AWD #044: Bushwhacked
Summary: The leader of all colonial resistance forces, Commander Wesley Bancroft, requested both Admiral Jameson and Commander Faulkner to visit his command post. They sent Lieutenant Colonel Marcus Petra instead.
Date: 19/02/2013
Related Logs: Plenty. Can't name it all here.
Petra Emilia Kelsey 
The jump in happens over the valley in the link below. The valley runs north-south with the tallest mountains at the north end. The whole of this scene takes place there.
AWD #44

Take-off at noon, ship-time. Weapons armed, bags packed, and the Raptor is full of gas. Everything is in order and looks ready to go. Kelsey just stood to the side while the pilot, ENS Garis and her ECO, Theo, took care of the actual preflight. She's wearing the sidearm and armor that Petra ordered her to get as well as an oblong padded case on her left hip which is probably the camera he asked for also. Everything went forward as expected and Kelsey bubbles part of the way up about getting to fly if there's good weather. So far its sounding good and the energy in the Raptor is high, as are the spirits. Getting back to a Colony, even if its war-torn, is still getting back to a real home. The first jump comes off without a hitch. The second as well. The third has Garis, though take off her helmet and rub at her face. She leaves the helmet in her lap and sighs, pinching the bridge of her nose. "Last jump," Theo calls and Garis goes back to taking the stick. This one is into high atmo and once more with the bright flash and Garis goes very quiet once they flash back.

Set before them is a lush green valley with a river running through it and brown, rocky hills of scrub rising up out of the valley. The valley climbs higher in elevation as it heads towards rough mountains higher than 20,000 feet, their peaks capped with permanent mounds of snow. "Approach calls for three thousand feet AGL, Wescott," Garis mutters, diving the Raptor down towards it. "Should be plenty of room for you to practice. Just follow the valley and wait for radio contact, which I'll handle."

Petra, for the most part, showed up about 10 minutes early after acquiring a vest of his own, and well, lately he's always had the sidearm with him. Parked in one of the jumpseats behind the ECO, rather than watching the view out of the front canopy, his attention remains glued to the ECO's instruments through each jump, and simply offers no commentary. The air crew is doing their job, so there's no need for him to interrupt them, especially when the pilot has a nugget right seat.

After the last jump, however, he takes a slow, deep breath and lets it go, waiting for a moment before he clears his voice and murmurs mostly to himself, "So far, so good. The Commander knows we're coming, but that doesn't mean this can't go south." He closes his eyes, already thinking ahead to the first think he's going to hear. 'Who the frak are YOU?'

"Theo, can you grab my bag?" Garis calls back. The ECO shakes his head and replies, "Sorry, sir. Sheppy wants me watching for threats and I'm breaking out some long-range stuff." He relaxed about it, though. Garis sighs and looks over to Kelsey. "Just fly. Hit autopilot if you want. I won't tell anyone. Sometimes these jumps kick over a migraine. Need my pills." Its all muttered and she unstraps from her seat to move to the back. "Yessir!" Kelsey replies all too excitedly. "My controls." Garis grumbles something about excited trainees and moves to the back of the Raptor. "Hey Colonel," Wescott calls. "Want to grab my bag and bring it up here real fast? I'll show you what we've got for that meeting." So far, so smooth. Kelsey isn't killing them.

Okay, so Petra DOES reopen his eyes when he hears the pilot A) hand over the controls to Kelsey, and B) Leave The Chair. He has confidence in Wescott, no, really, but you pay attention to things like a nugget taking over in a war zone. However, when she asks, he hesitates a moment and mmms, "Alright." He unbuckles the harness and eases up to a crouching stand, eying Garis for a moment, "You alright there, Ensign?" while he leans over to grab Kelsey's bag, easing around the pilot to step forward and loom over the back of her chair, "You find something that's not going to be an insult to offer? Cause there's a good chance the Commander's going to start out with his feathers ruffled at me, and no one said a little kiss ass didn't work from time to time."

"Yessir," Garis sighs. "But if I don't get these taken now, I'll be out of action for the next twelve hours." She opens up a pill bottle and shakes out 1000mg of condensed caffeine. A soda is taken out of her bag too and she chucks it all back and stands there with her eyes forward to the windscreen while she swallows. Theo motions to something on the DRADIS about SAMs and the Forge system but its nothing exciting. Sounds like idle conversation. Meanwhile Kelsey nods in her helmet and she keeps her focus forward. Scan the instruments, look outside. Rinse, repeat. Its about as clear skies and quiet flying as anyone is going to get. "Sure did, sir!" Kels replies. "If you want to open up my bag, sir, and right on top there's a bottle. I think it will do us nicely." She glances down quickly to make sure he's got the right bag. "Should be wrapped in a white towel, Colonel." …and inside is a Leonesian spiced rum. High quality goods. She probably had to trade something decent for it.

Petra leans against the bulkhead to unzip the bag and take a look, unwrapping the bottle long enough to survey what it is. A chuckle escapes him as he rebundles it and rezips the bag, then reaches out to slap Kelsey on the shoulder, "If he doesn't like it, then the man has no damned taste and I'll keep it and toast you one once we get back to the Orion. Just get us on the ground in one piece, and then cross your fingers."

He stows the bag back away, dodging the pilot again as he heads back to his seat, sinking into it heavily and reattaching the harness. He certainly eyes the conversation between the flight crew, he just doesn't stare too hard or ask. Sometimes, you just really shouldn't ask.

