MD #063: The Lost Patrol
MD #063: The Lost Patrol
Summary: Upon return to Calumet, Admiral Fencer notifies the Orion that a platoon of Arpay Army, a group from their own 41st Mountain Division, has been out of radio contact for 24 hours and has missed four check-ins. With most of their own forces focused on a fight on the other side of the planet, Fencer has requested the Orion send in Marines to find out what happened to them deep inside the mountains southeast of the Cold Forge LZ. Have the Skath gained ground? Is it the Calumeti population? Or something else?
Date: Sat 10/Jun/2017 (OOC Date)
Related Logs: http://battlestarorion.wikidot.com/letsmakeadeal
Randy Clara Lleufer Fischer 
Angelis Palermo Dropkickst 
Calumet
The air is crisp and cold, smelling of pine and that thin sand that comes with soil thats been pulverized by ancient glacial flows. The valley is mostly flat with moderately steep sides, giving about a quarter mile width to the valley and about seven to eight hundred feet below the averge crest of the ridgetops. Beyond those ridges, peaks thousands of feet high can be see, all covered in whie with graggy grey and black rocks sticking out of the sides. Contrasting with the blue sky and the pink and green hues of the auroras, its stunning out here - though several degrees below freezing with the breeze.
Tue 26/Dec/2028 (IC Date)

There's something ominous about an entire /platoon/ of heavily armed soldiers, who specialize in mountain warfare, going missing in the mountains without a single sign. That's what Rance termed, on the ride down, as 'bad juju'. Fencer's aide reported the Arpay Army troopers had enough gear and supplies for a three-day recon through the area. Orion command wasn't taking chances with their own Marines, though. They were going to be picked up at dusk and were not going to be left out there overnight - which is when radio contact was lost - the Arpay's first night in. Their initial mission had been to look for a group of refugee kids that had gone missing a few days before.

Two Raptors drop off the Marines in a river valley about two miles from the last reported position of the troops, the campsite they had apparently settled in for the night. The air is crisp and cold, smelling of pine and that thin sand that comes with soil thats been pulverized by ancient glacial flows. The valley is mostly flat with moderately steep sides, giving about a quarter mile width to the valley and about seven to eight hundred feet below the averge crest of the ridgetops. Beyond those ridges, peaks thousands of feet high can be see, all covered in whie with graggy grey and black rocks sticking out of the sides. Contrasting with the blue sky and the pink and green hues of the auroras, its stunning out here - though several degrees below freezing with the breeze.

Even with her winterized gear on, Tabi does not like the cold. She doesn't stand still after they've been deposited on the ground. Shifting from one foot to the other while her gloved fingers check over her gear. Keen eyes take a few minutes to scan the surrounding area, out of habit seeking out game trails, the way the mountains rise. Her attention then shifts to the campsite itself. Making her way over, moving carefully and trying not to disturb anything.

<FS3> Tabitha rolls Tracking: Great Success.

Wearing the arctic Camo that everyone else in the team is equipped with, Renee curls her hands inside the gloves that keep her fingertips from freezing, rifle held steadily in a two handed grasp, and skims a slow look around the train there dropped off in. A random and completely editorial remark runs through her head and she wonders why it is that the most gorgeous of places are so often the last places that they want to have to trek into, through, and back out of while hopefully not getting dead in the process? She checks her gear over once more, the usual pat-down dance of pockets and clips zippers adjust the goggles over her eyes once more and is glad that the lenses will polarize if and as needed. She tugs at the collar of her camo jacket, easing it upward slightly to cover her throat and her mouth, secures it in place, and resolves not to freeze or ever complain about being cold on board again.

Rance wasn't going to play games out here like this and he's /supposed/ to be a professional, so he's dressed like the rest. The Seven drew cold weather gear from supply but is wearing his own bodyarmor that looks like it has been through one end of a beating and came out the other side with some restitching and rattlecan touch-ups. He's using a version of the current issue Marine rifle with a foregrip and red dot sight. But rather than leave his face exposed, he's wearing a balclava and brown-framed wraparound sunglasses. Picking him out as a seven is going to be really hard if he stays quiet. He does walk a slow circle around the rear, looking into the distance for any sign of movement.

Clara is characteristically ambivalent about the cold and the nature of their mission, preferring to keep her own counsel on the trip down. She clambers out along with the rest, her winterized gear adding considerable bulk to her tiny frame. A brief glance skyward, then her eyes scan along the ridgetops absently as her breath fogs the air. Taking the lay of the land before they pick a direction to set off in.

Randy's all bundled up in her arctic gear. She brought some charges and some choice tools, but nothing to make her pack too heavy for the terrain. Her light alloyed snowshoes are strapped to the back of her pack. Around her face she wears a balaclava and goggles. She takes a moment as she speaks into comms to make sure her headcam is working. "Alright then," she says quietly after reciting the timestamp. "You guys know the drill. We don't want to just go running into this location. We need to go in quiet and investigate. We don't want anyone to know we're there in case this is a location people are exploiting over and over to their advantage. So we're going to tread lightly. No comms traffic unless necessary. Let's keep it to hand movements if we can," the small Marine says. "Rance. Any recommendations for movement formations, feel free to speak up. If and when we hit snow, we will likely need to move to a single-file formation to reduce tracks. That makes us weak to flanks so keep this in mind and if fighting does break out, should we encounter anyone, of course, break formation into solid fighting positions unless otherwise ordered. With that, let's move out." Randy signals them in the direction of the location that the platoon went missing, keeping her eyes open, rifle at ready.

Looking focused as they get out there, Fischer lets out a few slow breaths, breathing in the cool air. Checking his gear a bit carefully, he waits patiently, gaze scanning their surroundings as he nods at Randy's words, getting ready to move with the others.

The Raptors move off into the distance and back towards the ship, the roar of their engines fading and leaving only the sounds of birds until Randy speaks up. With two miles to move to the last known location, the group moves up the river valley. The sound of the water grows louder as the overflowing creek, running its edges with snowmelt from the peaks, snakes along nearby. Small stands of pines grow in groups of three to ten, with large grassy areas between, hiding them below their knees. They're still a half a mile from the campsite and can make out a likely location in the distance when there might be something worth noting. The team doesn't need to be Holmes to see the trampled grass off to the right by one of the ridges. Animal? Human?

Randy has not been in an arctic like landscape since she's had her Arpay augmentations, not quite like this. She finds herself momentarily distracted at points in their journey by the vast worlds of detail and beauty splayed out everywhere. She's gotten better at processing this influx of activity and detail on mission marginally over the few years she was in the service with her new eyes and ears, but she's not nearly as attuned at putting those senses to good use in other skills as say, Tabitha. Still, Randy notices the grass trampling easily and motions to it to bring her experts' eyes toward the tracks as she scans the area around them and beyond, looking for snipers or recon elements, anything out of place while she positions defensively so those that can make sense of things can…well do that.

Clara takes up a position at the rear of the unit, her rifle held at the ready and her eyes masked behind polarised goggles. She spots the trampled grass and frowns slightly. Rifle shrugged back into its sling, she slips in closer to try to get a sense for any other 'clues' nearby.

Rance moves quietly, not even offering more than a thumbs up to Randy for her earlier request. The guy stays at the rear in their tailgunner position, watching over the group from the rear. He's far enoug hduring the walk that he could immediately run forward to any flank of their small formation. The Seven knows his trade. When the team notices the grass he moves off to nearby trees and takes a knee, looking back behind them. A small spotting scope is taken from his gear and he holds it up to his eye, scanning.

Honoring a family tradition that is all about cynicism and being more than just a little bit skeptical than is healthy, Renee eyes the admittedly gorgeous Terrain and the deceptively idyllic surroundings with all manner of caution. Each step she takes is done with care, keeping pace with the rest of the team but also sweeping a searching look side to side, searching for anything that is either useful or that would serve as a warning of some sort to let the rest of the team know what they're about to step into or through. Mostly however she keeps expecting to trip over the remains of either human or animal as would be fitting as a contrast to just how ridiculously pretty it is up here.

