AWD #605: Envoy to the Enemy
AWD #605: Envoy to the Enemy
Summary: Colonials and Cylon cooperate in an attempt to avert mutual destruction.
Date: 22/02/2017 (OOC Date)
Related Logs: Probability of Compliance
Alejandro Jaxon Pratt 
In Space!
It's very spacious
Sun Sep 03 2006 (AWD #605)

(OOC NOTE: The exact timing of this scene is a little handwavey. The mission aboard the Erol begins before the Arpay return to Colonial space and concludes shortly thereafter.)

Major Gray's briefing is short and to the point. Recent intel indicates One is largely responsible for the war, and One is now leading a Cylon task force toward the former human world of Erfrik, seeking contact with the Machines. We have managed to convince the Cylons that One is lying and that contact with the Machines will result in the destruction of both the Cylons and the Twelve Colonies. But the Cylon task force is far out of communication range and the distances involved are thousands of light years. They are left with only one viable option: cooperation.

The team will take a raptor to the Armistice Station, collect an unarmed Cylon envoy, and then rendezvous with the Fleet exploration vessel Erol. Outfitted with an Arpay wormhole drive, the Erol is the only ship with a prayer of finding the Cylon task force before it reaches Erfrik. The Cylon envoy is to provide coordinates for the search area and communications with the task force, if found. It is to remain aboard the raptor, parked in the Erol's hangar, unless absolutely necessary. The odds may be long, but this is the best chance they have averting disaster.

Captain Salazar has been placed in charge of the mission, though the command relationship with Captain Harris, CO of the Erol, is technically more along the lines of cooperation. Harris has orders to take them wherever they need to go to accomplish the mission. Lieutenant Pratt and his ECO make up the raptor crew, and PO Swick, an expert on Cylon signals, has been assigned from Intel. Last are Four MPs from the Orion have been detailed to 'escort' the envoy — led by Sergeant Aspus, they are all decked out Piraen combat gear. The team and whatever gear they require are loaded aboard the raptor, and the bus launches from the Orion to head for Armistice Station.

A passenger for now until he gets to the comms station on the Erol, Jaxon has his arms wrapped around the large box that contains his comm gear, headset and code books as he protects them as best he can, a glance towards the rest of the group, leaned back in his seat in the Raptor.

Alejandro is in his flight suit, seated up with the Raptor pilot and trying not as uneasy as he actually felt about this … assignment. The Scorpian born viper squadron leader is about as useful as a brick in a Raptor unless you need a door gunner. Captain 'Chiron' Salazar has a nice bruise that mars his right cheek as if he'd slammed into a bulkhead, hatch, or somebody's fist. He moves a little stiffly as well, suggesting some soreness. A recently healed shrapnel wound decorates the right side of his throat where something tried to kill him, but it's mostly healed and showing fresh deep pink puckered skin. His dark eyes are watchful as they proceed.

Well, hey, at least nothing should be going wrong THIS far out, right? Pratt's fairly casual for the moment, even serenading the rest of the passengers (or subjecting to, depending on your opinion of his singing) his rendition of one of the last boy band songs that came out before the War started. He checks in with Sparks and nods, calling out for the jump to Armistice. There's the expected moment of dead air then DRADIS recovers and Sparks calls out "Jump on target, Armistice Station where expected. One contact! Cylon heavy raider30 kms off of station, just sitting there sir, doesn't appear to be attacking. Station's powered up but I'm not picking up damage or activity." For his part, Pratt naturally tightens up on the controls when the RED pops up on DRADIS, but fights down the urge to immediately respond. Instead there's a pause before he lets out a breath, "That better be our guy or this might be a short trip."

The MPs in the back of the bus wait quietly, if a little nervously, during the flight. Maybe it's the 'escort a live Cylon' part of this mission, or maybe it's Pratt's singing. The heavy raider is stationary for another thirty seconds, then it manuevers in to dock at the station. It's not even coupled for a minute before it detaches, moves clear, and then jumps away in a flash.

