AWD #188: Helios Beta Recon Redux
AWD #188: Helios Beta Recon, Redux
Summary: Squire and Chatterbox take a swing through Helios Beta to update the Task Force's intel.
Date: 13/07/2013 (OOC Date)
Related Logs: Helios Beta recon
Kelsey Evans 
Helios Beta
One of the major solar systems that compose the spread of the Colonies. Its SPAAAAAACE!
July 13, 2005

"Thank you for flying Squire Airlines. Please keep your ejection seat in the upright and armed position. In the event of an emergency, I'll be promptly leaving the cabin before your sorry ass, sir, so you'll need to find your own exit. Our inflight movie today will be boring as hell and a movie nobody likes." Kelsey takes a breath. "Our flight time today will be, approximately, a bad guess from intel. Enjoy the ride." Kelsey flicks a few last rocker switches and the Raptor jumps to Helios Beta. Flashing in, the DRADIS is clear and there is absolutely nothing out there. They've plopped in at the most empty section of the system and Kels tightens the straps to her seat. "Alright sir, I'll let you guide us. Where are we going first?"

Evans lalalas softly to himself while he listens to Kelsey, fingers dancing over the controls while he waits for DRADIS to get its sleepy ass back up after the jump. He smirks to himself at the comment about intel and mutters, "Oh honey, sing it to the choir. Alright kids, we have empty scopes and miles to go before we sleep. We're leaving the asteriod belt for the stick jockeys from Viperland, right? So why don't we start out with Leonis and just head down the list. I have a feeling Virgon and Hibernia are going to be an interesting visit worth a few thousand pictures, so lets save them for the second stop. If you're good to go, give me thirty seconds more to point my magic marker and spool us back up…"

Kelsey nods in her helmet, tapping her hand on the throttle lazily. "Sounds good, sir. Key us up for it and we'll get rollin." She cracks her neck and looks down at the mission notes on her kneepad. "Hey Chats, did you copy the radio freeq for the guy we're supposed to try and contact on Leonis? What's his name.. Captain Tony W- weh wuz-.. frak I can't read my own handwriting."

Evans grins after he punches in the coordinates and gets ready to key the jump. He doesn't even look at his clipboard, "Wells, hot stuff. Rhymes with Smells, which he probably does if they've been hiding from the Cylons for six months. Its how I remembered crap for my flight exams, made little songs out of everything..because the one thing that exam proctors didnt pay attention to? Was what you were singing to yourself under your breath. And JUMP!" It takes a moment for the system to resettle, and while DRADIS is recovering, he's already reconfiguring the wireless in case Kelsey wants to try reaching out. And you know, there's nothing like a huge basestar waiting for them. Details.

"I just drank a whole lot of coffee, slept three hours a night, and lived in my flight suit for six weeks. Hope you didn't have too many exams. I barely remember my tests." Kelsey smirks to herself and clears her throat, putting on her gameface. Jump. The world flashes in and there is Leonis out in front of them, far in the distance. At this range, the colony takes up about half the canopy glass. Her eyes search the sky around them before she reaches for her binoculars and puts them up to her helmet.

<FS3> Evans rolls Ecm: Good Success.

Evans mmms, "Not much on the piloting tests…I was all electronics, so if you get hurt, we're frakked out here, baby, cause I sure as hell can't fly us home." Once DRADIS resettles, some of the humor leaves his voice, "Heads up kids. I show two Basestars in orbit in coverage positions and…well, hello there, I show a pack of two..looks like civilian liners, from their ident codes. I don't see escorts, but they sure as hell aren't under our control. Keep a hand on that stick, spooling the FTL back up just in case we get too much attention."

"Don't tease me. Last time I went to Picon my ECO was nearly killed and I had to dig out the manual, while wounded, and jump us back. Suuuucked. But hey, if you haven't crashed a Raptor then you haven't lived yet." Says the pilot who has been flying for three and a half months and has crashed and totalled two Raptors while at the controls. Both on Picon. …At least they aren't -going- to Picon. Hearing the report, she nods in silence and just aims the binocs out there. "Yeah, tally on the big bravos." She lets off a long sigh and puts them down. "Alright, well, we got two options. We can sit here like a couple of nuggets and we've technically reconned it and established a threat. So we can go to Virgon. Or we can jump into high atmo and do a little low level lovin. Got a preference, sir?" Didn't ya know, Chats? You're flying with Squire, the Honeybadger!

