AWD #015: Event - The Devil in Dress Blues
The Devil in Dress Blues
Summary: Zachary makes a return trip to Picon to get a better assessment of the situation through the eyes of Afton and Beckett.
Date: 22/Jan/2013 (OOC Date)
Related Logs: None
Zachary Beckett Afton Dropkickst 
Picon Command Post
22 January 2005

When the flash fades, the Raptor's canopy is facing directly towards Picon. A well-done jump performed by the ECO has them settled in a distant orbit with no local contacts. Out ahead of them, there are a few basestars visible as silhouettes against the planet that looks the same as Zachary remembers. Slowly, the static-y sounds of radio calls fill the edges of the headset. They are still fighting just as hard as before. Hall is already up, in the back, and talkingto the ECO about where to jump to and looking over a 3D map of Picon. She's in the same combat gear she was brought in wearing, right down to the mismatched camo. However, all the smiles are gone. Its time to get down to business.

"Good jump, Beachcomber." Zachary says quietly to his ECO before he brings DRADIS on line. "Looks like we're fortunate today, Sergeant - the basestars do not appear to have moved much from their last arrangement." The Raptor is loaded for bear, every hardpoint is armed and ready, though there is no nuclear armament. "See if you can get on the command net, make sure they're still in place before we blind drop in on them."

In the back, with a couple of other marines, and the PJ, Major Beckett sits dressed for ground combat. Likely in the odd case this become a combat ops, the major is to be prepared. When the jump fades, Cyrus, brings a hand up to rub at his eyes, before he is looking to the JTAC. One hand slides to his straps as he adjusts his harness and shifts further in his seat. There's a glance to their small company, before the Major just murmurs "Sit easy dogs." It seems that Hall is on now.

"Won't do much good from this range, sir. We're too far out. It'll take hours for our signal to reach them," The ECO replies as he looks over the map. Hall then pipes up: "Won't matter, sir. You're just another Raptor. Unless you're check in for air support, its not going to do much good. Landing at the CP, people will just think we are bringing in wounded but, sirs, expect to be tracked by anti-aircraft all the way in. Any directions you get need to be followed precisely, no matter how inane. Anything but a confirmation will smoke us all instantly." Hall then looks backto the map and confirms the location, tapping the screen with a finger gentle. The ECO, once more: "Sir, I have our jump location. Ready when you are."

"Ready to jump on your mark. Hall, stick close to Beachcomber, make sure he does everything you say." Zachary says. He waits for the jump countdown to finish. This is always the worst part. Not able to do anything, just sit and wait for the jumps to finish.

Beckett eases back in his seat for a moment. A glance passed up to the front seat. And then it's the wait for the jump. One hand slides up to grip at a OS handle by his seat, and eyes close for a moment. Nothing like several jumps to go with your breakfast in the morning.

The countdown commences and the ECO jumps at the appointed time. When the flash fades, the Raptor is cruising along slowly at twenty thousand or so feet, high over a rugged mountain range the spreads for tens of dozens of miles in any direction. Far to the north, stormclouds are building and lighting flashes beneath the black swell. "Sir," the ECO calls, "DRADIS contacts. Looks like a flight of two Raptors at our five oclock low and closing. They're just passing beneath us." The JTAC, watching the panel, then moves to look out of the canopy. "Follow them in, sir. They're probably medevac. Don't say anything on the radios. People will contact you."

"Copy that, Sergeant. I have the controls." Zachary says, reaching to take the sticks and starts to guide the Raptor into the rear of the formation, bringing it down to the same altitude as the DCAG brings the bird to bear. "Take us to the promised land." he murmurs, a glance to the picture of Eden in the corner of his glass.

Deep breath, taken and Beckett's eyes are opening back up. There's a brief glance back to the other Passengers, before he is shifting and looking back towards Zachary. Only then does he unstrap, and move to come and peer between the Front seats, and out the canopy to get a look of what they are flying into. One hand steadying on the back of the DCAG's chair. "So far so good.." the Major murmurs.

Dropping down into the formation is more like following a freight train on a roller coaster. Its probably been a long time since Zachary has flown like this. Low level in the valleys and they have to look up to see the ridges down here. Its not hairy and certainly not as highspeed as the Predators might be able to do, but its down. Ahead of them, the two other Raptors, if they've noticed Zach, haven't shown an indication. The one directly in front of them, that can be seen the easiest, has visible battle damage. Part of one of the vertical stabilizers is blown off and there is duct tape hanging off like a streamer in the wind. Following them for another five minutes, though, eventually there is a radio call in their helmets for a Flight of Three to start taking headings and they are steered up more mountain valleys, at one point even being told to turn around. Its tedius, but probably done for a reason. Coming up a valley, though, it starts to get very narrow for an encumbered Raptor. Quite uncomfortable. However, a new voice eventually calls for a halt and descent to the pad. Looking around, there is nothing to be seen until the lead Raptor touches down on a flat section of rocky ledge and slowly taxis into the hillside. …Then the second one. Then its Zachary's turn. Its not until they are about to touch down that the four heavy flak guns are visible tracking Zach's face every single inch down to the pad.

"Please retake your seat, Cyrus." Zachary says, half-request, half-order, as he flips on the combat lights. "This is going to be sloppy. Secure yourselves!" he barks out before he grabs the sticks, and starts to follow the flight on the twists, turns, and baffles of the other flights. It has been a long time since he's had this type of flight, but damned if it doesn't turn him on. It was flying in this type of crap that made him choose to be a CSAR.

He only sends an acknowlegedment when asked for, letting the first two birds take their turns. While they are in holding, he makes sure to note their unit patterns. To see if they're local or stragglers from a fleet, or any other suggestions that might give them a clue as to what they may be dealing with. Facing down the flak guns, Zachary keeps his cool, throwing a salute towards the gunners as he brings his craft in for a landing amongst the rocks and hillside.

