MD #077: Red Wings - Air
MD #077: Red Wings - Air
Summary: A strike mission is diverted to assist a hastily planned Marine insertion on Calumet.
Date: Fri 23/Jun/2017 (OOC Date)
Related Logs: None.
Casey Diaz Idris Jacob Melissa Niko 
Over Calumet
And then it all went wrong.
Mon 08/Jan/2029 (IC Date)

The briefed strike is to hit two different Skath railway depots near the mountains about 200 miles north of the bunker. The snows have recently melted off with a late season heatwave bringing more comfortable temperatures to the area, though Weather says there's more snow coming in a week and will likely sock the region in until Spring swings back around. The sites are heavily defended with AAA and SAMs with potential Raiders.

While arming up on the deck and getting pre-flighted there are about twenty special forces Marines that seemed to have appeared out of nowhere. Fully kitted for battle, they all look anxious and angry. A few of them, the officers (one of them a Major) is stalking back and forth between ranking people from Tactical who are trying to get something done. Rumor on the Deck is that they are trying to get onto a Rhino and go tear-assing at the planet for something. Same rumors say they've been hiding on one of the transport ships and conducting some deep recon without making their presence known. They're still there when the strike pushes for the elevators and take-off.

The descent into Calumet's atmo is as expected. There are beautiful blue skies in the late afternoon sun. Scattered clouds at 25,000 feet threaten nothing but the blanket of blue that is shimmered by the auroras provided by the electromagnetic flares, which have been worse the last few days and made communication harder at high altitude. So far everything seems quiet as they cruise in slowly from 60,000 feet, heading north towards their target zone still 150 miles away.

The brief for their assigned mission was fairly straightforward. The CAG was driving a Predator loaded with missiles and an ECM so he can be strike lead, while Vogue was Viper lead. Dropping down through atmo and out of the aurora, Niko sits relatively easy in the Predator. Once they're clear of the static he checks in on the wireless.

Melissa is in a Predator with a full load of bombs and missiles. The gun up front is fully loaded with the 30mm rounds, too. The engines are left at just above idle as they cruise on in. Eyes out and ahead, she only casually glances to her instruments to make sure everything is kosher.

[Into the Wireless] Niko says, "Flight, Scythe. Target ahead, let's get this done and go home."

Having kept a curious eye on the special forces marines while doing the pre-flight check, Diaz had taken one last look at the highly agitated marines and the folk from Tactical who look like they have a hell of a task on their hands, Diaz brings the Viper into formation with the rest of the wing as the descent into atmo is completed. A sigh is given, and inside the quiet of the cockpit it's ok to give a sigh when there's even a few moments of beautiful blue skies and late afternoon sun to enjoy. Maintaining position Diaz guides the Viper into a brief wing-waggle to settle herself and make sure that the Viper is responding at optimal performance, best to check these things now before the shooting starts. She's a viper pilot, there's always a chance that the shooting will start.

"So what was all that noise about back at the hangar right? You think the Marines are concerned about something?" Casey asks Melissa over ship comms as she starts to monitor DRADIS when they enter atmo. She certainly won't chatter on once they're approaching the target zone, but for now…well she's been dying to get Melissa's take on it.

Idris hasn't flown a mission since he got shot down over Calumet on the SAR to find Captain Wescott and Casey. For the second time in far too short a span, Captain Bloodfeather nearly bled to death from his wounds and also lost his viper. But he seems to have recovered nicely and has returned to his full duties. Perhaps the CAG and DCAG haven't seen much of him since leaving medical for Idris now bears a number of fresh small scars intentionally cut into his face along his upper cheekbones right beneath each of his dark eyes. They number the same as his marks on the Ready Room killboard, if anyone happened to notice.

As they descend into the atmosphere of Calumet, Bloodfeather is sharp enough, nothing timid about him after his second near death.

[Into the Wireless] Idris says, "Scythe, Vogue Copies. Diaz and I have got you two covered, over."

[Into the Wireless] A voice comes over comms, "Dodger Strike," that's the Predators heading for the railroad, "this is Gunfighter. We are Rhino inbound to target and put boots on the ground. You have orders to divert immediately direct from fleet command. Take head two-seven-zero and you will see us descending. Do you copy, Dodger?"

<FS3> Diaz rolls Alertness: Good Success.

<FS3> Melissa rolls Alertness: Success.

<FS3> Casey rolls Alertness: Success.

<FS3> Niko rolls Alertness: Good Success.

<FS3> Idris rolls Alertness: Good Success.

<FS3> Idris rolls Alertness: Success.

<FS3> Niko rolls Alertness: Good Success.

<FS3> Diaz rolls Alertness: Good Success.

<FS3> Diaz rolls Alertness: Success.

<FS3> Niko rolls Alertness: Good Success.

[Into the Wireless] Niko keys the wireless, not all pleased with the potential diversion. First up he calls his people. "Flight, Scythe. Stay on course and stand by." Then he replies to the unexpected call. "Gunfighter, Dodger lead. Say your code authorization for change of orders, over."

[Into the Wireless] Gunfighter says, "Authorization Romeo Zulu."

[Into the Wireless] Niko says, "Gunfighter, Dodger lead acknowledges. On our way." Then Niko informs the flight. "Flight, Scythe. We're being diverted to help land jarheads. Gunfighter is on descent at our eight o'clock. Come left to Two-Seven-Zero. Vogue, lead us down."

[Into the Wireless] Idris says, "Scythe, Vogue. Wilco, over."

"I have no idea. I haven't seen that many rough people looking so keyed up in a long time. I wouldn't want to be on the recieving end of whomever they are trying to go meet up with," Melissa muses to Casey. She can't imagine what the hell they are going to get into… until that radio call. She snaps her attention to the west, looking high up into the sky and then back down towards her own flight, waiting for the turn. Once Niko calls it, she tilts her head into the turn to follow Idris on his way outbound to the West.

