BCH #001: EVENT - Who Hunts the Hunter - CIC
Who Hunts the Hunter - CIC
Summary: Damn the guns! Full speed ahead!
Date: 25 FEB 2041
Related Logs: Related Logs (Say None if there aren't any; don't leave blank)
Oberlin Sawyer Tillman Polaris 

It's the CIC. Ya'll know what it looks like.

Sometime after the religious festivities, a slightly more buttoned-down Lt. Oberlin has made his way into CIC at one of the tactical stations, specifically the one responsible for the majority of EW operations aboard the Cerberus. Having hooked a headset to his ear, he has a series of neatly bunched notes stretched out in front of him, darting his head from place to place and studying various technicians at their stations. "All right, ladies and gentlemen. The circus is about to begin." He mutters wryly.

Tillman steps in shortly behind Oberlin, face set like a stone. He eyes the various members of the CIC crew before settling on Oberlin. "Lieutenant." His own headset is taken up and settled over his ear, plugging it into the CIC's main plotting table. Eyes lift to the DRADIS display and he takes a breath. "Alright. Let's do this."

Suit. Check. Credentials. Check. Ready and waiting with a pad of paper and a pencil? Check. Sawyer's been granted security clearance for the last of the War Games to get the view from CIC, and now her heels click rhythmically on the deck as she enters the command center. She's here to observe and stay out of the way, at least physically. She's always a nuisance in spirit.

With this, Oberlin picks up the horn and jumps the gun on the countdown. "Lewis. Lewis, get that imaging station calibrated like we discussed? I have a feeling it's going to be useless, but we don't want to look like we dropped the baall. Right?" He flashes a brief smirk. "Captain." He then turns to Tillman. "Ready to give the kids a show?" He happens to say this -right- as Sawyer walks in. "Mmmhmmm."

[Intercom] Oberlin says, "All stations report in. Prepare for jump to Uram Sector in Five. Four. Three. Two. One."

"Always." Tillman flashes a quick smile to Oberlin. He nods to the reporter as she takes up a position. "Miss Averies. I hope we can provide a nice show for you." There's a little grin with it before the countdown begins and then the jump.

Jumping. If Sawyer has a favorite pastime, it's certainly not travelling at FTL speeds. Her eyes close briefly as the flash out of one quadrant and into another, a moment or two passing as her heart beat seems to catch up. A flutter of lashes and a meek version of her usual smile. "Captain." She finally greets. "It'll be a joy to see how you boys do it." Eyes travel to Oberlin, then down to his collar, then to the terminal he's seated at. "Don't let me get in the way."

To this, Oberlin just leans over his workstation and gives the woman a pained smile. "Trust me. I won't." It's friendly /enough./ And then everything just /shifts/ as the jump begins. "Hope Maricon didn't spill his grape drink in the array." He adds under his breath, with a derisive snort.

[Polaris] On paper, it's really not a fair fight: one Mercury-class battlestar and an entire carrier fighter wing versus two puny frigates. One of them is so old she predates the Cylon War, and the other is so new that fully half her personnel are still in the process of learning how she runs. But as the crew of the Cerberus has so often observed over the past few weeks, desperation is sometimes a better force than inspiration — and it's a foregone conclusion that every man aboard both of those frigates is raring to be the first to take down the Fleet's pride and joy. And so, with just sixty seconds between them and this simulated engagement, the two smaller ships glide gracefully below their den mother's forward cannons, proceeding with stately grace to their designated start coordinates. Beyond them throbs the pulsing blue star whose blinding light is visible even from this far away, separated from the players by not one but three rings of slowly-spinning rock. Discarded missile casings twirl like demented tops in the starfield beyond.

[TAC3] (from Oberlin) And with the stomach-churning action that always accompanies FTL travel, space /bends/ and there is a flash as here becomes elsewhere, as the Cerberus' FTL drives spool up and start their reaction. /Here/ becomes /there/ as the Battlestar elsewhere around the messy corner of space known as the Uram sector. The place is a veritable light show. The view outside is spectacular - a blue supergiant star, the eponymous Uram, blinks like a great cloudy azure colossus out in the starry void of space. A short distance away are oceans of asteroid debris and various undefined junk.

[TAC3] (from Polaris) And just like that, an instant later, the two frigates too are gone, space warping about them before they vanish into the haze.

Let the games begin.

[TAC3] "CerbTac" Tillman says, "All Raptors, Cerberus. Once out, activate your swallows and begin scouting operations. All Vipers, stand by your positions."

[TAC3] "CerbTac" Tillman says, "Raptors, you are cleared to launch when ready."

[TAC3] "Toast" Cidra says, "Cerberus, Toast. Copy. Launch commencing. Raptors once out bring Swallows into active mode."

[TAC3] "Bunny" Evandreus says, "Cerberus, Bunny, acknowledged. Harrier-305 commencing launch. Toast, Bunny, I hear you. Coming up in your wake."

Sawyer leans her hip against something innocuous, so she's stable and more comfortable standing as she brings up her pad of paper and automatically scribbles something. Maybe it's something about the Lieutenant. A lookie-loo would be hard pressed to find out though, as the Reporter writes in some bastardized short hand.

[TAC3] "Easy" Julie says, "Easy copies, launching and swallows active."

In the meantime, Oberlin glances up at the DRADIS console with pursed lips, attempting to get a readout and then shifts back down to the EW suite, fingertips drifting over switches. "Will interface with the Swallows upon launch. I may need to fine-tune some of the frequencies from here." He says succintly. "Oho. Yesterday's junk, tomorrow."

"Thank you, Mister Oberlin." Tillman keeps his eyes on the DRADIS display, watching the Raptors appear on the scope while their voices crackle over the wireless. For once, there isn't a coffee cup to be found. "How's interference look so far, Lieutenant?" Its probably not the first time Tillman has conn'd a Battlestar into an engagement. The CO and XO are nowhere to be found.

[TAC3] "Toast" Cidra says, "Cerberus, Toast. Raptors are out and ready to begin scouting maneuvers. Vipers are ready to launch on your mark to take up defensive positions."

[TAC3] "CerbTac" Tillman says, "Copy your last, Toast. Raptors are cleared-out. Have two Vipers take up a close-in CAP and be prepared for combat landings in prep for jump. We're standing by awaiting coordinates. Good Hunting, Major."

