AWD #268: Hypothetically Speaking
Hypothetically Speaking
Summary: After an eventful trip to Crandall, Elias catches a raptor back to the Orion. It turns out his day isn't quite over yet.
Date: 03/Oct/2013 (OOC Date)
Related Logs: And it All Falls Apart
Bennett Elias 
A Raptor Box Office
The interior of a Raptor.
AWD #268

Shuttle service, as it were, between Picon and Orion is a duty generally split between supply and logistics, and the wing's resident assault squadron. Today it's a passenger manifest of one, the name of whom is scrawled on a clipboard sitting in the copilot's seat while the pilot runs through her final systems checks. The raptor's engines are running, and the ramp is down as it waits at the far end of Crandall's airfield some twenty feet from a patrol of four marines bristling with rifles.

Elias is ready and waiting when the Raptor touches down. He gives a nod of farewell to the Marines nearby, shouting something that can't be heard over the engines. Then he moves over to the Raptor and up the ramp. He boards with some familiarity, moving through the craft and aiming for the empty co-pilot's seat. Not everyone's first choice, perhaps. "Mind if I sit up front?" he asks the pilot. Seeing the rank insignia on Bennett's flight suit, Elias realize he has drawn the Squadron commander this time. "Captain," he quickly appends to his question.

The pilot hasn't pulled her helmet on yet, so it's a pair of striking blue eyes and a polite, somewhat vapid smile that greet Elias when he climbs aboard. And then a pause, as if she seems to realize who it is. "Captain Grey." The greeting is pleasant, if edged with curiosity. "No. No, not at all. Please." She plucks the clipboard off the seat along with her helmet, and stows the former in a compartment above her. "Most of my passengers prefer not to look out the window. Disorienting, I have been told. I rather find it the other way around." Her smile shifts to a grin, and she reaches behind him to haul on the lever that slams the hatch shut.

Elias slumps into the seat with a sigh. "Thank you." The Intel Officer dressed for the trip to Picon, brief though it may have been. He's wearing ground combat fatigues, an armored vest, and a sidearm. And now that he's no longer standing behind the pilot, it's clear he is also sporting a rather impressive black eye. Sure, it's a war zone, but that looks more like the kind of injury you get from some serious off-base carousing. Elias gets busy strapping in, then looks over the controls in front of him. "I did some time in a Raptor-R, but that was a long time ago." Of course he hardly looks old enough for anything to have been 'a long time ago'. "So I like to pretend I can tell what's going on." He offers a thin, wry smile.

The black eye, unsurprisingly, gives Bennett pause. She furrows her brows slightly, but the expression is obfuscated partly by her helmet as it's tugged on over her head. Chin up, and the hardseal is snapped into place, gloves tugged on and fastened. "Did you, now?" she asks him, her voice muffled and slightly tinny behind the helmet's faceplate. "We do not fly those very often. You must have been pulled for reconnaissance." Her own harness is buckled in, and the bus shudders as she spools both engines to full power for the VTOL vents to engage. A transmission crackles across the wireless, which is responded to briefly, along with a request for tower clearance. Then, "I suppose it is fortunate that you are on my bus tonight, Captain, as I had wanted to speak with you."

Elias makes no effort to explain his black eye, even when it's clearly noticed. And he's only slightly more forthcoming about his time in raptors. "Yes," he confirms his assignment was recon, but that is all. More interesting to him is the notion that the Raptor squadron commander wanted to speak with him. This gets Bennett a curious look from Elias, and then he throws a quick glance over his shoulder, verifying the ECO is the only other person on board. "Oh? What can I do for you, Captain?"

There is, in fact, no ECO on this particular jaunt. Whether by design or simply (bad) luck of the draw, who is to say. But the two captains are the only crew aboard. "It is regarding a.. mission of some secrecy that I believe one of our marines has been tasked with," she confides, eyes forward and both hands occupied with the flight controls as she maneuvers the ungainly bird into the air. By necessity, she's raised her voice to be heard over the roar of the engines as the tarmac drops away below them with surprising speed.

Elias absorbs what G's there are from the lift-off by settling back into the co-pilot's seat, arms at his sides. His expression tightens when he hears Bennett's question, lips compressed into a tight line. "Which Marine?" he calls over the roar. But by the tone of the question, he already thinks he knows the answer.

Bennett doesn't speak again until they've cleared the control tower — or what's left of it, in the wake of the assault that took place here a few days ago — and gained airspeed enough for her to disengage the VTOL vents. The roar of the engines drops to a low thrum, and she banks the bus in a sharp pitch to starboard in order to adjust to the correct heading. "Sergeant Lleufer Ynyr," is her even-voiced reply. Her eyes briefly alight upon his, and no doubt she catches the tightening of his expression. Her own slivers into a wry smile.

