MD #297: Calumet Comms Tower
Calumet Comms Tower
Summary: A team of Colonial Marines are dropped on Calumet to take out a Skath Comms Tower. The Orion must prove to the local Resistance that we are sincere in our offer of aid. (Special thanks to Niko for running this event)
Date: 30/01/2018 (OOC Date)
Related Logs: Marine Op Planning Calumet and mission briefing Calumet Target-03
Lleufer Palermo Maxwell Fischer Yari Emily 
Calumet, mountains
Fri Aug 17 21:34:59

As soon as everyone is gathered and loaded up into the Raptor, and while the pilot and ECO go through their preflight checks, the Gunnery Sergeant speaks up. "All right people, listen up! You've seen our map. We are being dropped off north of the tower in the hills and have to hike in. This is a stealthy mission, but we have equipment to carry. Sergeant Knight is tasked with setting up, and firing the ATGM at our target. It's the tower on the southern-most peak with a bunker. That is our primary goal, but we /must/ do this without giving ourselves away as Colonials. We'll drop back as fast as possible from high ground and go back to a position we'll have to have scouted out first where we can get under cover from Skath thermal optic detection. Hopefully, all we need do is wait about a day for things to quiet down enough for us to then head north to our exfil point. Once we hit that tower though, it's going to be like whacking a hornet's nest. Fifteen minutes until Skath raiders can close in and search for us, and about an hour for walkers to arrive. Our best scenario is to be unfindable. So we need caves, or a mountain village with people we can blend into that we must scout out first. Be prepared for hard hiking and moving fast. Everybody strap in!" With that, Ynyr sets his butt down and webs in for the flight.

Fortunately the Skath presence on Calumet isn?t what it used to be. Not only are there too few ships in orbit to prevent a raptor from sneaking down to the planet, their air defense coverage appears to be incomplete as well. Based on recon photos analyzed by Intel and the Air Wing, the raptor is going to try to jump in close to the planet and then make an atmospheric descent to the LZ, rather than risk an in-atmo jump. It?s a longer flight time with possibly some additional risk of detection, but with a far lower chance of a fatal jump accident.

And so the Marine team are stuck as passengers, crammed into the back of the raptor while the crew carefully flies them in. They jump in-system and verify that the enemy presence in orbit hasn?t changed. After some waiting and watching there's a second jump to high orbit before they burn onto a descent vector. The smooth ride of space is replaced by the thump and bump of atmosphere as they dive toward the landing zone. All seems to be going smoothly, based on the brief, business-like exchanges between the pilot and ECO. Then the dark mass of mountains loom large out the front viewport, and the ECO looks up from his panel to yell over to the Marine team. "Thirty seconds to touchdown!" The engines burn hard as the bus comes in to land.

Like any other good marine, Palermo had done one last final check of her gear before slotting herself into the Raptor like the rest of the well armed sardines and settled in for the ride. Same rule still applies: If she's not driving it, guarding it, navigating it or calling out firing solutions for it in transit, she's napping in it. It may only be a cat nap but even five minutes of shut eye is still shut eye. She wakes up entirely when Ynyr yells to the team and the Raptor begins to shake, rattle and roll.

Max is looking over CLU for the launch. He changed the battery and has 2 spares in his gear. They have several of the long tubes with the missiles, and a CLU for each of the firers. He looks over the control interface again and he makes sure that he knows exactly what he is going to have to do once they get set. He wants to get the missiles away and be ready to move in minutes… and as few of those as possible. He sits down next to Palermo. "You good with the arming and firing sequence or do you want me to fun you through it?" he asks her. As he understand it she is going to be letting missile two go and so… it's going to be very important that she knows the procedure and can get it linked and locked and fired in short order.

Yari's no stranger to the elements, to the mud, to the trees, and the wicked nature of uneven terrain between. She has never been to Calumet, but she's already imagining how it might compare to the scents and sounds of Piraeus, of Ostia. Nice, calming thoughts while she's jostled around in this raptor with the marines, hurtling down into her first taste of potential combat. As instructed, the Corpsman's ditched her tags, her patches, and checked, double-checked, rechecked the medical supplies she's packed on person. Imagined winds whistling through shivering tree branches are suddenly silenced by the Gunny Sgt's voice and her head snaps upright off her chest.

Lleufer is used to rough rides in by Raptor. He looks relaxed, wearing his combat ground gear with heavy body armor, no Orion patches, a ruck with gear to hump in for blowing the tower. His Arpay ears are covered by his black knit cap and along with his contacts to conceal his eyes, Ynyr has his helmet and goggles though you can bet he's got a pair of ballistic sunglasses tucked in some pocket. They'll all be carrying missiles or part of the gear Maxwell needs to blow the tower. Lleufer looks around at the others and gives Yari a wink. Soon as the ETA is given, Lleufer unstraps and moves to the hatch controls to brace himself and wait for touchdown, "Soon as we are out, head for cover in the trees immediately south of the LZ!"

