MD #122: The Good, the Bad, and Piraeus
The Good, the Bad, and Piraeus
Summary: Commander Petra, Major Heron, LT Flynn take a day trip to Piraeus where they meet with al-Yamoah and learn gather some very important information.
Date: Tue 08/Aug/2017 (OOC Date)
Related Logs: http://battlestarorion.wikidot.com/piraeus-recon
Elena Randy Petra 
Occupied Piraeus - Wilderness
Out in the middle of nowhere waaaaaaay away from the Skath. Promise.
23/Feb/2029 (IC Date)

Getting Petra off the Orion is hard enough. But when he wants to leave, it takes a bit of disguise work and its likely Lieutenant Flynn isn't going to let him leave wearing a spiffy polo shirt and sandals with socks. The Raptor, piloted by Elena, is fully loaded out for combat, too, complete with a doorgunner in the back. Four nuclear missiles are parked on the pylons with 20mm guns on the wingtips. Luckily this should be a short hop. Hopefully.

Its only a single jump back to Piraeus, assuming one wants to just get there. But jumping into atmo to land is a little harder. One does not do that from max distance safely. But the biggest advantage to Piraeus and wanting to meet al Yamoha is that she isn't really tied to a single location. Probably. When the second jump happens they are definitely IN the atmosphere of Piraeus. There's a vicious rainstorm and they are immediately jostled about in the back.

"We're in weather, sir." Duh. The ECO is just calling it as he see's it. "We'll be through it in thirty seconds. Got… atmosphereic bounce on some distance Forge sites. Unknown number. They're on the other side of the planet, looks like. We've got no active contacts." About the time he finishes, the ride calms down and they are decending towards the surface. Below them are miles and miles of grasslands and forests. There are herds of animals to be seen as well as they get below one thousand feet. Everything seems pretty quiet. Plenty of places to land.

Important to note is that Petra at least showed a little intelligence and showed up for this in Marine fatigues, bearing a Corporal's pins and lugging a standard AP Rifle, with absolutely no sign of his actual rank or position with him, not even in his pockets. Just in case. Yes, he remembers Bancroft JUST fine, thank you. Or maybe he's just going to get overly amused by calling Randy and Elena 'Sir' this time around. Who knows what that ancient head finds funny at this point. He does, however, NOT look happy about the bus ride. Strapped in, arms crossed over his chest to hang on to the harness, his eyes simply remain closed while he listens. When weather is mentioned, he mutters, "Of course we are. At least we wont get line of sight SAM launches right away." What is his ISSUE with SAMs? He finally opens his eyes to glance at the other occupants and let his breath go in a slow sigh, "Sorry. Not trying to jinx us."

Piraeus. Home. It wouldn't take much to fly to the farm and see what's going on there, and Elena wants to do that badly, but she's on a mission to talk to a ghost. It occurs to her that that sentence should sound strange. Life is weird. "I like it when lightning strikes the Raptor. You get a neat glow on the windscreen." Helpful commentary fromt he pilot. "Please shut up about SAMs, sir," she says, continuing the descent and preparing to land.

Randy is also in her own disguise. She hides her Arpay features and has made sure that nothing she's donned for the occasion screams info about their origin. This has become a de facto standard for her personally, given most missions require it, but she's still got her headcam, her rifle, and some armor. It's not super heavy, sacrificing protection for mobility, but it'll do. Naturally, she goes /nowhere/ without her baseline EOD field kit. She'd feel naked without it. The Lieutenant glances sidelong at Petra at his comment, but doesn't say anything. She just reaches up and makes sure that her headcam is already recording all this good social blackmail/teasing material. Yep.

Landing at the edge of a forest is the best tactical location. It covers them from observation completely from an entire half of an approach angle. When the hatch opens, the door gunner swings out first and gets low on her haunches, aiming across the field and watching for anything that might look at her or the Raptor wrong. But the weather is broken overcast from the storm and the temperature is just a bit cool. Probably nighttime in Sheridan since its afternoon here. There's the wind to contend with, but its not going to make talking difficult. Elena is probably still unstrapping when she looks up at someone knocking knuckles on the front of the Raptor. Yamoha smirks at her and taps her chest twice as she walks around the other side. "Friendly! Hold fire!" she calls, moving to stand by the nose on the side near the hatch. The forest and field stretch behind her. As usual she's wearing her sunglasses. Seeing them pile out, she taps her heart twice to them before she rests her hands on the butt of the rifle.
"Randy, Ellie, welcome home. And Commander Petra, sir. We were taking bets about whether or not we'd see you planetside again." All said with a nice ease of words.

