AWD #321: Piraeus Hallucination
Piraeus Hallucination
Summary: The Raptor of the former CAG who'd gone AWOL a while back and into hiding on Piraeus has been found. A team is sent in but they find a whole lot more than they had bargained for! Ghosts?!?
Date: 08/05/2016 (OOC Date)
Related Logs: Anything related to Zachary and the search on Piraeus for the AWOL former CAG from way back.
Lleufer Fischer Callum Toby Diomedes Dropkickst 
Piraeus Wilderness
Way out on the other side of the world….
Wed Nov 23 12:12:24 2005

He's been gone for months now. One person on the Deck never stopped his relentless drive to find one particular officer. He stole a Raptor and vanished to the surface of Piraeus, never to be heard from again. Hundreds of man hours have been spent retrofitting search raptors to scour the surface of Piraeus for him. The magnetic anamoly detectors, MADs, on the Raptors have gone insane over huge swaths of land from readings which made it near impossible to search effectively for Lieutenant Colonel Zachary Sheperd's Raptor. Intel began sweeps with thermals and using millimeter-band dradis mapping. The CIDSR vessel 'Lode Aeyoo' was the one that found it late last night on the far side of Piraeus. A Predator flew a high speed recon pass to confirm it twenty minutes later. It's a Raptor parked on the surface and the tail numbers match the one Shepherd stole.

The word came down directly from Petra and the Intel Shack to grab a couple people off Deck, including Toby, and some Marines and get down there. The orders were very specific: Shepherd comes back dead or alive. Find him. The terrain in the area is dense woods over rolling terrain. Trackng him may be impossible after so much time but getting an idea of where he went is a solid start.

The team sits in the back of the Raptor as it dives towards the surface. The whole thing rattles with the speed at which they are flying, but there's a fire lit under the asses of the flight crew. They know why Shepherd is wanted but for some people it's a lot more personal. "Contact, I've got the target Raptor on ground tracking. Breaking it out right now. Looks like he parked it at the edge of the forest and tried to use the netting to cover it and blend it." The ECO is tight-jawed and looking serious, a Canceran. The pilot gives a gloved thumbs up before his hands go bak to the throttle. "Time on target is thirty seconds. Standby." They level out from the dive a little and are just now starting to slow.

Toby had, in all honesty, been fairly certain that the CAG responsible for failing in his duties and costing thousands of Minoan lives (and others) had fled the system. As such he's a tad surprised when he's woken on his off-shift and told to kit up, but once the reason becomes apparent there's no word of complaint from him. He's grabbed a basic tool kit to check the raptor over with then sits in stoney silence behind the marines as they loaded up, eyeing his fellow deckie occasionally through the flight.

Diomedes isn't one to ask questions when he gets those few marching orders that take him off the Battlestar and into action. He could have never made it as a marine with all the tattoos- but anything that required Deck to get involved had to at least be interesting. "So, when we find this douche-canoe is it a shoot first, ask questions later street-justice sorta thing, or you boys going to put him in a nice comfy brig-cell where he gets three hots and a cot until the wheels of that official justice get turning?" he asks, randomly, "Because, see, he's responsible for a lot of deaths." he explains, "And a lot of them is Minoan. That means there are souls waiting for revenge- and let me tell you what, I ain't never been a divine instrument before but I'm sure as Hades' rotten dick ready to do so."

Callum's off on another Raptor ride already huh? Always some fun to be had when you volunteer for things. Volunteer. Yeah, right. He gives a casual little glance around at the others who are riding along with him and asks, "Always great to get volunteered to ride the short bus, eh?" The important question asked, he gives a quick double-check of his gear. Though it was doubtful they'd see combat, never could be too sure. Medical supplies checked on, he gives his rifle a once over. In response to Diomedes, Callum just shrugs. "Doesn't matter to me either way, but I bet some would like the douche-canoe to come back alive just so others can pop him in the jaw once or twice."

Lleufer is strapped in, looking more rested after the Endurance hell weeek the Marines had been going through with drills and long exercises. He'd all but forgotten about Zachary, the late CAG's going AWOL and all the trouble it caused on the Orion and the long weeks of searching. The MP Sergeant is quiet, thinking of all the fall out from those events and his gaze strays to Toby, whom Lleu hasn't spoken with much in months. He quietly studies the other man as they come in on approach, then glances over the Marine team.

With the orders to go as part of this, Fischer is all geared up and ready to go. He's in place, expression rather stony as he listens to the pilot and the ECO, looking around as he hears the conversation. "Not sure if those in charge will let people take those well-deserved swings, though." Looking to Lleufer and then to the front at the mention of being close to the target, doing his last check so he's ready to go.

While the Raptor comes in, the pilot drops to the deck as a field opens up on approach. He skims the grass at about six feet and drives right for the Raptor ahead, beginning to slow. As they do, the guy pulls up. The maneuver slows the Raptor as he brings it around in a half circle and pops the gear down. The Raptor settles onto the soft terra and the hatch pops.