Checking the gear a few more times as they travel, Fischer seems quite comfortable with that simple routine. He smiles a little, mostly to himself, nodding a little as he listens to what's said. Once more checking his gear rather quickly as he does, getting ready for them to head outside.

Sharing a sidelong look with Max paired with a glimpse of a grin, "I'll take a refresher course while we're legging it through those hills, absolutely," she admits as she's rising to her feet. "I'm assuming it still begins with 'point toward enemy'," she remarks as she pats Yari on the shoulder and shares a reassuring nod before doing the same with Emily, though she gives Emily's shoulder a brief grip as well before she's steadying herself with one of the jump straps as she moves forward to stand second in line to leap out of a perfectly good Raptor.

There is a jarring thump as the bus touches down and settles on uneven ground. The ECO helps crack the hatch, then clears out of the way for the Marines to pile out. "See you jarheads in seventy two hours," he says hopefully. Outside the crowded raptor it's dark and cold, with a steady breeze blowing in from the west. They can see the dark masses of mountain peaks rising all around, and the valley that's their path to the target running to the south. Across a hundred meters or rocky ground is the copse of trees Lleufer identified as the rendezvous. The only sound is the dull roar of the bus's engines and the whine of the hatch beginning to close the instant the last of the team is out. Once the team is clear the engines roar and the ship climbs out, heading back up the valley at low altitude away from them before climbing away into the night. Then it's silent, save the wind.

Lleufer gives a thumbs up to the ECO and shouts over the noise of the Raptor as their team starts to pile out fast, "Be safe!" Ynyr leaps out and hustles the short distance to get into the trees and into concealment south of the Raptor and waits only long enough for his team to join him. Their ride is going to lift and take off almost at once - bye, bye! The Gunnery Sergeant waits for the sound of the craft to fade before he pulls out his map and starts pointing out things, "We are going to start drifting south-westerly but we need to scout out these slopes here and here for caves. This area is also dotted with small villages so keep your eyes out for trails, smell of smoke, voices which may carry. First thing we need to do is find somewhere we can take shelter once we make the hit. Palermo, you take point. Fischer, you've got drag." Fischer gets to watch their butts as they move out.

Maxwell resorted back to his old outfit from the last recon they did… with a new vest since the last one ended up with a bullet in it and Avery keeping him from bleeding to death. He glances around and notes that she is not along this time. He looks back over to Palermo and he nods. "I'll give you one then too… just remember that once you initialize, keep the target centered till you hear the long tone." he reminds her. "Once you get that tone and load the data to the seeker… you are set… it's fire and forget." he says to her. "Remember to set your attack profile… direct or top down… it will amend the trageting data for the missile flight path." he takes a deep breath and he leans back in the seat. "I almost feel sorry for them… these frackin' things pack a hell of a punch." he grins and then says. "Almost."

<FS3> Maxwell rolls Alertness: Great Success.

<FS3> Maxwell rolls Stealth: Success.

<FS3> Lleufer rolls Alertness: Amazing Success.

<FS3> Yari rolls Alertness: Good Success.

<FS3> Palermo rolls Alertness: Good Success.

<FS3> Lleufer rolls Stealth: Good Success.

<FS3> Yari rolls Stealth: Good Success.

<FS3> Palermo rolls Stealth: Success.

<FS3> Fischer rolls Alertness: Good Success.

<FS3> Fischer rolls Stealth: Good Success.

Yari hauls ass along with the rest to the trees, thanking the gods for all those brutal weeks of PT that made this run possible. Amazingly, she doesn't trip over any of the rocks by the time she's slinking into the cover of foliage and watching the shadows around with wide, only half panicked eyes. Like a fawn, this one. "Ought we be askin the local folk if they'd mind shelterin us in a cupboard, should we find them, or are we to assume they'll be amenable?" she whispers aside to Lleu.

Fischer stretches out a bit at the moment he gets out of the Raptor, moving into position into concealment. Nodding a bit as he hears the instructions, he offers Lleufer a brief grin and another nod, falling into place at the rear of the group, looking around carefully as he does, to make sure nobody should be sneaking up on them.

"Copy that, Gunny," Palermo confirms as she settles her gear around her shoulders and pats the rest of it into place with one hand, still holding to the jump strap until they touch down. She shares a more solemn look with Max as he walks her through the How-To one more time and exhales a quiet burst of a laugh. "Hell no, I don't even feel almost sorry for these bastards," she admits and leaps out of the Raptor as soon as they touch down, rifle held between both hands once she's on her feet and running in that careful crouch to the treeline and taking a knee briefly once she's there, sweeping the immediate area and eyeing the tree line with all manner of hard eyed suspicion.