That's the closest that Elena has seen to a Piraean ghost popping out and going 'boo', and she startles, jerking against her harness. She settles herself and unstraps, getting out of the bird and hopping down off the wing. "Captain al-Yamoha," she greets her, returning the doubletap salute. She presses her lips together, as if to keep some of her questions in. Like 'where are my children'. Mission first.

Petra mutters softly at Elena's comment, "Right…" and takes in a deep breath, fallign quiet again. When the Raptor finally touches down, the Commander looks visibly less tense, loosening his death grip on the harness long enough to unfasten himself and gather his gear, rising up to his feet, where he stops when he hears the knocking on the hull. Of COURSE he gives the crew a moment to shut the bird down, and probably lets Randy lead off if she gives any indication of wanting to do so. Straightening up when his boots arae actually on the ground, he nods slowly at Yamoha and returns the salute with a little more competency than the last time she saw him, "Greetings. Yes, considering how my Junior officer was the last visit, it was rather important I do this in person, despite my…luck with landing on this damned planet." He even offers a thin lipped smile at that, "We want to catch you up on what is going on and…schedule something."

Randy isn't startled. She has a trained response, to bring up her rifle, but she lowers it when she notices who it is, and she's had enough personal encounters with ghosts that she was kind of expecting it on the way down, even wondering if al Yamoha could just pop up in their ship. She returns the heartfelt gesture to the Captain and dips her head for a brief moment. She also avoids personal queries…like, WHAT HAPPENED TO MY WEED? Or…you know, where are the kids…that too. Right, the kids. "Is here good Captain or somewhere else better? It's good to see you again."

With introductions made she steps a little further from the Raptor and gets comfortable. Its not like she needs to worry about being shot by a jumpy doorgunner, but old habits and such. "Could be worse, sir. Could be Picon." Of COURSE she knows about Picon. The woman lets the rest roll out and seems to have been expecting this. "Sure. I can guess what this is about but even the Ys'rali have a saying about assumptions." To Randy, she shakes her head. "Good to see you too, Lieutenant. But nah, this is fine. Closest Skath patrol is more than two thousand miles away. Raiders rarely ever come out this way."

Petra rumbles softly and nods his head once in acknowledgement of Yamoha's words. He glances at Elena, then Randy for a moment, before offering, "We've taken an assessment of what is here, the Skath presence, the situation the Arpay are in, and our own resources, and I'm sure you've already come to the same conclusion…we can't retake the colonies or dig in and fight like we did last time." The fact that he even has to say 'like we did last time' says a lot, "There is no way I am going to be able to convey how much what you've done to protect those you've taken in, for us, but know that all of the fleet owes you a huge debt of gratitude for saving our children and people. We will be ready in a few more days, and we intend to return and hit Pireaus, hard enough to paralyze the orbital units momentarily, and engage ground forces long enough for us to land transports and collect everyone in your care, and anyone else we can retrieve. I need to know numbers…how many you have, so we can be prepared adequately, so it goes as smoothly as it can. No plan ever survives first contact, but this at least we can prepare for."

Randy nods to al Yamoha and actually decides to step off to the side anyways, sort of half in the conversation, half keeping eyes and ears on their surroundings, even if she trusts al Yamoha and her forces…well, she's still gotta answer to why she didn't do her job. It's rather easy for her to overhear the conversation though and hop back in if needs be.

The smirk on al Yamoha's face fades away to something a little more shark-like. "You're very welcome. Its an honor, Erfriki to Erfriki. We're family, sir." The rest is heard and even as she smiles, the doorgunner stands up behind the trio to look beyond al Yamoha to the trees. Hundreds of Ys'rali soldiers come to stand at the edge. Even with those faces painted the Colonials can see the fierce grins on their faces. "Damned glad to hear you're coming home to take care of business, even if its just a pitstop." She glances over her shoulder to her troops, then back to the trio. "Two hundred three kids." There's just the briefest of pauses. "Unless you want the rest of Sheridan, too. We know who is loyal and who isn't. It'd be a real, sweet pleasure to deal with the traitors, sir. In that case, add thirteen thirty-seven as of right now. Once bullets start flying, the only people we are guaranteeing are the kids."

