ALT #421: Return to Helios Gamma
Return to Helios Gamma
Summary: The Air Wing returns to the Helios Gamma system for another recon pass. They find more than they expected.
Date: 03/03/2014 (OOC Date)
Related Logs: N/A
Atalanta Holtz Phin Warren 
It's cold out there.
AWD #421

So far, the Helios Gamma Recon has proven nothing but routine. Ophion, Thanatos, Sagittaron — all empty as of the prior recon mission to the system, all empty still. Nothing to be found but the deceptively serene silence of dead worlds. Even Sagittaron — once a Colony of nearly two billion souls — is quiet, its skies overtaken by the dark clouds and raging storms of a planet-wide nuclear winter.

Not far from Scorpia, the inky blackness of space is momentarily disrupted by a pair of FTL engine flashes — two ships, one large and one small, coming out of a jump. The latter is one of Orion's Raptors, while the former is one of the Fleet's stealth corvettes, once again tabbed for Viper-ferrying duty.

The ships have materialized not far from the planet Libran, once home to the Colonial judiciary. The green-blue orb got off relatively lightly during the initial attacks; there are no visible impact craters from kinetic strikes, or unnatural storms or clouds caused by sustained orbital bombardment — though the Colonials are still too far out from the planet to get a clear look just yet.

Inside the cramped hangar deck of the corvette Cornwall, Holtz blinks the spots from his eyes as the flash of the jump fades. He quickly runs through the pre-launch checklist, just like he has after the last three jumps throughout the system. Not that he expects anything to be different, but that's the way things are done.

Phin sits in his Viper cockpit, killing time before they're offed, playing with a little maenad bobble-head figurine he takes along as something a luck charm. He gives it a flick, it sashays at him. There's a pre-flight checklist in his lap, which he's done a good half-dozen times, and he largely ignores it now.

With the jump complete Warren starts working through preflight again himself. Its quick, but practiced, going through the mental checklist before he takes his grease pencil and makes a few notes to himself on the pad attached to his thigh as he waits for the signal that things are a go.

Franklin looks up at the all too familiar bluish flash — the jump, complete. They've been at this all day, and she's been at this for more than ten years, but there's still that inevitable moment of queasiness that makes her frown. (Honestly, no one wants to hurl with their helmet on. No one.) It passes quickly, though, and she immediately moves through her pre-launch check. It's reflex now. Instinct. Her voice crackles over the comm.

[Into the Wireless] Atalanta says, "Alright, gentlemen. You know the drill. We've been at it all day — Dolly, you're with Storm. Toast, stay on my five. Go slow. Stay quiet. We aren't here to be seen. Launch when ready."

[Into the Wireless] Warren says, "Teatime, Toast. Copy that, preparing to launch."

[Into the Wireless] Holtz says, "Storm is launching."

[Into the Wireless] Phin says, "Flight, Dolly. My boards are green, clearing the tubes…now. Storm, coming up on your five."

Holtz has gone through enough of these corvette-assisted recons that launching without the benefit of launch-tube-mounted catapults isn't as alien as it used to be. As he calls out over the flight's comm channel, he gently pushes the dagger-shaped fighter off the deck and noses forward, the landing gear retracting back into the hull. As he crosses the threshold and pushes down on the thruster pedals, he's pressed lightly into his seat from the momentum. He stifles a yawn; a quick barrel roll is enough to get the circulation going a little faster, and he angles off in the direction of the planet.

"Show off," the CAG mutters under her breath, though damn if anyone can hear her. She shifts around in her seat a few times, doing her best to stretch her muscles despite the cramped space, before settling in for a few more hours of floating through space with her cameras pointed at the planet below. A few buttons are pushed and, when her boards are finally green, she lifts off the deck lightly, slowly, with care.

Its not the first time, nor will it be the last corvet launch. Just a pitch here, a bit of thrust and Warren's out in the black. He waits a moment for Atia to slip out of the hanger before he hits the thrusters again, slipping onto her five gently. He checks out to the side, making sure everyone got out and clear, never know with those cramped spaces, but its usually combat landings that make these things hell to be taxied by more so than the launch.

<FS3> Phin rolls Piloting: Good Success.

Phin is on Holtz's heels - Viper-ly speaking - as the older pilot shoves off and into the black. He shadows him, even going so far as to try and copy the barrel roll. Which he pulls off with a certain amount of flair. He comes out of the spin and continues on toward the planet.

<FS3> Holtz rolls Alertness: Good Success.
<FS3> Atalanta rolls Alertness: Good Success.
<FS3> Phin rolls Alertness: Good Success.
<FS3> Warren rolls Alertness: Good Success.

Holtz restrains a smirk as he catches Phin echoing his maneuver out of the corner of his eye. The man's been corrupted, all right. He's all business when he looks out over the planet again, though. It slowly begins to grow in his canopy as the recon flight zooms through space. With his DRADIS systems on passive to cut down on the chance of detection, he's forced to rely on his visual scanning.

[Into the Wireless] Holtz says, ""Got two basestars in view. One sittin' over the north pole, another in low orbit — wait a minute, got another one just comin' over the terminator now. Confirm.""

[Into the Wireless] Atalanta says, "Son of a b—", comes Franklin's voice over the radio, before she realizes she's got her mic on. Then again, who can really blame her? An increased Cylon presence isn't actally something to celebrate. "I count…"

Phin smooths out his course, his bobble-head swiveling around but not breaking from the spot where he's secured it. Eyes flit to his instruments, and he's about to call in, but the voices of his superiors get there first. He does an echo, though.

Warren coasts behind Atia, off her starboard at her five. Running nice and passive, as they take a look at the plannet. He glances out, theres the basestar they knew about and theres another…no wait a third. He grimaces a bit especially now as theres chatter on the com and taps his.

[Into the Wireless] Phin says, "Flight, Dolly. Confirm. I'm picking up three. Third's in equatorial orbit, coming around from behind the planet just…now."

[Into the Wireless] Warren says, "Toast confirms three basestars. Guess this is why we didn't see more at Picon."

The nose of Franklin's Viper swivels around, angling so that she can get a side-view of the planet and the Cylon ships below, rather than try to eyeball the space 'below' with the lights of her HUD flashing in her face. Her jaw works with obvious displeasure at the sight, but really, what should they have expected with so much focus on one planet for so long and the rest of the Colonies left to their own defenses? She exhales a sigh, mostly through her nose, her nostrils flaring slightly as she does so.

[Into the Wireless] Atalanta says, "Flight, Teatime. Three basestars confirmed. Toast, stay on my heels. I want to see if there's any more hiding around the dark side."

[Into the Wireless] Warren says, "Teatime, Toast. Copy that, on your heels. Marking down the basestars so we don't count them twice."