Once they are ground-side Max bails out and his the dirt running. He lets Palermo get out on point and then falls in behind. He keeps one hand on his rifle and the other on the hardshell case containing the Trident CLU. He is not about to let anything happen to the launching unit, it's key to their success on this mission. He keeps his head on a swivel looking for any threats as well as on the terrain. Its going to be a long day… one of -those- days. Like he is fond of saying. If it was easy, they would have sent the regular army.

Lleufer is going to start them down the valley but soon enough he directs his team to climbing the slope to the east. The map shows the low mountain with creases set directly north of the tower that may give them good vantage points to use optics to study their goal from a little over a kilometer away. Yet, cover enough to keep working eastwards and a hair south. The Gunny is careful to give Palermo slight course alterations as they move quietly, hauling their packed gear through the tree cover. Once they get up high enough they'll be able to see details of the landscape better and have most of the day ahead before dark, many hours away. Lleufer doesn't say much, staying alert as they keep moving. He glances back often to keep tabs on each member of his team. When Yari moves up to speak low to him, he thins his mouth, "Only if we have to. There's ruins to the east we can drop into, but I'm not sure if we can get up to the small point east of the tower without being seen. So it's good for us to see what other options we have before we decide. Long as we aren't detected, we can take our time." He keeps his voice very low, then starts moving again.

The team hikes south, moving quietly through the darkness. They come across a disused footpath that runs along the valley in the general direction they're headed, and shortly after that they come to a fork in the path. Looking downslope to the left/east they see a path winding toward a ruined village, while the main path continues straight ahead. A side-trip to scout the area turns up a few interesting things. First they come across a small herd of goat-like animals that are skittish and move off as the group gets near. The sure-footed beasts bound up the mountainside and out of sight. Then everyone in the group finds evidence of a long-ago battle in and around the settlement — the ground is pock-marked with craters, and there are empty shell casings everywhere, along with some discarded and rusted equipment and a burnt-out Calumetti battle tank. Maxwell notices a sign off to one side that looks like a marker for a minefield, which the group can then avoid, and Lleufer notices an odd-looking aperture in a rock face overlooking the route into the village from below. Exploring that further shows it to be a firing slit for a bunker that's jack-hammered right into the bedrock. A bit more exploration and they find the entrance — a hole behind some brush that's big enough for them to crawl through. The interior is a narrow, rough-hewn passage that leads to several different firing positions. In one lie the bones and rotted gear from several long-dead soldiers. The tunnels look forgotten and abandoned, just like the dead. But there's room for all of them and their gear inside. This ridge may have been part of a major defense line at some point.

Maxwell takes a knee for a moment. "Gunny… couple hundred meters, south-south-west, looks like… maybe a mine field marker." he says and then he falls back with the others towards the bunker. He adjusts his pack and gear so that he can fit into the narrow passage and then posts next to the entry to allow the others to enter first. He looks around once more at the rugged countryside. It was likely once a very lovely place, now littered and scarred by a forgotten war. He sighs softly and wonders what this place will be like if they drive the Skath out and the war ends. He laughs softly at himseld and he shakes his head. No way he is likely to live to see that happen.

Emily has thus far moved quietly. She never got the benefit of a real, full basic training but she has at least continued learning and not slouched off. Eagerness of youth can be a blessing to survival, after all. Or maybe she just refuses to be a Princess in Another Castle that is excess cargo. At least she no longer looks ridiculous in her combat gear. She moves like a Marine now.

It's slow going in the dark as they climb and it tests their legs, carrying their gear. Lleufer pauses often to check things out with his NV goggles but he doesn't use IR unless he's certain the landscape blocks the Skath from the south from any possibility of seeing it. That warning has been passed through the team. Mostly though he hikes carefully and relies on his natural eyes adjusted to the darkness as much as possible. Yep, let's not blunder into mine fields, "Duly noted. Might be useful if a bunch of Skath walkers come through here." The slit does draw him and once they can make their way up to it and check it out, Ynyr grins. "Hot damn, what a find. A lot better than I had hoped." Lleu looks to Maxwell, "With the range you have using the ATGMs, we won't have to risk the point to the east. This could work out very well. Just need to find a good place close by you can set up and fire from."

