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

Hangar Bay

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.

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."

Roubani frowns, having braced for a jump…and all they're getting is more weapon blasts. "Gods. I'm going to rip that damn thing straight off the hull with my /teeth/ if I have to." He looks over at Martin, glancing at the bleeding leg with pursed lips. "Get two people into the stairwell on watch, in case anything's breached and is on its way up." He points up to the catwalks. "A couple elevated up there. Shooting down is a better position." Ah, there's the jump.

One of the deck crew finally notices Pournelle's ship and works on getting the canopy open only to suddenly yell out, "We need medics!" Sounds pretty serious if the cremember's tone is any indication.

Samantha jogs back, a hint breathless, though as she hears Roubani's orders she nods curtly.."There's the brains of this operation…Good eyes. Damage down there ain't bad… nothing penetrate-able. High ground like Poet said and just defend as we go!" Sam's already in the process of climbing, up to the catwalks, her gun at her side, having been picked up from a locker on her dash, it seems… she's ready for a fight.

After what seems like a lifetime under the barrage of enemy fire, which is in actuality probably no more than a minute or two, the announcement comes over the wireless, and the ship slips sideways out of existence… and back in again. The silence is deafening, the sea of faces all upturned, the expectant eyes.

There's a distant groan, a creak, and a nails-on-chalkboard scraping as one of the ruined vipers that came in, skids off to the end of the flight deck as the carrier pitches sideways. Otherwise, it looks like everything is mostly in one piece.

[STC] "Dash" Martin says, "Kharon, Dash, what's your status, over?"

"Alright that's a good start. We don't want to seal anything up because we've got to protect the lifeboats." Martin replies. Reaching to his pocket, he pulls out a pack of cigarettes and lights one with a bloody hand. Tapping the side of his head against the wall to force himself to think, he lowers his gaze onto the Raptors. "Are any of you balls to the wall enough to go out there and get that frakking thing off the hull? If so, I need deck volunteers to secure this place."

Matto just about swoons from relief as those words come over the comms, remembering to breathe. He can't hear too much of what's going on outside the Raptor, otherwise. People yelling. Boards greened, however, he crawls back into the cabin and looks out onto the deck. "Frak and hells," he finally takes a look at the wreckage. Lifting his voice, "Nadiv! We're dispached ASAP to scramble removal of that… thingy." Technical term.

"You know already I'm going back out." Roubani's got a personal issue with that blinking thing now. It got away from him ONCE. At Matto's call he turns around, nodding. "Ready when the bird is, Kisseus."

Samantha frowns as she hears that, swearing lightly…"You all need birds around… someone give me a fixed one and I'll go out to watch your back. Ain't goin' alone, that's for frakking sure."

Mimi ignores the question. She's not checked out for EVA yet. Instead, she turns to the deck phone to call Medical, to get a team up here for triage. Somebody's hurt in one of those cockpits, and there are wounded people here. That's what she knows best.

"Bird is ready," Kisseus calls back, "Board and clip up before you strap in. We'll be going depressurised as soon as we clear hull." And then he's crawling back to the cockpit to strap in, himself.

"What th' frak you think we're sitting here for, Dash? A tea party?" Thorn calls out from the open Raptor. His tone is more than a bit sarcastic, but not hostile to the other pilot. Thorn's eyes go from Martin to Roubani. "All aboard, then, Poet. Boards are green, let's go get that bloody thing." With that, his helmet is clicked back into place, and he waits for the EVA crew to board before slapping the hatch controls.

Roubani heads for the Raptor, at double-time stride. He looks more pissed right now than he has in a long time.

[TAC3] "Case" Samantha says, "We sending a CAP to protect the Raptor while she's getting that sucker off our hall? Requesting assignments, sir."

[TAC3] "Madman" Matto says, "Kharon, this is Madman, Foxbat-5 is greened for launch as soon as we shut hatch. Clearance to scramble retrieval of the… item?"

[TAC3] (from "Knight" Praxis) There is no reply.

Roubani lets off a low breath when nothing comes back across the wireless. "We can't wait. They're going to be back soon."

[TAC3] "Thorn" Komnenos says, "Bugger." Thorn mutters a sharp expletive under his breath as no reply comes from CIC. "Let's just go get th' bloody thing."

Matto sits there. Waits. Waits some more. Begins to get a little nervous. "The… shit… are they…" he doesn't finish that sentence.

[TAC3] "Dash" Martin says, "Frak it. Launch. Foxbat-5 you keep your ass moving and Vigilantes, buy them some time. Get that thing off of the gods-damned hull and then cover Foxbat-5 back to landing. Foxbat-5, then stay on SAR alert while Vigilantes you do your best to keep them off of the damned ship. No cowboy bullshit, guys, STAY EVASIVE as long as you're keeping them the frak off of the Raptor."

[TAC3] "Madman" Matto says, "Right. We're ready to launch, here. Case, Dash, you green?"

[TAC3] "Case" Samantha says, "Ready and rarin', Madman…"

[TAC3] "Dash" Martin says, "Foxbat-5 you have Poet and Case. I'm securing the hangar. I'm getting a bird ready if you need back up."

