AWD #007: Recon of Helios Alpha
Recon of Helios Alpha
Summary: Sebstian and Zachary take a trip to Helios Alpha to recon the planets and their situation.
Date: 12/01/2013 (OOC Date)
Related Logs: None
Zachary Sebastian 
Helios Alpha System
Planets and Stars Oh My
11 - 12 January 2005

The return to Alpha is less of a shock than one might assume. They were here barely a week ago when the bombs dropped. Things haven't changed much except for the excessive silence. Jumping into the blackness at the edge of the system, the four colonies are barely visible as whitish dots and Zeus, the gas giant, its deep blue almost the color of velvet. There aren't even transponders out here, though. There's just deathly silence.

As the Raptor shimmies as it comes out of jump, Zachary reaches up and runs a redundant check on the systems to make sure they're all green. "Alright, Booboo." he accounces into the boom mic, "Just like we practiced it in the sim. This is a walk in the park. Get jamming up and ready, and prepare dradome for the long range sweep." he comments as he glances up towards the picture of Eden in the frame of pilot's window. With that, he starts his own cross-checks. "Green on DRADIS. Green on flight."

"Initializing jamming protocols." Sebastian says, voice as calm and cool as if he were in a sim. And he pokes at the little bobbling maenad he stuck on his console, sending it weeble-woobling. "Sensors are all green, Pie. Prepared to jump to the first recon point when you are."

"Slow and easy is the call of the day, Booboo." Zachary reports as he looks over the Dradis and takes out his note pad and flips on the voice recorder. "Orion actual, this is Raptor Helios Alpha, starting our sweep of the area." He looks towards the back for a moment. "From outside to inside. Let's see if the Cylons found our gas station. Set for Persephone, and keeps your eyes and ears peeled." With that, he presses forward on the throttle and brings power to the engines. "When we get in the belt, keep an eye out for stickers, and have the EMP warmed up just in case."

"I spent six years on Persephone, ECM support to the Vipers stationed there." Sebastian notes to no one in particular as he keys up his systems… jamming protocols prepared but dormant, sensors set to medium range, and DRADIS primed. He double-checks his decoys and flares. "I think I remember the key points. Putting DRADIS on passive. Jumping at my mark, Major. Five. Four. Three. Two. One." Pause. "Mark."

The FTL spools and the jump engages. With a flash outside the window, there's a sudden shift in locale and Persephone is visible off to the left side at 11 o'clock outside the canopy. Just above it, in the distance, is the small refueling outpost. The automated defense guns encircle it in a large globe, only allowing access through one side. There are no DRADIS contacts except what's expected and it seems, like the original jump into the system, very quiet.

"I knew there was a reason…" Zachary starts at one jump point…

"…I brought you along." he finishes when they reach their destination. "Powering down redundant systems." With that, he eyeballs the station. "What do you think, Lieutenant. Look like home to you?" he asks as he cues up the voice recorder. "We're at the Persephone Naval Station. It appears to be abandoned and untouched. Possible chance to grab refueling supplies if we play our cards right." With that, he clicks off the recorder. "No traffic. See if the automated landing beacons are still transmitting, Booboo. If they are, lets get a scan on it, and we'll spool up FTL for Tauron." as he works his hands on the controls, he drifts the Raptor along, making it appear to be just another piece of debris amongst the others. "I don't see any of the support fighters. Think they bugged out or headed towards the twins?" he asks idly.

"Or took over the automated defense guns." Sebastian is still calm and cool, as he scans his display, nibbling his lower lip. "That's sort of one of their things; Taking control over systems and using them against us. It's why we don't network." He triggers his scans. "I'm initializing a sweep with the LAMPS and PIRCS." Pause, and his dark eyes calmly take in the readings. "PIRCs show station is hot; We've got power and possibly crew. Defense system is also armed and functional." He considers. "Send a decoy in to see if it's friendly?" The suggestion is made conversationally.

"Sounds like a plan to me. Let me know when FTL is ready. Put us close to Minos, and we will launch the drone. If we draw trouble, we'll jump to Tauron. If not, well, someone's smiling at us tonight." With that, Zachary toggles up the drone. "Ready on your mark, Booboo."

