AWD #183: Predator Paces
Predator Paces
Summary: Bennett puts Phin and Ygraine through some.
Date: 08/07/2013 (OOC Date)
Related Logs: Nah
Bennett Phin Ygraine 
Flight Simulators — Deck 2 — Battlestar Orion
The Air Wing has access to flight simulators to train pilots off the ground in combat maneuvers and situations that are hard to replicate with regular dogfight practicing and this is their home. A rectangular room, the hatch opens up beside the bank of computers that control the simulations and what is seen by the individuals when training sessions are in progress. The sims are actual cockpits cut out of old frames and installed here to function exactly as the real thing, right down to oxygen plugs for suits. In front of each cockpit, complete with armored glass, are LCD screens that cover most of the front view to the front and above. There are two Vipers, two Predators, and one full-cabin Raptor available.
AWD #183

The flight simulators have been gathering dust of late, given the wing's current preoccupation with reconnoitring the colonies and surrounding territories. Tonight, someone is smoking in here. Someone, thankfully, not in duty uniform or a flight suit — but someone, nonetheless, who should know better. Captain St. Clair has a clove perched between two slim fingers while she sits at the top rung one of the vipers' ladders. She's dressed in off duty fatigues, and her long hair's tied back in a ponytail tonight, rather than its usual bun.

Phin is in his duty greens as he opens and ducks through the hatch into the sims. The first thing he notices is the cigarette smoke. The smell of the cloves, which make his nose twitch. Blue eyes blink up and over at Bennett, showing a trace of surprise. He plainly hadn't expected to find anyone else here. "Oh. Hey, sir."

Ygraine comes in muttering under her breath in Leonese; something she only does when she thinks no one can hear her or she's really pissed off. Or with family. At any rate, she's eyeballing the Predator sim balefully as she walks in, and is promptly a near echo of Phin. "Hey, sir." she greets Bennett, and eyeing Phin, a smirk comes to her face. "Oh, 'scuse me. sirs."

The creak of the hatch opening seems to startle Bennett out of whatever reverie she'd been lost in, and she too blinks a couple of times before finding Phin in the entryway. A slow smile follows, like she knows he's caught her red-handed being a bit naughty, and doesn't particularly mind. Blue eyes shift to Ygraine as the blonde wanders in close on his heels, and her smile inches wider. "You both look like you expected to be alone," she remarks, blowing smoke to one side while keeping her gaze on the pair. "..wait, I am not interrupting something, am I? I suddenly feel quite awkward."

The Leonese makes Phin turns his head. He recognizes it, brows arching a little. He half-opens his mouth to ask Ygraine about the muttering, but a glance back at Bennett tables whatever he was going to say. He shakes his head. "Oh. No, sir. I just wanted to look over the scores from the last few programs I ran. Hey, Yggs." The familiar indicates he's off-duty. As does the eye-roll that greets her sir'ing of him. "That still sounds so bizarre."

"It is a powerful weapon not to be used lightly. Malkin' ya blush with it's a snap." To point, Milkshake snaps her fingers, then blinks at Butch. "Gosh, no. Phinny can't afford my dowry." Beaming smile. "Someone convinced me t'try and find th'worthiness of Preds, I was gonna consider a sim, but honestly I'd rather eat ox testicles." Which are probably considered delicious in some colonies, but let's not go there.

"I hear they're a delicacy on Aerilon." Ygraine won't go there, but Bennett will. Her expression turns to mild distaste at mention of the predators, though. "Someone who?" she queries, a little dubiously. "I was just taking a peek at them, myself, Doll." The word is teased into a very slight drawl that does not seem in keeping with her claim as a former citizen of Virgon. "You are a very fine shot. Though you tend to yaw, just a tiny bit, when you're about to fire." She indicates 'tiny' between forefinger and thumb, with the hand holding her cigarette.