[TAC3] "Madman" Matto says, "Case, Madman, good to hear. Clear me a path, will you? Launching in three. Two."

In Spaaaaaaaace

[TAC3] "Madman" Matto says, "Case, Madman, going to gamma proximity and expediting approach to noted ship's grid coordinates."

Roubani has his belt off almost as soon as they've cleared the Kharon, not waiting for the all-clear. Bumpiness will have to be dealt with on his feet. He grabs the small towline in the back of the Raptor's bay, clipping it into the hook on the side of his suit belt, and starts securing his helmet.

[TAC3] "Case" Samantha says, "Copy, Madman…I've got your back, just point me in the right direction. And damn…this ship smells like Mooner."

Should anyone have noted down the time, and think to check it, the hide and seek crew is back to thirty-eight minutes for retrieval of the doodad. At least they know where it is, on this go-round.

These procedural messages seem to focus the better part of Kisseus' flying. With no CIC to listen, Case will have to have her ear talked off.

[TAC3] "Dash" Martin says, "Bangbang, you on deck sugar?"

[TAC3] (from Nike) Bethany's familiar voice chirps, "Sure am, sweet cheeks. Whatcha need?"

[TAC3] "Dash" Martin says, "Who all do we have one deck, I'm getting to a Viper now…can you get out there?"

[TAC3] (from "Madman" Matto) "Case, Madman, beginning depressurization of Foxbat-5 on my mark. … … Mark." And, on cue, the Foxbat begins to spit little streams of white vapor into the dark as it arcs gently toward the coordinates, spinning on its mid-axis to get the hatch to face the area in question when it opens.

[TAC3] (from Nike) "Uhh…" There's a few moments silence from Bangbang. "…you want me to count? I'm good to go if you need someone to show you up at flying, Boner."

Roubani reaches for one of the metal rails on the wall, steady as the depressurization begins. He can feel his body lifting a bit off the floor, succumbing to the vacuum of space, and the sudden rush in his ears from the added kick-on of his oxygen tanks.

[TAC3] "Poet" Roubani says, "Thorn, Madman, Poet. Give the word when in position."

[TAC3] "Case" Samantha says, "I'm watchin', Madman…just keep up the good work."

[TAC3] "Thorn" Komnenos says, "All ships, Thorn. No company so far."

[TAC3] "Dash" Martin says, "Deck Crew knows how to do their damned jobs. I'm loading into a Viper now. Let's get out there and help them."

[Foxbat-5: Nike] It's quiet as the grave out here. No rocks, no dust, no asteroids or meteorites or robot chickens. Just a very, very battered Colonial Escort Carrier, with a blinking doodad pasted to its hull. From where the raptor's positioned to let its passenger out, the heavy raider can be spotted, still lodged in Kharon's flank. Gods only know what's going on in there.

[TAC3] "Madman" Matto says, "Poet, Madman. Depressurisation at ninety-five percent, ninety-seven percent, ninety-eight, and we're in the green for EVA. Opening the hatch."

[TAC3] "Poet" Roubani says, "Damn. Dash, Poet. Heavy raider's stuck in the hull over here. There might be company onboard, make sure the ones still in the hangar bay are on alert. Copy, Madman."

[Foxbat-5: Matto] Foxbat-4's hatch opens with only the mildest puff of remaining airstuffs, just as the Foxbat glides into alignment with… the thingy.

[TAC3] "Dash" Martin says, "Flight, Dash, don't touch the embedded raiders. They're plugging the hole."

[Foxbat-5: Nike] Of course, the site of the second impact is just a big, charred hole in the side of the ship. There isn't much left of the raider that hit it save for unidentifiable pieces that have mostly been dislodged by now. Presumably, that portion of the ship has been vented and sealed.

[Foxbat-5: Roubani] Roubani takes two slow breaths, feeling the familiar, brief dizziness that comes with looking out into yawning space. Then his foot pushes on the Raptor's deck, his left hand dragging along the towline as he lets himself drift out the back of the craft and towards the Kharon's hull. In for a landing.

[TAC3] "Thorn" Komnenos says, "Dash, Thorn. Thank you, Lieutenant Obvious."

[Wolf-4 'JESTER': Martin]
Launching from one of the tubes despite his wounded leg, Martin moves to form up on CAP, focusing a defensive screen to assist Case near the engine well where the Raptor is working. Keeping it simple, he lowers his eyes to his Dradis while he tries to ignore the debris around them that's fallen from the ship.

[TAC3] "Case" Samantha says, "Don't make fun of him, he gets proud when he figures things out!"

[Wolf-12 'MOONER': Samantha] A nervous laugh comes from Case over the comms after that little jibe. She's trying to make light… but she's a bit scared. It's like a graveyard out there and she can feel it..

[TAC3] "Dash" Martin says, "That's what they pay me for. Bangbang, see if you can get someone in the Hangar on the horn, we need that communication line open."

[TAC3] "Thorn" Komnenos says, "Hnh. I'll make him a cake when we get back t' the ship, then."

