MD #099: Piraeus Recon
MD #099: Piraeus Recon
Summary: Charlie-Foxtrot Part 3 - Recon of Piraeus. A group of Marines go in by Raptor to check out Sheridan and run into Captain al Yamoha.
Date: Sun 16/Jul/2017 (OOC Date)
Related Logs: http://battlestarorion.wikidot.com/charlie-foxtrot-air
Dropkickst Petra Randy Palermo 
Lleufer Fischer Mara the-captain 
Ready Room, Battlestar Orion, then Sheridan, Piraeus
Use your imagination. It was a TP room.
Wed 31/Jan/ 2029 (IC Date)

So its definitely not normal nor part of any standard rotation, but abruptly, specific Marines and a Raptor flight crew are given orders to show up in the Air Wing Ready Room, where 2 MPs are watching the hatch, oddly enough. Inside at the front of the room, both Petra and Mara are already waiting, with Petra leaning against the front wall with his arms folded across his chest, cold packs still wrapped around his arm under his vest. His face is rather pale despite the bruises, and he seems to alternate from staring at Mara, then the back of the room. Definitely not smiling.

Lleufer arrives as ordered. He's in his Marine MP uniform and has a clipboard with him, ear bud in his left ear to stay tuned in to the Marine channels for Fireteams and MP's about the ship. The Gunnery Sergeant gives Petra and Mara a nod as he comes in since there is usually no saluting 'indoors' on the ship. "Commander, Lieutenant." Ynyr then takes a seat up in the front while he waits for others to arrive. While he does so he can continue working through writing some notes to add to his investigations, flipping slowly between several pages to correlate data.

For her part, Mara is looking maybe just a /little/ uncomfortable in the combat armour she's trussed up in. Definitely not her usual choice of clothing. Despite the discomfort though, Lieutenant Rook is her usual, expressionless self. And she's not looking at anyone. Her dark eyes are firmly fixed on the tablet in her hands, gloved fingers are moving over the screen, back and forth as she reviews whatever information the small piece of technology holds. She's got a sidearm, and whatever other bits of equipment she's probably going to need for this little expedition, and if she's aware of the looks she gets from the Commander, it doesn't show. Ynyr's greeting is sort of acknowledged with a slight nod, but she doesn't look up from her datapad.

Stepping in not long after Lleufer, Fischer looks around as he enters. There's a polite nod to the officers, and a brief pause as he sees the Lieutenant dressed in combat gear, before he looks back around the room. Waiting in quiet now.

Having already been at the armory and spending time loading clips, checking over gear and other time-sink activities, Palermo arrives a few steps behind Lleu and looks around at the gathering of personnel but holds quiet to find out why they've assembled.

Randy is suited up and rigged out with all her gear. She's got her headcam, a piece she wears standard after some particular missions in the second Cylon war. Her standard EOD kit slung at her hip, a chest rig, her pack with standard charges, so on and so forth. One thing of note though, her uniform is clearly not carrying any signifying marks that she's Colonial or belongs to any particular military organization. Over prepared? Possibly. Maybe she was already on duty doing something else that required…stuff. Either way, she arrives, sans rifle, but her sidearm is strapped into standard position.

Petra stays still for a little while longer while people filter in, and once the bulk are present, nods to the MPs to get them to take station outside of the hatch and stop anyone not specifically designated from the mission from coming in. He straightens up and clears his throat, "I'll make this quick, because Deck is waiting and time is not an ally right now. Thank you for coming, and effective right now, nothing brought up in this room goes to anyone NOT in this room, save for the Admiral. We need a team to go back and put boots on the ground on Piraeus. For those of you that did not know already, because of our misjump, approximately twenty years have passed since we left the colonies, and it would appear in the time we were gone…that the Skath have found Piraeus. A Skath destroyer has been detected in orbit docked at a station, and there have been significant changes to the planet…primarily it would appear that almost all of the Colonial construction is gone…but there is still a population present."

He pauses for a moment to let that sink in, "We are extremely blind right now. We need you to get on the ground and talk to some of these people and find out what happened. Lieutenant Rook is accompanying the team for additional signal intelligence gathering information, so if you don't terribly mind, please try to keep her alive for me." Another pause, "I need to be absolutely clear. Do not engage the enemy. Do not bring anyone else back. And if you are in a situation where you are going to be captured, it is absolutely imperative that the Skath do not capture anyone alive, especially those that know the coordinates of where the Fleet currently is. Is anyone not clear on what that means?"

Flynn's arrival gets Lleufer's attention where he's seated in the front. He gives her a nod, like he has the others coming in, but his gaze follows her as if with a silent question, wondering what progress she's made. But it can wait. Ynyr's gaze goes to the MP's who move to stand watch outside, then directs his attention to Petra. As he listens, Lleu's face becomes grim and he remains silent. No comment about members of his own family left behind on Piraeus.

Twenty years… Fischer lets out a deep breath as he hears that, but doesn't say anything yet. Eyes narrowing at the mention of the Skath having found Piraeus. He nods a little, listening carefully to what's being said now.

Palermo takes several slow, shallow, calming breaths after the Commander speaks, ostensibly because continuing to breathe is important, but equally vital because - as the adage goes - it's impossible to have a panic attack while taking slow calm breaths. She glances sidelong at Flynn then around to Ynyr, taking a visual read off of their reactions as a 'set the tone' standing then back around to the Commander after eyeing Lt. Rook for a moment. Nothing is ever simple about 'gather intel, escort valued personnel into target area and back out intact' missions, but it's a place to start.

Blink. Finally eyes drag up from the tablet, and she closes the screen tucking the device into a pocket. Rook then sends the Commander what can only be described as a somewhat blistering look. It's a there and gone thing, quickly replaced by her usual nuetral expression. She then turns her attention to the gathered Marines, examining them sort of like a scientist viewing some strange bug, dispassionately curious.

Due to no one saying anything, Ynyr says low, "Understood, Sir."

