AWD #517: Planetfall on Leonis
AWD #517: Planetfall on Leonis
Summary: LT Petropoulos leads a covert contact team of Orion Marines to Leonis.
Date: 20/11/2016 (OOC Date)
Related Logs: Barracks Briefing
Marcus Gray Mallas Dropkickst 
The Cylon occupied colony of Leonis.
Wed Jun 07 2006 (AWD #518)

Given Knox's position and experience before they leave, Knox denotes Mallas as the jump lead for the HALO. He's handed large packet of overhead imagery for the dropzone and told to look at it fram all different angles. Differing altitudes and detail. He also has a small glowstick taped to the back of his EVA suit. The Staff Sergeant instructs them to jump and open at the pre-designated altitude. Mallas has an altimeter: 1000 feet AGL. Not before, not after.

They're all transported to a Cruiser that jumps them out twice into the middle of nowhere. At that point Knox puts them into the Heavy Raider and takes off. Four hours and almost a dozen jumps later, they reach their last jump off.

Knox inputs the coordinates and waits while the rive charges. When it finishes, he lean around in his seat and looks back. "Five minutes," he says quietly into the comm system. By this point they should all be fully suited for an EVA in flightsuits and helmets. "Jumping in three, two…" Then there's the flash.

They jump in DAMNED close. Out the windscreen they can see Leonis and it looks totally untouched except for a pair of visible blast craters where large weapons were detonated. Its sunny where they are, but there's a very limited area of visiblity. Below them, the most recent recon Raptor seemed to provide they with a good weather prediction. The LZ region looks clear of clouds and weather. Knox pushes the Raider over into a nose and begins speaking into the radio, sounding droll with it, "Hotel Romeo Six-One-Four, descending for reconaissance imagery. Pre-planed route. Requesting Raider escorts."

They can hear the replies in their ears, "Copy, Six-One-Four, Raiders inbound, ETA is five mikes. Welcome to Leonis, out." A very short and bored coversation. He clicks off the radio then, "Sixty seconds, ramp down in thirty. Jumpers to the door." The rear hatch. Once they are up, the whole bay gets bathed in a red light with a short two-blast alarm, then the rear ramp lowers. "Standby for green." And the view is breathtaking. At 125,000 feet there's as much space as planet, but Leonis glows a vibrant green and blue below them.

The shaking and rattle of re-entry snaps Marcus back awake. He had almost gotten comfortable enough to get in a nap, but he's going over the mission packet time and time again, remembering who they are supposed to be looking for, where the meeting was to be, the meeting protocol. A million different things that made him grateful when Knox suggested Mallas handles the jump. Glancing to the package that they were assigned to deliver, the Lieutenant checks his straps one more time as he stands up to remain next to the door to be the last man out once the cabin is cleared.

He swallows hard, and pulls his gear into place before he lifts his head up to meet Mallas and gives him a quick thumbs up. Now comes perhaps the easiest hard part of a very hard mission.

Loaded down with jump gear on top of the regular field gear, Mallas waddles up the Raptor door. His jump prep begins with a prayer. "Lords of Kobol, hear my prayer. Zeus, Lord of the Heavens … we're in your hands. See us through your sky, so we can do the Gods' will below. And Hermes, Lord of Doors — if we don't make it? See our souls straight to Hades." Jump prep and gear check eats a little time, and then there comes the waiting. Mallas' foot taps, a rapid fire release of pent up energy and nerves, as he hangs on to the overhead rail and sways along with the jostling of the bus. He's done the homework Knox ordered, but when the ramp goes down and they get that amazing view, shit gets very real for the Private. "This is frakking insane…" he says through his mask, turning to look back at Marcus and Gray. And once they've given the high sign, he relays to Knox. "Ready in the door!"

Gray blinks at the site of a planet-which-is-not-Piraeus for a change appearing, replacing the black of deep space. "Wow…" he whispers, before muttering a prayer of his own as he runs through exchanging gear checks with Mallas as the time announcements come in…and then the announcement comes for them to get to the door, and he makes his way to it. When it finally /does/ open (the 30 seconds tick by slowly even if he's almost waddling his way over), his jaw drops slightly "Ok, that's frakking awesome." He smiles to Mallas and Marcus in turn. "Ready!"

Cooper keeps the Heavy Raider in a steady descent. Almost anyone who has been into a re-entry knows to look for the glow to indicate real entry. Velocities that burn things. But he's keeping slow. The metal outside the windscreen is cold and the door trails no heat at the edges. "126… 125.5… 125…" The lights flood green in the rear deck. "Jumpers away." Coop says it cool as ice. With Raiders inbound that he called up.

They step off the back ramp and for a moment they can look back and see the Heavy Raider descending at the same altitude. It just seems to drift further away. But the Heavy has its own controls, the door closing and the craft seems to level out as the gravity starts to pick them up. At first there's nothing, no sensation of movement except light gravity. But it starts to build rapidly. Twenty seconds out the door and they can feel the full force. There's still no sound in their helmets, no yet. But the pull is there and they are definitely falling.

When they hit 83,000 they start to feel it. The suit starts tugging, getting tight. The wight of the sealed packs can be felt. Things start to flap. Down, down, they speed up. In front of each of them they can all watch as a vapor cone begins to bleed in front of their helmets, diving slightly low with their heads out front. It's beautiful to watch, the clear white cone forming the shape around their bodies as they pass through 71,000. The cone slowly passes over them as they pass the sound barrier. There's only a little ruffle to the gear as they do-so. But as they descend through 50,000, the vapor cone slides off them and they enter the free-fall.

Mallas spends 1 luck points on Not dying on step 1..

<FS3> Mallas rolls Body+mind+2: Good Success.

Once Mallas and Gray are out, Marcus glances up. "See you at the pickup, Sergeant!" he calls out to Knox, throwing a quick salute before he too follows the others out. The feeling of weightlessness for just a moment is aweinspiring, before the pull of physics starts to yank him down, and the Lieutenant turns to the task at hand, queing up his radio. «Radio check, over.» he sends out. «Sing out for me, Dogs.» It keeps his attention on the task at hand as he glances towards the altimeter and returns his attention to the two down below him.

Anybody can fall. That's the easy part. Mallas keeps reminding himself of this as they descend into the atmosphere of Leonis in a way that seems to be taking forever. «Here!» he calls in response to Marcus, no shortage of adrenaline in his voice. Focus on the job. Look for the LZ. There it is! «LZ in sight!» As the air around them thickens, Mallas works on controlling his descent and guiding them towards the Landing Zone. And then he's checking the altimeter and trying to gauge how long they have to open. Somehow it's all looking good. Really good. Maybe Zeus is taking a hand in things, or maybe Mallas really has it under control. Or maybe they're just damn lucky. «Standy by for open!»

Gray jumps right after Mallas, out into the void. It takes him a moment (and a brief glance) to confirm that he's /actually/ falling. Yep, he's falling /and/ weightless and there's basically no wind to speak of… .o0(Frak, this /is/ awesome!)0o. That feeling slowly changes as air resistance picks up…and the sonic boom waves appear around them and they punch through them. «Here!» Gray chimes in, checking his altimiter. «Amazing view…» he offers, laconically, checking his altimeter, position, and generally going through various awareness checks at regular intervals.

Rocketing down, the terrain becomes very apparent. 30k. 20k. 10k. They are still falling. Passing 5,000 they can make out distant vehicles and clumps of trees. 3,000… assholes pucker. They are getting low as hell. The urge to pull the D-ring intensifies. Still nothing, though. 2,000. They can see a mailbox's shadow on a road to the north and a car passing by. Then it hits.R

1,000 feet. Pull the ripcord when Mallas pulls his. There may be a moment of panic while the chute opens, taking its sweet one second time. The chute fully swings them out and slows 500' from the ground, giving them all about seven seconds before they touch down. Below them? A big grassy field with a few clumps and shell-holes from mortars. About a half mile wide on all sides, Mallas seems to have dropped them damned near perfectly on target.

Marcus spends 1 luck points on Pls Don't Die..

<FS3> Marcus rolls Mind+Body+2: Good Success.

Things get bigger, and closer, and faster. Way closer. Frak. Frak. Frak! It looks like they're going to hit the field, so Mallas gets a death grip on the ripcord and glues his eyes to the altimeter. 1000 AGL and he yanks. «Open!» It's as much a prayer as it is a cue to Gray and Marcus. And now the chute will either open or it won't, and there's no time to do anything put pray everything works properly. Yooooink goes the parachute as it rapidly fills with air and slows his descent, and then the Mallas gets ready to drop and roll.