As the group heads toward the campsite, Tabitha pauses periodically, her starlight eyes scanning the game trails. Narrowing slightly as she looks up the ridge, then back down. She moves back and forth a couple of times in the same area, careful not to disturb the trail too much, before she finally moves to fall in with Randy. "Two groups," She murmers quietly, "Large combat group in front, first. Smaller group, possibly non-combat, following later." Her gloved fingers gesture as she speaks, indicating the wider swath cut in the wake of the first group. She also silently indicates the track from the ridge, the game trail used, where the paths meet up and the non-combat-seeming tracks in the mud. Even as she's disseminating the information to Randy, Tabi's eyes don't stay still, scanning the rising mountains, straining their capabilities as much as she can.

Fischer looks around rather carefully, pausing as he looks to the grass. But since those who are better at looking for the right details moves to that, he resumes scanning the distance, in case something might be approaching there.

As it seems Tabitha already has a handle on the tracks, Clara falls back into formation. Her eyes are kept peeled for unfriendlies, but she remains quiet and out of the way.

The Marines and Contractor patoll up the valley, moving closer to the river and away from the same vector of advance that the Arpay platoon took. There seem to be more birds near the campsite, though. The sound of carrion birds isn't the most pleasant thing. As they get closer, they pass by a dug-out foxhole with a dead soldier stuffed in the bottom. He's frozen and the birds haven't gotten to him, but there's an ugly wound on the left side of his neck. With his head bent forward in the hole, its hard to tell much more than that. Ahead of them, in the large stand of two dozen trees, there's camouflage tents still posted with branches of fir and tossed grass over them. Spotting the actual campsite from more than twenty yards would be very difficult, even for those with Arpay eyes. The birds are in the trees here, though, with the tents mostly dispersed through the trees so a single grenade won't hit more than one sleeping soldier. Nearer the center of camp is a small cooking fire that seems ot have been long-ago extingsuished. There are clothes strewn about on the ground near the fire, along with scattered boots. The only rifles laying around are few and far between, usually with bodyarmor nearby.

Clara slows her steps as they approach the campsite proper, and then pauses entirely to do a visual sweep over the area. The dead soldier is noted, the pitched tents and the cooking fire. Her lips are pursed slightly, and she tries not to disturb any prints in the snow as she moves to approach the soldier. The analysis of the tracks themselves is left to Tabitha.

<FS3> Tabitha rolls Tracking: Good Success.
<Clara spends 1 luck points on notice all the things.>
<FS3> Clara rolls Investigation: Success.

When they get to the foxhole, Randy signals to Clara and Tabi before taking up a defensive position while bringing the group to a stop. She also points out the birds to them which should give them an indication of that if they move into the camp site, they're definitely going to be signalling their arrival when the birds fly off. She takes in how it seems the camp was taken offguard, probably in the middle of the night, but with little warning. It makes her start paying more careful attention to the edges of the area, looking for ways a force could sneak up on a camp like this. If she were going to do it, how. She checks local elevations and approaches from a new perspective, with a new attitude, hoping that will open up ideas along with what her specialists find.

<FS3> Fischer rolls Alertness: Good Success.
<FS3> Tabitha rolls Alertness: Good Success.
<FS3> Randy rolls Alertness: Good Success.
<FS3> Palermo rolls Alertness: Good Success.

The frozen body is noted in passing, but is of little concern to Tabitha right at the moment. With a silent nod to Randy, Tabi's eyes swing briefly to the trees where the birds are, but only for a moment, then she's looking back to the campsite proper. She moves carefully, watching where she puts her feet and treading quietly as her gaze scans the ground. Dropping into a crouch near the where the fire was, she examines the prints left there and her gaze follows the direction in which they lead. A few quick hand signals and Tabi indicates that the group left the campsite and she points in the direction the occupants left in. Her voice once again is quiet and to the point as it comes over the comms, "Bare feet, jogging. Not fleeing. Same non-combat treads." She points those out, as though committing a mental map, and then she falls silent again and her eyes start looking a little higher, up the trees and into the canopy above.

The birds draw attention and the eyes. There's enough of them up there in the trees to cause a ruckus. A murder of crows. But there's something else up there. As the Marines move through the camp, they notice that A) it looks like the soldiers were woken out of their tents. Almost all their gear is still inside the structures. B) The crows aren't leaping away. Moving to get a better angle, they see the ropes tied at chest height on the treetrunks. Following them up, they can see two skinned female bodies, hung upside down, with their ears cut off and other ugly mutilations. Its hard to tell what damage has been done by the crows and what has been done by something else.

Randy starts to move when she sees the crows not moving. She sees that first, before finding the gruesome scene with the others. The further state of the camp only seems to confirm something. With her balaclava still on, she inspects the mutilations, notes the lack of both ears, and then stares up at the crows again. Finally, she stoops down to grab a rock and chucks it up at the grouping to see if she can frighten them away now that they've started squawking.

As he notices the dead body, Fischer's first instinct is to make his way over towards it as well, but he nods as he sees Clara make her way over. He watches the camp with more interest, especially that fact that the gear is still in the tents. "Their gear is still inside. It feels like they were taken completely by surprise, or that they knew whoever did this," he says, looking between the various structures a bit thoughtfully.

Staring up at the ropes that hold the bodies and position well above their heads Renee start to try to trace the path of the ropes. She steps back carefully when Randy throws a rock trying to disturb the birds but continues to try to visually Trace those ropes. She eases a step to the side then carefully makes her way over towards Tabitha and wonders in a very quiet voice, "is it possible to tell from where we're standing whether or not those ropes are rigged to a bigger trap or if this is just a display to slow us down?"

Clara notes Randy's gesture to the birds, and nods slightly before proceeding on. After her inspection of the frozen soldier is complete, she pushes back to her feet and trails her eyes along the rope lines, jaw tightening at what they all find hanging from them. Her expression, of course, is impossible to discern behind the polarised lenses of her goggles. With a breath, she turns and heads back to where the others are gathered. A glance at Fischer for his comment. "Yeah, I wouldn't rule it out." To Randy, "The soldier in the foxhole's been dead for over twenty-four hours. Probably closer to thirty. The others, a lot less."

Lleufer has been hanging back with Rance, the Model 7, to watch their backside. Ynyr's been quiet, all muffled with his balaclava, his shaded goggles, winter camo and whatnot to stay warm. Warm being relative in this bitter cold. He stays well back as the others go to see what they can of the bodies. His sharp Arpay eyes pick out enough details that he's wary, keeping watch over the general area, alert for other signs, clues or tracks. Rifle in hand, silent as he listens.

Rance enters the tree and camp after the rest, bringing up the rear. He doesn't stop, he just glances around and gets low, moving back off to exit the camp area from a different angle before looking back the way they came.

The rock tossed up into the branches seems to piss off the birds even if it doesn't hit any of them. A bunch of them take off in surprise and circle up higher above the treetops while the others sqwuak and raise general protest to the interruption, jumping from branch to branch, watching the people below for more potential incoming. Its difficult to hear much over the sounds of those birds, though. Anyone listening in the valley would know that someone is at the camp. If anyone is listening. This place is eerily still.

Randy still seems to be focused up on those crows, but she does look around as she whispers into comms, "This might be a message. The Skath know the Arpay are here…or it might be another group." Randy's not at the point where she's ruling anything out, trying to remember Skath briefings or things she's dug up about them in preparation for this tour, and even before, when they had the threat of the Skath looming over their heads the last twenty odd years back on Piraeus and the Colonies. She squints up at where the crows have cleared from, ready to get a fallen branch from the ground if necessary. "There's something up there. The crows were on it. They've given away our position. We can't stay here. We should move off to see if anyone comes up on this position." Randy signals the group to move towards a position from the camp opposite of where the foxhole was overtaken, but looks especially to Lleufer and Clara, her investigators, and then Tabi, their tracker, to see if any new information has come to light before they head out.