"Does that include those who fled to the wilderness and live in small pockets?" Randy chimes in when al Yamoha speaks of those who are loyal to the Colonials and their ideals vs those who have sold out their hearts, minds, and souls. "I kind of remember you talking about some who fled to the wilderness and that you sometimes aid them or watch after them but don't speak to them?"

"That's affirmative, Lieutenant," al Yamoha tells Randy. "We will do our best to get them to your landing zone. But I cannot force people to leave. If they won't go, they won't go."

Petra starts off slowly, "We…" and then he trails off. The scarred face tilts slightly and his eyes narrow for a second, "Sheridan. You have all of the military that were posted to Sheridan, too?" He blinks once, then looks over at Elena, then Randy, maybe checking to see if they caught thaat as well. Slowly he nods at Randy's questioning, then refocuses on al Yamoha, "One thousand, five hundred, forty souls. We will be prepared to take them all. Additionally…" He stops and reaches into a pocket, drawing a small envelope out of one pocket to hand it over, "Between now, and when we return, this is a list of all the relatives of current Fleet members that claim they left people on Piraeus. If they are not among the ones we can rescue, if you know what has happened to them, it will hopefully give their relatives some measure of peace or hope. If you do not know, that is fine as well, it is simply a task of opportunity. If you know they are okay and they are part of these wilderness groups, perhaps informing them that their relatives are alive and are coming to rescue them will…motivate them to want to go?"

Randy isn't sure she heard that they were military, and she looks back at Petra, then to al Yamoha, but decides to let the Captain confirm or clarify, in case she missed something vital that Petra inferred or heard. She stays quiet and lets the big fish talk for the most part, at least right now. Instead she looks out at al Yamoha's troops and smiles sadly. There's a measure of happiness is familiarity there, even if she doesn't know them all individually, there's a bond. The sadness is just pervasive, that heavy feeling of being home…and it being so different, so hard to see. Each time, it feels like it might be a little easier, but she can't really tell.

The Five in front of them shakes her head slowly. "Negative. Not like the kids. I'm talking about the living, breathing people of Sheridan who have been riding this out. Vets, civilians, everyone." She does take the envelope though, and opens it. "Most of your active duty military stationed on the planet were killed during the initial landing. Only a handful of the Marines and Navy survived that. Got a lot of former military that rode it out, though." She looks through the list, holding the papers in the breeze. "A good number of these people are alive or are the kids we've got hidden away. Some of these," she shakes her head. "They've either been turned or have died. A few of them walk with us, now, though." She takes out a pen and starts making marks. "Checks next to alive. X's next to those who have been turned. A single flat line next to those who have died." She continues working at the names. "We'll do everything we can. If your crew are naming these people, that means the survivors have family looking and waiting for them. It might be good motivation, sir." Beyond her, a couple of faces Randy may have recognized from long ago wave to her. One in particular, a young male, taps his heart to her. The Guardian. "There ya go. I think that's all of them." The Captain hands the list back with the envelope, tucking the pen back into her gear. "You planning to land in the fields north of town? Or south? South might be easiest since its downhill from Sheridan."

Petra takes the list back gingerly, murmuring a low, 'thank you' as he does so. He doesnt look at it for now, just carefully folds it and puts it back into his pocket, buttoning iy up so there's no chance of anything happening to it, "Actually, I was hoping you might have some insight, considering your familiarity with the ground situation. Any recommendation you have for a prime landing spot I would take in high regard, as we also want to designate a spot easy for you to get the people you hold to, and have it designated ahead of time, so any of the survivors you know are not traitors, will know where they need to be." He pauses for a moment, and designates a two hour window at a specific date, "That's our goal window. Hopefully there will not be any catastrophic change that will require we have to change that, but that is, as certain as we can get ahead of time, as you can get with any live fire combat operation."