"You ever seen a trainwreck, sir? It's lit up like," Oberlin squints a little, giving Sawyer a little uneasy sidelong-glance before again peering between Tillman and the DRADIS console, setting his jaw askew. "It's sort of like a trainwreck. Mixed with a kid fingerpainting. I can make out a few steady patterns, there's just a lot of noise out here. Keeping an eye out."

The Lieutenant seems not exactly at ease. He's a little tense. Focused. It just seems like something he does, though.

[TAC3] "Toast" Cidra says, "Cerberus, Toast. Copy. Raptors, we are a-go for jump to the designated coordinates. Once there, we shall launch Swallow Decoy and see if they come hunting. Lieutenant Laskaris, launch with a wing to take up a close-in CAP and listen sharp to CIC for order for combat landings in prep for the jump. Sharp eyes, steady hands. Let us go."

[TAC3] "Lasher" Laskaris says, "Copy that, Toast. Kolettis, launch as you recieve clearance and form on my wing."

[TAC3] "Bunny" Evandreus says, "Toast, Bunny, acknowledged. Plotting jump here, and spooling up."

"Fantastic," the TACCO deadpans. "Well at least that means that damned Flakker will be pretty blind, too." He takes a long breath and fishes into a pocket for his smokes. He shakes one out without taking his eyes off the DRADIS, and lights it up with his zippo. A Crewman slides an ashtray onto the plotting table by his hand with a whispered thanks from the Captain. "Should be interesting to see how Mackay's troopers perform…" he sighs through an exhale of smoke before punching a few numbers on a keypad. "Weps, CIC. Put your people in their guns." A pause. "Copy, out." Another button pressed to hang up and another drag of his smoke.

Oh really? Sawyer glances up, her eyes tick tocking between Oberlin and Tillman. There's a small smirk from the Reporter. Trainwrecks sell magazines. Her pencil continues its scritch scratching, her ears tuned now to the conversation between Captain and Lieuteant. Maybe down in the Chapel she was praying for some giant frak up. Then she has a guaranteed headliner.

[TAC3] "Toast" Cidra says, "Bunny, Easy, Toast. Ready to jump. Mark. We go. Cerberus. Raptors jumping."

[TAC3] "Bootstrap" Trask says, "Just a reminder to my fellow backseaters: Don't forget to flip the switch."

[TAC3] "Lasher" Laskaris says, "Planning t' join me today, Kolettis?"

[TAC3] "Lasher" Laskaris says, "Glad you could make it, Kolettis. Alright, let's settle in. Don't stray too far from the hangar pods, though."

"Not that it'll stop it from dumb-firing but at least she'll have no idea what she's hitting." Oberlin counters, always cheerfully the bearer of bad news. "Lewis. Lewis." He finds himself occupied with harassing the poor Petty Officer back over his shoulder. "Let's get that array dialed in. Up the dorsal relay twenty-eight or so while I compensate." Said P.O. gets on it with a pleasant-enough look on her face, eyes narrowing in concentration.

The Lieutenant again glances up between his console and the large DRADIS output just a short distance away, blinking once just to break his attentive stare. "Careful, Ma'am." He suddenly says, looking up towards Sawyer. "Might want to be careful around that dispersal meter. Those things have been known to spontaneously explode." He points at a console beside her and smirks in a manner that compliments his deadpan tone.

[TAC3] (from Daphne) There's a light smacking sound over the comm. What ever could that be? Daphne's voice comes out a second later, "Yes, sir. Will keep it tight for the cameras."

"Now, now, Lieutenant. Let's not make the lady unnecessarily nervous around the CIC. We'll never coax her back up here at that rate." One can almsot -hear- the smile in Tillman's voice.

Heat dispersal meter, that is. Sometimes words magically disappear.

[TAC3] (from Polaris) In Ye Olden Days when ships still sailed the oceans blue, sailors in large enclosed metal tubes could tell rather easily when they'd been found just judging from the thrum of active sonar through their ship. Today, though, the miracles of modern technology have made it nearly impossible to determine when you're a star on Candid Camera — or, more precisely, on the passive DRADIS system aboard the frigate Corsair, which by now is probably humming along just waiting for the scent of something that's Not An Asteroid to cross its sensitive nose. Not, of course, that the interference from the sector's star is helping all that much. But if Cerberus' Raptors were detected when they jumped, neither pilots nor ECOs can tell — at least not yet. Static fills their ears from the interference in the system, crackling like burning wood, though the lack of flying missiles seems to suggest that Deck and Engineering have done their jobs well.

Sawyer looks down at the console she's leaning next to, then back up at the Lieutenant and Captain console. "Well, the good news is, if it did I'd at least have a first person account of this mishap." If they can joke, so can she. "I'm still waiting for the presses' copy of the engineering report regarding those fires, Captain."

[TAC3] "Toast" Cidra says, "Bunny, Easy, Toast. I've got you on my board. Nicely done. Now, let us see if we can get their attention. ECOs, get the decoy ready via those Swallows. Bootstrap, this is your puppet show. Any additional instructions you have for your ECO counterparts?"

[TAC3] "Bootstrap" Trask does, it would seem. "Yeah. Snag those coordinates for the sweet spot. On my mark, we'll trigger the phantom bitch an' her equally phantom pups."

[TAC3] (from "Shiv" Sitka) There's a low whistle heard over the comms from Shiv, before his voice crackles over the radio, "Sure is fancy, isn't she, Lasher?"

"Come now, Miss Averies. If there were mishaps happening all over the place then you wouldn't be safe. We'd have to deposit you someplace safe." Tillman's still got that smile on his upturned face. "But I'm sure you are. As I said, you'll get a copy when I do with a black marker for proper redaction. Military has to do its own share of paperwork."

[TAC3] "Lasher" Laskaris says, "You got that right, Shiv. Spent the last 10 months on an old rustbucket, almost forgot what a new battlestar looked like."

[TAC3] (from "Bootstrap" Trask) "Got 'em!" Trask exclaims, finding the coordinates of aforementioned sweet spot. "Commence launch in 5… 4… 3… 2… 1… Launch."