Without adding to the weight of the gear she's carrying, Palermo's wears an old and slightly battered wrist watch that has a compass mounted under the time piece, the hinge allowing the top face to lift up, reveal the compass, then snap back into place, neat as can be. Once Lleu gives the bearing to work with she's able to navigate somewhat reliably, (1:360 degrees is not really an acceptable variable) but with Max as her combat buddy she's able to keep on course and move both stealthily and as swiftly as the terrain will allow. The luck that has them finding a footpath is just the sort of luck they need, and when they subtle upon the evidence of a long-ago battle she recognizes the hull of the Calumetti battle tank for what it is. The warning about the mine field marker makes Palermo pause in her scouting/exploring and eyes the terrain with a fresh eyes that are, again, cynical and suspicious.

Yari treks along through the various finds in silence. Rusty remnants of war…she's seen it before. Perhaps in a few years, the remains of her estate on Piraeus will have crumbled into much the same. Letting a shell casing drop from between fingers, she rubs the grit off on her belly and stands to turn her back on the sorry sights. Maxwell's word about mines puts a chill in her spine and a little pep in her step to gtfo…and into the bunker. It's tough to ignore the bodies littering the floor and even more difficult to avoid succumbing to the moldy air. A hand slaps quickly over her face to muffle the oncoming sneeze before it can even happen.

Fischer continues making sure their rear is safe, carefully looking around. Since there doesn't seem much need for him to talk, he keeps silent as he looks around the area, nodding a little at the pieces of conversation from the others. Every now and thenm, he glances to his rifle, then back at their surroundings.

Of course the dusty bones and gear of the soldiers who died fighting here gain Lleufer's attention. He frowns, moves his carefully shielded flashlight around inside the bunker. "Perhaps we will have time to build them a small kairn, when we come back to wait in shelter." Someday, somewhere, his bones may well be left to lie in the dust. They'll be as respectful of the dead as they can, in the time they can spare. After the hit. Ynyr pauses to take a drink from his canteen before he speaks up, "Rest a moment, then we'll move up onto the ridge."

Looking around to the tank, she stares at it with a distant expression. Echoes of a war long gone. The shells are looked at, too. Is this what Picon looked like before the Skath started scavenging and cleaning it up? Moving to follow the rest into the bunker, she looks to Lleufer and then Palermo. The girl doesn't notice the bodies until she sits on an old crate and looks down. Dead bodies left to rot from long ago, too. She tenses visibly before forcing herself to look away and outside, drinking from her camelback. She'll be happy to move when that time arises.

Max looks around once they get into the bunker. "Gunny… just a note to pass along." he says. "Just in case, I'm you know, not able… direct fire or top down will work on the tower, but we run into any walkers or armor… make sure they fire team selects top down." he reminds. "Armor is thinnest on top and least likely to have reactive armor." he leaves out that the Trident warhead is designed to defeat reactive armor, but they don't need to know all that. He makes a mental note to get some time set aside to start giving some of the other Marines some more training in Heavy Weapons. It's not impossible to think that he might get himself killed and they need to know how to make due if that is the case. He is anxious and so keeps moving, pausing for a moment by a small group of bones. "May the Gods of your ancestors keep you…" he says very softly. "So say we all." he sifts a small handful of dirt over the bones. He dusts off his hands and stands again, rifle in hand. He's ready to go kick the Skath in the ol' daddy bags.

After they finish scouting and catch their breath, the team works their way south-southeast down the valley and then eastward up onto the ridge. The night has moved on toward early morning now, but even up here in the higher altitudes the dawn is a still a few hours off. The trees are thin on the ridge, but there are large rocks and scattered brush for cover, and they haven't seen another moving thing up here except those wild goat-things. At the crest the wind blows freely, gusting fresh cold air in their faces. And there is the target — it's about 1500m away across a draw, the peak with the fenced compound is the highest around, with the antenna tower silhouetted against the sky making it hard to miss. They can see a single flickering light far down in the valley, where the loyalist settlement is said to be. Scanning the compound with scopes and binoculars, they can see the bunker, and some movement by where the road comes up to a gate — there is at least one sentry over there.

"Nothing like a blinking light to literally mark the aim-here spot," Palermo's voice is just barely loud enough to carry as she hunkers down, glassing the area with binocs and studying the surrounding terrain for anything that would set off a distant alarm. The Skath may act like this is a medieval times dinner theatre act, but they clearly aren't made up of wooden cogs and squeaky wheels themselves. She exhales a breath, eyes narrowed as the wind gusts and the cold keeps her focused on the task at hand.

Lleufer keeps the team concealed as much as possible, then lays himself out to get a good look at their target. Thankfully they can see it even in the dark - the weather has held out clear and dry for them. Ynyr adjusts his NV scope without the IR and then lowers it, turning his head to look towards Maxwell. "This look like a good spot? It's a bit of a hike back to where I'd like for us to lay up, though. They could have Raiders combing these hills looking for us pretty quick." A quick glance over the other members of his team, then Lleufer's raising his optics to have another look. "Got to get the tower down, but would be nice if we can take out that bunker under it too."