Outside, the grass is about waist high and the treeline by the Raptor is thick, casting a nearly night-like pall of shadow over the forest floor. The sounds from this side of the planet are distinctly different. Fewer insects. More birds that don't sound as friendly. But the Raptor is right there parked with its nose nestled between two trees. The camouflage netting over the top is designed to deflect DRADIS sweeps but part of it has come unsecured in the breezes and storms on this side of the planet. The hatch has been left half-open as if expecting someone to return shortly but the thing is covered in fallen branches, blown dirt, and pine needles. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to tell that this thing hasn't been occupied or touched in months. If they didn't know better, it might even be guessed for years.

Toby breaks his silence briefly to offer Dio a smile, not an entirely pleasant smile mind, but rather the smile of someone with violence in mind. «Dead or alive brother, I'm going to be keeping my eye out for opportunities.» Then, as the raptor touches down he lets the marines sort themselves out, then unstraps and hops out into the fresh air. Sticking close by their raptor he scans the surroundings then asks Lleu, "you want to check it for traps before we take a look and see if it's servicable?"

"Listen up! Marine's out first! Check for traps! Let's secure the area, set a premeter and keep our techie's safe! Keep your eyes peeled for any sign past or presant for activity. Move out!" Sergeant Ynyr hops on out, rifle in hand and kitted out for trouble just in case. Toby gets a nod as that was on his mind and they are already on it. "Yeah, let us do a sweep first. Stay close the Raptor and let'm man the door gun." He starts to move out cautiously.

The heavily tattooed Diomedes grins wide, a wicked thing. His hands are black- even without gloves. A tattoo that mimics the mourning gloves worn by the Tauran people. He looks towards Toby, a cool gaze before he turns back towards Fischer. "That ain't never stopped me before." he remarks, nodding to Toby's words in Tauran. «I hear that. Just takes a second for someone to look away to get a few good licks in.» Dio follows Toby, standing just nearby. He's got a wary look, clenching and unclenching his fists.

Moving out as soon as he hears Lleufer's words, Fischer moves outside as quickly as he can, rifle ready. "Looks like it's been abandoned for a while." Nodding at the order to check for traps, he moves over to help with checking for those.

Ynyr directs Callum to checking the grassy side, Fischer and himself to check the Raptor itself and the sides closer to the treeline.

Callum gets his gear situated as the Raptor touches down, giving the Marines time to get off and get to following Lleufer's orders. Tossing a glance over at Toby and Diomedes, "Hey, stop saying that about my mother." It's said in an amused tone, just as he's bringing his rifle to the ready and stepping out of the ship. Giving Lleufer a nod, he begins to examine the grassy area, making sure all is clear.

<FS3> Toby rolls Alertness: Good Success.

<FS3> Lleufer rolls Alertness: Failure.

<FS3> Callum rolls Alertness: Good Success.

<FS3> Diomedes rolls Alertness: Success.

<FS3> Fischer rolls Alertness: Good Success.

"All clear." Callum calls out after doing his best to look out for traps. If there was anything, it was certainly done far better than his eye can see. Hope no one falls into a secret pit trap and gets skewered on spikes! Turning so he can eye the deckies, he gives them a wave over and gestures to the other Raptor, giving a thumbs up.

"Oh, for fark's sake!" Dio exclaims as she gets close to the Raptor, taking a look over the bird, "Toby, look at what this numbnuts did to my bird!" the petty officer says, as he hefts his tools and shakes his head. "We're going to need a farking gardener- and look at that windscreen! How the fark did that thing get cracked sitting on the ground?!" he exclaims, "Gods damn it. I hope that bastard eats bowls of dick, Toby. BOWLS!" he growls out, as he just looks at the poor Raptor's mistreated form and gets the hatch opened wider- flashlight in hand to gaze inside before he steps into a potential animal nest.

<FS3> Diomedes rolls Alertness: Failure.

Fischer moves closer to the Raptor, frowning momentarily. "Clear," he replies as he finishes his own check. "Looks like he was planning to return to it, which makes me wonder why it's been deserted for this long…" Looking between the others now.

<FS3> Fischer rolls Alertness: Good Success.

The Marines spread out to check the immediate area carefully. Ynyr studies the ground and the treeline but there isn't a lot of light. He goes cautiously, moving towards the Raptor first to look for anything that might be a threat to their technicians, and seeing nothing off hand, Lleufer slowly circles outwards towards the treeline. Dio's bitching is rather distracting.

<FS3> Lleufer rolls Alertness: Good Success.

<FS3> Callum rolls Alertness: Good Success.

