MD #103: Helios Beta & Delta Leap Recon
Helions Beta and Delta Leap Recon
Summary: A Raptor crew scouts Helios Beta & Delta after the Skath invasion
Date: 20/07/2017 (OOC Date)
Related Logs: Helios Alpha and Gamma Leap Recon
DropkickST Lleufer Jacob Latif 
TP One
See Set


As fragged, their jumps will take them alllll the way out from the temporary position held by the Orion battlegroup across several jumps to get back to the Colonies. From their final jump point outside Helios Beta, they'll head right to Leonis. The jumps in have been quiet so far with nothing on sensors for the long haul. The charge on the FTL counts down and then that's it. First stop: Leonis.

The canopy glass flashes with the light and as expected they are looking at Leonis. It mostly looks tintact. Most of the planet is lit up with sunlight across 3/4 of what they can see, with the night-side dark against the starscape beyond. It's a relief, likely. More than one hundred and twenty-five million people lived there. But the longer they look, they can see marred black and brown sections of terrain that are clearly damaged. Anyone who has seen a map of the planet knows what was there. The major cities are gone, swatted away in what looks like half a dozen bomb craters around each.

Latif looks out the window and begins taking down notes: The cities destroyed (or rough guesses), any areas that seem to be in active cultivation, etc. "Do we have any contacts in orbit?" he asks. "And…what's the radiation level look like?" He's guessing that a few bombs went off, but nothing /too/ dramatic. Like, Caprica-dramatic or Tauron-dramatic. Clearly not Virgon-dramatic.

You paged Jacob with 'Passive sensors light up. L-band Skath early warning dradis. There's at least three carriers out there on this side of the planet and smaller dradis signatures associated with frigates and cruisers. They'll see you in about two minutes at this range. — The rest of the gear is picking up tracer radioactive elements in the atmosphere. The sites on the ground, specifically the cratered areas/cities, are all still radioactive. They were clearly nuked. The number of weapons used indicates that these were precision strikes with low yield, designed to wreck the cities and destroy them, not so much kill the population. Thus, the planet isn't a radioactive ball. Its easily livable and it would barely do harm to the population that weren't directly exposed to the weapons detonations. Also trace isotopes associated with upper atmosphere EMP detonations. Leonis is intact. Mostly.'

Despite having to have had some stitches added the other day for a split open scalp wound, and a sling he wore for a day due to a bruised shoulder, Lleufer Ynyr didn't complain when told to show up for Raptor Recon trip. The Marine put on a flight suit as he was told to do, making snarky comments about it smelling like pilots, but otherwise has come along without the sling for his shoulder. It seems his arm is doing better.

Leonis, eh? Seated and strapped in back, the Gunnery Sergeant plays along for the ride. As soon as they have jumped, Lleu unstraps and goes forward behind the pilot seats for a look next to Latif. The Jarhead's mouth thins at what he sees but aye, it's not a nuked out flaming deathball so there is that.

Jacob murmurs his lead in, "Jump complete, FTL drive recovering. DRADIS coming back up…" He trails off as he squints at his instruments, reaching up to adjust the earpiece of his wireless headset before addressing the pilot, "Ah, Skates, we got two…no, three identified skath carriers in orbit around Leonis, so lets not go kickin' the hornet's nest, iffn ya don't mind. I'm pickin up traces from EMP hits and multiple nuclear detonations, but doesn't look like they went batshit crazy. Radiation is limited…I can't tell what's still alive down there, but there could be people alive, easy, there's just patches, around where what looks like the big cities used to be, that are gonna be toxic…" he lightly shakes his head and mutters, "Damn…and with three carriers sittin on it, well, I'm sure they got folks on the surface as well."

Lleufer mumbles low to himself, "Like Picon, in the last war."

Jacob spends 1 luck points on So My Dice Dont Bite Us In The Butt.

<FS3> Jacob rolls ECM - 2: Good Success.

You paged Jacob with 'While the cameras zoom in Jacob can pick up hat looks like normal Leonis. There are zero radio transmissions that are colonial in origin, but plenty of Skath electronic noise. The farmlands are still there and look to be worked. But the areas seem to be focused on central areas… And the longer and more he looks, he can pick up that the farms seem to be more populated and carefully worked around central townships, each with some large walled structures. He does pick up one of the larger focal areas of these farms and activity as being around a huge structure that Jacob would sure as hell recognize as a Rez facility, as constructed by the Skath. …. Bonus, while he's scanning across a forested area his eyes catch something that doesn't fit. Stooopppp. Scroll back. That's a Saber site hidden in the trees. He scrolls a bit more in the area and there's another. As he moves the camera, the Raptor is shifting just a bit in orbit and he realizes there's something below the tree branches. It looks like a godsdamned Skath tank laager. There's at least 120 Skath tanks and infantry fighting vehicles down there. There's no other movement. Switching to IR, everything looks cold. Like storage. Except for a few buildings that are cleverly camouflaged against IR but there's generators working down there and some structures. The tanks are deep into the woods but there are hints of paths able to be traversed.'