There is a grimace at their unexpected mission abortion and change of orders. Bloodfeather doesn't much like it but he makes certain his tone over the radio is smooth and cooporative. Then he rolls his viper around smoothly to come around to port and take up the new coordinate heading. His dark eyes seek for the visual even as his HUD feeds him confirmation. A quick glance also checks that all the others including Diaz are following suit for their new intercept.

[Into the Wireless] Idris says, "Diaz, Vogue. Stay frosty. I'm sure those Jarheads will lead us into the shit, over."

Altering course accordingly, Diaz shares a sidelong glance toward Vogue as the comm chatter fills the cockpit, listening intently to the instructions. Then the challenge and answer as it's confirmed before she makes that subtle wiggle of the Viper's wings again and is turning to match acceleration and angle with Vogue.

[Into the Wireless] Diaz says, "Vogue, Diaz, the statistical probability of that is very high, over."

"What the-" Casey clicks her own comms off when she realizes it's on. As Melissa pulls the predator into the turn, Casey's eyes return to DRADIS. "Something's fishy." It's not like she didn't take in the seeming chomping-at-the-bit-ness of the Marines on the hangar. She briefly wonders how quickly whatever plan is in motion actually came to be. "Okay this is weird," she says to Melissa over ship comms. "The mission that is," she tacks on when she realizes her words could cause some alarm.

As they all come westbound towards the heading, they start to make out the contrail of the descending Rhino. Its moving probably about the limits of the airframe on a descent. The engines are pushing out enough energy to read bright on the IR sensors and they can see the vapor cone at the front of the black speck as it rides right along the speed of sound. Wherever they are heading, they aren't getting there slow. Descending past the altitude of the strike force, they aren't slowing their velocity at all and are going to outpace the strike from providing air cover.

[Into the Wireless] A broken transmission comes over the radio, buried in static and ambient gunfire, "…tion, this is Hawker.. -verrun!" The speaker sounds weak and the gunfire close. "-lerics on the ground. Position half mile szzzzblrk- -ckpoint Whip. Need imm- …" The static waves in heavy with the gunfire. "We need help. We.. need.." There's a close-by gunshot and the transmission ceases. Gunfighter comes back on quickly, "Hawker, this is Gunfighter. Support inbound. Pop smoke at your position, over." With silence met on the other end, Gunfighter repeats the call and gets nothing.

Looking back over his shoulder Niko spots the contrails where 'Gunfighter' is coming down towards their LZ. "Frak," he mutters to himself. Then he gets on the wireless again to coordinate and get their mission turned around and headed down. He waits for Idris to start the turn, keeping his Pred in formation while calling back to his ECO. "Osterman, throw out the mission data and warm up the seat of your pants. We're improvising." The transmission from the ground earns another grimace, but Scythe stays off the air and leaves Gunfighter to do the talking. Hopefully these guys know what the frak they're doing.

Melissa follows through the turn, listening to the radio. She can feel her heartrate climbing and grips the throttle, waiting to shove it up to the stops. "What's wrong, Ensign?" she says into her intercom.

Jacob clears his throat softly from the back of Niko's predator and mutters as he listens to the transmission, "Well, that didn't sound good." Then a moment later, still not over the wireless, just to Niko, "Thats a yes /sir/. Got plenty of toys and no one to play with back here. Gimme someone to frak with."

Idris pushes his viper hard to try and close some of the distance lest the Marines and their pilot require air support. But damn that Rhino is going fast, dropping hard. Idris licks his lips, eyes alert to any sign of Raiders and as they too are about to decend lower, he's looking for signs of SAMS or other ground concerns that might rise to meet them, as well as what sort of terrain those Jarheads are about to hit. Surely they are all watching out for signs of smoke - colored or otherwise, something to give them clues as to what might be going on below. But as Viper lead, most of Vogue's attention is on the sky - lest they get company up here.

"It just-" but then Casey clips out, probably to listen to the incoming transmission. "Clerics," she mutters to herself. After the transmission ends, she clicks back onto their intercom, "Nothing. It doesn't matter. Just focus on the mission. Keeping my eyes peeled on sensors." It's a subtle reassurance that she's not distracted by whatever crossed her mind.

Keeping an wary eye on the DRADIS and on the deck as well, Diaz keeps glancing at the Rhino and trying very hard not to calculate what sort of impact crater that vehicle would make if the pilot OF said vehicle doesn't get a better handle on the angle and rate of descent. It takes some serious effort on the part of the pilot, in fact, to keep from doing that. One does NOT tell a jarhead how to do anything, as a general rule.

They're all cruising down at high speed in the trail of the Rhino. Its still a good distance ahead of them, easily a few miles. It does start to flare and slow, though, and head towards a set of very rock mountain peaks. The whole terrain below is nothing but sharp granite, trees, and dirt patches. From the distance they can see tracers flying in two main directions, but then from the mountain peak it suddenly stops. The Rhino starts angling directly for an outcropping and as the strike begins to close on the Rhino, they can see the rear ramp of the ship drop and kick out ropes to the rocky outcropping. The manned turrets on the ship are firing into the nearby trees along the peak but there's no apparent return fire. The first Marine reaches for the rope to start his descent when there's a burst of flying ground debris and smoke from the trees. The object flies right into open rear end of the Rhino and explodes. Then another from right next to the first launch. The second rocket blows the tail clean off the Rhino and it noses forward, lurching, trailing smoke as the cockpit begins to separate from the rest of the ship. As it does, it catches a rock and rips off, nosing underneath the rest of the frame. Only two of the Marines manage to make flying leaps from the ramp and end up on the rocky outpost they had meant to land on. The rest of the Rhino, containing to passenger and crew compartments packed with Third Recon, hits the rocks below the cliff face and explodes. Munitions cook off next, throwing shrapnel everywhere and knocking limbs and even whole trees down.