Yari squints against the wind, whatever fatigue was lingering around is slapped out of her by the chilly gusts. She spares a glance toward Emily to see how she's holding up, then to the others. When they pause to survey the target, she takes a knee and gets small alongside an upward jut of stone. First order of business: a drink. Second is to lift her binocs to eyes and peer down toward that tiny beacon of light, way down below. Is it the settlement? "It does seem convenient," she agrees softly, then angles her view a little higher to scan the compound for signs of movement.

More hiking. Emily did plenty of running, but there aren't a lot of hills on a battlestar. Nor very close to the settlement on Ostia. She toughs it out without complaint, but its clear this is a heavy workout for her. The gear, the pack, the rifle. "I'd like to state that I expected less climbing," she says quietly to nobody in particular, moving to sit down against a rock and look back down the path they just came up.

Maxwell looks over the compound with some binoculars and he gets out his datapad and starts making some calculations. He does some flight path/time on target math and comes up with a kind of plan. He walks over to Lleu and he says. "Gunny… got a minute?" he asks in a hushed voice. He waves Palermo over as well, since she is going to be firing the second missile. He lays out his idea. "Ok, did some math and I think there is a good chance if we fire one missile at the tower direct and the second top down… we can get the same effect as three direct on shots…" he shows them the data on his pad and says. "Each warhead is two stage, meant to defeat reactive armor… but it actually means each one goes off twice." he says. "Since we are hitting it twice, the first detonation will breach the wall, the second will destroy the interior, then… a half second later, the second round will hit from above and the weakened structure will be like using a shotgun on a house of cards… mayhem." he grins.

Fischer frowns for a few moments as he watches their surroundings. "We'd better move quick when we hike back, then," he offers a bit softly at Lleufer's words about the possible Raiders combing the hill. Nodding a little as he listens to the others, he offers a brief grin in Emily's direction, but doesn't comment.

Maxwell gets a nod and Lleufer listens attentively. Emily over there gets a wink about hiking up mountains, but this is the kind of stuff Lleu lives for, being a mountain born brat. "All right. If you can set them each up for that, it's why we brought you along. I don't know shit about this equipment, so we are relying on your expertise for this part, Sergeant. Just remember, soon as you take the target down, we have to hustle hard and fast." A glance at Palermo, "Don't miss. Reloading and reaiming will take precious time so get it right the first go."

While the demo team talks explosions, Yari edges back away from her vantage point to crouch nearer to Emily. "You are keeping yourself hydrated, yes?"

Emily looks over to Yari and nods a little. "Yes." No. She wasn't thinking about it. She takes the camelback straw into her mouth for a quick sip.

Hunkering down near Max so that she can rely on his expertise, "Right. Don't miss. Don't frak up and hit absolutely nothing essential. Don't waste time fumbling with the reload if I do miss, but don't miss in the first place," Palermo recites all this in a nice, low, calm voice. Like explaining which screwdriver to use and why. She may be sweating bullets but she sounds calm. Fake it like a pro.

<COMBAT> Palermo attacks Antenna with Missile Ap - Critical wound to Body.

<COMBAT> Maxwell attacks Bunker with Missile AP - Critical wound to Body.

<COMBAT> Aa Battery-1545e has been KO'd!

<COMBAT> Antenna has been KO'd!

Maxwell looks over towards Palermo and he says. "You got this." he looks through the viewfinder again and he lines up, waits for the tone and once he has it, selects the flight profile as top down, squeezes the trigger and waits for the jolt that comes only another second later and then… 'WOOOSH!' the exit charge kicks the missile from the tube and the main motor fires. The missile streaks away. A second later he feels, then hears Palermo's missile launch. He watches through the range-finder as the missiles hit home only a minute later. He looks over to Lleu. "Tower down, bunker is smoking but standing." he says. "Second shot?" he asks. It's not his call to make, though he does not like the idea of leaving anything standing down there.

As Maxwell chooses where to set up and he and Palermo start doing that, Lleufer collects a couple of the missiles they have been carrying - from Yari and Emily. So they won't be bogged down when the team has to run like hell! Ynyr and Fischer still have missiles to aid in any necessary reloading. Lleufer readjusts his position to keep scanning the area.

The missile shots take Emily by surprise and there's a small yelp from her as she ducks back down lower behind the rock. Once the dust blows over her, she looks up to watch the little white flecks of the motor going downrange. "Shooting stars-" And when they explode she giggles madly. "Oh that is very pretty."

Those watching the compound note movement near the gate the moment the first two missiles launch in twin flashes of fire and smoke. What they can tell from over there is anyone's guess — one might picture a loyalist guard wondering what those lights are coming toward them — but there's no obvious sound or sight of an alarm before the warheads detonate on their targets. Then the door to the Quonset hut are thrown open and three Skath walkers come stomping out, followed by some humans.

