AWD #306 - Libran Recon, Finally!
Libran Recon, Finally!
Summary: A flight group from the Orion finally checks out Libran in person…
Date: 23/04/2016 (OOC Date)
Related Logs: None
Ygraine Skyler Kelsey Bennett Retrograde 
Libran Space

So Elias has put out word that several targets need to be reconned before the fleet makes any further plans, and rumors have been bouncing around that some flights have already gone out and returned and SOME of the crews are not happy with what they've been finding. Today, Kelsey and Yggy have some amazingly sparce orders: 'Jump to Libran. Confirm Cylon presence in numbers and type, visual and sensor recon of Libran conditions. Under no circumstances engage the enemy even if civilian lives are at risk. Return to Orion.'

The elevator brings them up to the flight deck and stops there. Kelsey pushes up the throttles just a nudge and goes light on the skids. "Two-Two-Five, away." She tilts the Raptor to the side and then slowly moves them towards the exit. "Under no circumstances do we engage the enemy. I feel like Petra is trying to tell me something," she says to Ygraine. "But visual and sensor of the conditions. That we can do. Everything five-by-five back there?" Passing the end of the flight deck, the stars spread out beyond the windscreen and Piraeus glows to the side. She can't help smiling over at it.

"Eh, I don't think Petra got anythin' on us that he ain't sayin' t'whoever else he's gonna send out." says Ygraine easily from her console. Five-by-five, Squire. Can't imagine what they think they're gonna get out takin' Libran. The population is pretty low compared t'the other colonies."

You know what's really fun? Being just a couple days out of sickbay, still on crutches, and given orders to ride along on a recon. But there's no time to sit out and with some 'interesting' things coming back in, it was decided that perhaps an Intel officer should ride along this time. So the Air Wing's current case report of how everything can go wrong even when you do everything right made an appearance in the hangar and had some aid loading up into the bird proper. Skyler's in blues… but sans the wings. Just some other LTJG now. The deckie that helped her aboard retains the crutches. To the woman's credit, she at least doesn't appear too outwardly upset about being a passenger rather than pilot. But that might be because the stress at her new position is readily evident on her features. Sitting in the seat is a touch awkward; leg brace and all. She's also sporting that awesome new style of 'temple to ear shaved' for a row of stitches. It's quite dashing, but it does mean less hair to shove into a helmet. While the others get everything off and going, she's just arranging notes.

The flight is cleared off the deck and traffic control signs 225 off on its path outbound, the officer on the comms displaying a distinct Tauron cant to his voice. From here, it's only a jump to Libran, so a simple, almost routine matter (though not so routine I dont need an ECM roll from Yggy and a piloting roll from Kelsey. Ahem :)

<FS3> Ygraine rolls Ecm: Failure.

<FS3> Kelsey rolls Piloting: Success.

The FTL spools up, and Ygraine sees an odd red flash on her console when she presses the Commit and Execute button: 'WARNING - Target Gravity Well Interference' but she barely has enough time to draw in a breath to potentially warn anyone before POOF, a flash, a scramble of DRADIS and the jump is complete. Kelsey didn't need any coffee this morning because when the raptor pops in, the bus is FAR too low, and a quick adjustment is immediately necessary to avoid becoming pizza on the side of the hulk of a Colonial Light Cruiser that has broken up in orbit.

The upside? They DID just jump in next to a huge hulk - Cylons probably wont pick them up, at least right away, which gives the crew enough time to get their systems back online and start scanning. The downside? Well, Kelsey's probably breathing heavy and well…is the FTL going to do this on the way out? The sensors and computers are taking their sweet time coming back online. Its like everything's being interfered with.

"Maybe. But c'mon. After Picon. Then getting our SAM intel?" And nearly dying on that one, too. Two Raptors, completely destroyed. Some people don't know when to quit. "It's the source of Law, Yggy. I actually had a scholarship secured on Libran. I was going to be a CompSci major. I'd be there right now if I'd done a few things different. Kinda anxious to see where I might have landed." Doot da doo. Jump countdown, there's a flash on her board, then a flash outside. The Ensign grips the stick and throttle and she rolls the Raptor and dials in reverse thrust. Speed out? Nope. The Ensign brings it to a park right next to the debris and fogs her helmet while she breathes heavily into it. "Holy shit," she whispers, looking outside. There's a quick visual to make sure nothing is going to drift into them before she comes back to look down at the console and try to fix a few things that are fussing. "I didn't hear any bangs so I'm assuming we're all okay."

