LEAP: The Commander and A Pickle
The Commander and A Pickle
Summary: Petra gets picked up on Picon with Mara. Things go somewhat to plan. Or not at all.
Date: 05/04/2017 (OOC Date)
Related Logs: If there are no related logs, put 'None' — please, don't leave blank!)
Petra Mara Melissa 
Tee Pee One
Below
A week or so before the Leap

Given the recent attacks there is no way the fleet is going to be flying a high profile Commander out of Crandall. It would attract the APF like flies. So they have a look-alike on the base arriving right now, meanwhile Petra was encouraged to arrive in civvies and depart in green utilities plus an armored vest. The two Marines with him are special forces, driving the SUV northbound at a high rate of speed. The passenger, a bearded Seven in a ballcap, is dressed alike his compadre in the drivers seat: civvies and baseball caps. Plate carriers with a lot of ammo and rifles. They don't talk much and mostly focus on the road ahead. It takes two hours to cross the 125 miles including the dropped bridge detours, construction still getting to them.

Their destination is an abandoned civilian airfield and spaceport. The place has half a dozen long-burned hulks of ship crashed around the perimeter and the same number on the taxiways and parking ramp. Everything salvageable was long ago picked clean. Nestled into a very low valley, the pock-marked runway only has about 600 usable feet with grass growing through the cracks. The chainlink fence surrounding the field was long ago knocked down for access and the parking lot now abuts right to the aircraft parking ramps. The hangars are all wide open and about a quarter of them are so disused or destroyed that they have partially collapsed. Far from another population center, this serviced local farms once upon a time. Now all it services are birds and small pack animals that want no part of an arriving armored SUV.

The SUV bounces up the asphalt road, up a slight ridge towards the airfield's parking lot. Its mostly destroyed cars that have also been stripped. "Alright, Commander, you stay within five feet of us at all times until we release you to the Raptor," the Seven says casually. "We're about five minutes from their ETA. If anyone starts shooting before the Raptor gets here, run for the truck. If the Raptor is here, you get on that Raptor." The rifle is held up and aimed out the window as he gets low in the seat. "CO said there'll be a woman here ridin' up also. We'll vet her."

Petra has civilian clothes? Well, what do ya frikkin know, he does! And they aren't just College sweats, either. Actual casual slacks and some semblance of a blue Polo-type shirt, complete with a belt and loafers. Take a picture, you're never going to see this again. A small backpack with the few possessions he deems important, battered with age and use, is kept close, slung over one shoulder when walking, and tucked between his legs on the SUV.

He is indeed silent for the trip, though occassionally studying his 'escorts' as it were, some sort of internal dialogue going on in his head, when he isn't looking forward out the bit of the front windsheild he can see. His attention perks back to the Seven when he's actually spoken to, however, sucking in a short breath before nodding, "Understood. I appreciate the ass-covering. News makes it sound like someone's going on a scavenger hunt. This person I'm hitching with, they give you a name?" Just filing away little bits if information in his head - the less blanks that have question marks in them, the happier Petra's OCD is.

Dressed down in worn civvies made up of baggy jeans, plain tshirt under a flannel shirt under an old canvas bomber jacket, scuffed boots and a scarf, Mara's already at the designated spot. She's standing next to a saddled horse, one gloved hand resting on its neck, fingers idly twisting through rough mane, the other hand grasping a cigarette. Her long hair is pulled back in a somewhat messy ponytail, a pair of dark aviators swallow most of her face, giving no indication of the direction she happens to be looking in. Nearby a single worn rucksack sits on the ground with a slightly abandoned air about it, big enough to hold several days worth of clothing and supplies. Aside from the occasional movement of lifting the cigarette for a puff, the young woman is completely still. The horse beside her completely at ease, too, back hoof at rest head resting low. Only an ear flicking as it catches the sound of approaching vehicles.

"Yeah. Lieutenant Mara Rook. She's one of your intelligence folks." If the Seven has opinions of the woman or the job, he keeps them to himself. "There she is. Joe, just roll me right up to her. Commander, do me a favor and keep your window up."