"I have a wedding to attend." Sebastian murmurs, softly, "Lucky isn't enough." The ECO carefully programs the drone. "I'm going to send the drone at a slow interception, and immediately start spooling up the FTL. If I time it right, we'll be able to jump the moment they open fire if the systems are compromised. If not, we'll be able to jump the moment they don't open fire." That's said dryly, but still in the calm, conversational tone. "Launching. Spooling FTL system. Mark in Ninety."

Zachary watches the drone leap away from the hardpoint with a gentle rattle of the Raptor. His fingers tighten on the controls and he starts to power up the systems in case they need to go into avoidance mode. "Copy that, ready to move if needed." he comments, still casual with his tone. "So, I heard you say it was a standard colonial affair. Having it planetside or on the ship? From the sounds of it, you two don't want it on board."

The drone unclips from the pylon and the motor kicks in. It shoots off the nose and slowly curves left towards the guns systems. Seconds pass, nothing happens. At right about the ninety-second mark, the millimeter-band DRADIS kicks on, sensing a target, and one of the guns opens fire as advertised. No enemy networking required, the guns are apparently set on full auto and will attack anything getting too close.

"Planetside." Sebastian's voice goes a little warmer than usual when he's in work mode, but still conversational and calm. "But don't even think the name or sector. I have no full-proof way to guarantee we aren't being watched or eavesdropped on."

The ECO pauses, and adds, "He was born on a farm. So I want to get a close to home as I can for him." And then the guns open fire. "FTL jump ready. Coordinates locked. Looks like the guns are on auto, Pie. Making note of range for any future in depth recon." Sebastian smiles wryly, "Jumping."

"Agreed." Zachary says, being casual as he continues the conversation. The word Piraeus is the same category as that other p word - pregnancy. That's still under debate. "After next jump, prepare another check for clingers." he clicks back on the recorder. "Naval station is hot. Talk to science about taking down the defenses. Still useful for supplies." then he looks over his shoulder. "To Tauron, Booboo."

The next flash rolls across the Raptor and the ECO has put them just about where he wanted. Floating between Minos and the colony of Tauron. The moon is behind them but the Raptor's glass is facing down upon the planet and its like looking into a thick, churning black hole. Radioactive fires on the surface belch out dark clouds whilethe flames thousands of feet below still burn away at a surface so hot that most of it, very likely, is glass by now. Just by looking at it, its easy to tell that Tauron is gone. There's nothing left of this rebellious planet and its people. Almost two and a half billion lives, all the souls burned beneath the black curtain.

"Lords of Kobol." Sebastian says it softly, flatly, with a complete lack of inflection that speaks louder and more passionately than any wailing of gnashing of teeth. He takes a moment to get his center back, and then says, calmly and conversationally. "I'm reading highly enriched uranium and heavy metals consistent with a large number of high yield nuclear detonations. Roughly 8000 rads in some places, constant with the particulate readings." He pauses, "PIRCS showing several firestorms. Lakes of fire." The ECO sighs, softly, "Considering my readings, I would guesstimate the conditions fatal for more than a day of exposure, at most."

Click goes the recorder. "Tauron is glass." Zachary clicks off the recorder. "Booboo, do you see any signs of Cylon activity or where our own ships were?" With that, he nudges the stick to start to turn towards Minos. "I copy your readings." he stays calm, not saying anything, concentrate on the job at hand as he turns the small ship around in the ring. "Start cycling FTL, Picon's next up on the tour." Apparently Zachary is saving the twins for last.

"Burn the land. Boil the sea. But you can't take the sky from me." Sebastian quotes softly, almost too softly for the comm unit in his helmet to pick it up. It's spoken like scripture. The great poet Jossius Whedonius, maybe? "DRADIS contact, local to the colony and moon." Sebastian says calmly, conversationally. "Forwarding rough coordinates to you. Want to try and triangulate, or switch to active DRADIS? I can't get positive ID."

"We'll start with triangulation. Stay on task with me, Booboo." It's said conversationally, but it carries the undertone to remind Sebastian of the job ahead of them. Zachary takes hold of the stick and uses careful and controlled bursts to bring the Raptor into higher orbit around the moon.