<FS3> Alejandro rolls Singing: Success.

Alejandro is a little tense for singing but he mumbles a few lines along with Pratt's silliness when he knows the words. Most of the Captain's attention is on where they are going and the craziness of what they are going to attempt. But, music helps, even if he left his guitar aboard the Erol. And finally they make it to the Armstice Station and dock to disembark. "MP's out first. Let'm make sure it's clear before we get out." Salazar double checks the sidearm in his holster so it's not shoved in there too tight, then will disembark with the others once the Marines tell'm it is clear. "Won't this be fun?" That is murmured to no one in particular.

The disfigured comms NCO keeps his briefcase close to him as Jaxon looks from the MPs to all the officers and brass as he draws in a breath. The others get to go first, he's just a petty officer, after all. "I forgot my party pants, sir." the PO offers as he finally rises, holding his case with one hand, and sidearm at his side with the other.

Pratt mms softly at the commentary and offers, "Well, wouldn't be the first time we both signed up for a lunatic run, right Captain?" The docking with the Station goes without incident at least, and the Raider doesn't suddenly spring to the attack and blow them all out of the air. The Raptor settles with a little rumble and a call from Pratt, "Just a little wake up. Barf bags behind ya seats." A few moments later, Sparks announces they have a green and it's okay to flee the bus. Pratt cranes his head around to look at Alejandro, Jaxon, and the MPs, "Don't forget me a souvenir! I'm on the wireless, scream if someone starts firing."

The raptor's hatch hisses open and the team starts to exit. However, there is a Centurion RIGHT THERE. The thing is standing still, just three meters ahead. The MPs come up short and bristle at this surprise, but the Sergeant keeps them in hand. "Easy people." Hands grip rifles but no weapons are raised. The Cylon has its spindly finger-hands deployed, and it is holding some sort of briefcase-like device with a display screen, so hopefully that's their envoy.

There is a very strong temptation to flip Pratt the bird. Even if he's not a Marine. Instead, Alejandro gives the Lieutenant a fake smile, "We'll send you a post card."

Apollo's testicles! It's /right/ there waiting for them when they dock. Salazar who was once a Cylon POW, suddenly looks like he might have a frak'n heart attack. Or piss himself. Thankfully he's in a flight suit but carrying his helmet. Yep, he stops cold when the Marines speak up. A tense breath and eyeing the thing takes a second before he steps out the rest of the way. "We have come to pick you up and take you to your Fleet at the coordinates provided." It takes a measure of Alejandro's steeled will to look the thing in it's lazer red eye and then he drops his attention to the screen it's holding to see if there is any text. He's read the AAR's.

Jaxon takes a step back, his hand settled on the sidearm. Don't panic, don't panic. It's his own private mantra to himself as he looks with wide eyes from Alejandro to the Centurion. Being this close to it is more than a little unnerving as he tightens his grip on his briefcase, holding his gaze towards the Centurion fully.

Pratt cant see the Centurion, but he can see that look of 'oh frak' on other people's faces, especially Sparks'. Because if his ECO is about to freak out, Pratt knows there's a problem. His gaze falls down to DRADIS, making sure that the red dot did leave and that a horde of others isn't suddenly arriving. His fingers drift over the engine control indicators, listening quietly as he asks in a lower voice, "We okay, Captain?"

Pratt can't see any sign of anything else out there in space. The heavy is gone and DRADIS is clear, save for the big arc that's blocked by the station they're docked to.

The Centurion does not react to their surprise or to the hands on weapons. It does not care. But its sweeping red eye passes over the Marines, then Jaxon, before it locks on to Alejandro and halts. It slowly raises the briefcase-thing, holding the screen outward toward them. Words appear on the display: 'Ranking officer: Captain Alejandro Salazar 521-39-9171.' New line. 'Cylon is prepared for immediate departure. Objective: locate and halt Erfrik task force.' Third line. 'Task force is broadcasting continuous signal, wavelength twenty one centimeters. Search area as follows:' A list of three dimensional coordinates spew out in rapid succession. The navigationally minded among them can tell that is a /big/ area. Dozens of light years across at the least. Two empty lines, and the message concludes. 'Jettison Cylon once contact established.'