Lleufer grimaces and takes a quick look through his optics, "You better do it fast and keep a missile or two back in case we get boxed in by walkers. We didn't bring any to spare, otherwise." A quick look at the others, "Start pulling back to cover, ready to fall back." A nod to Palermo and Max, "Hit again but no other shots after."

Yari isn't sorry to give up her missile. She's not in a position to resist anyway, still reeling from the sonic blast of the missle launch and there's a definite tremor in those hands passing it over. She scoots back as instructed, trying to blend deeper into their scant surroundings while waiting for the others.

There's a brief grimace as Fischer hears things go off, before he looks around carefully. Preparing to move when needed, he looks around rather carefully, to try spotting anything coming their way, just in case.

Quickly, but methodically, working through the process to re-arm after the first shots have done their damage, and there's a brief gleam of a fierce grin on Palermo's face when the Antenna is downed in that first salvo, the marine's hands are calm and no longer as uncertain as she sets up for the next target. "I'll take on the walkers," she says in a low aside to Max, "top down," short hand for the setting he'd suggested earlier, making sure she's set it up exactly-so before she's firing again.

<COMBAT> Palermo attacks Walker1 with Missile Ap - Moderate wound to Head.

<COMBAT> Maxwell attacks Bunker with Missile Ap - Moderate wound to Body.

<COMBAT> Aa Battery-9415a has been KO'd!

<COMBAT> Bunker has been KO'd!

The trio of Skath jog forward, smash through the fence, and start descending the slope from the compound. The grade means they're not running very fast, and it's going to be take a minute or two before they're in effective range with their arm-mounted machine guns. Meanwhile more men are coming out of the Quonset hut, several with torches in hand. All are armed with swords. Fresh missiles are passed up to the gunners and reloaded. Then the second volley flies.

"Frakker managed to dodge, go figure," Palermo growls these words as she sees her missile be near but not near enough. "We need to move, Gunny," because stating the obvious will make her SERGEANT OBVIOUS, not captain obvious. NCO Obvious maybe.

Lleufer waits for the second round of missiles to be fired and as soon as they are off, whether they hit or not, Ynyr gets up, "Let's move out! Anybody lags who's carrying equipment, we help them - and we ditch the ATGM's if we have to. Let's go! Fischer, you are on point!" This time Lleufer himself will ride drag to make sure no one is left behind, and so he can keep an eye on how close those walkers are closing. "Hustle, people." He keeps his voice down, rifle in his hands as they move out.

Max lays a second round right in through the blown open doors of the bunker like parking a car in a garage. The round impacts something significant enough to detonate and the bunker disintegrates in a plume of fire and smoke and flying debris. Concrete and steel and bodies are launched into the air. "Score!" he calls and then looks over to see a round impact one of the Walkers. It's a glancing hit, but now they know that they are being shot at, it should slow them a touch. "Nice shot Palermo!" he says. "I think though, it is time for us to leave, seems they don't want anyone on their lawn." he

Okay, so now there's walkers. Emily looks back from the path and see's what is coming. Her only real action was back on Picon with the howitzer and she never fired a shot. She wheels around to take up a firing position behind a rather large rock and tries to remember to breath. Her barrel darts between targets but she's holding her fire cuz Sergeant Lleu didn't say to do that yet.

And then Emily turns to run with the rest. Yep, descending is much easier.

<FS3> Lleufer rolls Body+body: Great Success.

<FS3> Yari rolls Body+body: Failure.

<FS3> Maxwell rolls Body+body: Good Success.

<FS3> Palermo rolls Body+Body: Failure.

<FS3> Emily rolls Body+Body: Success.

<FS3> Fischer rolls Body+body: Good Success.

Nobody's got to tell Corpsman Sawyer twice! She's up on her feet and ready to make fast tracks down that trail already, so once the order is there? Zoom! She scurries with best of them…least at first. Then her left foot skids on a loosed rock and ankle rolls and so does she! It's a neat tuck and roll and the woman pops back up to feet without much time to think about it, but finds that her ankle is now in disagreement with the pace she'd set for self. Well, shit. She's pushing it, but can't help to notice that the gap between her and Fischer is growing…

"Would've been better if I'd taken it's head off and left it twitching on it's legs like a headless chicken," Palermo replies with a grin and shoulder-slugs Max, "Nice shootin', Knight," in approval as she pushes to her feet and starts to scramble off the Skath lawn. "See how they came boiling out like ants?" she says as she trips over her own two feet and staggers, arms cast akimbo to fight for her balance. She regains it, fights for the balance really, and trips along in Max's wake, ending up at the tail end of the formation near Sawyer.