Evans tsks softly, "Now, now, none of that crash talk. I did enough of that crap with Hallick. Three gods-damned shoot downs with her and Im still walking, somehow. Lords and Ladies must love me for some reason. Push her on in, I'll keep an eye on the big boys. They send puppies after us, I'll get us out of here. Lessee if we can at least get close enough to raise this Captain and see what's going on, eh? Hopefully they aren't ready to shoot a messa SAMs today."

"Alllllright. If you wanna have me fly us in, let's do it. Who likes jumping to bypass them anyway?" Uh oh. There's a fair bit of a dare to that voice. Before there can be a protest, though, she shoves the throttles up and there's a lurching feeling as the grav system compensates. She aims towards the southern hemisphere, away from most of the basestar concentration and hopefully away from the fighters. The Raptor picks up velocity quickly, too. "I've got my eyes up. They're probably going to pick us up on DRADIS any second." Hands on throttle and stick, Kelsey doesn't even look inside the box office anymore. She just keeps her eyes up in the black sky surrounding them as Leonis grows in size in front of them.

Evans mmms, "Keeps the FTL ready to get us the hell out in a hurry rather than having to wait for it to spool back up. Make like a meteor and fall like a rock, they'll never see us, right?" He smirks, full of it and he knows it, and as the bus descends, he keys his mike and starts brodcasting, "To Any Colonial Unit listening, this is Colonial Navy Raptor Oh Five Oh. We are on recon and request acknowledgement if you are capable of responding. Say hi, damnit, so we know to come back for you. Over."

Kelsey pushes the Raptor onward, eyes up. "Yeah, copy that," she says quietly. Some of the Raiders seem to notice the Raptor, though, and turn towards it… though given their rate of velocity, they won't be catching them before they drop into the atmo burn. But the Cylons know they are here. Kels slowly begins rotating the Raptor onto its belly, "Preparing for burn."

Just as she finishes, a voice comes back, male: "Copy, oh five oh. We've got you on five by five. You boys coming from Picon?" Its got that redneck sound to it despite this being Leonis. He's probably not fro maround these parts.

Evans's mmm turns into a rumble when the voice responds, "Well, this is either one of those skinheads, or maybe we got someone alive still…" He trails off, keying the mic again as he answers, "Well hello there, Leonis Unidentified. We got about five minutes before your uninvited guests come over here to try and kick our little asses, so I'll make this fast: We aren't from Picon, but we can get a message back to Spree if you wanna send one, just keep in mind this is a party line and Big Metal Brother is probably listening. Anything the stewardess can bring you the next time we come through? Over."

"Wonderful," Kelsey mutters, listening. But she's busy with the burn. The Raptor starts rumbling and shaking as the Raptor rapidly picks up velocity on its descent. Screaming past normal speeds, the Raptor blows throw the thin upper atmosphere air and blows through the sound barrier multiple times. The gauge in the back starts spinning up as atmosphere is detected and cranks up towards Mach 8. How long as she been flying again? Litttttle fast. By a full Mach.

"Five-oh, never ask a man in logistics if he needs anything," the voice laughs. "But nah, Picon has bigger problems. We're holding out." The transmission gets a little static-y as they burn down. "Well if you're not from Picon, I'm going to guess you're some of those other people Spree wrote me a kind little note about. I've got some intel I need to pass off, but we haven't had a free Raptor in a good while. Any chance you might be coming back with some friends? Preferably ones with boots?"

Evans eyes the front of the bus. He can't see Kelsey's flight controls from here, but a rattling Raptor is a sensation he's familiar with, and yes, he MIGHT be slightly concerned. But for the moment, he has an audience, "Leonis, five oh, sounds like we are on the same page. I cant be promising what I dont have the authority to bring you, but I can pass the word on to the brass. We do have some boots that would be eager to come down there and find some metal butts to kick. There's Big Fun brewing. Sit tight and give us a few weeks, if you're doing okay, and I'll see what folks with bigger pins than either of us can get you. Over."