The vehicle slows a bit so as not to spook the horse and the Seven stares right back at her from behind his black wraparounds. The vehicle moves to a stop, gravel and pavement crunching underneath. The muzzle of the rifle is aimed at her knees with one hand and the rifle on the windowsill. A grin slides across his face. "Mind takin off your sunglasses and giving me your fancy passcode? I pass 'Guitar.'" He just stares at her face, probably having memorized the photo of her while he waits for the proper reply.

Petra nods slowly at the instruction, "Got it." He does sit up as the vehicle pulls up, lifting a brow in curiosity, but he does indeed stay quiet while the Seven asks questions, studying what he can see of her from where he sits, committing some features to memory, along with how she reacts to the challenge. Someone he's going to be working with, potentially…

As the vehicle rolls up, dust and gravel, she doesn't even flinch. Barely seems to even acknowledge it, infact. Her fingers untangle themselves from the horse's mane, giving the animal a soothing stroke as it shifts more awake with the proximity of the vehicle. She calmly finishes her cigarette, flicks the butt away and /finally/ removes her sunglasses. Odd eyes blink once or twice in the sudden brightness, but she fixes her steady gaze on the Seven. One. Two swallows, "Heavy." Mara replies slowly, a low huskiness in that single word. She doesn't say anything else, either. Apparently satisfied that the Marine has seen enough, she slides the glasses back into place.

The Seven seems to be in no rush. He's a cool customer. Once he hears the word he nods slowly and pats the driver on the shoulder and gives two squeezes. The truck is left running and they get out. "Alright, Commander, you can roll down your window. Prefer it if you stayed in the truck but up to you." The Seven stays close to Petra's door while the other Marine moves around the front, giving the horse a wide berth. "She's good. …Wish we were goin' with you guys. Any truth to the rumors yall are going to go pick a fight?"

Petra mmms, "If there's someone out there watching us thorugh a scope, rolling the window down's as good as stepping outta the truck, so maybe I'll stretch my legs a bit." With that said, he nudges the door open and eases out, but doesn't really step AWAY from the vehicle…indeed, just far enough that he can straighten what there is of his height up and bend his neck, offering a nod of his head to Mara. The question from the Seven has him shaking his head slightly, "If I knew, I couldn't tell you, I'm sure, but being honest with you, I don't know. I have a feeling the Admiral's going to hit me with an information truck when I step onto the deck." Another moment of pause, then he actually addresses Mara with an inquisitive, "Lieutenant, right?"

Mara doesn't say anything. Her gloved hand runs in rhythmical movements along the horse's neck, she scans the horizon from behind her shades and largely appears to ignore the Marines. The horse snorts a couple of times, shifting over until it can rub its bridled head against her shoulder, basically using her as a scratching post to relieve the itchiness of dried sweat and leather. It's an action born of habit that Mara simply adjusts her footing and leans into the movement until the horse is done and the pair return to their respective spaces. She returns Petra's nod, with one of her own. Then proceeds to answer his question in a similar manner. Just a simple nod, the only difference being a slight straightening of her posture, in deference to his rank.

The Seven isn't looking at Petra, he's scanning the low hillside with his eyes. The other Marine is checking the closer hangars. "My kinda Navy. Nah, in this irregular breeze, they'd have to be shooting from a short distance. Just watch for a plume. They'd need missiles or a really damned good shot." He keeps his post as the sound of an approaching Raptor fills the air, coming from the north. Its impossible to make out, though. Trees at the end of the airfield don't give a lot of sightline. "I was told Lieutenant Rook don't talk much. She's makin me a little more comfortable," he chuckles. He isn't even looking for the Raptor, even as the dull roar gets louder, echoing across the countryside.

Petra murmurs to the Seven, "Would this be a bad time to mention I've survived two vehicular rocket attacks and my ship getting nuked, so the third time will probably be the charm for me?" A wry smile touches his face along with a soft sigh, but when the sound of the approaching Raptor starts to grow, he looks up and off to the north, attention successfully stolen for the time being. A hand is lifted up to his face to shield his eyes from the light and dirt the craft is presumably going to kick up, while he murmurs, "Gotta love it when the ride shows up on time. Not dead yet."

