MxM - 42. It's Always 42 (Air Wing)
MxM - 42. It's Always 42 (Air Wing)
Summary: The Air Wing side of the 42 Conclusion
Date: PHD 219-220 (25-26 november)
Related Logs: Directly after the Run this Town Briefing.

The 'countdown clock', which some enterprising deck technician has thought to mark off with electrical tape, reads thirty-eight minutes to the next attack. The latest crew of exhausted, threadbare pilots is just finishing up pre-flight, while a couple of mechanics are catching a few precious minutes' rest on the floor by the Chief's office, using their tool boxes as pillows.

Thea comes out of the Ready Room in her flight suit, just behind the cadre of pilots and engineering folks. "Mount up," she calls to said group. "Good hunting gentlemen. And I mean that in every sense of the word. I'll be in CIC."

Roubani has such deja vu right now. All through getting the big honking suit on, doing checks on the way to the Raptor. His fingers fumble more often than usual, not surprising considering the slivers of sleep they've all been getting. "Manfrin." He looks at the snipe that he's only run into briefly before. "Ready? Let's head in."

Callie goes to get her puffitypuffpuff suit on, looking a bit put out. Thankfully they haven't had much time to eat outside of the ocassional protein bar as of late whiich means she won't have too much to paint the deck with if she throws up lke last time. "I'm ready, sir." Shuffling, she goes to waddle in after Roubani, putting on the last of her EVA suit on. Quack, quack, waddle, waddle mother frakker.

Absalom glances over his shoulder at Thea, blows her a kiss, then heads off to his borrowed Viper, humming an old tune.

Matto clambors on board, the odds and ends of his flightsuit (helmet, gloves) still there from long hours of having sat there on deck taking them off and putting them back on again 40 minutes later. It doesn't take him long until he's geared up and checked, bringing the systems back up to green, from which they'd barely been lowered. He gives the Legsy a thumbs-up through the screen.

Thorn had just enough time to smoke and switch his singed flightsuit for a fresh one before the mission started. Now, he's perched in the back of Matto's Raptor, woodenly moving through the preflight routine just like any other time. "Engines, online. DRADIS, online. ECM, online. Ready t' take off." That's for Matto, and then his eyes swivel to the EVA team as they board the ship. "Strap in, don't blow chunks on my deck, don't nudge my elbows… but you lot know th' rules by now," Thorn announces to the passengers with a quirk of his lips.

"Nav is green, comms are green, support is green," Kissy lists back toward Thorn, though it's more for his own benefit than for his backseater's. "Full headcount back there, Thorn? I'll close up as soon as everyone's buckled in. Click it or ticket, people."

"Looks like everyone's here," Thorn notes dryly. "Close 'er up, let's get this movable beast underway."

Half-crawling, Callie manages to get up and into the Raptor and just in time to hear Thorn's rules. "I don't blow chunks," she retorts to the officer with a huff. "Not while flying, at least." Of course last time she EVA'ed she went out and in via the airlock so she didn't have a shiny little ship to hurl in so…well, yeah. Thorn might wind up not happy wth her. She sits and buckles up.

"That is the most disgusting phrase," Roubani mutters under his breath. Because really, that's the least of their problems.

Matto unlocks the hatch's control lever and shoves it into the closed position before locking it again. The hatch gladly complies as he clicks on the comms.

Thirty-five minutes. Tick, tick, tick.

[STC] "Madman" Matto says, "Kharon, this is Madman, reporting Foxbat-4 green for launch on your word."

[STC] Neha says, "Madman, this is Kharon. Green light and the best of luck."

[STC] "Madman" Matto says, "Kharon, Madman, expediting launch."

[STC] "Shadow" Absalom says, "Kharon, Shadow. Ready for launch on your go."

[STC] Neha says, "Madman, Kharon. Copy. Shadow, you're cleared."

Roubani is silent and still as they wait for launch go, and as word comes in his feet press gently against the floor of the Raptor. No doubt his internal clock is ticking on steady time with the ship's.

[Foxbat-4 'MADMAN': Matto] Foxbat-4 rises in a steady launch, then rotates once the hull is cleared, bringing its flank parallel to Kharon's and maintaining proximity speed. No wake, as it were.

[STC] "Shadow" Absalom says, "Roger that Kharon. Shadow launching."
New DRADIS Contact: Wolf-10 'DASH' arrives from Hangar Bay #1 - Hangar Deck.

[TAC3] "Madman" Matto says, "Kharon, Madman: reporting Foxbat-4 launched and on alpha proximity patrol."

[TAC3] Neha says, "Madman, Kharon. Copy. Keep us posted. Trying to see if the signal can be further triangulated."

[STC] Sapho says, "Kharon, Pournelle. Am green and ready for launch."

[STC] Neha says, "Pournelle, Kharon. You're a go."

[TAC3] "Black Cat" Legacy says, "Thorn, I want running commentary on what's going on once you're out there. If something even -thinks- of blinking, I want coordinates."

[STC] Sapho says, "Kharon, Pournelle. I've cleared the tubes."