<FS3> Lleufer rolls Investigation: Success.

Pushing to her feet, Tabi notes Randy's command and shifts slightly before murmering quietly, "I think we should follow the tracks. If those soldiers are still out there, if they're alive… well…" She lifts one shoulder in a shrug, "It's cold. They won't survive much longer." She won't press the issue right now as she moves out the radius of the camp-immediate, her gaze constantly shifting to the barefooted tracks that lead away from the area.

Clara nods in agreement with Tabitha, shoulders her rifle, and prepares to keep moving as ordered.

Fischer nods a little as he hears that, looking around at the camp for a few moments longer. He turns to look around again, rather carefully, as he awaits the order.

"I want to get out of this area now. Let's follow the tracks but we'll keep our rear element with Arpay eyes on the camp site. I don't want anyone sneaking up on us after coming to see what's up and then already having a contingent where we're heading. Keep this in mind. We follow out to the side and cover our trackers," Randy says before finally going radio silent.

Orders are to move out but Ynyr gets distracted by something as he started to move around the edge of the camp. It's a tent, extremely well hidden. So well hidden that even Rance walked right past it without taking notice. Lleu takes a few steps back, studies the ground, slowly circles it, then kneels down to look inside of it. Lleufer thins his mouth at what he finds, picking up a few shell casings both from a rifle and a pistol, which he pockets. He studies the interior, then raises his face and gaze to look up towards the bodies in the trees. A slow breath let out, he gets back up and resumes his position in the rear with Rance as the team clears away from the camp.

Palermo moves with the rest of the group as orders are sorted out, eyeing the bodies one more time, then all the blasted birds, back around to the footprints then eyes the sky once more. Wariness and cynicism fully engaged, check.

Lleufer stops as they are about to disappear off into the trees. He looks back at the bodies of the two poor dead Arpay women hanging upside down in the trees. /That/ they aren't staying to give them proper burial clearly bothers him. Yet, perhaps being frozen solid the remains will last a while and there may be time on the way back out. Or not. Ynyr offers then a silent prayer and afterwards, drags his gaze away to go and see to the yet living.

<FS3> Tabitha rolls Tracking: Success.

With two Marines left behind with a radio, they travel with the group to exit visual range and then break off to circle back from another direction to set up an observation post on the campsite. Meanwhile the group continues on northbound. Tabi steers them towards a game trail that leads them back up out of the valley about a mile north, taking them up into an area dotted with jagged rocks amongst the thick bed of pine needles. Tracking is going to get harder here, except for one thing: The path up the side of the steep ridge was a mixture of granite-like rock and thick sediment dirt. They can tell the direction the troops went jogging not just because of the disturbed pine needles, but also because of the bloody footprints put down. They continue up, heading towards a mountain peak in the near distance. The Marines can see the snow-capped peak through the trees. Despite the morning sun warming them a few degrees, it is only going ot get colder as they go higher.

"Prisoners," Clara muses quietly as they walk. Just that single word, clipped and devoid of context. It could be a question, or it could be an observation. Her dark eyes scan the distant peak, then drop again to the trail in front of them - and the bloody footprints. She shoots Lleufer a glance, as if to ask whether there's anything else he can infer about the situation. "Clerics maybe, too."

"Why would they make no attempt whatsoever to cover up their tracks? Bloody Footprints, Disturbed Rock, no attempt to sweep the trail clear or to confuse any following trackers? Whether there's clerics or not, is this the only approach that we can follow?" Palermo voices this worry as she eyes the tracks that they're following, continuously glancing over the trail then around, eyeing the surrounding terrain and back, an equal mix of apprehension and trained wariness combining to make the marine edgy.

As they move along, Randy stays quiet. She moves generally well in this kind of terrain, comparably that is. There's just a hint more confidence in her body as she moves which might seem out of place given the tense atmosphere. Anyone who has seen Randy at work on bombs before though knows she thrives under tense pressure. Randy falls into a familiar focus. "Yes," Randy replies to Clara's assessment. She looks down at the bloody footprints and then looks to see what kind of trails lie ahead or above, keeping her eye out for both possible combatants and alternate routes as they move along. "They knew someone would come for them," is all Randy says in reply to Palermo.

Rance brings up the rear, constantly keeping an eye on their six as they move up. He'll alternate with Lleu as they sort of own boot-mounted quick reaction force. He doesn't say anything, though, through all of it. The guy hasn't said a word since the Raptor and he seems even less inclined to start talking now.

Fischer nods as he listens, expression thoughtful as he looks between the others carefully, then over at their surroundings. Moving along with the others, he frowns momentarily.

Ynyr glances in Clara's direction and after making eye contact with her, Lleu gives her a nod. Doesn't bode well for someone's frozen feet in this bitter cold. Mention of the obvious trail and their heading upland raises his gaze as well, keeping a sharp eye out for good ambush spots, spotter locations, or places somebody could drop a rockfall on them. Then Rance catches up and Lleufer stops to watch their back trail, the pair of them working well and quietly together. The lack of chatter from Rance suits the Aerlion just fine who's comfortable with only the sounds of the frozen woodlands around them. Watchful.

Tabitha keeps following the trail left behind, poking carefully at the pine needles, a small frown of focus between her eyes as she constantly looks forward, then backward. Always checking their direction to making sure they're heading the right way. She doesn't make any comments and frequently she lets her attention encompass the surrounding areas, glancing up into the trees, checking any game trails they come across. Tabi moves carefully, but reasonably confidently, relying on her team to keep their eyes focused for potential danger.

The bloody footprints continue as they ascend up through the wooded area, headed for the peak. They swing around a rock and they come to a halt. Right on the path is a male Arpay soldier laying in the fetal position on the bed of needles, dressed only in his boxers. His feed are a bloody mess of cuts with dirt and pine needles embedded. Those bright blue eyes are locked up, staring at nothing in front of him with his arms wrapped around his core. If the Marines look further up the treeline, there is what looks like another body about one hundred yards up. Judging by the skivvies, that one is likely female. They're more than to miles from the camp and if these soldiers started their little exercise in the middle of the night, most people would never have made it this far. A lot of Marines wouldn't have.

Randy doesn't move towards the Arpay male right off. She takes up a defensive position and then says, "Check his pulse, Piers. Defensive positions everyone. Do not split up." Randy's eyes sweep her area, falling on the woman as well just up the way a hundred yards.

[Into the Wireless] The radio crackles in their ears, and its a whispered voice. "Lieutenant Flynn, Corporal Brooke." One of the two at the observation post on the camp. "Are you absolutely certain that Gunnery Sergeant Knox is not on the ground and that you are with that Contractor Seven, over?"
[Into the Wireless] Randy says, "Corporal, this is Flynn. Knox is back at barn. If you see a Six, abandon the site immediately. Kill on sight."

Clara purses her lips in that way she has of signifying something distasteful, bothersome, or downright objectionable. Whether or not it's wise may be debateable, but when no obvious traps present themselves, she crouches down beside each soldier to see whether she can close their eyes - assuming the lids haven't been frozen in place. Randy's request is met with an arch of her brow, but she does, dutifully, check. And then Brooke's voice comes over the radio, and she stops cold. That's pretty much the last thing they wanted to hear.

Taking up a defensive position, Fischer frowns at the conversation on the radio. "What the…?" he mutters to himself, eyes narrowing a little as he looks out at their surroundings again. Even more carefully than before.