[Foxbat-5: Roubani] Roubani's boots hit Kharon hull and he flips the magnetic switch on. They make a *thunk*. Or they would, if there were any sound in space. As it is there's just nothing…nothing but the silence and the gentle roar of life breath in his helmet. He kneels down by his target, giving it a preliminary tug with gloved hands before pulling open the top of the toolcase.

[TAC3] "Poet" Roubani says, "Madman, Poet. It's fused to the hull, going to need a minute to get it off here."

[TAC3] "Thorn" Komnenos says, "Poet, Thorn. Don't rush yourself; we've still got some time. I'll let y' know when the clock's running short."

[TAC3] (from Nike) Bethany grouses back, "The frak do I look like, Dash, your secretary? If they ain't answerin', maybe there's- wait, how long do we have, anyway?"

Matto is quiet, for now. Breath very shallow. The sort of shallow breath is wonted to get when its owner is fishing for cylon hardware with his boyfriend as the hook on the line. A hand slowly moves to the comm switch.

[TAC3] "Dash" Martin says, "Make it a pie, Thorn. Poet, Dash, any chance it's explosive? If so, we need Fox-5 to back off of you a bit. Can't take chances here."

[TAC3] "Madman" Matto says, "Poet, Madman. I hear you. What Thorn said."

[TAC3] "Poet" Roubani says with some morbid humour in his voice, "Thorn, Poet. There's always a chance. Look at it this way; if it is and goes off, least it's destroyed."

With little else to do at the moment, Thorn relocates from the back seat to the front. Perhaps he notices the apprehension in Kissy's demeanor; after a long, silent look at the other man, Thorn's unwounded hand reaches out to squeeze the pilot's shoulder reassuringly. Or what he hopes is reassuringly, anyway.

[TAC3] "Case" Samantha says, "Come on… don't let it blow up too early. You rub it gentle enough I'm certain it can hold things back."

[TAC3] "Thorn" Komnenos says, "You really had t' go there, Case?"

[Foxbat-5: Roubani] Roubani only has experience to go on, from the last time they surgically removed this thing from the hull. Sitting on his heels on the hull, he gets out a small cutting tool from the kit squeezed between his knees, bending tightly at the waist to start ripping the thing off the metal.

[TAC3] "Dash" Martin says, "Bangbang, Dash, We're six minutes down, thirty-six to go. Well if it does go off, Poet, you're a hero either way and there's no way in hell you'll feel it. Just be careful, alright? Fast but steady, we're on a clock. *pause* Foxbat-5 give Poet some distance. Kharon, Dash. We need someone in the hangar on the wireless, do you copy?"

[TAC3] (from Nike) There's only static from CIC.

[TAC3] "Case" Samantha says, "Come on… we all die tomorrow, I'd rather go out thinkin' about doin' the nasty than cold cylon ass."

Matto's focus is on keeping the Foxbat in position, at this point. He doesn't pull back, not wanting to jostle the Poet in his work. Or… get too far away? His shoulder shifts a little in silent acknowledgement of Thorn's gesture.

[TAC3] "Madman" Matto says, "Dash, Madman, we're fine here. Not going to yank the Poet's chain at this point."

[TAC3] "Birdman" Sparro says, " Flight, Birdman. We're not getting any reply on internal coms, either. Something's not right up there."

[Wolf-4 'JESTER': Martin]
Piloting his Viper to get a better view of the hangar, Martin keeps his breath steady and calm as he's slowly bleeding onto the cockpit that he's sitting inside of. It's not his, of course, but it isn't likely that anyone's flying their own bird anymore.

[TAC3] "Dash" Martin says, "Birdman, what's your six?"

[TAC3] "Thorn" Komnenos says, "Th' frak, is it state th' obvious day an' no one told me? Let's do the job we've been given before we start worrying about anything else, eh?"

[TAC3] "Birdman" Sparro says, " Dash, Birdman. I'm on standby right next to by Raptor. We're having trouble getting a response from Medical, as well."

[TAC3] "Dash" Martin says, "Alright, I need you to help the deck hands secure that hangar and keep it secured. I need you to let us know if something's coming for it. If CIC sounds an Evac that position becomes sacred, do you copy? LET NOTHING IN. Keep the deck hands working on the vipers and make sure any available pilots are present. If it's just us, it's just us. That location's GOT to hold."

[Foxbat-5: Roubani] Roubani keeps working on the thing, his attention so focused on it that the comm chatter mostly fades away to a dull drone in his ears. His hands only stop for a few seconds as he watches the blinking of the lights around the device, brows drawing. Blip, blip, the lights go in a certain pattern…then he's working again.

[TAC3] "Birdman" Sparro says, " Copy that, Dash. Anything tries to get through those doors I am gonna chuck a wrench at them like you wouldn't believe."

[TAC3] "Poet" Roubani says, "Madman, Poet. It's putting out the same signal as it did before. It's…partly copying a Colonial one. I can get it off the hull, but I don't think I can disable it."