[Foxbat-4 'MADMAN': Nike] As the raptor and its viper escort depart Kharon, DRADIS is silent and the skies are empty. Just the repetitive sweep of the scanner picking up nothing and more not- no, wait, there's something. Scattered contacts show up and then blip out of existence again. Meteorites. Detritus from comets. Space dust. The ship's skulking (hiding) in a veritable junkyard of rocks. One particularly large hunk drifts lazily toward the raptor, contacts its flank with a jarring thump, and skids off again, briefly pitching the craft off its axis.

The Kharon's portside is dark, like everything else out here. If the crew want to spot anything, they're going to need some light.

Roubani closes his eyes as the Raptor takes that hit and pitches. It's one thing when you're flying the craft yourself, and another when you're strapped into someone else's trust. Clearing his throat softly. "Have you got floods on this, Kisseus? Our kits have lights, but they won't stretch far."

[TAC3] "Thorn" Komnenos says, "Kharon, Thorn. Copy that. Madman, you want t' bring up the floodlights?"

[TAC3] "Shadow" Absalom says, "Pournelle. Who th…err…form up on my wing. Let's get a bit away from the Kharon and start looking through this soup for any bogeys."

Callie looks out of whatever hatch is nearest, looking out at the Kharon as they launch. Expression - one part 'gods, I wanna go home' mixed with three parts 'gotta do it, gotta do it', making her look rather like a kid who's stuck at camp and homesick while sticking it out so she won't be made fun of at school.

[TAC3] "Thorn" Komnenos says, "All this floating debris is going to make DRADIS problematic, but scopes are clear thus far."

Thorn takes the impact in stride; this is nothing compared to, say, a Cylon KEW storm over Scorpia. He simply braces himself with his hands as the ship pitches, then resumes working as Kissy restores control. For once, he even refrains from making the obligatory snide comment on the pilot's flying.

[Wolf-10 'DASH': Absalom] Right out of the tubes and Absalom nearly gets crushed by a rock. He rolls out of the way, and then tugs back on his throttle to take an inventory of things. After sending out an order, he moves in the general direction of the Raptor, but keeps far enough away to avoid any complications.

Matto, startled by the thunk, overcompensates for the tilt before compensating back again with a flurry of fingers over keys, the Foxbat pulling a sort of an unsteady wobble as Kissy tries his best not to knock into the ship itself. He's already done that once this month, after all. "Lights," he calls back, terse but not unfriendly, just focused, flicking the floodlights on and swiveling their beams toward the vessel's hull.

[Wolf-21: Sapho] The Viper Sapho fles is maneuvered carefully around the rocks while trying to catch up with Shadow, the floating junk making it a bit of slow work. She finally forms up on Absalom's ass, keeping back enough to provide cover without being so far behind that he'll wind up compromised. "Shadow, I've got your six. Sorry that took so long."

[TAC3] "Thorn" Komnenos says, "Kharon, Thorn. We're beginning th' search… nothing t' report yet except for a hell of a battered hull. Too bad it's anyone's guess when we'll see a drydock again, eh?"
[Into the Wireless] Komnenos says, "Kharon, Thorn. We're beginning th' search… nothing t' report yet except for a hell of a battered hull. Too bad it's anyone's guess when we'll see a drydock again, eh?"

Roubani twists around a little bit, looking out through the viewport towards the port side of the Kharon's hull. His eyes squint just a little as the Raptor's floods come on, flickering over the familiar metal of their home.

[TAC3] "Madman" Matto says, "Kharon, Madman, staying in alpha proximity for better visual survey. Continuing patrol into aft quarter one."
[Into the Wireless] Matto says, "Kharon, Madman, staying in alpha proximity for better visual survey. Continuing patrol into aft quarter one."

There's a soft hum as Calli looks back into the ship's interior, grabbing her gear just as Roubani starts to shine his light. "You go high, I'll go low," she suggest, meaning that she'll cover the lower half of the ship if he covers what's above it.

[TAC3] "Shadow" Absalom says, "Don't worry about it Pournelle. Just stay with me here. Keep your eyes peeled, DRADIS aint gonna pick up a rock flyin at your windscreen. Take it slow for now."

[Foxbat-4 'MADMAN': Nike] The raptor swings out of its launch trajectory, and sidles up along Kharon's portside to begin its tour of carrier country. The floodlamps come on, immediately illuminating the aging ship's battered and beaten hull. It was old when it set out from the Scorpian Shipyards, and it looks like it's been fighting this war for years, by the pockmarks, patched holes, and pieces literally ripped off to salvage more crucial areas. It's also slow, slow going doing a visual survey of the hull. Sweep up, sweep across, sweep down, sweep across, rinse and repeat. After about fifteen minutes of this, they're making good time. The bad news? No sight of anything suspicious.

[TAC3] "Thorn" Komnenos says, "Kharon, Thorn." The man stifles a yawn. "Still nothing, as we cross the halfway point."

[TAC3] "Black Cat" Legacy says, "Black Cat copy, Thorn. You've got 20 minutes until the next attack. At the fifteen, I want you heading home."

[TAC3] "Shadow" Absalom says, "Kharon, Shadow. Aint nothin on my scopes yet."

Roubani is squinting, squinting. Looking. A gentle exhale into his helmet, not quite enough to activate his mic. He squeezes his dry, itchy eyes shut, wanting little more than to be able to rub them. Or close them for about two days. Forcing them back open, his attention stays pinned on the Kharon's side.