[TAC3] "Toast" Cidra says, "Bootstrap, Toast." There is a note of cool satisfaction in her tone. "Launched."

"Paperwork. So say we all." Oberlin says with just the right amount of affected dramatics. He opens his mouth and is about to say something else before he taps a finger to his earpiece and snaps his jaw shut. "Oho. Here we go." He mutters, triumphantly and starts hitting buttons and switches like a madman.

[TAC3] "Flasher" Marko says, " Alright, here we go. Launching in 5…4…3…2…1…Bird's away…."

[TAC3] (from Polaris) A flight of swallows slash forward out from the three Raptors' hardpoints, carving their pre-programmed course through swathes of not-quite-open space. Those pilots whose eyeballs are particularly sharp might catch sight of a slight mishap — a single drone nearly collides with a bit of stray debris, turning to port just in time to avoid breaking to bits against an engine cowling that must be a century old. And soon enough, those beauties are chirping as only swallows can chirp, until at last the Raptors, CIC, and even the Vipers in the tubes will be able to see the blood-red outline of a battlestar icon on the DRADIS screens above.

…And then, Oberlin's head jerks up to study the erratic, crackling DRADIS console as the fuzzy image of a second Colonial Battlestar pops onto the readout. "Behold. Cerberus 2.0. Second Battlestar, for a fraction of the first one's price."

So despite the jesting, the Reporter still hasn't moved from where she's leaning, sticking her ground and sticking to the story as the saying goes. "So, Captain, what's the purpose of this excercise? Are they immulating a second battlestar?" Apparently she usually gets this information from the air-wing briefing that was skipped in lieu of coming up here and getting the Command's eye view this time around.

"Outstanding, Oberlin. Let me know when we have exact coordinates." Tillman seems to be tensing a little. He doesn't move, even with the reporter's question. "We are testing the weapons systems and combat capabilities of the Praetorian and this battlestar. As well as crew effectiveness ratings so we know where we need to improve." He gestures to the DRADIS. "That second battlestar doesn't actually exist. Our techs did some frakking outstanding work and managed to simulate one on sensors. The only way they would know it isn't there is if they could see the location - which they can't anymore than you can."

[TAC3] "Toast" Cidra says, "That is a lovely ghost…Toast to Raptor Flight. Excellent. Fair work, Bootstrap. We have built us a battlestar."

[TAC3] "Money Shot" Tisiphone says, "Hot damn. It worked," with equal parts surprise and relief. Salt's story coaxes a tense chuckle out of her. "It's what summer dresses are designed for, Sir."

[TAC3] (from Polaris) Either the vaunted EXLORAD isn't as fancy as Lieutenant Oberlin back in Tactical had made it out to be or the sensor noise in the sector is too much for even the trained techs aboard the Corsair to cut through at once. Raptors, Vipers, Tactical — all of them wait as the minutes tick by, watching the ghost ship flicker in and out of their DRADIS. One minute, two; three minutes, four — and even Salt, usually the talkative one, has nothing more to say, instead choosing to relax against his harness while he waits for the order to go. And then, finally, something tickles the Raptors' systems — just a brush, lingering for but a moment before vanishing —

To be replaced by sixty-four somethings, as the Praetorian's missiles find their home at last.

[TAC3] "Shiv" Sitka says, "Looking good from here, Toast."

[TAC3] (from Polaris) "Cerberus, Praetorian Actual! Hope you got that flak ring ready!"

[TAC3] "CerbTac" Tillman says, "Praetorian, Cerberus. Ah, yeah. We're ready. Hope you are! Out."

[TAC3] Polaris says, "Cerberus, Praetorian Actual, what's that? I couldn't hear you over the sounds of my beautiful missiles going boomboomboom on your precious hull."

[TAC3] "CerbTac" Tillman says, "Keep talking, Actual. We're getting a beautiful firing solution off that signal."

"Will do, sir." Oberlin states succintly as he continues to work away at his redouts, and listening in on the comm chatter. He seems more than happy to explain further to the reporter, though, glancing up at her. "We have the ability to deploy countermeasures which can be programmed to mimic the DRADIS signatures of other ships. Unless someone's sitting there looking out a window, they can be fooled. Wonder what else we could spoof." He continues to work when suddenly, the console dings, with the high-pitched 'beep beep' of new DRADIS signatures. Missiles. A whole bloody ton of them. "How the FRAK you doing, boys?" He says, harshly. "Sir. Looks like they took the bait." And the boom-boom gets brought as the missiles close in on the phantom battlestar. "Uh, sir. Looks like we're going to need a new Fake Battlestar."

"They're blind from the interference from the star? They are basically operating by their DRADIS alone?" Sawyer asks with a faint quirk of her eyebrows that normally accompanies inquisition. "Sort of like one giant game of pin the tail on the donkey." The last is directed at her pad of paper as the journalist is frantically scribbling again.

[TAC3] "Toast" Cidra says, "Raptor Flight, Toast. Grab coordinates and transmit them home to Cerberus so they can join the fray. Keep sharp, watch your backsides while those missiles are in the air. Once Cerberus is in position, we shall commence jamming of the Praetorian."

[TAC3] "Flasher" Marko says, "tac3 "DRADIS contact, bearing 221 carom 185! Looks like we just found the Corsair."

[TAC3] (from Polaris) Salt allows himself a far deeper chuckle at the premature gloating, toggling his intercom to make sure the 'enemy' frigates are cut out of the transmission. "Point, Money Shot, about the dresses." His smile evident even though his face can't be seen. "Amelia sent me an picture of herself in hers the other day. Five years later and I still wonder how I was the first fish to take that bait."

[TAC3] "Bunny" Evandreus says, "Toast, Bunny. Uploading data onto the longcomms."

[TAC3] "Shiv" Sitka says, "Lasher, Shiv. We ready to head back to the barn yet?"

Tillman is about to say something when the radio traffic picks up…

[TAC3] "CerbTac" Tillman says, "CAP, Cerberus. Perform combat landings and prepare for immediate relaunch from the flight deck! All Vipers, stand by for Condition One launch following the jump."

[TAC3] "Jugs" Quinn says, "Hell yes… Finally, bird is ready to go. Jugs is on her way, boys and girls! Permission to launch?"