[TAC3] "Birdman" Sparro says, "Tac3 Dash, Birdman. That's perfect. Have the Raptor jump away, then leave it to float in some hunk of space FAR away from us…"

[TAC3] "Thorn" Komnenos says, "All ships, Thorn. 30 mikes still on th' clock."

[TAC3] "Madman" Matto says, "Poet, Madman. That's fine, um, here, bring it on board. We'll jump away and leave it somewhere."

[TAC3] "Poet" Roubani says, "Madman, Poet. Copy."

[TAC3] "Thorn" Komnenos says, "Dash, Thorn. Poet's recovered the device and is returning t' the Raptor. We'll be returning t' base as soon as he's aboard."

[TAC3] "Dash" Martin says, "Flight, Dash, gods I hope they're working on our next FTL…the important part is getting it off of the ship. If we can't get CIC on the horn we can't coor…You have twenty mikes to get your asses back here."

[TAC3] "Dash" Martin says, "Twenty mikes, you copy?"

[Foxbat-5: Roubani] Roubani hasn't /quite/ recovered the device. He's still working, as fast as he can in heavy gloves, the cutter tool making a faint orangelike glow as it heats and fires between the Kharon's hull and the foreign object.

Matto says, "Thorn, we're not scrambling RTB. Get our FTL up and running. We've got six minutes to get out, six minutes to get back, and we dump the thing in the middle."

[TAC3] "Thorn" Komnenos says, "Scratch last transmission. As soon as we've recovered Poet and the device, we'll jump, dump it, an' return."

[TAC3] "Case" Samantha says, "You boys be careful…"

[TAC3] "Madman" Matto says, "You all just make sure they don't jump out without us, yah? We should be back in plenty of time, but—"

"How many minutes 'til we're spooled up, Thorn?" Kissy asks, off-coms.

[Foxbat-5: Roubani] Stay focused. Stay focused. Roubani licks his dry lips and clears an equally dry throat, tool firing, moving, firing, moving…until about a minute later, he works his gloved hands under the side of it. Bracing his knees against the hull, he sits back and pulls, straining his back until the device shudders its way off its perch.

Thorn corrects himself over the radio with a wan smile. "My mistake. You got it." He's back to his console, working at the FTL drives. "Spinning up FTL. Drives ready for jump in less than one minute. Just give th' word."

[TAC3] "Poet" Roubani says, "Madman, Poet. I've got the damned thing. Heading back in."

[TAC3] "Case" Samantha says, "But?…Madman, you there? Don't leave us hanging."

[TAC3] "Madman" Matto says, "Sorry, Case. But just in case we get delayed. We'll be back. I hear you, Poet. Ready to shut the hatch as soon as you're in. Thorn, when Poet's strapped in, we jump."

[TAC3] "Dash" Martin says, "Gods be with you guys. Twenty mikes."

[Foxbat-5: Roubani] Roubani stuffs the device into the crook of his marshmellow-suited arm, grabbing the tow line. Magnets on his boots flicked off, a hard push off the hull sends him into weightlessness, and a few pulls of the towline guide his return to the Foxbat.

[TAC3] "Thorn" Komnenos says, "Copy that. FTL is spooled up, ready t' jump."

[TAC3] "Poet" Roubani says, "Thorn, Poet. I'm in and secure. Wouldn't happen to have a pocket-sized warhead and a bit of chewing gum, would you?"

[Foxbat-5: Matto] Once Kissy visually confirms Nadiv's touched down, he shifts the hatch lever and the doors slide silently shut.

[TAC3] "Thorn" Komnenos says, "Dash, Thorn. Poet's aboard. Triggering jump in three… two… one… *crackle*"

Foxbat - 5 jumps away

[Foxbat-5: Komnenos] As Thorn reaches the end of the countdown, he trips the Raptor's FTL drive. The small craft is enveloped in a brilliant flash of light, and is gone. Now, the waiting ensues.

Roubani slumps roughly into his seat, grabbing the belt and pulling it over his chest. Click. His body is tense as he hears the call for the jump, the arm holding the cylon device shaking with the force that it keeps the thing held to his chest.

[Foxbat-5: Nike] The viper escort is left to their own devices as the raptor blinks out of existence. It's even quieter out here without the fatboy around. Kharon continues to drift on-course, landing lights on the flight deck blinking rhythmically; the view from out here is of wreck and ruin. It's a wonder the thing is still holding together. Oh, there goes a slab of hull plating.

[Wolf-4 'JESTER': Martin] When the Raptor blinks out, Martin leans back in his seat and sighs. Reaching under the seat, he pulls out the medical kit and unwraps a packaged slap patch for the wound on his leg. Having lost a lot of blood, he brings the Viper to stop away from the floating debris and provides himself some in-bird medical care.

[TAC3] "Dash" Martin says, "Flight, Dash. Cover me, applying a patch while we wait."

Matto takes a breath. "Okay, start spooling up again, Thorn. Poet, get ready to chuck the thingy. Thorn, how are our skies looking?" he asks, hand on the controls to open the hatch again.