Kelsey glances over her shoulder to Petra and grins. "If he's got any taste left. He better appreciate it. I had to hook up this Supply Chief with this guy I knew from the Deck." About this time Garis, who is still mostly watching the windscreen, foams and spits out her soda all over the ECO station and Theo. "Oh what the frak, man?!" he blurts. Garis scrambles, trying to get around him, but trips on the handle of her bag and goes down hard onto the plating. Kelsey blinks and looks back out forward. "What?" she asks, brow furrowed. From her POV, everything looks fine. Garis is already bleeding from her nose where she slammed down. "Wescott, POWER ON AND CLIMB!" she yells. Garis is trying to get her foot out of the strap of her bag and she touches the comm bud in her ear. "Raptor One-One-Six-Juliet we are taking SAM fire two minutes north of our jump-in point!" Kelsey, wide-eyed, pushes the throttles up and pulls the stick back. "Repeat, we are underat-" And then the explosion rocks the Raptor. The whole rear of the ship shreds and peppers from the bottom under the ECO station, shorting it out into an instant fire and peppering both Theo and Garis badly enough that blood instantly mists into the air around them. Warning horns scream. Not good.

Petra has enough time to smirk to himself about Wescott playing matchmaker for booze, when the pilot freaks and the warning goes off. Petra's reaction? He sighs and closes his eyes, pushing his head back into the bulkhead while he murmurs, "Ares, I swear, the next time I say something about 'I'd like to get off the boat for a little while', you have my complete agreement to smack me hard and remind me what a silly bitch I am."

With that said, he cracks his eyelids open to look over at the ECO's instruments, watching the display point out how Cylon SAM technology does a pretty damned good job of tracking. He has enough warning to brace for the inevitable, and perhaps his choice of jumpseat was his only saving grace that he didn't suffer the same fate when part of the ship turns into so much shrapnel so close by. There is indeed quite a bit of swearing going on and blood flying, though at this particular moment, its really not clear if its JUST the ECOs blood, or if the LTC has been hit as well.

"Koryn?!" Kelsey screams. She's not rated for this. The pilot at Petra's feet slumps backwards, her whole torso and flightsuit shredded. Her eyes are wide as she chokes on the blood that is welling in her lungs and mouth. Theo, though, took the brunt when the ECO station came apart. Part of the panel came apart and blasted into his chest and the ECO slumps forward into the fire. Arms barely move but to try and weakly push back. Meanwhile, Kelsey is upfront supposedly flying. And by 'flying', its really more of freaking the hell out. Everyone is dead. They're all dead. She's turned the ship skyward and is trying to climb like her last orders stated. "FRAK!!!!" she screams, lifting a boot and kicking the fire warning lights so hard she smashes them. The horn continues sounding. The whole of the Master Caution panel is lit up and none of the displays are working, only showing dull reflections by the light of the fire inside. Externally, there is the duality of one engine screaming past its regular RPMs and the crank of one chewing itself to pieces while the compressor fans shred. "Colonel?!" Kelsey yells. Someone? Anyone? Please be alive.

Petra takes a moment to wipe the blood splatter out of his face, another couple of seconds to assess the situation in the back of the raptor. Oh, not good at all. Despite the pain in his chest, he yanks the harness open and pushes himself towards the front of the raptor, a sort of uphill climb. Grabbing at the left seat, he works on hauling himself into it while he growls, "Kelsey, get us the frak on the ground pronto. Even if the FTL is still online, the instruments are gone and we're holed. FOCUS!" Right now the LTC looks like he lost the fight with a wood chipper that had a bag of blood thrown into it, which probably does absolutely nothing for Kelsey's panic level, but as if to drive the point home, he stares at her and repeats, "Ground, NOW, Wescott."

Kelsey does a doubletake at seeing the Colonel in that condition. Eyes go wide, like she's being confronted with a zombie. She stares at him, trying like hell not to panic and dissolve into a fit of tears. "The Major is gonna kill me, sir!" is all she can manage to blurt for a moment. They continue to climb, though and she takes a few seconds to try and focus. Ground. Right. She glances over at the Colonel and points to his seat. "Strap in!!" she orders. Or something. Eyes coming back, she looks to her gauges. "Okay. Okay. Dead stick landing. We can do this. Okay." She looks at the MC panel and swallows. That's a lit-up tree. "Okay. Fire in both engines. Just like the sim." She reaches up and retards the throttles and cuts off the fuel. Both fingers yank and the extinguisher knobs and nothing happens. "That's bad," she breathes, then the stall horn sounds as the Raptor begins to pitch forward. Its upward ascent has come to an end. Next. "THINK!" she belts, slamming her helmet with her hand. "Okay.. BOMBS!" she flips two switches and there's a clunking sound as all the bombs and guns fall away. In front of them, Picon swings into view and looms large as the Raptor turns into a semi-glidable meteor. She waggles the stick and only gets a little response.

Petra manages to haul himself into the empty front seat and clicks the harness in place, muttering, "Frak, /ow/!" Looking down, he tugs at his chest and yanks out a little spike of metal from his vest, staring at it for a second, then throwing it over his shoulder. He closes his eyes for a moment and takes a long, deep breath, letting it go just as slowly. Focus, Marcus. If you were flying, you're both dead, so keep the nugget going, "After that hit, they're going to see us going down, so I doubt they're going to waste another missile on us. Pick the closest valley not covered in snow and do your best. Any crash you walk away from gets you a pass."

"Going to do my best, sir, but the ground is most definitely happening!" Kelsey says, trying to edge herself away from a full blown panic. Has this nugget ever done this before? Probably not even in a sim. This is pretty bad. …The engines are winding down and the sound of their own problems fades into quiet and all that can really be heard is the sound of the fire in the back crackling with the wind entering the cabin from the holes in the frame. But as they pick up speed, diving inverted, the Raptor is slowly rolled back over and Kelsey puts both hands on the stick, bracing her feet against the panel. "Help me, sir!!" she growls, trying like hell to fight against frozen control servos and pull it back so they might have a chance.