If Bennett's surprised to see LtJg. Almaeda on board - and not at the flight controls, at that - she gives no indication. Though it's safe to say that she's got other things on her mind. She's parked herself in the co-pilot's seat beside Kelsey, cool blue eyes fixed on the starfield before them once the bus is space-borne. "Squire, Milkshake, this is your show. I am just along for the ride. Lieutenant Almaeda, nice of you to join us." Her lips curve in a quick smile for Skyler, though she keeps her focus forward. And then the raptor slipstreams, and careens out the other side - narrowly missing broadsiding a hunk of floating space debris. She draws in a breath, and someone perceptive might notice her gloved fingers reflexively pressing into the console in front of her, but there's no other sign of distress from the captain. "No impact," she confirms after a moment. "Milkshake, what happened?"

"Hang on a minute, S - " but then they jump, and Milkshake's systems are putting on a light show. "Frak frak frak…" Ygraine begins to frantically tap a string of commands into the console, re-initiating the system as promptly as possible so she can get her sensors up and running again. "I'm okay back here. Looks like we jumped in on a gravity well. Good job recoverin', Squire."

It's not like the change makes her callsign null and voice, but Bennett's words are a sharp reminder that it will fade to obscurity. "Thank you, sir," Skyler offers in quiet reply. Not distracted, just subdued. It's a different sort of woman who came out the other side of her experience just a bit over a week ago. As soon as the jump is made, one can feel something has gone awry and she clutches at the edge of the seat with one hand and her clipboard with the other. There is a quiet slam and a rattle… then a hiss of pain. Someone braced with the wrong way. The muttering to follow? Oh, just a string of creative curses that involve a few bits of ire directed at herself. So the pilot with the anger problem isn't entirely gone. She looks up and leans around a measure to try to get a view of the cruiser they've come out alongside of. Already seeking out markings. "War Day wreckage, from the looks of it," she mumbles. But whether it's a known casualty or not is something she seems to be assuming the Major will want to know.

After the initial shock and sudden evasive action wears off, other details that arent HOLY SHIT WE ALMOST DIED come into focus: The light cruiser bears the nameplate of 'Arrow of Artemis' and it doesnt appear to be a new addition (no lights still running, no fires burning, no heat sources). Computer and Flight systems FINALLY come back online, with DRADIS indicating there is one single basestar present, orbiting over the north pole. However, Ygraine and Kelsey are both having their hands full keeping the displays clear, with a potential whack needed to the side of a console - is something on the wreck causing a problem? Visually, the surface does not appear to have been scarred - looks like the toasters did not use nukes on Libran, at least, on the surface that the Raptor crew and passengers can see so far. (Yggy if you could please donate an ECM roll again to the discussion?)

"No problem." Squire's reply to Shakes is quick and almost reflexive. She's busy trying to get the Raptor back working. When it becomes clear it's an external source she settles back into the seat. The young woman looks over to Bennett and gives a thumbs up before looking back out to Libran. A spotting scope is lifted and she starts checking out debris that looks suspect. "Shakes, keep it passive. Do we have any contacts? Anything out there at all?" Her scope goes up towards the north pole to try and spot any basestars or Raiders. "Eyes on one basestar in expected location." She hands the scope off to Bennett or Skylar, whomever wants it first. Her eyes drift over the name, though, and she mouthes the words.

Bennett accepts the scope, and takes a quick look before twisting about to hand it off to Skyler. A few soft blips from her console as she cycles through LAMPS and PIRCS data feeds; the scrolling text reflects faintly off her faceplate, and her gaze ticks toward the windscreen occasionally.

"Th'interference appears artifically generated, not th'result of debris." Ygraine reports, bringing up a visual and indicating various spots around the planet. "Looks like launched satellites here, an' here, an' here, and so on, spaced around th'colony. Looks like any kinda electronics are frak'd. Don't bypass th'blanket, Squire, else we'll go down."

The scope is accepted while the others deal with consoles and readouts. Her fingers were twitching. It's a strange experience, just being along for the ride. Skyler can't say she's entirely fond of it. The woman starts with studying other pieces of wreckage before the planet and its hovering basestar; much detail will have to wait until (or even if) a team is given clearance to go in closer. When Ygraine speaks up, the Intel chick leans around to get a look at the spots indicated. The scope, then, is used to try to get a closer look at the nearer ones. "Pull any data from those that you can, please, Milkshake." It's spoken with a clear understanding that getting any data, with what the satellites do, will be tricky. Hence the visual attempt as well.