"Affirmative," Thorn replies crisply, refusing to allow his apprehension at being seperated from the carrier show. After all, he's still got a working jump drive, right? No worries. A quick check of DRADIS reveals no red blips. "Clear, Madman," he replies. "Let's chuck this bloody thing and go home."

Matto opens the hatch on the word clear. The Raptor, of course, was never repressurized, so there's none of that to go through, again.

"Ready." Roubani watches the ceiling of the Raptor. It takes him a second to get back up and near the cargo doors, floating along. All the movement's ripped the bandage around his upper arm, and he can feel the warm wetness of new bleeding inside his suit near the shoulder. As the hatch opens, he sends the thing out the back with a vicious whip of his wrist. "And…it's gone."

The view from the cockpit is clear. There's nothing in sight but space and more space. In the distance, a milky star cluster that might be the Pasiphus nebula that one used to be able to see from Charybdis station. But it's a long way off.

[TAC3] "Case" Samantha says, "Copy, Dash. Got your back."

Matto takes a deep breath. Wow, it almost feels restful out this way. And the thingy's gone, so he starts the hatch closing again. "Right. When we're spooled up and Poet's buckled in again… take us home, Thorn."

[TAC3] "Dash" Martin says, "What's it lookin like in there, Birdy?"

[TAC3] "Case" Samantha says, "Lookin' fine over here…how you holdin' up."

"FTL spooled Madman. Plotting…" As Thorn begins to plot the jump home, he starts to reconsider that 'no worries' bit. He'd jumped far, and jumped blindly; seemed like a good idea at the time, to hopefully confuse the Cylons. Now the possible negative side effects of that decision are, in fact, reality. "Frak me," he hisses at himself, as the unexpected additional time needed to plot the jump means the Raptor is still right where it's at for the moment, achingly alone against the empty backdrop of space. "Plotting, Madman. Just a minute longer…"

The dratted device, hull critter, doodad, doohickey, sails away into the darkness with a blink of its lights that soon fades to nothing.

[TAC3] "Birdman" Sparro says, " Dash, Birdman. It's pretty clear here, but still no word from CIC. Do we have any spare ECO's hanging out? We may need to get them to Engineering, maybe plot an emergency jump. If the Cylons arrive and CIC is still off line…"

[TAC3] "Dash" Martin says, "We're a little low on everything right now. By my count we're gonna have eight minutes max when they get back. How long does it take to spool up?"

Seat. For a second it's like Roubani didn't hear anything over the comm, eyes fixed on that tumbling piece of blinking, and the endless space and stars beyond it. Vision around the edges starts to threaten to turn a fuzzy gray and he shuts his eyes, swallowing back nausea. Pushing back from the cargo back, he pivots on his foot and sinks into the seat. "Go. Go."

[TAC3] "Birdman" Sparro says, " Dammit, Dash, I'm a pilot, not an engineer. Far as I can tell, they push the little button than the other. Same process as a Raptor, if a bit slower."

"It's okay, we've got a little time." Kisseus breathes deep. He'd overestimated the amount of time it'd take to jump out by about five minutes, so he's not grudging on minutes for the moment. He does keep an eye on the clock, though. And another eye on space.

[TAC3] "Dash" Martin says, "Well this isn't gonna work unless we jump. Can you send a runner towards engineering? I'm only seeing one Fatboy in the side of the ship. That's a lot of ship that might not have Toasters on it."

[TAC3] "Black Cat" Legacy says, "Black Cat, all units. CIC under attack. Boarding party. DO NOT APPROACH. Get medical teams staged in Bay1. CAP continue, all others land."

[TAC3] "Dash" Martin says, "Frak oh thank gods. Black Cat. We've got the device removed. Foxbat-5 FTL'd out to dump the beacon away and should be enroute within sixteen mikes. If we can spool up the FTL we should be able to get our asses free of this, sir. Hangar is secured and no response from medical. Repeat, device removed and Foxbat-5 with Poet, Madman, and Thorn is away."

"I'm working on it," Thorn snaps back to Poet, not a little defensively. After a moment, a bead of sweat begins to form on his brow as he continues to hammer calculations into the computer. No, no pressure at all. He starts muttering softly to himself in an odd off-color mix of Standard and Mierce as he works.

"Oh, pull the stick out, Thorn." Roubani snaps right back at the ECO. Really, the irony of Roubani snapping that at /Thorn/.

Ten minutes remaining on the countdown clock. Or is it five? Has anyone been keeping track in the midst of tricky jump calculations and primly-delivered retorts?

"Children? Hands to yourselves," Kisseus calls back. "Don't make me turn this Foxbat around," he keeps his voice soft and even. "Take the time you need to do it right, Thorn. But preferably in the next six minutes."

[TAC3] "Black Cat" Legacy says, "Black Cat copy, Dash. Get Madman's raptor back on the ship then get yourself on ASAP. I think we're going to spool."

[TAC3] "Birdman" Sparro says, " Black Cat, Birdman. Is the CiC secure? Repeat, are you secure up there?"