Randy decides to stand off to the side some rather than sit, preferring not to see if she can fit her bulky geared up body into one of those seats in front of her whole platoon. She nods to Lleu before settling her attention on the Commander. When Petra drops the bomb of knowledge about how much time has passed, Randy swallows and doesn't blink for a bit. Is she following? She better be. She's leading this recon. Skath, she hears Skath. Yes, unfortunately Randy is passively absorbing the rest of the information. Her eyes rapidly blink a few times and takes a deep breath. She looks slightly wan, but otherwise responsive. "Yes sir." She finally echoes right on the back of Ynyr.

Petra shoots a mostly passive glance at Mara, something she might read off as a 'deal with it' look, giving the rest of the room time to absorb and respond, then nods, "Good. I'm sure everyone is going to be worried about their families, and the people we left behind, but right now, anyone still alive depends on us and what we do right now. When the Cylons attacked, a scattering handful of Fleet managed to pull us back from the brink of oblivion and I for damned sure am not going to let these new motherfrakkers do it to us either. Focus, find what we need to know, so we can work out a plan. We NEED all of you back here alive with any information you can get. Any questions?"

Palermo raises one hand, much like a kid in a classroom, "Sir, are we going in wearing full gear or are we putting together some ad hoc mix of civilian attire in the bid to try to blend in with the.. natives?" the last word is hesitated over because lots of other words might have filled in the blank. Not a one of them would have been a good word to voice.

Lleufer skims his tongue over his teeth beneath his lip as he considers all he has been told, digesting it. His gaze flicks to Palermo and Randy, then back to Petra, "Do we have a particular objective, or will we be moving through and go where interest leads us, Sir? Also, do we have a set time frame for gathing this data?"

Petra pauses for a moment at Palermo's question, then offers, "Go in loaded for bear, but remove your Orion Battlegroup markings. If the people you approach are compromised, you're going to out yourself the moment they figure out you aren't local, and if they aren't compromised. well, then it won't matter and I'd rather you are equipped to defend yourself. Either way, they wont know where you are from." He gives that a second, then adds to answer Lleu, "Find an out of the way place to land, preferrably without being detected, even if that means you need to hump a couple of miles…I'd recommend leaving your pilot behind listening on wireless for a quick evac. Follow where the information leads you, but you have a time frame of 12 hours. If you aren't back here then, we will have to consider you lost and potentially under Skath control or occupation. Even if you have more you need to follow up on, wheels up in 12 hours, no exceptions. If there's nothing else…your ride is waiting. Good luck, and dismissed."

Skids up, guns loaded. The Raptor doesn't waste any time departing. The crew aboard also clearly wants a chance to get a hold of some truth about what has happened to their families. Twenty years. The ECO bounces his knee impatiently while waiting for the jump. When it kicks through they are over Piraeus and the planet looks just like the home they left. A beautiful, glowing, peaceful blue and green marble in the black. A symbol of hope in the darkest times for the Colonials. But the altitude is low enough that the orbital spacedock can't be seen. The crew dives the Raptor at the planet and conducts a very high-speed and wide descending arc. It travels them more than 300 miles out from Sheridan in a wide arc and then spirals them closer as they slow down. The maneuver gets them on the surface quicker but keeps the locals from hearing any suspicious sonic booms. The ECO keeps careful station on the panel, too. There's nothing to see or hear - which means either there is nothing down there electronic, or everything is shut off.

The Raptor touches down on the other side of the ridge to the west of Sheridan. The river is on the east side of town, giving the Marines access to the whole valley without having to ford the river. However, the very low altitude approach meant that nobody could even get a glimpse of the town before touchdown. They will soon enough, though. When the engines shut down they are about two miles from the old edge of Sheridan's downtown area with the forested 400' ridgeline essentially cutting through at the halfway mark. Their noses fill with the familiar smells and the weather is gorgeous. Warm in the sun, just a touch cool in the shade, and enough to make wearing their battle gear comfortable in the temperature. A slight breeze carries the unique scent of Piraeus' sap that comes from the pines in this higher-altitude early spring.

The Raptor opens up and Lleufer Ynyr will hop out with his rifle and make sure there's nothing immediately around where they landed while the others disembark. He keeps his ears sharp for orders from Flynn and stays in sight as he looks around. Gods, it smells just as he remembers Piraeus best. And they are damned close to his ranch at the edge of the mountains where Randy, Elena, Knox and them all have property. But thankfully it's still alittle ways off and not within view to tempt them. Still, the beautiful weather, the familiar greenery and the smell? It makes the heart ache. Ynyr though, he's real quiet and very watchful, listening.

"Let's roll out, proceed to the east and get a look at the ridge line to plan our approach down. If we run into any natives, I'll re-assess. Same with hostiles. As per usual, do not shoot unless you are shot at," Randy says after she's stepped out and flicked on her headcam. Everything about the planet brings back memories now twenty years delayed. It causes a gross feeling to rise in the back of her throat like stomach acid. "Try to keep chatter to a minimum. No radio right now. Using one would light up any sensors easily." Her safety already off, she takes up one of the rear positions after signaling everyone to form up.

Mara is silent for the entirity of the trip down to Pireaus. She's back on her tablet and doesn't spare the marines another look as she works over what she can. Once they're on the ground and disembarked, Rook looks around, her expression detached and lacking any kind of emotion past what seems to be a kind of vaguely dispassionate curiosity. The orders to fall into formation and move out are silently complied with, the Intel Officer sliding herself in somewhere amid the pack of Marines, careful not to get in the way while her eyes scan her surroundings intently.

Getting off the Raptor with the others, Fischer looks around a bit carefully. Nodding at Randy's orders, he keeps silent as he moves into place, checking his rifle once more very quickly. While he didn't stay at Piraeus after the war, the city still hold memories for him as well.

Boots on the ground and Palermo moving away from the shuttle, Palermo keeps a particularly close eye on both Ynyr and Flynn once they make landfall. Of those that are part of this group, the two with families that should have/would-have been here are part of her operational awareness/caution sense and she tries to be casual about it but she's maintaining a position relative to both for the specific purpose of having eyes-on at all times. She rests one hand against one of her pockets, however, that holds the stone she'd found near the war memorial that lists her aunts name, and for a moment - just a moment - she allows that thought - then puts it away. There's a job to do. There's always a job to do. And today she's not just someones nice or cousin or daughter or anything else, she's a marine first.