Warren does just that, jotting down what he can see around the current basestars and their positions, doing his best to make sure he has some reference so they don't count four, when theres only three.

[Into the Wireless] Holtz says, "Teatime, Storm, Dolly and me'll hold here."

Holtz kills his thrusters, allowing his Viper to coast forward on momentum only as Atia declares her intent. His expression is tinged with a bit of worry as he watches the CAG and her wingman angle off to circle around the planet, but he doesn't bother arguing with her. Instead, he focuses his attention on the trio of basestars they've already spotted, watching for any signs that they may have spotted the recon flight. But so far, nothing.

Phin likewise cuts his engines and allows himself to be propelled by physics, his steering keeping him in formation with Holtz. He waits, fingers clenched so they won't go to his weapons before the command is given.

<FS3> Atalanta rolls Alertness: Good Success.
<FS3> Warren rolls Alertness: Good Success.

No matter how much fuel a pilot is willing to waste by gunning it at top speed, flying around the circumference of an entire planet is not exactly a short trip. Given that Franklin is doing so at a distance meant to keep them from being seen, or hopefully from recognized as anything but a satellite or a small asteroid or some space trash… well, an in-flight movie wouldn't exactly be missed. With her DRADIS cut down to the bare minimum needed to keep her in the air, she continually checks over her shoulder to keep an eye on her wingman.

Warren keeps himself on Atia's tail, well off to the side as his positioning dictates, but he's never too far from her. His cockpit is mostly dark, only his instruments giving off light, a dull illumination of the cockpit as he follows Atia around towards the darkside of the planet. Its when they get there that he taps his coms as he looks out at the plannet 'below'.

[Into the Wireless] Warren calls out, "Teatime, Northern hemisphere basestar, confirm." And then theres a pause, "Why are there no lights? There should be lights…Teatime tell me I'm just going blind. Why are there no lights…"

Though Holtz tries to keep his attention on the planet, his eyes can't help but flick in the direction of the other two Vipers as they slowly fade to specks in the distance. His fingers twitch against the controls of his fighter. "Come on, come on…" he mutters impatiently.

[Into the Wireless] Atalanta says, "Toast, Teatime. Fourth basestar, confirmed," she says, frowning. Her eyes turn from the blurry black space surrounding the planet to the planet itself, narrowing. She's quiet when she says, "…It's not just you. 180, Toast. I don't like this. RTB."

Phin's eyes, for their part, flit between his instruments and visuals. It's a combination of the strange peace of 'flying' without engines, and the omnipresent stress of doing it in the shadow of three…make that four basestars. So it feels good, but he can't really enjoy it. His fingers tense when Atalanta calls out the additional toaster launch ship, but he tries to remain quiet until ordered otherwise.

RTB. Warren hits the retros then the rcs, flipping his viper around, before rolling it. Frak this isn't good. He glances down at DRADIS, at least passive hasn't picked up anything yet… He glances over his shoulder towards Atia, with her now being at his five with the maneuver he just pulled. He makes sure she turns, and then presses on the throttle starting to burn back towards the corvet and the others eyes constantly looking out, watching.

There's a moment of hesitation from the CAG — that burning desire to know what, exactly, is going on in all that empty black landscape below. But there's also that burning desire to spend her night sleeping in her bed, as opposed to in itty-bitty floating through space, or worse, in some Cylon prison camp. She inches forward for a second or two, before flipping her bird end-over-end and gunning it back towards the corvette, close on Warren's heels.

[Into the Wireless] Holtz says, "You heard her, Dolly, back we go."

Immediately on hearing the RTB order, Holtz uses his RCS thrusters to flip his bird end over end before lighting off his thrusters, jetting off in the direction from which he'd come. There's one last look at the planet, and then to Phin's fighter, before he goes eyes front once more, his gaze locking onto the corvette.

[Into the Wireless] Phin says, "Storm, Dolly. Copy that. Headed to the hauler."

Phin uses his momentum to turn, then flicks his engines on when he's pointed in the right direction, following Holtz back in the corvette's direction.

Their getaway seems to be clean. After the brief trip back to the corvette, all four fighters are cleared to land, with the Cylons seeming to be none the wiser that they were ever there to begin with. Once the flight is secured on the deck, a voice from CIC sounds over the intercom to call out the jump countdown. As the countdown hits zero, there's the telltale sensation of a ship breaking the FTL barrier to go along with the telltale flash of light outside the hangar bay.

This time, the ships have materialized not far from the planet Scorpia, once home to the Colonial Fleet's primary shipyard. A thin ring of debris has formed around the planet in addition to the half-ring of rock that had been one of Scorpia's distinctive features before the war, but most of the shipyard complex itself is gone, most of the pieces that weren't vaporized outright having deorbited and crash landed on the planet itself.

New planet to recon, another preflight, another go to launch. Warren once again punches out into the black, gently. He's more on edge through, four basestars at the last one, no lights…it seems like he expects much worse here as he glides out, waiting for Atia so he can sideslip off to her five again.

It's one thing to see the photos — it's another thing to see it with your own eyes. Franklin sucks in a breath at the sight of the empty space, of the shattered remains, where the shipyards she knew so well used to be. She taps her fingertips against the dash of her Viper nervously, as though that will somehow help alleviate the situation — or even just the bit of nervous energy that has suddenly crept in, which has stiffened her spine.

[Into the Wireless] Atalanta says, "….Dolly, do you want this one, or do you Toast and I to cover it?"

Holtz once again rushes his way through preflight before lifting off and heading out of the landing bay. No fooling around this time, though. He just flies straight and level as he falls into formation with the rest as they bear down on Scorpia.

Phin lands, settles, and rides out the jump. Taking a moment to sit and collect as they approach Scorpia. He's thus far avoided any sort of return to his home planet, and it's never anything he's pushed to see. His reply over the comm is a touch mechanical.

[Into the Wireless] Phin says, "Teatime, Dolly. I serve at your pleasure, sir. I will perform the mission as ordered. Storm, on your five."

[Into the Wireless] Holtz says, "Welcome home, Dolly, such as it is. Let's go."

[Into the Wireless] Phin says, "Storm, Dolly. Such as it is right."

[Into the Wireless] Atalanta grunts, wordlessly, into the comm. Somehow, even her grunts, rare as they are outside the fitness center, have tones — this one seems to mild disapproval.

Warren stays mostly silent as he glides along with Atia. He doesn't have much to add to things, or even if he does he's not saying it outloud at the moment, even as he's gripping the controls just a little tighter.

<FS3> Holtz rolls Alertness: Great Success.
<FS3> Atalanta rolls Alertness: Good Success.
<FS3> Warren rolls Alertness: Good Success.
<FS3> Phin rolls Alertness: Good Success.