The mishmash of foul muttering continues, not a little of it directed at Roubani. Nevertheless, Komnenos takes a breath and steadies himself; fingers begin to strike the keypads more deliberately, as if the information that he's not (yet) past the point of no return is reassuring. "Right… that fix there… nooo, no, wait… ach…" He continues on in that vein a minute or two longer.

[TAC3] "Black Cat" Legacy says, "CIC is NOT secure, Birdman. Get medical staged down there NOW. We've got a hell of a lot of injured. I'll alert when we're secure. Dash, gimme the countdown."

Roubani turns his head, looking out the side viewport in the direction that their Made In Cy-wan frisbee went cartwheeling off. Despite the threat of the assured cylon swarm in a few minutes to chase down their toy, his body is much calmer than it was five minutes ago. Stars seen from space don't twinkle…he's studied atmosphere effects, but this is the first time he's actually watched them long enough to notice.

[TAC3] "Dash" Martin says, "Black Cat, Dash, what's the ETA on spool? He's the scorecard. Fox-5's been gone eighteen mikes. We have ten mikes till big 42 hits. On CAP we've got Dash, Bangbang, and Case. I'm wounded but I'm patching myself up. Lost a bit of blood. I'll be okay. Sparro's in the hangar and he's been a little angel with directing traffic in there. I told fox-5 twenty mikes, so they'd best get their asses back in two. If that's the only tracking beacon this should help us slip free. Regardless, when 42 hits it's just us out here."

There's no radio chatter, and nothing on DRADIS. It's almost like it's just the three of them out here, alone with the stars and that nebula. It's pretty, this time of year, from this particular vantage point. The birthplace of some new galaxy, perhaps; proof that there are things being born, not merely dying, these days.

[TAC3] "Birdman" Sparro says, "tac3 Birdman here. I sent Shepherd down to Engineering to check on Emergency FTL, see if we can't spool a jump from there if we absolutely have to."

Matto sits contemplating the clock and the vast expanse of space. The space itself doesn't bother him so much as the twinned concerns that if they were wrong the Kharon will be swarmed by Cylons again soon and that if they were right that their own position was about to be. "Toes?" he finally speaks up, slipping into his more genial nickname for the guy. "We've got two minutes. Are we ready to try?"

Matto sounds remarkably as though asking whether Toes is genial to the notion of a dip in the pool.

[TAC3] "Shepherd" Castor says, "Shepherd to Birdman, they tell me they are on it."

[TAC3] "Case" Samantha says, "Frak…where are they.."

Thorn is, in fact, keeping track of the time. And what he's seeing is starting to spike the adrenaline again; it's still taking too long. Less than two minutes, and he's still having trouble finding the return coordinates. He emits an indignant grunt at the uncooperative controls. "You don't 'try' a plotted FTL jump," he replies crossly. "You're sure about it, or y' don't do it. We do this before I'm ready, we could jump into a star, or — somewhere we bloody well wouldn't want t' be." The whole time he talks, his eyes remain riveted to the screen. Thorn's tone isn't exactly genial, but it also sounds too distracted to hold any real anger. "I see th' bloody clock."

[TAC3] "Dash" Martin says, "99-Vigilantes, the timer's down to four mikes, repeat four mikes. Weapons hot and get mobile."

[TAC3] (from "Case" Samantha) ..Copy, Dash…

[TAC3] "Black Cat" Legacy says, "Dash, you and Case stay out until the last minute before we jump."

[TAC3] "Case" Samantha says, "Already in the plans, Black Cat"

Suddenly, Thorn stiffens in his seat as though a current of electricity had just run up his spine. His stream of whispers turns into an exclamation of exultation. "There! Jump plotted. Triggering FTL drives in three. Two. One."

Roubani's eyes stay on the stars, the corners of his mouth slightly lifted. Not really a smile. "O ever untamed Aither, raised on high, in Zeus' dominions, ruler of the sky." He's just murmurs, not loudly enough to set off his comm. "Great portion of the stars and lunar light, and of the sun, with dazzling lustre bright; all-taming power, ethereal shining fire, whose vivid blasts the heat of life inspire." His lips stop moving as Thorn announces the jump, eyes refocusing and back straightening.

[TAC3] "Dash" Martin says, "Case, Dash, they'll be back. They're gonna need a hell of a pilot to clear that hole, you hear me? Know a girl that can do that for us?"

[Foxbat-5: Komnenos] Out of nowhere, a brilliant flash of light disrupts the black of space, and Foxbat-5 appears from nothingness.

[TAC3] "Dash" Martin says, "Black Cat, Dash, we have visual on Foxbat-5."

[TAC3] "Case" Samantha says, "Of course I do… wouldn't trust your ass to figure it out, Dash. … And thank frakking Artemis.."

[Wolf-4 'JESTER': Martin] His viper in motion, Dash continues the cap pattern, itching for the incoming Raiders to make their next appearance. Sighing audibly over the wirelo when the Raptor returns, he can't help but grin and smack his helmet on the forehead. Looking a little pale from bloodloss, he laughs aloud.

[TAC3] "Madman" Matto says, "Case, Madman, item away, scrambling RTB. Any word from Kharon?"