"I'm used to sloppy Major, I've had worse drops in better places." The Marine half jokes, as he peers out. Though as the birds start moving there's a glance and he slides back down into an empty seat for a moment. His grip hard on the bar, before they are coming into the landing. Only then does the major move to get a gander at what they are facing. There's a brief nod, before he is looking back to the PJ. "No sudden movements.." though unlikely that needed to be said. A glance is given over Zachary's shoulder. "Welcoming party, is about what I would have expected.." Only then does he look back to the rest. "Safeties on when you get off and keep guns down-where they can see em."

The view ahead as they turn in to follow th other Raptors is.. unusual. It would appear that the CP's landing area is expanded into the mountainside and beneath an outcropping. Already, wounded are being unloaded from the first two Raptors and taken into the tunnel systems which are guarded by half a dozen heavy machineguns. These people are not frakking around. …But the crews onthe ground are already motioning to Zachary's Raptor. The weapons, specifically. And the clean condition of it. A couple of them stand back as the ship is brought in, waiting for the door to open. Hall takes a position by the door, her own face full of relief. She's damned gladto be home and doesn't care who knows it.

Once they are settled down, Zachary starts to run down the checklist to keep the Raptor warmed up in case they need to scram from the area. He notices the people looking at it. "Beachcomber, stay with the plane, make sure we don't get pressed into service without seeing me first." he says as he goes to lower the hatch. "We're here. Everyone out, and don't forget to go to the head first."

"Hall out First. I'll follow," Beckett says as he unstraps and reaches back for his rifle. This of course is slung over a shoulder. A look is given to Zachary "You stay on my flank Major." And with that he is looking to Hall. "Also, hands where they can see them. They know the Staff Sergeant. They don't know us-we're all on the same team-but let's not take any chances or give them any excuse to not trust us." This said with experience. Though-they are fighting cylons, this reminds him of how things were on Aerilon during that whole bloody engagement. So once Hall Exits, Beckett will be a step behind her.

Hall is the first one out the door with the orders and she nods to the two deck crewmen in their brown and green-spraypainted coveralls. When the others pile out, though, their faces go a bit slack. The contrast between the two people is tangible. Quite simply, one group is clean and decently rested and the other is not. "Holy shit, get a load of these guys," one of them quips with a laugh finally. Both of them look to be in their 40's and probably long-since left the Navy officially. "Shut up, man," Hall sighs. "Get the bird gassed and don't touch the damned thing otherwise or I'll throw you off the mountain." She sighs and motions for the crew to follow. The floor isn't exactly even and is what someone might expect for walking down wide mineshaft. There are huge stacks of munitions everywhere and people smoking next to them by vent shafts. Off-shoots have carved out areas for bunks and people are sleeping or resting…even passing by one cubby where a man and a woman don't particularly seem to care who see's them coital. Hall certainly doesn't pay it any mind. They walk farther and farther into the mountain and eventually take a nondescript turn in the maze towards a heavily guarded shaft. Hall turns to them, then, "Spree is a good lady, sirs. Respect the Colonel. You all are guests. There is no fleet to this command unless she says there is. I hope you understand what I mean by that." The Staff Sergeant looks between them for a moment.

Zachary falls in line. He only has his Five-seveN sidearm, so he's not going to be spoiling for a fight at all. Taking off his helmet, he glances over to Beckett. "This is your show, Cyrus. I'm just along to make sure we get down here and get back home. And see if we can find out where the Union Bays went to." the Major walks along, looking around, and lets out a low whistle.

There's a brief glance to the others as they come back out, however the Major in his black combats doesn't seem to flinch or pay them any minf as he follows behind the Sergeant. A roll of his shoulder as eyes catch the various people and the situation that the resistance is working out of. Still Beckett remains Stoic, before he is flicking his eyes towards Hall as she speaks up. "Understood, Staff Sergeant. I've been in a situation like this before." he adds slightly before ducking under a low beam. "We had a time on Aerilon during the Bleeding Borders, that you didn't know who was with you, or not. All respect and Caution alike.." he mutters on in that thick Aerilon drawl of his.

Unstrapping herself from her seat, Afton pushes up and takes up the rear of the line stepping off the Orion bus. Her glance is briefly given to her companions before she's taking in the guard around the tunnel. Her rifle stays slinged on her shoulder and she adjusts the overly large medicap pack that i all part of her chute rig. The woman wipes her brow beneath her helmet and then pushes it back so that her eyes are clear save for the stray strands of hair on her face. That red beret is wrapped up and stuck into her leg pocket of her pants, but its there, and bleeding right out of it for others to see. Eventually she gives her attention to Hall and those they are approaching, the steady steps of her bringing her along with but she makes no comment. Silent Jumper is silent.

Hall turns and walks past the guards, both the Marines looking rather unhappy at the two clean officers. They note the arms and two of the three follow them in, one standing right each of the visitors. Within this dugout is a hive of activity that looks more like a CIC than a mineshaft. There are laptops plugged into a line of outlets that run up a bundle of cord through a vent shaft with the commo wire. The overhead lights buzz gently. There is a line of tables, occupying personnel facing the walls, that makes a near ring of the room. Several of them have radios, or the laptops, and every one of them looks busy. In the center is a map table with sandbags as a base. There is a blonde woman in her forties leaned over it in a Marines uniform, talking to a Corporal over her shoulder about something quietly. But when Hall steps inside, the Colonel stops and stares at her. "Staff Sergeant Hall, you've been AWOL a week. Contact with your platoon said you were on an air evac back here and you never arrived. You know the rumors. Care to explain in precise detail exactly where the hell you have been and why we shouldn't kill you just to make sure the job is done properly?" Hall, standing at parade rest,barely looks phased. She just gestures to Zachary and Cyrus. "These are Majors Shepard and Beckett, sir. I believe they can explain better than I can, Colonel. Majors, this is Lieutenant Colonel Carolyn Spree." Spree just shifts her eyes to the Majors, waiting for an explanation as to where her JTAC has been.