When Kelsey asks for help, he glances back over at her with one lifted brow, but stops himself short of making any comment about how they are both deader than triplets on Orion if PETRA'S flying skill is going to have any bearing on their survival. Still, its not that difficult of a concept to grasp. Grab stick, pull back, bus does not crater. With a puff of breath, he mutters, "Ares, remember what I said. We die now, you can't kick my ass later." The man places both hands on the stick and sets his jaw, eying Kelsey again to make sure they're going to both be fighting the same direction, and applies his own strength against the dying control surfaces.

Its like trying to pull on a rod mired in thick mud or near-dried concrete. But the combined effort from both of them slowly has the stick come back. Kelsey has herself firmly wedged into her ejection seat with her feet up and she's pulling on the damned thing as hard as she can, fighting to keep it back. Slowly, inch by inch, the horizon comes back into view as they pass through two thousand feet. The Raptor is starting to pull out. But unfortunately, with a fire like theirs burning, the shooters on the ground can see that. The horizon is just coming up and the Raptor looking like it might have some kind of fighting change when there is another explosion. Both of the occupants left alive are slammed forward in their seat and shrapnel imbeds into the bulkheads and the rear of their armored seats. For a moment, things aren't going to change… but as the smoke rapidly clears, both the Colonel and Petty Officer can see their shadows on the dashboard, backlit by the local star. Kelsey looks back. "SHIT! WE'RE FRAKKED!" The rear of the Raptor is gone. Just.. no longer existent. Its twirling towards the ground elsewhere. The Raptor begins a forward tumble, picking up rotational speed quickly. "GOOD LUCK!" Kelsey cries, screaming. The Petty Officer reaches between their seats and yanks the ejection handle on Petra's seat. The explosive bolts fire and the canopy shears away a split second before Petra's seat fires.

Well, this is certainly part of basic you don't forget, even after over twenty years. Petra hears Kelsey scream her comment, sees her reach for the last resort, and clasps his arms over his chest, swearing under his breath. The bolts fire, the seat thankfully doesn't misfire, and the roar of dying raptor shears away, replaced with the relative quiet whistling of wind. In the back of his mind, something reminds him he's glad he didn't have lunch before the flight.

First point of concern: listening for the parachute ejection and unfurling, looking overhead to make sure it opens and brace for the *yank*. Then: Where the frak am I? He glances around, looking for the direction the dead raptor is tumbling in, then where the other parachute might be if he can see it, trying to take in as much as he can remember of the surrounding terrain before he falls to far too see it anymore.

Taking in a look around, Petra might notice a few things. Those SAMs didn't just come from one vehicle down in the valley. There's four contrails pointing back to their launch points on the ground. They were flown right into a shooting gallery. Every single one can be seen, including the black cloud where the initial round hit and lit the Raptor on fire. The following climb up and a missed SAM shot. But he can also see what Garis must have seen. The first missile missed and must have passed right in front of the Raptor.

Below him, though, the Raptor's tumble picks up speed. It just keeps going and going. The shadow can be seen after only a moment and the front half impacts the ground in a puff of dirt and smoke, a small fire erupting in a flash and quickly vanishing. To the left there's another flash as the back half impacts and explodes across the terrain in a roiling ball of fire, the fuel tanks adding to the mixture. There's no sign of a chute at first until the white and green flutter impacts a tree several hundred feet below. He's got maybe ten seconds until he hits the ground about one hundred yards from the other chute.

Okay, things could be worse. They aren't coming down in a forest, they aren't coming down in broken terrain, its a frakking field of all places. He has to pull this off or Afton simply will not stop laughing at him. Bend your knees, tug on the line just right and…
So his feet just right, staggering forward a couple of steps, and trips, tumbling forward and falling on his ass with a grunt. A loud swear escapes him as he yanks at the parachute harness, wriggling out of it and clambering to his feet with, fortunately, little more than his dignity wounded. He glances around to get his bearings - a hundred yards or so…that way. Stopping to gather up the parachute, wrapping it up in a bundle while he hunts for the survival pack, and its time to moooove, before anything comes hunting for the two chutes. Time to find Wescott.

If she were an inch or two taller, she'd be standing on the ground. But with one clamp unhooked, she's still working on the other one and swinging by it. The toe of her boot kicks at the blades of grass below her as if the vegetation were mocking her. She keeps yanking at the thing, though and Petra is just about to her when she pulls on it properly and she falls to the ground on her side heavily. Before she can even get up, she pulls off the helmet slowly and looks around and ends up focusing on Petra. Rattled? Oh you better believe it. She stares at the approaching officer with wide eyes as if totally amazed that that actually worked. "Hi, sir," she says, slowly rising to her feet, rotating her shoulder. The helmet is just left, discarded on the ground.

Petra smirks a little as he approaches, offering a hand to help her up if she needs it. "Good to see you made it. Grab your helmet and find your survival pack. I know where we were SUPPOSED to land to meet the Commander's folks, so we can head that direction and away from where those SAMs came at us. Beyond that, we need to keep out of sight." He chews on his lower lip for a moment, glancing around as if he's going to see anything significant from where they are, "Now I wish I had studied that damned map a little more closely over the weekend. I can't tell which side of the front line we landed on."