With the raptor's systems back online, the picture on the surface seems to clarify a bit: population in the cities, especially Themis, seem to have dropped, while population out in rural areas have gone up, little clusters of civilization that, to a large part, the Cylons don't seem to have done much about at all and aren't even trying to contain. There are indeed a large number of Cylon signatures, especially in Themis, and Cylon vehicles, which must be hardened to their own interference, parked around places like the Justice Center, the seat of Government, the massive Themis Library, and especially the Great Temple of Artemis. But one thing Yggy can tell right away…the buildings arent burning. They aren't even damaged. In fact, they seem to be occupied and in use.

As for the wreckage: The Arrow of Artemis seems to have been battered on - the hull is pock-marked by numerous hits and explosions, but about 2/3rds of the way down the hull, has been snapped in two pieces by what must have been a MASSIVE hit, or a ram by a larger vessel. There are obvious visual clues that at least some of the emergency lifeboats have been launched.

Kelsey stares at her screen and starts looking that over. Hrm. Not good. "Well we can't complete the mission from out here. This is total bull." She glances over at Bennett, then back to Skylar and Ygraine. The girl wants to frump a little but lets off a long sigh. "If we pushed or towed a piece of debris into one of those sats, would it knock the net down?" She looks back at Bennett, "Orders are to confirm Cylon presence, numbers, type. Visual and sensor recon of Libran. Do not engage the enemy." She grins. "They're satellites, not the enemy, right? We're not bombing anyone." Her eyes drift back to the wreck as if looking for something to use when she notices lifeboats gone. 300 days old. Did they make it to the surface?

"How long d'ya think it would take for them t'realize one of their satellites got bunked and send out a Raider t'investigate?" Ygraine counters. "If we let them know we're lookin' toward Libran, they'll beef up for us comin' back. Hang on a second, though." Ygraine's fingers flex as she pulls up some data.

True to her word, Captain St. Clair remains - for now - mostly a silent observer. Eyes on the field of debris out beyond the windscreen, eyes on her DRADIS for any sign that the basestar is summoning friends. Eyes on Kelsey. A beat. "Yes, those are our orders." Her lips twitch just a little. "You have not changed a whit, Squire. Have you not heard of subtlety?" The twitch becomes a full-on smile. "What do you have for us, Milkshake?"

"No." This, from Skyler. Alright, so she doesn't have seniority here at all. There's two folks above her in that regard. But after what another recon brought back… She's feeling a bit more cautious than she might, generally. "I do intend to recommend that we look into ways to take one, for investigative purposes, which may mean damaging one, but like Milkshake says. They'd notice. We're not equipped for it." And indeed, there's already a series of notes about her visuals of the things and recommendations. "So we have evidence that lifeboats launched and-" looking to the sensor readouts and displays over shoulders. "…potential human activity on the surface. But none of this implies it's a resistance movement to me."

"A'ight." Ygraine turns in her seat to face the others. "Based on the proximity of th'base star? If they are monitoring the satelites, and if they sent out a heavy raider right away to investigate and re-orient it? We've got a few minutes at best." There's a pause. "There is one advantage…the satelites are turned downward, not outward. Which means they ain't lookin' for us and they may score us a few minutes. It'll also open a hole for anybody who's tryin' t'transmit out and we may pick somethin' up." She's warming to the idea.

Kelsey sits there, staring at the planet. She's thinking hard about this. Yes, she's got that youthful enthusiasm that gets her in trouble. But there's something else. Even if the words from Bennett got her to laugh a little, she looks over to her Squadron Leader. There's a low shake of her head. Bennett can see it in the Ensign's eyes before she says anything. Her gaze moves back out towards the wreckage. "Shakes, get everything you can. Map this debris field as accurately as you can. We may need it later. Thermal image everything. Same with the visible light. Videos of everything. Let me know when you're done. Time to grow up, sirs." She tightens the straps on the ejection seat and flips through her display to check fuel and temps on the engines. "Put all your ideas down on paper. I'll submit them to the Colonel."

The systems seem to be recording the observations without problems - the raptor's computers seem to be operating fine, the difficulty is just getting clear readings from the surface because of the interference. AT THE MOMENT, the Cylons don't seem to have noticed the Colonials from their convenient hiding spot in the shadow of the hulk, but it might just be a matter of time before a Basestar sweep picks up heeey….

Ygraine proceeds to start mapping. "Gonna take a few minutes." she cautions. "So eyeball those sensors, Squire. First blip you see, and we're spoolin'."