"Sorry for abducting your JTAC, m'am, but I was needing information and talking to your Sergeant was the best way to do it." Zachary says, offering a salute. "Major Zachary Sheperd, Deputy Air Commander of CVW-11." And he leaves it at that. "Major Beckett can handle the rest of the briefing. If you could direct myself and Petty Officer St James, our Parajumper to any wounded that need extra hands on, I'd appreciate it. We also have a few food supplies, if you have any extra mouths that need them. Civilian refugees and the like."

As the Colonel turns, Major Beckett snaps into a rather straight posture of attention, and only when Hall gestures, does he barely shift into Parade rest, as one hand comes up to hold the salute until released. "Major Cyrus Beckett, Third Battalion, Eighth Marines, Colonel. We're stationed with the Battlestar Orion under command of Read Admiral Louis Jameson." Once released that hand comes down and clasps behind his back in standard parade rest. "We have had your JTAC with us, and our medical staff saw to her wounds. We would have contacted you earlier if we could to let you know, but time was of the essence. I hope you can forgive us on that." With that he is looking back Shepherd and the Petty Officer, a brief nod given, before he is back with focus on Colonel Spree. "We've been tasked with finding out the sitrep here on Picon, as well as returning to you your JTAC."

Beckett is not the only one to salute, the PJ comes up straight and offers a crisp movement of hand to brow before easing some. Afton's eyes shift to that of Zachary and she waits patiently for information as Beckett begins the briefing. For a moment her eyes shift, looking over the other personnel in the room of the Picon resistance. The talk is something she knows so its more learning about what is going on in and around the base of operations as much as possible. Supplies, people, traffic, equipment, it's all being noted.

Spree stares at Zachary, even while Beckett speaks. When everyone is finished, she lets the silence linger. A few of the people caught the mention of a carrier air wing and are looking over. "Its true, sir. They've got a Battlestar," Hall confirms. Spree holds up a finger to her. "Sergeant Hall, go with Corporal Gardo and debrief. Now. Gardo? If she so much as farts, put a bullet in her." The Corporal gestures for Hall to lead the way out and the Marines turn to go. "Good luck," she whispers and disappears through the doorway.

Spree slowly rises off her lean to a height of around five-eight. "We don't keep civilians here, Major Shepard. We keep them someplace more secure. But we have very hungry people who would love to get some food. If you want to off-load it, you can. It'll be served after my people inspect it and not until then. You'll pardon me if I don't send you directly to where we keep our non-combatants. We need medical supplies and trained health care professionals even more." Trust and all, to the civilians. "Stand at ease, both of you." She slides her eyes to Beckett as her fingertips are pressed into the table. "Bullshit you all have a battlestar. Even if you did, its not here helping. What's Picon worth to you gentlemen and why do you care?" Flat, even tone. This lady doesn't wear her rank, she is her rank. She's one of those individuals whose presence commands attention and respect.

"Sounds like a plan, m'am." A glance is given towards Afton. "Come on, Jumper." he suggests and starts back towards the Raptor, as he cues his radio. Beachcomber, Pie. Start off-loading supplies, clear out anything that we don't need. Let them take all the weapons except for half-load on each of the mini-guns and half-loads on the missile pods in case we need to fight our way back into orbit.

With that, he continues down the hallway towards the makeshift hangar. It'll be the best place to find Raptor pilots. And hopefully a Raptor pilot that has information on the whereabouts of Baxter Bay. He takes out his flip pad and opens it up to an ear-marked section, checking it for information to compare tail numbers to his manifest in case they get lucky and some of the Bay's own Raptors got left behind.

"Bullshit comes from a bull sir. I'm giving you straight shit." Beckett replies before he is looking back to her. And there he slides easily into an at ease posture, even as Shepherd seems to be headed on out. Well, that leaves him with the Colonel now doesn't it? "Sir. Picon is one of the remaining Colonies. We've lost Gemenon, Sagitarron, Tauron and Troy." Though who knows what all they know down here. "I am tasked with, by my CO, to figure out the sitrep, beyond shot to hell and fighting back-so as we know what moves to make. As for why the Battlestar is not in here with her guns blazing. Picon has about eight basetars hanging in orbit. The Admiral is not going to just jump us in to get obliterated. That would be no use to anyone-and wouldn't help anyone. Right now, we're trying to figure out what is going on-so we can make our next move." Cyrus says before he is bringing his hand up to scratch at the side of his nose. "We'd heard ya'll had some Naval assets-though they took off to lick their wounds. Am I right there, sir?"

"Sir?" Afton asks, giving a look back to Beckett and the Colonel. But supplies it is. The Jumper seems loathe to just hop off to do that but she stows her response and is moving to follow after the Major. Orders given. The Jumper double times to finally catch up with Zachary to join in him back at the Raptor to unload. She is silent, but her eyes speak volumes as they sweep over every able body in the immediate area.

Spree watches Zachary go with Afton and she motions for one of the guards to follow them. He does. The Colonel then turns her attention back on Beckett like a battleship's guns finding their target. "Last we heard, Sag had it rough but was still active. Shame." There's a glance to one of her personnel who looks like he's just been hit with a blow. Carolyn looks back, then. "Six basestars," she corrects. "Sometimes one more or one less, but it hovers at six. And yeah, I know about the Baker Bay group. But we are out of contact, Major. If we did have contact, though, we need them here. The other side of Picon is getting the shit kicked out of it. We're one of the least active sectors and things are not pretty here, but it turns I might be inheriting another five hundred thousand square miles and another thirty thousand troops. Lucky me." Its dry and unpleasant. Another command must have been taken out. "You want a sitrep to take home? We need help. We own the airspace below ten thousand feet above ground level but they keep landing Centurions and air defense assets in civilian transports or those heavy raiders. We need dedicated strike aircraft, medical personnel and supplies, and the heaviest godsdamned fleet support you can muster. But if you're only truckin a single battlestar, I don't imagine your Admiral will be bringing that out here to play unless I'm missing something."