Phin cuts his own mic for a beat after that comment back to Holtz. Not that he takes the time to say anything in-cockpit he doesn't want his superior to hear. He just takes a deep breath, lets it out slow, and gives his maenad a flick. It waggles. That done, he does the standard bit of splitting his attention between his instruments and the planet below, taking it slow to avoid detection…as much as one can hope to. He admittedly pays more attention to the visuals than the electronics this time, allowing his eyes to drift over the equator. And lo, there are basestars. He brings his comms back online.

[Into the Wireless] Phin says, "Flight, Dolly." His tone is still notably controlled. "Reading five basestars. Repeat. Five. Three in the equatorial region, two over the poles, north and south respectively. Can anyone confirm?"

<FS3> Warren rolls Mathematics: Great Success.

[Into the Wireless] Warren comes out over the coms with a quiet, "Frakkin hell…." He seems almost stunned that he was right that it was even worse here, "Flight, Toast. Confirm that. Five fraking basestars. If the patern repeats theres…" He pauses going over the calculations in his head, twice, three times hating his math before finally, "Five likely in orbit around the equator. In a pentagon if you were at one of the poles looking up or down…for a total of seven."

Holtz notices the basestars, but his attention is focused on the space between them, towards the planet itself. He leans forward, squinting. There's a few glinting specks in the distance that finally begin to resolve themselves as they get closer — Raiders, flying in formation over the atmosphere. He can make out two or three sizable clusters of them at least, and he quickly clicks on the com.

[Into the Wireless] Holtz says, "Flight, Storm. I confirm five basestars in orbit, and I'm also seeing some significant Raider activity. At least a few dozen in orbit with those baseships."

[Into the Wireless] Holtz says, "Dolly, let's angle around, see if Toast's right about the other side."

[Into the Wireless] Atalanta says, "Flight, Teatime. Focus on the southern hemisphere. Last we heard from Spree was — are they moving towards us, Storm?"

[Into the Wireless] Holtz says, "Doesn't look that way. They're just circling the planet with the baseships for the moment. Must not've seen us."

Phin's fingers do that tensing thing again when Holtz mentions the Raiders. But, again, his weapons stay cooled for now. It's maybe a little harder here than it was over Libran, but he still doesn't terribly want one of those multiple basestars to spot him. He veers on a course for a sweep around the southern hemisphere, to shadow Storm.

[Into the Wireless] Phin says, "Teatime, Dolly. Copy that. Continuing reconnaissance as directed."

Warren tenses at the mention of raiders circling the plannet too. How'd he miss that? Probably doing the math that makes things look even worse. He exhales a bit with the mention that they don't seem to have spotted the recon element. "Frakin hell this just gets better and better," he mutters to himself. As if five basestars weren't enough, they've got active raiders deployed.

There's a low hiss of frustration that pours out of Franklin's mouth, from between clenched teeth. In the cold air of her cockpit, it forms a white fog on the glass of her helmet, obscuring her mouth for a moment. At the mere mention of Raiders, she's already got her trigger finger ready, barely restraining the urge to slide her fangs out now, while she's sure she still has the chance.

<FS3> Holtz rolls Alertness: Good Success.
<FS3> Warren rolls Alertness: Failure.

[Into the Wireless] Atalanta says, "Storm, Teatime. Keep your distance and call us in at the first sign of trouble."

<FS3> Phin rolls Alertness: Good Success.

[Into the Wireless] Holtz says, "Copy."

<FS3> Atalanta rolls Alertness: Good Success.

Phin frowns, doing a double-take at his instruments. He takes a moment to think before calling it…whatever made him do that over the comms.

[Into the Wireless] Atalanta says, "Flight, Teatime. Anyone else catch that?"

[Into the Wireless] Phin says, "Flight, Dolly. Just picked up…something on passive sensors. Yeah. Transmitting coordinates now. I couldn't tell what it was. Too small to be a Raider. It was like a blink. Just…quick power spike and gone."

[Into the Wireless] Warren says, "Flight, Toast. Negative here. Missed whatever you're talking about."

Holtz is still angling off towards the planet's terminator, but he also sees a sudden blip on his passive scans. He frowns as he studies the readings, but then it's gone. It's slow going, but soon enough he's able to get the opposite side of the planet in view.

<FS3> Holtz rolls Alertness: Great Success.
<FS3> Phin rolls Alertness: Great Success.
<FS3> Warren rolls Alertness: Good Success.
<FS3> Atalanta rolls Alertness: Good Success.

Franklin's brow wrinkles. She'd scratch it, but there's that lovely layer of glass in the way. So instead, she taps the screen of her DRADIS once, as though that will somehow magically make whatever is blinking in and out show back up, on command. If only technology were that easy — the Cylons could've been put in their place with a bap on the nose. She frowns and cuts back onto the radio.

Warren sudenlly looks down at his DRADIS as theres a blip he notices, for others its the second time, for him, the first time. Colonial. He raises an eyebrow at that and looking at his DRADIS again to make sure he didn't see it wrong before he hits the coms himself.

[Into the Wireless] Atalanta says, "Did anyone catch rough coordinates on that?"

[Into the Wireless] Warren says, "I just caught a colonial signal on DRADIS. Anyone else catch that?"

"What the frak are they doing?" Phin mutters to himself, when he spots those additional basestars. He can't really be surprised - Warren knows his math - but there are a lot of them huddled around his old corner of the worlds. Another blip causes more frowning, and his time he makes more of an attempt to analyze it. So much as he can, with Viper systems.

[Into the Wireless] Holtz says, "Toast, Storm. You were right… there's two more basestars orbiting on the far side. Seven total." A pause. "Yeah, I did. Definitely Colonial IFF, but it don't look like a ship."

[Into the Wireless] Phin says, "Flight, Dolly. Confirming. I got seven basestars as well, five around the equator. Also picking up large formations of Raiders in low orbit over the planet. Teatime, I think I've got the coordinates. Roughly. Transmitting." And he does so, to the rest of the flight. "Trying to get something on visual…""

With the two additional basestars sighted and confirmed, Holtz comes around, pointing his fighter in the direction of the coordinates Phin gave. He's a little further out than the rest of them, though, so he'll be the last one to arrive and get a look at whatever it is they've found.

[Into the Wireless] Atalanta says, "Dolly, Teatime. Copy that. Toast, let's go."

[Into the Wireless] Warren says, "Teatime, Toast. Copy, on your Five."

Phin trails toward those coordinates, doing more straining of his eyes than his electronics now. Viper sensors are only so useful. And he wants to look as much as he can, though he might not readily admit it. He frowns at what he's seeing, more thoughtful than troubled this time.