The call over the calm has Palermo dropping carefully to one knee alongside the trail, rifle held carefully between both gloved hands, and scanning the trail left right up and Back Again. She doesn't have to say that she thinks this is a trap, it's obvious that it's a trap, and it's still one of they have to walk into. The fact that there are now dead bodies littering the path are either a taunt, or the dead bodies are just useless to the people that abducted them in the first place. Either way a dead body is still a dead body, and the path is still the path, and now they're absolutely certain but there are clerics on the ground.

The Seven stops cold in his tracks at that radio call. Fully kit out like he is, he looks to Randy, then to Lleufer right by him, then to the others. He slowly lets the rifle dangle in his sling and holds up his gloved hands. "Its me." He takes off the sunglasses and uses his other hand to tug down the balclava so they can see his beard and a bit of his long hair held against his neck. "Staff Sergeant Fuzz, guys." He lets everyone see him before he looks back the way they came. "Kind doubt they can grow a beard this handsome and hair this long in an hour." His breath clouds with the quiet words before he looks back to Randy.

Tabitha follows the orders given, also taking up a defensive position a bit further up the trail, near the female body. She continues to scan the area until that call comes through on the radio and she blinks a couple times, knowing full well that Coop's not with them on this trip. She clears her throat slightly but doesn't say anything. Just brings up her rifle and adjusts the grip of her nearly-frozen fingers so that she's handling the weapon appropriately.

"Just don't try to touch me anytime soon and I'll still believe you," Randy grunts after Rance reveals himself. She nods gruffly. "These people aren't going to survive if we get pinned down in a trap with Clerics. We need to wait for these ones to come up on us, take them out, then proceed down the trail. Find positions, I'm going to see if the Corporal can lead these up this way…" Randy says before she starts relaying off to the Corporal, hoping it's not too late.

Lleufer is currently standing a little ways down the trail not far from where Rance stopped. Ynyr was looking back and listening carefully to the wind and the sounds of the valley below them before the radio call draws his attention. Then he's lifting his gaze back up to see how far Rance has gone and what he's doing. Ynyr doesn't lift his rifle, still in his gloved hands as others up ahead inspect bodies. His own expression can't be read with the layers of insulation and gear covering his own face.

[Into the Wireless] The same whispered voice returns, "Negative, sir. No shot. Count single Six, single Seven, single Twelve, all dressed in some thick clothes with dark red robes over them. They are mingled in with eight-count Arpay individuals in military skivvies. They do not, repeat, do not appear to be prisoners. They are moving casually. ETA to the camp is two minutes. Shall we abandon?"

Clara climbs back to her feet and nods once to Randy. Rance gets a long look, but she leaves her rifle slung across her shoulder. That there have been no Threes spotted in the area isn't entirely surprising, but the possibility's undoubtedly on her mind. Picking her way carefully off the trail, she seeks out a spot with some cover.

[Into the Wireless] Randy says, "Corporal, this is Flynn. We're setting up an ambush on the main trail of bloody footprints up here that we followed. I want you two to lure them. Remember, skinjobs are faster. Those are definitely Clerics. Do not get touched or you're dead. Keep a big lead."

Rance doesn't sound like he's in the business of making deals right now. "You don't touch me, el-tee, I won't touch you. Sounds like a deal." The guy tugs the facemask back up to get warm again and slips his sunglasses back on. He moves off the trail, back closer towards the wy they came, near Lleu. There's a nice fallen log and he lays himself down on his back behind it, giving him just enough room to peek over the top.

Carefully easing her way off of the path, Palermo find the nearest bit of useful cover and drops to one knee behind it, carefully bracing her rifle between her two hands and steadying the rifle once she drops into position. Initially, and reluctantly, she turned her back away from the trail they were leading and sights back along the trail that they've already traversed. Measuring the distance around her, and keeping a good eye on the trail, she backs up another couple of feet, moving deeper into cover, so that she can site along both end of the trail.

[Into the Wireless] Lleufer says, "Flynn, Ynyr here. Those two below could let their voices carry a little. Lure'm onto our trail without actually having to be seen directly. Then hustle their butts up, sir."
[Into the Wireless] About thirty seconds pass. "Copy, sir. They're running again. Looks like …finishing PT. Sir, this doesn't feel right. I don't think those Arpay soldiers are friendlies anymore. We can hear them celebrating. Clerics are just letting them run. Wait one." Another twenty seconds pass, then, "Sir, they're putting their gear back on. One of them just chucked a boot at the dead bodies in the trees. Sir, recommend we count eight hostiles with the three Clerics. Lining up shots now on Clerics then we are Oscar Mike." On the Move.

Lleufer doesn't look worried about /their/ Seven. He says something real low over his com radio, careful not to let his baritone carry and even puts his hand over his mouth to muffle any sound. THen he heads a little ways off of their trail, as he's able to, and finds cover to lay himself down and take up a position with a good view below. With his rifle ready, he carefully starts watching with his binoculars.

If they can get away without using charges and drawing in every Cleric within the mile their way, that would be nice, but still Randy can't help looking at the area for potential places it would be useful. Old itch. It's a subtle thing. Randy moves towards higher ground so she has some overwatch and a good place to shoot her rifle from. She gets down on the ground, pulling pine needles and bits of natural debris over her body and head.

[Into the Wireless] Randy says, "Copy that Corporal. Do not get caught."

Fischer nods at what's being said, looking around for a few brief moments, before he finds a place to take cover, while still being able to keep an eye on below. Keeping his rifle carefully ready as he waits.

Tabitha does as she's told, sliding off the trail and into the undergrowth, moving very carefully making sure not to snag on any branches, or leave any sign of her passing at all. She works her way into a position that gives her a decent view of the trail, and then goes still, bringing her rifle up and ready. A small grimace on her face as she hears the radio chatter, listening to the possibility of friendlies turned bad is never an encouraging thing.

Clara's preferred position is down the incline a short way, where the foliage is thicker and she can hunker down and blend in somewhat. She readies her rifle, watches and waits.

More seconds pass then there's a pair of very closely timed single rifle shots. Both of the Marines fired very close together, nearly the same instant. Barely three seconds pass when there is a full on barrage of automatic weapons fire that is definitely coming from down in the valley. That's a bad sign. A colder chill seems to universally settle across all of them. Then something heavier seems to descend on them, something darker. That's when the radio crackles again.

[Into the Wireless] The voice comes back stronger and there is a lot of weapons fire in the background. "Downey is hit, sir! He took a round to the leg! We are trying to flow to you! They are on the move, too, over!"

The radio call spurns a flurry of action. L-Shaped Ambush. With Clara and Rance running forward, they will grab the wounded and lead the enemies up the path into the killzone. Turning at the bottom of the L, they just wait for the badguys to enter the killzone before triggering it. The whole patrol rushes back down the hill a ways towards the sound of gunfire and selects an ideal spot where the trail provides rocks on the long side of the deployment, making for good cover. They get into position just as the firing seems to taper off, which means the mountain troops and clerics are probably coming up the ridge. This is going to be close.

With the position found, Rance is quick to check it and look back up the path to know where he will be running to and need to stop. Hopefully. Once Clara is ready, he holds the rifle out in front of him and takes off running down the slope, half jumping as he is running, trying to conserve energy and save it for the long run back. He only checks back once to make sure Clara is there before they spot the two Marines trying to get up the path towards them.

Clara has her rifle out as well, and springs to her feet with a burst of surprising speed once Rance gives the signal. She moves fairly fluidly, even in the layers of arctic gear; fluid conserves energy, no sudden stops or starts. A little hop over a gap in the path, half a scramble up a rockface, then back down the other side, and she hones in on the wounded Downey - preparing to get her far slighter frame under him, and hoist him up over her shoulders in a standard fireman's carry.

Randy is still in her little hidey hole. Just because they're making up the long part of the L shape, doesn't mean they have to be rank in file, ready to shoot a bullet through three of them at once or anything. Randy's now a pine needle monster. She waits, trying to stay as perfectly still and calm as she can now, so when it's even more important to maintain the illusion, she's already ready. Her mind wanders to Piraean weed while she waits and watches the skinjobs move off, her eyes trailing Clara's form.