As they walk down the 'hall' as it were, Zachary notices an 8-year old running by carrying medical supplies. He touches Afton's arm, and his words are quiet to the Jumper. "You wanted to see about kids. Here's your chance. Keep it quiet, go help in medical, scout it out. See what we have to deal with. If there are kids, see if they have parents or are orphans. Get me a count, and once you decide on what you want as precious cargo, radio Beckett to add it to his list of things to discuss with Spree. Hopefully she'll see her way through to releasing the kids to us." A wan smile as he nods to her. "Eyes and ears open, Jumper."

With that, he lifts his voice to normal. "Go check on medical, I'll be down as soon as I finish overseeing the unloading of the Raptor, Jumper." he comments to her. "Get me a count for seriously wounded and other precious cargo." Done with delegating out another person, he returns to the flight line to check on Beachcomber. "It's going to be a while. Just make sure the unloading goes smoothly."

Beckett nods, carefully. There's a brief pause before he is clearing his throat. " My Admiral would be bringing in the group that is attatched to us if we do come in. Obviously, if we can find the Baker Bay boys, we'd be sitting prettier with a chance to come in. But, I can't say to know what the Admiral will or will not want to do. What I can do, is give him my opinion and the status down here. And go from there." Beckett reports. "But with her, you get a full wing And all my men should our Admiral committ." he states. before he is shifting there. "How're you keeping them off you at such low alt? What other troubles you running into beyond lack of the fleet?" Beckett can guess, but he's not going to. There is a brief pause there. "Sir, may I ask of you a personal question? You might not know the answer, and I respect that."

That gives Spree a moment of pause. "You all have a fleet out there?" she asks carefully. "If you do, that's saying something. I want pictures and video, though. Dated and stamped, from a Raptor." The kind of things that get really hard to fake with several photos and video. "I need proof, though." She glances over to one of the laptops and back to Beckett. "How many Marines do you have and what strength is the air wing? I've got a quarter wing to cover my sector and I'm inheriting another third of one from this other sector." She crooks a finger at him to bring him over to the map. "We've got access to rather large munitions stockpiles. We've been using old shoulder-fired missiles and heavy machine and flak guns to knock down the Raiders. They hate it so they rarely come down low. "Our primary problems here are more related to fighting strength and patrols. The Cylons keep landing and getting into the construction business. We keep shutting them down. We think its pissing them off so they are stepping up ground patrols and ambushes, but we keep highly mobile to frustrate their operations." The last, though, has her lift a brow. "A personal question? This should be good."

Zachary uses the off-loading time to find the earlier Raptor crews and discuss their former units, gleaning what information he can from them about the current numbers of flights left in the fleet, fuel and ammo conditions, and listening to their stories of flights in the field. He frowns as he takes dutiful notes, listening attentively as he does so.

"I can talk with Shepherd, and with the CO to see if we can get this to you. If you want proof we're not ass backwards and just frakkin' with you. I'll see what we can do to oblidge that." Beckett says, before he is coming over to peer at the map, taking note of the positions marked out. A nod there. "Well we might have some need of that. We're fully loaded for our tour-but for sustained war, I don't know if we've got near enough." A rub of his jaw there before he is looking back towards Spree. "I've got 2297 marines. As for the Air Wing, Major Shepherd can give you better numbers, but I believer we're running at 300 personnel." he adds, before he is falling silent. "that's likely a ripple in what you're running here." But still those are some fine numbers.

As for the personal question, Beckett chuckles. "My son was a Gunny in the Corps, and lived here with his family. I imagine he'd be under ya'll if he lived through war day. But, I was merely curious if you knew or had a Gunny Noah Beckett under you?" clearly the major knows if she can't answer-she can't answer.

"If you've got two Marine Exped Units then you all should be alright for about a week or two in combat on your own unless you've reinforced supply. My last Command was on the lander Rosslyn Ridge with a battalion there. Look, your people could make a huge difference here but onthe other side of the planet?" Spree shakes her head. "Negative. At last count there were roughly forty-two million people fighting on Picon. That was last week. They're getting chewed up pretty badly on the other side. Roughly twenty-five million are over there in a high tempo guerrilla war. The Cylons own the ground and air, but the people on the ground are constantly hitting them. Its hell from what I'm told. I've got orders from the Commander that we are to lock this area down as soon as possible. He doesn't want the Cylons pissed, he wants them to think this area is more trouble than its worth. I think its possible, especially if we have consistent support with gunfire. We've got some old pieces from the first war but not many." The lat has her shake her head. "Negative, Major. I've got twenty-thousand people right now and its about to be fifty. I have no idea."

"That's my estimate as well." he states with a firm nod. "Understood sir. And I know if you get this area locked down, only then can you start looking to make a difference else where." or bide time. Still Beckett is looking back to the map before he is bringing a hand to his radio. "Beckett to Shepherd. Can you bring in your gun cam footage. If we've got pictures of the fleet, I'd like to share them with Colonel Spree." Sharing a little, before he is looking back towards the Colonel. "I completely understand, Sir. I still have to look for him." meaning his son. "I can take this to my CO and to the Admiral with those recommendations. What does your Commander see the long term game to be?" Beyond of course eventually freeing Picon from the Cylons who are trying to occupy it.

Usually children run around, laughing and playing and making finger guns at each other. The children in the base though are busy. While they have a job to do, be it handling ammunition, supplies, or assisting in medical, they try to carry on their tasks. Some make sure to linger once they drop off their supplies to get an affectionate pat or hug before being sent on their way. They're running ragged in the medical wing. The seinor official seems to be a paramedic from Queenstown Hospitial, his arm in a sling as he tries to assist and offer on the ground training.

The medical area itself is a caphony of organized chaos. Gurneys are being run, triage is set up. The moans and cries of the wounded intermingle with the crisp discussions of doctors. In one area, there is a couple of candy strippers from the hospital as well, serving in a role of medics.

Back at the Raptor, Zachary gets the information and taps his comm. Beckett, Sheperd. Give me a second to edit out the nav data, and I'll have it down. Give me ten. Out. With that, he brings up the battlecomp and starts to scroll for the needed information.