[Into the Wireless] Phin says, "Flight, Dolly. Looks like a communications drone. The kind you'd carry on a Raptor, or a mid-sized land vehicle or something."

Slow and steady wins the race. With that many Raiders and what — seven? — basetars around the planet, Franklin has absolutely no desire whatsoever to be seen. She closes the gap between the two flights cautiously, doing all she can to avoid attracting attention. Her eyes flick down to her instruments, brow furrowing.

[Into the Wireless] Atalanta says, "Vashti and St. Clair dropped one the last tim they were here, but it ought to be dead in the water by now."

Warren keeps up with Atia, very much sharing the sentiment of not wanting to be seen, infact he tries to make sure he glides most of the way, only the briefest of touches on the rcs as he can manage. He glances at the plannet with a frown, how the frak are they going to take this back. Seven fraking base stars? They've only got one battlestar…even with the super dreadnaught they have thats still too much. He hits the coms again.

[Into the Wireless] Warren says, "Could it be from the plannet? Anyone pick up what its sending out? Or do we need to get a raptor out here?"

[Into the Wireless] Phin says, "Flight, Dolly. Well, whatever's out there isn't dead. Reports say there's resistance on the planet. They have found it. Or the toasters."

The four Vipers slowly close on the object. It's definitely a Colonial communications drone. As the fighters approach the drone, it queries their IFF. Apparently satisfied, a low-power, narrow-band transmission emanates from the drone, and each Viper's comm frequency. It's sending them a message, on a standard Colonial military frequency.

At first, the transmission is nothing but the whine of static. After a few moments, though, it begins to clear up, and a voice can be heard, though bursts of static still obscure the occasional word. Whoever's speaking sounds harried, rushed; clearly the speaker was under a great deal of stress when the message was recorded. "Gods, I hope this (static) gets through. (static) Cylons are on the move again, and there's even more of 'em this time. Couple skinjobs suicide-bombed (static) depot last week. Major Fuentes (static) dead or captured in the (static) few days ago… her body (static) gone when we came back. (static) don't get it… what the frak (static) want with her? (pause) Gods above, what (static) frakking nightmare."

Anything else contained in the message can't be heard, as at that point the static thickens once more before the signal cuts out entirely a few seconds later.

It's not the first time Phin has heard messages like that, of course. But there's something about it coming from a Scorpia accent that's different. For a moment he has to just listen, blocking out everything except those voices. Partially searching for something familiar, however unlikely that is. Partially just to hear sounds like that again. Partially in horror at what it's describing. He'll need a minute.

Warren listens to the transmission as he recieves it and blinks. Theres people there. At least thats better than the last plannet. No signals there, no lights, nothing. Here…here theres a message. Its a terrible message when you think about it. Things are going badly….but its a message none the less.

[Into the Wireless] Atalanta says, "Flight, Teatime. That answers what's going on with the resistance in the southern hemisphere. Duly recorded. RTB."

[Into the Wireless] Warren says, "Teatime, Toast. Copy that…RTB."

Phin's Viper angles around to obey the return-to-base order. Though not before he says over the comms.

Its a sad moment but what can they do? Four viper vs almsot twice that many in basestars. Warren fires his retros aresting his momentum before flipping his viper once mroe and making for 'home'. Even if there were people on the ground capable of launching said beacon, and they had the entire fleet they'd be completely outnumbered and overwhelmed. Fraking hell.

[Into the Wireless] Phin says, "Teatime, Dolly. Can the corvette send a message back of…anything? At all?"

Speak of the devil. A few moments after Atia gives the RTB order and Phin asks his question, the comm crackles with a message from the corvette. "Flight, this is Cornwall Actual. We're picking up an intermittent signal from just outside the asteroid belt. Might be a distress beacon, but we're not sure; it's the gods' own miracle we picked anything up, as lousy with metal those rocks are. As soon as you're back on board, we're gonna have you check it out."

There's a long, long pause as Franklin considers the possibility. Eventually, her voice — laced with hesitance — crackles over the wireless.

[Into the Wireless] Atalanta says, "Dolly, Teatime….. yes. But with a signal strong enough and broad enough to reach the resistance on the surface, we'll alert the Cylons that we're here, and may well end up with them putting the entire system on alert."

[Into the Wireless] Phin says, "Copy that, sir."

[Into the Wireless] Atalanta says, "Cornwall Actual, Teatime. Copy that. We're coming back to the barn."

[Into the Wireless] Warren says, "Dolly, Toast, I know you want to get a message down there. We can't tango with these numbers. No matter how badass that Storm is. We'll be back Dolly, don't worry."

[Into the Wireless] Phin says, "Toast, Dolly. Repeat. Copy that, sir."

[Into the Wireless] Holtz utters a noise that's half laugh, half snort. "Thanks for the vote of confidence, Toast."

Holtz wheels around and heads back for the corvette, smugly waggling his wings at Warren's comment, saracastic as it may have been.

[Into the Wireless] Warren says, "Storm, Toast. You versus a basestar sure. You versus seven, even with us as backup…well frak. I think we're a little outnumbered."

[Into the Wireless] Holtz says, "Copy that. Chancy odds, even for me."

Phin maintains his course home straight. There is no attempt to copy Holt'z tricks this time. And he doesn't join in on the banter over the comms.

And just when they thought they were going to be able to go home, too.

Most of their day had been spent flying recon over various points in Helios Gamma, and quite a bit of it had been for nothing. Ophion and Thanatos both looked as if no one had been there in years, and Sagittaron… Sagittaron was still roiling in the throes of its bombardment-induced nuclear winter, and was similarly deserted.

Things had started to get interesting when the flight arrived at Libran, however. Four basestars had been sighted in orbit, where the previous recon had sighted only one. There was a similar increase in forces over Scorpia, where instead of three baseships, seven now orbited, along with a sizable complement of Raiders.

Scorpia had been the last item on the list. But then the corvette ferrying them had recieved a low-power stealth transmission emanating approximately from the nearby asteroid belt, and guess who gets to check it out? That's right, the air wing.

After a quick jump to the fringes of the belt, the order from Actual to launch comes over the intercom. The coordinates of the signal are sent down to each Viper — another small drone or buoy that's floating along just outside the rocks.

Phin launches with the other Vipers, staying on Holtz five. Second verse same as the first and all that. He's ceased taking part in extraneous comm banter since their fly-over of Scorpia - and encounter with the buoy - but he responds informationally as needed.

[Into the Wireless] Atalanta says, "Flight, Teatime. Clearing the deck now. Remember — the airwaves are usually crap in the belts, so cluster in close and watch the debris."