Randy doesn't even hear all of what the Five says. When she spots The Guardian, her brain sort of zones out of the conversation. She blinks, heart beating wildly in a fraction of time. Her returned greeting is delayed, but it's there. There was a time when she was annoyed by the guy's presence in her family's life, but now he's her lifeline. Her breathing becomes shallow and quiet. She looks back to Petra and al Yamoha, then to The Guardian again. She wants to break position. She wants him to break ranks. Her large eyes are held even wider as she tries to stare messages across the distance to him…will him to come over. Randy wonders to herself if Elena sees him or ever met him. She can't remember and just looks somewhat restless. Then she hears something that sounds like strategy…cardinal directions and the word 'land.' Her eyes and attention fleetingly snap back to the Captain and Petra, but she doesn't add anything.

"There's livestock up north. If you all are packing it in and leaving the neighborhood, you might want them. Depends on what you all plan to bring and land. If people know you are coming, they can get ready to move. South is going to have flatter terrain. But the problem is that we can't just tell people to start moving beforehand. Even if we kill all the people we need to, the Skath aren't going to be so easy. They're posted around town, now. People start walking out of town with bags, they're going to start shooting." al Yamoha rubs her chin with her finger. "About a mile north of town might be good. Good fields of fire to defend the LZ. But we'll do what we can. Leave a few notes for people." She does look to Randy and follows her gaze out to the soldier in question, then back to Randy. There's a smile there. Meanwhile the man looking to Randy holds his own expression and gives her a thumbs up that's clearly visible against his gear.

Petra considers that and nods slowly, "We'll shoot for north of town then…and I'll tell the crews to be ready to handle bullshit. Literally." Oh, har de har. "Thank you. That's grossly insufficient for everything you've done, but thank you. We continue in no small part, from your help. You will not be forgotten and this is not the last time we will see each other." He glances over at Randy and considers for a moment, then offers, "Lieutenant, I figure we have about 5 to 10 more minutes before the Skath start trying to zero in on a Raptor, even with the storm we came through. If you want a moment, I'll get the flight crew ready for the jumps back." With that offer made, he offers the salute to al Yamoha and bows his head in respect, "Soon, then. They think we are done, and they are going to pay for their short sightedness."

"We need some people to bring seeds, if there are any to be had," Randy adds in response to al Yamoha bringing up the livestock. It just jogs her memory opportunistically. "Crops or herbs and plant seeds that could be synthesized into medicines if possible, but it's not my call," she looks up to Petra and then glances back to The Guardian. WAIT. WHAT THE FRAK DOES A THUMBS UP MEEEEAN?! her brain cries inside. She blinks back to Petra when he addresses her. "Hmm? Oh yes. Please. Thank you." She slings her rifle over her shoulder and then wanders out towards the line of soldiers to meet The Guardian.

al Yamoha chuckles, nodding in understanding. The thanks gets another easy smile. "This is why we've stuck it out, sir. Maybe in the future you all will come back. If not?" She reaches out to chuff him gently on the shoulder. "No matter what, we'll see each other again, sir. We'll keep a candle lit in the window just in case you have trouble finding us in the storm." To Randy, she nods several times, "I figured as much." Back to Petra, "Just remember, you're not alone out there, Commander. You never have been." She winks, the gesture barely visible behind the sunglasses. The woman steps back with a heartfelt doubletap and begins talking into her radio, "All unit commanders, combat briefing. We've got mission tasking…" she trails as she heads off back around the Raptor. Meanwhile the Guardian steps away from the group and heads out to meet Randy in the middle. He looks exactly as he did when he appeared at their door. "Good to see you again, sir."

Petra nods one has time at al Yamoha and takes in a deep breath and watches Randy head off, then steps back to the Raptor and climbs onto the wing, "Spool up. We're wheels up in 10, and I mean 10 and 1 second, we are off the ground." With that said, the Commander straps himself in, and finally looks at the list idly - half of the names he doesn't know personally, but its just a general idea for him of whether this is going to be a lot of ba news or not, to deliver..and then it will be on to 'please lets not get shot down after all of THIS…

Randy sets a timer on a watch strapped to her chest rig. She could probably talk to this guy for an hour and think only fifteen minutes have slid by. She can't hide the worry in her eyes as she meets The Guardian. "Are they alive? Do you know?" She doesn't even ask if they are in stasis, where they are. Her brain is spazzing out with the scariest question she's had to face. It's easier to take things one step at a time. "My son. Julian. Rowan. We thought she was on Caprica or maybe Picon when we last left the Colonies, but she could have been anywhere. Julian was on Leonis at boarding school. We were trying to arrange for them to come be on the Orion somehow…but then everything happened." She just spills it all anxiously.