At the ECO station, Sebastian snorts. "I'm cool, Pie." Sebastian says, raising his voice to conversational level, tone wry. "Keeping DRADIS passive; Waiting on your order to switch to active." Pause, and he glances over his scanners, eyes never leaving his station and monitoring that little bleep of an active DRADIS.

"Just keep staying cool, Booboo. What type of cake flavor did you want, anyway?" Zachary say as he works the controls gently. "Come on, Eden, lead me to something good."

It doesn't take a lot to turn the Raptor, spinning it in place. A couple short blasts with the thrusters and the nose of the Raptor comes around to face Minos, the large moon of Tauron. What they see is not nearly as bad as can be seen now behind them, though. The cities on the moon, visible from this distance, don't look too badly off. There are some evident blast areas near the flat areas of the spaceports and there is very little in the way of movement on the ground, but otherwise the surface of the moon seems to have been lightly hit.

"Good question." Sebastian answers calmly, most of his attention on the ECO station. But he's not a rook fresh out of Flight School; He's learned how to split his attention. "That really depends on what flavors you can lay your hands on. Thaddeus is the sentimental one. Him and his little book of days." The ribbing is said fondly, with a smile that's audible in his voice. Being a married man, Zachary is probably more understanding than most would be.

"Initiating LAMPS and PIRCS." Sebastian glances over his screen as readings begin to come in. "Lords of Kobol." Sebastian says it again, without inflection. "LAMPS shows only light particulates consistent with nuclear warheads. Rad levels are within tolerable limits for temporary exposure. It'll take years to kill at these levels. Cities show conventional damage, mostly centered around the spaceports."

There's silence for several seconds, and then Sebastian says, calmly and without inflection. "Pie, it was intentional. They left the population centers of Minos intact, with all the infrastructure to survive but not leave the planet. They will watch Tauron burn while slowly dying of radiation poison over the course of years."

Zachary draws in a breath. "Frak." He rarely, if ever, lets that word slip his lips. Forgotten for the moment is the businesslike attitude as his hand clutches the throttles. Thousands, maybe tens of thousands, left to die. He presses the record button, and speaks slowly. "Minos. Survivors. No areas to dock. Suggest we consider CSAR action to take, or at least drop off packages as we can scavange." he lets out a slow breath.

"I'm not going to take us down there to take a closer look, Booboo." he finally comments as he clips off the recorder and his fingers flex off of the stick to look over his shoulder. "Give me one active ping on the contact." he finally says. "Be ready to jam and arm missiles if it's friend of foe reds out." Something to take both of their minds off the mess below. "And prepare for the jump for Picon."

"DRADIS contacts made." Sebastain says calmly, forwarding the information to Zachary's station. "Looks like.. Raiders. Whatever the big ping is, it's offline." Sebastian's silent for several moments. "Whatever it is, it might be important; They situated it around a planet that they took the time to completely and utterly neutralize." Minos isn't even mentioned, as if the people there were as dead as those on Tauron.

"Copy that. Get the FTL spooled up, I'm taking us into the Minos ring to keep the sniffers off of our backs." Zachary says, pushing the stick forward to push them down towards the ring of rocks and wreckage around the moon.

"FTL spooling. Jump on my mark." Sebastian says, keeping a close eye on his screens in case of even the least bit of alteration on the DRADIS pings. He takes a deep breath, letting it out slowly. "Thaddo's sister was stationed on Picon." That's said softly, and he glances towards Zachary. "Mark."

One of the more militarized planets among the Colonies, Picon is also the home of Colonial Fleet Headquarters at Perkinston. Its rich culture and proud history of military support would likely make it a logical target. With the close proximity to Tauron and Gemenon, two obliterated colonies, Helios Alpha does not seem to hold a lot of hope for survivors. This turquoise pearl of Alpha blinks into view in front of them from roughly the range of a distant moon and.. its strange. But for a few dark smudges across the atmosphere, particularly one very large one at Perkinston, the planet looks mostly intact. Immediate DRADIS contacts in the space around the Raptor return with several indistinct returns and likely wreckages. However, there are no immediate signs of Raider activity to the naked eye or the ECO in back. What /is/ visible are at least three basestars, their spires pointing up just over the horizon, on the far side of the planet — though the actual body of each ship is hidden behind the horizon.

