AWD #011: Event - Helios Delta Recon
Helios Delta Recon
Summary: Bennett and Keller descend on Helios Delta. Fun times are had.
Date: Day/Month/Year (OOC Date)
Related Logs: Other recons, Warday, all that cool stuff
Bennett Keller Dropkickst 
It's space, yo.
AWD #11, 01/16/2013 (OOC Date)

Helios Delta. The smallest system in the Cyrannus System, it contains Phoebe, the Aeolus Asteroid Belt, Aerilon, Hestia, Canceron, Aquaria, and Styx. What all has happened here is still unknown but for the information provided by Hall about a potential resistance operation on Aerilon. The jump in brings them to the edge of the system and the planets out in front look quiet. This long after Warday, there are no distress beacons. All the frequencies are currently silent and zero DRADIS contacts. Not even wreckage.

With recent events and recent news, Keller's not the same old Keller. Whoever managed to take his face is a sort of withdrawn, taciturn fellow with glowering features lit behind the glassy sheen of his helmet. Seated in the back of the Raptor, he punches up a keystroke on the DRADIS council and finally breaks silence. "Mmm. Damn. It's quiet. All quiet here, DRADIS is dark, boss."

As the FTL engines wind down after their jump, the black of the delta sector engulfs their bus like a blanket thrown over top. "Coordinates confirmed, Sandwich," she murmurs over her shoulder, after a pause to check her readout. "Looks like we're in the right place. Definitely quiet. Let's get PIRCS rolling, and prep for secondary jump to Aquaria."

When Keller hits to bounce, the Raptor jumps and the bird comes into a far orbit from Aquaria. Out ahead the planet is visible as a marble in the canopy. Around them, there is nothing. No wreckage, nothing immediately visible floating nearby. Not even a Raider patrol skirting the edge of DRADIS. from the outset, things appear peaceful. The blue surface of Aquaria looks completely undisturbed.

"Copy that." The ECO responds, staring at the controls after a heavy sigh. Y'know — I used to get dragged here /every/. Year. For summerfest. Thanks, dad." Keller quips with no small amoutn of audible dryness. Fingers at the keys, he stares at the DRADIS console while he works while attempting to bring up the imaging system. "I used to pray that this place would crash into a frakking star. Guess the joke's on me now, hmm?" He chortles a bit but it is cut short. "Uhh - huh. /That/ is interesting." He cranes his head towards the cockpit to get a second glance. "Are we seeing what I think I'm seeing out there? Looks the same as it always does."

A few moments pass as the man declares, "This is — comms traffic is a mess. It's like somebody parked a bus on every channel." He glowers behind his helmet. "There's some kind of concerted effort here. If I were a betting man, which I am, I'd say we're not alone and that someone or something is jamming here. Something /big/. It takes a lot of power to do that."

"Summerfest," Bennett muses softly, lips curving with a ghost of a smile that her console lights' reflection makes somewhat gruesome. "Really? I always wanted to go, since I was a girl. The pigeon jugglers and bonfires and.." She trails off when Keller mentions something 'interesting', eyes scanning the disc of the planet outside their windscreen. "Nothing, nothing and more nothing," she murmurs. "Can you get an idea of what type of signature we're looking at here? Colonial or cylon? I'm going to bring us in closer."

"Mmm. Whatever it is that's generating the noise is —- out of range. It's above the continent and we're not close enough to get a read." comes the man's reply. "But it's like the old adage - we can't see them, maybe they can't see us? Anyway I told Nags I'd take a look and — Well shit." Keller observes. "Maybe her prayers are answered. I don't know. I've got IR scans up and look at this." He takes in a breath, sharply. "Cities look like they have power. I'm not picking up any rad sigs."
Keller amends, a little languidly. "Yeah, um. Summerfest. My dad was a lifer there. It's not that exciting." He rolls his eyes. "Trust me."

"Any EMP readings?" Bennett enquires, frowning slightly as she lights the bus's thrusters and brings them in on an approach trajectory. "It's likely that whatever it is, is on the far side of the planet. Let's tread lightly."

"A lifer, huh," adds the pilot after a few beats, eyes on the windscreen as she speaks to her backseater for this mission. "So you're saying he was a carnie?" Softer, "Sounds glamorous."

"No way of knowing if there's enemy presence over the continent. I'd tread lightly. Unless we brought enough nukes to take us to the Hall of the Gods." Keller observes, bitterly. "Anyway — might has well have been a carnie. Nah, he was a conceptual artist. Was pretty good at getting Royal Virgon grants and even some Caprican tax money. Which should make me smile, deep down. Probably made my mom smile too, all things considered." He lets out a large, tuneless 'hmm.' "Then again Hiberians are better at smiling when it involves someone else's misfortune." The man continues to hit keystrokes into his console to refresh his views - just in case.