[STC] "Dash" Martin says, "Kharon, Dash, ready for next shift. Trying to find a Viper."

[Wolf-21: Sapho] There's quite a bit of multitasking going on here between having to keep an eye on Shadow and on the Raptor as well as an eye on the DRADIS, making Sapho very glad that she's not easily frazzled since it'd be her undoing. "How's it looking from where you are," she calls out to the Raptors, making sure they're okay before going silent once more.

[TAC3] "Thorn" Komnenos says, "Black Cat, Thorn. Affirmative."

[Wolf-10 'DASH': Absalom] On through the soup of rocks and ice and whatever else is floating around goes Shadow. He's taking it slow and grumbling quietly to himself in his Viper as he 'fixes' Dash's settings more to his liking.

[STC] Neha says, "Dash, Kharon. Stand down."

[STC] "Dash" Martin says, "I copy. On deck. Out."

[STC] "Shadow" Absalom says, "Dash, Shadow. Stole your ship. Grow a few inches would you?"

[TAC3] "Madman" Matto says, "Black Cat, Madman, I hear you. Continuing patrol into fore quarter seventeen."

[Foxbat-4 'MADMAN': Nike] DRADIS is still quiet, save for the occasional 'ghost' signature from a larger piece of debris. 15 minutes left.

[TAC3] "Thorn" Komnenos says, "Kharon, Thorn. Still not a bloody thing out here. Fourteen minutes, thirty seconds, and counting."

[Wolf-10 'DASH': Absalom] Around and around they go, and there's nothing to show for it for now. Absalom yawns quietly, though, probably loud enough for his mic to pick up. He then looks out his window for a moment, and then back to the DRADIS for long enough to get a sense of things.

Callie shkes her head and sighs. "Needle, meet haystack." Reaching up, she tries to itch her nose which results in a *chink* when it meets the glass, making her very embarrassed. Peering about, she gives a slightly sheepish, 'nobody saw me, you can't prove anything' look if anyone catches her.

[TAC3] "Shadow" Absalom says, "Pournelle, Shadow. You see anything out there?"

[TAC1] Damon says, "Cavalera on shift. Moving to SecHub."

[TAC3] "Black Cat" Legacy says, "Black Cat copy, Thorn. Madman, do your engineers see anything at all?"

[TAC3] "Madman" Matto says, "Black Cat, Madman: Just a haystack. No needle, yet."

Roubani is still looking, not much else he can do from the extreme backseat. "Nothing," he mutters into his comm. "We may have to come out again after the next wave." Provided they're alive.

[TAC1] Salazar says, "Noted. Refresh the coffee pot."

[Foxbat-4 'MADMAN': Nike] Ten more minutes pass uneventfully. DRADIS continues to track nothing and more nothing. The raptor and its escort of vipers are pelted now and then with fractured bits of rock and dust; a brisk sussuration against windscreens and canopies. The floodlamp continues its sweep over Kharon's flank, picking out more than a few war wounds of battles past.

[Foxbat-4 'MADMAN': Nike] The time? Five minutes to engagement.

Roubani brows suddenly drawn, the squint scrunching up his nose. "Madman. Madman, /there/, do you see that?" He points, rather uselessly. "Right there at the engine mounting. Something just flashed."

[TAC3] "Shadow" Absalom says, "Madman, Shadow. I think I spotted something off near the engine mountings. Might want to go have a looksee."

Callie peers out and then pokes at Roubani, her finger sinking in as it makes contact with the suit. Puffy! "20 yards back from…" Of course Roubani beats her to it, causing her to pout. "Awwww. I wanted to tell!"

[TAC3] "Madman" Matto says, "Kharon, Madman, slowing speed to one fifth proximity. I saw it, Shadow. Any reading on that, Thorn?"

[Wolf-21: Sapho] Pournell manges to catch something. "Hey, Shadow. I think I saw something. 20 yards back." She doesn't deviate from their course, letting her lead decide if they'll go on or stay where they are.

[TAC3] "Black Cat" Legacy says, "Copy, Madman."

[TAC3] "Thorn" Komnenos says, "Hm. Nothing as of yet, Madman."

[Foxbat-4 'MADMAN': Matto] Foxbat-4 slides to a stop at alpha proximity from the location of the flash, otherwise simply matching Kharon in list.

[Wolf-10 'DASH': Absalom] At the transmission from Sapho, Absalom rolls his fighter over and looks over his shoulder. He does this for a few moments, and then returns to normal attitude before speaking in to the com.

Callie looks out. "It's behind the engine mounting. I think. Pretty sure." It's not a time for 'I think's and 'I'm pretty sure's, but it's all she has to give. It's up to the others to decide if they'll check or not.

[TAC3] "Shadow" Absalom says, "Pournelle, mark the location of what you saw. If they don't find anything up here, we'll go back and look."

[TAC3] "Madman" Matto says, "Black Cat, Madman, we're at your mark. Are we still RTB or are we going to try to take a closer look here?"

[TAC3] "Black Cat" Legacy says, "Madman, Black Cat. Five minutes on the clock. Mark the position and RTB. Shadow, Pournelle, you'll stay out, but close to Kharon."