"We are aware of our orders." Salazar does NOT like that it knows who he is, but it can't be helped. Damn Cylons. "Come aboard then and we'll strap you in, to go to the Erol." Alejandro steps aside to clear the Raptor's hatch. He calls back towards Pratt, "The Centurion is already here and coming aboard." TO the Cylon the Captain adds, "Move to the back, if you please and then we'll strap in as well." This is going to be so much unfun.

"Don't worry, Captain…" Jaxon offers a thin-lipped smile, that tugs on his scars. "When it comes to that last line, maybe they'll let you push the button." Hey, was that sarcasm or optimism? Hard to tell with the comm nerd as he moves to take his new seat at the back of the Raptor.

Pratt mutters in a singsong under his breath, "Of all the things I never frakking thought I'd be saying…roger, Cylon coming on board, sir." He meets eyes with Sparks and shakes his head, then turns his attention back to the flight controls, "When they're settled, prep the docking ring and spool the FTL up for the meeting point with the Erol. And just…keep an extra eye on DRADIS, please."

The Centurion does not acknowledge anyone but Alejandro. 'By your command,' scrolls onto its display. There is a one second pause, and then the Centurion moves. The briefcase is lowered, cords spooling back up into the Cylon's arm. Then clomp, clomp, clomp go the metal feet as the big stompy robot is escorted aboard the raptor. It stops and sits where directed, still except for the sweep of its eye. Two of the Marines take the places on either side of the Centurion, and two across from it. They're all edgy and hyper-alert. Any conflict in these close quarters? That would get real messy, real fast. At least the thing would have to go through them to get to any of the other team members.

Alejandro takes a slow deep breath and once it's boarded, he goes back into the Raptor as well. He looks to the MP's. "Strap it in. If we get jostled in flight I don't want it sitting in my lap." He goes to take his own seat and strap in. The Centurion could break the webbing if it wanted to, but let's hope it doesn't want to.

The Centurion allows itself to be secured without protest or apparent interest. Pratt makes the jump to their rendezvous and the raptor is soon tucked away in the Erol's small hangar bay. The Cylon sits as still as a stainless steel statue. The MPs from the Orion are left standing watch in bus, keeping the hatch open. Captain Mike Harris is there to meet the team as they disembark, along with his own security officer with a rifle. They don't have Marines aboard the space exploration ship. "Captain," he greets Alejandro. There's a twitch of his mouth as he sees the badly scarred Jaxon, but the man manages a quick nod to try and cover it. "Petty Officer." And then the raptor pilot gets a strained smile. "Mr. Pratt. Why am I seeing you again? Do you volunteer for these things or does someone have it out for you?"

Pratt climbs off the Raptor wing with a bit of reluctance, though he does nudge Sparks to yank the flight drive anyway, if the toaster is staying on the raptor. He manages a small smile to Captain Harris and offers, "Appreciate the lift, Captain. Well, I figure we didn't get killed last time, we'll see if second time works just as well, right? Not that the passenger list is calming my nerves, though." A purposeful look is shot back at the Raptor.

"Captain Harris." Alejandro disembarks and tucks his flight suit helmet under his arm. "Package is aboard. When it's time to jettison our guest, I'd love to have the honors if you don't mind, Captain." Stab, stab, stab the button. "We have the coordinates for you." Their ECO can see to that data. "And the frequency we are to seek to locate that their Fleet is supposed to be transmitting."

Offering a salute, the Petty Officer rises a little firmer. "Petty Officer 2nd Class Jaxon Swick, communications and encryption. I'll be assisting at the comms console today, sir." he says as he nods. "I'll have that frequency spun up and listening for it actively." he promises, a pat of his communications gear case.