Once the all clear is given by the marines, Toby heads over towards the newly found raptor. "I hear you Dio," he notes, heading for the windscreen to get a look at the aforementioned crack, "what else did you expect from the frakker though?" Letting his fellow Tauran rant he takes out a small notebook from a pocket in his greens and starts to do a careful exteriour inspection of the bird, frowning as he eyes the undercarrage, and just out right shaking his head in places. Once he's happy he's noted everything of interest he calls back to Dio, "someone's going to have their work cut out, but she should fly again I think."

<FS3> Toby rolls Alertness: Great Success.

Lleufer has moved to the treeline, tilting his head to look up the ridge as far as he can see in the very limited sight distance due to the darkness and the thickness of foliage. He turns his head and then Ynyr freezes. A second later he raises a hand, doesn't say a word but makes certain he gets Fischer's attention to point something out for them to check. Into his com Lleu speaks very softly, "I saw something. We'll check it out." He gives Fish a hand signal to cover him as Lleu starts in that direction, very alert.

When the two Deck crew climb into the Raptor they can tell this place with lived in for a couple weeks. There's MRE wrappers scattered and the survival kit is cracked. Most of the tools are gone, as is a flight bag full of cold weather gear. The sleeping bag on the floor looks half-rotted thanks to rain blowing in, and something looks like it had a nest inside it and had babies. It smells like dead vegetation in there. The ECO panel looks to have shorted out at some point and the battery power is completely dead. Flashlight batteries are scattered everywhere, too, as are spare (dead) bulbs for them. But the seats are Safed from firing and the Raptor looks like it was shut down properly. Zachary spent a good while here. But that was a long time ago.

Fischer pauses as he looks into the distance, blinking a few times. "Did you see that?" A brief pause as he hears Lleufer's words. "I think I saw someone watching us…" he begins, nodding as he moves into position to cover Lleufer.

Callum scratches at the back of his neck, waiting for the deckies to do what deckies are going to do. Then he hears something. Was that… laughter? Taking a single step forward, he stares towards the middle of the field. Nothing. What the hell. He glances around, trying to see if anyone else has heard anything as well. "See something? No, heard something though. What'd you see?" Oh man, was there some sort of toxic gas going around that was going to make their brains bleed through their ears? Shit. He didn't have anything in the medkit for that.

Toby hauls himself up onto the wing so he can catch up with Dio inside, pausing only to have a look around once he's up there, scanning about to see if he can see anyone or anything. Watching Lleu for a moment he then pulls himself away from the scene and ducks through the hatch. "Ugh," is his immediate response, "don't want the cleanup job on this one." Leaving Dio to do his thing he starts on the CO2 scrubbers by the end of the ECO panel, cracking open the covering to examine interior parts. Or that's the plan at least, for there's a soft thud as he cracks the covering, which causes him to stop, and find out why. It's not a long investigation, there's a small notebook on the floor that looks like it was previously wedged at the end of the ECO's workstation. "Dio" he calls, then starts to flip through the pages. «Diary I think, only kept it for a couple of weeks though, seems to have gone nuts.. or maybe the heat or somethng got to him. The second half looks like ramblings.» Them for the benefit of the others over the radio, "found what looks like a diary, only kept it for two weeks though."

"Its going to be a full overhall." Dio says, agreeing for the moment as he gets a look inside the Raptor, "Oi, he was living her for a while by the looks of it." Dio says out to Toby, "Left the place a mess." he grumbles as he looks around. "At least it got shut down correctly." Diomedes says, as he takes a closer look at the cockpit, shaking his heads at what he's seeing. "Yeah, this bird's wings are quite broken right now- we'll have to get it somewhere we can we can work on it." Toby's words have him peek over, to take a look at the Dairy Toby's talking about. "That's no good." he says, as he tries to see what he can from over Toby's shoulder.

Toby flicks through the empty pages at incase there's anything else written there, turning slightly so Dio can get a look at it too. "Bottom of the last page," he says, pointing at the right hand corner, "'we were wrong'? Who's we? and waht the frak is he talking about?" SHaking his head once he dismisses it with a quick, "might just be more ramblings," then passes the book across so Dio can take a look at the rest himself.

Lleufer is not going to go too far from the group - but he starts to make his way into the woods a little distance as carefully and as quietly as he may, being very watchful. He gives Fischer a signal to acknowledge but doesn't otherwise reply. Ynyr does listen to what Toby says over the coms. His attention is for what he saw up the slope, rifle in hand. It's darker in among the trees with very little daylight getting in. So much so that Lleufer has to flick on his flashlight and shine it around to try and see, wary because it makes him an easy target in turn.

"What the fark does that mean?" Dio wonders, looking at the notebook. "Whatyou think that picture is about? You think that's something he found around here?" Dio asks of Toby, eyebrows knitting together. "We oughta let the eggheads get a look at this." he says to his fellow Deckie. "Only question is to you wanna hold onto it, or should I?" he wonders of Toby, offering the notebook back. "You found it, so, you oughta be the one to pass it on to someone who might make better sense of it… that drawing though. What is it?"