[TAC3] "Lasher" Laskaris says, "There's your answer, Shiv. Alright, let's haul some arse."

Tillman stabs the numbers on the side of the table again after his radio call. "Weps, CIC. Prepare for barrage fire in pattern as soon as the jump is complete. You are Yellow-Hold. Stand by for jump sequence." He then looks to Oberlin and points a finger to him. "As soon as the Vipers are aboard, I want an abbreviated jump count, Lieutenant. Commence when you are ready." He looks back towards the DRADIS display and takes a hard pull on his cigarette. His eyes look like they might drill holes in the display any second, smoke unfurling from his nose like a dragon.

"Repeat. Cerberus 2.0 down." Oberlin clarifies. "Hopefully that bought us a little time, Captain. We -" He trails off, eyes narrowing in sharp focus as he snaps his head back to the EW suite, pushing a few buttons. "We've got something. Corsair located. Attempting to lock in her position." He continues, chattering, "I don't think they're -that- blind anymore, lady. But I'm paranoid." He falls silent as an erratic DRADIS signature gets painted on the readout above, indicating the 'CFF CORSAIR.' Tillman's command is received and he gives the man a sharp nod. "Understood, sir. Getting on the horn." And, yeah. He picks up the phone. Damn, this guy's smooth. He can even multitask.

Sawyer is multitasking too! She's writing and breathing at the same time. And. Listening. Take that. As her question goes mostly unanswered, she starts looking to the various displays as if she's trying to make heads or tails of it all. "What are the main objectives today, Captain?" Gods, another jump. Sawyer takes a deep breath to buck herself up for the impending skip to the next sector.

[TAC3] (from "Bootstrap" Trask) Bootstrap comes over the comm, "That, right there, is what Epic Win looks like. Gear up, kiddies. Round two gets launched as soon as our back-up arrives."

[TAC3] "Jugs" Quinn says, "On my way… on my way… I swear I'm on my way…"

[Intercom] Oberlin says, "Action Stations. Action Stations. Prepare for Combat Landings. Stand by for combat jump in Three. Two. One. Commecing FTL jump!"

[TAC3] (from Oberlin) As the birds make it back to the barn and are aboard, space /folds/ again and there is a flash as the Cerberus makes a precision FTL jump and comes out just neatly removed from the flak ring being emitted by the Corsair, in what looks to be a potentially advantageous position, just below the other ships and closing in. Good hunting, children.

[TAC3] "CerbTac" Tillman says, "All Vipers, Scramble Scramble Scramble! Cleared to launch!"

[TAC3] (from Polaris) Cerberus lurches once more unto the void, following Flasher's coordinates like the hellhound for which she was named, and suddenly the twin frigates come into view some twenty klicks away. Praetorian, as expected, is the lead ship in the formation, her missile racks gleaming blue in the light of Uram's star as they emerge once more from the blast doors hiding them from view. Corsair has taken up position slightly below and behind, inverted so she can cover as much of her vulnerable sister's ventral area as possible. Almost instantly, blazing crimson lasers arc out from her five hundred point defense cannons, setting up a beautiful mock flak ring some ten klicks out. But as Viper after Viper are slung out from the tubes, they and the incoming Raptors fresh from their minor victory soon discover just why it took a full two hundred and forty seconds for the decoy to be 'found' —

For all around Praetorian are a full hundred and twenty-eight long-range missile drones orbiting around her like the asteroids in the distance, none of them even three-quarters through their stores of fuel. It's almost as if time has slowed, so languidly do they turn their nose cones to the battlestar flashing in nearby — and then, as one, they vector towards the nearby battlestar, cutting through space like a massive horde from the steppes now coming to exact its vengeance upon the poor plainsfolk below.

[TAC3] Polaris says, ""Cerberus, Praetorian Actual. Looks like the mouse has caught the trap.""

"Weps! Barrage fire! You are Red and Free for your patterns!" Tillman barks into the comms for upstairs before he looks towards Oberlin. "Commence ECM sequencing." He then looks back to the DRADIS. "Nav, give me a twenty degree roll to port and All Ahead Two-Thirds! Let's scare the hell out of 'em!" The cigarette is stubbed out into the ashtray, jaw setting like concrete. The TACCO's gruffed voice offers a curt reply to Sawyer: "To kill the enemy before they kill us. Whoever dies first loses. I'll let you know if you're dead in the next ninety seconds."

[TAC3] "Shiv" Sitka says, "Copy that. Launching. Orders once we're airborne, Lasher?"

[TAC3] "Jugs" Quinn says, "Hells yes. Launched. Finally."

[TAC3] "Toast" Cidra says, "Raptor Flight, Toast. Bootstrap, we still have decoys up our sleeves, yes? ECOs, get those launched first, then commence jamming."

[TAC3] "Lasher" Laskaris says, "Shiv, Lasher. Orders are: find a missle. Shoot it. Rinse and repeat."

[TAC3] "Lucky" Alessandra says, "This is Lucky. I've launched and am getting into position."

When the men have their attention back on the screens, Sawyer's eyes roll to the top of their sockets, stay there for a moment as if a prayer is given to the ceiling, then resume their focus on her paper as she jots something else down. You know what the worst thing about Reporter's is? If they're not given a story, they go looking for one. Sawyer's attention starts to wander, as do her feet.

[TAC3] (from Polaris) "Just remember, ladies," calls Salt, his tone quietly warm. "It's like dancing at the Mid Ball, as I always say. Weapons free."

[TAC3] "Bootstrap" Trask says, "Indeed we do, an' Jugs has a full supply. Let's get in position an' give our den of serpents some added cover."

[TAC3] "Jugs" Quinn says, "My boy Chopsticks is ready to launch the decoys as soon as I get into position… Will be there in three… two… One."

[TAC3] "Shiv" Sitka says, "You got it, Lasher."

[TAC3] "Money Shot" Tisiphone says, "Lucky, this is Money Shot. Forming up on your six. Orders, Sir?"

[TAC3] (from Daphne) There's that snapping sound again. "Copy Lash-urgh." There's a sudden gagging sound, a momentary pause, and then the recovery, "Copy Lasher. On it." No. She didn't swallow her gum. Why would she even have any?