Jacob takes a little longer to frown, while the cameras are rolling, "Despite the radiation, Looks like there are several active farms on the surface, organized around central hubs, and they look like they are being actively tended to, so Im guessing that's where most of the population is. I…" He trails off and mutters, "Oh, there you are you sneaky little sunofa…Okay, I can see at least one large SABRE site active down there, and a practical buttload of tanks and armor parked under the trees…like they think they're gonna hide a frikkin tank. Looks like they've gone out of their way to set up IR shielding on some of their buildings, cause Im seeing what I know is heat distortion, but no accompanying IR red to go with it…those tanks look like they havent moved in some time. Guess the fighting has been over for a while." He sighs and shakes his head, "We need to take a closer look, but we're pushing our luck. One of those carriers picks us up and we're dogmeat…"

Latif scribbles notes down from Jacob's readings. It's mostly shorthand ("3 Sk Carrier, Cities nuke/EMP", things like that which he can interpret into language someone else can actually understand) but in general it indicates that the planet is not uninhabitable. Whether it /is/ inhabited is anyone's guess…until Jacob picks up the tanks. "Skath tanks, right?" he asks. It's a /very/ safe presumption…Leonis was, after all, an APF stronghold. He jots a few more notes down. "That sounds like more than we saw elsewhere, but…" Picon had so much shit in orbit that he's pretty sure heavy ground elements were involved. "Any idea why they're bothering with shielding if the fight is over?" His best guess would be residual best practice at this point.

Lleufer doesn't have anything to add, really. "Frozen dinner chunks, more like." To elaborate on the dogmeat comment. The Marine Redshirt turns his head to see what Latif is writing down, nosey in the event the Ensign leaves anything important out. Otherwise, Ynyr just watches and listens.

Jacob rumbles softly in thought, "IR tracking systems are easy to manufacture and very very hard to fool without shielding. An enemy could hop in and dump a rack of heatseekers and leave and they'd be pretty rightly screwed. You can't really jam a heatseeker if its shielded to EMP which seems to me these frakker's favorite toy. And yeah…Skath tanks. Around 120-130 of them."

Latif listens to Jacob and nods. "Bait, then…" he says and makes a note. "After all, we're not unexpected. I'm good," he confirms so they can get out ASAP.

"Take us out of here, Lieutenant," the pilot calls back. "We can't risk being caught out here and getting jumped."

With the jump clock on short countdown, the ten seconds seems to scroll fast while the cameras still work. 2. 1. Flash.


The planet was essentially abandoned after the Second War and thus there was no sense to wipe it. Right? Correct. The crew in the Raptor can look down and see the extended white mass of Planet Snowball. Around the equator and seasonal tilt gives a greater view of open ocean north of that equator. The clouds aren't thick, either. The uninhabital northern mountains rise from the oceans with their dense forests and steep rocky terrain, similar to the ones at the south - though the southern section of the planet is mostly socked in with snow. The landmass where Aquaria's population once lived is partially covered by clouds, but visible. No black scorch marks are visible. But the huge oceans… the ice looks like its fractured along huge lines that stretch across the surface.

<FS3> Jacob rolls ECM: Good Success.

You paged Jacob with 'This is pretty straightforward so I'll keep it simple: The landmass where the population once lived isn't just occupied, its flourishing. About 15% of the coastline looks to have been turned into huge port cities and structures. There's no sign of Colonial emissions, but the cameras are fast to pick out what's happening down there. There are massive landingpads installed at the outskirts of the cities (with Skath transports at them), near the ports, with roads connecting. These roads have moving vehicles. In the ports, proper, the ships are so large that they look like battlestars. HUGE nets are lain out on the docks and there are people down there working the docks. …Tracking those huge cracks in the surface out, getting to the front there are a dozen icebreakers plowing the surface ahead of the huge fishing boats.'