Fischer pauses as Lleufer moves into the trees, slowly moving into a good position where he can cover. Readying his own flashlight as well, both to see the Sergeant and whatever else he can see at the same time.

Once into the woods, the Marines and Co start climbing the low hill. They don't have to go far, but once under the shade of the trees it becomes nearly twilight. The densely packed fir trees have huge pine branches overhead that allow for very little light to get through. Thus the floor of the forest is very clean but for pine needles. They seem to be following some kind of lazily arcing path, though, about 18 to twenty feet wide. The trees aren't as thick as it follows up the side of the ridge, almost like a switchback. There's the feeling that they are being watched, but again there lacks the stomach-sinking dread that usually comes with it. Like being in a crowded room while telling a joke.

Toby takes the notebook back and stows it safely away in a pocket of his greens. "The product of some twisted fraking delusions?" he suggests, "how the frak do I know? Don't reckon there's much else to learn in here though so it's probably best to head back out before we catch crazy too." Ducking out of the hatch he offers a thumbs up to the pilot of their raptor to let them know all is well, then hops down onto the grass again, taking a deep lungfull of fresh air.

"What did you see?" Callum asks Fischer again, giving the Marine a look. "Was it a kid? Because I'm pretty sure I heard a kid laugh." He shuts up then and starts following Lleufer, bringing out his own light and moving along. Sighing, Callum wondered how much longer he'd have to be sent out to places like this. Probably a while knowing his luck. Why couldn't they have to go be sent off to investigate a nice beach or something? Sheesh. Hoping not to be jumped by some crazy stuff, he glances around everywhere, holding his rifle tight in case he needed to let some lead fly.

"Yeah, this bird is a pretty lost cause right now. We'll have to come back with proper equipment just to get her airborne. If we can get her airborne and back to base here on planet, at least we can fix her up and get her back where she belongs." Dio says, agreeing to Toby as he steps out of the Raptor and takes a slow breath. "Lets get back to our chariot, eh?" he says, nodding towards the ship that's close by.

Over the coms Lleufer says very low, "I swear I saw somebody. Strange gear, rifle. But there aren't any tracks. There's a trail leading up to the ridge, like a path. Feels … like someone watching us." Ynyr motions for Fischer and he to go back down and stay with the Raptor. They have people to overwatch and keep safe. "Back to the Raptor. Not leaving our techs behind. We can request to come back for a followup."

Fischer nods a bit, "I thought I saw someone as well, one moment there, then gone…" He nods at the part about going back to the Raptor. "I hope we get back here soon to investigate this. Something doesn't feel right," he replies, as he starts on the walk back.

"Shackleton, how much longer do you two need with the Raptor? I want to go check out the ridge. I'd prefer if you two either came with us, or stayed with our own bird for lift off if there's trouble." Ynyr stops at the edge of the treeline to wait for a response.

"Careful," Tody, notes over the comm, "it looks like our prey might have gone nuts out here, don't make me have to report back to base that you lot have too." Not that he sounds completely serious on that, but still. Enjoying the fresh air for a few moments then answers the query, "we're done until we can get a full team here for a complete overhaul. There's no way I'm letting you go hunting for him without me though, so lets get moving." That said he takes another quick glance around, then strides over to jon the marines in the treeline.

Fischer keeps quiet as he hears the conversation between the Sergeant and Toby, nodding a little at what's being said. Looking around rather carefully, to avoid anything or anyone sneaking up on them.

Callum halts as Ynyr calls one of the deck boys over the radio. Taking hold of his canteen, he unscrews the lid off and swallows down a mouthful of water. Thirst quenched, he screws the lid back on and puts it away. By that time it seems Toby's joined them. He gives the deckie a nod and calls up. "I can take point, if you want. I don't mind." As if it's already been decided, he readies his rifle and stars striding up to Lleufer.

Lleufer looks amused with Toby's reply and replies low over the com, "Come on, let's go have a look then. Everybody stay together. Whatever is going on, let's not get lured away from each other. We already seem to be seeing and hearing things that may not be there." The MP Sergeant waits for the others to come join him before they will start carefully up the trail. Ynyr nods for Callum to take point and motions for Fischer to followup behind and watch their six. He'll go second and Toby and Dio in the middle. "Be nice if we didn't have to follow the path but the trees are really packed in close."

Walking up the 'path', which still has plenty of trees, there's the feeling that maybe they've all done this before. That they've been here somehow. It feels familiar but the dark landscape is alien. Flashlights aren't required but they're needed for seeing more than fifteen or twenty feet. Around them, as they continue moving, the breeze rustles the trees almost nonstop. The sounds that carry have whispers right at the edge. Questions. But just when a location might be nailed down and a light aimed - nothing. They walk for nearly ten minutes, the 'path' rounding the ridge almost like a paved road. When they get to the top, the forest floor seems to flatten. The area with less trees spreads out wide, nearly fifty meters by fifty meters if lights seek out the edges of where the density of the trees returns. There's something on the other side of it, though. Impossible to make out in the distance beyond the light. Something sturdy and vertical.