[TAC3] "Lucky" Alessandra says, "Money Shot, this is Lucky. Let's do it like before. Stay on my six unless ordered otherwise. Safety in numbers."

[TAC3] (from "CerbTac" Tillman) The guns on the Cerberus are lifting just as it comes out of the jump. The dual turrets all aim towards the Corsair as the massive battlestar rolls to port, providing nearly every gun on the ship a clean shot at the ships. The engines on the rear of the Cerb light and its suddenly making headway to close the distance and cut towards the undersides of both enemy ships. Cannons charge and almost in the same instant each one opens up into barrage fire.

"I'll be damned if we lose to a gun-tub, Captain." Oberlin echoes, gruffly. "Getting a position on this bad-boy. We have Praetorian AND Corsair's position updated. Calibrating launch parameters to adjust for ambient interference." He says, hammering away diligently. "Looks like they see us. Shit. Looks like the Praetorian's got hot drones, people. You know what to do." He curses under his breath some more.

Tillman hasn't noticed the wandering reporter yet as his focus is pretty much on combat command for the moment. "We ain't going to lose. That was some superb positioning, Lieutenant. Right where we wanted to be." The phone on the table rings and he picks it up. "CIC, Tillman." Pause. "Copy. Keep me informed. Out." He looks to Oberlin, then. "Pour it on. They don't get any breathing room."

[TAC3] "Bunny" Evandreus says, "Toast, Bunny, aye, sir. On our way, eight twenty carom sixer. Readying decoys."

Is behaving back here. Honest. Sawyer's keeping track of the conversation, seeing what she can garner off their chatter and what gets barked into the wireless. She's just moved to a different position, getting a different eyeline on the Captain and Lieutenant perhaps.

[TAC3] "Jugs" Quinn says, "Bunny… Bootstrap over there makin' your ears bleed yet?"

[TAC3] (from Polaris) If Cerberus were firing her main cannons in earnest, the battle would look substantially more interesting than it does now, what with the battlestar's thin lasers cutting through space as they whiz past the Corsair's hulking frame. Well, some past, some under, and some into. Fortunately for the frigates, the old girl is tougher than she looks, designed as she was to absorb similar pounding from a basestar's heavy ordnance. And now all ships in the area must face the fury of EXLORAD on full active mode, pounding away as its techs try to filter out what's real from what's not. Frakkin' Raptors.

The Vipers, for their part, are engaged in a dogfight like none other. So crowded is the sector space with the missiles being launched that they'll have precious little room to maneuver, though the missile frigate has suddenly stopped firing …

[TAC3] "Bunny" Evandreus says, "Jugs, Bunny: au contraire, I thought we'd been boarded by the Muses themselves."

"We've got a ship full of people who know what they're doing on a top-grade ship. Those old men don't stand a chance." Oberlin says, mildly, buffing his nails on his uniform jacket while flashing a gentle smirk. He tilts his head downwards, hard at work as attempts to add additional confusion to the frigates' readings.

[TAC3] "Lasher" Laskaris says, "Shiv, Kolettis, Lasher. Let's hack these mothers out of the sky, shall we?"

[TAC3] (from Oberlin) Those training lasers keep scoring hit after hit on the Corsair, as the Cerberus attempts to virtually pound the Flak Frigate into virtual dust via death of a thousand virtual cuts. It's not like those simulated ordinance volleys are weak, either. Corsair's skin is /thick/. The boom boom is adding up, but it's definitely gradual.

[TAC3] "Money Shot" Tisiphone says, "Lucky, this is Money Shot. Copy that. Moving to your portside wing, staying on your target."

"Ha. I don't think the Corsair's XO would take too kindly to that. Of course, I hear she doesn't take kindly to many things." Tillman watches the DRADIS more, the dogfight outside becoming a mess on the screen. He shrugs and seems to relax a little before looking to Sawyer. "Well, its out of our hands. Shouldn't be long, now."

[TAC3] "Shiv" Sitka says, "Hack and slash, Lasher. You got it. Kolettis, watch your three o'clock."

[TAC3] "Lucky" Alessandra says, "Actually, Money Shot, belay that. Pick off what you can. These frakking things move too fast. We'll save the team tactics for other ships."

[TAC3] "Money Shot" Tisiphone says, "Belaying that order, Lucky. Good hunting, Sir."

Sawyer was leaning over someone else's console, perhaps seeing what the young Lewis is doing over here. As she feels eyes back on her, she shoots a glance and a quick smile to Tillman. Now perhaps being a little /too/ quiet. Well, for Sawyer, anyways.

[TAC3] Polaris says, "All Raptors, this is Salt. Thought you should know: looks like the frigates are being smart. They've slaved the targeting on these nasty things to EXLORAD. Jamming the missiles is going to be about as effective as, well, I don't know. Insert analogy here, I suppose."

[TAC3] Daphne says, "I see it. I see it. Thank you. Three coming your way, Lasher. Heading zero two four carom one eight nine."

[TAC3] (from "Lasher" Laskaris) Lasher's voice is terse, but relatively calm. "Copy, Kolettis. Good eye. On it."

[TAC3] "Lucky" Alessandra says, "Frakkers. Seems like these guys are going to try to catch us with our panties down around our knees."

"We don't always get want we want, sir. At least I -think- that's how it goes. Right now I'd like to spread the disappointment around somewhere else. Looks like — Well I'll be. They've linked their fire control. For those drones." Oberlin snorts.

[TAC3] "Jugs" Quinn says, "Well, hey there, handsome… Come to this quadrant of space often?"

Tillman just gives a return smile to the reporter before he looks back up to the DRADIS. His face falls ever so slightly and he leans a bit in Oberlin's direction. "The Praetorian went cold. They've stopped firing. Check emissions." He then taps his earpiece, cueing the radio.

[TAC3] "CerbTac" Tillman says, "Toast, Cerberus. We show the Praetorian has ceased fire. Confirm."

[TAC3] "Toast" Cidra says, "Copy, Salt. Raptor Flight, Toast. They are being tricksome with us as well. Jamming those missiles shall not be too effective with the targeting slaved. Concentrate jamming efforts *directly* on the Corsair."

[TAC3] "Flasher" Marko says, "tac3 Toast, Flasher, Copy that."