With Petra's attention taken by the approaching Raptor, Mara's posture relaxes again. Well, relaxes in that she's not standing to attention even remotely, but is still very much aware of her surroundings. No doubt the Marines are good at their job, but she's still paying attention anyway, can never have too many eyes in the sky or on the ground and without moving, she does her best to observer. The horse does display a small amount of unease at the approaching roar. Probably not come into contact with many Raptors in its life, but training forces it to stay put.

The Seven gives a hearty laugh. "Hot damn, Commander. Sounds like you might be the real deal. Good huntin. Put a couple rounds in 'em for Ol Jack, alright?" he chuckles, then clicking his teeth. He positions himself casually between the hillside and Petra, not seemingly too concerned with the Lieutenant. "Hey Joe," he says, probably keying the earpiece. "Raptor inbound. Magic time."

The Raptor clears the trees by about 100 feet, even diving lower as it crosses. Its going quite fast, too. The craft banks a bit and seems to be heading right for them. Anyone can look at it and see a full rack of missiles, pack rockets, and miniguns. Its probably been a good while since either of them have seen a Raptor that heavily armed. As it gets closer, too, the dull roar becomes less dull, the sound becoming quite loud with the engines breathing air and fighting the mass. About 200 meters out it flares sharply and the hatch on the door opens. A deck member in an orange jumpsuit leans out with a .50 and aims it out over their heads, the helmeted woman watching the distance. As it closes within 50 meters the Raptor slows much more and the gear struts drop, hitting lock about three seconds before it touches down. Decently precision pilot there. The doorgunner hops out and begins jogging towards them with a clipboard.

Petra murmurs, "They give me a shot, friend, I am most definitely sending them several rounds just for you." His voice trails off as the Raptor closes in, not going to try to fight over the screaming engines. However, he doesnt move for the time being, leaning a little on the SUV's door while they watch the Raptor touch down and the doorgunner head their way, though he does reach in and scoop up his backpack, assuming this is going to be the final checkoff before boots are up. Without looking at him, he offers the Seven his hand, "Thank you. Keep those eyes open down here, sounds like you might have the harder job. I don't have friendlies the bad guys are going to be hiding in."

The horse definitely doesn't like the proximity of the Raptor and starts to make an active attempt at escape. Mara doesn't worry though, just shifts out of her semi-relaxed state and firmly grasps the reins, one hand on the reins, the other looping around an ear, getting a firm grip but not twisting just yet. Just until the Raptor's actually landed and the roaring sound eases off. The approaching gunner gets a once over, then Rook proceeds to ignore as she sets about securing the tack, making sure nothing's going to come loose before she steps back and gives the horse a solid *thwak* on the rump with the flat of her gloved hand. The horse snorts once, and doesn't need a second invitation as it spins and kicks up loose gravel, unshod hooves thunking solidly over the broken tarmac as it takes itself off home at a steady canter. Then the Lieutenant scoops up her rucksack that's almost the same size as her and heads toward the clipboard-wielding gunner, careful to keep a few feet between her and Petra. She catches his parting comment to the Seven and that makes her pause just a fraction, before continuing forward.

The Seven chuckles. When he speaks, its to shout over the engines. "Oh I don't know about that. I've got a training exercise on Libran next week. Haven't been told much. Probably an information truck. You know how it is." The guy trails off as he looks back to the hangars. No Joe. "Joe, sing out."

The doorgunner trots up with her clipboard and she looks at both the photos for a second. A couple extra seconds for Mara. "Yeah, okay!" she calls over the roar of the engines. "Hey! I need you to sign!" She reaches out and taps the Seven on the shoulder once with the clipboard. "Hey!"

Suddenly the Seven stumbles backwards and knocks Petra right to the ground, going with the Commander. Going to his side, he's cussing wildly, holding his chest as the t-shirt turns red beneath. "MotherFRAKKER." He rolls back to sit up and aims the rifle at the hangars. "GO! GO! GO!!" The engines seem to drown out some of it, but the Seven fires a long burst towards what appears to be nothing at the hangars. "GET THE FRAK OUT OF HERE!"

The doorgunner stands there like five and a half feet of shocked quartz.