With the decision to jump, the cabin flashes with the light of an FTL and Keller seems to be on his game tonight. When the view in front of them comes in, they are looking over the continent from the southern end and heading north across the coast. The star is setting across this area of the planet and the view is quite beautiful against the clouds in the distance. Twenty thousand feet below, a town's streetlights glow against the snow on the ground,reflectingthe light back up. There appears to be movement on the streets as well, but nothing out of the ordinary.

Bennett chuckles at the mention of Caprical tax cubits. They say laughter's good for the soul; it certainly steadies the nerves during tense situations like these. "I haven't met too many Hibernians. They seem to get a similar reputation to Aquarians." And then her eyes drift closed as their raptor jumps once again, and that familiar pulled-sideways, queasy sensation ripples through her. When they flash back into normal space again, the pilot is all business again. "DRADIS is clear. Sensors read nothing abnormal. Looks like a winter wonderland down there, Sandwich. Are you still picking up radio interference?"

"Good catch, Butch. One of the reasons I wanted to do right by Aquaria - Hibernia wasn't even important enough for a /flyby/." Keller's tone is more weary and resigned than bitter. "Which just goes to show you that even in the end of the world, Moonies would find a reason to get chips on their shoulders. I can almost get it, sometimes." He chortles, but the man's voice is cut short as they make their way into the planet's immediate vicinity. His mouth hangs agape. "PIRCS is online, but — you're not going to frakking /believe/ this!" He exclaims. "This place doesn't even look touched. I'm seeing movement on the ground. It's like I'm a kid on an approach shuttle again, going to snap some footage at the best detail I possibly can muster." With that he starts an automated capture process, trying to get pictures of said ground traffic. "Uh oh — Yeah, uh, so about that jamming." He pauses. "Take a look at this. Reading one big-ass /enemy/ contact stationary over the continent. Nothing else, but really, does there need to be?" Finally finishing his narration, he notes, "I'd recommend bugging out within thirty seconds. Any more than that and by any kind of estimate that baseship will have made us."

As they fly farther north along the coast, the main spaceport comes into view. Below them are the gentle scars on the ground and in the snow of crashed transports. They litter the ground around the port, growing more common as the proximity decreases. But the port itself is a husk of destroyed buildings that look like they've been rampaged by missiles and guns. Blown out windows, burned hangars…there is nothing left there and not a single sign of life.

Bennett smiles slightly at the banter from her ECO, but keeps her gaze and the bulk of her attention focused on her console, and the view beyond her windscreen. "Sure is pretty," she speaks softly, half to Keller and half to herself. A sentiment that dies on her lips once she spies the burned husk of Aquaria's main spaceport. "Shit." Then, "Switch to active DRADIS, Sandwich. And you're absolutely right. Let's spool FTL and be ready to move."

"It's what it is. You can get a better view of the Chariot Nebula from this planet at night than anywhere else in the Colonies, supposedly." Keller notes, offhandedly and sounding a little distracted but apparently wanting to remain somewhat conversational. "Right with you, Butch. Punching in coordinates to get us the Hell away from here. Hear Aerilon's nice this time of — Oh. Frak." He calls out. "Reading new contacts. Looks like the Baseship's launching Raiders. Reccomend we move the /hell/ out of here now. I can't get any comms out anyway." He starts punching up a jump sequence, wasting no time. Frantic, at that.

"Contacts confirmed," Bennett answers, voice steady and smooth, despite the clear and present danger they're in. "Feeding you a set of coordinates for Aerilon. Jump when ready. I'm taking weapons systems offline and dropping us in." To atmo. "With any luck, they'll think our bus is deadstick." It's not like any of the ordnance they have on board will do them any good against a basestar, anyway.

The Raiders descend to follow the Raptor in and the distance closes. As the drive spools it looks like the Raiders might get the them first… A tracer flashes by the canopy glass just as there is the flash of FTL travel.

Bang. They jump in at the same range from Aerilon and settle in at a distant view. Turning the Raptor slightly to bring it into view, the planet's green and blue surface appears as normal. Again, this location looks untouched. Faintly, BARELY visible is a basestar silhouetted against the surface at a far corner. Otherwise, there is nothing at this range immediately visible or audible.

"Come and get me you piece of /pigshit/" Keller spits within his helmet, slamming his fingers into the console and hitting the confirmation of the jump sequence. "Prepare for j—-" And then the little craft /shifts/ as the atmosphere of Aquaria fades, the Raptor ending up in space once more and away from the menacing bandits. And in Aerilon's perimeter. "Huh." Keller notes, turning towards his pilot. "Reading — nothing, really. No active jamming. We're out of DRADIS rangeof anything so far, nothing's on the console."