Lleufer is in his combat ground kit that blends reasonably well with the vegetation. He is wearing a helmet that helps to cover his Arpay ears and if Randy or Command thought it might be prudent, he'll wear his contact lenses as well so his Arpay eyes aren't so obvious. There never was a lot of them who got those kinds of modifications. As per orders, no combat patches to ID them. Ynyr starts to move out only after Randy gives the go ahead. He moves quietly and seems to be focused on here and now, alert, silent, and cautious as they head up the ridge to take a careful look-see from above towards Sheridan. Scopes and binocs will come in plenty handy this trip if they can see anything from the ridge top.

The movement up the ridge is quiet, but there's all the familiar sounds most will remember. Birds. Small forest rodents running around. The sound of the breeze creaking the old growth forest. But the trees look to have grown in thicker, or maybe when town was built they just hadn't clear-cut the forest and it was always supposed to be this way. The movement isn't fast or slow, but casual to the patrolled advance east. When they crest the ridgeline, though, they find that seeing down into the town and the edge is almost impossible due to the branches. Climbing trees doesn't look like it is going to be the easiest thing, either. They'll need to advance closer.

And there is that old feeling, and for some its been a very long time, that they are not alone out there. They are being watched. Hairs on the back of the neck might jitter just a bit. The Ys'rali are watching.

When they get down towards the bottom of the ridge they can hear the sounds of Sheridan in the distance. People calling to each other. Some different sorts of shouts. The rare laugh. The sound of metal being pounded. Horses and other assorted livestock. Settled back into the forest while still getting a good vantage point, they can see a lot.

Where the old Marine Firebase once stood is now a large animal 'exchange' with paddocks set up and filled with animals for sale or trade. There's no sign of the big hesco walls or artillery tubes aimed skywards. Or the concrete pad with a whole company of main battle tanks armed and ready. Beyond, the rest of the town looks mostly as it used to. A few of the buildings look like they have been rebuilt. But the longer they look, the more they don't see. The small apartment buildings and hotel are no longer there in the residential area. Neither are the old barracks buildings. The powerplant's cooling tower is gone, as is the rest of the plant apparently. The gray concrete structure of the old CIDSR outpost is there, but there's chunks missing from the sides — bullet and explosives scars, long aged and weathered down to soft dents. There are people everywhere and even some familiar faces, if older. There are no vehicles, though.

<FS3> Mara rolls Alertness: Good Success.

<FS3> Lleufer rolls Alertness: Great Success.

<FS3> Fischer rolls Alertness: Good Success.

<FS3> Palermo rolls Alertness: Great Success.

<FS3> Randy rolls Alertness: Failure.

This is her first time on Piraeus. Mara knows what she's looking at. It looks just like any other world that is controlled. Occupied by the Skath. To her. She watches the people going about their daily business, dark eyes intense. Carefully pulling an old fashioned notepad from one of her pockets, she makes a few notes, then tucks the notepad away again and continues with her observations.

There's comfort in the surroundings, in that feeling that the Ys'rali are there, that maybe someone familiar is there, but there's also just an overwhelming amount of sorrow that comes with it. The comforts are double-edged, stinging reminders. And the sounds of Sheridan are deceptive, easy to fall for. Randy finds herself trying to strictly focus on the mission more than she ought. Usually keeping her focus seems effortless. When they get to the edge of the forest and take up a decent vantage point, Randy pulls out her bins and alternates between her augmented sight and the bins depending on what kind of detail she wants…or rather doesn't want. "Looks like CIDSR looks like they put up some kind of fight. Likely Skath needed to penetrate its defenses to get control," she says with business like rapport. It's just another recon. It's just another recon.

For a moment, a very brief moment, Palermo had experienced a wild hope that instead of 20 years elapsing they'd somehow gone back in time instead. It was a nice fantasy. And of all things, she has a brief moment of surprise, that familiar sense that makes her eyes sting before she buttons it down - again. Then her eyes narrow and, while she absolutely does not engage in the need to swear - boy howdy is that need getting pretty darn loud - she instead eases forward until she can speak in a low voice to Flynn. "Around the animal.. fencing thing," she doesn't think the word 'paddock' but 'fenced in enclosure' instead, "there," she indicates with a careful gesture to indicate where. "That's the nose end of a CDG-93R 'Forge' tactical air defense system. It's painted black, so the bloody thing blends in a bit. But it's bigger, sweet mother of mercy, it's bigger by a scale of like 20%, El-Te, looks like one of the Skath variants, and it's just parked there."

Fischer frowns as he looks out there. Waiting for a few moments as he looks around, he pauses as he looks between the others, then back out there. Frowning a little as he watches, he mutters something under his breath.

Not having been able to see from the ridge above and pressed to move in closer, Lleufer continues to move quietly. There's that feeling he was expected. Ynyr glances around and then says very, very low, "Glad to know you are still around, old friends." Is he speaking to the Ys'rali? Seems so. When their team is close enough to have a view, Lleu settles in what concealment he can slightly off to the side of others. He raises his binocs to take his time having a good, slow look around. Even as the others are doing the same. His view pauses several times to study various structures and listens for quiet comments from his fellow Marines. He looks at what Palermo points out. Lleu's mouth is grim set before he speaks low, "I see a number of people I know. Some of them look older, as you'd expect. But … I don't see anyone, not a single soul, who looks to be roughly in the 20-ish to 35-ish age range. Everyone's older or younger."