Kelsey takes the arm up, thx. She bends to take her helmet and she looks up to the straps of her chute. She uses one hand to unhook the pack attached to the straps and it lands in her helmet. The Petty Officer looks down to the gear on her belt and makes a face as she looks it over. Around them, its a lot of open fields with a few trees to hide behind. There's a dirt road running north-south along the river that leads up towards the mountains; their initial direction of travel. There are the remains of a few houses in the area, too, but most of the buildings look to have been burned or strafed. The woman comes out with her survival radio and turns it on, looking at the thing and slowly, her eyes lift. "Sir?" she asks. "Isn't this supposed to be a milkrun?" She glances around. "Colonel, why did someone shoot us down?" she asks quietly and lifts the radio, about ready to key it.

Petra shakes his head slowly, "Turn that back off for now. Lets get out of here first. For right now, Im going to assume those were Cylon SAMs, because anything else is going to make my head hurt just thinking about it right now. Clearly, they wanted us dead in a bad way if they shot twice at a dying raptor." Like how this was the proposed flight plan. Like how they had no warning before the SAM hit. Like how the Commander had specifically requested the Admiral AND the Commander come and had not been told they weren't. Yes. Right now, get away from where everyone in the area saw them go down. He reaches out to grab her flightsuit and gives her a nudge towards the road, swatting at her back before taking off with her.

Kelsey blinks at the mention to turn off the survival radio. She shrugs and turns it back off and tucks it back into her belt pocket. The consideration of being wanted dead has her look skeptical. "Maybe they.. just.." and her voice trails and that slowly starts to settle in. She's still pretty rattled so her brain isn't quite working yet. But he needs her to move, so she's moving. She hasn't been running as much as she should and their high altitude makes things a little tough going. Its early Fall here, so at least the air is a little cool. The thinner air still makes it tough, though. Its about fifteen minutes to the road and the river beside it. Then turning northbound, farther up into the mountains, the two take off at a job. Kelsey doesn't say anything, though. After almost two hours, having seen nobody and not a damned thing other than dead cars and destroyed homes, there is a low mud hut that Kelsey points to. It looks destroyed, but it turns out the construction just has it built as a four-foot lean-to. Getting inside as the afternoon turns into evening, at least its a bit warmer in here. There's a couple plastic storage containers with unknown contents and a stack of old tires. Storage, indeed. It looks like this stuff has not been touched in years.

While Kelsey is leading, Petra's constantly scanning the sky behind them, looking for warning signs that someone might indeed be after them. When they actually make it to the hut, he dumps his bundled parachute and survival pack into a corner and sighs, "Okay, NOW turn the radio on and send a mayday. Identify yourself but don't answer any questions you get asked just yet. Lets just see if anyone answers. We get dead air for 60 seconds, turn it back off and we'll try later." Hrm. Storage containers. Well, might as well! While Kelsey is presumably taking care of that, time to take stock of the situation. Its probably crap, but you never know what crap might be usable!

Kelsey flops down to sit in a tire with the professional skill that could only be attained by practice. They're car tires and she immediately props into it and looks comfortable. The radio comes out as she sets the helmet aside and she turns it on. When Petra opens the storage containers, it seems to be full of old rags and automotive parts. Camshafts, a couple of old rod-and-piston sets. Old, greasy junk. Kelsey gives it a glance but nothing more. She keys the mic on the survival radio and broadcasts. "Raptor One-One-Six-Juliet, Charlie, krypter, krypter, krypter. Is there anyone out there?"

And seconds pass. And more. Then:

"One-One-Six-Juliet, Charlie, this is Rover-Two." Its whispered, almost incredulous. "We copy your krypter." Another pause of several seconds. "What is your position?" Kelsey just looks back to Petra and extends the radio to him. She has no idea what to say here.

Petra stares at the radio for a moment when its offered, sucking on a tooth before he takes it and keys the mic, "Rover Two, this is one one six Juliet Charlie, we have been hit by multiple SAM launches in the area of the river valley at coordinates (recites off what he remembers from the map before they jumped in), and have ejected. Our pilot and ECO and passengers are dead and our supplies are destroyed. We are in that area. Can you help us?" He sets his jaw for a moment and looks back at Kelsey, "We might need to move quickly, so dont unpack anything just get."

Kelsey rolls herself out of the tires and moves to her knees and gives him a thumbs up, though. The jog gave her time to think. She looks different, and its not because she's been sweating. Just very… not-Kelsey. The woman sits in silence and stares at the floor while she listens to the reply from the radio: "Did you say your passengers were killed?" the radioman asks. A couple more seconds pass. "Copy your traffic. Who are you and the female? …But get us that position quick. There are Centurions everywhere. We need to get you both evac'd, over."

Petra doesn't key the mic just yet. When he hears them asking about the passengers being killed, his eyes narrow and he mutters something unpleasant under his breath, THEN keys the mic and answers, "If you're familiar with the road leading up the mountain, from the valley just north of there, we're hiding out there. Come to the…" He pauses and leans over to look up the road to the next burned out house in the distance and starts describing it, "Hurry though. Im sure they saw us go down and are coming."

The reply is swift and fast. "We know right where that is." In the background there is the sound of truck doors closing. "We'll be there in three-zero minutes. Do not leave that location. We will be there. They are Centurions all over the area. Just sit tight." A few more seconds and there is already the sound of a truck's engine. "Rover-Two, inbound, out." Then the radio goes silent. Kelsey looks up from the ground at Petra, her eyes far off. Its been a bad day and she seems to hope for answers.

Petra turns the radio off and hands it back to Kelsey, "Now we see who shows up. Grab your pack and your sidearm and lets go grab a good spot to watch from. If folks show up, then we're going to have to take the risk. If I see a single Centurion in the group, we head off the road and keep moving. Alright? We're not dead yet, damnit." And with that said, he ducks out of the hut and sizes up the cover off of the road, looking for a better vantage point that doesn't leave them cornered inside a building.