Harris gives a gruff laugh for Pratt's answer. He can enjoy a bit of banter even if there are potentially lethal concerns. A knowing nod for the passenger aboard their raptor, and then he turns to Alejandro and Jaxon. The Petty Officer's salute is returned and Harris takes care of the formalities, if a bit late. "Good to meet you, Swick. Captain Mike Harris." Then he turns to the group as a whole. "Welcome aboard, gentlemen. Let's head up to the bridge and get this show on the road." He spends a second conferring with his security man, who remains behind with the Marines and in communication. And then they make the short trip up to the bridge.

Even a few extra bodies leave the Erol's bridge a little crowded, but people manage. There is only the one comms station, so Jaxon basically has to man it solo. The Cylon coordinates are then entered into the ship's nav system, and the display shows an elliptical area of space, some fifty light years wide by two hundred long. The Erol's wormhole drive can take them anywhere in that space in moments, but it is vast. Saying they are looking for a needle in a haystack is an understatement. "Gods damn," Harris mutters, shaking his head. "We could search that area for the rest of our lives and not cover it all. And we're looking for a moving target. Thoughts?"

Pratt waits until Sparks offers over the drive and tucks it under his arm, intent on following the team up to the small bridge area, where he can find a convenient place to cram his huge ass…and brace a little better than the last time he was up here. This part, he's here for the ride, so the Tauron does a good job of making himself as inconscpicuous as he can, where he can watch the DRADIS screens and listen to what Jaxon and Alejandro discuss with the flight crew.

"Dear Diary. Today I strapped into a Raptor with a live Centurion Cylon. We'll have toaster treats for breakfast." There /was/ a good reason to bring the Petty Officer along, even if Alejandro couldn't fathom why before. Then they are off to follow the Erol's Captain. Salazar reaches up a hand to unzip his flight suit after he sets his helmet aside but doesn't start stripping out of it. "I hope we have very sensitive reception and a lot of luck. Can we possibly narrow it down by extrapolating data based on what we know they are searching for? We know that Efriki is or was a inhabited world before the Machines found it. That may help us reject systems, and the planet too surely will be producing radio or other waves that may be helpful to establish a direction if we can pick anything up. Even if it's centuries or thousands of years old."

"I'll have my ears on and working the console. Let's hope the fish are pinging today, sir." Jaxon responds as the petty officer gives a nod towards Alejandro. "If we can get to the bridge, we can set up and I'll be ready by the time we get to the coordinates/"

"Nav, Do we have coordinate for Erfrik?" Harris asks after hearing Alejandro's thoughts. "In the Arpay charts, yes sir," comes the reply. "On screen." And there's a little dot, some way beyond the long axis of the elliptical search area. "Hmm," Harris thinks it over, rubbing his chin. "Plot me a straight line course, Erfrik through the center of our search area." That shows up on the display and the Captain gives a small shrug. "We could focus here. As good a starting point as any." Then he turns to nod Jaxon towards the comms station on the bridge. "Get yourself installed over there Petty Officer. Barnes," Harris calls to the person manning it currently. "You're relieved for now. Stand by, but make sure that man's coffee cup doesn't run dry." There is one last matter to decide, however. "Now. Do we start nearest to our space and chase them, or at the far end and work back…" Harris muses.

Pratt eyes the map and the search area, then mutters something with Sparks, asking something under his breath, then clears his throat, "Sirs? If the Machines are at Erfrik, maybe it might be a bad idea to START there, unless we know we can avoid our first jump being our last?"

"Now Captain, we don't want to get … too close to Erfrik if we can help it. But I thought the data might help us pinpoint the most likely course the Cylon Fleet may be heading in. I'd not care to have the Erol bump into these Machines directly." Alejandro looks where Harris indicates and he nods. "How close do we /dare/ to approach Erfrik, might be the question. Do we know how far the Cylon signal is likely to reach? I'd suggest starting at least that far out and work away from the planet. But if we actually run into any of the Machines, we are going to want a jump ready that won't lead them back towards our space either." Salazar is not an ECO so navigation isn't his strongest suit. He looks to the others. Yes, a nod to Pratt.