Niko winces as the trap is sprung the the Rhino is blown out of the air. "Godsdamn son of a bitch mother frakker," he curses into the intercom. "Osterman, you see where that launch was on the ground? That's our target." Without further ado, Scythe jams the stick hard over and hits the throttle, turning hard onto an attack vector and putting the nose down.

[Into the Wireless] Niko says, "Flight, Scythe. I count two survivors on the ground. Billboard and I will cover them. Vogue, keep an eye out up top and try to contact anyone in the area. See if we can relay to Orion and get some evac in here."

Melissa watches the approach of Gunfighter and slows the Predator, climbing a little and starting a wide circle. She watches down low, swinging her head gently with the rock of the atmosphere on the ship. But when the RPGs hit, she nearly bangs her faceplate into the canopy glass. "No.. NO!" she blurts into the intercom. Watching the wreckage tumble down the mountain, she can feel her blood run cold. She follows Niko down into the target area, "Casey, put every missile you have on that mountaintop," she breathes, voice emotionless.

[Into the Wireless] Melissa says, "Copy, sir. Two's in hot, your four o'clock."

Jacob swears under his breath, "Sunofab…" then clears his throat, "Checking to see if we got a fast relay upstairs in range. I got an approximate area for you, Colonel, but this aint gonna be precise. Racks are all yours and…" He pauses for a moment to mess with the controls, "Trees are obscuring, but we land a cluster either of those places, we're ruining their day.

[Into the Wireless] Idris says, "Scythe, Vogue Copies."

The others start to dive in closer but this time Vogue is hanging up higher and not going in low. Overwatch for a viper is better done up higher where he and Diaz can keep eyes and instruments out for anything else flying inbound. While he has his eyes on a swival, Idris begins to scan his radio frequencies to see if he can pick up anything on channels Coloniels would normally use, or even the Arpay if they have that intel. But anyone else known to be in the area or bases? Nada. None he is aware of. Captain Bloodfeather doesn't start transmitting anything in the blind, but he quietly seeks as he and Diaz circle wide above, watchful and listening.

[Into the Wireless] Idris says, "Diaz, Vogue. Skim known Coloniel channels in case we can pick up anything. This area's pretty remote. No ops bases within radio that I'm aware of, over."

Diaz's expression is set along grim lines as she maneuvers away from Vogue and takes a closer position to provide cover to the Predators and their crew, scanning DRADIS and taking aim at the distinctive profile of a grenade launcher. Her hands move over the controls, working the angle and the trajectory to work on the firing solution before she opens fire.

[Into the Wireless] Diaz says, "Flight, Diaz. Maneuvering to provide cover fire, over."

<COMBAT> Melissa attacks Soldier3 with 30MM MINIGUN but MISSES!

<COMBAT> Sldrgrp2 attacks Melissa with LMG - ARMOR on Body stops the attack!

<COMBAT> Niko attacks Soldier2 with 30MM MINIGUN - Moderate wound to Left Arm.

<COMBAT> Jacob uses a Missile HE!
<COMBAT> EXPLOSION! Very Far From Sldrgrp2 - Light wound to Head.

<COMBAT> Diaz attacks Soldier1 with KEW - Light wound to Left Hand.

<COMBAT> Soldier3 attacks Melissa with Rifle but MISSES!

<COMBAT> Soldier2 attacks Niko with LMG and MISSES!

<COMBAT> Soldier1 uses a Grenadelaunch Frag!
<COMBAT> EXPLOSION! Pretty Close To Predator-8036n - ARMOR on Body stops the attack!
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Predator-8036n - ARMOR on Body stops the attack!
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Predator-8036n - ARMOR on Body stops the attack!
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Predator-8036n - ARMOR on Body stops the attack!

<COMBAT> Sldrgrp4 attacks Idris with Rifle - ARMOR on Body stops the attack!

<COMBAT> Sldrgrp3 attacks Idris with LMG - ARMOR on Controls stops the attack!

<COMBAT> Sldrgrp1 attacks Niko with Rifle and MISSES!

<COMBAT> Soldier5 attacks Diaz with LMG - ARMOR on Left Wing stops the attack!

<COMBAT> Soldier4 attacks Niko with Rifle - ARMOR on Body stops the attack!

The two Marines take up a fighting position, but its clear both of them are badly injured just from how they are moving. One of them isn't moving his legs and has to drag himself to the rocky position the other is already fighting from. Both are doing their best to put a lot of fire into the treeline only twenty meters away. Meanwhile four contacts pop up on DRADIS. Four Skath Raiders, sixty miles and closing fast. They'll be on top of the support strike in four minutes.

[Into the Wireless] The voice is scratchy, pained, "Dodger, this is Gunfighter, party of two." There's a string of shots at rapid single-shot. "We're in bad shape. Don't you let us get captured, over."

[Into the Wireless] Idris says, "Flight, Vogue. DRADIS shows four enemy contacts inbound. Range 60 miles, ETA four minutes. Skath Raiders. Diaz, I'm going to need you up here, over."

Niko makes a pass, raking the tree line with 30mm rounds from the nose minigun. Then he pulls back on the stick and eases the Predator back skyward. Banking and looking over his shoulder as he circles, the CAG tries to get a picture of what is going on down on the ground. "Frak," is his opinion. And then he hears the voice over the wireless and keys his mic to talk to the survivors on the ground.

[Into the Wireless] Niko says, "Gunfighter, Dodger lead. We're trying to find you a ride son, but it doesn't look good. Hold out as long as you can." Then he switches over to air to air. "Vogue, Scythe copies. Any other friendlies in the area?""

