime in a strangled kind of voice. He's clearly only breathing through his mouth now.

[Harrier-303: Cidra] Cidra gave the order to head back home and home she goes. Cerberus bound. If she is too acutely aware of the vomit train in her backseat, she pays it no mind. A flight helmet is a blessing at times.

[Polaris:] If Rule One of Flight School is Be Aggressive, Rule Two is Don't Be Stupid. And yet the Colonials pursue the wildly-firing Cylons nonetheless, charging forward with guns blazing despite the frigate being ripped apart behind them — and now the true nature of the Cylon plan becomes evident, for as her massive aft engine flares with uncontained power, two identical holes are torn into her hull where her missile bays meet. The fact that a dying heavy Raider now spirals into precisely that place is almost superfluous —

And all the pursuing Vipers are caught in the blast, slammed backwards into the debris by the force of several thousand gallons of exploding tylium and several hundred unexploded warheads now cooking off all at once. Blinding light sears the pilots' eyes, dazing them despite the shields built into their flight helmets, and the systems in their cockpits spark and fizz and crackle.

<FS3> Rojas rolls Vipers-45: Failure.
<FS3> Alessandra rolls Vipers-40: Failure.
<FS3> Daphne rolls Vipers-40: Bad Failure.
<FS3> Tisiphone rolls Vipers-110: Terrible Failure.
<FS3> Sitka rolls Vipers-30: Good Success.
<FS3> Bell rolls Vipers-30: Terrible Failure.
<FS3> Malone rolls Vipers-80: Terrible Failure.

[TAC3] "Shiv" Sitka says, "The frak are you— get back. Back, I repeat, all points, RTB."

[TAC3] "Lucky" Alessandra says, "I'm returning home. Repeat, Lucky's heading back to the nest."

[Petrel-649: Sitka] Sitka suffers, in those dreadful few seconds where the ship begins to explode, from one of those cardinal sins of the cockpit: lack of situational awareness. He isn't aware that several other pilots, have strayed too far from the raptors and dangerously close to that frigate as they chase down their quarry. And by the time he punches his comms, and barks his frantic order over the radio, it's a little too late. As the detonation rolls out, he drags his stick back and guns his engines, peeling out of the blast radius before the shrapnel can obliterate his fighter.

[BlackKnight-650: Alessandra] Coming in hot and heavy, Lucky approaches the ship but not ahead of the Raptors, those still covered as they make with their own approach to land.

[Harrier-303: Laskaris] Lasher's not so out of it that he can't pick up what's going on. He cranes his head to look at Trask's DRADIS display, bloodshot eyes widening in horror as he realizes what's happening. "No, you frakking idiots, don't… it's a — " Trap. Which is, at that moment, sprung. The light of a new, miniature star blossoms through the canopy, slashing at the obstinant still-surviving Vipers. Laskaris' head slumps back against the bulkhead with a pained noise.

[Petrel-647: Bell] Doc's poor old Mark II can't handle the force of the blast. The fact that he put it next to an exploding frigate… doesn't help. As the explosion washes over his fighter, he feels as much as sees it coming. A flick of the maneuvering thrusters orients his canopy towards the Battlestar, away from the Thing Blowing Up, and he pulls the eject handle, consigning the Viper to its fiery fate before he ever got the chance to paint his kills on the side. The Viper is not so cooperative, and his hand gets caught in the eject handle - as the seat's charges detonate, the Doctor's wrist twists at an angle that would make a sickening snap if it weren't in the vacuum of space. Bell screams inside his helmet as he goes hurtling battlestar-ward, battered, bruised, and broken.

[Harrier-303: Zosime] From her seat, Zosime attempts to not puke again. The bright light flashes and she only just manages to squeeze her eyes shut as to not get blinded. With a gulp, she manages to keep herself in check for now.

[BlackKnight-310: Tisiphone] They say Ensigns are nothing if not dutiful, and Tisiphone shows all the self-preservation of the best of of her breed, following her wingleader as ordered, ignoring the return to base. Toward the Heavy in her shuddering and shot-to-shit Viper she goes, adding to the flurry of shots that finally spell its demise. The resulting explosion, however, is far too much, and far, far too close — what's left of her bird is tossed end over crumpling end with all the fury of an angered god, bowling through debris until coming to a smouldering halt, only a few clicks away from the Cerberus.

[Harrier-303: Toots] Almost home. Almost home. Almost… The inside of Evan's raptor is lit up from behind. That isn't normal. She knows where the lights are in these babies and the rear isn't that strong. Turning, she peers around the towage to try and see what is going on back there. Perhaps it is lucky for her that the view is obscured. Whatever it is will have to be sorted out via heresay and tales. Worried, but unenlightened dispite the illumination, she faces front to watch the very welcome Cerberus draw ever closer.

[Harrier-303: Trask] Maybe it's because he's a wee bit preoccupied — or because even he has a sense of what is /too/ grossly inappropriate — but Trask refrains from jumping on the comms to say 'Way to go, guys; Lasher was alive when we nabbed him but that clusterfrak of yours just killed 'im'. Instead, he calls outs, "Hang in there, Lash. If only to chew out their asses." That is the Bootstrap equivalent of a pep talk.

[Harrier-305: Evandreus] Evan's on his way in before he sort of realizes that his viper escort is diminished by some. "What the" he mutters, and then then come the vipers, riding the tide of the blast in various stages of OWCH. Going a little pale, Evan nevertheless follows through with RTB, letting the alert teams scramble to pick up what's left.

[Petrel-648: Rojas] Even if he wasn't stupidly close to the heavy raider and the volatile surroundings, Spanner's one-engine Viper certainly had no future prospects of escaping in a hurry. He can only offer a silent prayer as his vision goes white, the damaged mark II snaps from moving parallel to the disintergrating Heavy Raider to rocketing backwards with the blast. One wing catches a strut of wreckage, and the spinning white craft punches it's way through a supporting girder whether it likes it or not. Dents, holes, gashes and a few extra adornments join Spanner's viper when it slams into the deck back home.

[BlackKnight-311: Malone] Being too close to the blast is bad. Being far too close for it is even worse. And so Malone's Viper gets sent off on a wild ride. Including the pilot within being thrown around a bit in the cockpit, as the craft goes spinning around quite a bit for a while, before it literally falls to pieces just before it can reach the Battlestar itself. Not a good day on the job.

[Polaris:] The Vipers on salvage duty make their way to Cerberus one by one, some propelled forward by their own engines, some propelled forward only by the massive explosion that forces out a ring of debris from behind them. More metal for these graves — but Cerberus isn't sticking around long enough to watch. The Raptors with their precious cargo come in to land as the SAR birds flutter in behind them, and then Cerberus shudders from bow to stern before pulsing once, twice — and is gone, a mere half-second before Cylon missiles zero in.

Too damn close.

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