[TAC3] "Bunny" Evandreus says, "Toast, Bunny: we hear you."

[TAC3] "Toast" Cidra says, "Cerberus, Toast. Confirmed. Showing the same on my end."

[TAC3] (from Polaris) Despite the Vipers' best efforts, Praetorian's missile storm is not for naught, as first one, two, and then ten break through the Viper screen Toast's pilots have set up. Plink-plink-plink they go against the battlestar's massive hull, their engines burning out as they draw themselves to a halt. If this were real, Cerberus would likely be bearing a few pretty burn scars where the Colonial seal has been traced on her dorsal ridge, and as for the folks inside? Suffice it to say that the ground should be rocking from the force of the explosion.

Corsair, for her part, is pinging away still, though her techs can't quite work quickly enough to get around the swallows deployed by Flasher, Bootstrap, and what faceless ensigns have shown. Several missiles do turn away to expend themselves in a blaze of futile glory — such fickle things missiles are, attracted by the nearest Shiny Thing they see. The sound of a hyperpowered DRADIS system on max tears through the pilots' ears like the tolling of a bell, cutting through their intercoms while the comm officers aboard Cerberus try to adjust.

And Praetorian? One moment she's covered by Corsair, the next moment she's exploding in a flash of light, jumping — to the battlestar's six, away from the flood of missiles and Vipers and Raptors and drones. She's at point-blank range, bow pointed directly at Cerberus' tail to minimize the amount of her hull she exposes to the battlestar's guns, and ever so slowly her missile racks slide back out from their shields.

[TAC3] "Shiv" Sitka says, "Lasher, suggest we open fire on Praetorian's missile mounts pronto."

[TAC3] "Lasher" Laskaris says, "Viper Flight, Lasher. Praetorian has jumped to a position off the stern. Break off and move to reengage."

"Multiple hits, sir. Listen. We have approximately two minutes until that thing rolls up on us and fires its next salvo. That would be bad." Oberlin says, in a rapid series of staccato words much like the missiles that are being fired off outside. "I'm going to see if I can do something to disrupt their little targeting trick. That's not /sporting./"

And with that, the Lieutenant starts hammering away, "Lewis, coordinate with me again. Compensate for my signal adjustment." He says to the helpful P.O. who is likely tired of him already, programming some electronic emissions designed to disrupt and hopefully confuse the slaved missile drones.

The DRADIS image flashes and Tillman's eyes look like they might pop out of his head. "NICELY DONE, COMMANDER!" he hoots, oddly showing some enthusiam for the enemy maneuver. He shakes his head and looks to nav. "Wilcox! Give me sixty degrees nose-up, starboard roll one hundred and thirty degrees and cut engines!" He keeps the calls smooth but enthusiastic. A finger stabs the dialpad on the console again. "Weps, CIC! We're shifting position. You are cleared to open up with your flak guns! Out."

[TAC3] Polaris says, "Money Shot, Salt. You all right there?"

[TAC3] "CerbTac" Tillman says, "Praetorian Actual, Cerberus. Suggest you divert course to avoid collision. Danger close. Out."

[TAC3] Polaris says, "Cerberus, Praetorian Actual. Suggest you run up the white flag and buy me a thirty-year-old bottle of whiskey. Out."

[TAC3] "Lasher" Laskaris says, "Shiv, Lasher. Negative, their missle racks are far too heavily shielded. You want to do some damage? Break low, come in from below and hit their engines."

[TAC3] (from "CerbTac" Tillman) The Praetorian appears behind the Cerberus and its only moments before the Cerb reacts. The massive beast begins a pitch up over a steep angle and begins rolling onto its back. The blue-white of the engines chop out and the velocity stops climbing.

[TAC3] "Shiv" Sitka says, "Copy, Lasher. Kolettis, you with me?"

[TAC3] "Lasher" Laskaris says, "Form on me, you two. I intend t' do just that."

[TAC3] "CerbTac" Tillman says, "All aircraft, all aircraft, Cerberus. We are opening up with flak batteries in fifteen seconds. Check your positioning."

[TAC3] "Money Shot" Tisiphone says, "Uh-h-h." Not the most regulation reply. "Salt, this is- Money Shot. I'm fine, Sir. Never seen my DRADIS look like a Yule tree before, is all." A few moments later, she adds: "Copy that, Lucky. Forming up on your six again.""

[TAC3] Daphne says, "Yessir. Will strike from two seven zero carom across Praetorian's hull. Shiv, Kolettis. I'm here. Copy, Lasher. Forming up."

[TAC3] "Lucky" Alessandra says, "Lasher, Lucky. We'll be joining up with you as soon as we can. What are your orders?"

[TAC3] "Bootstrap" Trask says, "Flight, Bootstrap. I think we need to start makin' some raspberry jam, if y'know what I mean. Pick-up positions from then other night."

[TAC3] "Jugs" Quinn says, "Sounds good to me, Bootstrap. Let's do it!"

[TAC3] (from Polaris) As Cerberus turns, Praetorian turns with her, keeping her unprotected belly as close as she can to the battlestar herself. And around the rest of her she sprays a mess of flak of her own — not powerful enough to do a damn thing to the battlestar, but certainly powerful enough to tear apart any Viper that's not careful. And what with Cerberus' own guns about to open up in fifteen, suffice it to say that any fighter daring or stupid enough to approach the looming frigate will be in for a rough, rough ride.

[TAC3] "Bootstrap" Trask says, "On mark, we'll initiate the field."

[TAC3] "Toast" Cidra says, "Bootstrap, Toast. Well put. Forming up and ready on you mark."

[TAC3] "Flasher" Marko says, "tac3 Bootstrap, Flasher, ready when you are."

[TAC3] Polaris says, "Money Shot, Salt. Deep breaths. Just like on Leonis, remember? Just like on Leonis."

[TAC3] "Lasher" Laskaris says, "Lucky, Lasher. Get your section and follow me in. We're aiming for the engines; I want t' give Cerb some room to maneuver."

"Alright Wilcox, give me another thirty degrees nose up and level us out across the plane. Once done, I want engines all back full. Let's shake him loose." Tillman's face looks a bit feral in the low, pale light of CIC. "Oberlin, jam their DRADIS on the Cors if you can."