Well, there's nothing like a close call with a raider to get the blood pumping. Bennett jukes the sluggish bus to starboard when sensors indicate the enemy craft is firing on them, and feeds more tylium to the ship's thrusters. Their freefall plummet toward Aquaria is cut short by the sudden BLIP of the FTL drive engaging, and suddenly they aren't where they were a moment ago. It takes her a little longer to adjust than it does her ECO. "Good work, Sandwich," she breathes quietly. "Though I think we might need a touch up on our paint job, when we get back to Orion." A little slide-out datapad is.. well, slid out from under her console, and she keys in a few things with quick, practiced strokes. "I'm seeing the same. Take us in closer, please?"

"To be perfectly honest, I could give a proverbial tinker's damn of what the outside of this tub looks like as long as it gets this job done." Keller says, suddenly raising the timbre of his voice after the jump is completed. Clearly relieved, the man continues to work his console, complying with orders. "Besides, without the dings, it'd like like we faked it out here. An—-Whoah. Speaking of faking it." Suddenly cutting himself off, he notes, picking up an earpiece and holding it to the side of his head. "I'm full of shit. There's something going on here. Getting comms traffic, this isn't like Aquaria, Boss."

It fades into their helmets as Keller tries to break it out. But as the static of the distance starts to be filter away, comms traffic becomes more and more evident. And after a few seconds, its not just evident, its there. Voices. A whole LOT of them. Scanning across all the frequencies sounds like someone trying to listen to hundreds of radio stations at once. Locking onto a single frequency, though, they are hearing everyone on this half of Aerilon with a powerful radio set.

"Titan Four! Open fire!"

"Python, we're taking heav-"

The sound of a heavy dieselengine inthe background: "Juliet One-One, Alpha Four-Five! We are pulling back to Phase Line Sword, req-"

A more calm voice, whispered: "Ferret, this is Archer. Confirmed fifteen Centurions-"

Machinegun fire preludes a female voice, "We need hel-!" then the dying scream of a woman followed by a burst of static then nothing.

"Raddik, ADVANCE!"

Aerilon isn't just fighting, there is a whole LOT of fighting.

Bennett doesn't even need to ask Keller to amplify the signal; she begins to, then goes silent when those first frantic voices begin to break through the static on their headsets. Her gloved fingers grip the flight yoke more tightly, a subtle motion indicated only by a soft creaking of neoprene. "Can you get a lock on any of those radio towers, Sandwich?" she asks over her shoulder, voice raised to be heard over the clamour of fighting and shouts for help. Even then, hers is not a voice that lends itself well to bellowing. "Let's keep DRADIS on passive for the time being." Courtesy of the basestar looming somewhere over the continent.

"You had me at 'Can you," Butch!" Keller snaps, narrowing the signal down and trying to adjust the Wireless with minute oscillations, plugging in the most simple algorithim he can come up with. "I — dunno what we can do, sir. But I'm ready to give these guys a hand up if you're feeling brave. Or as stupid as I'm feeling."

"I'd like to get a little more information on what we're dealing with down there, before deciding either way," Bennett chimes in with a brief smile. "Take us in closer, and let's see what we see. I'm bringing weapons back online." Flick, flick and a couple of bleeps as the javelins become operational one by one. "Worst case scenario, we might be able to get a message out to one tower, who can then relay the signal on an encrypted band.."

"I just want to punch something in a metal dick and let them know they didn't 'win' yet." Keller retorts succintly, slapping in a jump sequence taking them into Aerilon's theatre of operations. Finishing the keystroke, he waits for the Raptor to wink out. Afterwards, the ECO rather impulsively attempts a transmission along the frequency he most recently dialed into, whether or not anyone can even hear him. "Colonial forces —- VIRGON AND HIBERNIA DIE HARD. Call your targets, boys and girls!" Whether or not Bennett can see him now, there's a smile behind his helmet - it's a wolfish grin.

The jump in is quick and slams them down at a few thousand feet above the rolling terrain of farmland. Lines of trees act as windbreaks for the crops, the same wind blowing up whisps of smoke from a burning vehicle just ahead and below. Tracers fly across the sky from the ground, flak exploding over the battlefield. But out ahead, at barely half a mile is a Raider cutting across from 11 to 1 o'clock.

The Raider spots them almost immediately and slams itself through a hard break turn our of it's dive, the missiles visible under its batwings. The Raider swings itself around and just as it comes on target, facing right down Bennett's face, a missile trail streaks up from the ground and impact's across the Raider's wing. The warhead detonates, shrapnel cutting through the enemy fighter and exploding it in a sheet of flame and smoke.

A glance towards the ground and the full scope of what's happening here are visible becomes plain. There is at least three platoons of TI-107 Sabre armored fighting vehicles making a MESS of a whole line of advancing Centurions. Hundreds of them are charging into the fray and the 30mm chain guns are belching smoke and flame every half a second. Beyond the Centurions, trees are shredding and collapsing while the waves of Centurions fall but continue to make progress. The armored fighting vehicles are in a slow rearward retreat to fall back while the Centurions continue their advance. Another Raider explodes when a missile trail climbs to smear it from the sky. A voice fills the radio:

"I think I'd prefer to grab one by the balls and pull them off nice and—" She's cut off abruptly as Keller thumbs the radio on and speaks into it, and there isn't even any time to protest. Why? Because she's got a facefull of raider in her windscreen. Proximity alarms begin blaring at her, and she takes the bird into a sharp nosedive just as a missile comes whipping past and smokes the batwing'd bogey like a freight train. "Shit. I think our friends on the ground just saved our asses." Down and down they go, wings spread wide as they hurtle in over the trees that form the breakline. "Let's give them a hand." Looks like the decision's been made. "May as well stay on the horn with them, but don't mention Orion yet."