"I'm just a poor boy with no chocolate to barter for a bride," Phin deadpans with a half-smile at Ygraine. He snorts, as to blushing. Not that he denies how easy it is. "Preds?" This perks his interest. "I still haven't been out in the field in one. I qualified for handling them back in flight school, but always did better in Vipers. I keep meaning to try and get some flight time. If I'm tossed into one when we're doing ops over Picon, probably good to have some experience." At Bennett, his smile crooks up to a smirk. "'Fine' is a good description of my shooting, sir. I'm pretty middle on the guns, as far as the jocks go. Maybe because…I yaw?" He does not quite know what she means by this, and he hustles over to the computer to try and see.

"I would think, as a viper jock, you would have plenty of practise being immodest," the captain teases, exhaling cinnamon-scented smoke once more. She can't have many of these left; maybe today's a special occasion. After a moment or two spent savouring it, she eases off the ladder's rung and climbs down. THUMP as her boots hit the deck. "Yaw," she repeats, smiling. "You know, you nose out slightly to the left. We all have our tells."

"I don't think I can quite bring myself t'even get into a sim of the damn things." Ygraine says. "They were horrid over Picon. Just a mess. But if ya really want t'get some time in, for you, I'll suffer." Because she's that sort of friend. She looks back to Butch. "Rack time already?"

"There are daily ego drills in the berths, sir," Phin replies wryly to Bennett, grin crooking some more. "Mostly flexing and measuring. Gets you pumped to start the day." He considers what she says about his yawing seriously, though. "Really? Always feel tempted to pull right. Dominant hand and everything. Maybe I've been overcompensating…" This is plainly something he's never really thought about, simple as it is. His head tilts at Ygraine. "Last time you were out in them was with Centerfold, yeah? I think I remember that run. What was so bad about it? Anyway, I'd definitely appreciate a run through a program or two, if you're feeling charitable. Can't really get a feeling for how it's supposed to run without an ECO."

"There ain't nothin' a Pred can do that a Raptor can't, and what's more, a Pred's countermeasure suite don't work skyward, only ground based. So when you an' the rest of th'vipers had to go skyward t'deal with th'raiders?" She grits her teeth. "All we could do was sit there."

"I have to say, I am not overly fond of them either," Bennett confesses, gaze tipping away from the pair for a moment as she stubs out her clove on the viper's wing and slips it — carefully — into a pocket of her fatigues once she's sure it's out. "I was going to offer to backseat for the Lieutenant, but if you are feeling charitable, Vashti, perhaps I'll just grab a raptor. I think I had a program here that I was working on.."

"They're supposed to be quicker than a Raptor, but I can't off-hand think of a situation where I wouldn't rather have the jamming cover," Phin says, loading up in a Predator sim in any case. He pops the ECO seat open, for whoever's joining him. "And no jump engine if you just need to get the frak out. The handling feels like you're dragging compared to a Viper, too, especially if it's fully loaded. Still, if they end up sending me out to go bombing in one, best be prepared." Head tilts back to Bennett. "You flown them many times, Butch?"

Ygraine climbs up the ladder and clambers in behind Phin. "Yah, I think I'd better. Ain't like I get t'fly in th'seat behind Dolly ever, and if he's gonna practice, he may as well have th'best on hand." Arrogant, much?

Bennett sifts through a stack of discs next to the main console, checking the labels on each one. Then with a little 'aha!' she tucks one into the drive and hits the 'load' button. "Should be fun, then," she tells Ygraine with a saucy grin, jogging past the predator to clamber into the sole raptor sim. "How do you two feel about a payload drop?" Well, it's a little too late for them to protest, as the screens in each of the sims promptly flicker to life as the load completes. The intrepid pilots have just launched from the deck of an unnamed colonial escort carrier-class warship, and a red 'OBJECTIVE' marker indicating a set of coordinates on the surface of a nearby moon for a nuclear drop. Gods only know why she's been 'working on' this.

The raptor, to clarify, carries the nuke. The predator is armed to the teeth with enough explosive ordnance to take out any ground resistance they might meet for miles.