"As the time to run comes, Fischer starts moving at a good pace, making sure to keep himself in a position where he doesn't fall over easily. His attention is mostly on what's in front of them, not what's behind him for now.

Max gets to his feet, stows the CLU and readies his rifle. He gets into line with the others in the team as they start to make their way down. "We get to that old bunker or somewhere to take a knee, we should reload again… we have missles left and if those Walkers catch up to us… we might need to be able to shoot quick." he says as he keeps moving.

First he watches Yari slip and hurt her ankle, and then Palermo does her graceful impression. "Gods damnit people!" Lleufer hisses, "Pay attention to what you are doing." Lleufer moves to assist Yari, "Knight, help Palermo. If we can't move fast, we're going to have to take those walkers and men out." Ynyr glances up at the night sky, worried more about those Raiders that may or may not show up.

<FS3> Maxwell rolls Body+body: Good Success.

<FS3> Fischer rolls Body+body: Good Success.

<FS3> Yari rolls Body+body: Good Success.

<FS3> Maxwell rolls Alertness: Good Success.

<FS3> Lleufer rolls Body+Body: Good Success.

Palermo spends 1 luck points on Lleu stole my dice.

<FS3> Palermo rolls Body+body: Great Success.

<FS3> Yari rolls Alertness: Success.

<FS3> Lleufer rolls Alertness: Good Success.

<FS3> Palermo rolls Alertness: Great Success.

<FS3> Fischer rolls Alertness: Success.

<FS3> Emily rolls Body+Body: Good Success.

<FS3> Emily rolls Alertness: Great Success.

The group scrambles down the slope and back to the foot path, making better time now as everyone reaches more level ground. The Skath are probably up there on the ridge somewhere by now, but they're not in sight. Yet. From somewhere to the east, far in the distance, they all hear a is a solitary 'boom.' All the trained Marines and those who have heard distant artillery before recognize that sound. Someone just fired a howitzer in their general direction.

Maxwell keeps making for the low ground. Once he gets to the point where he can slow, he does and then tilts his head to one side. "Anyone else hear that…?" he asks. "Incoming!" he yells, despite the raised voice might not be advisable. Unless there are spotters, they are shooting blind… but shooting blind with a really, really BIG gun.

"EVERYONE DOWN," Palermo's words are almost overlapping Maxwell's and she doesn't just throw herself at the ground and not miss hitting the ground on the way down, she tugs her helmet down lower over the back of her head before she hugs the ground like a pro. "HOWITZER," said in a marked tone of offense. Offended!

<FS3> Emily rolls Swimming: Success.

Emily knows that sound. She loaded one of those. She saw what direct fire would do. Being on the other end, she's no longer about to jump up in the air. Rather than stop and set camp like a real Lady, Emily hears the command from Palermo and does a nice little impromptu dive. She goes to her side and skids down the hill, head first, taking some gravel down the shirt and pants.

The Gunnery Sergeant isn't about to let Yari lag behind and soon enough she's able to keep moving under her own power. Lleufer continues to hang back as Fischer leads the way back through the darkness. It won't be long now before the sky will begin to pale with the first predawn light. They keep moving at a pretty good clip despite the dark, now they've struck the trail. Then that omenous boom in the distance. "I sure hope that's the Resistance." Ynyr motions to the rocks, "Tuck in close to the rocks! Get down!" And pray. Lleu dives for anything he can that might help shelter him, if there is anything, and gets his ass down. He opens his mouth and covers his ears, ready as he can be for over pressure!

<FS3> Niko rolls 1: Success.

A mob of men wielding torches and swords and parade of walkers? Yari'd rather the trail cooperate and bid them a more graceful, safe passage instead. When the ground starts to level and feeling return to her foot, she's let go of Lleufer. Her ears are still burning with the shame of her stumble by the time they reach the path, but she's not too preoccupied with self-admonishment to miss that terrible roll of thunder - NOT thunder in the distance. It's a sound similar to how the destruction of Sheridan began, except then she was just five and hiding in the cellar of a faraway farm and not really /the/ target. The look on her face says yes, she heard it. And then her face is in the dirt, body curling into as small a target as she can make herself against some tree.

Fischer continues running for a few moments longer, before he hears that part about getting down. Then he throws himself forward, hitting the ground. After all, he knows quite well how dangerous artillery can be. "Seems like we got someone's attention, at least," he remarks, to nobody in particular.

After about thirty seconds they hear a rushing noise, the pitching changing as it gets closer, as a very large projectile rips through the air at high velocity. The shell screams over the ridge they just left, plunging down at a high angle to explode a hundred meters behind them. Too far away to be a great danger after the Marines all hit the dirt, but the explosion does throw rocks and brush into air, along with shall fragments. The sound of the explosion has barely faded away when they again hear big guns firing, far to the east. Boom, boom, boom-boom. Four shots, for those who are counting.