Latif looks rather surprised at the cracks in the ice. Everything he'd said indicated that the planet had been abandoned after the first war, after all… He asks a simple question: "Anyone know what the temperature is supposed to be down there? And do we have any sign of industrial activity?" If the Skath want to have a planet which doesn't have any natives in need of a century of brainwash, rinse, and repeat then Aquaria is probably the perfect target: Even before the last war its population was thin enough to efficiently relocate or "handle" (as the Cylons had shown). So he's quickly down to looking for reasons for ice sheets to be cracked up, and in the event of a decades-old nuclear war even a direct attack /shouldn't/ be the explanation there, at least as far as he can tell.

Like some kind of clockwork, he counts down the jump as the drive spools up, then calls it out as it completes, murmuring, "Aquaria. Come for the surf, come for the waves, spend a years pay on overpriced hotels…" It takes him a little while longer before he starts chiming in, "Im showing heavy population around the coastline, almost no visible damage. There's…I'm seeing new construction. Large orbinal landing pads near most of the population centers, with skath transports on all of them, another transport approaching for landing as we speak, no other craft in orbit at this moment. Extremely large fishing boats trawling the waters with heavy icebreaker escorts." He pauses and posits quizzically, "They're turning Aquaria into a huge fish farm?"

"I've never seen Aquaria before. Rather beautiful, if chilling." Lleufer observes but otherwise stays quiet. Latif, the pilot and the ECO have work to do. There is a glance towards the young Intel officer for his thought that the Machines might be trying to warm it up somehow, and make it more habitable. Hmmm, it is an interesting thought the Marine muses upon. "I guess that's your answer. Shame they beat us to it. We sure could use those resources ourselves."

Latif thinks for a moment…and then he's not surprised. "Well, if they're supporting or growing a large population and have to keep up the pretense of low-tech farming elsewhere, the food's got to come from another planet…" There's the usual scribbling of notes. "If I guess their doctrine right they'd want most of most planets to be useful. You can't make /everywhere/ useful, but…" he shrugs. "Any military presence? Otherwise I think we've got what we need."

Jacob shakes his head slightly and sighs, "I can't get a good read on what ground defenses they have because a the damned clouds, but I highly dount they left the place completely undefended. Skates, I can't get more with the weather this crappy. FTL spooling up, ready to jump when you're good to go. I'll have a drive fulla pictures for the Ensign and the rest of Intel by the time we finish this run."

Lleufer licks his lips, "Aerilon, next stop? Used to be my home, before the CMC, and before I settled on Piraues. I might at least be able to ID some things for you." He takes hold on the back of the pilot's chair and waits for the jump, his Arpay eyes still intent on Aquaria spread out like a frosty marble.

The jumpclock counts down once more and then there's the expected flash.

Aerilon. The last of the colonies to recon.

When they jump in they can immediately see that the planet was not wiped out. The greens and blues of the planet look thankfully familiar. The skies look clear and from this distance, they can look down to the surface without making out much detail. It looks peaceful. Space, out here, seems to quiet. But Jacob's ECO station immediately lights up and the pilot starts craning his head to look out the extreme right side of the canopy glass, leaning. "Lieutenant. We've got a flight of four Skath raiders at 3 o'clock. They've seen us." The guy is almost deathly quiet. They still need a minute or so to get the FTL charged. He doesn't move a muscle, though. About ten seconds later the Raiders pass right in front of the cockpit and continue on. They feel so close that anyone could reach out and touch them, coming within 100m of the ship without so much as a shot fired.

<FS3> Jacob rolls ECM: Success.

Latif is scribbling what notes he can when they get Skath fighters fly by. He tenses as they shoot by, /way/ too close for comfort…and don't even seem to notice them. /THAT/ gets a distinct note. "So did they not see us or not care?" he asks, completely seriously. The latter possibility actually worries him more than the first.

The Aerilon Marine tenses at news of the Skath Raiders and being sighted. Not Lleu's ideal death, to be blown apart in space where he can't really fight back, helpless. But then they pass on by and he relaxes some of his tension that started to make his right shoulder ache. "Damn. That happened on Piraeus too. Some of the Skath saw our Raptor or heard it as we passed but they didn't seem to give a frak. So maybe the AFP are using Raptors or someth'n." Soon as it's clear that they aren't about to die right away, Ynyr directs his attention back to his homeworld and starts giving it a good looking over. "Not seeing any obvious signs of nukes where things were rebuilt between the wars. Can you up maginfication before you jump?"