Not having been able to see from the ridge above and pressed to move in closer, Lleufer continues to move quietly. There's that feeling he was expected. Ynyr glances around and then says very, very low, "Glad to know you are still around, old friends." Is he speaking to the Ys'rali? Seems so. When their team is close enough to have a view, Lleu settles in what concealment he can slightly off to the side of others. He raises his binocs to take his time having a good, slow look around. Even as the others are doing the same. His view pauses several times to study various structures and listens for quiet comments from his fellow Marines. He looks at what Palermo points out. Lleu's mouth is grim set before he speaks low, "I see a number of people I know. Some of them look older, as you'd expect. But … I see … very few who look to be in the 20-ish to 35-ish age range. Most everyone's older or younger." (repose)

That feeling of not being alone gets colder and stronger. There's no sound of approaching boots, though. The birds and rodents keep moving, the breeze blows gently. There is a very distinct voice, though, behind them. Its not someone who came with them but a couple people here would certainly recognize that voice. "Shut your cameras off." The voice of al Yamoha comes from behind a thick tree. "Anyone looks this direction with visual recording is going to have a real bad fuckin' day."

Mara tries to ignore that incessant tingling, that feeling of being watched. Rolling her shoulders, she looks down at the signals equipment that she brrought with her, the faintest of frowns marring her expressionless features for just a moment. The notepad comes out again and the Lieutenant settles herself down, notes are made, checked. Something is crossed out and something else added, concentration drowning out everything except the immediate proximity of the Marines. But since her equipment isn't picking up anything significant at the moment, she doesn't bother reporting it. Then there's that feeling again and she blinks once, pushing to her feet and spinning around. She's not carrying any visual recording equipment so… Despite that momentary loss of composure, she quickly regains it and surprise is wiped off her face in the space of a single blink.

Randy shifts her pack to pull out some imaginng equipment that's better than the little body cam on her head, given she has actual control over it. She looks out the way that Palermo indicates. "Yep. Got it." She snaps some pictures. Then she swings the lens round to start taking snapshots of the people, sampling the age ranges given what Lleufer is reporting. As she's clicking, she feels that familiar but old feeling she's had before and lowers the camera body. Then at the instructions, she does as she is told. She even reaches up and flicks off her headcam. "Shut your shite down down," she instructs the team, glancing to those nearest to her. Then Randy shifts behind a tree as she turns to look at the al Yamoha. "Captain." She lifts her hand to make a fist at her chest in the ancient greeting. "We're here to find out what happened. We've only been gone days in our time," an expression to indicate their relative experience.

Palermo reaches for the control switch and shuts the camera off without even a blink of hesitation before she turns around, eyes searching for the source, spotting the tree first and then al Yamoha, saluting as she'd learned to do so. The marine works on her composure for a few moments before she gets her expression under control. Only then does she change angle slightly, keeping Ynyr and Flynn in her field of view and al Yamoha now as well, and what slice she can see of the terrain beyond.

Lleufer hears the voice and starts to turn his head where he's squat down on one knee, but arrests the movement as he listens. Yes, he does know that voice. He is also wearing a helmet cam so Ynyr's gaze flicks to Flynn to give the order - turn it off? Or remove his helmet to leave it looking towards the town, or what. Then he nods and turns it off and leaves his helmet on. Ynyr slightly shifts position to look at Captain al Yamoha and give her a nod, having met her at least once and maybe a time or two more than that. The Gunnery Sergeant stays quiet and puts most of his attention on keeping an eye on the town even as he listens. Somebody's got to watch their backside while the rest are looking at al Yamoha.

"Quite interesting," Fischer says, at Lleufer's words about the age groups, frowning momentarily. There's a pause at the familiar voice, and he turns off the recording device he has with him. Turning slowly in al Yamoha's direction, he offers a polite nod, but lets Randy do the talking for now.

The woman steps out from behind the tree, hands holding her rifle low. Just by looking at it, they can all see that she's gripping it tight but keeping that trigger finger ready to flutter. Safety off. There's no further talking from her. She spends ten to fifteen seconds staring into each of their eyes in turn. There is the very real feeling that she will not hesitate to kill every one of them on the spot. "Lleu, look at me. Now. We've got two hundred rifles and four hundred eyes on you right now." And not another sound in the forest, but it seems they have security handled. She takes the time to look at him also. Seemingly satisfied, she relaxes and sighs. "Thank you." Still, her lips move out of track with her voice, the sound coming from each of their own native languages and most easily understood words. The rifle is lowered and she doubletaps her heart. The hand then gestures them further into the woods and away from the edge. "We have security handled. I needed to make sure there was truth to those words. Twenty years." There's anger and frustration there, though seemingly not with them. "You can go into town, by the way. Don't expect to find many friends, though." Once they are further away from the edge, she stops and turns to look back at them.

Randy seems to trust this stranger (to some). She doesn't flinch when al Yomoha alerts them about the presence of having them surrounded, basically. This is the Randy that shows up for missions. She's cinched down into that battle-hardened veteran shell she dawns each time she hits the field. Her brow is drawn together with a hardness in her disguised eyes. Even as the strange figure seems to relax, Randy doesn't. She follows after al Yamoha and signals to the team to follow, but shifts to being on point herself, keeping herself between wherever they're going and her platoon. "Is there active Skath presence here? What would happen if we went into town? Are they loyalists?" It's clear she's already categorizing the planet as under their control…as slaves…like any one of the other planets they've been to.

When al Yamoha says his name, Lleufer doesn't hesitate to look back at her, curious why she'd single him out. He is somewhat reassured though that there are plenty of the Ys'rali keeping an eye on things so he will meet her gaze easily enough and study her in turn. The double tap he's become so familiar with now with the Arpay, he returns to her quietly. All around him he can feel life, insects in the leaf mold, crawling up the tree at his back, a mouse beneath a near by log, or the nearest Marine's heart beating. When they are beckoned back from the edge of the trees, Ynyr will fall back with the others. He's a little more relaxed now but still a pain in his heart, not knowing what's become of his family. He squats back down with his rifle across his knee. After Randy's questions, his baritone adds softly, "Please tell us what happened, Captain."

Mara says nothing, falling in behind Randy as they're led deeper into the forest. She's not one to blindly trust, so she watches the Captain's back with no small amount of suspicion. It might not be obvious on her face, but then her thoughts and feelings are seldom visible to the world. She's cool, calm and collected, outwardly. Her signals equipment is still on, though, and tracking anything that might be out there, not trusting the apparent four hundred sets of eyes around them. Not for a moment.