[Into the Wireless] Diaz says, "Vogue, Diaz, making one more round to provide cover then coming up top, over."

Jacob mutters something uncomplimentary when the missiles hit and do not have spectacular results, though he volunteers, "Impact on target, enemy guns still active. Sir, we're gonna be cutting it close to get an evac raptor on to get those two before the inbounds make things difficult.

Melissa lets fly with a string of 30mm fire into the mountain top but does nothing except piss off some rocks and trees. "Frak!" She shoves the throttles up and banks them through a high-G turn. She grunts through it, bringing them back around. She dives right at the mountaintop and where that goddamned exploding round might have come from.

Diaz's fire only wings the soldier with the grenade launcher, if 'wing' is the correct phrase when plunking away at the soldier from afar. She mutters to herself as she comes back around, keeping an eye on the soldiers swarming over the ground like roaches and marking the position that the marines are at, coordinate wise, just in case. She speaks briefly into the com as she banks, again, and circles back around for that last pass before she'll start to climb.

[Into the Wireless] Idris says, "Scythe, Vogue. Negative, nothing we can pick up so far. Didn't think it wise to broadcast blind. More likely you're going to have to go in and get those Marines out ourselves, over."

"I hear you, Osterman," Niko tells Jacob over the intercom. The ECO has a point, but the CAG does not seem ready to give up just yet. He watches Diaz's viper and Billboard's predator maneuvering while coming to a decision.

<COMBAT> Jacob uses a Missile HE!
<COMBAT> EXPLOSION! Pretty Close To Sldrgrp2 - Moderate wound to Head.
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Sldrgrp2 - Light wound to Neck.

<COMBAT> Diaz attacks Soldier1 with KEW but MISSES!

<COMBAT> Soldier3 attacks Melissa with Rifle but MISSES!

<COMBAT> Sldrgrp2 attacks Idris with LMG but MISSES!

<COMBAT> Melissa uses a Bomb Racks!
<COMBAT> EXPLOSION! Right Next To Soldier1 - Critical wound to Head.
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Soldier1 - Critical wound to Right Hand.
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Soldier1 - Critical wound to Right Hand.
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Soldier1 - Critical wound to Right Foot.
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Soldier1 - Critical wound to Left Hand.
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Soldier1 - Critical wound to Right Arm.
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Soldier1 - Serious wound to Left Arm.
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Soldier1 - Moderate wound to Left Hand.

<COMBAT> Soldier5 attacks Idris with LMG - Light wound to Weapon.

<COMBAT> Soldier4 attacks Melissa with Rifle - ARMOR on Nose stops the attack!

He's up well over the action taking place below but a few stray rounds aimed up his way to ping off his viper. Small arms stuff, no missiles. Bloodfeather ignores whatever's shooting at him and climbs somewhat higher and perhaps out of range of the small stuff. Idris isn't a ground pounder and he saves his own missiles for what's incoming. Now /that/ is his job, dealing with Skath Raiders. He lets Diaz shoot up what she can while she still has time left as Vogue tries a few channels to see if can scatch up any additional Colonial air support.

<COMBAT> Soldier2 attacks Diaz with LMG but MISSES!

<COMBAT> Soldier1 uses a Grenadelaunch Frag!
<COMBAT> EXPLOSION! Close To Predator-8036n - ARMOR on Body stops the attack!
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Predator-8036n - NEAR MISS!
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Predator-8036n - Light wound to Weapon.
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Predator-8036n - ARMOR on Left Wing stops the attack!
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Predator-8036n - ARMOR on Controls stops the attack!

<COMBAT> Sldrgrp4 attacks Diaz with Rifle - ARMOR on Left Wing stops the attack!

<COMBAT> Sldrgrp3 attacks Melissa with LMG and MISSES!

<COMBAT> Sldrgrp1 attacks Niko with Rifle and MISSES!

<COMBAT> Sldrgrp2 has been KO'd!

<COMBAT> Soldier1 has been KO'd!

[Into the Wireless] Niko says, "Billboard, dump all your ordnance in the next pass and then burn for orbit. See if we can get a raptor down here." Yeah, he knows this is probably going to take way too long. "I'll take care of these guys.""

Fluent in enough swear words in enough languages to make the inside of the cockpit sound like a polygots nightmare, Diaz breaks off the strafing runs at the soldiers on the ground and begins to angle upward, starting the climb to join Vogue on station.

[Into the Wireless] Diaz says, "Vogue, Diaz. Joining you now, over."

After making the call over the wireless, Niko rolls the predator back over for another strafing run. "Nice shot, Osterman. We may be hanging around a while, so keep two missiles in reserve."

Jacob coughs lightly, "Got it, Colonel. We have racks ready if you want to bank over and loose a cluster on the frakkers. If I keep queueing the explosives up, we're gonna be dry long before the partygoers get here."

[Into the Wireless] Melissa says, "Copy that, sir. Dropping everything. Gunfighter, this will be danger close, over."

As he's already flying highest among their group, Bloodfeather double checks that Diaz is indeed on her way back up, climbing. THen he pushes the throttle to pick up speed and head on out to engage the enemy as far out as they still can, to meet them and hold them off of the predators flying lower and back at the messy Marine SNAFU. Quiet, steady, his mind on here and now and not letting himself think about his last mission where Idris got his ass shot down. Slow, steady, calming meditative breathes as he speeds his viper on it's way to close with the incoming Raiders. And as he draws closer, his flinger flips the cover off of his arming switch to prime his missiles and seek a target lock. His instruments are lit up, a warning chiming from his DRADIS as Bloodfeather listens to the radio chatter.

Climbing at a steady pace, Diaz angles away from the deck and leaves the Predators behind, forming up in tandem with Vogue and angling toward the incoming Raiders with a cold blooded focus and intent. She eyes the DRADIS in constant sweeps, trusting the machinery, trusting the engineers, trusting the math, and using her own eyes as well. She's selects the missiles as well, en route, and prepares to play a game of viper vs raider, at altitude.