"Well, it depends on the spectrum of the message. If they're using light pulse technology, the signal will be strongest where the signal currently is and the spectrum of it will fade the closer it gets to the transmitter." Jaxon explains. "If I can get on that signal, I can follow it's degredation and hopefully get to a source, if they haven't moved since their transmission."

Captain Harris gives a rough chuckle for Pratt and Alejandro's concern. "Agreed. Nav, how close to Erfrik is the nearest point in our search area?" The nav officer calls back, "Seven hundred light years and change, Captain." Harris nods. "Not exactly on the doorstep. Still, no sense getting closer than we have to." Then he listens to Jaxon's input and frowns in thought. "Right. We need to get you in position to hear it. The longer ago the Cylons were there, the farther the signal will have travelled. It's not going to help much given the distances, but ever little bit, right?" He seems mostly convinced. "So, nearest end of the route and work our way outward? Any other thoughts, Gentlemen?"

Pratt nods his agreement with Alejandro and murmurs, "Thanks, sir." He settles back down and tucks himself into his little corner of the bridge with his ECO, exchanging a little banter with the man ('you can always go back to the bus and let the toaster stare at you', 'oh frak you, you get to sit up front and not feel his eyes on you.'). But otherwise does manage to stay quiet and listen and watch what's going on.

"Sounds good. I'll get to work as soon as possible, sirs." Jaxon promises as he moves to follow the others to the bridge. Once there, he'll open his case, taking out an oversized pair of what appear to be padded DJ earphones, but are modified listening devices as he connects to the console and starts to program in the frequencies he needs to make contact, hopefully. If the Gods and Dice are willing.

Jaxom gets a look from Captain Salazar that looks like, 'What did he say?'. Clearly, frequencies and transmissions isn't the viper Captain's specialty. Alejandro looks to Harris who saves him having to make a reply to the PO. "Nothing else from me off hand. I'm loath to ask our 'guest' for it's input. Try our luck, first."

Once that's settled and they get started, Chiron pats his flight suit down and finds his cigarette tin. He opens it up and starts to roll himself a smoke, then produces a brass lighter with a scorpion on it to light up. He may have some tension on this mission. No, really.

It's not so much a 'jump' as a sort of 'dive.' Harris gives the order and the Erol's Arpay drive rips a hole in space-time. The ship accelerates down this gravity well and into the wormhole. The star field ahead shrinks to a point of light for a few seconds, and then blossoms back to full glory as they emerge into normal space. Just like that, they are farther away from the Colonies than Alejandro or Jaxon have ever been before. And closer to Machine-space than any of them have ever been. But there is nothing there. An hour passes with nothing on DRADIS and nothing but background noise on the frequency Jaxon is monitoring. There's nothing for it but to try another location.

And there is nothing there either. Jump. Nothing. Jump. Nothing. A day of changing positions and listening to static with no results. They are making guesswork about where to try next, working their way little by little closer to Machine space. After a dozen jumps they have to return to the Colonies to refuel, then get back out again. A trip that would take weeks in the Orion is two minutes. Refueling for an hour, and then they're back to the search zone and back to work. The Marines report that there has been no change in the envoy's status. The Centurion ain't moving. The MPs are now taking the watch in shifts.

Pratt murmurs in a reverent whisper after the first jump, "Never gonna get used to that. Like watching a movie." He's seen it before, been on a ship with an Arpay drive before, but for someone that's been using Colonial FTL on a daily basis, it still takes some adjustment. Each time they jump, Pratt is straining to look at DRADIS, half expecting to suddenly see a screen full of angry red swarming their way, but so far…bupkis. At least the huge Tauron is staying calm about it.