The activity on the far end looks much higher than on this side, too. Whatever is happening here, this is not a dead planet. Or captured. As soon as the DRADIS begins returning its myriad of odd contacts, the other antennas on the Raptor begin working and they are not silent. Communications frequencies light up with a mix of static-filled conversations and some shouts and yells. Automatic weapons and artillery can be heard booming on others. though pushing through it is one relatively powerful radio set that beams through perfectly clear on the Raptor's comms. It has to be a radio set designed to work with aircraft.

The voice is female and stoic. There is a tired, almost fatalistic determination to the radio calls. The steady 'whumpwhumpwhump' of a heavy machinegun kicks in the background, as do the calls for ammunition and warnings to targets. Desperation. It fades in, "-urgent surgicals, one is unit commander. All are litter. There are active Centurions in the area and request additional air support for hot extraction of patients. Can mark position with smoke. Over." Plodding determination, calm in the face of what sounds like a rough battle. She pauses for exactly eight seconds. "Any aircraft, any aircraft, Picon Four Four Seven One Niner Five, this is Golf Zero Four. We have three urgent surgicals, one is unit commander…" And she repeats the entire call over again.

As the radio suddenly springs to life, Zachary's brows lift and he immediately turns down the noise that they were so desperatedly hoping for since the jumps began. "Booboo." he says, fingers setting on the controls, as he lifts his head up and looks back.

"Can you get me a lock on that transmission?" he finally asks. He looks back towards Sebastian, and his lips thin out. "…put it on the record, I'm doing this of my own free will. You want to tell me not to, now's the time." he says simply as he waits for the answer.

"Lock on transmission, Pie." Sebastian says, not even hesitating for a moment. And in that calm, conversational tone the two have been using, Sebastian adds, "No. Don't go, sir." He pauses, then adds, "Transmission locked. Forwarding coordinates to your screen." He scans his screen. "They'll know we're here. It'll have to be snatch and grab. I can't even begin to tell you their speed of response."
"Good." Zachary says, acknowledging that it's only his ass on the line and Sebastian took his hint. The CSAR driver flips down his visor, and brings it up. "Angling for a drop window. Shunt power from DRADOME, bring up ECMs and arm pods one and two for covering fire. Snatch and grab? Walk in the park." he promises, "I'll have you home in time for Thaddeus to kiss the bride." he looks back forward, and cues up the radio.

Nothing changes in the meantime. Golf Zero Four continues her calls as the sound of automatic fire in the background intensifies. Sebastian, having handled a door gun before, would know that at those sustained rates? That heavy gunner is going to melt a barrel and then the gun is useless. Either the gunner has no idea or its getting that desperate down there.

"Golf Zero Four, this is Orion Romeo Echo Six Two. Confirm last transmission. Pop blue smoke. Say again, pop blue smoke. We will be coming in hot. Prepare for rescue drop. Over." And with that, he sets for the drop window to head the Raptor for the planet at the fastest possible speed, coaxing the Raptor in. "Come on, Eden, we've got a job to do."

It takes several seconds for the radio call from the Raptor to hit Golf, but when it does, its obvious. The call for Medevac goes silent and the voice on the other end goes into disbelief. "Holy shi- sir!" she calls away from the. "We got tac inbound!" she yells and its met by cheers. "Orion Romeo Echo Six Two," the woman comes back strong. "This is Golf Zero Four, your IP is given coordinates. Take heading tree-six-ze/ro/ for one-ze/ro/ miles. Altitude is one-one-five-ze/ro/. Target is Centurions in the open! Target is unmarked but you can't miss 'em! Be advised we are pinned down under heavy fire half a mile north on the hillside and will mark our position with blue smoke! Egress is whatever-the-hell-you-want! Skies are clear!" The Raptor shakes and rattles as it hits atmo and begins its fast descent towards the coordinates.

"Golf Zero Four, copy coordinates.." Zachary says, the normal atmospheric interference cutting into the transmission as he drops into the atmosphere and the bus shutters with the descent. "Hold on to your panties, Booboo, we're about to get sloppy." he comments in that same casual way.