"Wasn't about to." Keller says, his once-somber mood now clearly lifted as his voice catches the words in mid-cackle. "Lean on those guns if they get close, boss. I'll behave myself. I don't want to make a mess of this bird yet." He goes through a flurry of motions to update his targeting data before calling into the comms again. "Juliet One-One, Ghost One-Three-Nine. We're just concerned parents. Requesting targeting data for a2g /child support/ payments." Taking the pun to its logical (and inane) conclusion. "Thanks for the cover. Keep it up!"

"Boxcar! All fire to protect the Raptor!"

Bennett dives underneath the exploding Raider and avoids the wreckage tumbling terrain-ward only to see another Raider. Its already prepped to fire and has loosed a missile. It arcs towards the Raptor like an angry, accusatory finger. But only a split second afterwards, 'Boxcar' apparently comes to life. Like a garden hose, a stream of 20mm tracers arc across the sky and cut across the Raider and cut the wing off like a molten hot blade through a stick of butter. The craft tumbles once into a left-hand roll before another missile finds it and scatters the remains across the sky.

"You got it, Sandwich," purrs Keller's erstwhile pilot, adrenaline lending a subtle edge to her voice as she closes her hand around the yoke and brings the bus in a shallow arc through the cloud cover. There are no fancy moves, no acrobatics from the CSAR veteran; just steady and smooth, dogged flying as she jukes their bird wide of the wreckage and bellies up briefly to let a missile just barely miss its mark on them. "Giving us a run for our money, here," she mutters softly. "Sing out once you've got targeting data, Sandwich. I'm going to give them a little love." Her right hand remains on the yoke while she reaches for the minigun's controls with her left.

As Bennett takes the lumbering bird in and brings the main guns to bear, meanwhile Keller furiously pounds at the controls as he brings a targeting overlay in a bright angry orange-red over the DRADIS console. As little octagons light up on small blips on the screen, he brings a gloved thumb over a highlighted key in his control array. "My dad said 'nothing worth doing is ever easy.' Unfortunately he was talking about dating cheerleaders." His eyes roll in the back of his head but it's not like Bennett would be able to notice it now. Barking into the comms, "Three-Seven Alpha Niner, away — thanks, kids." The hiss of exhaust is seen as a missile launch is loosed from the Raptor's wing, streaking towards a target on the ground.

The whole Raptor shudders, the miniguns spinning up in 1/32 of a second and then belching out two thousand rounds a minute towards the ground. Tracers arc out as the Raptor slows by a few knots with the recoil of the guns. The 20mm high explosive shells kick up dirt across the ground and a small adjustment to the stick lifts the nose and a line of Centurions finds themselves pounded by the poetic ending of metal shredding metal. Arms, legs, torsos skip across the ground and arc skyward while the rounds rake across them. Meanwhile the fire from the tanks continues, their own milkbottle-sized rounds ripping into the ranks. Their retreat slows. Keller's missile arcs off the rails in a flash and spirals a bit as it careens towards a cluster of Centurions. The impact starts as a cloud of dust and some flame, dirt blowing up across the terrain. When it clears, there is nothing left of the clump of Centurions.

The sound of cheers erupt on the radios. "EAT SHIT, CANNERS!" can be heard clearly, the same diesel-surrounded voice as before.

"Maintaining heading," comes Bennett's cool, clear voice from the pilot's seat. Her HUD is briefly checked for a little blip traveling away from their bus, and picking up speed. "Missile away," she confirms, fingers resting lightly on the minigun controls. "I'm not sure I agree with your dad, though. Sometimes easy is juuuust what the doctor ordered." She doesn't see him roll his eyes, and he doesn't see her giddy grin. "Like that." The FWHOOOMP of flame as the cluster of centurions is annihilated. "Beautiful work, Sandwich. What's the situation down there, now?"

"Thanks. It's always important to love what you do." Keller declares with way too much cheerfulness for him to be 100% okay. "Never saw the point of cheerleaders to be honest. I mean, there are /girls/ on the pyramid team." He grits his teeth as he says this as a sort of flippant aside. "Looks like we've got, as the kids say, a 'target-rich environment. Another wave incoming. Permission to jump on the gun…Sir?" He sounds like he's been waiting for this his whole damn life.