"No, if we can get this place locked down then we can create a place on Picon we own where we can keep our non-combatants until evacuation. Also a place to get our wounded organized. I'm not leaving this sector. I'm one of three Colonels left on Picon, Major. We've got Majors and Captains commanding millions of ground troops." Spree just looks at Beckett with steel blue eyes. This woman wasn't born, she was mined and blasted out of granite. She waits until he finishes, though. "Long term goal? The Cylons hate how much fighting they had to do to take Picon. But we know the war is over, Major. The fleet is gone, there's no organized command structure beyond planetary. We are simply making them pay for every last inch of this planet. Picans do not go quietly into the night, Mister Beckett. But we are all going to die here. Every last one of us." There's no depression or anger, its just an obvious statement of fact to her. Nobody else in the room to hear it even seems to bat an eye.

Beckett keeps his dull green eyes on the Major for a moment, before he is simply nodding. Just once. "Understood, Sir." Well, that explains that. There's a brief nod as his radio crackles back. "Copy Shepherd, Beckett Out.." he replies back over the line before he is looking back towards Spree, and then down towards the map. "If you're going to make your stand-have you picked your place? or perhaps had some sort of trigger event planned in case of an evacuation situation for your non coms?" A brow raising barely there. "I understand, sir if you're not at liberty to elaborate."

Spree shakes her head. "Negative. We'll probably load up our last Raptors with nukes and scorch it. We haven't gotten that far yet and we're a long way from being beaten. People will have the option to go to Aerilon, though. Our Raptors are running all over the colonies and keeping up SLOCs." Space Lines of Communications. "But getting in and out of Aquaria is an effort we don't attempt anymore. We lost too many crews. We can't get any civilian transports off the ground here, though, either. Canners just missile them from orbit. So whoever can make it is welcome to go when it gets to that point." She looks at the map and shakes her head. "The only thing that is going to change our situation is to get those godsdamned basestars out of orbit and keep them out. If they can't land more Centurions, we can probably sweep the ones we've got. But otherwise? Picon is gone. Then they can focus on Aerilon and Caprica and whoever else is left."

It takes Sheperd a few minutes to find the information that was requested and then to prepare it. Once done, Zachary starts back down the path to the briefing, and pauses as he hears that. "..every simulation we ran on Orion suggested that a Raptor would have to suicide into a basestar with a nuke to take it out." he reports calmly. "And even that is not guaranteed to work." he comments, considering the other part. "Have you considered trying to scramble the Cylon fliers in a defensive screen to get the transport off the ground?" With that, he hands over the tape to Beckett. "Here you go, Major."

"So they have Aquaria, pretty much locked down.." Beckett notes, before nodding. "Aerilon, I've been told has been keeping them on their toes…" Though When Shepherd does show up, there is a brief nod in the man's direction-before he is reaching over to take the tape. "We'll need that back." needless to say, but the tape in turn is handed over to the Colonel there. "So if we want Picon to have a shot at kicking the canners out-we need to take out the basestars." Well there's a prospect and project that just sounds freaking lovely. A glance is given to Shepherd before he is coughing lightly into a fist. He can let the colonel elaborate on the air situation.

There's a small cough in response from Zachary. "We have not completed the recon of Aquaria, Cyrus. I'm having to re-organize for it, unless the Colonel has news from SLOC that could be beneficial?" he asks, glancing towards Spree.

Spree looks to Zachary as he re-enters and the woman nods. "And that's exactly what happened to our Raptors who attempted it. The only way you're going to knock down those basestars is with naval gunfire or some kind of stealth delivery of a large munition." The Colonel reaches for a tin cup on the side of the table and lifts it to drink. Afterwards she hands the disc off to a Corporal who loads it through a laptop. "But yeah, that's about it. If your Admiral gives two shits about Picon, we need support and we need it soon just to hold them off. The basestars can wait as long as they are wiped sometime soon. As for Aquaria, yeah." She nods to Zachary. "They're on their own. Last contact said most of their population was fine and healthy on their own. Whole lot of people were killed trying to evac, but nobody else is messed with. The Cylons don't land much but they are isolated. Aerilon?" Carolyn Spree snorts. "Frakkin Aerilonians. They're almost as bad as we are." She nods a few times and looks between the Majors. "Boys, there's several hundred million people on Aerilon in arms right now. I can't give you too much on them, but that place was barely touched. Cylons want it conventionally. Caprica is another problem. Same with Libran and Leonis. They've really screwed us with this strategy. Everyone is in dire need of help and we scramble to try and provide support but it just thins us out and exposes us. Its why we are focusing on single planetary commands now. Everyone supports themselves, pretty much."

"Yes sir," Is all that Zachary gets as Afton then makes her way towards the medical section of the resistance' base of operations. Warzones are never fun and everything is turned upside down. But at this level? Kids helping amongst all the rest of the chaos has her pause for a moment. The PJ takes a moment to get a handle on the situation and then starts moving to one of those who looks to be delegating. That bulging pack of medical supples on her back and the rank might give her away but then she doesn't expect to be recognized.

She waits til there is a brief pause before stepping forward. "Petty Officer St. James. Here to help with the wounded in any way I can. I have supplies and the like would also like a list of those most badly injured as well so I can assess them for possible lift for surgery."

Beckett grins there, but it's a damned ghost of one. "I'd say we're a touch worse, but I'd also say ya'll have a foot in the running." Almost normal to josh in such a way, but the Major doesn't rise to the bait-nor does he seem to go out of his way to defend any decisions there. "best way to defeat the colonies is to take the unity out." Cyrus says. "We're strong when we can rally together, but apart? Hell- we're worse." A frown there. "Have you had any in fighting amongst your cells?" Likely that is a negative, but the better the picture he can paint-the better. There's a look to Zachary while the pictures are being uploaded. "How long ago was it, that you lost contact with the Baker Bay group?" perhaps it is the DCAG that has his attention back to that.

Zachary nods slowly, filing away the information he just got and paying attention to the Marines talking to each other as he does so. At the medical bay, the young man with his arm in a cast glances towards Afton. "Robert Wallace. Pleasure to see you, m'am." he says as he looks towards the woman. "We can use any supplies that you can provide us. As far as evacs?"