[TAC3] Sapho says, "Yes sir. Will stick with Shadow and patrol."

[TAC3] "Madman" Matto says, "Black Cat, MAdman, position marked. Uploading ship coordinates to CIC now. Proceeding to Proximity Gamma to scramble RTB."

[Foxbat-4 'MADMAN': Nike] Blink. Blink. Blink. There's a tiny light, almost impossible to spot nestled in between rusted out hull panels layered in a tiled fashion to shield the ship from radiation. But there is a light, and it's winking on and off in a strange sort of pattern that's rhythmic in its own way. The source might not be familiar to anyone else, but it's probably familiar to LtJG Nadiv Roubani: a device the size of a large textbook, with a rotating array of lights darting about its perimeter.

[TAC3] "Black Cat" Legacy says, "Black Cat to all on deck Vigilantes. Five minutes until launch. In your birds and prepare for launch when the mark is given."

"Oh dear gods…" Roubani murmurs. His hand clicks the box at his hip on, switching frequencies. RTB'ing left in the hands on the Raptor folks.

[STC] "Dash" Martin says, "Kharon, Dash, loaded in Wolf eighteen and gettin loaded in tube eight. Locking into position now and green to go."

Thorn notices Poet's sudden movement, and he pauses from his fruitless work at the console to look at the other man. "What? What'd y' find?"

[STC] "Shadow" Absalom says, "Get outta my ship you jerk. Go steal your sister's."

[Foxbat-4 'MADMAN': Matto] Foxbat-4 peels away from close quarters, speeding up as it increases distance from the ship, arcing around and drifting along an easy parabola back to base.

[TAC3] "Case" Samantha says, "Case up and runnin' here… Just put the coffee in my IV next time."

Roubani's voice comes over the comm within the ship only. "Thorn, it's that. That thing we found before. Tell them it's back on the hull…I recognise those lights. There's some pattern, but I didn't have time to track it."

[STC] (from "Dash" Martin) Dash responds dryly. "I'd ask her but she's in sickbay…"

Callie blinks. "But if it disappeared…" Pausing, she looks over to Roubani. "We'll need a safe place to keep it once we get it." That's assuming it was stolen and didn't disappear on its own, which would make putting it safe petty stupid.

[TAC3] "Thorn" Komnenos says, "Kharon, Thorn. We have sighted th' object. Lieutenant Roubani confirms, it's the same object engineering lost. I've marked the position."

[STC] "Shadow" Absalom says, "You play a dangerous game Dash."

[TAC3] "Dash" Martin says, "Black Cat, Dash. Wing assignments? Case and I are ready for launch. Shadow police your bullshit I'm not in the mood."
[TAC3] "Madman" Matto says, "Kharon, Madman, scrambling RTB, requesting landing clearance."

[Foxbat-4 'MADMAN': Nike] Four minutes left on the countdown clock, as the raptor pulls away and starts its trajectory back to the flight deck. Three minutes. Three and a half.

And then DRADIS suddenly goes haywire. Five contacts blip in, followed by two more. Another, and another, and another. Ten appear clustered about a mile off the starboard side, and three contacts that register as 'HVYRAIDER' make egress from faster than light travel not two and a half feet from where the raptor is skimming the carrier's flank.

[TAC3] Sapho says, "There are five…no, seven contacts. All red. All red!"

[TAC3] Neha says, "Flight, Kharon. You're all cleared."

[TAC3] "Shadow" Absalom says, "Kharon, this is Shadow. Launch alert Vipers we got contacts incoming. Pournelle, stay on my wing, we're goin after the Heavies first."

[TAC3] "Black Cat" Legacy says, "Shadow and Dash, if you don't learn proper radio etiquette, I'm going to shove each radio up your ass sideways. You were given an order to scramble to your vipers and told to wait for your mark. The next time I hear someone asking for permission to launch, you'll be eating your Viper. Case with Dash. Pournelle with Shadow. Madman, get your tail down now."

[TAC3] "Dash" Martin says, "Black Cat, Dash, I read crystal."

[TAC3] Sapho says, "Roger, Shadow. Staying tight on your six."

[TAC3] "Thorn" Komnenos says, "Flight, Thorn, Cylon contacts coming out of FTL! I make ten Raiders at two kilometers out, and — hells. Three Raiders — no, heavy Raiders — right on top of us."
[Into the Wireless] Komnenos says, "Flight, Thorn, Cylon contacts coming out of FTL! I make ten Raiders at two kilometers out, and — hells. Three Raiders — no, heavy Raiders — right on top of us."

[Wolf-10 'DASH': Absalom] As the DRADIS lights up, Absalom pushes the throttle forward. Not too much mind you, but enough to get moving in on the Heavy Raiders. He waggles his wings to his wingmate, and then dives in, aiming for the lead.

[Wolf-18 'SHADOW': Martin] Dash bursts from the tube quickly, not wasting much time at all to spit from the side of the Kharon and out into the black of space. Turning in the direction of where the Raiders have been constantly coming from. Two days and many lives lost…and it's always the same. What's different this time is that there are 'Fatboys' to deal with. Pushing the speed to meet the opposition, he glances to his DRADIS to make sure that Case is enroute as well.