"And men. On the pyramid team. Mm mm mm." Hell, maybe she's not 100% okay, either. "Permission frakking granted." The bus is banked sharply to starboard, and she opens up with the minigun before they've come out of the split-s. BLAM BLAM BLAM BLAM.

He was apparently hoping for that. "Hey, the more the merrier, right?" Keller quips before jumping from his seat and lumbering over towards the door gun, opening the firing mechanism and bringing the target to bear with line-of-sight. Sometimes the best targeting system is the one built into your own head. Slamming his finger down on the safety, he lets loose with a barrage of fire.

The Cylons have plainly taken heavy loses. The combined fire of the armored personnel carriers and the Raptor have decimated much of the ranks, but still the last wave piles on like lemmings. They stomp across the wreckage of Raiders and their brother Centurions, moving along. The guns on the armor are glowing a faint yellow with the sustained fire. Bennett's miniguns roar, blasting Keller in the face with the shockwave of overpressure. BZZZRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR. Dirt kicks up again as the rounds dig huge divots in the terrain and when they strike across the line, the impacting rounds blossom like glimpsed flowers while the Centurions shred. As they pass over after the guns spool down, Keller's doorgun barks angrily, beasting across the remainder of the line. Rounds kick up across the dirt between them but the .50cal rounds tear away limbs and heads like the wrath of Ares. One of the heads, in particular, arcs a hundred feet into the air and is just starting its descent when the Raptor passes. The fire from the tanks slackens, though the cheering over the radio does not.

Bennett does not even hear the cheering over the radio. Or she does, and tunes it out. Focus is the name of the game. Focus and breathe. Breathe and fight. Fight and fly and live. She eases off the miniguns as they click empty, the whine of the motors spooling down creating a brief cacophony in the cabin. If Keller's listening carefully, he might be able to hear her mutter something along the lines of "eat shit, tin cans". It's entirely not in keeping with her usual delicate mannered persona. More audibly, "Looks like we're mostly clear to land down there. Sandwich, can you confirm? I'd like to bring us in for a little chat off the airwaves."

"I love it when you talk dirty, Boss." Keller exclaims as his minigun spins down. "You hear that? There are frakkin' people down there. /Aerilon/ dies hard." He grips the frame of the cannon while leaning as the Raptor maneuvers through atmo. "Looks clear to me — and — yeah. Let's make someone's day better."

Bennett's mouth crooks into a lopsided grin at the quip from her backseater, but there's still a nervous tension barely underscoring her taut speech, "Keep that ARM hot, Sandwich." The CAPARMS door gun, she means. Must be CSAR speak. "Standard procedure once we land." And then she begins guiding the bus into its landing sequence; the heavy vehicle is cruised in over the treetops until it seems it might touch them, then gently eased into a creeping hover and VTOL landing with a roar of turbines. She touches down in the shadow of one of the behemoth tanks, and immediately begins spooling down the engines. Her harness is unbuckled next, and her Picon Five-seveN reached for under her seat. "Ready?"

"Nobody wants to be the poor bastard without the gun, boss." Keller's response is delivered in a laconic tone as he holds on tight, scanning his head back and forth just to see if he can even so much as spot something that is a) metal, b) not Colonial in origin and c) moving. He too, upon touchdown, taps his sidearm reassuringly and proceed to disengage from his post after briefly surveying their surroundings. "Ready as I /can/ be." He declares, hurriedly.

Touching down behind the APC a couple of people scatter out of the way with a slow trot. The guy in the copula of the APC climbs out from behind his LMG and clambers down off the vehicle. The armored carrier is pockmarked with small arms rounds over most of the side where rounds have hit it, and only a few on the rear. But its coated in mud and dirt, some tree branches tied around the turret — probably from a previous battle. The armored trooper's uniform is the same kind of muddy mess that his tank is, though. He's wearing Sergeants pins and looks to be in his mid twenties. He flashes a smile and thumbs up to the canopy as he passes and heads around to the door to see Keller behind the gun. "Shit hot, brother! Man, where the frak did YOU come from?" he laughs. No 'sir'. No ranks. He's just entirely amused at this turn of fortune.

Indeed, that BFG parked just inside the raptor's open hatch is likely the first thing the trooper sees, as he comes around to take a gander at the crew. Bennett's already thumbed off her weapon's safety, and has dropped into a crouch with the Five-seveN held roughly at the fellow's eye level. After a quick scan of his pins and his decidedly un-tincan-like appearance, she safeties the gun and lowers the barrel so it's no longer pointing at his face. "Just call us a couple of concerned citizens," she demurs with a wry smile. "I'm St. Clair, and this is Keller." She climbs out onto the wing, then hops down into the dirt. "And I think we're about as relieved as you, to be here, Sergeant."