<COMBAT> Soldier5 attacks Melissa with LMG - ARMOR on Body stops the attack!

<COMBAT> Soldier4 attacks Melissa with Rifle but MISSES!

<COMBAT> Soldier3 attacks Melissa with Rifle but MISSES!

<COMBAT> Sldrgrp4 attacks Melissa with Rifle - Moderate wound to Weapon.

<COMBAT> Raider2 uses a Missile AA!
<COMBAT> EXPLOSION! Right Next To Viper-2977t - Serious wound to Body (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Viper-2977t - ARMOR on Engine stops the attack!
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Viper-2977t - ARMOR on Body stops the attack!
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Viper-2977t - ARMOR on Controls stops the attack!
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Viper-2977t - ARMOR on Body stops the attack!
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Viper-2977t - ARMOR on Nose stops the attack!
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Viper-2977t - ARMOR on Left Wing stops the attack!
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Viper-2977t - Critical wound to Cockpit.
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Viper-2977t - ARMOR on Body stops the attack!

<COMBAT> Niko attacks Soldier5 with 30MM MINIGUN - Serious wound to Right Leg.

<COMBAT> Melissa uses a Bomb Racks!
<COMBAT> EXPLOSION! Right Next To Sldrgrp1 - Critical wound to Head.
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Sldrgrp1 - Critical wound to Abdomen (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Sldrgrp1 - NEAR MISS!
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Sldrgrp1 - Moderate wound to Left Arm.
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Sldrgrp1 - Critical wound to Left Foot.
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Sldrgrp1 - Critical wound to Head.
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Sldrgrp1 - Critical wound to Chest (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Sldrgrp1 - NEAR MISS!
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Sldrgrp1 - Critical wound to Left Leg.
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Sldrgrp1 - Critical wound to Right Foot.
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Sldrgrp1 - Critical wound to Chest (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Sldrgrp1 - Critical wound to Chest (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Sldrgrp1 - Critical wound to Right Hand.
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Sldrgrp1 - Critical wound to Right Hand.

<COMBAT> Idris uses a Missile AA!
<COMBAT> EXPLOSION! Right Next To Raider-7458w - Serious wound to Body.
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Raider-7458w - ARMOR on Engine stops the attack!
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Raider-7458w - Serious wound to Left Wing (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Raider-7458w - ARMOR on Body stops the attack!
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Raider-7458w - ARMOR on Controls stops the attack!
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Raider-7458w - ARMOR on Body stops the attack!
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Raider-7458w - ARMOR on Right Wing stops the attack!
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Raider-7458w - Critical wound to Weapon.
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Raider-7458w - Moderate wound to Right Wing (Reduced by Armor).

<COMBAT> Diaz uses a Missile AA!
<COMBAT> EXPLOSION! Far From Raider-3462a - Light wound to Body.
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Raider-3462a - ARMOR on Right Wing stops the attack!

<COMBAT> Soldier2 attacks Niko with LMG but MISSES!

<COMBAT> Sldrgrp3 attacks Melissa with LMG and MISSES!

<COMBAT> Sldrgrp1 attacks Niko with Rifle and MISSES!

<COMBAT> Raider1 uses a Missile AA!
<COMBAT> EXPLOSION! Very Far From Viper-5710q - Light wound to Body (Reduced by Armor).

<COMBAT> Viper-2977t has been KO'd!

<COMBAT> Diaz has been KO'd!

<COMBAT> Sldrgrp1 has been KO'd!

<COMBAT> Soldier5 has been KO'd!

<COMBAT> Diaz spends a luck point to keep fighting!

The two Marines are taking heavy fire across their position with multiple machineguns picking away at the rocks around their position. They are not giving up, however. The pilots can see red streaks on the rocks down there where blood has smeared from wounds taken, too.

Melissa fires her 30mm and the smoke pours from her nose as she dives in aggressively. Its hard to tell if she hits anything, but the Pred noses up just a bit and she lets rip everything. The rest of her bombs fall across the treeline close to the Marines. The bombs kick off, four 500-pound bombs blowing bodies, trees, and rocks over the cliffs. Even as the thick black and brown smoke is clearing the fire down there has abated sharply against the position of the Marines. Mels doesn't even look back. She shoves her throttles up and pulls back on the stick, heading into a zoom climb for the EM barrier.

Another pass with the 30mm cannon and Niko pulls up his Predator to clear for Melissa's bomb run. After the *BOOM* has hit the treeline he banks around. "Frak it," Scythe says, seeing the state the Marines are in. "I'll hold on to the bombs, Osterman. Shoot until you're out." There's a quick glance skyward just to make sure no Raiders are on them yet, and then it's back to work in the mud. The air fight is in the viper jocks' hands.

A missile is incoming, setting off alarms and warnings all over his instrument board and in his helmet. Vogue stays calm and cool, staying on target until he's fired his missile and /then/ taking evasive manuevers to jig and jag to elude the missile trying to home in on him. Bloodfeather dumps chaff when it starts to get close but fools it, diverting it to explode on the bait. Still a piece of shrapnel pings off of his viper, hitting it but causing little damage compared to what could have hit him! At once he comes around seeking a new target for another missile lock and opens his coms.

[Into the Wireless] Idris says, "Flight, Vogue. We have engaged Raiders, trying to keep them off of you. Diaz, damage status! Report, over!"

Fighting for control of the Viper after the first exchange of weapons fire with the Raider she's squaring off against, Diaz watches the canopy spiderweb after the first impact has the viper shuddering on impact and alarms going off in a jarring assortment of keys and tones. True to form, she mutes or turns off the warning noises and sounds, as the noise doesn't change the reality, only makes it annoying. More annoying. The first missile away and she did more damage to the cloud formations and the insects buzzing around than she did to the enemy Raider. Leveling out, with effort, she banks with a bit of a wobble, curses, then zeros again on course as she lines up on the Raider again, selecting the second of four missiles to work with.