You paged Jacob with 'They're lit up the moment they jump in. There's no way the Raiders missed them. But no fire control is lit up. They don't even interrogate IFF. There's nothing, like the Raptor isn't even there. They flight continues on past them. In orbit there are three detected Skath carriers, judging by the dradis signals. Accompany strike groups with them. Like hte other planets, there are the telltales of EMP detonations. The planet seems almost totally intact, except for a few dark smudges where the major cities used to be. The Leonis Treatment. They want the real estate. Zero colonial emissions from the surface, either.'

Jacob spends 1 luck points on Cause I aint trusting the dice this time.

<FS3> Jacob rolls ECM-2: Good Success.

Jacob has enough time to call out, "Jump complete, drive recov…" when DRADIS recovers and immediately agrees with the pilot. Jacob mutters under his breath, "Oh frak me. Ensign, Gunny, hold on to your asses!" Quickly he's already shifting a few instruments and punching orders into the FTL computer that it wont accept for at least another minute, then bringing the jamming suite online to desperately aim the beam generators at those raiders if they look like they are going to angle around, "We're sitting godsdamned ducks for about the next 60 seconds." But then there's a pause and he frowns, "Uh, Skates? Don't…target them with anything. They aren't trying to light us up." (Im sure there will be more shortly, just throwing that much out there)

You paged Jacob with 'You've only got around 30 or 40 seconds before the carriers will spot you and nobody knows what the hell they will do. While zooming in towards a nuked city, something catches Jacob's eye. Its a crash site. A big one. It looks old, more than a decade at least, but the terrain was ripped up as it skidded across the surface. The skid terminates at a blast crater in the mountains. There's something odd about the way the vegetation has only just begun to come back. Jacob knows that shape. Its drilled into the head of every pilot and ECO in the fleet. That's the tri-point shape of a basestar - and bigger than he remembers.'

Jacob scowls a bit as he attempts to do about three things at once, "Two, no, three…THREE skath carrier strike groups in orbit. Signs of multiple large scale nuke hits on the surface corresponding with known population cen…what the frak?" There's a long pause here, "Ah. okay, including what looks like the wreckage of a Cylon basestar that crash landed into the surface. Just what the hell happened here?" He shakes his head slightly and taps madly on the keys of his station, committing footage to the drives while trying to maintain awareness of what those raiders are doing, while the jump clock is counting down, "Fifteen seconds to drive ready. Just…fly casual or something." Then softer, "I hope…"

Something flashes across a side panel of the ECO station. Its at the messaging panel and the words flash onto the screen. Up front the pilot looks at it, then lifts his voice, "Lieutenant! Get us out of here!!"

And there on the screen, for anyone to read:


"Are those old nuke sites or newer ones? Because there were some from the previous war alread… Cylon basestar?!?" Hell yes, Lleufer Ynyr wants a closer look at those details himself. But then the pilot sees something and yells! The Marine turns his head to read that message that comes up, "Oh Shit." Classic movie line, Redshirt.

You paged Jacob with 'If Jacob checks, that came in as a pure ASCI text format. Smallest, most basic way to code data through an open channel. Ones and zeros. The computer already scanned it for a virus. ITs just bare-bones text, broadcast in the clear. From all four of the Raiders at the same moment.'

Latif is taking notes when the bit about the Cylon basestar comes up. He's not surprised. "I've got an idea…" he mutters. And then the screen pops that message and Latif takes a deep breath. "Get us back. NOW." There's a force to his voice that he didn't expect to have.

Lleufer puts a hand up, "Wait, can they trace our jumps? Maybe we shouldn't jump back direct…"

Jacob mutters, "Oh that's not frakking ominous at all…" As the jump clock hits 00:00:00, Jacob is only too happy to mash the Engage switch, "Skates, I got a bad feeling about this. Get ready to fly like a maniac. Everyone else, hold on to your cookies." He has enough time to catch Lleufer's comment and shakes his head, "Command ordered jump failsafes already. Never, ever FTL direct home from a combat zone."

Latif glances back at Lleu. "I figured we'd take a normal course back…" which is to say, around ther ass to get to their elbow. "But we're out of time here. I hate to say it, but…I think we've seen all they want us to see."


Blank space. No contacts. No emissions. A lot of stars. There's nothing waiting for them on the other side.

Well, shit. The Gunnery Sergeant didn't know that, but the relief at the news is clear on his face as Lleufer Ynyr slings his ass into a seat and straps in about as fast as his gloved hands can snap that webbing into place. Just in case. Then they are out of there and jumped. Stars, lots of stars. Seems quiet, whew.

Latif slumps back when they're out of there. Boy, this is going to be a fun report…

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