The redhead nods, taking up her pack and helmet. She follows the Colonel out and removes her gun once they leave the little hut. Normally she'd be all chipper and totally, like, wanting to jabber about the experience. Not at the moment. She moves with him over to a clump of trees on the other side of a low mud wall. They're about 500 yards from the wreckage of the one-story rambler. At one end, the wall falls away into a drainage ditch that runs from the hills towards the river. On the other side is a low rise with some tall grass, the wall running up and over it. Kelsey hops over the wall into the trees and gets lost in the dense bushes at the base. The sun is already starting to head down and its casting long shadows. Minutes pass.

Petra sighs softly once the two get settled, and as an afterthought, reaches up to yank the rank pins off of his vest, murmuring, "Just in case, if something happens and we get separated, you're a flight trainee and Im a junior tactical officer. Alright? If these are Cylons, they'll be able to figure out we're from Orion by sifting through the cockpit wreckage…" or if things are as bad as he thinks they are. There Are No Coincidences, "But as long as they think Command died in the wreckage, we aren't important. Follow me? If I call you 'Delinquent' then we're in the clear, as best as I can tell."

Kelsey looks over to him. Its hard to make each other out, but there is concern and worry in her eyes. Kelsey is scared, no doubt. She watches him remove the pins and she does the same, burying them in the dirt and putting a leaf over it. "Copy, sir." This lady really isn't in a talkative mood. But some people just cope differently.

Again more minutes pass by. Ten. Twelve. At just about the fifteen minute mark there is a metallic 'click' from the other side of the small rise. In the late sunlight its tough to make the shades of green out and there are also long stems of the tall grass attached to the uniforms, but the forms slowly appear. Thirty feet away, half a dozen people in uniforms slowly move up the rise and the one with the radio whip settles next to a larger man. Two of the team are keeping their eyes to the rear and the other four have lenses out — except for one who is setting up his M120C and taking aim at the house. The larger man, probably the team leader, gets on the radio. "Two, this is one. Target in sight." A pause. "Copy, I'm taking hand-off." Farrrrrr in the distance is the shrill scream of the engines on a Predator. "Cowboy Eight, this is Rover-One. How copy?" Everything is said in low, subdued tones.

Petra sighs softly as he watches, licking his lips. He turns his own radio on and turns the volume, so he can hear if Two tries to call for them, "Alright, Wescott. I'm gonna give them a second, and then I'm probably going to step out. Don't you make a sound unless I call for you. If they do anything to me, you get the frak out of here and find some way to get to real folks." He sets his jaw and stares at her for a moment, "You hear me? We got out of a raptor that was blown in half and we're still walking. You can get out of this."

Kelsey shakes her head violently. She doesn't want him to leave her. 'No!' she implores, without actually speaking a word. "Cowboy, Rover-One. IP is the Heavy Raider wreckage. Take heading zero-zero-five for six miles miles. Altitude is one-zero-two-zero. Target is a single-story home, the southern end is collapsed, with two enemy agents inside. Be advised we are one quarter mile east and in cover, eyes on the target. Egress is northbound at your discretion, over." There's a static-y reply to the radio call. The guy with the M120C whispers something, touching his throatmic. He leans over towards the team leader. "Sarge, Two reports they are at the Raptor crash site. The back end, this time. They said its obliterated, but there's no sign of bodies. Think maybe they fell out when Four hit 'em and blew it in half?" The team leader chuckles. "Helluva long way to freefall. Hold it, here he comes." Beyondthe wall, the Predator's engines get louder and louder, but very fast. This guy must be doing close to the speed of sound as he comes flying up the valley. Two hundred feet off the deck, the pilot approaches the house and the bomb racks eject all six. Drogue chutes deploy and slow the bombs down while the pilot pulls back and climbs into the sky. The three pairs of bombs bracket the house between the first and second pair, turning the entire place into a crater full of toothpicks and flaming wallpaper that flutters through the sky. The overpressure from the blast rocks the wall, knocking down dust and dirt as shrapnel and debris bounce off the other side.

Petra stays down while they listen to the exchange, a scowl developing w3hen the phrase 'enemy agents' floats over to them. Still, that could just be suspicion, but when the phrase 'when Four hit them' is all Petra needs to hear. The LTC looks /angry/, stabbing at the area behind Kelsey, down slope, away from everything. When the Predator screams over the site and unloads its ordinance, he swears softly and grabs for her, ducking until the explosion has gone off, then shoves her to move, while he turns the radio back off, hissing, "Move. We're out of here!"

Kelsey scrambles, moving through the bushes as the engines roar past. Good timing, and purely by chance. She moves towards the drainage ditch. When he jumps over top of her, he can hear something from her, she's either praying or crying. Possibly both. But as the blast fades from eardrums, the team of soldiers can be heard to hoot and hollar. "Hell yeah, Cowboy Eight! Beautiful! BDA will be delivered. That was stellar. Thank you very much for your time. Enjoy your long flight home." The other guys turn to each other and bump fists. "Oh hell yeah. Godsdamned traitors. Banz will be happy as shit. C'mon, let's go confirm." They hop over the wall lazily and begin their trek towards the house. "Hey man, call back Two and let them know to search the area until they find bodies."

Petra takes a quick survey of their available egress directions and slips an arm around Kelsey's waist, hauling her with him if he has to as he takes off, hunkering down low to try and avoid being seen, "C'mon, Wescott, unless you want to get shot in the back by a bunch of assholes. I need you to hold it together for me." Its not that he has a direction in mind right now, its that he needs to get both of them OUT of the area before they search that wreckage and discover there was noone in it. Once they are well out of the area, THEN he'll tackle the tough questions like 'where the frak do we go?'