"Copy your traffic, boss," the voice comes back with its fried twang. "I dunno how well we are gonna be at sittin tight but I catch your drift. We've got a particular way we like to have our Raptors contact us so when you get your boys and girls out here next, be prepared to watch for cue cards on the surface. We want to see you before you see us. Just good business, and all that." He clicks his teeth like the guy is winking into a radio set. Or was he spitting? "Ya'll be careful out there. Leonis Actual, out."

And none too soon, the burn is endin. Kelsey is looking down at the flight controls as they rattle in her hands. "Passing eighty thousand, Chats. We're out of burn. They're going to be one us soon. You wanna go check out these prisons or get the frak out?"

Evans signs off on the wireless, "Leonis Actual, Five Oh, understood. Be in touch with you soon, Out." He flips his mic up and eyes the DRADIS screen, "Lets not push our luck. Pan a camera that direction and take several long range shots anyway, but I'll go ahead and spool us up for Virgon. This is more intel than we had before - that oughtta keep Franklin busy, right?" As he speaks, he's already keying in Virgon's coordinates, with a little extra distance given, considering the initial reports of Virgon going unstable. If it did explode, they dont want to jump into an asteroid, right? Of course not.

"Gotcha." Kelsey shoves the stick forward and the Raptor rotates with it, aiming straight down as that throttle is pushed back up. Squire apparently doesn't do anything at slow speed. Or maybe she's just concerned about being low, slow, and fat. "Hey, whatever keeps that lady out of my ass. She looks about as friendly as a junkyard dog. Stuffy and angry, like the prosecuting DA from that Caprican version of Order and Law." Evans can see the camera being panned around. Her controls are a lot less capable than his own, but she can do this much. She aims off and starts taking a lot of photos. Snapsnapsnapsnap. "Lemme know when you're ready." The Raiders are starting to appear at the edge of DRADIS, coming in from several directions like spokes on a wagon wheel and they're the hub.

Evans keeps his eyes split between the jump clock at the DRADIS screen, counting down the last few seconds, "And three…two…one…goodnight, Gracie. JUMP!" The key is thrown just as the approaching Raiders are reaching extreme missile engagement range - might as well get them to waste some ammo, right? Then POOF! and both the clock and DRADIS reset and reorient themselves as the bus acclimates to its new position.

As expected, DRADIS goes berserk. The largest naval engagement in history was in Virgon's orbit and the wreckages stretch out for more than three hundred thousand miles. But the Raptor is oriented away from Virgon with Hibernia off to the ten o'clock and Virgon at their six. DRADIS is clear of obvious contacts that might be threatening, though you never know when Raiders might decide to hide in the wreckages. The pilot keeps her hands on the stick, ones more searching for incoming tracers. She's learned quickly.

Evans swears a little under his breath, "Frak me." Clearly, HE hasn't been back to Virgon since the war, "They really made a huge frakking mess out of this…" and then he gets a good lock at how Virgon is showing up on his instruments, and even Chatterbox is silent for a moment, blinking, "I got nothing but shrapnel on DRADIS but…Squire. What the frak did they DO to Virgon? I'm showing radiation signatures, and the FTL computer keeps changing the gravity well readings from the colony."

Kelsey is looking around the sky and settles her eyes on Hibernia, picking up the binocs. She looks over towards the moon. "Yeah. Damned near the whole fleet is out there. Several million sailors, sir. But the crashed the seventh fleet anchorage into Virgon like a lawn dart." Ten miles tall, ten miles wide… all those munitions and fuel, plus the mass? Boom. "Virgon's a frakkin mess." She then seems to hone in on what he's saying. "Wait, what?" She settles down the binoculars and slowly spins the Raptor around to look. When she see's it, her hands come off the controls and she gasps.

The planet is imploding on itself. The equator of the colony has begun to crumble, massive canyons cracking the whole surface all the way up to the strike point where the anchorage impacted and drove itself deep into the surface before exploding. The core, almost visible from the glow around the equator, has begun to cool and slow its spin. Gravity levels are going haywire as the planet's mass slowly consumes itself, collapsing in from the waist and moving higher. Its not a fast-enough process to see, but it doesn't take but more than a few moments to see what's happening. Virgon is dying.