He gestures to one section. "That's the folks that we're trying to get into some form of surgery, or are too far gone for us to tend to." he says with a sigh. "We have injuries ranging from a ruptured appendix to a guy that has third degree burns over 80 percent of his body. As far as transport goes? How far are we talking?" he asks her. "Many of them won't want to go - or survive the trip."

"I need those that can survive a trip with several jumps, Mister Wallace. I wish I could take more than say four or five but thats all that will fit in a Raptor." She starts towards them and stops to look back. "Please, come with me and help me mark the ones that can be evacced and will not put up too much of a fight about going." She is pulling out a roll of neon colored tape, digging teeth in to tear the stretchy stuff free. Enough to wrap around an armor or the bed they are on. "Five max, Mister Wallace. Children first if they are injured." She explains and then begins to move through the section, stopping to study the wounds on a young man.

"Divide and conquer. Its the most practical way to go about defeating your foes. The problem is you can't divide these assholes because they own space and they're all a frakking hive mind." Spree just stares at Beckett with her dry words. "And no, not that I know of. We're all fighting as one unit." The Corporal then motions for the Colonel and she steps over to the laptop. "Tuesday after the bombs. Its been a few weeks. That was our last reported contact." She bends down to look at the screen and holds there. "Frak me." She lifts a finger to start counting off. "Godsdamned, you've got a whole task force out there. Flakkers, cruisers… looks like a hospital ship," she breathes. "Gods, we could use that hospital ship." She swallows and looks back to them. "Boys, you get this into your heads: If you get my wounded, continually, to that hospital ship? And you can get them back here when they are healed? and evac out non-combatants? I'll do whatever I can to help your strike group find the Baker Bay. You've got my word on that. We all expect to die the first time we're hit. If we've got hope? We've got a chance. Do you copy my traffic, Majors?" she looks both of them square in the eye in turn.

"You give me your wounded and non-coms, Colonel, and I will have missions runned in cycling shifts over the next week to get them out of here." Zachary promises. "My kids have been itching to do something to help, and this could be a start for them." he says, meeting the Colonel's eyes in return. "I read you five by five, sir." he says simply.

Robert walks along with Afton. "..that many? We'll start here." He marks a pilot with a piece of tape. "Ruptured appendix." he says as he continues down the line, and a young woman is marked. "Non-comm, she was caught in an explosion while unloading ammunition." He says, continuing down the line. "I do not think there are any injured children here."

"Fair enough, then we get the ones that we can do something for up and out and see about sending more help asap." Afton is frowning as she passes the burned man, shaking her head. "I am not sure even we could do something for him." She admits and bites her lip. Her breath is drawn in and she's stowing herself to quickly move on and mark another stretcher with an older man. "I am going to need help. My Raptor's outside and we need to get them in and secure for the flight shortly." She straightens, getting a good look around and rubbing her hand to her neck. "Gods…" So many.

"I copy." Beckett offers with a faint grin, but then it is gone right there. Hope in and of itself is a powerful enough weapon. Give hope and the fight for Picon can continue, take out the basetars and the Colonly might have a chance at survival, as will the other ones. There's a brief stare back before Beckett looks over towards Zachary for a moment. "We'll see what we can do." No promises of course, but hell. They get that Baker Bay group-they can likely do something to those basestars, right? Beckett looks back to the Colonel and offers a salute. "I'll get my two marines, and see what we can do to help Afton load what we can right now. Soon as we get back to the Orion, I'll shoot this up to the Admiral." and then it is in his hands. Once dismissed, he will go and catch his two boys to go and help shift some wounded.

"Non-combatants? Yeah, I can get you their location after I get some of my wounded back. I need to know for sure that this is legitimate. Nothing personal, but you walked in here ten minutes ago and could be traitors for all I know." Spree moves back to the maps. "If your people are in a hurry, we need air support, too. It would cut down our casualties by quite a bit if we had that bolstered. I don't know how you could do it, but we could use it. Predators or Raptors, but Predators handle the mountains better. Just don't head to the other side of the planet and watch your asses for air defenses around here. Pilots aren't always getting launch warnings on SAMs and we don't know why. But we will want /continual/ medevac operations. Not just for the week, Major. That's the deal we are cutting. You untie my hands of wounded, I can focus on getting pilots organized down here and get word spreading." She then looks to Beckett. "Your Marines get froggy, I could use people down here to bolster up units are run on operations. This place is a warzone, though. No hot showers. I can rotate em in and out, like anyone else, but while on the ground or if the Orion and this command get cut off? I own them."

"I can't promise you anything, Colonel. The old man will make the decision, but I will do all I can to make sure that I voice that this is the best chance we have to bring some hope here, and at least give us a dress rehersal to the group for when we hit Aerlion." Zachary says, a fold of his arms over his chest as he considers the Colonel. "You'll have our answer as soon as I can get it to you. Just hold the fort while I try to fast track it through, sir." It's not a hollow promise, it's just the only one that he can make.

Back in the medical cave, it's taking time, but the paramedic finally decides on the five candidates to be transported out. "Was there anything else that you needed from us, Jumper? I need to get back to work." he whistles towards one of the kids, and gives her orders. "Get me a few fresh towels and a bucket of water." he comments, sending the child on her way.

Afton looks at all the bodies left, all those still breathing they can't take with and she gives a slow shake of her head, resigned. Maybe. She pauses. "How many children? Are there those without parents? We need people to hold the IV packs on the way back." It may be an excuse, but there it is. Children. "Any babies? Small ones that need to be seen to? Get them out of war zone where they can't do much?" Especially the babies. The Jumper waits, wiping at her brow and removing her helmet a moment before replacing it and making sure her hair swept beneath.