Maintaining her position where she's taken cover, Palermo watches as Rance and Clara take off running back along the slope to meet up with the two marines who'd been on over watch at the camp. The part of her that is all marine is busy calculating angles and the amount of ammo that they're all carrying. Then that same part shifts to the next item on the list and makes sure that the cover is deep enough without ruining her line of sight, and making absolutely sure that none of the metal that she's carrying will gleam in the sunlight and give away her position OR get stuck against any skin, not that anything other than her face is exposed, but it's worth a second of consideration.

Tabitha works her way down and takes up a position close to where the pair of Lines will hopefully be leading the enemies past. She stays completely still, relying on her ears to listen for the sounds of approach, eyes scanning the trail. She perches herself carefully, doing her best to be as invisible as is actually possible, barely breathing as she waits for the enemy soldiers to come into her sights.

Orders are given and the Colonial Marines hustle ass back down from the ridge - but not too far so as to loose the advantage of the higher ground. Lleufer Ynyr watches as Clara and Rance race on down the slope further to go and help their fellow Marines below and lure the enemy back. He's set himself in among the rocks, lying prone and scrapes some earth and pine needles to help brace his elbow and raise it slightly to better aim down range. Lleufer makes sure he's as difficult to see as reasonably possible in the couple of minutes they have, then lies still and watches for targets. They'll all wait for Flynn's word over the coms as to when to fire.

Having found his position, Fischer keeps ready as he waits for the runners bringing the enemy into position. Spending those moments until then carefully making sure his mind stays right here, right now. Moving around and finding dead bodies could cause his mind to wander back a bit if he'd let it.

The Marines in position of the ambush are left in silence for a time, just the sound of the wind in the trees. The birds seem to have understood the danger nearby and gone for safer branches. Then there's the sound of three quick shots - Colonial rifles. The bark is just a little more sharp than the Arpay rifles. Then some deeper return fire, then a long burst from the Colonial rifle. They have something to chase, that's for sure.

Rance slides to his hip by the Marines coming up and he goes quickly to a knee. It rips part of the pantleg but he pays it no mind. "Contact," he says quietly to Clara, bringing the rifle up to his shoulder. There's a quick shot of his rifle at movement in the trees down the slope and he moves to a tree just as bullets begin impacting around them. The return fire from him comes in a long burst before he looks back to Clara and then displaces. As he moves, he takes a grenade off his kit and yanks the pin. Reaching back, he hucks it high into the sky over head and then moves off, going backwards where he has to.

"On our way back up." Clara's voice, soft, over the radio. "Eyes on, my five." Unfriendlies further down the trail. She hoists the marine up and over her shoulders and books it back up while Rance provides cover fire, moving as fast as the extra weight will allow - which is still unreasonably quick, for how tiny she is.

<FS3> Clara rolls Body+Body+Body: Good Success.

The two Lines charge back up the hill. It helps that the Arpay troops are probably already exhausted and they are moving slower than they should. Rance falls behind Clara just to keep them pissed and motivated, hucking another grenade to land behind the attacking troops. When the Marines finally arrive, the Corporal is looking rattled but fiercesome. They all slot into position at the ambush point before Rance comes running back up at full speed. He was out of sight for a minute or so, but he has his facemask pulled down so they can see that its him. There's a wild grin on his face. Stopping in the middle of the killzone, he turns and fires another long burst before turning and running up to his position. Diving into the pine needle bedding, he slides his body around a tree while reaching for a new magazine. Once reloaded he waves to Randy to get her attention. Three fingers, then a zero. Thirty seconds to contact.

Randy watches the Lines and their two other Marines make it back, but she's practicing being a statue. When Rance motions up to her, a thumb appear as she rotates it upwards through the mound of pine needles. Then it disappears again. She waits….waits…/waits/ till the enemy combatants have gotten deep into the cross fire zone. Trigger fingers are probably getting super itchy by now. Randy already has one of the Clerics in her sights. "Fire," crackles across comms. They'd already talked earlier about prioritizing the Clerics.

Quiet, quiet, lying still. Lleufer is as relaxed as he can be, trying not to think about being cold. Trying not to think about mutilated women hung upside down in trees, or frozen almost naked with lacerated bare feet and lying curled up with staring eyes. Then comes Clara and Rance, helpful distractions to sharpen the focus of Ynyr's mind on here and now. Ears sharp, he peers down through his rifle's sites and starts tracking on the oncoming Six, leading a hair's breath ahead of the 'cleric' as the assault up the slope begins. He holds his fire until…

<COMBAT> Lleufer takes careful aim at Six.
<COMBAT> Tabitha takes careful aim at Twelve.
<COMBAT> Fischer takes careful aim at Twelve.
<COMBAT> Clara takes careful aim at Twelve.
<COMBAT> Randy takes careful aim at Six.
<COMBAT> Arpay4 tries to attack but has no target!
<COMBAT> Arpay3 tries to attack but has no target!
<COMBAT> Arpay1 tries to attack but has no target!
<COMBAT> Twelve passes.
<COMBAT> Six passes.
<COMBAT> Palermo takes careful aim at Six.
<COMBAT> Arpay8 tries to attack but has no target!
<COMBAT> Arpay5 tries to attack but has no target!
<COMBAT> Arpay7 tries to attack but has no target!
<COMBAT> Arpay6 tries to attack but has no target!
<COMBAT> Arpay2 tries to attack but has no target!
<COMBAT> Dropkick has started a new turn. Pose and choose your action.

Tabitha is so patient. Like she has all the time in the world as she perches in her spot, breathing shallow and even, eyes intensely focused on the trail. She's relaxed, but ready, finger resting lightly on the trigger. As the pair of Clerics come into the kill zone, she carefully lines up her shot. One chance, then the element of surprise is gone.

Waiting. WAiting. There comes the runners, and there comes the enemy. Fischer aims at one of the incoming clerics, the Twelve, as he waits for the order to shoot. Breathe in, hold, breathe out, hold. When the order comes, he fires.

Taking careful aim, because this is a prime example of aim small/miss small, Palermo holds her fire until she is absolutely certain of her target. ONLY then will she open fire, all while muttering a few choice words under her breath about shooting at nominally familiar faces. She is NOT writing up this report, either. woohooo yeah. No paperwork for her.

Clara unshoulders the marine she'd been lugging, and carefully eases him to the ground behind cover of a sizeable tree. She directs him in how to apply pressure to his leg wound, and then crouches down and hoists her rifle.