Petra sees the red on the Seven's chest and his face sets in a scowl, muttering, "Mothergodsdamnedfra…" However, he doesn't need encouragement. Backpack slung over his shoulder, he bolts for the Raptor, using his free arm to grab at the doorgunner and try SHOVING her towards the bus, "Get on the Raptor, damnit and tell your pilot to warm up!" He shoots a glance at Mara, perhaps assuming she's also moving, lets he need to grab at someone else as well.

Mara doesn't even flinch when she sees the Seven stumble back. Nope, no urging needed here. She just picks up into a smart jog, ruck slung over her shoulder and beelining it for the bird. She does, however, wait to make sure that Petra is aboard the Raptor before scooting up the ramp, herself. Catching at the shell-shocked 'gunner's' sleeve, she points at the seat, "Sit. Shoot." In that wierd husky voice of hers. Then taps her ear and points to the cockpit and presumably the pilot, indicating the 'gunner' can provide cover fire and relay information from there. Cover fire being more important right now. And Mara carefully positions herself between any open air and Petra himself, in case he's the actual target.

The doorgunner seems to be properly coached at being shoved and does NOT want to be left behind. She turns and runs full tilt for the Raptor. The pilot can be seen to flinch when some glass on the canopy dusts into the air, leaving a hole. There's a quick glance to the back, then forward. The Raptor's skids scrape as it turrets on the ground and there's a coldly mechanical sound as the miniguns begin to spin up - but the pilot isn't firing yet. The guns spin at a rate that blurs the lines, obviously at the maximum rate of return despite not a round leaving the guns. The pilot isn't willing to shoot with the pick-up running up towards the nose — but damned if she isn't ready to. With no room for the gunner to get in before they do, the girl is clearly terrified but doing her job. The other two in first.

Once inside they can see the ECO patching a hole on the rear interior of the Raptor. That's a huge hole from a single round. It wasn't a missile, that was a gun. "-Five-One! Repeat, we are taking rounds!" the pilot can be heard barking into her radio. "Immediate suppression on the hangars! Fire! Fire! Fire!" Petra might recognize that shout. Not the words, but the voice. Its all they can hear before the doorgunner leans out and begins unloading the fifty-cal towards the hangar. Through the windscreen they can see the Seven returning fire from the truck, which is being ripped to shreds by tracer fire. Not a moment of quitting, though. But just as the doorgunner hits stride, the twin miniguns light up and they can see a far hangar start exploding in small puffs. Huge sections of tin wall go airborne while structural beams begin blowing out and away like toothpicks tossed aside. The pilot, face forward and focused, is lifting off even as the round counter on the miniguns blazes past forty percent and descending.

Petra scrambles up onto the Raptor's wing and dives into the compartment, throwing his backpack inside while he pretty much throws himself into the first jumpseat he can get his ass into, only then looking back to see if the hatch needs to be yanked closed after the other two get in. Once all three sets of feet have made it into the ship, he raises his voice, "We're in!" And then that voice registers and his brow furrows. Some of the adrenaline bleeds away and he rises up out of the seat, holding on to the nearest bulkhead so he can crane his head into the pilot's compartment to look, then blinks and mutters, "…Wescott?"

For her part, Lieutenant Rook is cool, calm. While she moves quickly, there's no sense of panic from her. She settles into her seat, and secures her straps, then focuses her attention on Petra. Finally removing her aviators and tucking them away securely. She watches the man intently, odd eyes probing and assessing. She watches his reactions, her face expressionless, sitting perfectly still with gloved hands curled together in her lap. There's a couple of swallows, "Sir." She murmers slowly, then swallows again, clears her throat as best she can before attempting to raise her voice slightly, "Sir, you need to… Sit." Because thems the rules. And the pilot will have a hard time flying with someone hanging over their shoulder, especially considering there's a hole in the window.

The miniguns run empty ten seconds into the climb out and the woman in the pilot seat shoves the throttles. The engines scream up towards 110% and dump raw jet fuel into the chambers, throwing afterburners. The artificial grav can barely compensate with the sudden change. The woman in the pilots seat gives a surprised glance to Petra, then quickly back. Just as she does rounds begin plowing into the enemy positions from above. At first it looks like more minigun, then bigger rounds begin exploding like oversized grenades. Then a huge artillery round lands and blows apart the hangar. The rounds begin walking up the line of buildings even as they can all watch, but the pilot is looking right, beginning her bank away.