A voice from behind Shepherd would indicate that the other Major has returned since going to make sure people were moved. "This is also the best chance to make sure that the Cylons can't reinforce Aerilon. If we buck them here, we can move as we need to along the Colonies." Beckett states before he is looking back towards the Colonel. And yes-who ever tailed him is back as well. "But, Major Shepherd is right, we can't promise anything solid." Cyrus joins in. "All we can do is give him our assessments." Though the thought of leaving behind Marines is not something that the Major relishes. At all. "But you said it best earlier. You divide us and we all fall."

"There's about 20 kids working here. They are all volunteers, here because they either have a parent here or they feel the safest here, St. James." the paramedic says. "They won't leave, even if we tried to make them do it. There's several other kids that are working with units as reloaders, even on the front lines." Indeed one of the ones that was marked as too far gone is a child, no more than 17 with both of his legs gone. A younger child, presumably his brother is at his bedside, tending to him while he tries not to cry. "The civilian camps have many more, but we're not at liberty to say where those are. The Colonel can answer that." he says to Afton.

Zachary nods his head slowly. "We'll see what we can do about taking that hurt off. You said you had information on the Baxter Bay - do you happen to know where the other Union Bays were stationed at?"

"I noticed…tough souls," The jump throws that compliment that still seems to bother her that she has to make. Afton lets out a breath, "Very well, we will wait to see if there are kids elsewhere then. If they want to stay..they stay." She glances at the one at his brother's beside and pauses. She frowns a little and reaches into her pocket, rolling a coin around in her hand. "That one gonna make it?" The one without his legs. Her eyes focus on him and waits to hear the results.

The Paramedic shakes his head. "Lost too much blood, and we have nothing to supplement it with. We had to stop giving him painkillers, they're almost out too." he says, looking towards Afton. "If you can help him - do so." he says, understanding what the Parajumper is saying perhaps.

In this moment, Beckett falls silent for a moment, allowing the DCAG to talk. As he starts asking for information there's a look given towards Spree. A shift of his stance and the Marine waits. After all this is the part that they came for. This and wounded.

The Colonel gives Zachary a Look. "I don't have any information on the Baker Bay. I just know it left with a battlegroup and went into deep space while they got some repairs done. I've got not idea where they were stationed at. I just know the one is active. There might be more out there somewhere, but I don't know anything about them. If I get the wounded seen to, I can devote other resources to seeing about the rumors of contact. That's all I can offer."

Well, that's disappointing. Zachary nods his head to the Colonel. "Very well, I will expedite your request to CIC." he says as he lets out a slow breath, and starts to offer a salute, but ends up extending his hand. "Keep giving them hell until we come back."

"I likely have too little time to actually give him what he needs, but I will do what I can." Afton admits and then she is drawing closer to the kid and settles down next to him in a squat. "You know he will walk again, right? Through beautiful fields…fields that are golden and lit by the sun and all those that have passed before him will be waiting to greet him. He will feel no pain, only joy. But he needs your help to get there." She keeps this low for the young child. Afton presses the coin of Zeus in her hand, meant for her own passage should she not make it back to the Orion on this mission. She holds it up then between two fingers to show him, keeping it right between them. "This…this pays for his way. This right here. But I need you to hold onto it for him and give it to him when he goes. Will you do that for him?" She asks softly.

From a distance, the figure next to the mortally wounded boy looked like a boy. As Afton gets close, she will realize, it's a little girl - the same one that was sent for waters and towels earlier. She's dirty, she hasn't washed in days, and her dusky face is streaked in white where her tears have eating through the dirt to fall from her face. "..I know. He'll see mommy and daddy again. I want to go with him but he told me I can't. Not yet." She takes the coin and squeezes it in a trembling hand before she holds it down over her brother's heart. "..I found you some money, brother." she whispers. "We can go and get some candy now. And it will be really good. The best candy ever. And then we can go to the fair, and ride on the ferris wheel and you can win me a pony.." she lowers her head against her brother and sets to sobbing again.

With the Major offering his hand, Beckett steps up, and offers the salute before his own hand comes out. Likely he'll wait before pushing his way through. He's got some manners, despite being from Aerilon. "I figure if the Old Man, has two of his officer clamoring for this, it'll be better than one. And it will have us back her quicker." A laugh there before he's looking down for a second. "We'll do our best. You find some hope and make it hold, Colonel." Not that Spree needs the frakkin' pep talk. But it is offered.

Spree eyes the hand. One of the four ranking people left on Picon and someone wants to shake her hand. She looks back at Zachary and nods slowly. "We'll to that, Major." Only then does she shake the hand. "Good luck. A lot of lives are hoping you succeed." She then shakes Beckett's hand. "Whatever helps you sleep at night, Major. We're dead. We're just too godsdamned busy thumbing our nose at the boatman to get on board yet. This is your gig, I just work here. Now get the hell out of here before I put you to work. That goes for the both of you." She waggles her finger between them.

Biting her lip, she nods and Afton lets out a breath before she offers a soft smile. The jumper hesitates and then out come the aventurine prayer beads and she lowers her head, moving them through her gloved hands as the heavy medallions carry their weight easily through her fingers. She lets out a breath as lifts the medallion of Asclepius and kisses it lightly. Slowly she shifts and she parts the loop. "Here…look." Afton says in a soft voice and once the girl looks to her, she holds up the prayer beads and then carefully puts them around her neck so that the medallions rest at the bottom. Ares, Athena and Aclepius. "No look…these are special. Very special. They are prayer beads…when you pray, your brother will hear you. My mother hears me from the other side when I pray with these. So I want you to have them, so you can talk to him. Okay? He may not talk back, but he will hear you. You can tell him anything. ANd these, these are the Gods. They will listen to." Afton twists the medallions to lay flat. "Keep this close."

The little girl looks up at Afton for a moment, blinking away tears from her beautiful green eyes. She accepts the beads, and puts her hand on them. And she listens to the instructions and nods slowly, before she turns and bows her head. She was told to pray. And that is exactly what she does.

"Now I lay me down to sleep..
…I pray to Hera my soul to keep."
"And if I die before I wake..
…I pray to Athena my soul to take."

"Zeus bless mommy and daddy and my brother and my baby sister and Jacob next door and his mommy and…" she just starts rattling off the names of everyone she knows, a little trembling mess clutching beads and coins.