[Into the Wireless] Diaz says, "Vogue, Diaz, major," there's a brief moment of silence where she is probably using words she shouldn't use on comm, "damage to canopy." Another pause as the ridiculous instinct to kick the canopy free so she can see better is quelled. "Minor damage to air frame. Still with you, Vogue, flying five by five until I'm not, Over."

Jacob grunts softly, "Safeties off, let the clip run dry. Got it, sir. If we can't get em out right now, at least we can lay waste to the pricks trying to take them out." There's a couple of beeps behind Niko's seat and a mutter from Jacob, "I know, I know, Fleet can bill me. Eat it."

<COMBAT> Jacob uses a Missile HE!
<COMBAT> EXPLOSION! Right Next To Sldrgrp3 - Critical wound to Head.
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Sldrgrp3 - Critical wound to Right Arm.
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Sldrgrp3 - ARMOR on Abdomen stops the attack!
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Sldrgrp3 - Serious wound to Abdomen (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Sldrgrp3 - Critical wound to Right Arm.
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Sldrgrp3 - Serious wound to Right Leg.
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Sldrgrp3 - Critical wound to Chest.
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Sldrgrp3 - Critical wound to Neck.
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Sldrgrp3 - Serious wound to Left Arm.
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Sldrgrp3 - Critical wound to Left Foot.
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Sldrgrp3 - Moderate wound to Right Arm.
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Sldrgrp3 - Critical wound to Chest.
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Sldrgrp3 - Moderate wound to Left Foot.
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Sldrgrp3 - Moderate wound to Right Arm.

<COMBAT> Soldier2 attacks Niko with LMG and MISSES!

<COMBAT> Sldrgrp4 attacks Niko with Rifle - ARMOR on Tail stops the attack!

<COMBAT> Raider3 uses a Missile AA!
<COMBAT> EXPLOSION! Close To Viper-5710q - Moderate wound to Body.
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Viper-5710q - Light wound to Cockpit.
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Viper-5710q - NEAR MISS!

<COMBAT> Niko attacks Soldier3 with 30MM MINIGUN but MISSES!

<COMBAT> Raider2 uses a Missile AA!
<COMBAT> EXPLOSION! Right Next To Viper-2977t - Critical wound to Body (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Viper-2977t - Critical wound to Weapon.
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Viper-2977t - NEAR MISS!
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Viper-2977t - Critical wound to Weapon.
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Viper-2977t - ARMOR on Right Wing stops the attack!
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Viper-2977t - ARMOR on Nose stops the attack!
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Viper-2977t - ARMOR on Body stops the attack!
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Viper-2977t - ARMOR on Controls stops the attack!
<COMBAT> CREW HIT! Diaz - Moderate wound to Left Arm.
<COMBAT> CREW HIT! Diaz - Moderate wound to Left Arm.

<COMBAT> Idris uses a Missile AA!
<COMBAT> EXPLOSION! Right Next To Raider-1066e - Critical wound to Body.
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Raider-1066e - ARMOR on Left Wing stops the attack!
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Raider-1066e - Critical wound to Cockpit.
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Raider-1066e - Moderate wound to Weapon.
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Raider-1066e - Light wound to Left Wing (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Raider-1066e - ARMOR on Body stops the attack!
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Raider-1066e - Critical wound to Right Wing (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> CREW HIT! Raider3 - Serious wound to Head.
<COMBAT> CREW HIT! Raider3 - Critical wound to Right Leg.
<COMBAT> CREW HIT! Raider3 - Moderate wound to Right Hand.
<COMBAT> CREW HIT! Raider3 - Moderate wound to Left Hand.

<COMBAT> Diaz uses a Missile AA!
<COMBAT> EXPLOSION! Far From Raider-3462a - Light wound to Body.

<COMBAT> Soldier3 attacks Niko with Rifle and MISSES!

<COMBAT> Sldrgrp3 attacks Niko with LMG but MISSES!

<COMBAT> Raider4 uses a Missile AA!
<COMBAT> EXPLOSION! Close To Viper-5710q - Critical wound to Body (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Viper-5710q - ARMOR on Left Wing stops the attack!

<COMBAT> Soldier4 attacks Niko with Rifle - Moderate wound to Cockpit.

<COMBAT> Diaz has been KO'd!

<COMBAT> Viper-2977t has been KO'd!

<COMBAT> Diaz has been KO'd!

<COMBAT> Viper-5710q has been KO'd!

<COMBAT> Idris has been KO'd!

<COMBAT> Diaz spends a luck point to keep fighting!

<FS3> Jacob rolls Alertness: Good Success.

<FS3> Niko rolls Alertness: Success.

<COMBAT> Idris spends a luck point to keep fighting!

The Predator's cockpit is supposed to proof against just about anything short of 20mm AP. But if you throw enough shit at the wall … *SPAK* A small arms round slips through somewhere and ricochets around inside the cockpit, causing Niko to jerk the ship violently aside. Betty is bitching 'Caution' but there's only two warning lights. "Frak." And then the Raiders are joining the party, and Niko has to pull up and start thinking defensive in three dimensions. He burns for some altitude and breaks into the oncoming Skath fighters, looking to spoil their aim on the first pass.

[Into the Wireless] Gunfighter comes back on the radio, obviously in bad shape. "Dodger, this is Gunfighter." He coughs a few times. "Confirm Hawker CO is dead on our pos. We can see them regrouping on the hilltop to come in after us. Bring it in." He fires a few more times. "We aren't getting out of here, sir. Requesting strike on our pos, Dodger, over." There's a serenity to the voice, knowing its over.