For all his furtive glances, the Lieutenant appears a bit less cautious than his pilot and Keller, while having his hand on his sidearm, never raised it. At Butch's lead, he relaxes his arm too and steps away from the parked Raptor and its Big Beautiful Blunderbuss built into the door. Studying the Sergeant and his vehicle, he doesn't bother with ranks either, smirking a little. "So who do we have to thank about that /fine/ piece of AA down here?" He takes a few steps forward, pausing a bit and pointing at the duty patch on his shoulder. "We're with the Battlestar Orion. We're — well, we're trying to figure out what the /bloody frak/ is going on. Heard there was a dust-up on Aerilon but didn't imagine it was like this."

The Sergeant's smile fades at seeing the gun and he stares. "Oh for frak's sake, if you was going to kill you two I'd have just turned the turret around on the tank. Shot you down all pretty like, sirs." He shakes his head and looks at the minigun, dropping to stoop and bat the gun with a gloved hand. "I'll never get tired of seeing these things shred," he whispers before looking back up. Keller gets a grin and the tanker points towards the tree line. "Boxcar. Its our anti-air platoon. Four Ballista gun systems and about twenty men and women with shoulder-fired SAMs. Those Raiders jumped in about two minutes before you did. Boxy had already knocked down about half a dozen." The guy gives Keller a toothy grin. But the point to a patch and he furrows his brow. "Orion? The Hell are you talkin about 'Orion'? There ain't any battlestars left. Fleet's toast bro. ..No,really, where'd you guys come from? We haven't seen air support for about five days now. Just transport Raptors."

Bennett favours the stranger with a warm, good ol' down home southern belle smile. Hades, with that slight twang of hers, she might as easily pass for Aerelonian as anything else. Except, maybe, to Aerelonians. "Orion," she confirms softly, shielding the sun from her eyes with a gloved hand, after she's worked off her helmet. Honey brown hair sort of flops out in a messy ponytail. "B-S one fourteen, Mercury class battlestar, Sergeant. I assure you we aren't figments of your imagination. How many of you down here? How many civilians?" Her tone isn't unfriendly, but it's definitely businesslike.

Keller's smile fades /hard/ at the mention of the fleet being dead but he does in fact chime in with a pseudo-cliche. "I can assure you that the rumors of our deaths were somewhat exaggerated ." Stepping forward again, he continues. "That being said — we were wondering the same thing. All we see in space is wreckage. And some of the Colonies haven't fared as /well/ as Aerilon." He leaves it at that, nodding over to Butch in emphasis to her questions. He too doffs his helmet and sets it on the ground gingerly next to the Raptor before clearing it altogether. "Damn. I've never been here before. Time to check that off the list. I'm probably going to ask you the most dumbassed question ever, but what happened here?"

The Sergeant looks skeptical. "Riiiiiiiiight." He leans a bit to see her patch also and then look at the Raptor. Its a stark contrast. Everyone, and nobody higher-ranking than the Sergeant, gathering around them is filthy, looking like they've been living in this armor for the last week and a half. All the guys look like they could use a shave. The women haven't seen a brush in days. Everyone has helmet hair. Meanwhile the aircrew is clean. "Civilians? Plenty. They only hit the major cities with the nasty stuff. It ain't like those poor bastards on Picon. Right here? At this action?" The question is punctuated by a 30mm gun booming several times as it finds a not-quite-dead Centurion. He glances back towards the APC, then back to Keller. Figures he can answer both at once. The tank starts firing again and he shouts over it. "We got reports the canners were moving a large force in for Coutillard, a city about ten miles that way!" he says, jerking a thumb in the direction of the Cent advance. "We baited em with a couple cars of 'refugees' and funneled them into a double envelopment!" The gun stops andhe goes back to speaking normal volume. "We're the center axis pulling them in with a retreat. We had another company of armor about a mile north waiting on us to call them in. All in all, this is a Battalion-wide action." He nods, seemingly satisfied with that assesment. "So what the hell? You guys just visiting? Bringing a battlestar to the party?"

Bennett stands straight and unflinching as the sergeant leans in to check out her squadron patch. Well, patches; there's one from the Examplia there as well, and another in a different style, depicting the fox of 401-RQS. She slips a pen and a pad of paper out of her flight suit, and uses the raptor as a lean-to to jot down a few notes. "I see," she murmurs, chewing on a corner of her lip when he explains the tactical situation. "And are you sure they aren't baiting you? Given the destruction we've seen on a few other colonies, I'm surprised they're being held in check down here." She tosses her head 'no' to the last question. "Just an information-gathering mission, Sergeant. Though I'm going to do my damndest to see that your men get any support we can provide." She flips the page in her notebook, glances across to Keller, then back to the Aerelonian. "Supplies - what do you need most of all?"

"And what should we call you?" she adds, with another smile as she meets his eyes.