<FS3> Mallas rolls Mind+body+2: Success.

There's a moment of near-panic on Gray's part as his chute doesn't immediately open. Yes, he knows it takes a few moments to pop out, there's knowing that and /knowing/ it. To the extent that he wasn't puckered yet, he sure is now…

…and then the chute pops out, right on cue, and he feels a soft jerk as it fills with air, slowing his descent /quite/ close to the ground. No sooner than it's fully open and he's 'vertical' again and Gray's preparing to land.

<FS3> Gray rolls Mind+body+2: Good Success.

As they all touch down in the field, the chutes drape and they're all tasked with packing them up to hide them from overhead view. This is all assuming Knox isn't actually reporting them, too. Somewhere, far above, Raiders are likely forming on his wing. But down here?

They are left standing in a grassy field, the untrimmed grass about ankle high and providing little place to hide. But landing only about 20m from the perfect touchdown point, they have 500m of open terrain to cover to the nearest cover…. and no idea where else to meet up with the local resistance. Last report from Spree, 96 hours ago, said they would greet them at the LZ. So far, not a soul in sight. It's late in the afternoon with clear skies and all they can thank themselves for is that there's no roads or houses in sighting distance.

"Frak." Marcus' assessment is pretty spot on as they realize there's no one waiting at the LZ. As he's packing up his chute and HALO gear, he shoves it all into the drop bag as he rallies on the other two. "Alright, no welcome wagon. There's a tree line about five hundred meters from here, lets make for it and see if our contact is waiting for us. Remember, let them initate the contact, and only on my command." he reminds them as he checks his rifle and takes it off safety. "Let's move out. Mallas, you're on point."

<FS3> Marcus rolls Alertness: Good Success.

Gray's landing is smooth. Uneventful. He nails the flare, and manages to walk off the landing, smiling. "Alright, that was frakking awesome…" he says (reasonably quietly, all things considered). Once the chute deflates, he begins gathering it up as quickly as he can, only taking a moment to allow himself an adrenaline dump before nodding to Marcus as he finishes gathering the chute up. "Roger, on it."

<FS3> Gray rolls Alertness: Good Success.

Mallas hits the ground, falls and rolls. "Uff!" he grunts as he is nearly winded. It's no text book landing, but it is one he can walk away from. "Thank the Gods," he mutters as he staggers to his feet, pausing for a moment to just take in the fact that he's alive and on the ground. And then the chute catches a bit of breeze and he's reminded of the need to reign it in, pack it away, and get out of the HALO suit. Once all that is dispensed with and he has his weapon ready for action, Mallas moves to check in. Marcus' orders get a quick nod of acknowledgement. And of course he's on point. "Don't I know it," the Private mutters. He checks to make certain Gray is following, then sets off for the designated tree line.

<FS3> Mallas rolls Alertness: Good Success.

As they move off the LZ, everything seems quiet. And there's only about ten or fifteen seconds before they realize its far too quiet. That twinge up the spine. That feeling in the back of the mind. The little voice. Its trap. This is WRONG. Something isn't right. But Knox is already gone. Fifteen to twenty seconds on the ground and it already feels like it has gone to shit just from the general nerves end. Nobody is there to meet them.


There's no sound associated with it, but they can see it. Straight ahead of them at the treeline, two armored vehicles turn on their lights and reveal themselves in the dense overhead coverage. Looking around them, though? There's an escape to the northwest, but across the southwest lights on armored vehicles begin lighting up. The newly landed can't see much except the lights on armored vehicles and 30mm cannons aimed right at them. They're in a straight killzone with zero room to frak around. They'll never make it the 500m to the opposite treeline.

From behind them, though, around the shellholes, ghillie suits rise and aim rifles. Shapeless forms behind them just seem straight out combative. "Orion! We challenge Redeye or you will die!" the female voice commands. There is nothing else there except sheer force of will. And half a dozen 30mm cannons. Judging by the descriptions from Scorpia, those look like the IFV's that shot at the Scorpia group.

If there was ever a moment to have that excuse to piss your pants, this would be it. Marcus was sensing something was wrong and was about to hold up his hand to call for a halt and reassessment when the lights come on, blinding the Lieutenant briefly before he's rubbing at his eyes to regain his vision and reasses the situation. He heard the challenge clarly however, and glances to his other two men before he nods, aiming his rifle down towards the ground. "Orion answers Harm! Hell of a hiding job, Leonis." he calls out as he looks towards the IFVs, and prepares, mentally, to cover his men, should this go to hell.

Gray…pretty close to shits in his suit when everyone emerges from cover, guns, cannons, and all. When Marcus pulls off the challenge, however, he relaxes and audibly exhales, sliding back into position behind Marcus to let him do the talking.

Mallas' cautious advance gets slower as that 'bad feeling' starts to kick in. He halts as soon as Marcus makes the signal, and then hits the dirt the instant the lights flick on. Not that the grass is going to provide cover, but at least he's a smaller target. The grunt lifts his rifle, taking aim at the nearest spotlight but holding his fire. He's out in front, so he'll leave the guys in the camo suits to Gray. "These resistance guys have IFVs, Ell-Tee?" he mutters, sounding less than convinced. At least the officer knows the password.

Marcus speaks up to his reply and there's nothing. Five, ten seconds pass. The tension rises. But he gets his reply, "Don't drop, them, but lower your arms. You are at pick-up." As they turn to look, its a female with a thick coat of green and brown facepaint - only female by the sound of her voice. She's in a full ghillie suit. Behind her are 17 others who look equally as threatening. They all begin to move closer but most of them are walking backwards, keeping a looking to the flanks. The single woman to speak to them moves closer and has her rifle at the low ready, still ready to engage at the low ready. There is no question, she's ready to kill every single one of them. "All of you, I want your names and rank. El-tee, you speak for any of them and I will have tank put a round through your head so fast your head will mist before you can wonder why I look pissed." She points to Marcus, then Mallas, then Gray. She wants them to speak for themselves.

Keeping his rifle aimed at the ground, Marcus safeties the weapon to continue to show off the lack of threat. He nods to Mallas. "Seems that way." he mentions about the IFV as he listens to the instructions and then nods, a silent agreement to the terms. And the lack of fun of having a tank round put through his head. "Lieutenant JG Marcus Petropolous, Dog Platoon, 3/8th Marines."

Gray also safeties his weapon on command. "More toys than I was expecting," he replies to the others. "Lance Corporal Gray Anderson, Dog Platoon, 3/8th Marines."

Mallas rises cautiously to a crouch, rifle lowered, as it appears they may yet survive first contact with friendlies. "Godsdamn…" he grumbles under his breath. And looking back over his shoulder, he addresses the woman in the ghillie suit. "PFC Anthony Mallas, Dog Three-Eighth."

The woman, with her serious gaze, listens to each of them and nods slowly. She just watches, letting the slight breeze blow over them. Maybe she's waiting for a reaction. But fifteen seconds later she nods and shoves her left fist in the air. It twists twice to the right. Then the whole woods explode. Engines start up suddenly, roaring, and the IFV's begin charging out of the woods directly towards their position. But rather than keeping on an attack profile, the turrets turn outwards towards defense. Then end up in a loose column with the second on stopping by the Orion Marines as the ghillie-suits folks walk it in. "Get in. We've got a drive. This is the best camo. Captain is waiting." She gestures towards the dropped hatch of the Cylon Infantry Fighting Vehicle. Its cramped, but looks like a few will fit. Maybe eight total.

So they're dealing with a well-organized resistance that even has vehicles. While he can't see faces, the Lieutenant is automatically assuming they'll be seeing skinjobs soon enough, but Marcus isn't going to voice it just yet as he nods to his men. "You heard the lady, move out, Dogs. Better than hoofing it." he says as he moves to board one of the IFVs with the others.

Gray does as directed, boarding the IFV as well. "Yep, I like that idea too, sir…" The vehicle is cramped, unsurprisingly…but this has saved them a long walk among other things. He finds a seat in the IFV next to Marcus and sits back in it.

Mallas waits tensely through those long few seconds, and doesn't breathe easy until it's clear the vehicles are coming in for a pick up. And catching a ride is not something he needs to be told twice. "Aye, sir." Lugging the HALO bag and his own gear, the grunt sidles up into the Cylon IFV and finds a seat to drop into. Then he settles in and secures his weapon. "It beats walking," he agrees with Gray. "Until you take an AP missile."