Fischer nods in quiet as he listens, keeping his attention on al Yamoha for now. As Randy and Lleufer has asked the important questions so far, he keeps silent, listening carefully.

Palermo exhales a silent breath as she glances around, slowly, searching, hoping. Two hundred pairs of eyes watching, with rifles ready, and al Yamoha already making contact; the whole universe could have gone to pot by at least on one world the Ys'rali still stand their ground. Palermo rubs one hand against the back of her neck, working the fingertips under the edge of her helmet all while focusing on what's being said and, equally, the faces of those gathered around.

The Captain nods slowly and slips her sunglasses back on with her left hand. That right one doesn't leave the pistolgrip of the rifle. Looking to Randy, "Yes. There's four Forge sites around the town. They've been up and running almost constantly since they got here, but they suddenly turned off last year and haven't come back on since then. Skath come down to work on them, start them, spin the turret around every six months, then shut them off again." She points over their shoulders beyond Sheridan. "There's eight walkers that way about four miles investigating a boom. It was just a collapse of a rock formation, though." She then points to her right but doesn't look. "Another patrol about three hundred miles that way that is drilling for mineral deposits. As for town?" The hand drops. "Glad you know the difference between Loyalists and APF. They are," and she pointedly looks to Mara, "not APF." Her gaze holds there with a flat expression before looking back to Randy. "People in town probably will do their best to pretend they don't know you. Kitted out like you are, the Loyalists in town are going to take issue with you but they won't attack you. But after you leave if anyone gladhands you or speaks favorably of you or the fleet, there will be retribution by the Loyalists. You've got friends here who would be overjoyed to see you but you'd probably never know it by looking someone in the eye. People got real good at hiding their thoughts." She then looks to Lleufer, pausing for a moment. Trying to put that in succinct words isn't simple, it seems. "We aren't positive. We don't leave Piraeus. A few years after you were declared lost with all hands, suddenly new ships from the Colonies stopped arriving. Those who left to go check it out never came back. A week or so later the Skath jumped into orbit and conducted a massive invasion of the Lines city on the other side of the planet. It only took them about a day and a half to get the whole city. They came here next. Some people put up a fight. There was a resistance effort for a lot of years. Not much anymore. People are too busy trying to survive to go pick fights with walking armored appliances."

A muscle ticks in the left side of Lleu's face as he thins his mouth, but he doesn't say anything at all. He sure doesn't look like a happy man. If there is anger, he's keeping it to himself, quiet.

Mara meets that flat look from the Captain squarely and equally flat. There's a /lot/ going on in her head, and she's not uttering a word of it. Instead she just listens, makes mental notes of what's being said. Notes the general positions in which the Captain indicates. Doing her best to remember as much as possible of what's being said. Once the Captain turns her attention to the Marines, Rook looks down briefly at her equipment. Then pulls out her notepad and makes a few notes in that impossibly tidy handwriting of hers.

Clearing her throat softly, Palermo eases a half step forward, "Ma'am, as you don't leave Piraeus, do you or any of your people know how far the foothold has spread?"

Randy, at some point flick on the recording device in the camera body that she's holding in one hand, but keeps the shutter closed. It should be taking video and capturing the sound. She knows she's going to get vital intel, but whether the camera audio can pick up anything that will be able to be understood after playback or anything at all she has big doubts, so she also starts to commit each vital piece of information to memory. Remembering this much requires conscious techniques, so it doesn't give her much room to process the news emotionally, not at first. The initial sign of it is her glancing sidelong to Lleufer. "So there's no Resistance left…Have the Skath taken anyone from the planet? Have you seen Lines in the service of the Skath? Maybe wearing blood red robes? They are called Clerics. Are the people made to adopt doctrine around worshiping the Skath?"

Fischer frowns as he listens. "You said that a few years after we were…" A brief pause, before he continues, "Ships stopped coming in?" A grimace, and he glances between the others, letting out a bit of a breath. Nodding at Randy's words.

It's Randy who nudges Ynyr back into thinking with her glance, out of his quiet anger and worry. Lleu licks his lips, "We noticed there's an age gap in those we can see in the town. From around 20 to 35ish, an absence as if an entire generation were gone. Do you know what's happened to them, Captain? I only saw older or younger but few in their prime."

al Yamoha looks to Palermo and looks back towards the town, then back. "Nothing concrete. We hear things, in a manner of speaking. There's been some people that the Skath dropped here who came from the Colonies. Its been a lot of years since the last arrived, though. The Skath went in with EMPs, the same way they did here thousands of years ago. One person, one place, one stretch of time. There was supposedly a war. Given the Skath are still here, it may not have been in the favor of humanity. Can't say for certain. I know you all want facts so take everything with a grain of salt. When we saw what was happening here?" Her head tilts forward and she makes a sour face. "To be honest, not a lot of us wanted to know. We stopped looking for answers to those questions. It hurts us, too." She rubs a thumb at her nose, sniffing once, then looking to Randy. "Passive resistance is still alive and well. People still shooting? Not so much. Decades is a long time. A lot of the fighters paired off in the wilderness. Those who are still out there, we keep an eye on them. As for Lines? No. The Skath killed every single Line on Piraeus they could find, pulled up stakes with the rez facility, and moved it off planet to somewhere else. We know -of- the Clerics, but they aren't here. We don't think Lines are allowed here. You can probably guess why. But yeah, they have fans here. Crimson is popular with the Loyalists. As for Doctrine?" She hakes her head. "Skath pretty much leave Sheridan to its own devices. Patrol through every few weeks. The Loyalists aren't ever going to lose members and eventually all those who don't agree with it are going to die. Just a matter of time." When Lleu asks about the lost generation, there's finally something hopeful on her face. She smirks just a little. "Sure, we know what happened to them. Just after all contact with the Colonies stopped, people could see it coming. Especially the vets. People began writing letters to us, dropping them in the river, begging us to protect their children and warded kids as we always had. To do anything we could. We debated a lot about this. In the end we decided we couldn't sit it out. The day of the invasion we took every single one. They're safe." She looks to Randy and Lleu specifically.