Jacob growls as his missiles smack into their mark, shoving himself to the side of the canopy to get a better look when the Predator catches some fire and temporarily blinds one of his optics, "Colonel, I see the friendlies taking egress down the mountain, heading 090 at a slow run, one of em's carrying the other. We can probably give a Raptor a vector to head towards to home in on if they bring some viper escorts."

Rattling around inside the Viper like a fly inside of a empty bottle, Diaz's left arm is tucked hard against her side as the shrapnel from the canopy flies inward and slices where it hits. She hisses out a sound of pain even as she's tearing off a piece of tape, which was actually on top of the first aid kit, and winds it roughly around her left arm, sealing her suit as she's drifting from the actual fight itself. Once her suit is taped up, YAY TAPE, she turns back toward the fight, getting her bearings again and this time she does make a snarl of sound as she sees that the same Raider that's practically blown her Viper to bits is still in the fray. She gooses the engines, building speed again on approach and reminds herself aloud that ramming speed is NOT approved tactics.

"Not the same guys who just asked us to drop on them?" Niko queries Jacob, fairly sure he didn't understand that. "Try and keep an eye on them."

Bloodfeather focuses on gettig his next missile away but his instruments scream at him that he's getting multiple enemy missile locks on his craft. Diving and wheeling through the sky, speeding up as he cuts and dives to try and evade, it's not enough. His viper twists through the air at speed and banks around to port hard but first one, then another missile catches him and impacts his viper in quick succession. The entire airframe shudders and jolts hard, Betty Bitching in loud protest as things in his cockpit light up, fritz and throw up sparks. "Gods damn it!" Teeth bared, Vogue is very busy pulling his nose up as hard as he can to keep from impacting the ground and embarassing himself. His gloved hands fight the shuddering stick, managing to pull up and barely miss the rocks, then trying to climb again. Idris finally spares a hand to slap the mute on what alarms he can and take stock of the sitation. A growl is in his throat as he tries to get one more missile lock - his last missile. Then he triggers his coms again.

[Into the Wireless] Niko says, "Gunfighter, Dodger Lead. Roger that." Niko's voice is steady over the wireless. He figured it would come to this, but having Gunfighter make that call is a weight off his shoulders. "Stand by!" The last turns into an exclamation as he breaks towards the attacking Raiders.

[Into the Wireless] Idris says, "Flight! Vogue! I'm hit bad and I'm down to my last missile. You are about to loose your air support. Diaz … we are in bad shape up here!"

[Into the Wireless] Diaz says, "Flight, Diaz. Serious damage to air frame, weapons system," there's a pause, a nasty buzz of static, "..canopy," that nasty buzz again and a thud of sound as Diaz slams the heel of one hand against the console to make the buzzing stop. ".. hit like that.." another buzz.. "walking home -""

[Into the Wireless] Gunfighter comes back, "Thank you, sir. Been a please. Alpha Mikey Foxtrot. Gunfighter, signing off." Still, that calmness. He leaves the mic open and can be heard trying to rally the man with him for one last push to let everything fire empty.

<COMBAT> Idris uses a Missile AA!
<COMBAT> EXPLOSION! Right Next To Raider-1670i - Critical wound to Body.
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Raider-1670i - Serious wound to Controls (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Raider-1670i - Moderate wound to Weapon.
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Raider-1670i - Moderate wound to Controls (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Raider-1670i - ARMOR on Body stops the attack!
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Raider-1670i - ARMOR on Engine stops the attack!
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Raider-1670i - Light wound to Body (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Raider-1670i - Critical wound to Engine (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Raider-1670i - Critical wound to Cockpit.
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Raider-1670i - Critical wound to Weapon.
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Raider-1670i - Moderate wound to Weapon.
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Raider-1670i - Moderate wound to Controls (Reduced by Armor).

<COMBAT> Diaz uses a Missile Aa!
<COMBAT> EXPLOSION! Right Next To Raider-3462a - Critical wound to Body.
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Raider-3462a - ARMOR on Body stops the attack!
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Raider-3462a - NEAR MISS!
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Raider-3462a - ARMOR on Body stops the attack!
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Raider-3462a - ARMOR on Right Wing stops the attack!
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Raider-3462a - Moderate wound to Body (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Raider-3462a - ARMOR on Left Wing stops the attack!
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Raider-3462a - Moderate wound to Weapon.
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Raider-3462a - Critical wound to Cockpit.
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Raider-3462a - ARMOR on Right Wing stops the attack!

<COMBAT> Soldier4 attacks Niko with Rifle but MISSES!

<COMBAT> Soldier3 attacks Niko with Rifle but MISSES!

<COMBAT> Soldier2 attacks Niko with LMG and MISSES!

<COMBAT> Raider4 uses a Missile AA!
<COMBAT> EXPLOSION! Far From Predator-4250u - Moderate wound to Body (Reduced by Armor).

<COMBAT> Jacob uses a Missile HE!
<COMBAT> EXPLOSION! Right Next To Sldrgrp4 - Critical wound to Head.
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Sldrgrp4 - Critical wound to Right Arm.
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Sldrgrp4 - Moderate wound to Left Leg.
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Sldrgrp4 - Critical wound to Right Hand.
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Sldrgrp4 - Serious wound to Left Leg.
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Sldrgrp4 - Critical wound to Neck.
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Sldrgrp4 - Critical wound to Right Hand.
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Sldrgrp4 - Critical wound to Chest (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Sldrgrp4 - Critical wound to Chest.

<COMBAT> Sldrgrp4 attacks Niko with Rifle and MISSES!

<COMBAT> Raider2 attacks Niko with Raider KEW and MISSES!

<COMBAT> Raider-1670i has been KO'd!