"Sounds great!" Ygraine beams. "Gives me something to do. Since I can't y'know, look for raiders." Her tone is dry. "I'll check for enemies on th'ground."

<FS3> Phin rolls Piloting: Great Success.

Phin does not immediately crash the Predator and kill them in a nuclear blast. So there's that. His handling starts out touchier than is really desirable. He plainly is used to lighter, more hyper-responsive crafts. But once he gets a feel for it he gets them going smoothly enough. "Objective locked in. On course to drop site. Milkshake, how're we looking? You pinging anything?"

<FS3> Ygraine rolls Ecm: Amazing Success.

Ygraine doesn't just get the lay of the land; she pinpoints the locations of all three SAM sites on the surface of the moon, decodes the energy output signature of a massive ECCM tower and manages to generate a full heat map of the area in question. In short, the raptor currently has no chance of its payload reaching the designated point, before having its circuitry fried and being blown out of the sky.

Bennett guides her big bird in on a lumbering trajectory after the quicker (by comparison) predator. The raptor carries only a single weapon: a menacing-looking Nova-I nuclear warhead strapped to its dorsal mount. Electronic countermeasures have been all but disabled, to reduce interference with the missile's guidance system, one presumes. "Milkshake, Butch. I'm flying pretty much blind here, so what's our situation?"

"Butch, Milkshake. I'm sending you coordinates right now. We've got three SAM sites showin' up clear as day; let us clear th'path for your delivery." She beams at the back of Phin's head. "Wanna go gator huntin'?"

"Damn…!" Phin lets out a low whistle as the ECO pinpoints…all the things. "Nice." His grin crooks again at mention of hunting. "You got the missiles, darlin', I got the time. Warm up them to drop. See if you can take a couple of them out that way. I'll try and get you a trajectory that doesn't yaw too much." He adjusts his course for a run over the nearest of the SAM sites. "Hang tight, Butch."

Though this is supposed to be serious business, by all accounts, there's a soft, unmistakeable ripple of laughter over the comms when Phin mentions his yaw. "Copy that, Milkshake. You got it, Doll; hanging tight and holding position. You say the word and I'll go."

If there is one thing to be thankful for, it's that there are no raiders in evidence around the moon, or on its surface. Though there is a non-zero chance that may change, of course. The atmosphere is thick, for a planetoid, and beneath the dense nitrogen cloud cover is a tangle of vegetation not unlike the wilds of Scorpia. If Phin can bring them low enough, the trees should provide decent cover for their attack run. As for the SAM sites themselves? Almost impossible to spot, one would guess, until one is right on top of them.

Well, they would be, if Yggy didn't see All The Things. "Ready for the run, Dolly?" she asks, admitting, "Canopy's thick down there. We definitely gotta trust our instruments. She programs the missile, tracks the targetting system, and lets the first one go. The resulting kaboom! makes her smile. "Aww, that's a sweet sound." she purrs.

"Reminds me of home. Can't see your nose in front of your Pred," Phin mutters as he skims down, down, down into the thick atmosphere. He's largely flying by Ygraine directions given the lack of visibility on their targets, and striving to avoid slamming into the trees. Which is more work than usual, with this particular program. "Sweet!" That exclaimed at the kaboom. "Lay in coordinates for the second site, Milkshake. Butch, Dolly. One down."

Milkshake's first volley of missiles is right on target; moments later, a great plume of smoke goes up somewhere off to their right. And almost simultaneously, a warning klaxxon goes off: proximity alarm. Return fire from the SAM battery, probably a heartbeat before it was destroyed. Thanks to Phin's stickhandling, the missile whizzes past them as he jukes, runs out of fuel a few seconds later, and crashes into thicket of pines with a whistle and roar of flame.

SAM batteries two and three continue to blink on Ygraine's console, overlaid with their coordinates and relative positions from the predator.