<COMBAT> Lleufer fires a 3 round burst!
<COMBAT> Lleufer attacks Six with Rifle AP - Light wound to Chest.
<COMBAT> Lleufer attacks Six with Rifle AP - Light wound to Left Arm.
<COMBAT> Lleufer attacks Six with Rifle AP - Serious wound to Chest.
<COMBAT> Clara fires a 3 round burst!
<COMBAT> Clara attacks Twelve with Rifle AP - Critical wound to Right Hand.
<COMBAT> Clara attacks Twelve with Rifle AP - Serious wound to Left Hand.
<COMBAT> Clara attacks Twelve with Rifle AP - Moderate wound to Chest.
<COMBAT> Twelve passes.
<COMBAT> Tabitha fires a 3 round burst!
<COMBAT> Tabitha attacks Twelve with Rifle AP - Moderate wound to Chest.
<COMBAT> Tabitha attacks Twelve with Rifle AP - Serious wound to Chest.
<COMBAT> Tabitha attacks Twelve with Rifle AP - Serious wound to Left Hand.
<COMBAT> Randy fires a 3 round burst!
<COMBAT> Randy attacks Six with Rifle AP - Moderate wound to Neck.
<COMBAT> Randy attacks Six with Rifle AP - Serious wound to Right Hand.
<COMBAT> Randy attacks Six with Rifle AP - Critical wound to Chest.
<COMBAT> Fischer fires a 3 round burst!
<COMBAT> Fischer attacks Twelve with Rifle AP - Moderate wound to Chest.
<COMBAT> Fischer attacks Twelve with Rifle AP - Serious wound to Abdomen.
<COMBAT> Fischer attacks Twelve with Rifle AP - Moderate wound to Chest.
<COMBAT> Palermo fires a 3 round burst!
<COMBAT> Palermo attacks Six with Rifle AP - Critical wound to Chest.
<COMBAT> Palermo attacks Six with Rifle AP - Moderate wound to Right Arm.
<COMBAT> Palermo attacks Six with Rifle AP - Light wound to Left Arm.
<COMBAT> Arpay6 tries to attack but has no target!
<COMBAT> Arpay3 tries to attack but has no target!
<COMBAT> Six passes.
<COMBAT> Arpay8 tries to attack but has no target!
<COMBAT> Arpay5 tries to attack but has no target!
<COMBAT> Arpay4 tries to attack but has no target!
<COMBAT> Arpay2 tries to attack but has no target!
<COMBAT> Arpay7 tries to attack but has no target!
<COMBAT> Arpay1 tries to attack but has no target!
<COMBAT> Dropkick has started a new turn. Pose and choose your action.
<COMBAT> Six has been KO'd!

The opening shots all come at once and the Clerics look as shocked as the soldiers. They were probably not expecting this in any degree. Exhaustion probably played a part. But both of the Line members are so riddled with holes that they instantly drop backwards, dead before their heads hit the ground, uploaded (they hope). But the Arpay soldiers turn to see the Clerics go down and almost look physically pained. They scream in rage and protest. And then they attack like any soldier might, overcome with anger and emotion: They attack, trying to rush the ambush and get inside.

Nice shots all round. Even though the sight of the Six gives Tabitha just the barest moment of pause. She forces her thoughts to remain on the mission. Don't look, don't look. She takes a careful breath and squeezes her trigger gently, firing off a short burst of fire at the Twelve. It's with a slight grunt of satisfaction that she sees the target go down under the combined fire of the team. Still not looking at the Six. Tabi's attention almost immediately turns to the incoming Arpay. Shifting slightly in her position to get a better shot lined up.

Seeing the enemy Six take enough bullets to make the wind whistle through is all Palermo needs to see as she shifts targets immediately and lines up again on the next of the soldiers that rush their position. She hunkers down as much as she can, even throwing herself prone to minimize her profile, aiming her weapons fire in as closely controlled a manner as possible. Spray and Pray is NOT an acceptable targeting stance.

And then? The shit cuts loose! On Randy's signal they open up. Bullets fly and the trees and slope THUNDER with the Colonial rifle rounds. The Gunnery Sergeant grimaces and helps to cut down the Six, then Lleufer sees three of the turned Arpay trying to go for Palermo. Ynyr tries to shoot one of them before they can fire at her! Then he growls into his radio pickup.

Clara trains her rifle, just for a split second, on the Six. Then nudges it away to lead the movement of the Twelve instead, as he comes up the path. She fires a quick triple shot, the last punching through the Line's chest along with a hail of rounds from the other marines. She doesn't pause long enough to watch him hit the ground; he's as good as dead anyway. Shifting in the dirt, she refocuses on one of the Arpay soldiers and aims for a hamstring shot.

[Into the Wireless] Lleufer says, "Flynn, Ynyr. I thought we heard automatic weapons fire and something heavier. I don't see them bringing anything like that. Where's that Seven they reported? Watch out."

Randy tries not to think about it. Six. Trigger, squeeze. He's just a target. In fact he's some asshole that's been brainwashing these poor Arpay soldiers. Before she knows it the Cooper-dressed-like-a-cult-member is on the ground, riddled with holes just like the Twelve. Maybe at some point she'll remember the bullets spraying his chest and hand like blood colored buttons were popping off. It takes her a moment to realize the reaction of the Arpay. "Weapons free! Fire!" It's not going to be easy for someone to rush up on her, so she gets into a crouch as she finds her next target, moving quickly but slowly into a position that will allow her to jump down to defend one of her platoon if necessary. "Copy that Ynyr."

Fischer lets out a breath of relief as the Clerics go down. Seeing the soldiers attack, he turns his rifle on one of them and fires off a burst right away. This is far less unnerving than just following the trail of bodies. After all, here instinct is what it's about.

And then? The shit cuts loose! On Randy's signal they open up. Bullets fly and the trees and slope THUNDER with the Colonial rifle rounds. The Gunnery Sergeant grimaces and helps to cut down the Six, then Lleufer sees three of the turned Arpay trying to go for Palermo. Ynyr pulls a grenade, "FRAG OUT!" and throws in the path of one of them before they can fire at her! Then he growls into his radio pickup.

<COMBAT> Tabitha fires a 3 round burst!
<COMBAT> Tabitha attacks Arpay7 with Rifle AP - Light wound to Left Arm.
<COMBAT> Tabitha attacks Arpay7 with Rifle AP - Light wound to Chest.
<COMBAT> Tabitha attacks Arpay7 with Rifle AP - Moderate wound to Left Arm.
<COMBAT> Palermo fires a 3 round burst!
<COMBAT> Palermo attacks Arpay3 with Rifle Ap - Light wound to Abdomen (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> Palermo attacks Arpay3 with Rifle Ap - Light wound to Head (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> Palermo attacks Arpay3 with Rifle Ap - Serious wound to Right Arm.
<COMBAT> Lleufer uses a Handgrenade Frag!
<COMBAT>
<COMBAT> EXPLOSION! Right Next To Arpay8 - Moderate wound to Head (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Arpay8 - ARMOR on Neck stops the attack!
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Arpay8 - Serious wound to Right Foot.
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Arpay8 - Moderate wound to Left Foot.
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Arpay8 - Moderate wound to Left Foot.
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Arpay8 - NEAR MISS!
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Arpay8 - Moderate wound to Abdomen (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Arpay8 - ARMOR on Chest stops the attack!
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Arpay8 - Serious wound to Right Leg.
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Arpay8 - Moderate wound to Abdomen (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Arpay8 - Critical wound to Right Foot.
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Arpay8 - Critical wound to Right Foot.
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Arpay8 - ARMOR on Neck stops the attack!
<COMBAT> Randy uses a Handgrenade Frag!
<COMBAT>
<COMBAT> EXPLOSION! Pretty Close To Arpay4 - Moderate wound to Head (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Arpay4 - Moderate wound to Right Hand.
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Arpay4 - Moderate wound to Right Leg.
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Arpay4 - ARMOR on Abdomen stops the attack!
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Arpay4 - ARMOR on Neck stops the attack!
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Arpay4 - Moderate wound to Left Foot.
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Arpay4 - Moderate wound to Right Arm.
<COMBAT> Fischer fires a 3 round burst!
<COMBAT> Fischer attacks Arpay5 with Rifle AP - Moderate wound to Right Arm.
<COMBAT> Fischer attacks Arpay5 with Rifle AP - Moderate wound to Right Hand.
<COMBAT> Fischer attacks Arpay5 with Rifle AP - Moderate wound to Head (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> Arpay7 attacks Palermo with Rifle AP - Light wound to Head (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> Arpay5 attacks Fischer with Rifle AP - Light wound to Right Hand (Reduced by Cover).
<COMBAT> Arpay4 attacks Clara with Rifle AP and MISSES!
<COMBAT> Arpay3 attacks Palermo with Rifle AP and MISSES!
<COMBAT> Clara fires a 3 round burst!
<COMBAT> Clara attacks Arpay7 with Rifle AP and MISSES!
<COMBAT> Clara attacks Arpay7 with Rifle AP - Light wound to Left Arm.
<COMBAT> Clara attacks Arpay7 with Rifle AP - Moderate wound to Left Arm.
<COMBAT> Arpay8 attacks Palermo with Rifle AP and MISSES!
<COMBAT> Arpay6 attacks Palermo with Rifle AP - Moderate wound to Chest (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> Arpay2 attacks Randy with Rifle AP - Serious wound to Neck (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> Arpay1 attacks Tabitha with Rifle AP - Moderate wound to Chest (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> Dropkick has started a new turn. Pose and choose your action.
<COMBAT> Arpay3 has been KO'd!
<COMBAT> Arpay4 has been KO'd!
<COMBAT> Arpay5 has been KO'd!
<COMBAT> Arpay7 has been KO'd!
<COMBAT> Arpay8 has been KO'd!
<COMBAT> Palermo has been KO'd!
<COMBAT> Randy has been KO'd!
<COMBAT> Palermo spends a luck point to keep fighting!
<COMBAT> Randy spends a luck point to keep fighting!
<COMBAT> Arpay1 will attack Fischer this turn. (Dropkick)
<COMBAT> Arpay2 will attack Tabitha this turn. (Dropkick)
<COMBAT> Arpay6 will attack Lleufer this turn. (Dropkick)