Zachary turns to leave after the handshake, cueing up his radio. "Jumper, you got the wounded loaded yet? The raptor's refueled, we've done all we can, the quicker we get back home, the sooner Beckett can give his report and get them more help."

"Copy, Sir." Beckett states, before he is turning around. Zachary can call in the Jumper- He is going to head back and secure their raptor, before it gets taken off somewhere. There's a look to Zachary once they are free of the Command center and he lets out a sigh of breath. "If they are thinking they're dead.." He doesn't really have to finish that hushed out sentence does he?

h sweet Gods. Afton swallows the thick feeling in her throat as the child takes to praying and she offers her a reassuring smile. "Good." Its said softly as she starts to rise and gives the girl's head a smoothing touch with her gloved hand. She looks over the other stretchers as her radio crackles to life and she lifts her hand to the radio strapped to the front of her gear and clicks it to life after clearing her throat and turning awya from the young girl.

"Here, sir. We got them picked out, just need to get hands in here to help loading them in. Five total, sir. Needing surgery and likely to make the trip." The radio falls silent as she waits or a reply.

The girl feels that touch on her head, and continues to rattle some names before she gets to the end. "…and the nice lady that gave me these beads and coins." she says, "Amen." then she looks around, and Afton is nowhere to be found. She looks sad for a moment, then she smiles, turning to her brother - who has just passed away. "…Derek, Derek, guess what." she says, trying to shake him awake to no avail." And the girl starts to cry, even if she's smiling. "I just saw an angel, Derek. She was so pretty and clean. I want to look like her when I grow up. And she gave me presents to give to you so you can give them to mommy and daddy. So go with the angel. It's okay."

"We don't give up." Zachary says to Beckett before he waves over to Afton. "Good, let's get them loaded, we won't have an open window for long, and I don't have a lot of ammo to fight our way out with!" He queues the radio again. "Beachcomber, start up the engines, we're leaving in 10 minutes."

That gets her going, Afton misses it all, those sweet words from the girl, her mother's beads with a new owner. The Jumper is leading out one stretcher, helping to guide it towards the Raptor as Zachary motions her over. "Yes, sir, four more after this and so you aren't confused, I marked them with my tape, neon green." She says and then is helping to get that one in carefully, moving to set up the iv and hook it into one of the hull clips inside the Raptor as more are brought out by able bodied people of the Picon resistance.

"Of course we don't." Cyrus replies with a glance before he is looking back towards the two marines that were stuck guarding the bird. "If the Jumper needs help, you boys go in there and help." He says before looking back towards the DCAG. Already he is moving to pull of his helm and sling it into the bird. Turning, one hand slides up through his hair. "We get Jameson on this.." the Major starts "We sell it, and I think we can turn around the situation here." Or at the very least give them enough time to get people out.

"This is going to be a tight fit." Zachary says with a frown. "Afton, you or Beckett is gonna need to take the co-pilot's seat." he says. "And we'll have to cram someone else in or someone is going to have to stay behind." he murmurs, looking to the chosen patients.

"I will stay behind, sir," Afton says quickly and looks at him. "I can stay here and help out." The Jumper waits on the wing of the Raptor as they load more on. Her green eyes hold a measure of seriousness. "Let me stay."

As soon as Afton volunteers, Zachary is quick to shake his head. "Denied." he says flatly. "You are one of only two parajumpers we have, and I need you to make sure our cargo stays stable during the jumps back." There's no wiggle room allowed in the denial. "You're more important to these five people you picked than to the wounded down here. We'll come back for them."

"They also need people here, sir. They desperately need people and I can help keep things moving. You go jumps and these five will be in the hands of skilled doctors. They barely have that here. I can help command here too." More important. Afton bristles and she looks like she might want to tell Zachary a thing or two.

There is a glance to Shepherd. "Shes my responsibility." meaning Afton , and there is a look to her. "PO. Get those wounded on board and then strap in." Not pretty, but its an order. At That point, one of the Marine privates raises his hand. "I'll stay sir…They are my people." At that point Beckett tightens his jaw. A glance to Zach. "Fine. Load them in."

That gloved hand is touching her sidearm when Zachary is staring her down. But Beckett steps in and Afton draws a breath. She looks like she doesn't like what she hears, her hand easing away as she lets out a breath and a very clipped, "Yes, sir." She moves into the Raptor, helping the next stretcher and getting it locked into the bulkhead of the Raptor. Her lips are a thin line and her focus is mostly on her work. She's quick, thorough and keeps them going. The IV is hooked and then she's lifting in the next and strapping in. Clip, zip, pull.

When Cyrus steps in, Zachary offers a nod. He's assuming the argument's over as he puts on his helmet and moves past the wounded to take a seat in the pilots chair and starts hot start procedures. "We have a hot date back on the hangar deck, let's get going."

Beckett stares at Afton for a moment, before he is looking to help Morrisey load the others in. "PO. Report to my office, after we get back for a debriefing." Yes, he'll have words with her later. Right now? Load up.

Afton turns to look at Beckett from where she is checking an IV. "Yes, sir." She says, meeting his gaze. She then continues on with her work without missing a beat. The last stretcher loaded, she hooks him in and then gives a thumbs up. "All in sir." That means she has a seat next to the stretchers and she lowers in and starts to strap herself into the seat.

Zachary gives Afton a sidelong glance. "We'll be back for them." he murmurs, and then cues the intercom. "Beachcomber, give me go no-go."

The ECO glances up. "Go, sir!"

He glances out the window and as the deck traffic control waves him out, Zachary offers a salute and then turns his craft on that winding course back out under the shelter of the colonial AA even as the SAM warning continously chirps at him. "We'll be at the jump point shortly, folks. Just bear with."

Beckett moves to take the passenger seat once Afton's strapped in. with Morrisey remaining behind, Beckett brings a hand up to rub at his temple. "We'll be back for him.." Assuming the Private lives that long. As Zach states the same thing, he closes his eyes, and enjoys the flight

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