[TAC3] "Dash" Martin says, "Madman, Dash. Foxbat five you are home way after curfew get your ass back to your room immediately. We're imminent on 42 minute bullshit."

[TAC3] "Case" Samantha says, "Welcome back, Madman… Kharon's been boarded. Intruders in CIC. We're getting our asses home, then jumping, then we can get some back up to them."

[TAC3] "Black Cat" Legacy says, "All Air-Wing units, get your tails down on the deck now. Kharon is preparing to jump soon. Madman, you left the flaming package on someone else's doorstep, yes?"

Matto goes straight back on comms and nav the moment they're out of FTL. Only when they're on course for the deck does he lean back, "Slick job, Toes." It's all he can manage for the moment, but there's something incredibly grateful behind it.

[TAC3] "Madman" Matto says, "Black Cat, Madman, that's an affirmative. Good to hear your voice, Black Cat."

"You are owed about a thousand drinks, Thorn," Roubani's voice finally makes it over comms, scratchily. "I wish I could oblige."

[TAC3] "Dash" Martin says, "Copy that Black Cat. Dash returning to the barn now. Requesting permission to limp to sickbay on landing?"

Hangar Bay

For a long moment, Thorn says nothing. Finally, his head slumps over towards Matto; his face is white, but he manages a jerky nod to the both of them, a thin and sickly grin pulling at his lips. "I do what I can," he rasps, the relief plain in his voice.

[TAC3] "Black Cat" Legacy says, "Dash, consider it an order. You and Case get checked out. I'll…I'll be down once…"

Though, it occurs a moment later that it might be blood loss causing Thorn's paleness and the shakiness. That hand was never properly attended to, after all.

[Wolf-12 'MOONER': Samantha] Case lands her foriegn bird with ease, no damage taken this time, it's damned easy to catch the traps. She's there, rolling into place and soon out of her canopy.

[Foxbat-5: Matto] Foxbat-5 finds someplace to settle on deck without too much of a fuss.

Matto unfastens himself and powers down systems to standby, repressurizing the interior before opening the hatch. For lack of explosiveness.

Samantha gives one lingering, quiet….worried look at Martin. It's not really her place any more… but damned if she's not worried. But he's limping off rather well, and so she heads back to her own damaged craft, quietly inspecting things now that the battle has come to a close.

[Intercom] Neha says, "Attention: Damage Control and Medical, report to CIC. Bring stretchers. I say again: Damage Control and Medical, report to CIC. Bring stretchers."

Sparro walks over Martin and offers him an arm. "Good job out there, J-G. Keep that up and you might lose the extra intials on your title before too long…"

Limping towards the door with a bleeding right leg, Martin looks towards Sparro and grins as he hears the Raptor starting to get lowered. Despite being pale, he's elated as he looks to his watch. Taking Sparro's arm, he grins. "Thanks, Bird. SOUNDS like we've got control of the ship again. If you're offering to help me down, let's wait so I can see the guys…I'm not hearing anything about Cylon contacts yet…they're the real heroes."

As the Raptor doors open and the sounds of chaos flood the bay, Roubani doesn't move, staying where he is on the little jumpseat and watching the wall of the craft across from him, his back rested against the seat. A long breath is exhaled, slow and controlled, through his nose.

**The countdown timer ticks to two minutes. Ticks to one minute. Thirty seconds pass in utter silence around the ship, save for the creak and groan of her hull trying to settle out the kinks of multiple barrages of enemy fire over the past thirty-six hours. A group of people in the chapel are praying fervently, and even the hangar deck's ground to a virtual standstill as crew wait, some collapsed through sheer exhaustion, to see what will happen.

Forty-two minutes, and nothing happens. Forty-three, forty-four.

By the fifty-seven minute mark, it seems to become apparent that the nightmare is, in fact, over.**

Thorn emerges from the Raptor first, his face pale and his gait unsteady. His right glove comes off, and Anton grimaces at what he sees; between the hasty first aid and the constant movement, the wound remains open and his bandage has soaked through. Instead of going to sickbay, though, he simply grabs the first aid kit, bandaging the hand with aplomb as a few drops of blood splash to the deck. Once a fresh dressing is applied, he leaves the bird and begins pacing the hangar; the ECO is one of those who can't bring himself to leave. Finally, as the forty-two minute mark passes without incident, Thorn exhales deeply; his knees turn to rubber, and he slumps against the wing of the nearby Raptor, his head lolling exhaustedly against the hull.

Matto gets the helmet off of his head, and the gloves off of his hands, waiting, listening, tossing the spare flightsuit parts into the co-pilot's seat. A further moment, and then he crawls back into the backseat, eyes moving from Toes to the Poet and back. When Toes leaves to tend his hand, he slips his knee into the next seat from the Poet and, if he doesn't wake up, unfastens the belts keeping him there. "N?" he murmurs gently.

Sparro waits as the Raptor team emerges, and smiles, clapping as they exit. "Good job, gentlemen. We're clear. Now everyone who's skin has more holes than they are used to get down to sickbay NOW." He turns to Martin and smiles. "That includes you, J-G."