The Guardian nods slowly. "They're alive. We have them. Your caretaker of them floated us a request for them and your Gunnery Sergeant's son. There's a lot of complexity to what happened and they will be able to tell you the why and how better than I can. You'll see them soon, from what I understand." The smile is easy and hopefully calming, along with his voice.

Randy sets a timer on a watch strapped to her chest rig. She could probably talk to this guy for an hour and think only fifteen minutes have slid by. She can't hide the worry in her eyes as she meets The Guardian. "Are they alive? Do you know?" She doesn't even ask if they are in stasis, where they are. Her brain is spazzing out with the scariest question she's had to face. It's easier to take things one step at a time. "My son. Julian. Rowan. We thought she was on Caprica or maybe Picon when we last left the Colonies, but she could have been anywhere. Julian was on Leonis at boarding school. We were trying to arrange for them to come be on the Orion somehow…but then everything happened." She just spills it all anxiously.

The Guardian nods slowly. "They're alive. Their guardian you sent for them-"

"They're alive?!" The shock, not in doubt, but just…any news, even if The Guardian totally tipped Randy off that there /was/ news just minutes before with his super clear thumbs up. "Wait. Kelsey?" She switches tracks like wildfire. "Is she okay? Where is she? Is she in stasis? Did you guys even take adults? Or-" She stops herself and just looks to him for news. Part of her wants to hug the ghost, and she starts in that direction, but then stops. It's just an inch of hesitation quickly cut off. She's not so sure that would be a good idea. "Tell me. Where is my friend?" she asks with more measure. The weight of anticipation hangs heavy.

The Guardian's smile fades a bit and he takes a breath, looking to the side, then back. "She had a rough time when the Orion went missing, sir. She did her best, but it wasn't…" The guy looks down, then back up at her. "After the invasion, she got married and had two more kids, a son and then a daughter. But even before she got married she was picking targets for the resistance. She was a spotter in plain sight. Even when the resistance faded out and there were only a few shooters left, she never quit feeding them targets. The Skath got them and turned them, though. They all confirmed she was the last one they knew about. I'm sorry, sir, but they executed her about five years ago." He holds her gaze. "Her husband and two kids are still alive and have never forgotten what she died for."

Randy presses her lips together slightly, girding herself in light of The Guardian's shift in expression, the news that her friend had a rough time. Small tears begin to spring to Randy's eyes even as she starts to hear about how Kelsey made her life and kept finding a way to keep fighting…her own way. The news of the woman's execution hits her like a truck. The tears start to flow freely, and Randy stoops to the ground, letting out a little sob. She forces herself to push herself up to her feet again. "Where is her family?" she asks somberly. Kelsey's family is her's. "I-I need to take care of them," she stutters slightly.

The man doesn't look awkwardly around or anything. A few of the other Ys'rali do step closer, though. Solidarity. "Her family lives outside Sheridan. You've been taking care of them for a long time, sir. They live in your old house. Kelsey refused to leave. It was her posting. Her husband won't abandon it, either. But when he hears Orion is returning I believe he will be among those who want to leave." He seems to look over her shoulder, then back to her. "She's never far, sir." And there's that gentle scent. Strawberry and lilac. That shampoo she had gallons of. Just right on the edge of the wind.