Several hours have passed since the Predator turned that house to kindling. The pair of survivors from the Raptor have been making their way back south at a good clip and have long-passed the wreckage of the Raptor. Nothing even remotely salvageable was left by the team of soldiers. With the sun having long since set, the sound of aircraft moving up and down the valley has been pretty steady. When one gets close, the pair hide behind cars, or under them, or someplace out of sight. So far none of the cars they've come across have been remotely fixable. Everything has been destroyed or plum out of gas or otherwise disabled. Kelsey still isn't talking much at all and still seems rather frazzled by the whole experience, though she does glance up as they trudge down a line of trees. "Ain't heard any birds for awhile, sir," she observes with a whisper, glancing up to the sky.

Petra isn't really looking for the aircraft at this point, he's just keeping tabs on where the cover is while they move, so they can quickly find it when he hears airframe engines overhead. To Kelsey's comment, however, he mutters, "Good. Maybe they gave up for the night." He eyes the PO for a moment and considers, "Tell you what, the next disabled vehicle or shelter we come across that looks like it'll hide us pretty well, we can stop and take a rest. The adrenaline is going to run off in a little while and then we're going to be useless if we don't get some sleep…and if they've given up searching in the dark, then we might as well take advantage of that. You still with me, Wescott?"

"Yessir." But to which part? Kelsey hasn't made eye contact with Petra since she pulled his ejection handle and cried 'Good Luck'. Even in the thicket, she looked /at/ him, not /to/ him. She's present and accounted for, but that's about it right now.
"Oh, hey, spoke to soon," the Petty Officer observes and steps around a tree. There is the sound of an approaching Raptor at low altitude coming south through the valley at high speed. The young woman turns to watch it, bending her head around the tree. But there's a flicker of light from the other side of the valley, a quick flash like a strobe. Then a lit up trail of white smoke extends upward towards the Raptor in a loud whoooosh. The Raptor is just about even with them when this happens, but the pilot see's it and jerks the Raptor into a hard left bank, crushing the frame through a hard turn. But its just not fast enough. That SAM was launched too close. The Raptor has barely begun a turn away when it explodes against the bottom of the bird and rips through the man body. The Starboard engine separates cleanly, turning into a flaming comet that arcs towards the river. But the Raptor is just too low. There's just not enough time. The pilot pulls the lever and the canopy glass explodes off and the pilot ejects, riding a lick of flame parallel with the ground and heading towards Kelsey and Petra. The Raptor continues its ride down and the second seat fires mere moments before impact. The second seater isn't so lucky, the rider skipping across the ground several times in his seat before tumbling into a set of cartwheels through a grove of trees and vanishing. The Raptor crashes onto the center of the road and explodes in a huge ball of fire while the pilot drifts down fairly close to them.

Petra slows down and stops at the sound of another aircraft, getting rather personal with another nearby tree as he waits to see what it is. A raptor isn't necessarily a good sign, but then the two see the SAM lift off and smack into the craft, and Petra can't help himself but mutter, "That couldn't have been one of ours, they won't even know we are overdue for two and a half days longer." He watches the ejection and winces, swearing under his breath while he waits to see the chute deploy, "Lets find out where they land and go grab them before the goon squad comes looking. Maybe they're local enough to shed some light on what direction we can be better heading." He pauses and whispers under his breath, "I hope."

The whole thing happens so quickly, Emilia is operating on instinct rather than with planned or reasoned actions. Her head twists back in the direction the SAM launched from and she tracks the white smoke back toward where it originated. And then there's the ground, coming up faster than she wants. She braces herself and drops into a roll, something that looks practiced. She's already on her knees, surveying her surroundings while attempting to strip off the harness for her chute as quickly as she's able. She's touching at the corner of her mouth, where blood trails down, examining her blood-stained fingers with a wince a moment later. Once she's freed herself from the straps, she doesn't linger. She breaks into a run, right for cover, away from where the SAM originated.

"The Sister is expecting me Friday night, sir," she says quietly, watching the Raptor arc across the sky on fire. But watching that other seat hit, Kelsey just stares at that thicket of trees a bit horrified. "Oh my Gods," she breathes. Welcome to war, Kelsey. A hand clutches to her chest as she catches her breath and looks over to Petra, nodding once more. When the chute comes down closeby, though, Kelsey takes the sidearm from her thigh and seems to wait for Petra to move before she'll do anything. Zachary said to follow orders and she's going to do that.

Petra grunts softly at Kelsey's comment, clicking the safety off on his own weapon, but leaving it in the holster for the moment while they make haste towards the chute. When he sees the woman land in the distance and start running for cover, he alters course to aim that direction, though he pulls up at a small group of trees and reaches out to touch Kelsey's arm, "Stay here and cover me. If she does something stupid, I may need you to fire a shot in her direction to get her to back down. Alright?" He doesn't really wait long for her answer, he just takes off, and with empty hands, holds them up where hopefully the latest casualty of the local SAM brigade can see them, while raising his voice a little, "Hey!" Isn't he supposed to be smart or something?

Almost making it to the treeline, Emilia grimaces and rubs a hand against her ribs. That'll have to be ignored for the time being and she starts to cross the final bit of ground toward cover, trying not to think about her ECO, letting adrenaline and the desire for survival drive her forward. She has her gun out, aimed down, when she sees some movement and she's already raised and aimed it, bouncing on her toes as another surge of survival hormones jolts her, before he even manages to speak. She looks slightly wild-eyed but, well. She was just shot down. "Who the frak are you?" she calls out.