[TAC3] "Shadow" Absalom says, "Pournelle, Shadow. We'll take them out one at a time. Target the leader."

All this mess and Roubani without a Viper. The young man's mouth is in a thin line, shoulders stiffening as those heavy raiders jump in REALLY DAMN CLOSE.

[TAC3] Sapho says, "Will do, Shadow. Maybe we'll luck out that way."

[TAC3] "Case" Samantha says, "Alright, Dash, let's rock and roll."

REALLY DAMN CLOSE is right. It takes a good deal to shake Thorn up these days, but the sudden appearance of those three heavies seems to have done just that. Nevertheless, he's already gone into action, snapping his EW suite to full readiness as he looks out for jamming targets.

"Ohfrak," Kissy mutters up front. Yep, those are some Cylons waving at him through the windscreens. Metaphorically, of course. Faced with the decision of trying to pull away and evade, or trying to get back into the ship… well, he slams on the reserve engines, going as fast as possible down toward the deck. Straight through. Frak.

[TAC3] "Black Cat" Legacy says, "Thorn, Black Cat. How far are you from the deck?"

[TAC3] "Madman" Matto says, "Black Cat, Madman, attempting to land presently. We're coming in fast."

Callie looks over to Roubani. Her eyes are wide. Very wide. "Sir…?" Scooting closer, she all but leans on Poet.

[TAC3] "Thorn" Komnenos says, "Black Cat, Thorn. Too bloody far. We're — right, as Madman said."

[TAC3] "Black Cat" Legacy says, "Shadow, get those things off Madman's ass. Madman, bring it in hot if you have to."

"It's alright, Manfrin," Roubani tells Callie, keeping his voice admirably steady. "Hold on, we're going to be hitting the deck hard."

[Foxbat-4 'MADMAN': Matto] Foxbat-4 lurches forward with all it's got, just trying to chuck itself into the ship anyway it can get there.

[TAC3] "Shadow" Absalom says, "We're working on it Black Cat. Pournelle you best make sure your shots hit… should I."

[TAC3] "Madman" Matto says, "Black cat, Madman, hotter than the hells."

[TAC3] "Shadow" Absalom says, "Nice shootin Pournelle, repot."

[TAC3] Sapho says, "I'm hit….must have blown some frakking shrapnel into the cockpit. Frakkers."

[TAC3] "Black Cat" Legacy says, "Pournelle, do you need SAR or can you bring it in on your own?"

[Wolf-18 'SHADOW': Martin] It's not but a few seconds before Martin finds himself dodging incoming fire. Keeping his movements loose, he's focusing on the long game rather than the flashy, all out warfare style. Preserving his Viper, basically, he turns to intercept a Heavy Raider while he starts barking over the wirelo.

[TAC3] "Case" Samantha says, "Reinforcements are here. Everyone hold tight… Dash, you got a big boy on your ass… lets see if we can shake it."

[TAC3] Sapho says, "Shadow, same tactics. Call the target.t"

[TAC3] "Dash" Martin says, "Case, Dash, keep it loose and dodgy, they're all over the godsdamned place. Yeah, yeah I see him. Gonna bank low to port."

[TAC3] "Shadow" Absalom says, "No, Pournelle, NOT same tactics. Answer Black Cat. Can you get back to the barn or do you need SAR?"

[TAC3] Sapho says, "I'm fine, Black Cat. Sorry for missing your comms."

[Nem's Ride: Nemesis] Werewolf, one of those old Lieutenants you rarely ever see outside of her duty rotation, comes in hot on the combat. She got her nickname from always howling at the moon, and today is no different. Somebody's gonna die, cos she done smelt blood in the water.

Roubani sits tight, exhaling hard through his nose as heavy raider shots hit the Raptor on the way in. And him without a Viper, if hopefully not for much longer. "Almost there…"

[TAC3] "Black Cat" Legacy says, "Shadow, Pournelle, don't make me separate you two and send you to your rooms. Dash, how's it looking out there?"

[Wolf-10 'DASH': Absalom] A few shots from his viper mark up an already dead Heavy, and Absalom smirks just a bit. Even though he took damage, he's doing his job. He then rolls away from his attacker, and moves on to the next. Heavy threatening the Raptor.

[TAC3] Sapho says, "Do I need to leave or can I stay in the fight, Black Cat?"

[Foxbat-4 'MADMAN': Nike] The heavy raiders don't turn, don't pause, and don't fire on the fleeing raptor. The instant they jump in, they're gunning it for the Kharon herself, and simply blast the shit out of anything that gets in their way. One of the enemy craft is ripped into mid-strafe, the ship going to pieces and the centurions inside are torn limb from limb by the resulting explosion. The other two continue on course. There's maybe ten seconds to impact with Kharon's hull. The rest of the raiders, meanwhile, play interference with the Colonial ships, doing their best to wreak havoc while the bigger transports lumber toward their goal.

[Foxbat-4 'MADMAN': Matto] Foxbat-4 gets tagged three times, but each hit peripheral, sending the Foxbat careening and spinning, tumbling tit over teakettle at full thrust as it jets toward the deck. How it'll land now? Anyone's guess, really.

[TAC3] "Dash" Martin says, "Black Cat, Dash. We just got a Splash one on a Fatboy but we've got two more fatboys incoming with six bandits on assist. They got claws, over."