Once the group piles into the IFV, the ramp lifts and closes, sealing them in. There's a hooded guy in there and two other females, including the one that made contact. The male had always been there, though, the two females joining behind them. But the vehicle leans back suddenly and begins hauling. The sound of treads moving overtakes and the vehicle begins twisting and turning before hitting asphalt.

The female drifts the hood off her head and reveals herself more fully. It's a godsamned Nine. The other female hooks her hood back and she's a Nine also. Getting a closer look at the uncamouflaged male? He's a Seven. But the lead female looks at the group. "Captain Ceres Delecroix! Orion! I used to fly Vipers for you!" she calls over the sound of the engines and treads. "Welcome to Leonis. We are taking you to see Captain Taggart, correct?" It's wrong information. Maybe its a test. Maybe it isn't. But all of them are looking right at the Marines. All of them look pretty damned motivated.

The Seven looks to Mallas and Gray and points out, "Ya'll look like you came prepared! Hope you're up for a firefight! We's in enemy territory, boys!" he hoots.

"Captain.. right, I remember you, I was in the Engineers planetside when you first came out." Marcus says as he grips his hands on the control service a little tighter in order to get a better grip on the area as he takes it all in. The LT looks to the others and then returns his attention to Ceres. "Long way from flying, Vipers, sir." he points out before he notices the twin, and then the Seven. "How many of you are there running around here?"

"Wouldn't be a vacation without enemy territory, now, would it?" Gray offers in reply before glancing back at Marcus. "Captain Delacroix, I think you left Orion before I got there. I transferred in a few months back." He glances around, managing to be…surprisingly unsurprised at the skinjobs, who get a polite nod.

Skinjobs. Mallas looks around for any other humans inside their transport, and then shakes his head to himself. "And here I thought that video was bullshit." He doesn't know Ceres — he was serving on Piraeus during her time aboard the Orion — but the Private still keeps a wary eye on the exchange between Marcus and the Nine. Something the skinjob says causes him to give the Lieutenant a quizzical look. Then the Seven's comment draws a snort and an eye-roll from Mallas. "They don't send us into friendly territory," he counters, nodding to Gray's remark too.

The woman claiming to be Ceres looks completes serious, "We've got a full Marine brigade of Nines." Roughly four thousand of them. "Half of them are involved in securing this landing. We've got attacks running across half this planet and people dying to keep attention away from here." She just stares at Marcus. Even as the voice fades, they can hear the motors turning. The turret moves and aims off to the side. "One knows we're rebelling. The Centurions seem stupid to it. We're trying to keep a low profile until the last moment. But for now we've got heavy rollers." Ceres gives a dark smirk. "Got more tanks, Colonial and Cylon, than we have people for." She casually hauls out the pistol from her hip and racks it, chambering a round. "So I noticed how you ignored my question." The indication is plain. She wants to hear who they are supposed to meet. And given her finger on the trigger, its not a slow thing. She wants it now.

The Seven looks to Mallas since he's talking, "HA! No shit, my friend," he hoots. "We welcome it! Problem is bringing in people like you. Shit, as much as we love to see you fightin alongside? Hard to find swingin dicks that'll get all up hard like we will." He glances to a Nine that rolls her eyes at him, then he looks back. "Ignore her. Nines are always pissy. You got anything to trade? I got a pack of cards, gen-u-ine issue, from Cylon command for high profile Colonial targets." He lifts a pack drawn from his chest rig, waggling them in the air, looking to Mallas and Grey.

Gray nods to the Seven and reaches into a pouch. "Any of you like cigars?" he asks, producing a pair of them. "I figured they might be in shorter supply than cigs would be." If that offer's a no-go he can offer some of the more standard stuff they all packed…but even if the Seven doesn't smoke, he can probably swap them with someone else who /does/.

Mallas gives the Seven a side-long look, trying not to grin at the skinjob's banter. He was keeping an eye on the conversation between 'Ceres' and Marcus, but the offer to barter draws his attention away. "Cards?" He starts to paw at the side pocket on his vest. "Who's on them? Officers and shit? I got some chocolate bars, smokes, and a couple …" It's at this point he hears the pistol cocking, and Mallas goes still, his gaze swinging back toward the Nine. His hand creeps towards one of the frag grenades secured on his vest, near the pocket he was reaching for, finger slipping into the pin. "Uhhh … sirs? I think it's liable to get messy back here if we start shooting each other?"

The Seven holds up the sealed deck, looking to Gray. He considers the offer, drifting it a bit that way. But when Mallas offers up more, he looks over, "Trade you the whole deck for two sets of chocolate and a pack of Cap smokes. You got it? Final offer." He's been watching. But….

…Things are getting serious on the other side. The discussion looks to hit a critical point then there's another sound.


The sound is loud as hell. It doesn't come from their own vehicle, but they can hear a very close explosion from the vehicle in front. The sound of treads coming off the gear. The vehicle they are in takes a hard left and throws them all, then hauls back right as the driver stomps on the gas. Everyone in the back is left scrambling. The turret goes left and begins pumping out rounds. -whump- -whump- -whump- -whu… And then everything goes silent for several seconds. Everyone in the rear is tossed around. The turret gunner, a Seven, falls to the floor with half of his head missing. Meanwhile smoke fills the interior and the driver crawls to a halt, a hole blown through his chest and leaving the Seven 'dead' in the position and the vehicle sitting still. Behind them they can hear the other vehicles throwing off missiles and engines roaring as they try to maneuver.

Looking confused as 'Ceres' makes her demand, Marcus keeps his hand away from his weapon. "It's not as if Command has pictures of everyone.." he starts to say when the vehicle gets thrown and the vehicle comes to a halt. Drawing in a sharp breath, he takes in a quick assessment of the situation. Pulling out of his position, the first concern the Lieutenant has is a quick assessment to make sure the vehicle can still run. Then he's moving to give order. "Anderson, on the gunner's station, do /not/ traverse. We're going to play dead until we can get a better feel for the situation. Captain, can you drive this thing if it's still working?" he asks as he moves to check the warning panels to see if there's any sign of engine fire or any other warnings that are lit up to keep the vehicle from moving.

Gray instinctively ducks at the bang…and then /everything/ else goes to hell over what /might/ be a minute, at most. "Ah, frak…" With that, he hears Marcus' orders and takes a deep breath. "On it!" he responds, quickly clambering his way into the gunner's chair but keeping his head down and not moving the gun at all. He does eyeball the surroundings to figure out /where/ to shoot, however, once he gets into position.

<FS3> Gray rolls Alertness+2: Great Success.

"Frak!" Mallas manages not to accidentally pull the pin on his grenade as he's tossed around. IFV being penetrated and skinjobs blown in half? The grunt's ready to bail out. Mallas moves to the nearest hatch on what he hopes is the defilade side of the vehicle and grabs the handle. He's ready to bail out, but then Marcus is giving orders and it doesn't sound like the Ell-Tee is ready to abandon ship just yet. "We leaving this thing or what?"

Ceres nearly falls off the seat and grips the gun tighter as they come under fire. She curses as sparks fly and she looks forward as the two Sevens slump over dead. "Well you muppets clearly can't drive this thing!" She rises and hustles the few yards forward and begins draggign the driver out of his seat. "Our discussion is not over, Lieutenant!" The body is hauled back and dumped onto the floor without a second look, like a sack of meat. To her mind she'll be seeing him again.

It only takes Gray a few seconds to sort out the basic controls at the gunner's chair. He pushes on one of them to control a camera, scanning the scene with it before offering a report. "Alright, I've got two other vehicles stopped. Smoke's from smoke generators on the other IFVs. Hostiles are four Cylon MBTs, five IFVs are maneuvering to engage."

"Don't open the hatch, Mallas, we could very well be opening into a damn firefight." Marcus responds as he nods to Gray's reports. "Frak." Glancing to Ceres, the Lieutenant rumbles, "We survive this first, figure out the discussion later. Right now, they think we're dead. Let's keep it that way. Fire up the smoke generators. Wait for the tanks to pass by, then we'll bail. Anderson, keep watch. If you see one of those tanks targetting us, sing out. Captain, keep the engine idle, we'll only move if targetted or we have to." he says as he clutches a handhold to stave off his own shaking. "Steady, folks." he offers, looking to Mallas.

Coughing from the smoke, Mallas breathes into the crook of his elbow and hunkers down by the hatch. "Aye aye," he responds to Marcus. He's not happy about it, but he is obeying orders. The officers 'steadying' just get a wordless grumble. Well, his rifle isn't going to do squat to a main battle tank, so Mallas scans the interior of the IFV to see if there's anything better. Maybe they've got a man-portable ATGM or something. "Hey! Seven!" he calls to the skinjob they were bartering with. "You guys got anything AT in here?"