The Petty Officer blinks, watching the TACCO take off like that. "I should probably tell him I loaded the bullets into my gun backwards once," she observes once he is out of immediate earshot. The gal takes a knee and props the gun up on a treebranch and aims it at the freshly arrived Captain. Sorta. Well, mostly aimed in her general direction with potential intent.

Petra keeps his hands up, "I was the first draft of what just happened to you, so I figure you can't be one of those assholes." Of course, the man is an a Colonial Navy dress blue uniform, so could he look ANY more out of place at the moment? And WHOSE unit patch is that on his arm? "Put the gun down, and lets get out of here. Alright? My name is Marcus Petra." He gives the woman an expectant look, lifting both brows and nodding his head off rather impatiently in the direction he was originally heading, "They are well organized and WILL hunt you down and kill you."

"They're a Marine unit," Emilia says, keeping her gun aimed at him. "I knew I was frakked when they only put a single pair of bombs on my raptor. What ship?" She's looking at him the best she can, frowning, then: "Wait, /where/ did …." Her gun is already lowering and she's looking back in the direction that the SAM was coming from, her expression strained. "We have to get the frak out of here. They'll be coming to check that they finished the job." She holsters her gun and starts off at a brisk pace. "Come on. We have toasters to worry about too. I would think they've noticed /two/ raptors being shot down by this point. Or they -will-." -She- isn't going to linger. Petra and Kelsey can decide what they are going to do on their own.

Kelsey watches the exchange and then the gun goes back and away. She doesn't put hers away, but she quickly trots over towards Petra, eyes scanning around. No words, she just sticks to him like glue.

Petra relaxes when the gun is lowered, then calls out, "Wescott, she's good, lets go." He looks back over, waiting for Kelsey to pop up, waving her to come with before taking off after Emilia, "We're both kinda hoping you know the area better than we do, or we're all frakked." The questions can wait for now until they find a better place a little further away, to stop and ask 'what the hell?'

"Yeah, I've been in the area for a while." Emilia glances back, her eyes lingering on Kelsey for a long moment when she finally sees the young nugget. "Demeter's tits, how young are you all training them now?" She shakes her head, not waiting for an answer for now. She's just trying to get as much space between the likely incoming Marines and herself as she can. "This area's really been hammered. The houses and barns are mostly burned or flattened. There's no real gas for civilian cars and a lot of them are burned anyway. This isn't my first time shotdown since Warday. Unfortunately, the Marines likely know all this too. So let's get some distance and let them look for the wreckage. They'll find my empty chute. They'll probably come looking." She is silent for a bit of of time then her voice comes quietly. "My ECO?" she asks as they move. She already knows the answer but it appears she wants confirmation.

"I'm twenty, sir." Not even old enough to buy a drink at a bar. Kelsey moves along, glancing over to Petra and then back around as she puts her gun back. She's still carrying her helmet and survival pack, just like Petra told her to. She trudges along close to him, trying to keep up. "Don't think he made it, sir," she observes. Neither her nor Petra are wearing any rank, either. Disposed of, probably.

Petra shakes his head slowly, "We watched you get hit and eject. No one else bailed out. If your ECO was still in there, I don't think anyone could have survived that crash. I'm sorry." He glances over at Kelsey, then looks behind them for signs of the pricks that came after them while they keep after getting away, "Yeah, we…met these Marines. Blew us out of the air then tried to drop bombs on us. So if Bancroft is trying to kill you too…who are YOU with? We were going to try to make it to Spree's command."

"Were you?" Emilia's expression is grim—first at Kelsey's age and then at Petra's words. "I was with Bancroft. Just was in the command center a couple hours ago. Saw you coming in." She swallows hard and the initial rush of adrenaline seems to be wearing off just a touch. She looks almost ill. "He's…well. Spree's about four hundred miles to the southwest of here. Not what you want to do on foot, I can assure you. Captain Emilia Hallick," she adds, glancing over her shoulder at them as she continues her brisk pace.

Petra arches a brow at the comment about being with Bancroft, "If we're talking about Bancroft, I'd like to break that man's nose right now. We came down on HIS invite and those folks were set up WAITING for us. We're talking about the same guy, right? Commander Bancroft?" He narrows his eyes a bit, sort of keeping himself between Emilia and Kelsey for the moment while the tree make better friends with the treeline that follows the river, "But…for what its worth, good to run into you, Captain Hallick. You have a recommendation as to somewhere closer we can head?"

"Away from those Marines." Emilia doesn't say anything for a long time, glancing back momentarily and noting Petra's positioning. That earns the man a cynically amused smile. "I won't be trying to take you out. Yeah, that's the Bancroft you are thinking of, sure. Commander Wesley Bancroft, considered the leader of the Picon Resistance, ie, those of us who weren't at Fleet Command or major cities on Warday." She looks around her carefully as they walk. "Maybe if we find out a burned out house that still has some structure and then hide out until the Marines try a different area to search?" She sounds doubtful.

"'Bushwhacked' is what we call it here on P, sir," Kelsey comments quietly, trying to keep up with the group. The gal just focuses on putting one foot in front of the other for now. So helpful, this trip. But she remains silent for the most part, not wanting to interfere with what those ranking people are talking about.

Petra murmurs, "Yep, same guy. I…well, why dont I wait until we find a good spot to stop. I think they had just given up on looking for us when you erupted onto the scene. Hopefully they missed your rather low altitude ejection and write you off as didnt make it." Squinting a bit, he points downriver a little bit further, "That looks a lot like a barn. As long as its empty and the roof is still intact, frak it, I'll take it."

