AWD #021: Survival of the Fittest
Survival of the Fittest
Summary: Knox takes Ygraine up into the hills of Piraeus for a survival skills assessment.
Date: 27/01/2013
Related Logs: None
Knox Ygraine 
The forests and hills of Piraeus.
Forests. And hills!
AWD #21

Not long after the paintball crews woke up and started moving, Knox was also up. He's already cooked his breakfast and had some coffee and he's just waiting for a certain someone's face to appear from a tent or sleeping bag. He's already dressed and got his gear packed. For now he's sitting on the table with a guarded plate of bacon, waiting. Watching.

It's mere moments when Ygraine walks up. She's likewise dressed for going camping, and has gear packed. With her own plate in hand, she moves to sit down across from Knox, and plucks up a piece of bacon, waggling it at him in greeting.

Knox nods to Ygraine. "Dump your gear with another pilot. All of it. Wear your flightsuit, vest, standard belt, bring a loaded sidearm, and nothing else." The Marine extends her the plate of bacon. "Eat this. Its pretty much going to be the last gift you get for the next twenty-four hours, sir." He smirks.

Ygraine looks positively delighted. "Is it wrong to suggest we forego sir for the duration of this? Ygrane, Yggy, Milkshake, Vashti. Sir just seems kind of weird, since you're the one who's gonna be schoolin' me." Eggs and bacy? Hell, yeah. Ygraine starts going to with the enthusiasm of a vacuum. Obviously she'll switch out her stuff once she's finished. And maybe get one last trip to a decent portapotty.

"Sure. We can forgo the ranks. But this isn't just school, this is a test. You said you were interested in helping. Time to see where your head is at." Knox slides off the table and grabs up his rifle. He takes a mage from his vest and loads it. Those are live rounds. "Make sure your sidearm is loaded with hot rounds. You might want it." He gestures to an FAV parked at the edge of the site. "I'm driving that buggy outta here in five minutes. If you're not on it, you fail." He glances to the plate with a chuckle. "And you can eat in the car if you want. Lemme know." He flashes a grin and heads on over for the vehicle, slipping on his sunglasses.

"I can do that." She actually grabs a handful of bacon in her hand and dashes off. Four and a half minutes later? She's by the jeep. He's probably already there, but when she shows up, there's a piece of bacon sticking out of her mouth.

Coop gives her a thumbs up when he see's her. He's already buckled into the FAV's seat and the thing is running. "Thirty seconds to buckle in." Even if she finishes before, he waits. The watch on his wrist counts down and he nods slowly. Put into gear, he turns the thing around and rapidly speeds them off. Its loud enough, between the engine, wind, and suspension, that talking is probably not possible. But he drives for about twenty minutes farther up the valley, looong past the Marine Landing Ship, and up into the hills. Its chilly up here, still. But he steers them over towards a rocky outcropping and brings the FAV to a halt. He simply points straight ahead and then starts unbuckling. There's an ejection seat laying on its side and a parachute lain out on the ground beside it, deployed and fluttering gently in the air. "Alright, let's see whatcha got."

As they travel, Ygraine is looking around. She's looking around a lot. Taking note of the terrain, pretty much, while she can. Once she's out of the vehicle, she looks over at Coop, nods, and then heads for the ejection seat and chute. She does her best to quickly inspect it to see if there's any kind of pack with it, or the seat and the chute are all she has.

There is nothing else with the seat. She's out here with only what she would eject with. Coop pockets the keys to the FAV and brings the rifle with him as he follows her over. "Alright, Milk, your other aircrew member is dead. Anti-aircraft blew their body in half and you had to eject. When you were coming down you could see canners heading your direction from up this valley. They will be here soon, but you have no idea when." He lifts the rifle to place the sling over his shoulder. "Now this isn't a pressure cooker scenario. We are here to learn." He takes a seat on the ejection seat. "Remember what I said to you in the Mess? What kills more people behind the lines than anything else?"