There is a bit of relief from Skyler as the call is made to not go messing with the satellites. She shifts just a bit, still with the scope (hey, it keeps her busy while the others work with sensors). There's a rough sketch on her notes, but she's mostly just jotting down thoughts based on what she sees.

Bennett's gaze flickers over the 'eject' handle that's barely visible beneath her seat, and then her hands busy themselves with the console; Ygraine does what she does best, so the pilot resumes collecting data on Libran itself. "Wonder what they are up to down there," she murmurs to herself. "Milkshake, is your four-four-eight at full output? I am not picking up any outbound signals from the surface."

Kelsey nods in her helmet. She flips through more readouts on the console in front of her. She checks the thermal and then the drive integrity to ensure this is all coming back. It's almost like she believes what she said. Gloved fingers end at the DRADIS' passive sensor screen. She splits time between that and keeping her head on a swivel. "I don't know but you have no idea how badly I wanna smash that sat grid and go take a look." The urge to be reckless and follow her instincts. Maybe Kels finally is learning to be an officer.

While the raptor hangs and continues gathering it's readings, Bennett and Kelsey watch a heavy raider take off from Themis and lazily head up through the atmosphere towards the north pole and the basestar waiting there. Its seems for the moment that the group has bypassed being detected. If the readings Ygraine is getting from the surface are correct, the Cylons have equipment running on the surface in those buildings they've occupied, while humanity has been more or less reduced to the stone age - no equipment, no vehicles, even simple internal combustion engines wont work with no electronics. Now, what the Cylons are DOING in those locations with their equipment is hard to tell…but they certainly arent destroying anything. Looking for something? Maybe.

"Yes, sir." Ygraine notes over her shoulder to Bennett before turning back to her console. "Those satelites have things thoroughly suppressed. I got the map out of the field and satelite placement almost complete."

"Bring us in a touch closer to the base ship," Bennett asides to Kelsey, cool as if they were going for a stroll on the beach. "I am going to try scanning that heavy." A soft crackle of neoprene as she leans in to flip a few switches and fine-tune the sensors' data points.

Kelsey keeps her scan up. While she might watch the heavy make its way up, she's trying to look elsewhere. Something she isn't seeing. Finding this makes her nervous, she needs to take a few breaths to calm herself. Bennett's request has her shake her head, though. "Sorry, I cannot comply, sir. We'd be spotted for sure and risk engagement. We're almost done. We'll go home and see what Tactical wants to do." She looks over to Bennett and mouthes a very earnest 'Im sorry' to her.

FINALLY the backseater's computers indicate the scan has been completed and recorded, while the heavy raider disappears into the chaos of the planet's magnetic pole and presumably into the basestar…while a pair of normal raiders emerge and appear to begin their patrol sweep - while they arent heading their way around the globe, this probably indicates their time is now limited before that inevitable discovery happens. For what it's worth, while Libran's population seems to have been cut by a large margin? It would not seem that many of the deaths actually happened on War Day. As disturbing as it might be, a great number probably happened a week after the power was killed. Hospitals. High Rises. Heavy Industry and Technical locations…

"Scan complete." Ygraine's thick accent is curt. She is apparently in agreement with Kelsey, because her next comment is, "Spoolin' up if everyone's ready."

Bennett raises a brow at the refusal, but doesn't debate it for the time being. This isn't her mission. She does however take a moment to re-route power temporarily from a few of the raptor's sub-systems to the REKRS, in order to sweep the raider before it reaches the basestar. "Life signs on board that heavy. One, maybe two, it is hard to say from here. And we have company, it seems." Her voice remains soft but clear, only the faintest thread of concern as she spots the pair of raiders.

Life signs on a heavy aren't a big surprise. Skinjob activity in a situation like this? Skyler just stays quiet. Observes. Notes. Lather, rinse, repeat.

<FS3> Ygraine rolls Ecm: Success.

Kelsey nods to the information as it comes in. "Yep, bandits. Time to get back to the O. This creeps me the hell out." The pilot checks left and right out the canopy before beginning a slow turn to move herself behind one of the large pieces of wreckage. Put it between the Cylons and the Raptor before giving the order. "Take us home, Shakes."

"Spoolin' up." Ygraine doesn't bother to hide the relief in her voice as she triggers the jump drive, happy to be heading back home.

The FTL spools back up and there's that moment right when Ygraine hits execute that she might be wondering if the same thing is going to happen again…but no. After the initial flash and scrambling of systems, the more familiar presence of Orion and the fleet reappear, with Kelsey immediately hit with Orion Traffic control informing her that DRADIS has picked them up and welcome back.

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