Randy nods, eyed dipping slightly as al Yamoha relays what they know and how much credibility they should give it. "Can't blame you." She's been there, not wanting to know. Certainly the desire is starting to grow a little bit even now. "Then it's probably best if we don't go into town. I wouldn't want to put anyone there who might be hiding their disloyalty to have troubles with hiding it." Just because the Skath don't employ Clerics on the surface doesn't mean they don't have them in orbit or somewhere near. It's a spike of paranoia really since al Yamoha already confirmed she hasn't seen people being taken from the planet. But Randy's brain plays by rules that can change, circumstances are always in flux and it's likely if the Skath get a whiff of boots on the ground, they might respond differently. She blinks back into the conversation when the Captain starts to answer Lleufer's question. "Good. I'm glad you were able to help keep them safe," she says, her melodic accent a little deflated. "Where are they?"

The Gunnery Sergeant listens. Lleufer's guts feel like they are trying to tie themselves into knots. "Is my youngest boy, Llewellyn… is he …?" Gods, he can't hardly even ask, afraid of what the answer might be. "He just turned 17 when I'd left. And my wife…" Not to mention his older son, where abouts unknown as well. Lleu grits his teeth, "Well, we /are/ back now. The Skath will pay. And we, -I- thank you for the children you and yours have saved, al Yamoha." Whether his youngest is among them or not.

Palermo nods, the movement not quite as even as she'd like it to be but she manages the single down-up gesture while remaining silent, as much to listen but also to absorb the intel that al Yamoha is imparting. She consciously uncurls her hands so they're not clenched into fists, because body language matters as much as manners. "Those that have gone into the wilderness, paired up as you said, ma'am, would we be able to reach out to any of them?" She glances around then back, working her way through the idea, "We may need all the able bodied hands we can call upon," she adds into the silence after her question.

Mara listens to all the personal queries flying around and grunts softly under her breath. The end of her pen taps impatiently against her notepad. "More to the point," She finally croaks out in that charmingly sensitive manner of hers, "What sort of numbers are we looking of Skath presence, here? They come by Sheridan every six months or so, yes? What about the patrols. How often do they pass through? Have you noticed any more of their ships coming into orbit, or landing on the planet at all?" These immediate questions are said with some considerable effort, her voice breaking and fading in and out as she struggles to make herself heard, keeping her questions short and to the point. As soon as she's done talking, she immediately reaches for her bottle of water. Tugging it out of a pocket and taking a long drink. But her eyes never once leave the Captain.

"Up to you. And its weird, those Skath doing the drilling heard the sonic booms. Even looked up. They probably saw the Raptor. They went back to drilling. Honestly, that's why we approached you like we did. We couldn't be sure you were still… you." The Captain gestures to them awkwardly. "We're not sure what's going on with that. And this town is the only place to go on this planet that you'd care to visit. And they're not here now." So its a bit unusual, to be understated. When Randy asks about the kids, she smiles again, "They're someplace safe where the Skath can't get to them." Her head tilts to look at Lleu and she lifts a finger to stop him. "A letter was sailed for him, Lleu. And you're very welcome. Our duty is to the planet and the innocent." She looks up to the breeze in the trees, seemingly enjoying the air, then looks to Palermo. "Yeah. A lot have families, though. Some are sick. Don't know if they'll be up for it. We can leave them messages or symbols or something. Notes are good. We don't really talk to them. To Mara, she adjust her stance on the gentle slope and looks right at her. "There's 3,148 Skath walkers on Piraeus at the moment. They maintain the Forges every six months, but come through Sheridan every couple weeks. The usually move in with a single eight-member patrol and make through rounds through town. I have never seen them take the same route twice since they will also double-back at random points. Its been that way for about a decade now. As for other ships? About the same time the Forges shut down we could tell the Skath moved a couple bigger ships out of orbit. Honestly, the last year has been pretty quiet except for the Loyalists. I'd be a real joy to cut their heads off and pike 'em out front of their own church."

"Sergeant." Randy doesn't use Palermo's name. "We are not recruiting, but yes," she softens, "It would be good to make contact with any possible friendly forces that can speak freely." She looks back at Mara when she starts asking more questions in a different direction before the subject is closed. It's hard to say whether she's perturbed or what about. She's looked that way since not long after they landed. Then she looks back to al Yamoha to see what the Captain decides to answer. She hmmms for a moment at the Skath response. "Maybe they have no need to feel threatened," she murmurs to herself, though those with enhanced hearing and likely al Yamoha are able to hear it. "Maybe they're trying to find something that just isn't any old mineral," again quietly. "Have the Skath left anything behind? Anything that might hold data or intel? Did they ever maintain a presence on the planet anywhere?" al Yamoha gets a wan and not entirely genuine smile at her vague answer about where the kids are. These are the children of her friends, people she considers family. Security aside, she's rather unamused.

Lleufer gets tears in his eyes at news of his youngest son. It threatens to dislodge his contacts and he blinks, looking away. "Thank you. Gods bless you and yours, al Yamoha." Two accounted for, two still unknown. He doesn't choose to press where their kids are, not yet. Ynyr wipes his eyes and refuses to let his emotions get any more hold than that. He digs around in his vest pocket and draws out his tiny spiral notepad and pen to take notes. Mara already is but it can't hurt to have duplicates. It also gives the Gunnery Sergeant something to focus on. Get and keep a firm grip on himself, back to business at hand. Recon. "So all's quiet and the Skath aren't jumpy anymore." Lleu glances to Randy and listens.

Palermo angles her head slightly to glance toward Flynn but subsides, "Of course, sir, sorry ma'am," nodding just the once - again - and doesn't press the idea further. A look is equally aimed at Lleu and at the look on his face she glances away; unable to give real privacy she gives the semblance or the respect of same.

The information is written down. Insanely neat print, head nodding slightly as she writes down numbers. She purses her lips for a moment, her eyes lifting, scanning the forest then refocusing on al Yamoha, watching the woman steadily. "Do the Skath have a permanent base of operations set up here?" She doesn't comment on the lack of reaction from the Skath with the recon's arrival, though a flicker in her eyes gives away that she might have an idea of the reason why.