<Clara spends 1 luck points on I spy with my little eye.>
<FS3> Clara rolls Alertness: Great Success.
<Clara spends 1 luck points on don't shoot Lleu.>
<FS3> Clara rolls Firearms-3: Success.

Randy swings her rifle down, letting her eyes sweep the terrain while she reaches for a frag, pulls the pin, "Frag out!" and lets it fly. It's a pretty good shot, exploding pretty close to her target. A lot better than her last total whiff with a handgrenade. That was embarrassing. Still, like her last injury, as soon as she's releasing one of the Arpay have already found her in her hiding spot. A round goes through the armor and lodges straight in her neck, sending her straight to the ground. A gurgling sound comes in over the comms before she slaps her palm over her wound and presses. There's a wet sounding clearing of someone's throat. She scrambles along the ground to the nearby boulder and grabs her clotting agent and something to hold to her neck while she grabs her pistol.

Well, that's going to hurt a bit. Tabitha is jerked backward as the round hits her in the chest, the initial impact absorbed mostly by her body armour, but not enough to stop the bullet travelling into her chest. There's a moment of remembering to breathe and pointedly not looking at the Six lying on the ground. As the majority of the enemy goes down, Tabi slips from her cover, rifle up and pointing at her next target.

Even prone to the ground she still got hit twice and Palermo will mark those two on her list of NOT DEAD YET bullet wounds, because everyone ought to keep track of these things. She rolls to the side to clear the line of fire to, hopefully, make it less easy to hit her in the next few seconds as she flips the first aid kit at her side open with one hand and goes to work. Lets hear it for the makers of first aid kids grasping the reality that two hands may not always be the option for making all this stuff work as she isn't putting her rifle down.

Clara walks a few shots across one of the Arpay's kneecaps, enough to slow him down but not too much more. She's about to fire again, when some movement in the periphery of her vision distracts her. A jerk of her head toward Lleufer's position, and she shifts her stance, pivots and fires in his direction. Pop, pop, pop.

Lleufer throws his grenade and it's a good solid detonation /right/ where he wanted it. YES! He learned from Santos Ridge not to leap up to make that toss, and keeps his ass and his head down while doing it! Bennett would be proud of him! The Gunery Sergeant lines himself back up to sight down his rifle where he lies and as the firing continues, seeks another target… Even as he does so, things he can't see are going on …

Firing at the one going for him, Fischer lets out another breath as he sees the enemy go down. Unfortunately, he's too slow to avoid getting a round grazing his hand. There's a brief pause, before he fires for the next one now.

<COMBAT> Randy attacks Arpay2 with Pistol AP - Moderate wound to Abdomen (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> Lleufer fires a 3 round burst!
<COMBAT> Lleufer attacks Arpay2 with Rifle AP - Serious wound to Right Arm.
<COMBAT> Lleufer attacks Arpay2 with Rifle AP - Moderate wound to Chest (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> Lleufer attacks Arpay2 with Rifle AP - Moderate wound to Chest (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> Tabitha fires a 3 round burst!
<COMBAT> Tabitha attacks Arpay6 with Rifle AP - Moderate wound to Neck (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> Tabitha attacks Arpay6 with Rifle AP - Moderate wound to Chest (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> Tabitha attacks Arpay6 with Rifle AP and MISSES!
<COMBAT> Fischer attacks Arpay1 with Rifle AP - Moderate wound to Chest (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> Arpay2 attacks Tabitha with Rifle AP and MISSES!
<COMBAT> Arpay1 attacks Fischer with Rifle AP - Light wound to Right Arm.
<COMBAT> Clara passes.
<COMBAT> Arpay6 attacks Lleufer with Rifle AP - Light wound to Chest (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> Palermo treats Palermo:
< Head (Light): successful
< Chest (Moderate): successful
<COMBAT> Dropkick has started a new turn. Pose and choose your action.
<COMBAT> Arpay2 has been KO'd!
<COMBAT> Arpay6 has been KO'd!
<COMBAT> Randy has been KO'd!
<COMBAT> Randy spends a luck point to keep fighting!

There's some odd crossfire from Clara. Did she just shoot at Lleufer? So much happening at once. The drive from the RP troops seems to fall apart under their efforts but the sole surviving member seems hell-bent on getting up to the line and taking one with her. She fires her rifle then pulls the pin on a grenade. Does she throw it? No. The last trooper lifts the grenade in her hand, face filled with righteous fury and anger, and runs right at Tabitha, screaming something in a language that sure as hell is not Colonial and is not Arpay.

A rifle round is fired at him from one of the Arpay and the force of the impact on his chest armor jerks Ynyr back from his rifle enough to twist his body slightly even as /Clara's/ looking right at him and firing on his position! Her bullet rips through the fabric of his kit, -just- barely missing him! Talk about startled! Instinct causes Ynyr to roll and pull his rifle with him, twisting it around to aim it back Clara's direction. But something also tells him to turn his head sharply and try to see if there is anybody else close by she /might/ have been trying to shoot who's just past him? Needless to say, it's a few seconds of distraction, trying to figure out what the frak is going on and who or what he needs to defend himself against!

Randy manages to use the boulder to steady her shot on the same Arpay soldier Lleufer had in his sights. She lands one in the poor guy's belly before fainting for probably the second time. It causes her hand to start to slip but she picks up a moment later and looks for anymore combatants, trying to clear her throat again, wondering if that's a good idea briefly before taking aim for the last one. She doesn't see the grenade, she has no idea what's going on. She just sees someone to shoot.

Taking another shot to his right side, this one to the arm, Fischer grimaces. "What the frak…" he begins as he hears the scream in a language he don't understand. So, he just fires off another burst.

Palermo's thinking is somewhat linear if terribly abbreviated. She drops the first aid kit, gets a good hold on her rifle and takes aim and opens fire at the screaming trooper armed with a live grenade. some things are simple, and in this moment, this one is simple. aim. fire. keep firing until the target can't get up OR get that grenade within range. Palermo even rises to one knee from where she's been crouched to avoid SOME of the incoming fire, working the angle slightly better as she opens fire.

<FS3> Tabitha rolls Presence+reaction: Good Success.
<FS3> Lleufer rolls Presence+reaction: Success.
<Lleufer spends 1 luck points on Don't Fuck Up Me Laddi-o!.>
<FS3> Lleufer rolls Firearms-3: Failure.