"Already working on it, sir." Oberlin says smoothly, in a tone that is tailor-designed to seem nothing but 'helpful.' "Shit, it would help if these systems hadn't been classified." He muses, sarcastically. "Great. Really making me work, here." All the while he chatters to himself, he keeps hammering away.

[TAC3] "Lucky" Alessandra says, "Roger, Lasher. Money Shot, Lucky. Did you hear that? Looks like we get to shoot at the big dog for a while."

[TAC3] "Easy" Julie says, "Let's get the party started."

[TAC3] (from "CerbTac" Tillman) The Cerberus finishes its faux-capship-dogfight maneuver and begins to level out across the plane. Then, every single thruster on the bow of the ship fires at max output and the engines flicker once more. The whole ship begins a slow crawl towards All Stop..and then reverse.

And Sawyer keeps on haunting poor Lewis, perhaps finding whatever he is to be the most interesting. Either that or he doesn't know enough to shoo away a nosy reporter who hovers like a vulture smelling a fresh carcass.

[TAC3] "Bootstrap" Trask says, "Berries, key-up field and engage in 5… 4… 3… 2… 1… Jam!"

[TAC3] "Money Shot" Tisiphone says, "Lucky, this is Money Shot. Copy that. I've got the rolled-up newspaper." A weak chuckle. "Staying on your portside wing for focus-fire."

Polaris (Pol) pages Tillman and Oberlin: Praetorian, for her part, is nimble enough to meet the TACCO's gambit straight up. Even as Tillman initiates Operation Move Bitch, Get Out the Way, she slips backwards, heeding not in the least the Vipers still angling for her engines. And those missile racks are about ready to go…

Corsair, for her part, doesn't quite anticipate the Raptors' moves — but not to worry, for the damnable interference is messing as much with them as it is with her. As the Raptors draw closer, though, that flak ring expands, her expert gunners doing their best to find the range of Raspberry Flight while EXLORAD sings and sings and sings.

[TAC3] "Bootstrap" Trask says, "Okay, fruitcup. Let's try this, again, this time, y'know, doin' it RIGHT."

[TAC3] "Jugs" Quinn says, "I… hate to say this… but I might never let you leave my back seat again, Bootstrap."

[TAC3] (from Polaris) "All Vipers, this is Salt." The man's voice sounds resigned as he slips out of formation. "Looks like that's she wrote for me. Commend me to dear Amelia, and to all a good night."

[TAC3] "Bootstrap" Trask says, "Like I told the CAG, Jugs: I'm more than just delicious eye candy."

[TAC3] "Easy" Julie says, "Easy here, looks like Flasher hit the jackpot."

[TAC3] "Jugs" Quinn says, "Barely, Boots… barely. But I'll give you -this- one."

[TAC3] (from Polaris) Irony of ironies: right as a few Raptor ECOs manage to coerce their consoles into cooperation, the gunners aboard Corsair find their range at last. Though she still looks pristine — or as pristine as she can get, really, given her age — only a few of her cannons are going, so extensive a pounding has she absorbed from the battlestar she's hunting. Down goes EXLORAD as the ship redirects all available power to her guns, flailing about in her simulated death throes as minutes of sustained fire from the battlestar finally takes its toll. If she goes down, she'll take as many Raptors with her as she can.

Praetorian is reeling as well, her engines flaring as her onboard training system registers several direct hits from the doughty — nay, suicidal — Vipers. Inertia is what carries her forward now, just half a klick away from the battlestar, as sixty-four missiles emerge from their holding bays, advancing forward in a line to punch through the Cerberus' defenses. Ten fall away, then ten more; the others, however, do not, charging forward with their deadly payload intact. And at this range, they really don't have far to go, crashing into the battlestar's exposed engines two by two. Then, at last, she slows to a stop, her engines powering down at last.

[TAC3] Polaris says, "Fleet, this is Corsair Actual. We are down for the count, say again, we are down for the count."

The missiles find home and red lights flash all over CIC, horns blasting. Tillman winces a bit as the phone buzzes. He picks it up with a quick 'CIC.' before listening. "Understood." He hangs it up and punches the keypad again. "Weps, CIC. Focus fire on the Praetorian. Everything you've got." The man seems a bit subdued but not quite angry. He looks to Sawyer, then. "We just took a missile barrage to the aft end. All our propulsion is down. Probably a bunch of fires." He clicks his teeth with a tilt of his head.

[TAC3] "Easy" Julie says, "Wooohooo! One down, one to go!"

Polaris (Pol) pages Tillman and Oberlin: Praetorian is reeling as well, her engines flaring as her onboard training system registers several direct hits from the doughty — nay, suicidal — Vipers. Inertia is what carries her forward now, just half a klick away from the battlestar, as sixty-four missiles emerge from their holding bays, advancing forward in a line to punch through the Cerberus' defenses. Ten fall away, then ten more; the others, however, do not, charging forward with their deadly payload intact. And at this range, they really don't have far to go, crashing into the battlestar's exposed engines two by two. Then, at last, she slows to a stop, her engines powering down at last.

"Wilcox, use bow thrusters and put our nose on her as fast as you can, son." Tillman just nods with the last order.

[TAC3] "Bootstrap" Trask says, "So, like, as victors, we get to plunder, right? I call dibs on the EXLORAD."

Sawyer has stopped poking around or whatever she was doing back there, mainly because the fight has heated up and now CIC is under a leeeettle bit more pressure. Now she's watching the actions and reactions of the crew, as they scramble to get the upper hand again. If that's even possible at this point.

[TAC3] "Flasher" Marko says, " Bootstrap, Flasher. Heh, why not? You sure earned it far as I'm concerned."

[TAC3] "Toast" Cidra says, "Vipers, Toast. The Praetorian is down. Let us finish her off. Vipers, have some fun putting her away."

[TAC3] "Shiv" Sitka says, "Roger that, Toast."

"Well, now it's just the Praetorian. Let's see if this cheating bastard has anything else in store." Oberlin narrates in a distant voice as he again looks over at the console again. "We're not going very far the way we're shot up now."

[TAC3] "Lasher" Laskaris says, "Vipers, Lasher. You heard the lady. Mind the flak."