"Couldn't say for sure, Lieutenant. Maybe they don't feel threatened, or maybe they aren't concerned, or maybe their circuits are fried. As for drilling? I wouldn't lose sleep on it. We think they are trying to find petroleum." The Captain shrugs gently, but catches the look. al Yamoha doesn't seem inclined to clarify. "They're your families. Let us know when you would like them back. But its all or nothing, that's how it works. There's a lot of orphans in there. Thankfully there's only a few infants." Lila reaches a hand to Lleu as she finishes with Randy and squeezes his shoulder. "We distant cousins, Lleu. All of us. We gotta look out for each other. In my position I know you'd do the same for my kids. That's what family does." There's a warmth with it, too. To Mara she shakes her head. "They have a large landing area on what used to be the Lines city, but nothing permanent. That big spacedock in orbit, yeah. But.. nothing else. Transports will swap out Skath every few years. Add a few, take a few. Like I said, they mostly leave us alone. I guess they figure nuking our planet to shit twice wasn't worth the effort."

"I understand. Unfortunately, that's a decision I cannot make, but I will make sure the right people are aware of that," that is the ultimatum of all or none, and most likely she means the Admiral and the Commander. "Excuse me, there are infants? Have the children had children of their own?" It's the most logical assumption, but the thought of new life is a small glimmer of hope or happiness…that somewhere there is a part of them still able to keep this part of the human race alive. She nods at the other things al Yamoha says. She's abandoned her concentrated effort at trying to retain all of the details, but a glance towards Mara taking notes seem to ease the anxiety from the sudden realization of that fact.

"Ma'am, is there a routine you are able to discern, or a pattern of some sort, when they.. they swap the Skath out?" Palermo wonders, trying to figure out which questions are good ones and which ones are I JUST HAVE TO KNOW questions. She pats down her pockets and pulls out a folded single sheet map of the planet, staring down at it. "Ok. So they have a large landing area here," and she marks it with a pencil, "and there placement of the Forge in the city is here," she marks that as well, then marks the locations where the Captain has indicated there are active Skath positions around planet. "Petroleum? Then maybe they're using traditional fuel instead of advanced fuel cells or something more refined," she makes note of that, as well. "Ma'am, do you know how they are set, munitions wise?"

Lleufer looks up at al Yamoha at the touch to his shoulder. He tries a wan smile, "Of course we would. You're right, Captain." While some of the others don't trust al Yamoha, Ynyr certainly seems to. The Master-at-Arms keeps taking notes, his own neatly printed. Lots of good questions being asked so Ynyr doesn't add anything.

Mara scans the forest and looks down at her equipment. Suspicious, possibly bordering on paranoid. "Orion isn't able to take on families. We don't have much time. For that. So it's better if they stay here." There isn't even a hint of 'for now', either. But then, the Lieutenant isn't exactly known for her empathy. Rook finally turns her attention away from her equipment to focus on the Captain, watching her for a long, long moment as she goes over something in her head. Finally, she adds, "Things might change drastically in the next forty-eight hours, so just be aware." Mara sort of stresses the 'might', and doesn't offer anything further after a quick look around at the marines, then back down at her equipment.

The Captain nods slowly to Randy. "There are infants, but only a few. They are not the children of those who have been kept safe. They are those who have been kept safe. The rules do not apply to their aging the way it does here. Our solemn promise to those was that we would return them exactly as we took them with no harm come to them. We took that promise quite literally." Her eyes then move to Palermo, "'Sir'," she corrects with a sense of humor to her voice. "I may or may not be here, but I'm still a Captain." No offense taken, she moves along. She does seem to be trying to discern if the same question just got asked twice, though. "No, no patterns." She watches as the massive map of the planet is unfolded and she blinks behind her glasses. "Well there's four Forges in Sheridan, not one. But yeah, about up here is where they are drilling. And no, they use advanced fuels. Petroleum has a lot of uses other than fuel. Solvents, hydraulics, paints, plastics. Take your pick. All my intel on their stuff is three thousand years old. They landed and we didn't fire a shot." She finally moves her gaze back to Mara and lofts a brow. "Well okay then. If that's the wish then we'll park them.. forever?" Lila doesn't know what to make of Mara but she seems wary, looking her over a little suspiciously. "If you've got something to say about forty-eight hours, just say it. We live here, Lieutenant Rook. I've been pretty forthcoming. You sure you want to leave anything unsaid to me, Mara?" The humor is gone from her voice.

"That isn't your decision Lieutenant," Randy says as she looks back to Mara. "It isn't any of our decisions," she looks back to the rest of the team one by one. "Either way." Then she looks back to al Yamoha, but her message might as well be for everyone. "We are only here to recon," she says firmly. After that though, she listens to al Yamoha's clarity that she adds to the situation. "Oh. I see." She blinks, her expression shifting, softening slightly, though not unbelieving. "I am inclined to spend the rest of our recon confirming as much information as we've heard as possible." She's keeping everything tidy for sure, even if she trusts al Yamoha herself, she's not sure how the present Command will take unverified information. "But we will not be able to take the children immediately. I will speak to Command about this," as if to almost imply to al Yamoha, with that solid vivid gaze, she'll make sure something is figured out. Given Randy wasn't told about the twenty years or much of anything over the last however many hours, she does look over to Mara when al Yamoha asks her to speak up. "Indeed." It's clear the team leader is doubtful as to whether she's in the know. Afterall, she's still a Marine. She goes where they tell her to.

Whatever Lieutenant Rook may think, Lleufer Ynyr has his own thoughts, "Not forever. Just for now. Command will need time. She's right though that we don't have anywhere safer to put them, for now." Even if he clearly wants to see his son, who will still be as Lleu remembers him! He glances back to the Intel Officer, curious about her 48 hour remark as well, then shifts his gaze to Randy and nods to what she says. Aye.

