AWD #572: Unexpected Guests
AWD #572: Unexpected Guests
Summary: The Orion task group orbits Picon, ready to meet an expected Cylon attack. Unexpected guests arrive instead.
Date: 14/01/2017 (OOC Date)
Related Logs: Return From Rally Point
Elias Jameson Penta Robin 
Combat Information Center
The Center of All the Combat Informations.
Tue 01 AUG 2006 (AWD #572)

Five days and six hours since the Erol jumped away, the mission has become a background consideration for most of Command Staff. They had to do something. Right now, they are plotting the more immediate concerns. Having sent the Erol off for what was likely a suicide mission, the Tactical and CIC team is busy trying to deal with exactly how the hell they are supposed to evacuate Piraeus. And where they could even go. Picon? The Orion is in orbit around Picon right now with half the fleet here and the other half at Piraeus. Dividing the fleet hurts but there's no other way to do this. Jameson is standing over the map table at the center of the room and rubbing his forehead. "Now I know how the damned canners felt when they never knew where we were going to hit. Too much to protect and not enough assets." The coffee mug next to him is steaming as he looks over a map of the Cyrannus System.

After seeing the Erol and crew off on their journey, Elias has put thoughts of that mission on the far back burner. It's not unimportant, but it is entirely out of his hands, and there are more immediate concerns which are not. "Defending all the Colonies is likely to be … impractical. Until we can get some sort of industrial base up and running again, I recommend we prioritize and do what we can." As for the evacuation, the TACCO has some thoughts. "What did Jacob have to say, sir? If we can use all those Heavy Raiders then personnel evacuation becomes practical, at least."

Robin too has seemingly put the mission behind her, laser focused on the next major tasks at hand. She stands near the TACCO and the rest of Command. "He's right. We need craft..?" She sounds hopeful for just a touch, eyebrow arching to Jameson, questing for an answer to Elias' question. It's less of a revelation or true statement of fact than simply a lead into hopefully what is Jameson's answer.

"Jacob wants to help but we're using those raiders and the basestars for logistical support. We're narrowly avoiding a complete collapse. People are starving. Medicine is sitting in warehouses. they're trying to move it all. We just don't have the logistical support to get it to everyone." Jameson sighs. "I was thinking we may need to abandon a few Colonies or just cease support to some. It sucks, but its looking like we leave a few to fend for themselves or the whole is going to-"

Jameson is cut off by a Nav Specialist speaking up, "Admiral. …We have something abnormal happening." She has wide eyes, staring at her screen. "Sir, we're seeing a gravity well forming approximately two hundred miles out in distant Picon orbit. We have no idea what it is. A Raptor in orbit has visual. Downlinking video."

Jameson blinks and stares at the specialist, then looks to Elias and Robin and Penta. "A gravity well? Are you telling me there's a black hole forming in Picon's orbit?" he asks, completely baffled and annoyed with this development. "Put it on the screen." She follows her orders and the video above the table shows a section of space with something small wobbling in the center of the frame. It looks like light distortion, but bubbling in on itself. The telemetry on the screen from the Raptor is giving some very confusing reports.

Penta eyes the video, wide-eyed. Clearly his high school physics teacher had been lying to him about the whole 'how black holes form' thing.

"Mmm," Elias doesn't sound dissuaded from the idea of using the heavy raiders, despite the fact that they're currently keeping the supplies flowing. "We could divert them temporarily." For the idea of abandoning a Colony, the TACCO both accepts the idea without complaint and has a suggestion to put forward. "I recommend we evacuate Scorpia, sir. It's …" and then he trails off as the gravity phenomena is annouced, offering a vaguely displeased look at the main display screen. "Condition One," is ordered. And since the CAG is on the bridge to handle it, Elias offers a tip of his head toward Robin and the Air Boss station if she wants to take over.

[Intercom] Elias says, "All hands, this is the Tactical Officer. Set Condition One throughout the ship. Launch the alert Vipers. This is not a drill."

Robin blinks at the news of a spontaneous black hole forming, and so close. "Sir…" There's something tickling the back of her mind. 'This is unnatural.' And everyone thought her degree in astrophysics wouldn't matter after she entered flight school. "I don't think we'll be ready for what's incoming…" she says in awe as she watches the screen. She looks over at Elias and then walks to her phone to get the alert vipers to launch asap and start loading up the rest.

Penta similarly heads to his alert phone, contacting Battalion HQ.