Ceres whips her head around and stares at Marcus. "You're going to let them just maneuver out there without lending a godsdamned single round of ammunition?" she belts. "We might be able to resurrect but that doesn't mean we're rapidly becoming well opposed to it! Those are resistance fighters in those IFVs!" She straps herself into the seat and uses a sleeve to wipe the sprayed blood off the driving prism. But she -does- turn on the smoke, diesel fuel being sprayed across the hot engine and sending a blue cloud boiling into the air. But whether she intends to actually sit there and do nothing remains to be seen, because she's resetting circuit breakers with lightning speed. Alarms start turning off one by one and the interior lights flick back on from red to pale white light.

Meanwhile the Seven is busy taking ammunition magazines and weapons off the other dead Sevens. Policing it up, he's already stuffing his plate carrier overfull and one of the rifles is slung over his back. But when Mallas speaks up, his head lifts a touch to look up from his deep lean. There's a wicked, aggressive little smile and he chuckles. "Hell yes we do. Reloads for the four missiles we got on the turret. We can fire the missiles manually from their reload tubes." He points to the bench seat they were just on. "Lift that cushion. Combination is 12345." He goes back to the task at hand, nearly done.

Marcus nods as he listens, but he frowns darkly. "And so far they've been tearing us up, sir. And unlike you, we /don't/ resurrect. So take this as it's meant sir, but shut the frak up while I try to keep my people and you alive." the Lieutenant however, does listen to Ceres for a moment and then rethinks his plan. "Fine, we're going to wait for them to pass. Mallas, pass out those ATs. I'll take one. When they pass us, Anderson, I want you to target the nearest vehicle and take it from the rear. The armor should be much thinner there. We'll deploy in a squad of three, fire ATs, and get be ready to move out."

"Roger, sir, let them pass and shoot 'em up the ass." Gray agrees with a wolfish grin, holding his position and not turning the gun just yet. He'll do that as soon as he's about ready to fire, but for now he's not going to do anything which might give up the game.

"Thanks Gods," Mallas mutters when he hears about the ATGMs. He does not bat an eye at the combination the Seven gives him — stupid but easy to remember seems to be universal SOP. And the grunt is already across the narrow space and punching in the combination when Marcus gives his orders. Mallas nods, but doesn't sound too sure. "Never fired one of these things, Ell-Tee." Once he has the bench compartment open he starts hauling out the missile containers until it's empty, or he has three. "No frakking clue how they work, or what the minimum range is." He looks to the Seven, who hopefully has the answers.

Ceres looks back at Marcus and gives him a middle finger. Because yelling 'Im gonna tell mom!' isn't as cool in combat. But she obviously doesn't look happy. The prism is then adjusted and she aims it to look out towards the battle and makes angry sounds, pounding the side of the driver's station with a pissy fist, hurling insults at the heavier tanks.

Meanwhile the Seven finishes up his own work and glances to Marcus. A smirk crosses his face as he moves towards the bench seat. "'ey Anderson, I dunno about you, bud, but if my el-tee ordered me to take something from the rear, I'm not so sure I'd be quick to comply." Within the locked compartment are four missile tubes as well as boxes of grenades and medical kits. There's also a couple of loaded mags of ammunition and a stack of MRE's. "Make him buy you dinner first. Play hard to get. Wear some frak-me boots, though. Looeys love that shit. Makes 'em feel fancy," he says as he takes a pair of tubes. He winks to Mallas with a stupid grin and holds one in each of his hands - despite each one weighing well over 100 pounds. He also stuffs a couple smoke grenades into his pockets. "These things are pretty straight forward, but you have to fire them lying down on your stomach. Put the missile under your head and aim that way. There's a button on the side you press. Just flip open-" he points. "That right there." A small metal door almost indistinguishable. "Aim it down the boresight."

Marcus is listening to the briefing as well, and smirks towards the Seven. "I'm not that hard up, even with the Captain's offer." he grunts softly as he shakes off the quick humor as he holds up his hand. "Quiet!" he hisses, listening for the sounds of the tanks rumbling by their position. "Anderson, give me a go, as soon as they pass. Do not engage until I give the order." he says quickly, and glances towards Ceres. "Be ready to move the bucket out." Turning to Mallas and the Seven, he reaches to take one of the tubes. "Hatch opens, get quickly to a firing position. Mallas, far left, I'll take far right. Skinny, you bat cleanup. One of us misses, you engage. Far left first. We're only going to get one shot at this most likely.

Marcus is listening to the briefing as well, and smirks towards the Seven. "I'm not that hard up, even with the Captain's offer." he grunts softly as he shakes off the quick humor as he holds up his hand. "Quiet!" he hisses, listening for the sounds of the tanks rumbling by their position. "Anderson, give me a go, as soon as they pass. Do not engage until I give the order." he says quickly, and glances towards Ceres. "Be ready to move the bucket out." Turning to Mallas and the Seven, he reaches to take one of the tubes. "Hatch opens, get quickly to a firing position. Mallas, far left, I'll take far right. Skinny, you bat cleanup. One of us misses, you engage. Far left first. We're only going to get one shot at this most likely." he says and then taps Anderson's leg to wait for his go.

"Yeah, but my El-Tee usually makes sure I enjoy it…" Gray grins over at the Seven, having to hold back from cracking up as he layers on the innuendo, keeping an eye on the screen and scanning about with the camera quietly enough. "Uh, sir, OpFor isn't about to pass us by anytime soon. Other IFVs…I /think/ it's down to four active…are…call it 2/5th of a klick away. Nobody's paying us any attention. Still want me to play dead?" Beat. "I think I should be able to get a clean shot on at least one of the tanks."

Mallas is ready and waiting to get out of this big, smoking target, and starting to look a bit annoyed at the banter. Not that anyone is going to pay the Private much mind. Still, the Seven's comments earn the skinjob a smirk. "These guys are all right," he concludes. "For skinjobs." Then it's back to the life-or-death business as Marcus lays out his plans. Mallas listens and gives one quick nod, slinging his rifle and taking the missile tube under his right arm. "Got it." He's up first, so he moves to the hatch, waiting for Gray to give them the go. But hearing the Corporal's report, he looks to Marcus to see if the plan changes.

Hearing Anderson's report, Marcus frowns and then nods. "Mallas, lower the hatch. Deploy, take your time to set up, and settle on your targets. Seven, if we both hit, free fire your target." he says before he considers Anderson. "When Mallas and I fire, open up with the chain gun. Captain, have your foot ready to get us to the treeline, use the burning vehicle for cover if you have too. Confuse their sensors if we can. Move out."

"Got it." With that, it's down to Gray to just wait…and wait…nervously.

Take his time? Mallas looks dubious, but he just gives the Lieutenant a slow nod. "Right. Got it, sir." And since he was told to crack the hatch, the Private gives the handle a yank and kicks the hatch before bolting out of the IFV. "Here goes nothing…" He twists his head back the way Gray was observing, trying to find the targets while scuttling left from their vehicle. After a dozen paces he's looking for a firing positon — one with some nice solid trees, hopefully.

Once that rear hatch drops their noses are assaulted by the smell of burning fuel and meat. Some of the Nines in the IFV in front of them had apparently been on fire when they tried to exit the IFV and tumbled into the dirt in the back. Ceres' own IFV looks to have run over one of them, too. The light outside is bright, but the clouds from the burning vehicles and smoke generators cast palls over the ground, turning the world grey. They can all see the Nines who made it out of their own vehicles though, lain out in the field in their ghillie suits, watching the IFV's slug it out and start to lose against the tanks. Looking across the field away from the road, there's only three IFV's left because the explosion from the fourth is just fading. The arcing tureet is flipping high through the air after the whole cabin most have flash-cooked. On a bright side, one of the enemy tanks seems to by out of action because it isn't moving.

The Seven hauls out after Mallas and yanks a pin on a smoke grenade and hurls it with a grunt. The strength behind it is such that even the wind grabs it on the hangtime. It comes down more than 150 yards away and is already puking out red coloring into the air. "Ceres, We're heading for red! Don't you leave my ass out there or I'll cut you!" he yells as he picks up his missile tubes and begins running. All around them, even despite the distance tthe tanks are firing from, its almost deafening. After five or ten seconds, all they can hear are details in shouts but the tanks firing sounds more like a muffled thunderclap, but it still overpressures teh air with the arrival of the sound, hitting the lungs like a tap from a baseball bat.