Once more into the black. Warren slips out of the cramped hanger bay, angling once again over towards Atia's five. Gotta love asteroid belts, plenty of things for raiders to hide behind. He clicks the com a moment as he glances here and there looking out, scanning for anything that might seem out of place other than the buoy.

The CAG's voice crackles over the comm, even as she's pushing off of the deck gently. These damned tubeless launches, from a small, crowded hangar. She's never been fond of them and goes to extremes to lift herself off and push out with care. She blinks a few times, dropping into place at point.

[Into the Wireless] Warren says, "Teatime, Toast. Stick close to your five and try not to run into anything. Copy that."

Holtz brings up the rear, putting on a little thrust as he exits the bay so he can assume his place in formation. He frowns slightly as he looks out over the asteroid belt as his fingers twitch on the stick.

So far, nothing out of the ordinary yet. As the flight homes in on the signal, they can make out the source — another com drone. Its thrusters seem to have burned out; it's coasting along on sheer momentum. Unlike the drone that was found near Scorpia, this one isn't sending a message, but merely retransmitting a low-power distress beacon.

<FS3> Holtz rolls Navigation: Good Success.
<FS3> Warren rolls Mathematics: Success.

Holtz frowns as he studies his instruments. Working out some things in his head, he mutters under his breath for a few moments before keying in the coms.

[Into the Wireless] Holtz says, "Teatime, Storm. That thing definitely came from deeper inside the belt. I should be able to project its course, if you want to check out where it came from."

Warren glances at the drone, then over his shoulder, quick glance down at DRADIS and his nav points. He raises an eyebrow a moment as he reaches to hit the coms.

[Into the Wireless] Warren says, "Flight, Toast. Things been out there for at least a day, maybe two, if it made it this far coasting like that."

Phin also monitors his instruments. To the best of his ability. He doesn't seem to see anything notable, though, so he just follows Storm.

Both of Franklin's brown brows arch, though it doesn't make much difference — it isn't really as though anyone can see her expression, through two layers of glass and across empty space. She squints at her HUD, then at the drone floating past the glowing display overhead. She blows a few damp, sweaty curls back from her face, since she can't brush them back with her hands. Something muttered under her breath, before she's clicking on her radio.

[Into the Wireless] Atalanta says, "Storm, Teatime. Wouldn't it have ricoheted like a ping-pong ball in all that mess?"

[Into the Wireless] Holtz says, "Bugger's awfully small, and the rocks ain't so dense as all that. 'Sides, it didn't look banged up any that I could tell."

[Into the Wireless] Atalanta says, "If you can pinpoint a source, then."

Warren hmms a bit working the math there as he he looks out the the mass of floating rocks. Asteroid belts are always fun, no DRADIS, plenty of angles to get ambushed from, sketchy coms. Its a grab bag of awesome.

Holtz runs a few calculations using his ship's computer before pushing down slowly on his thruster pedals. His course takes him along his best estimate as to the drone's reverse course, and after a brief acceleration his fighter enters the asteroid belt.

[Into the Wireless] Holtz says, "I can't pinpoint a source from here, that's the whole point of backtrackin' the course, yeah?"

Phin eases his way through the rocky fields of space, flying almost entirely on visuals now. Given the mess the interference makes of the DRADIS, it does him little good to spend too much time pondering it. He continues along the course toward this drone.

[Into the Wireless] Atalanta says, "Smartass," she mutters under her breath, the comms still on. But with the way that asteroids interfere with radio signals, well, maybe no one will hear it. "Actual, Teatime. We're heading into the belt."

Cornwall Actual radios back a moment later, the signal already being distorted by the metals in the belt. "Copy —at, Teatime."

Warren mutters to himself at the clipped transmission back from actual, "Fraking asteroids." Either way he's glancing out, scanning all over the place, no help from DRADIS here.

[Into the Wireless] Warren says, "Flight, Toast. Keep your eyes peeled, never know whats hiding behind these rocks. Could be the ship that drone came from or could be toasters."

Leaving the drone at the boundary of the asteroid belt, the recon flight continues on, following the course extrapolated by Holtz towards the drone's origin — at least, his best guess thereof, anyway. True to his word, it's not one of the denser sections of the belt; it actually proves fairly simple to navigate, as long as the pilots remain on their toes. The metals in the rocks do a pretty good job of frakking up their sensor returns, and the coms get dodgy if they get too far apart, but for the moment, that doesn't seem to be an issue.

The minutes pass, and the flight goes on.

<FS3> Phin rolls Alertness: Great Success.
<FS3> Warren rolls Alertness: Good Success.
<FS3> Holtz rolls Alertness: Failure.
<FS3> Atalanta rolls Alertness: Success.

[Into the Wireless] Warren says, "Flight, Toast. Movement font, ways out there. Certainly not rocks. My money's on not friendly."

Phin blue eyes flit among the rocks, in search of flashes of silver and/or other indications of chrome. And he finds what he's looking for, too. He gets on the horn prompt.

[Into the Wireless] Phin says, "Toast, Dolly. I saw something, too. Moving parallel to us off our starboard, like a shadow recon or something. I think I saw the outline of a Raider. Hard as Hades to tell in these rocks, though."

Holtz's attention is locked on his instruments, with only an occasional look up to make sure he's not about to plow his fighter into a rock. Unfortunately, the result is that he doesn't see any of what his wingmates are talking about.

[Into the Wireless] Holtz says, "I don't see nothin'."

Maybe he's just pesemistic, they could be friendly, but Warren doesn't look particularly hopefull in that regard. He touches a few of the switches on his boards getting ready to warm up those wonderfuf KEWs. And then Phin's calling out more possible contacts and he flips the switch time to warm those puppies up.

[Into the Wireless] Atalanta says, "Flight, Teatime. Fangs out, gentlemen. Just in case."

[Into the Wireless] Holtz says, "Copy that, heatin' 'em up."

Phin warms his guns on the word from Atalanta, eyes straining to try and follow those flashes of silver. Whatever they may be. His course remains toward the drone Holtz is leading them to.

There's a curse that slips out, one muttered under her breath. A flash of silver in the distance, maybe? She cranes her head to try and follow it, straining back over her shoulder, and swears again. Time to warm up the cannons, most definitely. Franklin's attention swiftly ships to weapons, setting them to hot.

There they are. Assisted by the others calling out over the radio, Holtz finally gets a glimpse of the contacts. Definitely not natural. As ordered, he flicks his weapons to active with a quiet snarl, his body tensing, his hands tightening on the controls. Whatever they are, they're not moving with any sense of alacrity; the flight is slowly gaining on them. After a few seconds, their identity becomes clear: Cylon Raiders. A half dozen of them.