[Into the Wireless] Penta says, "Sir, this is CIC Watch. Condition One has been set. We have what appears to be a spontaneous black hole forming 200 miles from Picon."

The image on the screen sits there, just bubbling. "Is it growing?" Jameson asks to nobody in particular.

"Negative, sir. It appears to be some kind of anomoly we haven't encountered before."

Jameson turns his head to look at the Specialist with a 'Ya don't say?' expression. Looking back, he tilts his head a bit to stare at it. "What's incoming? Robin, if you know something I don't know I'd really love to have you explain to me later exactly what we are- SHIT!" As he says it, everyone who can see the screen is likely viibly shaken with the surprise of what happens. The bubbling suddenly bursts open like a flower and the camera has to pan back quickly to see what's there. …It isn't colonial. And it sure as hell isn't a basestar.

And that is NOT the Erol.

The screen shows what looks like a squared off and uparmored flight pod with a very sturdy substructure. The size of it dwarfs the pocket carriers the Colonial Fleet has used, too, this thing looking to be the size of a heavy cruiser. There are guns mounted on every flat surface as well as what look like torpedo tubes the size of the Orion's bow guns. But the guns are pointed along the smooth lines of the ship and do not appear to be ready to fire.

"DRADIS contact! Unknown large ship! Designate contact Uniform One Seven!" the operator calls. "Picking up navigational DRADIS only, sir!"

[DISTRESS] "Bacchus" Pratt says, "To any receiving CDF forces, this is Lt. Edison Pratt, of the Battlestar Orion. This craft is friendly, /do not open fire/. *hesitates* Please. This has been a really long trip and it would suck to get killed by friendly fire right at the end."

Penta listens to the distress frequency. His jaw drops, his eyes widen…But he stays upright, and that's half the battle right?

Robin knows this /isn't/ the time to explain herself. Jameson even gave her a big fat hint, 'later.' She barely has time to look up and over before the screen bursts into… "That beast," she blinks and then lifts her phone to say, "Wing, CAG, hold all weapons." She then looks back to Elias.

[Into the Wireless] Robin says, "Wing, CAG, hold all weapons."

Elias is busy with the practical matters of responding to the 'event,' and not really able to spare much time for the screen. There's a quizzical glance towards Robin for the CAG's remark, and then Jameson's outburst draws the TACCO's attention back to the image of empty space. The young Major blinks. "Frak …" Has anyone ever heard Elias curse before? Apparently there's a first time for everything. His mouth twists into a grimace as he considers the strange vessel, but he recovers after a second to move toward the comms station. To Jameson he suggests, "Might be the Machines, sir." The 'distress' call comes in before he can order the communications personnel to hail the ship, leaving Elias looking surprised. A member of the Rally Point team is back after only a few days … in that? Jameson can make the call on this one, so Elias nods agreement with Robin's decision and passes the same to the Fleet, pending the Admiral's call. "Message to all ships," he tells the comm's oficer, "Hold your fire. Repeat hold fire."

Jameson stares at the screen, jaw clenched. He looks like he's about ready to punch the screen. The Machines. Elias says it and its clear the admiral is already thinking it. No, godsdamnit, it isn't fair. They were so close. And then that hail crackles through the radio. He blinks and looks to Elias. "Are you kidding me? How is that even possible? I feel like I'm about to talk to a ghost." He takes up the radio and holds it in front of his lips, staring at the screen.

[Into the Wireless] Jameson says, "Lieutenant Pratt, this is Orion Actual. I assume you are on the ship that just.. appeared." He pauses for a moment. "Mister Pratt you have been gone five days and six hours, two minutes. Authenticate Romeo Romeo Tango."

'The Universe is weird, example number 4291871883: This.' Penta merely thinks that as he observes the events before him in CIC. Meanwhile, he's closed his mouth and is standing, looking respectable now.

"Admiral, the contact is maneuvering. They are coming about slowly. They look to be on a very slow course for intercept to come alongside the fleet, sir." Navigation looks ot Jameson as they report it.

[DISTRESS] "Bacchus" Pratt says, "Ah. Orion, Pratt. Response is One Niner Five. Yes, sir. All of us, save for the skeleton crew that remained on the Erol, are here on this new craft, along with our…friends who gave us a lift. I'm sorry, did you say /five days/?"