The smell and sounds that hit him almost make Marcus gag. It's a good thing he had an initiation to action on Aerilon, or he'd totally show off his greeness. Now, he's had a little time to get seasoned and jaded. "She tries to leave without us, I'll put a missile up her as without lube." he mutters as he settles into position. Targetting the tank on the far right, he waits for Mallas and the Seven to be set and then draws in a breath, holding it for a moment to make sure he gets a good profile on the tank before he speaks into the shortwave. "Targets as mentioned. Fire." With that, he depresses the trigger and lets the missile fire from his tube and watches it for a moment, before making sure the other two fire and are back in the IFV before calling out to seal up the vehicle and for Ceres to gun it.

<FS3> Marcus rolls Gunnery+2: Good Success.

<FS3> Rance rolls Gunnery+2: Success.

<FS3> Mallas rolls Gunnery+2: Good Success.

<FS3> Gray rolls Gunnery+2: Good Success.

The stench and the smoke don't slow Mallas down, and the presence of the surviving Nines is seen only as a snap-shot as he passes. Each wave from the cannon blasts is met with a grimace and a grunt as the rifleman sidles left and makes for the red smoke. Once he has a clear line of sight to one the tanks, that's good enough for him. Mallas drops prone and twist the missile case around, searching for the little panel that conceals the firing mechanism. Then it's just a matter of pointing it at the target and letting go. Told he was firing first, the Private doesn't wait for orders — he just holds his breath and depresses the button. *BANG* Goes the launching charge that lofts the missile into the air, followed a split second later by the *WHOOOSH* of the rocket motor firing off. Mallas' missile guides itself to the target and impacts the side of the Cylon tank's turret, where its warhead does the rest. It looks like a penetration and damage. The tank isn't moving or firing at least. Mallas is moving, however. He leaves the tube behind and runs like hell, back the way he came.

Gray opens up with the 30mm gun he's been assigned to, firing at one of the tanks with some determination. He exhales when he's finished two large bursts and looks at the damage. "I knocked…something…out on them." he offers, hopefully. "I think it was their IR seeker." /That/ is a bit more hopeful.

The Seven watches his own missile rocket in. The thing hits the front armor of one of the tanks in a dead-center shot. Perfect aim screws him over and there's not much effect from the missile. He curses to himself and pushes up from his stomach to run alongside Mallas and head back for the IFV. Behind them, the effects on the four tanks is little understood for a few seconds. But while hte other IFV's are swarming, the three suddenly pour on the throttle and begin to speed right past the tanks. The crews are waking up or recovering slowly and the turrets just can't turn fast enough to keep with their targets. But as the guns move, Gray can make out exactly what happened. The missiles that impacted didn't have to penetrate. They hit and shredded the communications and sighting blocks on the turrets, making them big coffins for the moment - until the gunners could get the turrets turned back on. Are the friendly IFV's running? Its impossible to tell. Everyone is getting back into their own IFV and the Seven is banging on the wall. "IN!"

"Go go go!" Marcus calls out after seeing where the missile hits as he runs back into the IFV after the other two. "Captain, link up to the rest of the unit!" he orders as he had a chance to assess the situiation from the outside. "Anderson, switch to TOW, fire for affect!" he grabs a hold of the handle to hold onto it as he pulls himself towards the commander's chair, if there is one. He's had limited training with the armored vehicles, but this is by no means his forte. He's winging it as he sees it going along. "You have a rally point? If so, head to it, Captain!"

<FS3> Gray rolls Gunnery+2: Good Success.

"Yep, yep, on it." Gray switches over to the TOW, aiming and firing or effect at one of the tanks. A grin appears on his face as he plugs one of the Cylon tanks in the rear of the turret. "Sir, got one of them…" Beat. "Expect fireworks in a moment." With that, he changes targets to continue Ares' work on this world.

Mallas spares a glance over when he realizes someone is running alongside him, and the sight of the Seven gives him a double take. Seeing those skinjob faces is going to take some getting used to. He's needs little encouragement getting back to the IFV, however. Mallas ducks through the hatch and takes a seat on the bench opposite the enemy tanks. "Frak …" he mutters, catching his breath, "…this shit."

As soon as they are in, the ramp is closed from the front with the motor whirring whiel the ramp comes up quick. It hasn't even finished when they feel the treads biting into the dirt. Behind them, mud flies in paired rooster tails and the whole rear of the IFV sits down. Ceres needs not be told twice, it seems. The IFV has considerable ass to put down and it does it. The whole thing seems to glide as the motor roars, taking the terrain changes well as she aims them back for the road. Meanwhile the Seven leans across and slaps Mallas' knee with a laugh. "Oh, my friend, you really should stay longer. That's not normal but we're all about the exciting times." He sits back and gives a thumbs up to Marcus.

"Anderson, keep firing!" Ceres bitched about not firing a shot? Marcus is going to make sure every round is expended that he can. He assumes the Captain knows where she's going as he uses the moment to catch his breath and rubs his hand over his face. "Firing my travel agent when we get home." he murmurs to himself mainly, his role now limited in the firefight.

<FS3> Gray rolls Gunnery: Good Success.

Gray grins as the tank he hit with his last shot turns into a nice red-yellow spectrum ball of fire as the other tanks turn to try and avoid the shots in the rear. It's not only ineffective for the other IFVs, it's ineffective for dodging his shots as he takes a second tank in the rear of the turret with his second shot. "That's two!" he relays as they crest the hill…and he sighs as they do so, denying him the chance to go for a trifecta. "Fire my agent when we get there, too…" he suggests once the shooting dies down a bit. "What's next, sir?"

"Frak that," Mallas says to the Seven, giving him a shake of his head as he grabs on to a hand-hold. Then there's a wordless nod of agreement with the Lieutenant's plan. "We made a jump from frakking orbit just to get here. Anti-tank wasn't on the duty schedule." As the IFV starts to sway and the cannon keeps thumping, Mallas peers up into the turret. Gray hasn't been blown in half yet, which is good. And he got two of them? That gets the Corporal a thumbs up. "Who the frak was that, anyway?" Mallas turns to ask the Seven.

Ceres doesn't slow down. If anything, she only seems to keep the IFV moving as fast as she possibly can. In the back, nobody can see where they are going except for Gray. The road curves around and down the backside of a long ridge and then the IFV nearly skids through a hard corner as it heads right for a bridge. There slight incline allows it to get some air before the suspension thuds it back down. Gray can see the deep water they're crossing, too. The river must be a quarter mile wide. Ceres seems to make no comment or mind of it, though. Nor does she seem to care about the cars that she nearly hits. Cursory intent to miss them.

The Seven holds onto his personal bar and legs the IFV move on its own, the guy mostly seeming to expect most of this. "Other skinjobs, most likely. No way to tell who was in those tanks. It could have been the Loyalist-slash-APF jerkoffs, too. Word is spreading that some of the Lines know something is wrong. That we know we backed the wrong horse. That we're trying to set the proper course. It's scarin' the projectile shits out of some of the lines because of some of the atrocities. They don't know how to set it right in their own heads. But they can't openly go to war because if the Centurions find out, they're all screwed." The Seven's smile is more of a smug expression of pride. "Hell, they's frakked either way. Either we kill them, you kill them, or the Centurions kill them. But fear does things to people. Their reactions are proof enough that we're a good-chunk of human. Know what I mean?" He lifts his ballcap from his head and runs his hand through his long hair.

"There's APF here, too, then?" Marcus asks curiously. "I know on Aerilon they've been using Colonial gear, but they're going Cylon here?" the Lieutenant makes a mental note of it as he nods to Seven. "That speech by that Capatain seems to have gotten the desired result, then." he murmurs as he returns his attention to the noises outside. "Anderson, what do you see?" he asks, since he's the one with the view."

Gray takes a deep breath as there's mention of that speech. "Yeah. I…" He clams up, takes a deep breath, and resumes. "Thanks." Beat. "Sir, we're…making good time." Which is a fun euphemism about the swerving and whatnot. "Ceres might be the best woman driver I've known in a while…" After all, they're not dead yet. "No targets in sight or I'd have let you know."

Now that they haven't been shot at for a minute or two, Mallas tries to settle back and rest. Most of the talk about the lines is above his pay grade — they tell him to shoot them one day, and then not shoot them the next. But he does have a keen interest in the human enemy. "What's their deal? The APF? Did the Toasters do something to their heads?" Gray's comment about woman drivers gets a snort from Mallas, and then a careful look towards the Nine up in the driver's seat. Let's hope she's busy.