Randy tries to stay present, tries to remember what she just asked. It came out as if she was there, but that mind is scarred and ripped wide open. There's a slight wobble in her knees when she gets to her feet that betrays her. "Please give him word that he has family aboard. That the Flynn-Herons are coming for them…" The Guardian doesn't have to get more explicit than the words he offers. Randy knows what it means; she's had enough friends pass and take up the mantle to stick around for the cause. The familiar scent only confirms it, and even though she knows Kelsey is there, Randy can't help the wash of mixed emotions it causes, the wave of grief. "Please," she pleads. "I need to know where she died, how she died." She needs details, perhaps details this ghost isn't privy to, but as she waits to see if he has an answer, the soft, barely audible alarm goes off. Her pointed ears pick it up as clear as anything. She looks back over her shoulder at the Raptor…where Elena is waiting…where Petra is with his list, and where the flight crew are itching to go. Someone signals to her and there's a call on the radio. She sniffs and tries to steady her voice. "Just a second," she replies over comms, but she knows she really doesn't have one left.

"I will tell him, myself, sir." The man considers it an order passed along. A few of the soldiers standing with him nod as well. "I'll him that Melissa is there. She was so proud of her daughter. I don't think she could keep that from him if she wanted to. It really…" Destroyed her. thinking Melissa died in some accident with the Orion. Or something horrible. She had no way to know. The last request with the Raptor powering up has him look to the other soldiers with him. A female speaks up, "We were all there to witness, sir. They built a gallows and hung her in the town square on a cold, cloudy Fall morning. Fucking dirtbags didn't even let her give last words. They made her family watch." The girl clenches her jaw. "She didn't hang long, sir. But her last movement was definitely a kick in anger. Defiance. She went out fighting, sir." The other soldiers murmur in agreement, including the Guardian.

Randy nods, staring absently. "Melissa," she breathes in acknowledgement. The Marine casts her gaze to the woman who speaks, her jaw slowly clenching harder and harder like someone winding her tight as the tears stream down in glinting tracks. The color in her face drains. "Who did this?" Her voice is stony as if implacable and resolute. Chatter from the Raptor is buzzing in her ear. The crew is going through final checks, trying to give Randy as much time as possible, but the EOD is certainly pushing it and might not exactly earn the approval of the Commander given his track record with getting shot down.

"They all did, sir. The Loyalists cheered and applauded her hanging. Hundreds of them." Guardian says it like speaking a string of dirty words. "The Priest sent her off with 'Be Gone, Woman.' Her daughter poisoned the hangman eleven months ago. Not even her brother or father know. The Priest is too well protected for anyone to get to him." Another male soldier speaks up, "It'll be a pleasure to sink blades into every one of their hearts, sir." That gets a hardy 'Hell yeah' out of all of them. The Guardian just looks at Randy, though, "There is still a picture of Melissa hanging on the mantle of that house, right next to a drawing of Kelsey. Her husband thought they should be together."

Randy continues to stare on through the revelation from the Guardian. Her fingers curl up into small fists, white knuckles. "Tell him to save some clones if there's anything left to the farm," is all she says, letting the ghost's words burrow deep inside her, carving a path like a knife through butter. "I will be back for this upcoming mission. May we all spill blood. Thank you." Then she turns to jog back to the Raptor and hop up inside, wiping her eyes once along the way. The hatch closes behind her even as the Raptor begins to lift off the ground and Randy swings down into her jumpseat while someone reaches over to clip the Marine to a tether. She takes a deep heavy breath and lets it out before strapping herself in more permanently for the ride back to Orion.

Always the cautious one, Elena is in the Raptor, preparing the ship for a quick getaway, if necessary. When Randy returns, she watches, making sure the Marine actually is strapping herself in and not just playing fast and loose with safety. "Everything okay?" she asks. The air is heavy with the questions she wanted to ask the ghosts.

By the time Randy returns, Petra is already back in the jumpseat, and surely Elena heard the Commander swearing to himself as he did so. The old fart actually looks /upset/, and not just angry, though the way the knuckles of one hand are threatening to go white on the grip he has on the harness is definitely a good indicator he's not RELAXED. When Randy does clamber back up into the bus, he leaves Elena's question lingering, then asks in a low voice, "Major, lets get off this rock and a jump away, because I dont think this conversation is going to be good for retaining focus."

"No." Either Randy agrees with Petra or just doesn't feel like elaborating just yet. Even if she wiped her eyes, it's clear she's been crying. There's a darkness in the Lieutenant's eyes. "He's right," she finally says. "I have good and bad news. We should get out of of Piraeus space now unless we want to be Skath target practice."