Bennett may play the 'by the book' cop but Keller's firmly in the realm of playing the bad cop whose badge and gun are about to be taken away by the Stupid Police Chief. "You want my recommendation to the Admiral, Sergeant? I say we waltz in here with everything we have and send these bastards back to a Hell their synthetic neurons never conceived of." The tall ECO walks forth again. "But what the good Captain here said brings something to mind." He declares, his broad shoulders shrugging a little. "Some of our worlds are effectively gone. My own is probably on that list." His face glowers. "Clearly there's a reason for the /selective/ destruction these raging assholes unleashed, it just doesn't make any damn sense. But yeah — Listen - is there anyone you can spare to give us tactical data? We're not hanging you out to dry here. Not if I have anything to say about it. And I run the godsdamn jump drive on this bird so that ought to count."

This all seems to find people staring at Bennett, dumbfounded. The Sergeant seems confused. "Well, I'm Bill." Sergeant Bill. "Don't mind the uniform. Someone gave it to me after I joined up in the fight. Apparently I'm a Sergeant. I was an CNC operator a couple weeks ago." He gives a shrug. "But yeah, pretty sure. I mean, we're still here. We had bigger firepower. Scouts were right about the advance." Bill runs a gloved hand through his hair to wipe out the sweat. "Supplies? Well hell, I dunno. More ammo?" That gets a laugh from the group and several nods. Looking back to Keller, the smirk fades. "Shit, man, you have an Admiral? HA! Poor sumbitch." There's no humor, though. "Yeah, we know. We've all heard about Gemenon and Canceron. As for sparing people, uhhh. I'm pretty sure you can find someone someplace but we need all our people here. Maybe Division has someone? But I'm not worried about anyone hanging us out to dry." He stuffs his hands into his pockets. "You all came in with some neat flyin. More would be some icing on a cupcake, but we'll be okay without. There's a whole lot of fighting here. Not many people are willing to take their shit. You ever pissed off someone blue collar, man? Godsdamned assholes kicked the nest of honeybadgers when they landed here."

Bennett can't help but smile when 'Bill' explains what's what down here. She scribbles a few more notes to herself, eyes crinkling at the corners into fine crow's feet as the sun steadily rises. She seems content to let Keller do the talking from here on in, though does quickly note the time with a glance inside the raptor. That, too, is jotted down in her illegible chicken scratch.

"Do I know what it's like? I'm part Hibernian, man. Talk about a place where a five-year-old girl will throw a chair at your head for looking at her cross-eyed. Anyway, Canceron?" Keller's head arcs upwards a little bit. Talk about telegraphing via response. He clearly didn't know that. Grimacing a little, he continues. "Ambrosius Keller." Since they're on a first name basis. Crossing his shiny flightsuited arms in front of his chest, he pauses. "Yeah. We have an Admiral. Personally I think he's so crusty he was born in a chip vat but —" His head darts to Bennett - "Don't tell the Old Man I said that." With a flashed grin. Back to Bill. "We're not going to be assholes about it but we do have a small capacity for refugees and I'd rather not get into the whole song and dance over arguing for space. "Anyway you shoot like a Sergeant so I'm not going to judge whatever in the Hells you have pinned on that uniform. But this whole thing is strange. Apparently Aquaria — it's more or less untouched for what it's worth. Heavy enemy presence, though. These things clearly have some kind of grand design."

Bill seems to approve. "I hear you on Hibern. Don't let the man get you down. But yeah, Canceron's frakkin toast. The canners supposedly ain't even patrolling it, last I heard. One of the guys I ran to up at Division said they beat the place with nukes like a Tauran stepchild." No humor there, either. "Tell your Admiral that he's probably the ranking active duty asshole left in the military. But hey, Aquaria is fine? Cooooool. Hey man, if there is some kind of grand design? I don't particularly care. I'm just here to kill some shit. My family is trapped behind the lines. I just want these bitches evicted."

Bennett keeps right on note taking, up until she hears about Canceron being a lost cause. Her brows furrow slightly, and she shares a long look with Keller before addressing Bill again. "You're positive about that?" Another skiff of wind tosses dust and a few wisps of hair across her cheek. Whatever good humour she had, melts away slowly in light of that news. "And by 'behind the lines', you mean.. where? Promethea, Gaoth..?" He'd said something about the cities being occupied, and it seems those are the only two that come to mind for her.

Given the blank stare on Keller's face, Aerilon's geography is a thing beyond him. "Shit. So — what does that leave us?" He drifts off a moment as he continues to aimlessly amble along the unfamiliar ground of the planet. "That'd make the Old Man — well. He is what he is." He finally notes, stepping out of it. "Speaking of Tauron, that's one of the lost causes. Anyway — Butch, " His head darts to Bennett. "What can we do with this so far? What's the plan?"

The guy shakes his head. "Hell no I'm not positive. Haven't seen it myself. But its common knowledge that Canceron is out. Some people have seen the recon photos." As for the rest: "Canners hit the big cities with neutron bombs. Best estimate, they probably killed a couple hundred million. But they want this place intact, we think. No nukes, no chemical weapons, frak em. The lines change all the time. Its a pretty fluid war. Only place that isnt really 'behind the lines' is the area our guns can cover. Keeps the bastards on their big metal toes, know what I'm sayin?"