[Into the Wireless] Atalanta says, "Flight, Teatime. I'm counting…. five Raiders? Maybe six? DRADIS is frakked, but if we're lucky, their sensors won't do much better. Break off in pairs. See if we can split the group up, and use these rocks to our advantage."

[Into the Wireless] Holtz says, "Frak. Bandits inbound! Copy, Teatime. Dolly, on me. Let's arc around that big one at carom-six-three and take 'em from the side."

Phin lets out another low, emphatic "Frak" when he sees the course the Raiders are gunning for. He slips into as much as an evasive pattern as he can. Without bouncing himself off rocks. It's a tricky balance, and it's unclear if he'll end up on the wrong side of it.

[Into the Wireless] Phin says, "Storm, Dolly. With you, but you've picked up like three bandits. Dodging would be good."

[Into the Wireless] Warren says, "Toast coppies. Don't skip my viper off the rocks, split up the raiders. Going hot"

<COMBAT> Warren attacks Raider4 with KEW - Critical wound to Body.
<COMBAT> CREW HIT! Raider4 - Serious wound to Abdomen.
<COMBAT> CREW HIT! Raider4 - Light wound to Left Leg.
<COMBAT> CREW HIT! Raider4 - Serious wound to Left Foot.
<COMBAT> CREW HIT! Raider4 - Moderate wound to Right Arm.
<COMBAT> Raider6 attacks Holtz with KEW and MISSES!
<COMBAT> Raider5 attacks Phin with KEW but MISSES!
<COMBAT> Phin attacks Raider2 with KEW - Light wound to Body.
<COMBAT> Holtz attacks Raider3 with KEW - Moderate wound to Body.
<COMBAT> Atalanta attacks Raider1 with KEW but MISSES!
<COMBAT> Raider3 attacks Holtz with KEW and MISSES!
<COMBAT> Raider2 attacks Holtz with KEW and MISSES!
<COMBAT> Raider1 attacks Atalanta with KEW - Moderate wound to Tail (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> Raider4 attacks Phin with KEW but MISSES!

<COMBAT> Viper-1197m has been KO'd!
<COMBAT> Atalanta has been KO'd!

<COMBAT> Raider2 has been KO'd!
<COMBAT> Raider3 has been KO'd!
<COMBAT> Raider4 has been KO'd!

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

So many raiders and so so many kew rounds to fire. Oh look there's one, tracking right after Phin, coming right across Warrens nose. Its as if Phin brought him a presant and its not even his birthday! Warren lays out the fire tearing straight down the hull of the astroids belt's newest piece of dead debris. Warren smirks to himself glancing around looking for the next target, but moreso looking for Atia.

The flight of Raiders responds to Holtz's flanking maneuver by heeling hard over and opening fire on him and his wingman. So much for splitting the group. Their shots are wild and uncoordinated, however, and Holtz's Viper sails through the fusillade untouched. He responds in kind, his own KEWs turning one unfortunate Raider into slag as he roars past, arcing around in search of a second target.

[Into the Wireless] Holtz says, "Scrag one! … Teatime, Storm, you okay over there?"

Phin comes out a jerky spin to note that a) he's not dead and b) he actually hit something while flitting around. He takes a beat to breathe as he dials his speed down, trying to use the rocks to give him a little blockage while he lines up a somewhat straighter shot. He frowns as he tracks Holtz's roaring course, doing his best to cover his wingman.

[Into the Wireless] Warren says, "Add another to the debris field. Teatime, sing out."

Looking for Franklin seems to be a fair concern — she's disappeared behind a rather large rock, as she barrels forward at a dangerous speed. An unwise speed, really, given their surroundings. But it sure is one hell of a way to drag a Raider away from the rest of the pack, as it speeds off after her, slipping in and out of view. A sudden blast of orange from behind a rock indicates that someone, something, was hit. There's a long moment of silence.

[Into the Wireless] Atalanta says, "akking —er." The voice cuts in and out, disrupted by metals within the rocks. " one piece.""

<COMBAT> Warren attacks Raider1 with KEW - Moderate wound to Body.
<COMBAT> Phin attacks Raider6 with KEW - Critical wound to Cockpit.
<COMBAT> CREW HIT! Raider6 - Critical wound to Chest.
<COMBAT> CREW HIT! Raider6 - Moderate wound to Left Hand.
<COMBAT> Holtz attacks Raider5 with KEW - Light wound to Body.
<COMBAT> Atalanta attacks Raider1 with KEW - Moderate wound to Weapon.
<COMBAT> Raider1 attacks Warren with KEW and MISSES!
<COMBAT> Raider6 attacks Holtz with KEW - Light wound to Body (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> Raider5 attacks Phin with KEW - Moderate wound to Left Wing (Reduced by Armor).

<COMBAT> Viper-2345f has been KO'd!
<COMBAT> Holtz has been KO'd!

<COMBAT> Viper-7084 has been KO'd!
<COMBAT> Phin has been KO'd!

<COMBAT> Raider1 has been KO'd!
<COMBAT> Raider5 has been KO'd!
<COMBAT> Raider6 has been KO'd!

<COMBAT> Phin spends a luck point to keep fighting!
<COMBAT> Holtz spends a luck point to keep fighting!

Chasing after his wingman Warren, hits the engines only to back off them a moment as he sees the raider darting out from behind the asteroid. Warren adjusts course, angling in, focusing down on it for a moment before a burst of kew fire, and quick hit to the RCS thrusters to avoid any debris if his shots hit true. Afterall with all the asteroids, last thing he needs is to clip a corpse and slam into a giant rock.

[Into the Wireless] Warren's coms come a bit garbled as he ends up slipping behind another large hunk of floating metal, "Scrap - Toast - - still - there?"

There's nothing like a smoking tail and an angry woman to make a fight interesting, is there? Apparently, Franklin really is in one piece, as she soon materializes from deep within the field, guns hot, and with two narrowed eyes instead of one red blinking one. A blast of orange KEW cuts across the damned things' guns and she lets out a satisfied little hiss as she watches the damage spark, then spread.

Doggedly pursuing the Raider on his wingman's tail, Holtz unleashes a long burst of fire. The Raider tries to skirt away, but Holtz's blast clips it amidships; the fighter's robot brain loses control just long enough for it to impale itself on a passing asteroid. Holtz doesn't get away scot-free, though; while he was busy spending his fury on one Raider, another one gets behind in behind him. The Cylon's fire strikes his fuselage, and his instruments dim and flicker, but the Viper's armor keeps the Cylon from doing too much damage before it's destroyed.