"East! East are the ruins! That's the Resistance. Everybody up and keep moving!" Lleufer gets up even though the big gun in the distance keeps firing. He moves forward to start pulling people up. "Move it! Move it! Let's not waste it." The Gunny seems intent to get them heading for the cleft once more, the pounding ranged in for well behind them, though that could change.

Max stays down until the shell hits. "Anyone hit!?" He asks, looking around. "Anyone hurt?" he shakes his head and then says. "155" he says overly loud, his ears still ringing some. He gets to his feet and he says. "Heard more… that… way." he takes a second to catch his breath. "We need to go towards the shots, puts them further behind us… listen for the pitch change then cover." he warns. "Then we can get back on track for exfil." he says.

Palermo picks herself up out of the rubble and moves forward, offering a hand up to Emily as she turns to orient on the sound of weapons fire. "Someone had better sing out when we get in range so they don't shoot us instead," she exhales these words in a single breath as she starts running again. Instinct has her wanting to zig-zag to defy the odds, but the expenditure of energy and the way it would slow her rate of ground-covering has her running flat out toward the weapons fire once everyone else is moving.

Yari twitches at every plunk and rustle of debris bouncing off the ground around them, about ready to climb out of her skin and keep running, but finally unfolds when the immediate danger's passed. "Everyone is okay?" she seeks to clarify. No blood of gushing quantity? Good. She's up but not moving, looking from Lleu's instruction to Maxwell's, then back to Lleu. But then Palermo's on the move! So she follows suit.

Stumbling back to his feet, Fischer looks around at the others. Looking to see if anyone needs help or something. Only for a few moments before he starts moving along with the others, doing his best to stay alert for whatever that might come.

<FS3> Niko rolls 1: Embarassing Failure.

Lleufer doesn't object to moving a bit eastwards before they resume their trek towards their shelter of choice, but he's not going far before he'll pass it up the line to redirect Palermo back on course. Ynyr continues to bring up the rear and help anyone who lags, but he keeps glancing up towards the sky as they keep moving, huffing and puffing their way through the trees. Any sign of pursuit?

Emily takes the hand up and scrambles on the loose rock, trying ot get her footing. Nope, that was enough artillery for her. She's had quite enough, thank you. "Fabulous!" she calls out in reply to Yari, trying to run down after Palermo.

Everyone picks themselves up and moves, and the thirty or forty seconds those artillery rounds are in flight seems to take forever. Then the howl of the incoming shell returns, this time in a chorus. The guns may in fact be shooting blind, or someone may have made a mistake on their adjustment. This is good news for the Marines though, as the whole volley lands well short of them, exploding near the ridge top where they fired their missiles. The rounds impact one after another in quick succession, shaking the ground and throwing debris into the air. Someone is shooting into the valley on purpose; whether it's the Skath or the resistance doing the shooting, at least the Walkers probably aren't going to chase them through that. There's one more volley that lands back there again, and then the artillery ceases. In the meantime, the Marines have gained a good bit of distance, and they reach the old strong point without further incident.

Maxwell keeps moving with the team. He keeps his rifle ready but also an ear out for the walkers or for Raiders. He might not be able to actually shoot one of them down with a Trident, but if he gets a lock on it, might be enough to give them a scare that someone is about to stuff a missile up their tail. He takes a knee when they reach the stronghold. He opens the CLU and fits it to a new missile tube. He'll carry it assembled for the rest of the run. Just in case. He takes a moment to get some water and then goes to check on the rest of the team and make sure that everyone is okay.

They hear the first Skath Raiders buzzing the area only a few minutes after they reach cover. In the hour before dawn there are several more that pass close overhead, but there's nothing for them to see from the on high except the ruins of the long-dead village. And the entire next day is spent in those cramped tunnels, and all they can do is watch and wait. Patrols of humans, footmen with swords led by knights with pistols, show up a few hours later. They comb the area all day long, but go back down the mountain as night falls. And then it's the team's chance to slip away and return to the raptor, and their ride home.

Crack, sweet crack! In the stone, that is. Yari doesn't look back but once to ensure that whichever heads were behind her are there still, before diving through the passageway and into the bunker. It's a dismal hidey hole, carpeted by death, but beggers cannot be choosers, can they? "Now that we've a moment to breathe and recognize our skins remain in tact…" she eventually pipes up from her place on the floor where she's propped against the wall, "I'd like to congratulate you two," she looks to Palermo and Max, "On your shooting." Because fireworks. Nervous lips quiver up into a half smile and she nods her appreciation of the handiwork.

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