[TAC3] (from "CerbTac" Tillman) The Engines on the Cerberus flicker off as the missile hits register. Meanwhile, as the Corsair goes off the air, the few guns that can find enfilade turn their turrets onto the Praetorian. Then slowly, with every maneuvering thruster on the ship firing, the battlestar begins to rotate its nose and massive bow-mounted assault cannons towards the Praetorian. But its taking time..

[TAC3] "Money Shot" Tisiphone says, "Copy that, Lasher. Next best target after the engines, Sir?"

[TAC3] "Lasher" Laskaris says, "The hangar deck on the ventral side, Money Shot."

[TAC3] Daphne says, "Lasher, Kolettis. Yessir. Cleanup duty it is. I'm on your seven."

[TAC3] "Lucky" Alessandra says, "Lead on, Lasher. Will be on your six with Money Shot."

[TAC3] "Lasher" Laskaris says, "Hit it right, and we might be able t' hit their refueling lines and start a chain reaction, send that frakker to simulated Elysium."

[TAC3] (from Polaris) They say that 'close' only counts with respect to horseshoes and hand grenades, but the wits need to add a third category to that list: war games in the Uram Sector, where the final computer console in the new frigate's CIC winks off a mere two point seven seconds before she can volley off another sixty-four missiles against Cerberus' unprotected rear.

That, as they say in the business, is a good frakkin' kill.

With that, this simulated fleet action is finally over. Red training lasers wink off while dormant engines flare back to life; then, Praetorian and Corsair are forming up in perfect parade formation beside and slightly behind the battlestar they've just spent the better part of an hour trying to kill. Drones, swallows, debris, and the usual deep space dust slough off their sleekly beautiful hulls, the first and second of which a bevy of Logistics Raptors are already moving to collect.

Black silhouettes flare a gentle midnight blue in the light of that brilliant bright star — and at last, simulated war gives way to a tranquil, quiet peace.

Sawyer bends her head to start scribbling on her paper again. "And so if we died first, that means we lost, correct? At least it took longer then ninty seconds." She says simply, quoting back the Captain in the form of a question, looking for confirmation that the Cerberus lost the task.

[TAC3] "Toast" Cidra says, "I would not presume to know, Jugs. But we shall see." Cidra's tone is dry and there's a hint of a chuckle in it. She enjoyed herself tonight. "Cerberus, Toast. We are headed home."

[TAC3] "Easy" Julie says, "I frakkin' hope they let us drink after the past few weeks."

[TAC3] "Lasher" Laskaris says, "Vipers, Lasher. Scratch one missle frigate. Good job. Let's head home, shall we?"

[TAC3] "Jugs" Quinn says, "On your six, Toast… time to hit the showers."

[TAC3] "CerbTac" Tillman says, "Toast, Cerberus. Copy your last. Cleared into the break with minor traffic off the Praetorian. Outstanding job, everyone."

And just like that, the DRADIS console goes dead. Oberlin jerks his head upwards and snickers a little. "Boom." A pause, as he addresses Sawyer. "We didn't die though. Guess we justified this girl's expense." His grin is catlike. He doesn't waste any time, either, as he heads back on over towards the comm system and backs off of Condition 1.

<Intercom> Attention! Set Condition Three throughout the ship.

[TAC3] "Bunny" Evandreus says, "Jugs, Bunny, I'm with you. I'll scrub your back if you scrub mine, yah? Getting in line for RTB."

[TAC3] "Lucky" Alessandra says, "Good work, everyone. Yeah, let's pack it in and call it a night, Lasher. Lucky, out."

[TAC3] "Money Shot" Tisiphone says, "Well, frakdamn." There's a chuckle, scratchy and disbelieving. "We did it. Copy that, Lucky. Heading home."

Tillman takes off the headset, letting Oberlin handle the rest of air operations for now. He looks from the Lieutenant, then to Sawyer. "He's correct, Miss. We technically won the game. I'd suspect we took around.." He tilts his head back and forth. "Potentially around a hundred casualties. Maybe twice that wounded. It was a rough fight and the tactics were a gamble but they paid off. The Praetorian was killed before she could salvo off another barrage."

Sawyer makes a quick motion, likely a strikethrough line and then another annotation. "Anything you'd like to add for your fifteen minutes of fame, Captain? Lieutenant?" As this is the end of the war games, presumeably this'll be the end of Sawyer's investigation as well. They should hope, anyways.

Finishing up his duties, Oberlin turns about, the headset still affixed as he tucks his arms behind his back. "Let's see. Picon Panthers suck. Hi Edina. Solomon." He squints just a bit at Sawyer now and continues. "I'd like to tell the kids back home…" The squint deepens as he considers, finishing off with a simple, "Never mind. I don't want to tell the kids anything."

Tillman laughs at Oberlin's remarks and looks back to Sawyer with a shrug. "Just that I am damned proud of this crew. On a new ship, with new equipment, all with their own unknowns? I think they performed as best as could be hoped for. I know I'll be asking the CAG for a letter of commendation for one pilot in particular. What about yourself? Anything in particular you wanted to comment to us on?"

Sawyer ghosts a smile to Oberlin. Not what she meant, of course, but she's still amused by the answer. The quote from Tillman is more what she's looking for, but before she answers his question, she asks, "Which pilot, Captain?"

That's pretty much all the Lieutenant has to offer. "Lewis." Oberlin states, as he turns about, meandering away from his station to address the willowy petty officer, "That was flawless. Consider yourself complimented three times over."

Tillman folds his hands behind his back. "A Junior Grade Lieutenant by the name of Kal Trask. He's a countermeasures officer. The gentleman used to be an enlisted Deck member before he transferred to Raptors with a commission. That fake battlestar that was instrumental in the initial distraction?" He gestures towards the DRADIS screen. "That was his baby. From all accounts, he worked damned hard on it. I believe he came up with it all on his own. A junior officer with that kind of innovation and drive -should- be recognized."

Sawyer flicks her page with her thumb, continuing on writing as Tillman fills her in. She gives a little nod, her expression suitably impressed by that information. "Thank you all for your time. Quite a show." No, she never did get around to answering the Captain's question. Apparently, she has some writing to do, as she turns for the hatch.

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