[TAC3] "Black Cat" Legacy says, "Pournelle, if your Viper is still functional, then you're on Shadow's wing. If you're not still functional, then why isn't your ass asking for SAR or RTB? Remain in until you get the call to RTB or you're no longer able to shoot."

[TAC3] Sapho says, "I'm still fucntional, Black Cat. Staying on Shadow's six."

[TAC3] "Shadow" Absalom says, "Pournelle, get on the second Raider this time. Let's see if we can't make the Marines life easier."

[Wolf-10 'DASH': Absalom] This time Absalom is not as lucky as he's usually been: a trio of bullets rip through his ship, two of them blowing shards of shrapnel into his faceshield. The third lodging itself just over Absalom's shoulder. The Viper pilot curses, and then slaps his coms.

[TAC3] "Shadow" Absalom says, "Got one one me I thought I lost in the wash. Pournelle, you still with me? Pournelle?"

Roubani already has his hand on the belt side as the Raptor spins for the hangar deck. Not /off/ yet, as gods know they still need to land, but he's certainly ready to sprint like hell for his bird.

[TAC3] "Shadow" Absalom says, "Kharon, Shadow. I'm RTB. My wingman is out and I've got rounds in the cockpit. I can't hardly see anything."

[TAC3] "Black Cat" Legacy says, "Shadow, RTB. Does Pournelle need SAR? Dash, we're calculating time to jump. Hold on out there."

[TAC3] "Poet" Roubani says, "Black Cat, Poet. Permission to launch, sir?"

[Foxbat-4 'MADMAN': Matto] Foxbat-4 comes gyroscpoing in, coming out of a spin, looking for all the world like it's about to land on its head, before its tail end flips and slams into the deck, the Raptor screeching backward across the landing area until it comes to an almost innocuous halt.

[TAC3] "Case" Samantha says, "Frak… damn things are determined. Dash, you okay over there? Looks like you took a hit…"

[TAC3] "Shadow" Absalom says, "Kharon, Shadow. Roger that. Send SAR for Pournelle. She is not answering on comms."

[TAC3] "Black Cat" Legacy says, "Permission granted, Poet. Stick close with Dash until Shadow gets back out there, then you'll be on his wing. Madman, are you able to go SAR?"

[TAC3] "Poet" Roubani says, "Copy, Black Cat."

[TAC3] "Dash" Martin says, "Case, Muse, sound off. Black Cat, Dash here. FRAh! Son of a bitch…CAT! I'm still in the fight but we're getting overwhelmed. Muse, flicker your running lights and then go black. We need an SAR on Muse. We're getting overwhelmed out here, sir, we've got to go evasive….yeah Case, my foot's taken some."

[TAC3] Sapho says, "Black Cat, Pournelle….*sizzling*….SAR. Am dead in the water."

[Wolf-18 'SHADOW': Martin] Firing and missing, Dash's viper takes a nasty hit in the body but it seems to avoid everything major, save for the fact that the hull under his feet suddenly juts up and jams into his leg. The space around him filled with weaponsfire, he continues to stay evasive, moving to try to cover his fellow pilots.

[TAC3] "Madman" Matto says, "Black Cat, Madman, Thorn's hurt and our controls have been hit."

[TAC3] "Black Cat" Legacy says, "Madman, get Thorn some assistance. Dash, maintain evasive maneuvers. One minute til jump. Hold on for 30 seconds, then get your asses back on deck. Foxbat-3, you're on SAR."

[JUDGE_570: Nike] The two fatboys slam into the side of the ship, the impact enough to crumple metal with a sickening grind and shriek that thankfully doesn't carry out into space. Hunks of the carrier's hull peel off and drift away, and nitrogen starts venting quickly. The second of the two collisions generates a terrific explosion that blasts the raider apart in a mess of wires, metal and bloody organs. Along with a wide swath of the Kharon, herself. Splintered pieces of bunk railings, personal belongings and linens are jettisoned, contributing to a fireball whose oxygen is quickly sucked away. Meanwhile, raiders continue to jump in, while their brethren pour rounds into the exhausted vipers.

[TAC3] "Dash" Martin says, "Case, go evasive. STAY evasive. Try to bug the shit out of them. Copy that, Cat."

[TAC3] "Case" Samantha says, "Copy, Dash."

[TAC3] "Thorn" Komnenos says, "Bloody… Black Cat, Thorn. I'm fine, just a bit of a scratch. Surprised th' frak out of me, is all."

[TAC3] "Black Cat" Legacy says, "Black Cat copy, Thorn. Get a band-aid on it then you and Madman prep an uninjured bird. You're going back out after the jump to get that device. Cra…Dash, Case, Poet, another fifteen seconds then RTB. Careful coming in, Kharon's been hit."

[TAC3] "Poet" Roubani says, "Black Cat, Poet. Copy. Closing in, will cover the retreat."

[TAC3] "Case" Samantha says, "*static* -controls out still - *static* -get! Dodging as - *static*"

[JUDGE_570: Nike] DRADIS continues to ping with more contacts jumping in. Several of them are heavy raiders, and several of them are armed with conventional warheads; no radiological alarms are going off. Yet. Rockets blaze into the battle, joining the report of guns and the scream of raider engines as the enemy craft bear down upon the vipers with a bitter vengeance.