"Sorry, Sir," Palermo says as she looks up from the map after making the corrections and notations, a sudden - if incongruous - smile forms on her face. It feels so -normal- to be corrected by a senior officer that this, more than anything else, settles the marine down all the way to the ground.

Mara is equally suspicious of the Captain, and for a moment, there's a glimpse of that suspicion flickering from behind the nuetral mask. A glimpse and then it's gone. The Lieutenant is silent for a long minute. Then finally shakes her head once. "I said 'might'. Since you apparently have these Marine's children in your possession, I felt it prudent to say something." Rook pauses and clears her throat a couple of times, clearly it's an effort, her voice breaking between gutteral croaking and scratchy whispers. "I'm not at liberty to say more than that until I've spoken to Command. I'm also not convinced that this entire conversation isn't being relayed to enemy forces." And that, apparently, is all Mara seems intent on saying. She doesn't freely acknowledge that al Yamoha has been so free with information sharing, but does make a brief note before meeting the Captain's eyes squarely, once more.

The Captain nods to Randy. "Absolutely. You'll need video evidence to bring back, Lieutenant. My hope was to point you in the right directions of information baseline. We've got a long history of partnership. We can hold on to the children as long as needed." There's a low flash of a thumbs up to Palermo before Mara speaks up again. The words have her turn and take a step closer. Sunglasses are removed and she doesn't look happy. "It might still be pretty fuckin' prudent to say something," al Yamoha tells her right away in reply, right on the heels of Mara's first words. "Are you going to tell me what might happen in the next forty-eight hours or not, Lieutenant Rook?" She clearly does not believe anyone will be returning in that time frame. The last has al Yamoha's voice drop very low and cold. "You better clarify that statement before I assume you just suggested I might be working with the Skath."

"Thank you Captain. I'd appreciate that. We'd be able to get a lot more evidence that way," than just wandering around Randy means. When Randy hears what Mara says, she purses her lips slightly, pretty sure she knows where this could go, knowing what she does of Lila over the years. Known for her quick reflexes in the field, Randy isn't so quick to step between the Captain and the Lieutenant. It isn't till the Captain has said her peace that Randy actually physically takes a step in and says, "I believe she meant she's not sure if the Skath do not have surveillance," in an effort to smooth things over. "I apologize Captain, but we don't have time for this. We need to gather as much information as possible. I will personally ensure that I will ask Command if there is anything planned and if there is, we will get advanced word to you."

Palermo's expression holds that 'holy crap, the adults are having a fight in the kitchen' look that leads to her glancing from the Captain back around to the LT then around to the other LT and … . prudently back down at the map that she's marked. Nothing to see here, folks, move along home.

Mara also gets a sharp look even from Lleufer who must have initially taken the Lieutentant's comments the same was as al Yamoha. He stands back up and takes a few steps, restless to get moving. There's a warning look for Rook even if he knows damn well she's likely to ignore it. "-I- trust the Captain. With my life if need be. She's not working with the Skath and if you knew her and her people's past, you'd know what, Lieutenant. I think they'd also know if we were being easedropped upon, here." The Gunny's not afraid to have it out with officers.

Mara meets the Captain's eyes without a flinch. She doesn't back down as the woman steps toward her. Infact, the Lieutenant's stance doesn't change at all. Standing mostly at ease, notepad in one hand, pen in the other. She ignores Randy, focusing on the Captain instead. Rook at least gives the appearance of being completely calm. Even Lleufer's words go completely unacknowledged, as Mara's world shrinks down to the space seperating her and the Captain. She stands utterly, almost unnaturally still, dark eyes focused on al Yamoha. And Mara doesn't say a word.

Captain al Yamoha holds her gaze on Mara, even as Randy steps in. There's no immediate reply to Randy, but she does comment past Lleufer's own. "Gunny knows what he's talkin' about," she almost growls. The Captain then steps back and looks to Randy with a more firm nod. "Please do. I suspect Commander Petra would appreciate information being passed." She doesn't say anything else to Mara, she just puts on her sunglasses and steps back a few more paces. "Move smart. Lleu, we've got your six." She looks forward as she walks off, then back as she continues, a finger pointing at Palermo. "Your aunt's a badass. Be proud." Passing behind a tree, she suddenly vanishes when she doesn't pass beyond the other side.

Al Yamoha gets an upnod from Ynyr, "Thank you, Captain. Good to see you again." Lleu sounds like he means it. "And thanks for the intel." Oh yeah, that reminds him. The Gunny looks to Palermo, "Kapali spoke to me, back on the Orion right before we fell out of the wormhole. She tried to warn us that we were in danger." He puts a hand out to Palermo's shoulder briefly, then takes a few steps and looks to Randy, "What now, L-T?"

"Now we follow the good Captain and get some firsthand verification of things she's relayed to us. We need to get as much as we can before it's go time. We also need to make sure Lieutenant Rook has satisfied any objectives she has. Then we need to get out." Randy lays it out in turn to Lleufer first and then looking to the team. "I didn't know she spoke to you…" Randy says of Kapali to Lleu. She clears her throat and then secures the camera she's had out.

Palermo's grin is sudden and it is fierce and proud and almost blindingly happy, "Thank you, Captain, and yes, I absolutely am," she doesn't even -try- to hide how relieved she is to know that her aunt is still kicking ass and taking names. She glances sidelong at Ynyr and shares the grin in his direction, "She did? That's.. frakking awesome," the grin remains on her face as she glances toward Flynn, not letting anything dull the edge of the happy for at least a few moments longer.

Mara says nothing. She doesn't even move until the Captain has disappeared. Then she silently looks around at the Marines, her expression assessing for a moment before she slips behind her nuetral mask and remains silent. Once everyone's off and moving, she follows suit, making notes on her notepad as she does.

Lleufer nods to Randy, "Yeah, Kapali's spoken to me a couple of times now. And Mallas too, back at the hangar bombing. It's kind of comforting to know they are still out there, watch'n out backs." He frowns, "Maybe … Bennett is too." No, he better not dwell on that. It'll tear him up. A nod to Palerlmo. Better they get moving.

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