He glances at the readings, punching in the coordinates. Then he cues up the radio again. "Three six zero, one zero, copy. Do you require fire support for extraction, over?" he asks, and gestures back to his ECO as he cuts the radio. "Arm pods one and two." he orders simply. "Prepare to send out a covering spread."

"We take turns being the bride, sir." Sebastian says with a straight face, even as he anticipates orders and preps the systems. He lets Zachary handle radio traffic, focusing on his various systems. "I've got missiles prepped and all ECM systems online and prepared for activation." He closes his eyes as they hit atmo, attempting to get himself centered and focused. He isn't a trained CSAR, unlike Zachary. When he's given clear orders, he goes to work, calmly and voice never leaving the conversational tone. "Pods armed. Swallows online and prepared for launch on your mark, sir." Pause. "You know once we have them, we won't be able to risk a recon of the twins."

"If you got the ord, we got the targets, Six Two!" she calls back. Her voice is clipped and huffed as if she were running. A few moments pass and her voice comes back after some very loud rifle fire. "Smoke out, Six Two! You're cleared hot! Lay it on down, over!" She can be heard to call out about incoming support and then the radio clips out when she stops transmitting. Out ahead, though, as the Raptor finishes its descent and move towards the target, the faintest whisps of blue smoke can be seen on a rugged, rocky hillside up a valley. The sun beating down overhead catches the tops of several dozen Centurions moving up the valley and firing, tracers pointing their way back to the bulletheads. Targets acquired.

"Booboo, get a tone and surpress those tin-plated bastards." Zachary still sounds calm, but the concentration is in his tone as he tears the Raptor through the sky. "I'm going to drop the rear hatch and back us in slow and steady." He considers for a moment, then adds, just casually. "That's what he said, I'm sure." And with that, he radios.

"Cavalry incoming, Golf Zero Four. Load and go, there's no time for bathroom breaks or drink runs." Zachary comments over the radio as he drops in just over the lip of the hills, hands deftly working over the controls as he does so. "As soon as we're cleared and sealed, spool the FTL. Hopefully our patients will stay well through at least a couple of hops. We already know the situation with the twins. I was at Avery Hall." he reminds Sebastian as he prepares to land after the spread is away.

"Firing." Sebastian sounds a little tight when he says it; Gunnery is not his area of expertise. "Lords of Kobol, let Marie be one of the survivors." Sebastian murmurs, softly, before he raises his voice. "Target hit. Watching for any locks from the Basestars and jamming on their targeting systems prepared. Take us in, sir."

"We need a way to take out Centurions." Sebastian says with a hint of distaste as they open fire. "Maybe I'll talk to Button about rigging some jamming pods." He then goes calm and conversational. He unstraps himself, and all but throws himself towards the rear.

"Make a note of it." A bullet plucks against the glass where his head is, and Zachary barely ducks down his head at the idea, looking back where it nicked the glass. "Let me know when they're aboard, we'll seal while breaking contact."

As the dust and dirt clears off the landing area, the Raptor's cockpit is facing towards the defensive line and the situation becomes more visible. Its a rough horseshoe around the side of the hill and this group had deployed out across a rocky outcropping when their way around the mountain road had become blocked by a landslide ahead on the road. Possibly an ambush. There are probably forty or fifty of them in all, a mix of different kinds of uniforms. Some Marine, some Navy, and a lot of treeflage hunting gear — a lot of it haphazardly assembled. Everyone has weapons and is loaded down with full kits, though. …and some of the smaller of the troops don't even look old enough to drive, let alone be enlisted in the military. One girl, maybe fourteen or fifteen, is patching a graze on an older gentleman's arm with her rifle slung around her shoulders. The Corpsmen and Marines are already running the litters over, all three have IV's held up in the air. They don't waste any time inviting themselves in and flipping up the seats in the bird to attach stretchers to the side. Another Marine is helping over a woman with a radio pack as she tries to cycle her legs to keep walking while holding a bandage to her side.