<COMBAT> Lleufer passes.
<COMBAT> Clara attacks Arpay1 with Rifle AP - Serious wound to Right Hand.
<COMBAT> Randy attacks Arpay1 with Pistol AP and MISSES!
<COMBAT> Fischer fires a 3 round burst!
<COMBAT> Fischer attacks Arpay1 with Rifle AP - ARMOR on Chest stops the attack!
<COMBAT> Fischer attacks Arpay1 with Rifle AP - ARMOR on Chest stops the attack!
<COMBAT> Fischer attacks Arpay1 with Rifle AP - Moderate wound to Chest (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> Arpay1 attacks Fischer with Rifle AP - Light wound to Right Leg (Reduced by Cover).
<COMBAT> Palermo fires a 3 round burst!
<COMBAT> Palermo attacks Arpay1 with Rifle Ap - ARMOR on Chest stops the attack!
<COMBAT> Palermo attacks Arpay1 with Rifle Ap - Serious wound to Chest (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> Palermo attacks Arpay1 with Rifle Ap - Critical wound to Chest (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> Tabitha fires fullauto!
<COMBAT> Tabitha attacks Arpay1 with Rifle AP - Serious wound to Neck (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> Tabitha attacks Arpay1 with Rifle AP and MISSES!
<COMBAT> Tabitha attacks Arpay1 with Rifle AP - Light wound to Left Hand.
<COMBAT> Tabitha attacks Arpay1 with Rifle AP - Moderate wound to Chest (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> Tabitha attacks Arpay1 with Rifle AP and MISSES!
<COMBAT> Tabitha attacks Arpay1 with Rifle AP and MISSES!
<COMBAT> Tabitha attacks Arpay1 with Rifle AP - Critical wound to Abdomen (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> Tabitha attacks Arpay1 with Rifle AP and MISSES!
<COMBAT> Tabitha attacks Arpay1 with Rifle AP - Light wound to Chest (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> Tabitha attacks Arpay1 with Rifle AP - ARMOR on Chest stops the attack!
<COMBAT> Dropkick has started a new turn. Pose and choose your action.

The number of rounds impacting the Arpay woman at once is staggering. Almost all of them penetrate her bodyarmor straight away and she falters, trying to take a few more steps. She had to know this was hopeless, but she did it anyway. They can all see the anger and indignation in her eyes. The pure hatred for the Marines. And then Clara's armor piercing round hits her hand. It deflects slightly off the bone and hits the grenade more square. The frag detonates, held high over her head. The black and grey puff of smoke envelopes her whole upper torso and when those legs carry her past the smoke, there's little left of her upper right quadrant. The lifeless body is in tatters as it falls right into the ground and skids to a stop, the shrapnel bouncing harmlessly off the surrounding rocks.

Rance reloads his rifle and rises from the position, shouldering it as he moves forward. He's got a wound to his left arm but he's ignoring it. "Clearing!" he calls out clearly and begins stepping forward. The mask goes back on and starts kicking rifles away from bodies.

Ynyr's rifle discharged as he lay there on the ground and it's not clear what he was shooting at or if he hit anything, but it seemed he was trying to shoot something that was /precisely/ where he'd be lying only a moment before. Therefor Lleufer misses the entire Arpay woman with a grenade fiasco aimed for Tabitha. The Gunnery Sergeant is a little busy. Whatever is going on, Lleu goes still for a quick couple of breathes as he watches something. Then he dares a careful look to see how everything else is going before shifting to a squatting position among the rocks. Seconds tick by before his baritone comes over the radio.

[Into the Wireless] Lleufer says, "Anybody hurt?! This is Ynyr. I've got a Seven over here in red robes. He's still alive, shot in the face and the gut."

Tabitha is breathing hard after that sudden rush of adrenalin but that steadies itself quickly enough and she's looking around the clearing, counting the bodies. She watches the Seven kicking weapons away from bodies and a small frown creases her brow. "Wasn't there another Cleric?" She asks of no one in particular. Taking the time to drop the mostly empty mag from her rifle and load a new one. She's still absolutely /not/ looking at the dead Six.

[Into the Wireless] Brooke says, "Copy, Gunny! Sounds like I hit him with my shot! Personal distance record for me."

Clara spends a moment or two staring at Lleufer - or more accurately, just past his shoulder. Then she purses her lips and pivots away again, just in time to spot the lone Arpay soldier with her grenade, bolting toward Tabitha. They have a few seconds to take her down, or they're all going to be in a world of hurt. She decides in that moment that the better bet is to simply try to detonate the grenade where she knows it won't kill them. She takes careful aim, and pulls the trigger just once. The moment the woman's down, the Three is hustling in closer to Lleufer's position. "Where the frak is he? Did you get him?"

Randy's hand slips from the rock as she shoots, her bullet going wide. She has no time to react before the grenade goes off, something she only sees right when the Arpay woman holds it up, right when Clara's shot sends explodes the grenade. Randy tries to suck down some air and keeps coughing. She just opens her comms. She can't say anything really right now, but she can at least let them know and…and…she tries to push up, but with how much blood she's losing she highly doubts she could do it without passing out or falling off the side of this little ridge. She pushes herself out and waves her free hand, blood splattering the otherwise white camo.

Pushing to her feet, Palermo moves carefully out into the open but only as far as Randy's position and eases to one knee beside her. "Sorry, LT, you're stuck with me for a moment," offering a half curve of a smile at the only marine she's known longer than anyone else in this entire unit. She flips open the kit that they all carry and tries to help, first aid for the hopeful win.

<COMBAT> Tabitha tries to attack but has no target!
<COMBAT> Lleufer passes.
<COMBAT> Randy tries to attack but has no target!
<COMBAT> Palermo treats Randy:
< Neck (Serious): successful
<COMBAT> Fischer tries to attack but has no target!
<COMBAT> Clara tries to attack but has no target!
<COMBAT> Dropkick has started a new turn. Pose and choose your action.

Lleufer doesn't get up. He's covering the wounded Seven who's lying in among the rocks close by while he waits for his team to make sure everything else more urgent is secure. Their safety and medical needs first, then they can deal with this guy. His own dark Arpay eyes flicker up as Clara moves towards him, "He's here. I think I missed him, but you didn't. Thanks for that. He might have gotten me." Ynyr doesn't stand up and keeps his rifled aimed on the badly wounded cleric, "We kill him, or can we use him? He -is- a skinjob model." As if maybe asking /Clara/ might lure some of her input. "Where's Flynn? Randy all right?" Lleu hasn't heard her giving orders nor confirm his comment on the radio.

Rance finishes up his work, also tossing sidearms away and pocketing grenades and ammo. The Seven has a dump bag on his right hip for empty mags and that's already full of confiscated magazines and grenades, so he's resorted to stuffing more into his ruck. There's rifles over each shoulder, too. He probably weighs 400 pounds under all that weight and finally looks like he's feeling it. "We're going downhill, right? Not up?" he mutters to nobody in particular.

"No." Clara's answer is characteristically abrupt. The longer they spend standing around thinking about this, the more opportunity for things to go sideways. She hoists her rifle, looks the Line in the eyes, and tries to put a round right in between them. No hesitation. Merciful Three is merciful. Randy's condition is at the back of her mind, but last she saw, Palermo was lending a hand.

Randy doesn't say a word back to Palermo. The LT's coloring is a bit paler than pale and she keeps her hand over her neck until Palermo moves it. Probably the sad thing is, it doesn't take much effort to move her hand, suggesting she wasn't even able to apply much pressure to the wound. She blinks up at Palermo and coughs a bit more. Then she makes a neck slitting motion with her hand.

Rance watches this all go down and doesn't even flinch. He steps up to the rocks and climbs over to look down at the Seven' lifeless body. A long whistle leaves him as he stares. "Dumb shit. You're fightin' for the wrong side," he mutters before taking a knee. Looking like he might pray, he looks over the body and nods. Then he starts pulling the robe off and taking the rings from the fingers. "This might come in handy one day. Never know." Once its all off, he hands it to whomever will take it. "Prolly best I don't truck this around with me."

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