"Taking too long." she says, and eyes the parachute. Maybe she can come back for it later. Instead of trying to salvage the chute and the seat, she looks around instead for a quick assessment of potential hiding spots. Trees? Crevices? Minimum exposure and good observation are ideal, but she will take what she can get. She'll only take a few moments; if no potential spots are apparent, she'll move on.

Knox smiles easily and leans forward, elbows on his knees. "Nope. But that's okay." He glances to the chute and then over to her. "Panic kills more people than anything else. So take a seat." Coop motions to the grass. "Let's talk it over. SERE was to throw you into hell. This is practical. I want you to have the best chance at survival, not make you feel helpless." The rifle is taken off and lain across his knees. "So you've got a line of Cylons you know are going to be looking for you. But lets stop and think first about you. Assume that if they find you, you are dead. Nothing else matters. So what you do needs to be geared towards two things:" He lifts up fingers. "First, hiding. Second, keeping you alive against the elements."

Ygraine nods, rememvering this part of the conversation. "Heat, food, keeping from being exposed." she says. "The problem with fire is that they can spot it, though. Finding food is something I think I can manage, and finding or building shelter; but the fire thing's a conundrum."

"It is. So for now, you're going to have to survive without fire. If you start one, its a risk of exposure. So soon after a shoot-down? They will be scouring the area. So you have to find other ways to stay warm. Fortunately, there are good ways to do this that are also ways to hide." He motions to the parachute. "That, right there, makes a fantastic groundpad and blanket. Your suit is air tight and will keep you warm as long as you are plugged into the aircraft. Out there?" He shakes his head. "So worry about yourself. The seat can't be taken. Damned thing weighs like eighty pounds. Your chute is an asset. But most importantly, so are your wits. So, gather your chute. No hurry." He stands off the seat. "What do you think should be your next priority?"

Ygraine does as instructed, beginning to rapidly roll her chute into something she can easily carry in her arms, maybe even tuck away if she can manage it. She lifts her gaze to the hills. "The higher I get, the better any sort of radio signal I can produce or receive will be. Flares too if necessary; but that's an awful risk right now. Any sort of comm attempt would be a risk, but having the option is the point, ain't it?"

Knox nods slowly. "That's about right. But every pilot is going to need to gauge their own situation and risk assess on their own. A rescue Raptor can fly a lot of places. If necessary, I can HALO in with a PJ and sit with you and we can defend you and your position with small arms fire and a whole shitload of close air support. But none of that matters if you're dead. We can usually come to you, wherever you are. /Usually/." He rests his arms on the front of his munitions vest. "Radios are pretty good. Higher ground is better because of Line of Sight for the transmissions. But Cylons will know this. They may look for you there." There's a lot of high terrain around them, too. They're nearly surrounded, on three sides, by dense forest. "So Shake, you have Cylons coming after you up this valley, herding you into the woods. Do you want to try and make it to higher ground? Or would you like to try and hide somewhere else?" There doesn't seem to be a right answer. "This is your own risk assessment."

"I think the forest might actually have a lot of potential." Ygraine says after a moment. "I could make the forest work for me if I had to - ever notice that Cylons don't seem real keen on looking up? My brothers taught me how to stay hidden while hunting, and I could make that work for me. But the ideal is higher ground, so I'd go for that if possible. Ain't part of this not only choosing a solid option, but knowing how to make any choice work for ya?"

"Okay, we will assume that you are acting very quickly and you are sprinting off towards the woods as fast as your ass will haul. For now, let's just walk it so we have time to think before we go making hasty decisions." The rifle is held lazily by his side as they move through the high altitude air. "But that's good thinking. You're considering alternatives already. But also think about what happens if they do look up? Will they simply kill you? You have no place to run. But its something to consider and keep in your bag of tricks." He nods along, though. "And yeah, part of this is knowing how to live with your decisions. Commit to an action and, like you said, make it work for you."