There's no way he can get them all in his bird, and he knows it. Zachary looks back, watching Sebastian as he escorts people in. "Come on, come on." he murmurs, praying for a quick load and a return, and maybe they can try this again. He knows in his heart there's no chance of that, but he's still holding out a hope. "Get them aboard! Dump the kits, dump weapons, make as much room as you can!" he calls out to the inboard troops. "Put people in the laps of those on the litters if you have to! Dump the gear!" Finally, he shows his command voice. "Get rid of the radio pack, we have your position marked!"

"They crammed fifteen into the mail raptor, Booboo. Make it work." Zachary says simply, voice back to near normal. "Throw the protocols out. Stack and stack again if we can."

The soldiers scrambling in the back of the Raptor pretty much just ignore the crew inside. Once the litters are attached to the walls and IVs hung, they all dive back out. One of them gives Sebastian a 'Are you serious?' look. The woman sits heavily onto the winglet at the entrance and her radio pack and backpack is stripped off. She hands over her rifle and kit and is helped up into the Raptor and she kneels on the floor before collapsing back. One of the Marines claps onto the side of the Raptor. "All loaded!" he shouts in, the guy wearing Master Sergeant pins. "Get 'em up to the camp at Site Anvil, pronto! Thanks for the support, sirs! Saved a lot of lives today!" There's another bang of a fist and he makes a hand gesture to get everyone back from the Raptor, but most of them are already moving back towards their firing positions. Nobody else seems interested in leaving.

The ECO doesn't even bother to answer the person giving him a fish-eye. He simply checks the occupancy of the Raptor and moves to take his ECO station. "Loaded, sir." Sebastian tells Zachary, even as he's settling in. "Let's get airborne and prepare for jump."

There is no plans to go to Site Anvil. As he lifts off the ground, Zachary starts to close the door, the last of the smoke and dust wafting around the cabin. "Booboo, dump the javelins into that front line. Give them something to remember us by." Even as he's doing that, he's already preparing to throttle up to break contact and race for space.

The woman in the back, in her earlier thirties with dark hair in a bun, is wearing a beaten Marine uniform and has Staff Sergeant rank on. She's holding that bloody bandage to her side as she sits up to lean against the rear of the Raptor. "Jump?! Get us to Anvil!" she breathes heavily, eyes looking between the two. She swallows hard and suddenly looks nervous as her breathing increases in pace.

"Locking on targets." Sebastian ignores the marine's frantic talk, although he does flick a glance towards Zach. Not only are they ignoring orders, but now they're kidnapping. "Most people get hookers and blow for their bachelor parties, Pie." Sebastian says, dryly, over the comm between helmets. "You get me insubordination and kidnapping."

His missiles fire, and decimate the front lines. "Targets neutralized. Take us out of here, sir."

Zachary doesn't even look back to answer the Sergeant balking at the idea that they're running. Once the javelins are away, and the door's sealed, he throttles up the engine and punches it to race skywards, rattling the ship and the occupants of the cabin and deployment area. "Find something to hold onto, folks, this is going to be bumpy."

"I'll make sure to put it in your permanent record, Booboo. Right after I burn the file." Zachary smirks a little as he focuses on his task. "Spool FTL, prepare for jump to quarantine point, we'll prepare to radio home and let them know to keep us a plate warm."

"Hey, I said no to deviating from orders." Sebastian protests, genially, as he works at his station, preparing the FTL drive. "Spooling FTL. Preparing for jump to the first quarantine point." He pauses, "I'll scan for trackers and warn them we have wounded."

Once free of the planet's gravity well and atmosphere, Zachary lets go of the controls and looks back to the full cabin and then to Sebastian. If they only had more room. Or more Raptors. "…start the trip home, Booboo." he finally says, and looks back forward and up to the picture of his wife in the corner. "Thank you, sweetheart." he says quietly.

Speaking of sweethearts… Sebastian pokes his little dancing Maenad, sending her wobbling about. "We have a safe, secure location." Sebastian tells the people in the cabin, his voice calm and assured. "It will take several jumps to get there. Both to cover the distance and to lose any potential Cylons trailing us. I'm going to attempt to get us there as fast as I can with my limited FTL." He's already got the FTL spooling, and when it comes online? "First jump. Mark."

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