"Even if the roof isn't completely intact, as long as part of it is, it'll work." Emilia gives him a crooked smile as they angle toward the indicated area. "This isn't my first time being shot down on this…" She eyes Kelsey for a moment, "…planet. There's not a lot of cylons in this area but there are occasional patrols. So you want cover that won't be really obvious. And yeah, sure. Sleep."

Kelsey returns the look to Emilia. "I'm Pican, sir," she states, but that seems about the length of her engagement to that. She looks like someone who might normally smile more. But given her situation, its probably hard to blame her. Rough day. She follows Petra wherever he goes, though.

Petra mmms softly, finally smirking a little at the commentary, "And this is probably my first time on Picon. Not a good impression Im getting of the colony." He draws out his sidearm as they get close to the structure, taking a more cautious stance as he peeks inside and looks around, "Okay, maybe it wasn't a barn, but its empty now. Looks like this will work for us for the moment." He turns to look back at both Emilia, then Kelsey, then smiles and guestures inside, "Ladies first?"

"Yeah, I thought so. I have spent more time here than I ever wanted," Emilia says in a slightly bitter voice. Then she's drawing her gun as she ducks inside the half-downed structure, -just in case-. "It'll work but we shouldn't linger too long. Getting to Spree's area would be the best idea but, like I said. Four hundred miles."

"I'm sure I'd find your homes lovely, too," Kelsey grumbles. It might take Petra aback, even. Kelsey has something bad to think or say? Weird. She continues to follow Emilia in with her gun at her side tiredly, glancing around. She's had about as much CQB training as any other enlisted naval personnel could be expected to have; none. Kelsey heads over to the wall and sits down heavily on the floor, leaning back.

Petra brings in the rear of the group, reholstering his weapon when it at least does not appear that they have any followers. To Kelsey's comment, he murmurs, "Its a joke, Wescott. We just ejected out of a Raptor that had four rockets launched at it and blown in half, bombs dropped on us, and evaded a rather murderous group of marines, and we aren't even hurt." Oh right, all of that blood down the side of his uniform must not be his. He sighs and turns his attention bac to Emilia, "So alright, who the frak are these guys? Bancroft asked us to come here to talk about helping the resistance…at first I thought the SAMs were Cylons, but when we called for evac, I heard those frakkers talking about shooting us down, and how Bancroft was going to be happy they got 'those traitors'. So…wanna tell me what the frak is going on while we have a second?"

"I doubt it, kid, I'm from Aerilon." Then Emilia is eyeing Petra, her expression tired. "First, I need your names and your ship? I'm not hallucinating, is that really Orion I see on your uniform?" Emilia huffs out a breath and presses the heels of her hands against her eyes. "That's some of the most hardcore of Bancroft's inner circle. I dropped them off earlier but I had no idea what they were going to be doing. To you or to me. The general theme on this side of the planet is 'over my dead body' and I think they'll fight to every last man, woman, and child." There's a pause and she hesitates, her lips pressing together. Something is being left out and it is something that bothers the woman very much.

"Easy for you to say, sir. The Major is going to skin me alive and leave me for the Deck to eat. Two killed, I crashed his Raptor, and I lost his cookies." That last part really seems to hurt. Kelsey takes out the camera from its case on her hip and she turns it on to look at the screen. While its starting up, she glances to Petra when Emilia asks for names. He said not to give any so she goes back to looking at the camera screen and scrolling through pictures.

Petra watches Emilia as he listens, then shifts his gaze to Kelsey, considering her for a moment. Finally, he shakes his head, "I'm Lieutenant Colonel Petra, Orion's Tactical Officer. Petty Officer Wescott over there is the flight trainee that came with us. Our pilot and ECO died when the raptor got hit, and she almost had us landed anyway when they decided to finish us off. Something the CAG is most assuredly NOT going to kick your ass for." Obviously the last comment is directed to Kelsey and not Emilia, even though the LTC's attention drags back to the Captain instead, "So we get to Spree's folks and they aren't afflicted with this same…insanity? Bancroft thought there was going to be someone more important on our bus, and right now Im pretty sure he thinks he succeeded."

Emilia rubs a hand across her mouth, nodding slightly. "Maybe. He's not stupid, though. He's…the longer this has been going on, the more intense he's gotten and the more unstable. And he has this core of people around him who just support him and close ranks around him. Spree's been doing well on her side, from what little I've been able to figure out at this point. But I landed on this side on Warday and…" Her voice trails off and she shrugs, wordlessly saying she hasn't had a lot of options beyond fighting. "What precisely did he seem to want with you?"

Kelsey glances up to Petra and then back down. "Second time I lost his cookies, sir," she sighs. One does not simply lose the DCAG's cookies. Twice. She looks over at Emilia as she speaks up though and splits her attention. "Colonel, is Spree the lady that Sheperd and Beckett were dealing with? I heard good rumors about her on the Deck, sir."

Petra rolls one shoulder at Emilia's question, "He doesn't seem to WANT much of anything…beyond us being dead. His crew were calling us 'enemy agents' and 'traitors' so I dont know what bug is up his ass, but I need to, at the least, get word back to Orion that Bancroft is damaged goods so we dont lose anyone else over his airspace. We had no warning that I could tell on the SAM launch." His attention is drawn back to Kelsey, a faint smirk touching his features when she talks about losing the CAG's cookies, but he nods, "Yes, Spree is the same person. We've already been helping her people, so IM hoping she's a little more sane. Maybe we can find a working car or truck, cause walking just isn't going to cut it, obviously."

Kelsey moves off the wall, yawns, and curls up on the dirty floor. The camera is shut off and replaced in her case and she shivers into a ball to sleep next to Petra. Occasional 'mrphls' and 'prmfs' may be heard through the snoozins.

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