<COMBAT> Raider4 has been KO'd!

Niko spends 1 luck points on Friendly Fire.

<FS3> Niko rolls Gunnery-2: Good Success.

Even with all the concentrated fire, there are few breaks given. While the rest of the fight unfolds on the ground and the Vipers splash both of the remaining Raiders, something else happens. The DRADIS pings again several times as their noses swing across the northeast. Eight Raiders inbound with more behind them. And at last count there were three friendlies still alive on the ground, out of radio contact, and running for their lives.

"This is going to be interesting," Niko warns Jacob as he pulls the Pred around hard, ignoring the groaning of the air frame as the G's pile on. Seeing both Raiders on him, the CAG drags left, pulling the two Skath with him and into the path of the Vipers. "Come on, come on, come on," the pilot is chanting as he throws the pred around the sky, trying to buy enough time. And this time, it pays off. Their predator is buffeted as one Skath missile goes off, far astern, but they're still in the air and the sky is suddenly clear. Wasting no more time, Niko pulls around and makes an immediate bombing run on the rocks. It's not a great angle, but he ripples all the 500lb bombs off the predator across the rocky slope, blasting the whole area with HE and flying fragments. Then they're heading skyward again, lighter and under full afterburner.

[Into the Wireless] Niko says, "Vipers, Scythe. I owe you one." There's barely a break before he announces, "Scythe in hot." And then the bombs drop and they're off target. "Let's get the frak out of here, people."

[Into the Wireless] Diaz says, "Holy frak, did I actually hit that damned Raider this time around?" Diaz's tone of voice is INCREDULOUS before she remembers, "Over."

Jacob sits back in the seat and takes good hold of his console when Niko pushes the bird around, watching the incoming threat meters as little lines streak towards the Predator, "Interesting is a good frakking word right now, Colonel…" A low grunt escapes the Lt as Niko pulls out and rolls over, watching the last of the Raiders going down, then swears, "FRAK!" and keys his mike to talk to the flgiht.

[Into the Wireless] Jacob says, "Flight, Osterman. They have a LOT of friends inbound, counting at least…eight. You got about half a minunte and we need to be gone or we ARE going to be in little flaming pieces on the ground in short order."

Last missile, have to make it count. The last of the Skath Raiders go after Scythe and Vogue is determined not to break off and save his own ass when the CAG and his ECO are under fire. Not as long as he can still wrestle his failing craft to stay in the air and empty her last missile. It's hard to get a lock, it takes precious seconds trying to stay on the Raider's six but Bloodfeather manages to line it up and get it away! A silent prayer is sent to his Maker and then it's out of his hands. Vogue looks around hard for Diaz who may be dead and burning for all he knows, then relief when he hears her voice over the radio.

Diaz is flying entirley by instruments now, the canopy in so many sipderwebs at this point that it's more of a hindrance than of any practical use. The Viper is lurching more than flying, several jagged pieces of twisted metal are adversely affecting the memory of the aerodynamic build of the viper, to say the last. There's also the lingering issue of the damage to the weapons system and she eyes that warning even as she's fighting to climb again and ex-fil with the rest of the wing.

[Into the Wireless] Idris says, "Scythe, Vogue. You're welcome. RTB, Diaz. If you are able. If you aren't, sing out and we'll try to get the hell out of here and find you somewhere we can try to patch you up. Over."

Once he has Diaz on visual, Bloodfeather lines up his viper to fly a bit off her wing and watch her six as they start to head out. Idris isn't leaving her to the wolves.

[Into the Wireless] "Let's not wait around for them," Scythe calls after Osterman's warning. "If you can't make orbit, friendly territory is the bunker complex, southeast one six zero miles.""

[Into the Wireless] Diaz says, "Flight, Diaz," Diaz's voice is only briefly clear over the buzz of static that continues to snap and garble the transmission. ".. unable to.." buzz and static again .."orbit.." more static and "bunk—" before the static cuts the transmission entirely."

Using every trick, every skill, every bit of training she's ever had or read about, Diaz gets the Viper pointed in the right direction and levels off despite the Viper's clear preference to smack against the hard deck and make a crater. Through the side of the canopy she can see Vogue flying off of her wing, and she lifts one hand to briefly press against the inside of the shattered canopy, a simple 'I see you' gesture before she gets back to work. Five minutes tick away at a slow, maddening, rate, calling to mind the theory of relativity as it applies to the passage of time. She's swearing quietly, not because it'll do any good, but because the sound of her own voice in the empty canopy, without reliable com, is really the only other sound once the warning tones are all silenced. Steadily, visibly, losing altitude as she nears the threshold, the Viper's engines are now trailing a rather noxious, greasy looking smoke and more of the canopy shears off in chunks. She tries to raise the bunker as she nears the safe zone, but the comm has entirely fried itself at that point, or maybe just her awesome piloting skills has fried it, probably both. Just within the safe zone the engines completely die and Diaz aims the viper toward the nearest semi-level terrain she can point toward and tips her helmet back to eye the canopy with a sort of resigned expression then pulls the eject lever, crashing upward through the remnants of the canopy itself as the Viper drifts, veers sharply sideways then crashes with a guttering cough of smoke followed by a rumble and.. well there's always fire, isn't there. The chute opens, as expected, and she does what she can to manage the descent, drifting away from the crash site. Hello, ground.

[Into the Wireless] Idris says, "Flight, Vogue. I'm off Diaz's wing. We're both barely in the air. Making best speed to … (Vogue reads off the corridinates for the base) and I'll stay with her. Over."

Idris watches Diaz closely and raises a gloved hand to lay it against his own canopy glass to acknowledge her gesture. Then he gives her a thumbs up to try and stay focused, confident. He's right there with her - but they gotta get the hell out at her best speed.

[Into the Wireless] Idris says, "She's ejected!"

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