"If i've got time, I can also use the parachute as a cover, if I can get enough leaves and brush to make it a decent blind. But that's pretty slim chance." he starts walking with Knox, cocking her head a bit. "But I ain't just gonna sit there and the tree and let people see me. The idea is to get enough foilage between me and them for them to not see me at all. Ideally though, if the terrain has any kind of crevices…that might be better. And there's camoflage if I have the means."

Knox is nodding along. "See, now you're thinking. But not every place is going to have trees. Or mountains. Or caves." They cross into the woodline. Most of the ground is pineneedles and dirt with a few rocky outcroppings within view. Lots of granite. Most of the trees are tall pines without a lot of low branches. "When you talk to other people and you're just bored, game yourselves. Talk to the other pilots. As them where they would hide if they went down in the desert. These aren't just good mental exercises. Problem-solving is fantastic for that, though. But they provide ideas. You guys haveranks from all over. You wouldn't know how to survive as well in the desert as maybe Bennett would, right?"

Ygraine shakes her head. "Don't think so. But the needs would change, yeah? Cover would mean more than just finding a place to hide, but finding a way to keep myself from turning the same shade as a lobster. And I got no idea what's edible in a desert, and gosh, water's even more of a thing to worry about."

Knox nods several times. "Exactly. And here's the thing: If you don't know? Come up with a plan of action. Talk to other people. Heck, talk to Major Shepard. See if you can become the Wing's survival officer. Take charge of talking to people and making sure they have the right gear. If they are going to be flying sorties over the desert, maybe bring an extra flask of water. This stuff is important." He stops by a rocky section and leans on it. "But for now, think about this: You've considered hiding above ground. And then also on the ground. Have you considered hiding beneath it?"

"Do y'mean like digging a foxhole, finding a natural one, or ducking under a blind?" Ygraine asks, wanting to make sure she understands what he's proposing.

"I mean all three," Coop suggests. He looks to the chute under her arm and gestures to it with a hand. "What if you find yourself a hole and have twenty minutes to prep it. Think you could find the foliage and ground clutter to decorate that chute and lay it over top?"

"Maybe." she says. "Might depend on the time of year. It's certainly easier in say, autumn, then in spring. And if it's spring, I might not be able to cover the top, but maybe I can find enough to cover me." Ygraine cocks her head sidelong in a birdlike, inquisitive fashion.

The man nods once more. "Exactly. Now you're thinking in the fourth dimension: Time." He smiles. "Excellent. Now its not about having all the answers. You can prepare yourself to give yourself more opportunities and options, but on the ground and behind the lines there will be nothing ideal about where you are. Its just your mind and your tools versus a whole lot of tin cans. Right now, looking around, what would improve your situation?"

Ygraine frowns a little bit, looking around. "Locate water. You can go days without food, but if you have no water, you're frakked. I know it sounds like hindsight, but one of the first things I did when we walked into the forest was perk my ears to try and see if I could hear a water source, and get a feel for how much moisture is in the air." Yes, that's a thing. Sometimes you can tell, sometimes you can't. "I can actually manage traps and snares pretty well, but learning how to make your own fishing line is useful too. I ca do that. A good guide on edibles and poisonous plants is damn useful."

Knox nods along slowly. "Fantastic. What about other people in the wing? City slickers or people that never spent much time on things like that, think they could too?" He quirks his brow. I would think on what else you could show people. The skillsets you have are invaluable. They may save your life, but what about other people in your Wing?" He motions for her to keep moving with him. "Remember, canners aren't natural to this environment. Prey will flee from them. Birds and squirrels are less afraid of humans. Consider your environment and the warning signs."

"Urban survival's a whole different skill set." she can't help but note thoughtfully. Then, with a sudden grin, "You ever learn how to rig a fishing line, Coop?"

Knox laughs gently. "Hell no. I grew up poor but momma always had noodles in the cupboard for eatin. I always carry some line in my kit, though. Its fantastically useful. It might even be something worth packing for you all."

Ygraine grins. "Maybe that's something I can show you." she says merrily. "You wouldn't believe the crazy shit you can use for bait and have it work."

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