"Yeah, I can actually clear up the why on that." The Seven flops the cap back down on his head and reaches into his jacket for a cigarette. He lights it up with a clip of the zippo and pockets it while he puffs. "Mm. Myeah. So the reason Aerilon is a giant hotbed is because they never actually disarmed after the first war ya'll had. They took all the gear left on their planet and put it into storage. Their own army mantained it all, hidden away in bunkers behind locked doors. Turns out, the Cylons killed most of the people who knew where they were buried. Well, Cylons started looking. They found quite a few. That's why the APF is using fleet gear on Aerilon and using Cylon everywhere else. Simple logistics." He glances to Gray, then back. "That speech rustled jimmies. Some are trying to claim its an obvious hoax since it shows impossible shit. First time I saw it I actually had to take a step back in surprise when that Fives' friends came out of nowhere. Damnedest thing. But its doing the job. Between that and the lines coming back from P with memories of the experience, and downloading? Its only a matter of time. Shit, the Nines have a whole damned resistance brigade here."

He puffs on the smoke once and blows it towards the air recycler in the corner. Looking back to Mallas, then to Marcus, then to Mallas. "For real? You don't know what they're doing to humanity when they pull them off the colonies?" He actually looks a little like a venn diagram where stricken, surprise, and nervousness all coincide with that special location being his face. "Frakkin' jokin, right?"

Marcus glances to Mallas and sighs. "Brainwashing is putting it mildly." Apparently someone has paid attention in the briefings. He gives a nod to the Seven. "That makes sense." he agrees with the logistics of it all as he chuckles. "It's not any kind of special effect, promise you that. Captain al Yahoma and the others.. it may sound weird as hades, but it's gospel." he comments as he nods to Anderson. "I'm sure she'll remember where the brakes are when it comes time." he says as he noticed all the trading going on earlier. "Only thing I bought was some extra hygiene items, fresh socks and foot powder. Toothpaste, toothbrushes." he shrugs. "The CMO on Orion is always on our ass about hygiene."

Gray shakes his head. "That's…as far as I know, all we know. Don't know how, don't know the endgame." He snorts at the comment about the brakes, and then it's on to care package stuff. "I've still got a few cigars as well along with the foot powder and whatnot."

Mallas listens to what the Seven has to say, looking perplexed at the worry over his question. "Frak if I know." The Private shrugs heavily, looks to Marcus and then Gray for their say, and finally turns to show the skinjob the single stripe of a PFC on his own shoulder. "If I'm lucky they tell me what planet we're on." That's only a bit of grumbling, to be followed by the part that really bothers him about it all. "But sending out kids? That's some messed up shit." Mallas falls silent for a time, eventually chiming in again to echo the Lieutenant's word on Piraen ghosts. "Yeah, they're like … the dead coming back from Elysium, or something."

Gray takes a deep breath as Mallas mentions the feeling. "Yeah. It's been…like…something religious." Beat. "No, really…" And he takes in a deep breath. "Uh…Seven…first, what's your name? I don't feel right calling you a number." Beat. "Also…what do you guys…you know, believe in?"

The Seven nods slowly to Marcus. "That's about the skinny of it, yeah. I used to work at one of the sites where they bring people. They had me dealing with the kids. I couldn't handle it. Kids screaming, scared as hell, separated from their parents. It was just refinery of horror. You don't forget that shit. It sears into the back of your head." He puffs he smoke from his lips and rests the hand on his knee while exhaling. "We can trade whatever, not a big deal. Between the Lines that have already started turning, plus some of the locals, we keep the resistance supplied okay. Its not great, but they aren't hurting too badly." He smokes again and ashes it onto the floor. "Sending kids is exactly the purpose. They reprogram the brain like a computer. They're set to breed and work, not complain. Supernationalism. The adults are happy to send these kids off to fight against the Colonials because they get to have fun making more who don't /have/ to be reprogrammed. Its a straight colonization. Meanwhile you guys, to everyone else and yourselves, are seen as people who are willing to kill children. Its frakked as it gets, but highly effective. It serves every single one of the Cylon aims and the population thats still normal can't do anything except watch in silence." Its own brand of horror. "And yeah, if I ever get to P then I want to meet this Captain. I want to believe. I just know what my line has seen there."

"Name's Rance. And me? Shit man, I don't believe in anything anymore. Not after what I've been through. I believe in turning can into slag. That's my belief structure." The cigarette bounces between his lips. "If you're asking about religion, then that's something I'm going to have to look at after the war."

"…are the adults frakked in the head too? To sell off their kids like that. Just to save their own asses?" Marcus doesn't buy that, not for a second. But he doesn't know what else to say at this point. Finally, he shakes his head and nods. "Thanks for the pickup, Rance. We didn't know who to expect at the pickup, to be honest. We knew that Captain Wells was in charge, but that's pretty much the skinny. No offense." he realized his own bad joke too late. "Well, besides the prison camps, and the recent report of several ships leaving here per day with prisoners."

Mallas doesn't have much more to say for a time, listening in grim silence as the Lieutenant and the Seven talk. "They're the ones sending them off to get killed," Mallas argues, his own bitter defense for what he's had to do on Aerlion. "Then it's us or them." He goes quiet again when Gray turns the topic to religion, but the skinjob's current faith earns a snort. Turning Cylons to scrap is an approved faith in his book.

"The adults believe in this absolutely wholesale when they get back. They're just as brainwashed as the kids. To them, its pride in serving the true purpose of their race - as servants to the race they made. They're supposed to basically worship the cylons as their children and see themselves as 'caretakers' so their flesh and blood children dying for the cans is just hunky-frakkin-dorey for them." He spits once and it falls to the deck between his knees. "Nobody is saving their own asses. Unless you join the resistance, your options are to either get reprogrammed or… nothing. They won't kill you. They'll just sedate you until its your turn and put you on the next transport. So people behave. And then the stories about people turning on humanity and some of them being removed from the list for reprogramming? Its all incentivized, man." It would sound like a paranoid redneck's rant. Except its happening all around them. "And hey, you said the name. Good. That's what we were hoping for." Another drag of smoke taken. He tilts the smoke to Mallas and nods. "Nailed it on the head, brother. Us or them. There is zero sunshine between those options. The big debate raging right now is whether or not they are even people anymore since they're been reprogrammed. I need to smoke some reefer for those discussions. I cain't handle all that damned existentialism."

Ceres calls up behind her, "Anderson, turn the turret backwards and center the gun on the back deck, then lift it to its maximum elevation. Safety the gun and drop down out of there, we're about to head into protected lines." The last thing he will probably notice is that they are turning down a dirt road.

"According to Captain al Yahoma, you were in the same boat not too long ago, and we had the same debate over you." Marcus points out. Irony, thy name is humanity. As Rance points out that he said the name, the Lieutenant looks chagrined. "You know us Lieutenants, you have to be slow and obvious." he says before Ceres speaks up. He nods his approval, now that things are settled, he's more content to let the Captain set orders, since they're no longer pointing pistols at each other.

Gray shudders at the thought of how the kids on the last mission he'd run into them had fought. The idea that they all see this as some sort of 'righteous purpose'…it makes him sick. But he also sighs at that point. "Human, yes. Salvagable…" Sigh. "Saving them isn't always an option. If it was before the war that would be one thing…but it's not like we've always got a choice." Like on the Bacchus Bounty.

Gray shudders at the thought of how the kids on the last mission he'd run into them had fought. The idea that they all see this as some sort of 'righteous purpose'…it makes him sick. But he also sighs at that point. "Human, yes. Salvagable…" Sigh. "Saving them isn't always an option. If it was before the war that would be one thing…but it's not like we've always got a choice." Like on the Bacchus Bounty. As he does that, he does as instructed, safetying the gun in an 'up' position.

And now Mallas has even less to say. Existentialism? He doesn't know the meaning of the word. Or one might suppose. It's not long before he's slumped back, eyes closed. He could be asleep, if that's possible while keeping a grip on his rifle with one hand and the seat's hand-hold with the other.

The IFV spent another hour traveling down the dirt roads and there's no clue where they are going, but its pretty clear that they haven't slowed down much. With nothing to see except trees, the turret has even been powered down and locked into the rear-facing position. It isn't for just about the hour mark when they finally slow and grind to a halt. At least the bodies in the back don't smell yet. "Everyone out, no sudden movements," Ceres calls back.