[Into the Wireless] Holtz says, "Scrag two — ah, frak, — hit!" A pause. "Nice shot, Doll — ""

Phin's aiming pays off. With feeling. He gets a KEW square on the Raider's red eye, and the thing gets blown up real good. He indulges in a grin as he watches it fly off into many separate pieces. He's not quite as blocked by his chosen asteroid as he'd hoped, and he takes a solid hit on the wing before Holtz kills the Raider dogging him. He needs to make some quick corrections to avoid rock-planting, but he manages it.

[Into the Wireless] Phin says, "Storm, Dolly. Thanks. You're clear, I think. Everybody good? Anybody see anymore of them out there?"

[Into the Wireless] Holtz says, "Neg, my scopes're clear."

[Into the Wireless] Warren says, "Scope is clear here as well"

[Into the Wireless] Atalanta says, "Confirm. DRADIS is clear…. ish. And I don't have anything in my line of sight."

[Into the Wireless] Atalanta says, "Storm, Teatime. Can you get us back on course, or did you lose the path in the furball?"

[Into the Wireless] Holtz says, "I'll try."

<FS3> Holtz rolls Navigation: Failure.
<FS3> Warren rolls Mathematics: Success.

[Into the Wireless] Holtz says, "Frak, Teatime, I'm all turned around and my instruments ain't helping. Toast, you got any idea?"

[Into the Wireless] Warren says, "Hold." Theres a pause, some glances at his DRADIS, work with the grease pencil and pad and his voice comes back on the com, "I got the general direction I think. Don't have the exact path but can at least point us towards the origin. Adjust course starbord 23 degrees.

[Into the Wireless] Atalanta says, "Copy that, Toast. Adjusting accordingly. Keep your eyes peeled in case that pack brought any friends."

[Into the Wireless] Holtz says, "Storm copies. Adjusting course, eyes open."

Phin swivels his course to sync with Warren's calculations, trailing the others through is particular rough patch of space. Eyes still sharp. Untrusting of the lack of Raiders.

[Into the Wireless] Phin says, "Dolly copies. I'm with you guys."

[Into the Wireless] Warren can't help but add on, "I suppose all those math teachers were right. I did use that math stuff one day."

Holtz, too, is wary as he swings his fighter back onto the course indicated by Warren. True to his word, his eyes are wide open as he surveys the space around him, watching vigilantly in case there are any more Raiders out there that feel like showing up for a tangle.

Warren shifts along with Atia as she moves to adjust her course, sliding along with her between the rocks. He glances this way, and that trying to make sure there isn't a Thug raider about to jump them just as much as looking from where that drone came from as well it isn't an exact course they're following now…more of general direction through the asteroids. It could be up, or down from them and not just right infront

[Into the Wireless] Atalanta says, "….You're still a nerd, Smythe."

[Into the Wireless] Warren says, "Just because I have the latest in pocket protectors doesn't mean you can have my lunch money…"

Franklin corrects course with her Viper — at least, as best she can. Flying in a straight line isn't really an option when she's busy playing dodge-asteroid without any real sensors to guide her. She takes the point position again, occasionally peeking back over her shoulder to check on her scorched tail, her wingman, and the rest of the flight.

Phin doesn't exactly chuckle when Atalanta calls Warren a nerd, but he almost cracks a smile. Almost. He's still eschewing banter, pouring his attention on the task ahead. Which, presently, involves navigating around a lot of very large flying objects, so it keeps him occupied.

[Into the Wireless] Atalanta says, "Toast, why would I go trying to shake you down for your lunch money when we all know Storm's already turned you upset down and turned your pockets inside out?"

Despite their fears, no more Cylon ships emerge to challenge their flight through the asteroid belt. It seems like the flight the Colonials encountered was indeed the only one in the area. They continue on until they break through into a slightly thinned-out portion of the belt.

At least, the rocks are a bit thinner here, anyway, but it's not totally empty. Filling the center of the region is a large mass. From a distance, it almost looks like another floating rock, but the color is all wrong… and the contours of the object are definitely man-made in origin. DRADIS reads the object as metallic, much more so than the iron and copper-infested rocks of the Acheron belt.

Which shouldn't be surprising, considering the object is a battlestar.

Or at least, it once was one. A larger one, too; from the size and the silhouette, it can only be a Mercury-class one of Orion's sister ships. It's clearly taken the mother of all beatings, however; the engine section at the rear of the ship has been almost completely pulverized, and one of the flight pods appears to have been forcibly — and rather explosively separated from the main body of the ship.

What's left of the flight pod in question has floated deeper into the asteroid field, and even now the pilots can see a few stray rocks break themselves into pieces as they strike the battered metal. As for the rest of the wreck, the running lights are dark, and the other flight pod is damaged but remains in one piece. The letters that would spell out the battlestar's name are mostly gone; only a large E and U remain to give any hint of the ship's prior identity.

[Into the Wireless] Holtz is about to offer his own retort over the coms when the object before them becomes visible, and the words devolve into a strangled hiss. "Oh, frak me."

[Into the Wireless] Warren says, "Well haven't heard of you divorcing your wife so maybe you just like Storm— HOLY FRAKIN HELL. Is that…is that what I think it is?"

<FS3> Holtz rolls Alertness: Good Success.
<FS3> Warren rolls Alertness: Success.
<FS3> Phin rolls Alertness: Good Success.
<FS3> Atalanta rolls Alertness: Good Success.

There's a sharp intake of a gasp from Phin when he catches sight of the battlestar. The remains of the battlestar. He mutes his mic, though all he says is a low, stunned, "Gods above and below…it never stops. It never frakking stops…"

Warren's silent as he surveys the battlestar floating there. "Frakin hell…how long has this been there," he mutters to himself as he scans along it, as well as the detached flight pod. He shakes his head a moment, floating there looking at the terrible sight before him as he hits the coms.

It isn't really possible to skid to a stop while in space, but damned if Franklin doesn't try her very, very best to do just that. And then, rather audibly, she swears over the comms. "Zeus's thundering prick," she blurts out, blinking a few times. And then something muttered, broken, made into a disjointed mess by the comms. Her Colony for a Raptor, tonight. With only a gentle lean into her thrusters, she floats towards the wreck, moving at a slow, steady speed — it'll be a nice, good look for her. And the cameras.

[Into the Wireless] Atalanta says, "Flight, Teatime. Are any of you picking up ANY signals off of her?"

Phin likewise allows himself to float more than anything else toward the hulk of the battlestar. Barely daring to breathe, as if that would startle the ghosts that might be lurking aboard it. His instruments are still of little use, though he does what he can with them.

[Into the Wireless] Phin says, "Flight, Dolly. It doesn't look like is was destroyed all at once. There are patches on the hull like someone was trying to repair it. We should get this footage back to the techs. Maybe they can even ID her."