[Wolf-6 'CASE': Samantha] Samantha's bird takes a HARD hit this time. Ouch. Fires break out and sparkle, burning and dying, all across the surface of her previously wounded, and now quite injured bird. She looks like she's about to go into a spin, engines dying for just a moment, but then somehow she manages to pull it out and drags herself back into formation, almost evading, but mainly doing her best to just point her weapons at the raiders and FIRE.

[TAC3] "Black Cat" Legacy says, "Black Cat, Raptor-5 you're clear to launch for SAR on Case. Get her in here fast."

[Wolf-21: Sapho] Wolf-21 is still, it along with its pilot out for the count save for the quiet voice of Pournelle. "S-shadow. I need…hurt." She's hovering on the incoherency born from pain, her mind foggy. Sounds like she's in pretty bad nened of a tow home.

[Nem's Ride: Nemesis] Werewolf's howl of victory is somewhat short lived as it's turned into a gurgle when shrapnel pierces one of those very extremely important things called arteries. Right through the neck. Arterial spray washes across her cockpit, her viper goes into a tailspin, and she responds no mo.

[Wolf-20: Roubani] Roubani's Viper (well, not /Roubani's/ Viper, but Roubani in a Viper) reaches the combat at top speed, guns immediately opening up on one of the Raiders trying to blow up Dash.

[JUDGE_570: Nike] The raptor that zips out to give Sapho a ride back is shown no mercy, either; it manages to hook her with its tow rope, and then is pounded by two missile salvos that take out its ECM equipment and a good part of its navigation. The pilot grunts something over comms, and guns her engines for the deck.

[TAC3] "Case" Samantha says, "*static* -here!"

[Wolf-18 'SHADOW': Martin] Despite his dodging, Dash's Mark VII takes a HARD hit in the controls that forces it to rattle and shudder. Visibly growling inside of his cockpit, Martin banks and rolls on his return course towards the Kharon's landing bay. He does happen to see the inside of Werewolf's cockpit covered in blood, gauging the wound with his mark one eyeball.

[TAC3] "Dash" Martin says, "Kharon, Dash. Prep for a rough landing I'm having severe flight control problems. Case, get your ass back. We need that SAR NOW. KIA on Werewolf and incoming fox-fire. More contacts, DRADIS is frakked can't read, repeat, cannot read."

[Wolf-10 'DASH': Absalom] Flying rapidly towards base, it seems that Absalom makes little to no headway during the last round of fighting. He had to dodge some rocks and other various things. And he's half blind. So. Good job so far. He continues flying and then ducks in for his landing.

[TAC3] "Black Cat" Legacy says, "Pournelle, Raptor's got you and is limping. Hold tight. All craft, get back on deck now. Case, your SAR is incoming."

[TAC3] "Case" Samantha says, "No… *static* -flying… coming ho -*static*"

[TAC3] "Case" Samantha says, "Copy? -*static*"

[Wolf-20: Roubani] Roubani blows the crap out of one of the Raiders on Dash's tail, though too late to keep it from tagging the back of the man's Viper. He swings around, taking a light tap on the nose, and screams back for the Kharon, covering Sam's Raptor.

Callie looks up from where she stopped, frowning as she wipes the back of a hand over her mouth to rid it of the last of the bile that came up. She knows there are others here even though she can't quite make them out from the deck, and now she's embarrassed on top of ill.

Mimi sighs softly, watching the two go, and turns to the white-clad figure on the deck. "You all right, miss?" she asks, moving to guide her to the door if she's unsteady on her feet. Her eyes widen as she catches sight of the girl's face. "Callie!"

Absalom reaches up and gently lifts the shredded canopy of Dash's bird. He winces a bit as chunks fall out of it and on to him. He then starts to pull his helmet off and, before he realizes some of the larger shrapnel chunks are not only through his visor, but also into his face, he tears a few chunks out, turning what could have been only slightly bloody cuts, into pouring wounds. "Owwwwwwww…." he says, blood running down from a few cuts as he tosses his mostly useless helmet away.

[Wolf-18 'SHADOW': Martin] Despite looking more like a whad of rolled up paper than than a Mark VII Viper, Martin is able to bring his Viper in and skid across the deck to a stop. Leaning back in his seat to breathe a sigh of relief, he checks the round in his service pistol as his Viper is lowered to the deck. Popping the canopy, he winces from a pair of shrapnel wounds in his right leg and sounds out the call. "Medic!" Hs voice muffled for only a second as he's ripping off his helmet, he pushes up on his left leg to start limping down his ladder, dripping blood onto the deck.

Sam might not have been able to hit the broad side of a barn, but even with her heavily damaged bird she's actually able to bring the thing down and in on a surprisingly smooth combat landing. A few skids on the deck and she's coming to a non-explosive, smooth hault. She's a good pilot and it occasionally shows! A heartbeat later, her canopy is being popped and she swings out, unhurt other than some sweat in her eyes. "What the frak hit the ship? Have we been boarded…bombed??" She asks breathlessly, brain already running onto the next issue.