When they finally open the ramp, the thing hits the ground and there's half a dozen Nines standing there with some regular humans, waiting with their rifles slung in front. They're all standing around, staring at the group. All of them look like tough hombres (Even the females) but also decently fed and fit. Nobody here seems to look starving or particularly in need. The weapons are clean, vests are mostly full, and the few wounds seen have been dressed. But they are all dressed in varying dyed similarities to the colors being worn by the Ghost Soldiers on Piraeus. Obviously not originals, but they are close. Very close. Only one guy gestures for them to follow through the woods that surrounds them. He leads the way while the others surround and follow. There are birds, insects, and a slight breeze with the blue sky overhead. All in all, it feels like a beautiful day - aside from being in a major armored engagement an hour earlier.

After about thirty minutes, the Lieutenant thought about grabbing a nap, but instead ended up making notes as he feels the bumps and rising and lowering whine of the engine as they finally come to the encampment. Getting to his feet, he stows his notebook in his cargo pocket and starts to move to the back. This.. was not what Marcus was expecting after hearing the reports from Scorpia. A well organized and maintained resistance. But then again.. a logistics officer in charge, it makes perfect sense. "Anderson, Mallas, grab the gift crate for the Captain." he says as he rises to his feet and slings his rifle into place over his shoulder as he steps off and glances around at the troops and offers a firm nod of his head as the Orion officer waits for his two NCOs so they can head after the lead.

Mallas' rest is fitfull, barely dozing off before the next bump in the road or strange sound snaps him awake again. But it's a sort of rest at least, and he'll get it where he can. He's alert again when Ceres calls out to them, and climbs to his feet to shoulder his pack and weapon. Marcus' instructions are answered with an absent, "Aye aye, Ell-Tee." Then he moves to help Gray secure their 'gift box' and follow the escort.

The ride does not offer Gray much rest, though he might have managed 5-10 minutes of sleep throughout the ride in total. Might. Calling it sleep is probably over-generous. When they come to a stop, Gray's senses perk up (somewhat instinctively; he's regarding this as neither friendly nor hostile territory for now, given the warm welcome they got at the DZ). As directed to, he and Mallas pick up the crate and begin moving out with it. "Roger, Ell Tee."

Moving along through the forest, they're clearly heading towards the center of a camp. Overhead, in the tree, is some sort of mesh netting that has a plastic-sort of covering laced through it. Through it, its difficult to see the sky with the trees in the way - but somehow light seems to filter through the solid-looking material. The tents are all standard issue but some have been modified. The camp doesn't look permanent, either, but it does seem they have been here for a stretch. A month, maybe? Everyone seems to know their jobs. Moving to the center, though, there's a sandbagged command are with its own tent inside it. Approaching, they're all poined inside.

Captain Anthony Wells must have been retired. His uniform hangs loose like he's lost about forty or fifty pounds, and he's in his mid forties. The guy has glasses and short-sheared white hair and a matching white mustache. He may look like he was once a mess but the guy looks like a very intense person - its in the eyes. There's fight and grit there. "Gentlemen, welcome to Leonis. I'm told you passed Ceres' tests and she radio'd ahead, said Rance was getting along well. Heard you all had a dust-up, too. Can't be helped."

Coming to attention and offering a salute Marcus shows the Captain the proper respect. "Can't recommend the Cylon hospitality, sir." he comments, glancing sidelong to his men to make sure they follow suit. "Lieutenant Junior Grade Marcus Petropoulos, and these are two members of my platoon. Thanks for the pickup sir." He'd make a crack about the traffic being hell, but stows it for now. "We brought you a package from Orion and Picon, sir."

Mallas glances aside to Gray, making sure they put the package down together so it doesn't end up dropped. Then he follows Marcus' salute, even if the Private's is less crisp. Captain Grandpa probably isn't going to pay him any attention anyway. Mallas takes a step back, leaving the officers to talk, and giving his fellow enlisted a quizzical look and a head toss toward the retiree-Captain.

Gray sets the package down and offers a salute…probably more in line with Mallas' than Marcus', if only due to the fact that he /was/ setting down a heavy crate. He glances back at Mallas, returning the latter's quizzical look with one of his own, wondering what Mallas is wondering about. Isn't recursive confusuon fun!

Captain Wells returns the salutes and takes time to shake their hands, then looking to the care package. He then takes a long breath and gestures behind them for Rance to join. "El-tee, you've obviously met Rance. The Sixes on Picon selected him to come here when Spree found out you'd be arriving for recon and needs. we couldn't get him anywhere else without causing problems. He's been to their homeworlds and spent plenty of time there. He's a resource. You can take him with when you return, if you need, but I'd rather keep him if its all the same." Rance doesn't seem to mind being spoken about like that, either. He holds the rifle casually and just nods to the Orion Marines. "What all brings you here? Spree said something about looking for information and a status update? Wasn't clear."

"Well sir, even if we do take him, we may very well be bringing him back." Marcus responds after providing a firm handshake. At least being an engineer means his hands weren't baby soft when he came over to the Infantry. "Admiral Jameson has sent us over to assess the situation, figure out what wants and needs you may have. As you've said in your reports, this seems to be their main hub for prisoner transportation, and we're looking into disrupting it. Outside of that, we want to make sure we have our command structures up to date, your supply chain and any gaps we can fill, and if you've had any problems with disruption or infiltration from the APF or Piraeans.." he glances towards Rance and the Nines. "…that may not have bought into the Five's message."

He wants to shake Mallas' hand? That straightens the Private up, and he looks to the old man with a grin and a hard handshake. "Just here to make sure the Ell-Tee didn't get lost, sir." Then he steps back, leaving the officers to talk. Rifle held at the low ready, Mallas gives the Seven a nod and idly looks around the CP.

Wells nods slowly while he listens, head staying inclined and just to the side while he stares at Marcus. In the end, he lofts his brows. "Interestin." He stands straight again. "We're short on people, son. A lot of them. We're shoring p our numbers with these Nines, but right now my Nines and Sevens combined outnumber the actual local fighters I've got. I've got armor, ammunition, medicine, and food. Gas, too. Everything an army needs. Problem is the most basic resource. They Centurions have stopped shooting to kill on Leonis. They now shoot to wound. IF they can get to you, they ship you off to their homeworlds for a new brain. If they can't get to you, they use you as bait. You get into a fight here on Leonis, save the last round for yourself." His hands are right in front of his midsection, left tucking the top of his fingers just behind the palm of his right. He occasionally gestures with a purposeful movement. No wonder Spree left this guy in charge - he looks like a pro.

Gray returns a firm handshake with the Captain. His hands are also reasonably rough, but not nearly so as Marcus' (or, likely, the Captain's). He listens as the Captain describes the situation; his only reactions are a wince about the 'stopped shooting to kill' bit, which he immediately connects the dots on, and a nod at the 'last round for yourself' direction. He's already put in requests for his buddies for the same consideration, just in case.

There's a slow nod of understanding. Marcus looks around at the group and then to his two troopers. "Picon's working on training up Marines as fast as they can, we are as well back at the fleet." The young officer draws out a breath. "I'm not here to make promises, though. I'm supposed to record, assess, and let command know what the deal is, and you probably know by now that us greens can't promise even a can of beans at a weenie roast. Alright, so you don't need supplies, got plenty of ammo, just need people to put at the trigger. We got some information recently on the transports from Leonis, one of our priorities is disrupting their lines, because they're putting out APF faster than we can put out Marines. Same with air wing."

Yeah, Mallas isn't too hot on this whole 'Cylons want prisoners' thing either. The kid grimaces and nods when Marcus gives him a look. He definitely got the message. Then Mallas looks down, as if ready to spit. Instead he just mutters under his breath, "Frakked up all over, man." Looking up, he shakes his head and does his best to shrug it off.

Captain Wells understands what's being said. "Disrupting them is easier said than done. They keep their transports, on the ground, pretty well defended - but only because they don't want people escaping. We shoot them down, they bring in another transport ten minutes later. Shoot it down, same results. It got to the point where we were asking ourselves about the sensibility of it and our supply of portable SAMs. We stopped because we can either defend our ground fighters from Raiders, or shoot down the transports. Not both. But they just pack people up like cattle and send them off. Not much we can do from here. If you want to interdict them, that's going to need to be in space."

The Lieutenant thinks for a moment. "Shooting them down may be an issue.. but it's not exactly what I had in mind. You said your main concern was troops?" Marcus asks as he draws in a breath. He knows he can't promise anything, but he can offer a suggestion and see how the Captain feels on it, and if it's dumb - never speak of it again. "This may be an assumption by me, but is there a seperate prison where they keep POWs at so they're not trying to entice the civilians to fight back?" he asks as he glances up to the Captain. Looking to his men and then to the troops around him, his eyes return to the Captain. "If we were able to organize a complete jailbreak, if they're available, you think those men and women would want to join you in the fight?"