<FS3> Bennett rolls 7: Failure.
<FS3> Ygraine rolls Gunnery: Success.

"Gah!" Ygraine's response to viper pilot flying is a pretty funny sound. She's a little distracted when she goes in to target the next SAM, but thus far she remains on the ball, if not with the razor precision she had when doing her surface scan. "It's like an amusement part ride back here, Dolly!"

Bomb number two is released, and speeds off on a rapid descent trajectory much like its kin. It, too, finds its target, another column of smoke billows up and over the trees— but this time, the 'OBJECTIVE' marker does not vanish from their consoles.

<FS3> Bennett rolls 7: Failure.

Phin's handling does get sharper when those klaxons go off, reacting to them with instinctive - if kind of jerky - speed. He does not terribly want to end up SAM bait, even for a computerized missile. "Not tossing you too much, am I, Shakes? Evasives can't get too smooth this close to the treeline."

<FS3> Ygraine rolls Ecm: Great Success.

Not only was the battery not quite destroyed, but there's another missile headed right for them. And to add to their woes, Ygraine can pretty easily determine that the ECCM tower is actively trying to scramble their weapons systems.

Two SAM batteries, one tower, four bombs remaining.

"Aww, damn. Second SAM ain't quite down for th'count. And now th'tower they got is frakkin' with us. Butch, Milkshake. Keep back, we still got bucketloadsa company - Dolly, incoming, incoming!" She can't help but add fretfully, "Eventually I'm gonna run outta missiles." She moves her attention back to targetting.

<FS3> Ygraine rolls Gunnery: Good Success.
<FS3> Phin rolls Piloting: Success.

"Copy, Milkshake," answers St. Clair's smooth, melodic voice over the comms, "My bus is parked and not going anywhere." Her voice cuts out just as that second missile snakes past the assault craft, flaking off some paint but otherwise leaving her crew unscathed as Phin yet again pirouettes them out of harm's way. In the excitement of the moment, they may or may not notice that the second 'OBJECTIVE' has finally disappeared from their display.

<FS3> Bennett rolls 7: Good Success.

"Worse comes to worst, I can try and get in and hit it with our lighter guns," Phin says. Not that he sounds enthusiastic about the prospect. "Fire 'em while you got 'em, though." He tries to keep a somewhat smooth course while she's trying to fire, before veering hard up when it's off. Trying to give the thing a challenge if its weapons want to chase him, at least.

"Target destroyed!" Ygraine's cheer is short-lived though, as she adds almost as an afterthought, "One more t'go."

<FS3> Ygraine rolls Gunnery: Good Success.
<FS3> Phin rolls Piloting: Good Success.

The challenge, as it were, is not accepted; the missile is long gone, and presumably not programmed with sophisticated enough software to actually stay on target once its lock has been lost. It too crashes into a hillside some moments later with a distant -boom-.

As the third missile is loosed, however, something funny happens: instead of the door opening for the ordnance to drop, there's a high-pitched whirr and then an awful CRAAAAANK and then.. silence. The 'OBJECTIVE' light continues to blink, and the missile's detonation sequence resumes countdown.

"Milkshake, what just happened?" Phin asks. He keeps his tone calm-ish, but the countdown has an ominous ring to it.

<FS3> Ygraine rolls Ecm: Good Success.

"Oh," Ygraine says calmly, followed by a more urgent, "Oh, frak." She says quite calmly, "Dolly, if I don't get this thing rebooted when we're on the five second mark, we gotta bail out." She sets to work urgently, trying to reactivate her missile systems while keeping the countdown at the forefront of her brain.

"Frak." Phin echoes her profanity. "Understood." He shuts his mouth and lets her work, trying to keep the plane level. And putting one finger near the eject button. Just in case.

<FS3> Ygraine rolls Repair: Success.

As if they didn't have enough to deal with, that third and last SAM battery has got them in its crosshairs, and sends out not one, but two missiles in rapid succession. They pop onto DRADIS with two little chimes.