For a moment, Evans forgets his instruments when Kelsey spins the bird around, and he just stares out the canopy, breathing, "Oh frak me." There's a long moment of silence before he offers, "I went to the Virgon Academy. I had summer vacation in Hadrian one year. Holy shit, Squire." He blinks, and looks at the back of Kelsey's head, wide-eyed, "They destroyed a whole planet. I mean destroyed it." It takes him a good moment to remember he really should be looking at DRADIS, before he glances that direction and mutters, "Oh frak. I mean. Frak. Camera on, recording FTL computer readouts. Command is going to shit kittens sideways."

Kelsey just sits there in her seat, stunned. There's nothing to say. She stares at the destruction and a tear rolls down her face inside her helmet. Its just dead silence from her. Its a lot to take in for anyone but that's just insane. "Its not fair," she breathes. Meanwhile the cameras start recording. Video, audio, photos… The whole Raptor becomes a large device sucking in all available information and capturing it on its drives. Its just dead silence inside.

Evans slowly shakes his head, still breathing his words rather than adding voice to them, "All of these frakkers. Every last motherfrakking one of them, needs to die. Billions of people and one of the prettiest colonies, all for their frakking revenge." Finally, he forces himself to look away, and clears his throat, "Spooling FTL up. Squire, can you aim us towards Hibernia? I wanna get some good footave before I jump us to Troy. Still got nothing pinging on DRADIS yet but all the debris." He refuses to look out the window and see how much of the debris might actually be dead bodies.

It takes her a minute. That level of destruction just seems to have shaken her to the very core. Its one thing to violently eject from an aircraft. Its another to see an entire planet crumble and eat itself. When she finally seems to recover her wits about herself, she looks down, forcing her eyes away from the view in front. She turns the Raptor around in silence and aims it at Hibernia. Its there, out in front, but Squire isn't going to look or comment on it. Its there. That's good enough.

Evans glances back to the front of the aircraft when Kelsey stays quiet, swallowing the lump in his throat before he offers, "Squire, we gotta finish this and get home. Then we can drink until I forget what I just saw here." He watches the intelligence and recon packages filing away the hundreds of still frames and the minutes and minutes of video footage, until the FTL announces its ready to go. Evans grunts softly and murmurs, "Troy. Jumping in three…two…one…" then almost violently turns the jump key, staring at his screens.

Squire's only reply is to nod her helmet. She doesn't say anything. Not since her comments after jumping in has she made a single sound. Likely she'll be needing that drink. She just sits there in silence, head bowed in prayer. Its one of those days. Even as the man makes the countdown, she sits there like that, but her hands land on the controls. The jump to Troy is made and the world flashes in front of them.

On the other side of the planetoid a basestar can be seen poking its arms around. Its close enough that it should be an almost immediate ping, but the ship doesn't register as a source of DRADIS because Troy is in the way. "Tally on a baseship," Kelsey says suddenly. DRADIS shows Raiders in the vicinity, but Squire is looking outside the cockpit once more, trying to find anything coming at them right away. Out ahead, the domes are shattered as with the first recon. Nothing seems to have changed. Just death.

Evans nods silently as she acknowledges what he sees on DRADIS as well. he chooses to let the cameras continue spooling along, as he knows at least one person from Troy that may or may not want to see what is left of their homeworld, "Im not picking up anything left alive on the surface here. Lets…give me a minute to spin us back up and we can pay Hera a visit and head home. Sounds to me like the rest of the crew has Pallas already well in hand."

"Copy, sir," she tells him. Kelsey seems pretty shaken by what she just saw, but she's not shutting down. That's the important thing. The woman looks up and around once more and she suddenly lifts the Raptor up, kicking the thrusters to move it higher. "Looks like one of the Raiders was trying for a long shot to snipe at us. Ever seen that before?" she wonders idly. But as the timer slowly counts down, Kelsey seems less inclined to stay, turning the Raptor and speeding off and away with something she spots. There's two bandits inbound from the rear, now, and they'll be in dogfighting range shortly.