More scribbling as something is crossed out and another note added in the margin. Bennett flips the page, and writes some more. 'no nukes' is circled a few times. "I understand," she answers softly, tapping the pen against her lower lip in thought. "We'll do a flyby of Canceron, as planned," she tells Keller evenly, watching him pace for a moment. "As for Aerelon." Blue eyes slide back to Bill. "I'm afraid it's out of my hands, whatever our Command chooses to do with the information we give them. But I will pray for your family's safety." She reaches out to touch his arm lightly, if he permits. There is a steel in her gaze, subtle, beneath all her gentility. "And you let the other cells know that y'all are not alone." A squeeze, and then she drifts back a step toward the raptor.

"I can tell you we're not leaving this place to its own devices as long as the Old Man has two brain cells to rub together." Keller amends, looking back at his pilot. "I don't think he can afford to." His shoulders slump forward in his flight suit, looking between the two as if waiting for some kind of cue, crouching downward to retrieve his helmet. "While we're here — we should do /something/. Medical supplies, a refugee or two. Something."

Bill looks to the squeeze and he shrugs. "No sweat. Thanks, though. But cells?" He quirks his brow. "Hell, lady. There's like /hundreds/ of millions of people on this planet fighting. More'n Caprica and those fashionista pricks got a whole helluva lot more people surviving the attacks than we do. Frak'em, yanno?" There's some fistbumping and grumbling in support. "I'll let people know, though, sure." A look to Keller, then, "Got any smokes?"

Hundreds of millions? That gets jotted down as well. She turns to fetch her helmet, but doesn't pull it on yet. "Anything else you can think of, that we ought to know?" Keller is given a conciliatory smile, and then she clambers up on the raptor's wing to await any final words from the 'Sergeant'.

"Smokes? I think we can spare a pack. I go through a pack a month." Keller suddenly notes, smirking once again as he hefts his helmet in one hand and pads on off to the Raptor, disappearing into its interior. Guess he doesn't just keep snacks with him after all. A few moments later he emerges, with an open pack - two missing. "Already busted into it. But it's been a tough week. You can understand." The top is flipped open and he holds it aloft to Bill.

Keller adds as he holds it. "Before you burn one down, can you call on over to your people and see if there's anyone who should come with us? Might save time."

Bill takes a smoke from the pack and nods, holding it up in cheers. "Thanks, man. Left mine in my other pants. Thought I was gonna have to smoke some herb or something, yanno?" He lights it and claps it shut. "Nah, I think that's pretty much it. Thanks for the air support. That was pretty wicked shit. But yeah, I'll call back to Battalion. Just follow this road up for about five miles. There's a crossroads with a major highway. Route Twenty-eight. Park at the overpass. Someone'll meet you there." He taps fingers to his temple in salute and heads back over towards his tank.

Bennett shares another glance with Keller, then returns the casual salute. After a moment or two of scanning the surrounding landscape, she bids him farewell and ducks back inside the raptor. "Well, let's get a move on," she murmurs to her backseater. Quieter, and more to remind herself than anyone else, "Five miles up to route twenty-eight. Five miles up to route twenty-eight." There's a low whine as she brings the bus's engines back online.

"Shit," she mutters a moment later. "Fuel's lower than I thought. I don't think we're going to make Canceron this time around."

"Prognosis isn't promising either." Keller notes too, his return to the Raptor now again-solemn for some reason. As he settles into his station he starts fumbling through his control set. "Welp — I don't even /know/ what to make of this. Other than — yeah. Course plotted."

Flying up the road, route twenty-eight isn't hard to find. Its the only major highway in the are running north/south. Parking there with the engines running, a large pickup truck with a .50 mounted to a metal pintle in the back comes screaming up the road. The girl (because she looks to be about 16 or 17) in the back gun stays on the Raptor the whole time and when it comes to a stop, the door opens from the passenger seat. Out jumps a naval officer in Ensign pins. His duty greens look like someone has tiger-striped them with black and brown spraypaint. He has an SMG with him and a Marines helmet. "I hear you're my ride!" he calls, stepping up onto the wing.

The raptor's powerful engines kick up dirt and dust and flatten the scrubgrass that grows in tufts at the side of the road where it's parked. Keller's in charge of the hatch — and their would-be passengers — while Bennett doublechecks their numbers for the trip home, and transcribes some notes onto the slide-out datapad beneath one of her consoles. "Neither do I," she murmurs to Keller somewhat belatedly. "Not a clue. It just doesn't add up."

"I don't do math like a walking calculator though. I guess none of us do." Keller confesses to his pilot, nonplussed. Lumbering out of his station again, Sandwich takes point as he eyes the young'uns a moment, wide-eyed. "I believe that's correct. I'm Lt. Keller — Our Illustrious pilot is Major St. Clair. We need some tactical data on this place and it'd probably be better to take someone back with us so we can plan our next moves."

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