"Or like being flushed down a giant space toilet." Alejandro offers back to Pratt, "But at least it's fast." The viper Captain finally starts to relax over time when nothing dire happens right away. Bordem sets in. Plenty of smoking, playing his guitar, and maybe even starting to want to run into something out there. Salazar does his watches, stands around in his duty blues, and mostly waits. A viper pilot who's not going to get to PEW PEW at anything at all. A fish out of water. So, he waits and let's the Erol's crew do their thing.

For Jaxon, it's been sixteen hours on, eight hours off as he hot bunks his way through his shifts, keeping himself alert with stim sticks and caff as he continues to watch the screens and listen for any signs of life out there as he keeps his hand pressed to the headphones, eyes watching the screens alertedly.

They've walked about three quarters of their 'center line route,' diverting towards nearby star systems whenever there seems to be good cause to check it out. But it's been over sixty hours of searching with zero results. Maybe the Cylons didn't take the straight line route. Maybe they've passed them and they're searching space the Cylons haven't even reached yet. Or maybe they're already at Erfrik and they're all doomed. The action on the bridge has become a monotonous routine. And while the crew is a good one, it's a small ship with a small complement. People are pulling extra watches and nerves are starting to get a little raw. They jump again.

"Transit complete," Nav reports, then adds a few seconds later, "DRADIS is clear." Captain Harris grumbles. "Plot the next point. Ten light years again." He hasn't even waited to hear a report from Jaxon this time. "Let's give it an hour. Start the clock."

Jaxon was humming lazily to himself, tapping his pencil on the console when suddenly he sits up in his seat. His back goes straight and he hits his transmit. "CIC, Comms. Contact. Have signal at 2.5 mhz on wavelength Alpha. Standby." he says as he starts to work the controls to try to fine tune the noise into something translatable for him, his eyes narrowing. "Prepare to adjust course." he advise quietly. "Wait one, trying to find bearing."

Alejandro is slumped in a chair looking like he may have been napping. Yes, or very close to it. Jaxon's tone gets his attention and he bestirs himself to sit up, then he picks grit out of the corners of his eyes.

Pratt', the king of bad timing, had actually chosen this moment to visit the head. So its with a hurried step that he returns after Sparks had to fetch him, straightening his hair with both hands, muttering, "What, who's shoot…oh." He settles down and finds a console to settle in behind, his attention glued to the DRADIS screen while he catches up with the conversation.

At least Captain Salazar hadn't started snoring or drooling yet.

Jaxon spends 1 luck points on Track that Signal!

<FS3> Jaxon rolls ECM: Good Success.

"Are you frakking with me, Petty Officer?" is Harris' first reaction. Then he perks up when he sees how focused Jaxon is. "Talk to me, Swick." The rest of the crew is suddenly looking at the comms station too.

Jaxon rarely kids. The Petty Officer reaches up and gives the little bobble headed monster that he set up on his console as a good luck charm a quick touch. "We have signal. I have direction. 225 degress, mark 10." He's moving his pencil to do some quick math. "Clearly Cylon, standard report signal - time of tranmission. .. six hours, we have joy, sir!"

"Six light hours," the nav crewman says, "would make the estimated range six point six billion klicks, Captain." Harris looks relieved, but not happy. Now for the dicey part. "New plot. Bring us in close, but not too close. Let's shoot for one hundred thousand kilometers. Set Condition One." There's a flurry of activity on the bridge, and then all over the ship, as people move with a purpose. Once more into the rabbit hole, but this time with a sense of hope. The Erol dives through nowhere, comes out among the stars, and instantly Jaxon is hearing the same Cylon signal, blasting in his headphones five by five.

"DRADIS Contact!" calls the ship's first officer from the tactical station. "Twenty nine large vessels, stationary at bearing three four eight mark two two. Range sixty-one thousand klicks." At least they're at arm's length. Even anti-ship missiles will take several minutes to cross that distance. The first officer calls out again, "They're targeting us! Radar lock on, multiple Basestars!" There is some cross-talk with the specialist on the DRADIS console before the he adds, "Confirmed, twenty count Basestar, three tankers, three resurrection ships. Six Basestars breaking formation … new contacts … they're launching raiders."