Evans mutters, "I still think they needed to develop a new design for these busses. Call em gunboats, take out the extra passenger space and turn em into flying destroyers. Armed to the teeth and packing a punch." He pauses for a moment as the clock counts down, scowling at the DRADIS markers, "Aw, frak you, toasters." He doesn't count down this time, he just jumps, wrenching the Raptor out to a distance from Hera on their last stop of the evening.

"That'd be nice. Stick some howitzers in the backseat. I sure wouldn't mind seeing some of those Marine transports but they're not going ot fit on a hangar deck so I think we're hosed there." Evans talking more seems to draw it out of her, slowly bringing her back around. "Yeah, lets get the hell out of here. They're obviously guarding it. Assholes probably want the Tylium."

JUMP. Similar to what they found at Virgon, there's a lot of wreckage here from destroyed ships that the Cylons raked badly and then began boarding and capturing. One at a time, this ghost fleet was torn apart while the survivors watched as they fell like dominos. Kelsey leans out the front, looking around and towards the wreckage, picking up her binoculars. Its the only place to hide anywhere close to them.

<FS3> Evans rolls Ecm: Success.

Evans leans over his DRADIS console, glaring at the signal as it clarifies, daring it to defy him…and it does, "Ah frak. Three contacts, mark 270, 10 degrees high, coming through the wreckage at high speed. We got about a minute before they punch our cards, Squire. Dance like Mama caught you frakking the neighbor kid while I get the FTL spooling back up and try to jam their metal asses!"

Kelsey hears the call and spots them just about the same time. "Shit!" A word she'd never use outside of a Raptor. The binocs are dropped to the side and she yanks the Raptor around through a turn as she jams the throttles past the MIL setting detent. "She did catch me! That's how I got a kid of my own!" Wait, what? Kelsey finally sounds like she's smiling. A challenge! "Get on it, sir! One, we might be okay. Three? Well. Work in a prayer with your skills, sir!"

The FTL computer? Thats the easy part. Punch in a 15 digit number and wait for it to get its ass in gear and spin the drives up. It at least gives him a chance to turn his full attention to unlimbering the Raptor's jamming equipment an focusing it on their pursuers. As he works, his voice slips into a huge hic drawl, "Ah sWAIR, mah friends, the demons beseeege us on AHHLL sides. And when they throw rocks and stones, you throw em right back at those motherfrakkers!"

<FS3> Evans rolls Ecm: Great Success.
<FS3> Kelsey rolls Piloting: Good Success.
<FS3> Kelsey rolls 5: Success.

A Raptor can only accelerate so fast and that rate is nowhere near fast enough to completely outrun Raiders that close. She sure as hell tries, though. Tracers flash by the canopy glass and Kelsey dives, rolling the Raptor around through a split-S and flies right back at the Raiders, dodging past them. Its not exactly safe and one of the enemy rounds prangs off the exterior armor. "Sorry!" she calls.

<FS3> Evans rolls Ecm: Great Success.

Evans hangs onto his console with a death grip for a moment, until Kelsey flattens out for a second, giving him a chance to buckle in the harness really fast, then slam his hands back on the console, punching in commands and focusing the Raptor's emitters on one of their remaining pursuers, "Frak you toaster. Fly your metal ass into a rock for me, why don't you?" Then in a louder voice, "JUMPCLOCK SAYS THIRTY SECONDS, SQUIRE! Keep it up!"

<FS3> Kelsey rolls Piloting: Good Success.
<FS3> Kelsey rolls 4: Failure.

Squire doesn't reply. She's too busy. The Raiders she blows past, one of them just loses interest i nthe fight or cant detect them anymore and just drifts away. The last one turns, having to stop in place first, then come BACK after the Raptor which is already accelerating away? Its a move that buys them precious seconds. She flies straight for the fleet wreckage and begins dumping flares, hoping to maybe distract any kind of missile that might be coming in. "Jump! Jump, Chats! Get us the frak outta here!!"

Evans grinds his teeth as his gaze shifts back and forth between the DRADIS screen, his weapons warning system, and the jumpclock. Five…four…his hand is on the key, leaning forward in the seat, and finally yelling back, "I KNOW I KNOW GODS DAMNIT!" and then when the dispay might still be between :01 and :00, he yanks the key over hard and braces for impact, not sure if KEW fire is going to hit them before the jump completes or not…

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