"Yes, sir," Elena replies uneasily, closing the hatch and taking off vertically. She takes them up and out of atmo, spooling up and executing the first plotted jump on the way back to Orion. "All right, this good enough for you?"

The jump time at leasst gives Petra a few minutes to focus and get some of his composure back, to the point he sets his jaw and takes in a slow, deep breath. With that little mantra task accomplished, he glances at Elena and nods affirmatively, then Randy, and asks the million cubit question at least two probably want to know, "What news did Yamoha have about your children?"

Randy's expression finally softens and gets back some life, some humanity at Petra's question. It brings her around when Elena's words don't. "It was not Yamoha, but our daughter's guardian. She has had one since she was kid," she explains about the male ghost soldier she was talking to. "They are alive…Kelsey…Kelsey also got married and had children. They lived on the farm the whole time. He said that it was rough for her, thinking that Melissa had possibly died when we disappeared. She picked out targets for resistance shooters…even as it got more dangerous to do so. They caught and turned some of the last ones she was passing info to and that's how she was caught. Those frakkers-" the burning gaze, the tears. "They hung her in town. He said it was quick though, and that she went down fighting."

When Petra asks the question, Elena cranes her head to look at Randy, straining against her harness. "Where are they? Where are my children?" Her eyes take on a mad, desperate glint. "I've already buried Kelsey once. We can bury her again. Where are my children?"

Petra takes in a slow breath when Randy goes into detail about what happens to Kelsey, and the frown resurfaces on his face, his gaze tearing away for a moment. Under his breath, he mutters, "Every one of these motherfrakkers is going to die." Gaining a set to his jaw, he offers, "I have a site we are going to land, and I've designated a date and time, and we are coming back and getting all of them. They say we have about 1500 people to collect, if our luck is good…all of the children and all of the folks from Sheridan. Ive told them to tell the ones they know are not Traitors that their families are coming for them and they should be ready to go."

"He said they were still alive, that they live-" Randy just continues and then slowly snaps out of it when Elena interrogates her. She looks to Petra and then to Elena. "I…" Her face goes white and her mouth moves, but no words come out. It's like she's trying to get started, but is simultaneously racked with a realization that stops her dead in her tracks. "I forgot to ask."

"He said they were still alive, that they live-" Randy just continues and then slowly snaps out of it when Elena interrogates her. She looks to Petra and then to Elena. "I…" Her face goes white and her mouth moves, but no words come out. It's like she's trying to get started, but is simultaneously racked with a realization that stops her dead in her tracks. "Well he said that Kelsey put in a request, so they've got to be in stasis right?" She looks back to Petra and then to Elena.

"You forgot to ask." Elena's face starts to color, her cheeks becoming mottled and red. She twists back to face her consoles, balling up her gloved fists. She speaks through gritted teeth. "I care about Kelsey as much as anyone, but these are our. Frakking. Kids." Each of the last three words is paired with a thud of her fist on a console. That probably isn't an important console, right? "Maybe they're in stasis. A request doesn't mean it was necessarily granted. You don't know."

Petra's voice is low, "She's said before that everyone that ASKED them to look out for people, they got to, but if they didnt get asked, they didn't get to them. So it sounds like they would have. If they hadn't been able to, I'm SURE they would have told you. They are good people like that, and they always seem to be godsdamned omniscient." He shifts his attention to look up at Elena, "Focus, Major. The Y'sreli have done very well. Choose to believe they got to your children until you see proof otherwise. And if they are alive and NOT in stasis, then I've already told Yamoha to try to gather everyone for the pickup, so its really just a question of if your kids are as old as you are now or not. You ARE going to see them again. Got me?"

"I just…" Oh yeah, the Commander is right there right? Randy doesn't even notice. This is a domestic matter…a personal matter…but they are all family now. There's nowhere to run off to and hide. "I thought that's what it meant," even if it's clear now that it was a leap. She casts her gaze down. "Ellie they've got to be, okay? The first time we landed, al Yamoha said that every request was granted. They didn't turn anyone away." Yet another piece of logic flawed by her own heart, her own desires. "They are alive. We will find them."

Elena brings her hands to her face. She's quiet and unnaturally still. She has no more words. She rubs her cheeks, hard, and starts plotting their next jump.