"Holy frak…" Captain Harris says in wonder. They actually found the Cylons. And now to survive the encounter. "Prep the worm, return course. Get the point defense tracking." He turns to Alejandro and Pratt, his face tense. "You wanted to find the Cylons, Gentlemen? Whatever you're going to do, you'd better do it now. If they launch from there we have about three minutes before the nukes arrive. And that's assuming they don't just jump to us."

Pratt swears under his breath in Colonial, Tauron, AND Arpay, almost all in the same breath, and shoves Sparks, "Bus. Now. Get that wireless open and Gods help me, the Captain and that toaster are going to need it." With that said, he only glances at Alejandro before he's running for the hangar bay and the Raptor they all came in on.

Alejandro moves to stand but doesn't bother to leave the bridge to get his flight suit. A quick death would be preferable out here to getting picked up by the Cylon or machines. His hands tug his uniform down to smooth it out, "Let us not panic, Captain Harris. We have come all this way for a reason." A nod to Pratt, "Time to ejaculate our guest." A nod to Pratt and he heads out on the heels of the Lt. "My flight suit's on the Raptor!" Harris can handle the Erol, he can assist Pratt with their package and maybe man a door gun, or coms. Something!

Boots pound against the deck plates as they run like hell. 3 minutes minus.

"Someone get that Captain a girl willing to have a good time." Jaxon offers as he hears Alejandro's comment as he sets up at the comms. "I'm better here. I can work on jamming their signals and misdirection." he says as he starts to work more diligently. "I'll keep chattering in your ears as needed.'

A few shouts of "Make a hole!" and a short run is all it takes to reach the hangar. The two Marines on duty have pulled back from the raptor, facing it with their weapons at the low ready. When they see the two officers run in, the Coproral calls to Alejandro. "The Toaster is on its feet, sir…" He sounds more than nervous, finger edging toward the trigger. The Centurion is more than on its feet. It is now exiting the raptor. It steps down and stomps a few steps across the hangar, ignoring everyone present. One of the MPs is about ready to lift his rifle.

You really only see a huge Tauron move that fast in a game of Pyramid, but there Pratt is in his flight suit barrelling into the hangar bay, going so far as to use his Outside Voice to bellow at the unfortunate Sergeant that happens to be in the hatchway when he and Sparks arrive, "MAKE WAY!" They're most of the way to the Raptor when Sparks clicks 'heywait' and throws his arm across to stop Pratt, who takes another step or two to realize the toaster is out. His hand is immediately on his sidearm, but doesn't draw it, just pulls up.

Captain Salazar skids to a halt with Pratt, looks at the Marines, then at the Centurion. "I really don't want to try and make it get back into the Raptor. Where's the nearest airlock for EVA?" Alejandro stands there about 2 seconds and sees it for himself with a nice little lit up warning light above the hatch. He starts to run for it, "Centurion! Come this way!" It's supposed to obey /his/ commands, it said so! Chiron stops by the airlock and checks it's status to be sure the outer door is sealed before he's going to start cycling the inner hatch open. Ale looks back to see if the Centurion is stomping it's way in his direction. "I hope you have a nice strong, loud signal to get their attention to pick you up."

The Centurion reacts to Alejandro's words by resuming its march across the hangar — straight for the airlock the Captain indicates. And hearing the plan, the MPs look less inclined to open fire. Bonus. A few nervous looks are exchanged with Pratt and Sparks, but then the Marines hurry after the Cylon. Alejandro verifies that the airlock is currently filled with atmo and the outer door is closed. The envoy halts alongside Salazar while he makes this check, and it simply reaches out a tri-fingered hand to twist the control wheel and open the hatch. It steps inside and closes the door behind itself. Clang. The Centurion turns, mutely facing the viewport, and waits. All that remains is to flip the safeties and hit the emergency evacuation button. Everything inside the airlock will be forcefully expelled into space.