"SAM Launch!" the ECO yells. "Two up! Throwing flares!" Even as he yells it, the smell of burning magnesium begins filling the cabin. "Beamer, inside!" he yells at the doorgunner, the woman immedaitely beginning to tuck back in with her gun. The hatch is coming closed.

"Commander, she's right! sit in the godsdamned ejection seat!" No compunction about barking orders at a Commander. Annnnd despite only being 500 feet up she noses forward towards the ground, looking out the right side. "Tally! Two trails!"

"Lieutenant, get a patch on this windscreen! We need to jump!" The ECO has Ensign pins. And she isn't talking to Petra or the doorgunner.

Petra closes his eyes and mutters under his breath, "Ares I swear to all that is holy, I'm going to kick your ass." The lurching of the Raptor and Melissa's demanding of a patch is enough to propel Petra forward to drop heavily into the copilot's seat to get him out of the way. Is he talking to himself, "In a Raptor. With Wescott. Getting shot at. You're laughing your ass off right now. Got me out of a CLASSROOM for this…" The emergency harness is clicked in place despite his bitching and yanked snug, looking so very out of place, strapped in in his civvies.

Mara spends 1 luck points on Let's hope we don't make the hole bigger….

<FS3> Mara rolls Repair: Success.

Mara doesn't even hesitate when the Ensign orders her to get up there and repair the hole. She silently unstraps from her seat and after a bit of quick rooting around, she comes up with some things that will hopefully survive a jump and then the space beyond. She slides herself up and sets to work, cool and calm, her gloved fingers aren't even shaking as she sets about making the repair. Rook does her best to stay clear of any essential equipment and tries not to even bump anyone. And when she's satisfied with her jury-rigged patch, she sits herself back down again and once more buckles in.

<FS3> Melissa rolls Piloting-2: Amazing Success.

Melissa spends 1 luck points on Not again.

<FS3> Melissa rolls Piloting-4: Good Success.

Kelsey… or is it someone else… relies on the LT to get the screen patched. One hand on the stick, the other on the throttle. Her helmet is pressed against the canopy glass out the right side. The woman looks fairly casual about it. "Three. Two. One." The Raptor was pointed at the ground but 100 feet off an impact she stomps her feet to a speedbrake and zero's the throttle. The roll hard right goes right -over- the SAM, creating a tunnel around the smoke trail as it speeds off into nothing. "One down!" she calls. Calm, but her voice is elevated. Petra can look through the side of her helmet glass and see the readouts, knowing she's flying just by the feel. A thumb lifts to a sideswitch on her stick and she breathes heavier. The Raptor is suddenly yanked back as the throttles are shoved up, aiming the Raptor at the sky as she starts a roll back over. Every single flare on the ship is dumped at once and they can look back around at the group of bright lights and see the SAM explode into them, shrapnel flying straight out and easily missing them.

"It better be spooled by now-"

"Jumping!" the ECO calls.

Poof. A bright light and they're floating in space. The pilot finally looks back to the windscreen, ready to shove her glove up there… and there's a patch. Shock. She turns her head suddenly to look at Mara and laughs. "Oh HELLLLLL the frak yeah. Go frakkin NAVY!! Well done, el-tee! Bacon saved!" Petra can just look at that familiar face, grinning over her shoulder at Mara.

Petra settles in and tenses up, both hands finding something firm to hang on to, certain that any moment, he's going to hear the sound of engines getting ruptured and fuel igniting. Eyes close while he listens to the raised voices and then the call to jump and…
Nothing. He freezes for a moment, then opens his eyes, "We aren't dead." He looks around for a moment then seems to finally relax, and echoes, "Yes. Thank you for saving our collective asses, Lieutenant. Looks like the news was not exaggerating the lengths to which these folks want us all dead."

Lieutenant Rook doesn't even respond. She just stares at the pilot for a few moments, blinks once and then looks away, her face expressionless as always. Instead, her attention turns to Petra, watching him again. Sort of like a scientist looking at something under a microscope, assessing, /intense/. Her gaze probably weighs more than she does. Hands fold themselves into her lap once more and now that they're up in the comparative safety of space, Mara allows herself to lean back a little in her seat. But never once takes her eyes off Petra. His acknowledgement of her actions gets nothing more than a slow blink, a slight dipping of her head, not even a twitch in her facial expression though.