Callie pauses aand then gets to her feet and clings to Marissa, bawling. "Mimi. Ra-raiders…ships, fighters…" She's about fightened to death and she clings, needing support from the other woman. "We're going to die, Mimi. They won't stop coming until we're all frakking DEAD! Oh GODS!"

As Absalom starts to climb down from his borrowed ride, blood gushing down over his flightsuit and really making him look much worse off than he is, he spots what's left of /his/ bird and the man puts one hand up on top of his head, half in shock, and calls, "DASH!" Or maybe he's just real concerned about his usual SL. That might be it.

Matto is over by an as-yet-undamaged Foxbat, climbing in and out of it as he preps it for service in lieu of his usual ride; Thorn's off getting his hand tended to and into an untorn flightsuit. He tries not to look voer the deck too often; work to do. But all the yelling and crashing and calling for medics is starting to wear away at his calm.

Mimi suddenly finds herself being used as the world's largest teddy bear. Even with the sound of emergency landings all over the deck, she hugs Callie back. "We're not going to die, Callie," she replies, trying to guide the girl over to the sidelines, out of the way of the hurrying deck crews and medics. "Come on, we've got to let them work."
She shoots a questioning look at Sam, knowing something's up but not able to ask out loud.

Another ping to add to a slightly damaged Viper. Roubani's climbing out of it quickly, careful with the arm that got shrapnelled last night. His boots hit the deck and he stays by his ladder, out of the way of medic crews rushing towards the injured. "Manfrin, stop it. Pull it together, we're a far cry ahead of where we were an hour ago. We're going to make it." His eyes turn towards the damaged Vipers.

"I landed it. Deal. I'm that good." Martin says, growling as he hits the deck. Hanging onto the ladder for support, he draws his pistol and rests his finger over the safety as he moves. He's not gushing blood, but he could use a pressure patch on the thigh wound for sure. Limping heavily as he moves, he grits his teeth and looks back to Sam. "Alright EVERYBODY SHUT THE FRAK UP!!!!" Martin bellows, not putting up with this shit anymore. "Flight crew, get those birds ready for move, we're gonna likely get hit again in another forty two minutes. Matto? We're gonna need medkits and any back up rifles in the Raptors if there are any. We can't let them take the hangar if we've been breached. All I know is that we didn't get those Fatboys." Martin says, going into game mode. "Does anyone know the layout of what goes into this area? We need to secure it…"

Having ducked into the ready room with a medkit, Thorn emerges back on the flight deck with a fresh 'suit and a real bandage on his injured right hand. He flexes the limb in question experimentally before pulling on a new pair of gloves. The man's expression is strained, but he returns to the parked Raptor, apparently ready to hop back into action.

Samantha looks around her poor ship, frowning at the damage… "I'll do a dash about… see particularly vunerable areas…" And with that, Sam goes dashing down the deck, looking for a mix of possible damage and open areas they need to get covered.

Callie looks over to Poet and sighs, quickly getting herself back under control, much to her credit. "Sorry, Poet." Mimi is nodded to now but she doesn't let go for a while, not until she's able to walk and walk she does, right out of the hangar.

The ship shudders and groans repeatedly as it's slammed with weapons fire. Down in the engine room, the ship's main propulsion stutters briefly as it's rocked with multiple impact wounds. All batteries pivot and fire until empty, snaring what feels like a few more raiders in their flak ring, judging by the secondary impacts made by exploded hunks of dead weight.

Wolf-21 comes in, towed by a Raptor as it's inoperable. There's no sign of movement from within the cockpit outside of a rythmic side-to-side motion, looking as if whoever is in there lacks the muscle strength to hold it still and upright.

Matto sits in the new raptor, gearing it up, greening the boards. Then the shuddering and he holds on out of reflex, letting go when it's done. It's only by the third strike that his face drains of color as the realization sets in that they're -not- jumping.

Absalom lays back on the deck, and then touches his face where he is still bleading. He looks over to one side, and then asks, "Think I got time to run get stiches?" idly of those in the vicinity.

Mimi guides Callie to a seat near the side, looking back into the hangar with worried eyes. "Rest here, honey. There'll be a medic along shortly." She's hearing the orders just fine, but it'll be a moment before she can do much. No point in being ready to fly, with Thorn insisting on going out again in spite of his wound. And then it hits her. For the first time since this started, there's no hum of the FTL spooling up to spirit them to safety. "We're… we're still here," she observes haltingly. Well, somebody /always/ has to say the obvious.

From his perch in the back seat, Thorn looks up with alarm as the ship rocks under the impact of weapons fire. He appears to have reached the same conclusion is Matto; his brow quirks worriedly as he finishes running through pre-flight.

"Frakkin…" Martin scoffs as Callie heads off, trying to play the role of the officer. There's no doubt that he isn't doing this to earn some better brass. Limping towards the intercom, he keeps his pistol in his hand and his senses alert. "No, you don't. Thorn, Matto? Can someone help us get patched up?" Martin says, coming to a stop. Slapping the intercom, he glances back to Poet. "You're the smart one…we need a plan."

[Intercom] Martin says, "This is Black. All birds on board that are coming. Securing Hangar."

[Intercom] Praxis says, "All hands, prepare for FTL travel. … Three, two, one. Jump. … Jump complete."

To Be Continued…

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