Pratt eyes Alejandro for a moment, and mutters under his breath, "If he doesn't, the Erol better set a record jump drive recycle time or we're as good as jumping into that airlock with him." Pratt's hand is still on his sidearm, his second glance going to Sparks with a slight shake of his head, "Get the damned Raptor fired up anyway. Don't like sitting on my ass."

One glance at Pratt hurrying up and then Alejandro makes certain the inner hatch is sealed, checks the safeties and doesn't wait longer than that. He punches the evacuation to jettison their guest, "Bye, bye." A hand goes to open the cover on the intercom to see if he can contact the bridge, "Captain Harris, Salazar. Our guest is away. We are clear to jump." Hold onto something and pray!

"You got it!" Sparks likes Pratt's plan. Get the raptor ready to go, just in case. He runs for the open hatch and slides into the ECO console, pre-flighting like the wind.

When Alejandro hits the button there's a soft 'whump' sound as the airlock explosively decompresses. It's over in an instant. They can catch one last glint of light on metal, and then the Cylon is lost in the blackness among the stars. The Marines crane their necks to look over the officer's shoulder. "Good riddance," the junior MP says to the Corporal. "You can say that again," says the senior Marine.

Back on the bridge, Jaxon has been able to enjoy the countdown of basestars and raiders slowly but surely closing the range. They haven't launched missiles yet, but the Erol is well-locked up by the enemy fire control DRADIS. And then suddenly, just after the Centurion is ejected from the ship, all the Cylon vessels halt. Jaxon confirms that the Centurion is broadcasting now that it's outside the ship. The enemy targeting systems that have been painting the Erol cease.

"Stand by, Mr. Salazar," Harris responds to the hangar over the intercom, his eyes glued to the DRADIS. "Something's happening."

"Sir, incoming basestars are reversing course," calls Tactical. "Targeting systems are active again! All Basestars are lighting up! They're … targeting the resurrection ships?" Okay, he doesn't have a clue what to make of that. "Missile launch! Multiple launches!" An instant later and three of the DRADIS contacts wink out of existence. Everyone on the bridge is glued to the display, including Harris, and he breathes out, "They destroyed each other…"

"Negative sir," replies Tactical. "Negative. No detonations. Confirmed three jump flashes. All three targets jumped away."

A moment later and Harris gets back on the intercom to the hangar, giving a brief version of what just happened for Alejandro, Pratt, and everyone else down there. "Gentlemen," he concludes. "Are we mission accomplished? Unless there's something else we need to see out here, I'm taking us back to Picon to report."

Alejandro hits the intercom to the bridge to open his link, "All three resurrection ships jumped away? Damn. I bet we haven't seen the last of them, Captain Harris. Yes, let us go home. Even if the Cylon know where Picon is, let us be cautious and make a our first jump in an entirely different direction, shall we? We don't know if there are Machines in this part of space keeping an eye on things. I'd rather be safer than sorry later, Captain Harris."

Pratt is probably 3/4ths of the way through his startup list when Harris calls down to them. Its enough for him to stop and look at Salazar with both brows raised, a hand hovering over one of the engine startup buttons, muttering under his breath, "It worked? Well, I'll be damned." He sinks back into the pilot's chair and just blinks for a few moments, then finally mutters, "Uh…shut it back down. I guess we aren't dying today."

"Affirmative," Harris answers Alejandro's question. "Rez ships all jumped away before they could be destroyed. The rest of the Cylon ships are reforming now. And ignoring us." Then he responds to the suggestion. "Read you loud and clear, Captain. Stand by. Two dives and we're home. Bridge out."

Sparks fingers are dancing over the consoles and switches, until what's happened sinks in for the ECO as well. "Thank the Gods," he says to Pratt. "Now tell me you're not going to sing on the way home, Bacchus."

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