The pilot laughs at Petra. Not with. At. "Sorry, Commander, but that was some sierra hotel shit. Godsdamn I'm saving those gun tapes for the rest of my life. HOOOO!" she hoots, laughing it out and looking back as she settles. There's a little shake to her shoulders and she hoots one more time, still grinning. Looks and sounds like Kelsey, but MUCH happier. And with Captain's pins. At least they didn't send an Ensign to pick him up. Same squadron patch, too. She settles them on a slow course away from Picon. "Let Orion know we're declaring and will take priority clearance."

The ECO nods and begins the process of declaring an emergency. Peacetime rules and such.

She looks back over her shoulder at Mara. "Damn girl, I'll fly with you anytime. Missus Cucumber. Pickle." Another grin. "Lieutenant Pickle." She winks and looks back to Petra, "Hell no it wasn't, sir. I was tasked a Rhino gunship for your pick-up just in case that happened. Word is your pick-up was supposed to be secret. Seems we've got a mole in the sideyard somewhere." Kelse- the pilot flashes him a thumbs up and looks back out as they begin heading towards Caprica.

Petra chuckles low and deep in his chest, lightly shaking his head, "I don't blame you. You have no idea…" He glances over and watches Melissa's face for a second, glancing at the pins, then starts chuckling again, "The universe has a sense of humor, but in away, I guess you're the only pilot that COULD pick us up. One of these days, you and I are going to have to talk, Captain. You might even be enough to convince me it's okay to step into these things again." With that said, he takes a deep breath and lets it go.

Mara doesn't even look at the pilot. There's zero reaction to being dubbed 'Pickle' or being jested with in any way. Captain or not, apparently that doesn't mean much to Rook. In fact, she doesn't look at anything, now. Head tilting back to stare at the ceiling while she waits for the craft to land aboard the Orion. Half an ear is kept on the conversation, but mostly the Lieutenant just sorts through her own thoughts, eyes half closed, her thumb rubs idly at the seam of the glove on the other hand, back and forth, slowly, carefully.

"Yeah, that-so, sir? Just remember we are on a monitored and recorded line so no hitting on the Captain," she jokes with a laugh, nothing wiping that grin off her face. She finally starts to relax into her seat. Onward to Orion. "Joker-Six-Five, two foxes for the henhouse. Negative wounds, took fire. Need medevac to the site for Marine on the ground, speed buster. Catwalk-Two still on station in support. Joker, out." She glances to the oil pressure and takes a long sigh in relief. "Only way to travel, Commander. Unless you want to have some fun. Follow The Leader on Libran? Thousand cubits per aircraft. Anyone pukes, they lose. You ever want in on that stake, lemme know. You, too, el-tee. You got big ol brass ones. Don't start fires when you exit the Raptor please, el-tee."

Petra smirks to himself, "Joker, huh? Yeah, we're gonna be talking, I'm sure. And if you can make me lose my lunch, you deserve the cubits, but that is SO not a challenge. Lets just get boots on the deck before my luck demands that a Machine carrier show up and blow us out of the air. I've had to eject out of one of these once with your mother and never, ever again." He pauses, then lifts his voice, "You okay back there, Lieutenant? Sounds like we're going to be getting to work the moment we can get uniforms on…"

Mara ignores the Captain's comment, still staring at the ceiling of the craft and sorting through her own thoughts. It's only when Petra addresses her that she blinks and tilts her head forward. She glances over at him, odd eyes watching him silently for a few moments before she finally nods once, presumably a yes that she's okay and a quick little half salute after she unwraps her hands from their loose grasp in her lap is probably a yes to the work. Definitely short on words. And facial expression.

"Jokers just the flight name, sir. Callsign Doodle. Or 'Dood' for short," she tells him. She's caught up in the ejection confusion before she realizes mum was mentioned. She doubletakes, then looks back. "Aye, sir. Yeah, 'bout that." Not as easily distracted as her mom, either. She glances over once more before hitting final approach.

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