Gray had initially been pulled into the conversation with the Captian due to, among other things, protocol. However, as the conversation wanders to stuff that is above his pay grade, Gray quietly slips over towards Rance. "So, Rance…I've got to ask. You asked /us/ earlier whether we knew what the Cylons were doing to the people they took away." And he seemed surprised that they didn't know. "Captain says you've been to their homeworld…" Which Gray is presuming is normal enough in terms of resurrection. "…so, what do you know?"

"We've liberated a few camps before with that idea. Most of the people don't have the stomach for a fight. The Cylons make sure these people are fed and taken care of. The prisons aren't exactly luxury living, but its better than camping out in the elements. Some don't want to leave. The POWs, though? They sedate them if they can't be immediately transported. If they're sedated, its essentially a coma. We don't know how to wake them up.' Wells shakes his head. "it worked for the first few months. Then the Cylons got wise on it and changed it up. Its the perfect example of what people will trade for temporary security. They go in there knowing full well they will never come back to freedom as the same person."

Rance looks over to Gray, though, and keeps his voice low, watching the officers as he speaks. "Been to two of the three homeworlds, yeah." The way he says it, this does not sound normal. Or at least normal for where he is currently standing. "What do I know?" There's a small snorted laugh. "What do you want to know? There's a reason they don't mix the colonial lines with the ones behind the redline anymore. One doesn't want infection if the rumors about lines flipping alliegances are true."

"Frak.." Marcus nods, shelving the idea for now as he rubs the back of his head. "Then it sounds like we need to see if we can get you some fresh troops.." the Lieutenant says as he feels a little lost on ideas and starts back to taking notes. "Any other needs you have besides men, sir?"

Gray's mind is clearly at work as he produces a standard notebook from a pocket and jots that down. For reasons which should be beyond obvious his more detailed notebooks did not make the trip (he taped a note on them asking to make sure they got handed to Intel if something happened to him) but he also made sure to drag a writing implement and a smaller book along. "Yeah, I can see that…" Especially with all of the rumors (and more-than-rumors) about chunks of lines flipping like burgers at a fast food joint. "Yeah, but even older intel is better than nothing." The fact that there are three worlds is probably already known, but it gets noted. "I'd take 'anything and everything'…I think I'm through getting overloaded…" He's deadly serious as he says this. "You've been on two of them. What's the difference between them? And the third?" There are other questions he wants to dive into, but there is stuff that he is Not Authorized To Speak About.

Mallas is half listening to the officers talk, pretending he's on guard duty. There's another 'need to spit' face when Captain Wells talks about people voluntarily going into the prison camps. Then the Private sees Gray talking with the Seven, and he sidles closer to listen in on that conversation. "Just knowing where there at would be something," he chimes in, meaning the Cylon homeworlds.

Marcus arrives from the Tinyplot Room Nexus.

Wells shakes his head a little to Marcus, hands moving to plant on his hips. "Sorry, el-tee, they flew you out here for nothing seems like. I need men and women. Unless you're asking about long-term sustainment, then I've got a whole list. I could use a couple brigades of trained fighters, close air support, heavy transport for troops, and an army of psychological warfare experts. Proportional amounts of logistical support for the additional troops. You know how it goes. But no, we're well set. Its a battle that really isn't getting fought much, though. We basically just raid for supplies and hit back when the APF or Cylons start abusing innocents."

Gray and Mallas, talking to Rance, have him turn a little to more face them than Marcus and Wells. "The two main planets I've been to are rocks. No atmo, red, rock and dust. But the machines don't need air. They've built us all airlocks. They look like giant cities across most of the planets, though. Its been forty years but these bastards don't sleep, yanno? Maximum efficiency. The third planet? Nah, only Ones ever been there. Cylons won't let us get access to where it is. Apparently thats their true homeworld now. I know the general direction from the pair, but no idea distance or anymore more than general direction." Which he knows darned well provides no help at all. But he shrugs in apology. "The other two? Sure, I can give you a pretty rough estimate on the area. I mean, it wouldn't be accountin' for astronomical and stellar drift 'n all that fancy shit, but sure." And he barfs out some pretty solid coordinates.

Gray jots down those coordinates; they might not be spot-on but they're close enough for government work (which this assuredly is) and likely to be able to be synced up with some sort of known star system. "I'll take the direction on the third planet. Might be useless, but can't hurt to toss into the system." There's a quiet knot building in his stomach. "Do you know if people taken are going to those worlds or the third? Also…what do you know of One…or the Ones…or his/their plans?" He's not expecting much on the latter front, but the former might be useful. He also jots a note to get someone to ask the Ghost Captain about One.

Mallas leaves the note-taking to Gray. The Corporal has that covered. But he gives Rance a sidelong look, then shakes his head to himself. "Man, this guy seems like a gold mine."

"Sure. General vector off the-" He stops. "Man, don't even worry about it. Unless you know the layout of the planet, trying to give you a direction is useless. I don't know the direction from here." The Seven snorts a laugh. "But the people being brainwashed and dying APF Blue? They are going to the Twin Rocks. Ones and Machines only at the homeworld. They've got about two dozen of the brain-melting facilities on each planet. They handle about one hundred thousand at any given time. They look like huge pyramid stadiums except a little more round. They're hard to miss, even from high altitude." But the point about the plans for One? Rance shakes his head. "Not a chance, hoss. Ones don't like Sevens much. We frak with well-laid plans." There's a little smug pride with that statement.

Gray nods, somewhat disappointed in the lack of vector. "At some point I'm sure we'll get someone who can put that vector together." Beat. "But I'm sure someone else can follow up on that." He thinks for another moment. "Any idea where the Ones found…you?" He /has/ to ask. "Also…you said they've split the resurrection system? To keep lines from mixing? Any idea where the hubs here are?" As in, 'in the colonies'. As in 'Could we grab part of their system and isolate it for our purposes?' becomes a serious question.

"Everybody seems to think these Ones are all shit hot," Mallas remarks. "Only One I ever saw was running like hell when we hit his base." The grunt smirk. "He wasn't fast enough." All the talk about the Cylon planets and where they are relative to each other is well over his head, though. He can only shrug it off. But Gray's comment about followup causes Mallas to hesitate. "I dunno … we had to HALO in here. Don't see that happening every day."

Gray nods to Mallas' comment. "As much fun as that was, I'll agree. Ok, directions might be useless, but…give us what you've got and we can try to reverse-engineer it later? This wouldn't be the only time I've run into bad directions this war." And if something happens to Rance he doesn't want whatever he has getting lost if he can help it.

"Found me? No idea what you're on about, bud. I'm a nobody, just a random Seven that's seen the light and taken a name. Hell, maybe even take a wife if I can fine a human woman who will tolerate a dude like me." The guy just grins. Yep, Rance, there's likely a woman out there for a guy like you. "Yeah, they don't want the colonial models mixing with the ones back on the Twin Rocks. Rocks have a lot of sensitive stuff. They don't want the intel falling into your hands." He lifts a finger to his lips. "Oh whoopsie." Uh huh. "But yeah, sure. If you captured a resurrection site and had some Lines around who know how to operate them. Most do. If you did that, and you had the bodies, you could regenerate anyone. Even modify them if you wanted, but that takes a line member and that's a road you all don't wanna go down suggesting, trust me." He looks back to Mallas and chuckles. "Ones run like penguins, unless they're younger. The ones who havent aged much can still move. Bunch of jerkwads, though."

But then he looks back at Gray and shrugs. He points his finger generally in the 'up' direction. "Up there. Somewhere."

Gray shares in the chuckling at the jokes about the Ones before turning back to the 'found me' bit. "No, er…" Beat. "Has anyone talked about where the Cylons found the Lines?" He thinks for another second. "And…is it the Centurions or the Ones calling the shots?" If Rance knows…but Gray is /really/ wondering why the Centurions up and decided to take orders from some models they just found laying around.

Rance shakes his head slowly. "Bud, if we knew that then we wouldn't be here. We'd be running it down. Ones don't say much to us except to give orders and ask about results. Cylons are giving the orders. You know those thigns have emotions, right? They can mad, curious, pissed, happy, sated, all that shit. We think they're just jealous of us cuz we've got flesh n blood bodies."

Gray nods and makes a few more notes. "Rance, thank you very much…" He closes the notebook and slips it back in his pocket. "I don't know what the brass will do with this, but…you've been a /lot/ of help. I mean that." With tht, he extends a hand to him and smiles.

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