[Into the Wireless] Warren quietly intones, "Thats a battlestar. A fraking battlestar…" He glances down at his instuments trying to see if anythings coming out, "How long has it been here. Drone was probably only a day or two old at its speed…maybe theres someone there. Frak. I don't know maybe they're on emergency power, or transmitters are dead…"

Holtz eyes the dead battlestar with surprising silence, his jaw tight and his teeth gritting together. His eyes shift briefly to the instruments, but there's nothing. Not surprising in the asteroid soup. Perhaps they came here to hide? If that's the case, though, it doesn't seem to have worked out too well for them. After a long silence, he sounds off over the coms.

[Into the Wireless] Holtz says, "Teatime, Storm. I got nothin'. As beat up as she is, though… even if she's got any power at all, I'd bet it ain't enough to cut through the belt's interference."

[Into the Wireless] Phin says, "Flight, Dolly. Are there any spots in the hull we can fly in? Feel like we should take a look, at least."

[Into the Wireless] Atalanta says, "Dolly, Teatime. It looks like…. one of the pods is still intact, sort of. It would be a rough landing, but our other option is jumping back to the Orion and trying to scramble a SAR bird and a boarding party."

Franklin's radio cuts out, then, as she murmurs to herself, quietly, "…..Though I doubt a few hours is going to make any difference." She winces once, her expression as grim as her tone.

[Into the Wireless] Warren says, "Teatime, Toast. Maybe we should do both. One pair back to get something else out here with us, other takes a look."

[Into the Wireless] Phin says, "Flight, Dolly. I'd volunteer to stay, if we go that way."

Warren maybe he's being overly optimistic. Afterall bringing a engineering team out is probably better than bringing a SAR bird. Maybe theres something they could use, or salvage…But Warrens trying not to go there. Not yet. Its only been a day or two…there could be someone still alive in there right?

[Into the Wireless] Holtz says, "If Dolly's stayin', I'm stayin'." A pause. "But she looks like she's been out here a while. I don't think a bit longer of a wait is gonna make a damn bit of difference, yeah?"

[Into the Wireless] Atalanta says, "Flight, Teatime. That means stranding two birds, in an area where we know they've sent a now-dead patrol, for hours — and I'm sure the Cylons are going to wonder where their six-pack went, and why they aren't back yet. I'm going to break radio silence and if we get no response, well…. I think we have the time to scramble a team." Her voice is grim. "It isn't like they're going anywhere.""

[Into the Wireless] Phin says, "Teatime, Dolly. Copy that, sir."

Warren doesn't answer the com. She's right afterall. Survivors, even as much as Warren would like to hope, are probably just that…hope. That ship is more than likely a gigantic floating cofin now.

[Into the Wireless] Atalanta there's a pause, given the fact that Franklin doesn't even know the name of the ship. "Battlestar Actual, this is Lieutenant Colonel Atalanta Franklin of the Battlestar Orion, ID Zero-Three-Niner One-Nine Six-Zero-Niner-Four. Do you copy?" A moment of silence, and then, "Say again. Battlestar Actual, this is Lieutenant Colonel Atalanta Franklin of the Battlestar Orion. Do you copy?"

There's a long silence over the comms. Not even a flicker of static that indicates someone might be even trying to send a response. Only calm, deathly silence.

Thats the worst part. The nothing. Just nothing. No static. No lights. The CAG is just talking to space. Warren closes his eyes a moment, listening hoping for something that just doesn't come, just more silence. Its only been two days right…how could it hav-. And then he thinks about it… His eyes go wide a moment and checks his DRADIS, the nav points locked in and his heart just sinks more. He swallows hard before clicking his coms again.

"Gods…" Phin murmurs. It's not really a prayer, though. He couldn't have been expecting anything. He sits, floating near the wreck, to that thunderous silence.

[Into the Wireless] Warren's tone is somber as he calls out, "Flight, Toast. I…I didn't account for how deep we are in the belt. She's…she's been here at least a week…maybe more." Theres a pause before he state what everyones probably already concluded or accepted, "We're looking at a tomb…"

Holtz is grim as he does a flyover of the crippled battlestar. He sees nothing that gives him any more hope for the situation, either. Carbon scoring, tears in the armor, wrecked gun emplacements… nothing that makes him believe Warren's somber pronouncement is anything but the truth. He turns over the damaged hull as he moves back towards the rest of the flight.

[Into the Wireless] Holtz says, "Flight, Storm. Not seein' any decompression on the hull, and I didn't notice her streaming air at any point, either. Either the bulkheads are holding, or…" He swallows. "Or she's long since bled her atmo dry.""

[Into the Wireless] Atalanta doesn't stop trying. Gods damn her, she doesn't stop — not yet. "Battlestar Actual, this is Lieutenant Colonel Atalanta Franklin of the Battlestar Orion, ID Zero-Three-Niner One-Nine Six-Zero-Niner-Four. Do you copy?" A moment of silence, and then, "Say again. Battlestar Actual, this is Lieutenant Colonel Atalanta Franklin of the Battlestar Orion. Do you copy?"

[Into the Wireless] Phin says, "Flight, Dolly. I don't see anything."

And once again, as the husk of a once-proud ship of the Colonial Fleet hangs in space before them, Atia's entreaties are met with a grim, deafening silence.

[Into the Wireless] Warren's somber tone doesn't disapear, perhaps sadder this time with even more dead air meeting Atia's hails, "Teatime, Toast. She's dead. Let her go. Flight, Marking co-ordinates. We should RTB before any raiders pick up our signals."

There's another long, long moment of silence. And then Franklin slams her fist into her controls, thoughtlessly. Hard enough to make her hiss, and pulls her hand back, cradling her gloved fingers for a moment. Without a single digit on her controls, her Viper careens along the course she pushed it into when punched her punched. It wouldn't be a problem out in the black — it wouldn't be a problem, anywhere but an asteroid field. Fortunately, she snatches up her stick again just in time to avoid slamming nose-first into a rock.

[Into the Wireless] Atalanta says, "Flight, Teatime. Mark coord—-." The words cut off. Smythe's already called it. "RTB. We'll get a SAR team out here, and send a Raptor back out to Picon to notify Spree's command of the Scorpia message."

[Into the Wireless] Phin says, "Teatime, Dolly, watch out…!" But she pulls out of it before Phin has any real reason to panic. He replies with a quick, "RTB, sir. Copy."

Warren reaches out to his nav pannel again, marking it in his log, and making a note on the pad. Theres a pause looking out at the dead ship and a glance over to make sure his coms are off before he just screams at it, cursing, yelling just to himself. And then Atia nearly slams into a rock and his eyes go wide and then finally lets out a sigh when she manages to avoid it. He shakes his head angling around on her wing, again for the long trek home to deliver the terrible news.

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