With no weapon to encumber his hands, Toby keeps his torch out, scanning the trees on first one side of the path, then the other as they pregress along it. Keeping quiet initially so the marines can communicate without hinderance he then stops sharp as they find the less densely packed region, "what the frak."

Fischer nods as he falls in at the rear, looking around very carefully as they move. Keeping silent as he once in a while moves his light to where he thinks the sounds might be coming from, then back to sweeping from side to side. "Well put," he offers to Toby as he hears that part at the end, as they have reached the less dense area.

Callum moves up ahead, taking point. His eyes scan everything around him, trying to determine if those sounds that sound like whispers are actually whispers or if it's just the wind giving him an old fashioned mind frak. He had to just focus on the task at hand. If he was going crazy… well maybe a bottle of booze and a couple of tugs in the bunk might take all the bad, crazy thoughts out of his brain. Just keep moving, one step at a time, right towards that thing off in the distance.

"Yeah, this is creepy. Let's go along the left side and circle around to see what we can find. Stick close to cover, just in case. If you can get photos or vid, please do so, Shackleton." Because Lleu doesn't have anything on him to do that. He motions for Callum to go along the edge of the trees, not out in the open. Ynyr himself studies the ground for signs of anything, the rest of his attention on the clearing and trees around them as they get moving again. No comments from him about whispers.

Moving along the left side of the less dense area, the ground feels soft as it always has. That darker shape in front of them grows larger and begins to take form. Whatever it is, it isn't natural. It's a wall and looks like it was made from some sort of brick and morter. But a third of it is collapsed or missing on the far end. The structural build of a wall (is it even a wall?) goes about six feet high off the ground before it looks like a slatted roof was supposed to be there. A little short for a building. About midway across the clear area, though, is a clear area just at the forest floor where someone could get through - squared off. Perhaps the top of a double doorway, as if the whole structure had sunk. Looking to each end of the wall, though, it's definitely a building. The walls continue down each side.

<FS3> Toby rolls Alertness: Great Success.

<FS3> Callum rolls Alertness: Success.

<FS3> Fischer rolls Alertness: Good Success.

Callum catches Lleufer's gesture and he moves off to the travel along the edge of the trees. As he nears, he makes note of the dimples on the exterior of the walls. Frowning, he takes a few steps back to where the other Marines are at and points them out. He keeps his voice low. "What do you think? Receiving end in a fire fight? I don't think bullets would do something like that, at least not out of a rifle… maybe something a bit bigger? How do you want us to proceed, Sarge?"

Toby taps the pocket that holds his own notebook and shakes his head to Lleufer, "pen and paper is what I've got, but we'd need to be close enough to actually get a good look." Heading round the left hand edge of the clearing he stops close to the nearest section of wall to take a close look. At first it's just a quick scan, then his head snaps back to something and he raises his hand to touch the surface, running his hand over a small section of it. "Sergeant," he calls, not bothering with the comm, "you need to take a look at this. This entire section of wall was attacked, long time ago I reckon, but the surface is covered, and I mean covered, in pockmarks left by bullet impacts."

<FS3> Lleufer rolls Alertness: Good Success.

Lleufer does move closer to have a look when Callum calls him up and Toby is there even before Lleu needs to ask him to have a look. He examines the surface, "This is more your area of expertise than mine, Shackleton. But it looks old to me, not something Zachary could have made." He frowns, "Going to need some experts to have a look at this." He motions to the others, "Fischer, Callum, let's have a careful look around the structure out here, then look inside." Lleu keeps a sharp eye out for tracks or any signs that Zachary might have come up here before them.

Fischer frowns as he looks around, nodding as he hears Toby's words about the wall. "Sort of reminds me of the shot up stuff at Santos…" he begins, before he adds, "This structure is a bit more solid, though…" Glancing towards the othersfor a few moments, before he looks back to the building. "What might this be…" he begins, before he nods at Lleufer's words. "Got it."

Assuming the exterior is walked, they'll notice a few more collapsed or missing areas of wall. Some portals on the ground that are probably the tops to windows. One of them even still has a bit of stained glass embedded in it. A lot of the top of the wall has moss growing on it, too, but the whole thing looks like it was the target of an immense amount of firepower. Tens of thousands of rounds must have been spent on shooting at this thing. Even digging out a little of the wall's exterior shows more of them down below the surface of the forest floor. How long ago was this? When they get move within the walls they can get a feel for the size. At about thirty yards wide and maybe sixty long, the whole exterior looks to have been very solidly built - as if to withstand any sort of force - mechanical, human, or natural. There are absolutely no trees growing inside, though, and the interior forms a low bowl with only four or five feet difference between the lowest point and the edges at the wall.