Petra listens, then watches Elena for a moment while she returns to her job. He slowly drags his gaze over to Randy, "We're coming back in two weeks, and then you will see them again. In between now and then, we need to make sure we are ready. The Marines are going to have to execute a beachhead landing and extraction flawlessly, because we don't have the ground forces to go toe to toe with what they have on the surface, so speed is of the essence. Just so you have that in mind with your people when we get back. Good enough?"

Randy has just started filling in as Penta's XO temporarily…and actually pulling off those duties. It's quite a different burden than that of a platoon, and Petra's words seem to snap her out of her own darkness. "Yes sir. I'll make sure that we are." She gives him a brief nod. "We'll figure out some way to train it." Luckily the jump happens and Randy quiets up for that.

"We're evacuating sixteen hundred people?" Elena takes a breath, exhaling through her teeth. "No problem. Piece of cake. We can do this." The words are flat.

Petra nods slowly at the response and quiets for the jump, then just adds, "If there's something you, Major Penta, or Gunny Ynyr need for that, get word to me or Liza and we'll get it for you if we can. I have to horrify a transport flight crew with the phrase 'surface landing while under fire' when we get back. THAT'S going to be an enjoyable conversation." The pursed expression on his face clearly indicates it will be anything but. To Elena's comment, he offers, "While you and your Raptor wing are gods and goddesses in your own regard, Major, even an asshole like myself is not going to expect you to get that many people quickly off a planet in Raptors. Instead we'll need the wing running Wild Weasel operations and you and your Raptors to collect any stragglers that dont get to the transport."

"Aye. That'll be fun." The landing itself or the telling of the flight crew of the landing? Randy doesn't specify. Maybe the answer is simply…yes. "Do we have any idea of the expected reaction force sir?" The EOD looks to the Commander curiously, though there's still that tinge of hauntedness in her eyes. "Do we have a plan for distinguishing our refugees from Loyalist bastards?"

Elena chuckles at being called gods and goddesses. "Which goddess am I, then, Commander?" she asks, a little bit of life coming back into her tone. "And Randy, I don't think we can tell. How could we even begin to vet everyone before bringing them up? We can process people and check their belongings and do out best to monitor them. At least, that's this bus driver's opinion."

Petra mms softly, "We have force estimates from the recon of the colonies. I know from previous experience how long it takes, minimum time, for a lightspeed jumping force to react, and our plan goes on the assumption the Skath are on point and EXPECTING an attack, meaning they will respond as quickly as possible with little to no delays. Admiral Jameson and I, and later, Major Grey, got very good at cat and mouse with the Cylons, and these arrogant pricks arent that good. We have a window…we show up, we smash the orbital station and cruiser, we land immediately, and by the time they SHOULD be able to get new capital ships back in orbit, we will be lifting off and jumping out." A pause, then he adds in a lower voice, "At least, that's the plan." There's even a tight-lipped smile at that while he pauses and moves on to address the questions, "The Y'sreli have told me they know who the traitors are. They intend to…deal with them when we arrive. Just the same, everyone we lift off will be kept in quarantine from the Fleet for a little while, just to be very safe." He shoots an amused look towards the cockpit, "Well, I'd call you the Warrior Goddess, but then someone might accuse me of flirting. So lets just say 'goddess' and leave it at that. They're going to pay. My only regret right now is that I wont be able to watch the traitor's surprised faces as they get blades shoved through their hearts."

"al Yamoha's people know…yeah. Oh yeah…she did say that they would…I guess they have more of a right as the protectors of the planet," But Randy doesn't feel satisfied, nor does she sound it. "Look, if it's okay by you sir, I'd rather not talk about this right now." Where Elena warms, Randy sours between passing thoughts and interactions. "But they can travel faster than light…" she gets drawn back in and shakes her head as she finds it difficult to completely concentrate. She stares blankly over at the instruments. She doesn't end up talking after that, nor does she implore the others to stop if they continue on, but for the rest of the ride, Randy's a bit lost in thought and some measure of guilt and frustration as she contemplates the fact that she forgot to ask where their children were.

"Flirt away, Commander. You have the wrong hardware." Elena's quip is delivered dryly as the FTL spools up for the next jump. She's flying the bird. She has to fly the bird. This is her job. This is what she can do.

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