Legacy arrives from the Hallway - Deck 1, Fore.
Legacy has arrived.

SLEEP? SLEEP? To hell with sleep. When the fifty-seven minute mark passes, Martin grins and hobbles as he's held upright on Sparro's arm. Having just been told he's got to get to sickbay now, Martin can't help but want to rush over to Matto and company and tackle them like they've just won the championship game. Bleeding on the deck from two different shrapnel wounds in the same leg, it appears that he's managed to patch one, but it's still seeping through his flight suit. Yes…he was flying in a breached suit. Then the bough breaks. He lifts up a fist to the deck, crew and pilot alike, and lets out a long whooping cry of equal parts exhausted relief and thanks to being alive.

It's a blood-soaked, flight-suited Thea who comes jogging down into the Hangar Deck, looking around with wide eyes and a slightly pale face. She's clearly trying to look the professional part, but that's hard to do with a pistol dangling from her fingers and various cuts, bruises and holes in her flight-suit. It looks, honestly, like she's rolled in blood. She's looking for someone - or someones.

Roubani hasn't moved from the Raptor's jumpseat. His head is rested against the wall, smushing some matted curls up above his head, eyes still watching the rounded corner between the Raptor's ceiling and wall. They turn down towards Kissy's face as the Raptor driver unclicks his belt, his head rolling slightly against the wall. "The world's best element," he says quietly. "Light-bearing power, with starry radiance shining, splendid flower."

[Intercom] Praxis says, "All hands, this is the XO. At no point in time has this conflict ever been easy. The fight against the enemy Cylon forces has been particularly difficult over the past several days; the repeated attempted siege of the Kharon has resulted in us losing patience, losing control, and most importantly, the loss of many of our friends and comrades. However, I assure you, that hell is now over. Thanks to the undying effort of our personnel, we have perservered. Take this time you have now purchased for yourself to rest and recuperate as we work to rebuild and replenish - each and every one of you has earned it. The ties that bind us together has, and will, carry us through to the end. Let us remember those who have fought and fallen so that we may persist. So say we all."

Thorn, for his part, finally cracks a proper(if palefaced) grin, and replies to Martin's fist with a jaunty two-fingered salute. With the uninjured left hand, of course. A fresh bandage is wrapped tightly around his right. Finally, he pulls himself up and away from the Raptor's hull, looking up as the XO's voice sounds over the intercom. "So say we all," he mumbles reflexively in response.

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

Sparro smiles at the hands war whoop, but keeps eyeing the door as Martin hangs on his arm. Looking around, he sees Thea enter… and suddenly seems almost to deflate. He only just avoids leaving Martin with no support.

Matto's features blossom into a smile as his eyes find Nadiv's, and he gives a gentle nod, moving a hand to the Poet's uninjured arm and guiding it up to his neck. "I know. It was… really beautiful," he whispers back. "Just rest easy, Nadiv… hold onto my neck, if you can," he adds, using his free hand to unfasten the Poet's helmet and set it aside before he leans down to gather up the exhausted viper pilot in his arms. He being at least moderately well-rested and with no extraneous holes in his person.

Thea finally finds her voice after looking at all of her people on deck. It's rough, quiet. "Those of you who are injured had best get your asses down to Medical," she murmurs. The Captain moves to put her shoulder under Dash's, on the other side from Sparro. Her eyes find Birdman's, briefly. "I'm so proud of all of you. Damned good job out there. Poet, I'm sorry for cussing, but there are no more powerful words for how I feel. You all came through today."

Hisbout to pass out from his wounds, Martin lets out a dopey, tired smile. Dripping onto the floor, it appears that he covered the wound, but there might still be some shrapnel inside of his right leg. Hopping on one leg, he leans forward to head for the door, letting the two of them ferry him towards sickbay. "Trained us well, Cat. We did what we were trained to do, eh?" Martin half-sighs as he speaks, the words forced out. Ignoring the pain as the adrenaline fights its way from his system, causing a severely nauseating feeling in his stomach, he hobbles off.

Sparro nods to Martin, and then hobbles WITH him, darn it. One hand on the pilots arm, another around his back, he heads in that general direction.

Martin heads through the exit labeled <D> Stairwell - Deck 1.
Martin has left.

As Thea moves with Martin and Sparro, she calls up to Matto's Foxbat, "I'll check on you later." And then she's off, trying not to get blood on Martin.

Sparro heads through the exit labeled <D> Stairwell - Deck 1.
Sparro has left.

Roubani's fingers close on the back of Kissy's uniform shoulder. After a perilous second where it seems more than likely that his legs will just give out, his knees find a lock and help him stand. His right arm hangs limply at his side, the back of his mind only vaguely aware of hot pain radiating from shoulder to wrist, and his forehead bonks Kissy's shoulder as gravity tries to overcome muscles. It fails in the end, his head coming back up if wobbly. Thea's turned by then and his mouth opens, but there's no way his voice is going to carry that far. He clears his throat quietly, nodding to Matto.

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