"Our prey didn't do this," Toby starts, taking a step back to get a better look at the structure as a whole, "but he was here, he drew it in the notebook we found. Better light though, so over summer perhaps?" Letting the marines explore the outside he shines his torch through one of the opennings and follws them through once they enter. Gazing round the interior he is somewhat lost for words for a while, then mutters, "we need the eggheads, ain't sod all I can tell you about this."

Callum walks along, his eyes taking in the structure and it's state. "What do you guys think this is? Think Scumbag McScuzface knew about this place and that's why his Raptor was back where we found it?" The questions are spoken to the group as a whole, but it seems Toby's the one with all the answers. Or most of them anyway. He points at the remnant of the stained glass. "Wonder what that used to be. Hell, I wonder how long this place has been here." A thought. "Hey, if Scuzbugger wrote this all in his journal, and then he left the journal in the Raptor? Where the frak is he?"

Lleufer gives Toby a nod, "Aye, Intel will want a look at that book. They'll want to send a team to study and escavate this site." He looks around, "We need to try to figure out where Zachary went from here. Any clue in that diary?" Looking around, Ynyr adds, "We need to have a look at the rest of this glade for any sign of more recent activity. Go up the other side back to where we started, then check the open ground carefully."

A look to Callum, "I don't know. But I'm going to want the Raptor to over fly this area carefully and get footage from the air. Might pick up on things we aren't seeing at ground level, here, and in the area around it."

Dio, for his part, has been silent for the past little while- sticking near Toby. His hands are curled into fists and he's on edge- eyes flitting from place to place. He looks ready for a fight, his face set as he just waits for the next freaky thing to happen.

No matter what the opinions, the whole thing has a very surreal feeling to it. Then some people might remember the rumors going around on Piraeus and through the fleet. The rumors go back to just before Warday. A geology team had been drilling and found something radioactive. The whole thing was heavily classified but some of the people started talking. They started saying they thought they had found a radioactive structure under the dirt about thirty miles south of Sheridan. Command has swept it under the rug. They didn't want people digging, literally. Especially when things coming up might be radioactive. But were they also hiding an unknown truth about Piraeus? But then there it is…

It builds slowly as the breeze waves the trees overhead and builds into a crashing crescendo as wind slams the trees. The sounds of women and children screaming in fear rolls in from the roaring first and quickly becomes so loud that it sounds like they are standing in the center of it. But the roar becomes more distinct quickly and almost deafening. It mixes with the streams and cries. A few whispered words in a strange language, prayers. But the sounds that engulfs them is automatic weapons fire. As the trees bang and creak with the wind there's the idea of violence coming with it. The outbound fire is matched only by the sound of rounds hitting the exterior walls. Men and women are shouting, the Marines recognizing the intent but not the words. We need ammo. Medic. Air support, anyone respond. We can't fall back. Their ears tell them they're in the middle of a last stand but their eyes say something else…

And then it all flips. The wind dies and the sounds fade with it, going from full battle rattle to near silence in around five seconds. But before anyone can say anything they realize they are not alone. Standing at the window openings near the forest floor are the images and ideas of soldiers, men and women, clearly dressed in an unknown kit configuration but clearly human. Their strange rifles are hung low, but held firmly like any other Marines or professioanl soldiers. Nearly all of them are wounded. But they face inward towards the group at the center of the structure. A few of them just nod at the group as if they were right there with the Orion Party. As if they knew something about them. As if they approved. There must be forty of them, the details on all their faces visible, right down to the strange symbols and writing on their uniforms.

"What the frak?" Callum says simply, his voice incredulous. He doesn't know how to even begin describing everything that's happening or has happened. "Did the journal mention anything about going batshit crazy too?" Hand lifted to his eyes, he rubs at them a moment before staring at the men and women and their strange get-up. "Should probably make some notes of those symbols and that writing on the uniform." A pause. "So, should we explore anything else? This is kind of like those movies with the haunted ruins, right? There's gotta be some treasure around here somewhere."

It's like the sound and shaking of the earth, that wind. Like the shell barage at Santos Ridge that Lleufer can't remember anymore, not consciously. And yet it engulfs him, making the Sergeant step back and suddenly break out in a cold sweat, his heart pounding. His eyes a little wide, he takes in the sights and sounds of this strange vision that isn't real, but seems as real as if they were there, and these people were living. Ynyr doesn't say a word, his mouth a thinned, hard line. He keeps looking for canners, thousands of them coming, listening for Raptors … but it isn't Santos Ridge. This isn't a flashback. It takes him several hard seconds to remember they are on Piraeus, and to really focus on the people he thinks he can see standing around like ghosts, watching them. Lleu's knuckles are white, gripping his rifle tightly.