Elias is in full agreement with Penta, as expressed by a baffled sounding, "Mmm." Regardless of the friendly-sounding wireless traffic, the TACCO moves to the weapons station and speaks in a lower tone. "Compute a firing solution, all weapons, but stand by on targeting." If this does turn out to be a ruse, they'll at least be prepared to fire. In the meantime, Elias turns back to the display, studying the image of the strange vessel with a wary eye.

"Time to intercept course?" Jameson asks over his shoulder as he stares at the video display.

"At present speed, two hours, sir?" Navigation seems baffled by how slow its moving. One hundred miles an hour isn't exactly quick by any stretch when it comes to orbital dynamics.

"Very well." Jameson then hears the authentication and gives a nod to the others. "That's the correct one. Either he turned traitor in five days or they found some friends." Or at least someone willing to give them a lift home. The guy holds on the reply while orders are given from Elias. "Let's see how they react to us going to alert and those orders." The mic is lifted again.

[Into the Wireless] There is a delay before a reply. Jameson comes back then, "Confirm One Niner Five, Mister Pratt. Welcome home. And yes, five days. Seems you may wish to disagree. You'll have to do that in person. Tell that ships Captain to maintain his course and hold at thirty-five miles. We're dispatching Raptors for you to return. Report to Major Elias Gray in the Ward Room. Understood?"

Penta speaks up, finally. "Do you desire for Marines to meet the Raptors upon their return, sir?"

Robin stands by and has dialed into the frequency she usually uses for her squad leads. "Yeah. You see along…" She starts to try and coordinate with them about where the aliens might release fighters from on the Beast. "Negative. Still weapons hold. Do not move or they'll think we're maneuvering for an attack…" she can be heard speaking to what's left of her squad leads, some being very green. Then when she hears the CO, she relays, "Aegis, I want you to dispatch two Raptors to our new friends….yes, take two Marines a piece at minimum, but get it going asap." Then she makes a call down to the Chief to coordinate the executive order down. She turns to Penta and says, "I'd like at least two Marines down to the deck stat." She'll defer to Jameson on what kind of welcome he wants for the people being picked up.

Penta nods to Robin. "Aye, sir. Two Marines per Raptor to the deck." Then a look to Jameson before he places the call down to Battalion HQ.

[DISTRESS] "Bacchus" Pratt says, "Orion Actual, Pratt. understood sir. I'm not sure the Commander can respond to you directly, but I will make sure he understands. The ship is called the Weller Hill, under the command of a Commander Daromo."

So the Admiral wants him to be the welcoming committee. Elias' mouth tightens a bit at that news, but there's no complaint. And hearing the CAG and the Marine Ensign hashing out the details of the transport Raptors, the TACCO leaves them to it, perfectly happy to have one less thing to worry about right now. "Well," he muses to himself as he hears Pratt's last message, "This should be … interesting." And then he turns to Jameson. "Anyone else you'd like in this welcoming party, sir?"

Jameson nods to Penta. "I want the primary explorers, the Marines and Air Wing members, escorted up to the Ward Room.. or Map Room if we have more people. All other personnel report to medical. Anyone not apart of the departing crew that comes off those Raptors is brought to meet Major Gray." The guy then looks to Elias, "Yeah, take the CAG with you. Anyone else you think you might need. No idea who these people are but they brought our people back. Least we can do is thank them. And Elias… walk softly. We may need these people. Play the cards carefully." He looks back to the screens while the crew moves. This is not what he had in mind for today. "And someone get me a fresh cup of coffee." Get off my lawn.

Penta nods. "Aye sir." He then goes to make the calls to make the decisions happen.

[Into the Wireless] Jameson says, "Give my thanks to the Captain, Lieutenant. We'll see you shortly. Actual, out."

Robin keeps a straight face through Elias self-musings. She doesn't really catch all of it clearly, but she catches enough. She nods to Jameson upon his orders and then relays some final instructions to the actual Raptor crews that are going to pick up their people over her phone. Finally, she sets it back down and tugs at the hem of her top to straighten it out, smoothing it out slightly. "When you're ready Major. I am," she shoots Elias' way.

Elias listens to Jameson's orders, glancing over to Robin when the CAG is included, and gives a quick nod. "Yes sir." The TACCO seems to have recovered enough to slip back into his usual guarded expression. "Ensign," he includes Penta, "Escort our people and our guests up to the Ward Room." And before he departs the CIC, he has one last matter to attend to. "Locke," he hands off to the acting JTACCO, "You have Tactical … and get the galley to send us some food and drinks." At least their visitors will get that much hospitality.

Penta nods. "Aye sir." A quick salute, and he's off.

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