Upon hearing the Sergeant's name, Elias's patience is suddenly wearing thin. He closes his eyes for a moment, takes a deep breath, and exhales. Even then, when he turns back to Bennett's wry smile, he still looks less than amused. "I'm not really in the mood of a game of questions, Captain, so let's cut to the chase. Not at liberty to discuss, etc. etc." He seems to consider that sufficient protest. "Now, where did you hear about this?"

Bennett's smile, fleeting, is gone by the time Elias looks over at her. She's settled into the task of flying the raptor, as the ground spins away beneath them and air currents begin to jostle the bird this way and that as they climb higher. "I apologize," she offers after a moment. "It was not my intention to play games. But when I am informed that said mission may require an extraction from members of my crew.." Her eyes flick toward him again, then away. "Well, perhaps you can see how it might become my business. I have no intention of divulging any sensitive details to my squadron unnecessarily, Captain. I should hope you would put more faith in my professionalism than that."

"I'm not questioning your professionalism," Elias assures with the tone of someone who has had to explain the same thing several times today. "But you're flying sorties every day, Captain. If the Cylons somehow learn about this mission, it's over." He moderates his tone, catching the sound of it himself. "Sorry. It's been a long day. The short answer is that no one should have mentioned this to you in the first place, and they certainly shouldn't have asked you for a raptor mission." Elias pauses a moment, studying Bennett closely before he continues. "Admiral Jameson has a war to fight, and it's going to be hard enough to get him to approve this. He's going to raise holy Hades if he thinks I've gone behind his back to try and get a raptor mission directly from you without his approval."

"I understand," answers the pilot quietly. Her voice is almost lost behind the helmet entirely. "No-one asked me for anything, Captain. I was concerned, so I enquired of my own volition." She keeps her eyes forward, and shifts to make a brief adjustment to a few switches above her main flight controls. They've burst through the first layer of cumulus by now; all around them is a murky gray soup that continues to bluster the raptor about. "And I certainly am not advocating any such subterfuge," she adds with a slight smile. "But to be frank, Captain, the possibility of critical information falling into cylon hands is a risk regardless. Protocol-" And by protocol, she likely means cyanide pills and loaded sidearms. "-is there for a reason."

"And so is compartmentalization," Elias responds. Not knowing is more foolproof than suicide. "But it's a bit late to worry about all that now." He looks outside the canopy, eyes upwards as he looks towards outer space above. "I never asked Sergeant Ynyr to be involved in this at all. He … volunteered himself. And it's too late to undo that now as well." He looks back down as there is a brief bit of turbulence. "The problem isn't that anyone is actually trying to sneak a raptor from under the Admiral's nose. It's just that it may look like that to him. Honestly I don't expect him to complain about one raptor, unless our timing is terrible. But if you're volunteering one to Sergeant Ynyr, well … that's not really my concern. You're the squadron commander after all."

She smiles again, and the corners of her eyes crinkle softly beneath the glare of her helmet's faceplate. "Touche." Her eyes dart toward her erstwhile passenger, then slide away again as she feeds more tylium to the engines with a burgeoning thrum. And then, moments later, they're through the chop and racing toward orbit. "I am not certain yet, whether I am or not," she explains. "It would depend on the mission parameters."

Elias weighs what he is willing to say on that, staring out the front as they hit smoother sailing, and a sky filling with stars. And maybe raiders, a thought which causes him to glance at the DRADIS as he answers. "We have an operative on Picon," Elias begins. "Location currently unknown. Their plan is to reach friendly forces. If that's not possible, they will signal for a pickup. That's where the raptor would come in. We're not going to know parameters until we get that signal."

Bennett glances now and again to the DRADIS as well, though without the telltale ping of something unfriendly having been detected, her attention is mostly on flying the bird. Two vipers assigned to patrol the area fall into a loose formation with the bus, after a brief conversation over the radio. "Understood," she answers Elias after a few moments. "Then I will have a raptor fueled and on standby, and if you require our assistance, we will discuss tasking details at that time."

The glow of the Vipers' main engine burn catches Elias' eye, and he falls silent while Bennett is on the radio, craning his neck to get a look at the sleek interceptors in action. Not a view he gets very often from the CIC. Once the pilot has signed off on the wireless, Elias finishes up the conversation. "If that happens, Captain, I'll owe you one."

The vipers are beautiful machines, it's true. The mark sevens are a far newer technology than the antiquated raptors, and quite literally run circles around them in terms of maneuverability— which the two jocks escorting St. Clair are sparing no expense in demonstrating at the moment. Elias's comment merely draws a smile from the squadron commander; she'll neither confirm nor deny that statement. "I should have you on Orion in ten," she explains, as if the conversation about the operative and rogue raptors had never happened. "I am not sure if you're into pyramid, but I hear they are organizing a game tonight…"

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