"Are you sure he didn't go ins…" Fischer begins, before he trails off as he listens to the sounds the battle, looking around rather quickly, although he can't see anything at first. "What the…" Trailing off, as he sees the people in those windows. "Wait… who are these…? What are these…?" Too many questions, too little time. Looking at the people, then at the others in the Orion group, holding the rifle ready.

Toby glances across to Callum and nods, "where the frak is he indeed, there was no sign at the raptor, looked basically like he'd just left and forgo.. he didn't close the hatch. Might not have been in his right mind when he walked. Would tally with his writings." Thats all he has to say though, before the wind picks up. At first he can discount the voices and the screams as an odd reverberation off the trees, but then as it grows, so does that terrible feeling in his stomach. He might not be a marine, but this is certainly not his first combat and he drops down to one knee, bracing himself against the nearest wall to use it as cover and reaching into this toolbelt for the biggest, heaviest item to use as a cudgel incase of need. As the sound crescendos he can do nothing but cover his head with his arms, hoping to protect his ears, block out both the noise and the memories it's stirring from where they've been long buried. It takes a few moments for him to realise it's easing though, and even more before he unwraps his arms from his head and looks up again. His breathing is hard, and doesn't ease when he sees the figures at the opennings. Putting one hand on the wall to help himself to his feet again he stares at the nearest group for several heartbeats as his mind races, then he takes a tentative step forward, towards them, holding his empty hand out as he manages to stutter at the figures, "wh..who?"

"What the.." Dio says quietly, fists lifting as the sound of violence raises, eyes growing wider as he turns towards sounds of violence and battle- flinching and crazy-eyed as he looks towards the others. When silence falls and all that is left are ghosts- he goes pale, «What old-magic is this that we see ghosts?» he wonders, eyes growing wide. «Do they call out for vengeance?» he says, switching to his milk-tongue as he stares towards the ghosts. "Careful Toby…"

The figures have a ghostly way that they move, as if their movements were artifically slowed. They lean and whisper to each other as if they were old friends. One of the men and women standing beside each other move together and the woman leans her hip against him, his arm going around her waist. But all of them just stare at the group with smiles or cautious, evaluating expressions. The opinions seem about as diverse in that spectrum as each individual. The two that Toby approaches look at him. The guy, clearly in his early thirties, smirks at Toby and aims a sliced hand away towards a different figure. It's the clear gesture of an NCO to his commanding officer. A woman approaches Toby and the rest of the group, rifle held relaxed across her chest. Late twenties, maybe? Sorta pretty maybe. She stops about ten feet from them and speaks. When she does, her lips do not match the words spoken - not even close. Her voice comes clear as unaccented to their home worlds in each of their minds.

"We have stood guard a long time. Many of us. Not just here, but everywhere. We have given up much for this honor to stand post over our planet. We feared when we looked into the heart of Zachary. But we look at you all and see something else. We see ourselves. Believers of all kinds." She smiles kindly. "May I be the first to welcome you and the last. Fight well and fight hard, for it has all happened before and it will happen again. Or will it." She takes a moment to look each of them in the eyes. "It is not what you worship or believe in, but the ability to fight for the right to pursue it freely. Remember that as your people move forward. If you follow that idea then you have a chance. Godspeed." She dips her head with a lazy salute and backs away, her chin lifting with a smile as she begins to fade away, along with the rest.

Uh. The ghost thing was talkng. Callum couldn't believe it. Hallucinating some ghost people was one thing, but hearing all this talk about standing post? What the frak? "Welcome us to what?" He asks the other members of his group. But now they're fading away. "What are they welcoming us to?" He asks, hoping someone has an answer. "Does this mean there's no treasure? Because I've gotta say that's partially disappointing. 'Fight for the right to pursue your beliefs or whatever'? That sounds like one of those motivational posters the Marines use to try and recruit people." He flashes a glance over at Lleufer and Fischer. "Anyway, this is frakkin' weird and I'm pretty sure if we start talking about this, people will think we're outta our damn minds." Stepping over to Lleufer, Callum puts a hand on the Sergeant's shoulder. "Guess it's a good thing the Sarge here will tell the brass all about it."

"Wait… what happened to him?" Fischer calls out after the woman's words, before he adds, "Who are you?" Going a bit quiet as he looks back to the others, offering a brief frown to Callum. "Maybe the treasure is… I don't know. The planet itself, or something…" He goes quiet again.

A deeeply spiritual man, Diomedes isn't sure what he's seeing- hearing a voice that sounds so like home. So like the home that has been lost. He just stares quietly as the woman stares into his eyes- staring back. "YEah, but we're all seeing it. We're all seeing the *Same* farking thing." Dio states back to Callum, "If that ain't the work of the Gods, I don't know what is." he continues, swallowing deeply. "This is outside my element." he says softly, "Wait outside my element." He memorizes that woman's face though- this, if anything, requires a tattoo.