<FS3> Phin rolls Piloting: Failure.

Sputter, silence, sputter, sputter, whirr. Ygraine manages to get the missile guidance system's operating software rebooted at the eight second mark, and the doors open at six. Then the bomb is away— and promptly smokes one of the incoming missiles with an impact near enough to jar the assualt craft with a thunderous shudder. The second incoming missile broadsides the predator fairly solidly, ripping through its underbelly and tossing it the other way. The warning klaxxons going off indicate that the bird is heavily damaged, but still flyable.

"Dolly, Butch, are you all right down there?" Bennett's voice comes over the simulated comms, smooth as silk. "If we need to abort and pull you out of there.."

"We got number three in us?" Milkshake all but hollers in Dolly's ear. But the question is rhetorical as she lets a missile go anyway, because dammit.

<FS3> Ygraine rolls Gunnery: Success.
<FS3> Bennett rolls 7: Good Success.

Phin veers from the incoming missiles, but he can't turn the plane fast enough, and he takes a missile to Predator face. "Frak…!" It's bitten off with a terse sort of self-recrimination. "Milkshake, you OK back there? How bad off are we?" Because that was painful. "Butch, Dolly. We're stilly flying for now." He tries not to sound too surprised about that. "We'll holler if we need an SAR." It's a possibility he's strongly considering, but he keeps it along for now.

<FS3> Phin rolls Piloting: Good Success.

One missile away, and one remaining. The bright red 'OBJECTIVE' still blinks, teasingly, on Ygraine's console. On, off, on, off, on, off— and it stays off. The telltale plume of smoke signals that they've completed their mission. But the sudden loss of responsiveness in Phin's rudder controls suggest they may be going down imminently unless he can find a way to pull up before they hit the treeline.

"Copy that, Dolly," Bennett replies coolly, after a moment's pause.

Ygraine makes a grunting sound, adding with some veral addition, "Five by five." And then, "Dolly, pull up. Dolly, pull up, Dolly pull up." It's a very soft chant, through its urgency increases even if its volume doesn't.

Phin does more intensive muttering of "Frak" at his controls. They don't seem to be listening to him. "I'm trying. Count me down from five. If I can't get it by then, we're punching out. Butch, stand by. We might need a pick-up…" He yanks on the stick once more, with feeling.

<FS3> Phin rolls Piloting: Success.

Maybe Phin just likes to live life on the edge. After two and a half attempts to achieve correct rotation, the controls finally respond, and the assault craft obligingly noses up and over the dense treeline with perhaps a hundred feet to spare. In the distance, they may be able to spot the tower which has given them so much trouble; a slim needle-like structure whose tip vanishes into the dense nitrogen cloud cover.

And then, rather abruptly, the program ends. After tugging off her headset, Bennett explains, "I didn't quite finish it. But I will say that I'm glad you were in that back seat instead of me, Milkshake. Fantastic job, both of you."

"Thanks." Despite their rickety ending, Ygraine is positively beaming. "Phinny," she says excitedly, "That was you n' me! On th'stick! Together! For th'first time ever! And it was awesome! Thanks, Butch!" Seriously, she can only talk in exclamation points right now.

Phin lets out a long, relieved breath as the sim pod tilts up. And there's no simulated crashing. "Frak yeah!" He shouts it triumphantly, bringing the craft in for a landing. He pops the hood open so he can turn around and beam and Ygraine. And raise a hand. High-five! "That was sweet shooting, Yggs."

Bennett is smiling a little as Ygraine gushes over her pilot for the evening, and quietly goes to remove her disc from the player while the pair chat. "I've got to hit the rack. Early patrol tomorrow. Good night, you two." She winks at Ygraine, then heads on out after double-checking she's still got her clove where she left it.

Ygraine smacks her hand against Phin's, beaming. "Oh my gods," she declares with enthusiasm, "We're awesome. I am completely unsurprised by this!"

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