As the figures start to fade Toby rounds on Callum, "shut the frak up. If all you can manage is quips and nonesence then don't waste the oxygen to speak. We've got some serious thinking to do here and I'll be damned if I'm going to let you drag us all down to your level of interlect. Go secure the fraking parimeter, or whatever the frak it is you knuckleheads do." Just where the anger comes from he's not sure, but he feels better for having vented it. Turning back to Dio he eyes the man, then passes over his own notebook and pencil, "sketch what you can now, while it's fresh." Then to Lleu, "I doubt we're going to find any sign of our prey here, and this is not something we can sit on. Brass have to know, and they have to know quickly."

The symbols, the faces. They're rough, but with that pencil Dio's doing just that- while the memory of all of this is fresh and clean. The lines are those one would expect in tattoos- the shading, and everything with that style taken from years of practice. He takes it all down- everything he can remember. Filling one page, then a second, and third. His work lacks the detail of a fine artist- but its emotive. Its about the meaning.

Lleufer stands stiffly, like a man who got rattled, spooked. But he watches the people around them, the woman who comes forward, and he listens. Callum's hand seems to bring him back to his senses, to suddenly focus on the other man. Ynyr blinks and sucks in a breath slow and deeply, then lets it out slowly before he answers Callum, "Relax, Corpsman. We'll let the Brass and Intel sort this out." His gaze goes to Toby and he nods, "We will, but we also have our orders. Look for and /find/ Zachary if we can, or his remains. Let's finish looking around the clearing. If we can find no new leads, we'll go back to the Raptor and radio back for orders. I want to get footage from a flyover before we go anywhere."

Shaking it off, Ynyr looks to the Marines, "Let's go. Fischer, take point this time. Callum the rear. Let's complete inspection of the clearing." Lleu glances back to where the people were all around them, wistful the woman apparation would answer Fischer about Zachary - but they are gone.

"Well, someone is testy." Callum tosses back at Toby. "You need to lighten the frak up man. Tug one or two out tonight, it'll do you some good. Hell, it'd do us all a bit of good right now." The corpsman shrugs, and then starts heading off to another part of the ruins, guess it was time to try and find this Zachary fellow. Maybe he'd already be dead so it'd make their job easier.

Toby sticks by Dio's side, mentioning what details he recalls so they can be incorperated into the sketches. He's still buzzing with adrenalin though, and so when Callum answers back his fists clench and he starts to square up, "and you need to grow the frak up, before someone decides to knock some sense into you another way." He'd end with 'now frak the frak off' but the corpsman is already heading off, so it'd've lost most of it's impact. Instead he clenches his jaw and turns back to Dio, shifting from foot to foot to try and disipate some of the nervous eneegy that comes with the adrenalin spike.

Dio gives Callum a look, then looks back to Toby. "Hey now. You let me be the one in deck who punches people without any thought to the consequences. I still gotta get rid of this petty-officer thing." he says to his Deck-mate. Still, between himself and Toby he's able to get a pretty decent group of sketches down in the notebook.

Callum spends 1 luck points on Checking stuff out..

<FS3> Callum rolls Alertness: Good Success.

<FS3> Fischer rolls Alertness: Failure.

"Corpsman!" Yeah, Callum's pushing it. Lleufer gives him a glare, "Shut the frak up and do what I told you." He gives Toby a look too, then Dio, "Everyone chill. We have a job to do, no matter what visions filled our heads. Let's do it." He'll wait for Fischer to take point and he'll follow second as before to continue their search.

<FS3> Lleufer rolls Alertness: Good Success.

Callum totally just ignores the glare Lleufer throws in his direction, after all, his back is to the guy and he doesn't have eyes in the back of his head. Bending down, he takes a look at something he's noticed. Some spent shell casings. Carefully picking each one up, he puts them into one of his pockets and then looks around. Shrugging he turns to the group. "Okay, we can leave. Pretty sure whatshisnuts isn't here. Looks like he was shooting at something and then took off. Can't tell you where though."

Moving into point position as he's told, Fischer starts to look around. Frowning as he does, not paying too much attention to the others, instead trying to look around for some kind of clue now.

Once he's happy that he can add no more to Dio's work, Toby head towards the nearest gap in the wall where there had been figures. Holding his hand out he runs it along the wall, trying to get a sense of anything different, anything that doesn't fit. He's hoping for some form of ghostly remenant, but he'll take a hidden speaker if that's what there is.

Dio tucks the notebook into the pocket of his jumpsuit for now- he'll pass it over to Toby when the time is right. He speaks quietly to Toby as he approaches. «You going to be okay, brother?» he says, «We should research these symbols- see if we can find anything in the library.» he remarks, «And,if not, honor those who have fallen here and seek to remind us with tattoos.»

It seems they don't find much else. Lleufer has them complete a search of the area, taking an interest in what Callum found. "All right. Let's take the shell casings and head back to the Raptor. Let them do a fly over, then head back to base and the ship to debrief." The Sergeant moves to gather them up and start them heading back.

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