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Crisis #06 | Shuttle Extraction

Crisis #06 | Shuttle Extraction [Attn: Soo Young "Oracle" Seung]

The enemy had just withdrawn, and close to the spot where Oracle was at during the eruptions, Thea set down a Type 9 shuttle via remote control link. The 8,5 meter long vessel rocked upon its landing gears with the tremors in the ground, and panicked crew immediately amassed towards it.

[Chief Seung, this is Thea. I could not locate you at the time when the other Lone Wolves took off, yet now, given the need for haste, it is my strong suggestion that you fly the shuttle I just provided for you. You will need to extract as many people as possible in it since we will not be able to Transport all the personnel on the ground in time before the pyroclastic clouds decimates everyone that remains outside sealed shelters.]

Pyroclastic surges were hot, turbulent clouds of volcanic gases. These clouds could travel more than a hundred miles per hour and incinerate or crush most objects in their path. If an unprotected person was hit, death would be nearly instantaneous. Skin would vaporise, the brain boil and skulls explode. The head was loaded with different liquids, and if enveloped by a cloud of gas with a temperature of nearly 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit, the detonation would come in less than two-tenths of a second. What was even more frightening, was that speeding land vehicles would never outrun a pyroclastic cloud, and the volcanic eruptions were all around the valley, yet perhaps the shuttles in atmospheric flight-mode might. It was obviously the best chance for survival for those that did not get Transported aboard in time, yet it demanded a highly skilled pilot.

[I am in contact with some other of the Lone Wolves as we speak and sending shuttles their way, so you will not be alone. Just follow the course I plot for you on the HUD in order to find your way back to me.]

Already, the aforementioned hellfire of thepra and explosive gases was rolling down the mountains, just in wake of the avalanches of hot mud and rock. Still, people were fighting to get inside the shuttle, and someone that had reached the controls was already doing systems checks in order to take off - doors still open. Meanwhile, both the Theurgy and the Harbinger were about to lift from the ground, with several shuttles either landing or taking off as well. The sky was filled with traffic in the pending doom that those clouds represented, while rocks still bombarded everything.

[Please... hurry.]

Re: Crisis #06 | Shuttle Extraction

Reply #1
Soo Young rushed toward the shuttle having heard Thea's message, The surrounding events were enough to prove that what Thea was saying was true and there was little time for her to waste. A wall of bodies impeded her from her getting into the shuttle. Multiple people shoved her back believing her to be just another person trying to save themselves. Soo Young bit her lip as a chorus of panicked voices assaulted her mind like waves crashing against a lone rock caught in the tide. Part of her wanted to curl up and try to shut out everyone but another part of her knew that to do so would no only spell out her death but likely the deaths of everyone around her.

Soo Young gripped a young engineer by his uniform and hauled him back throwing him to the ground. The engineer looked up with a panicked expression on his face but his demeanor changed as he noticed the color of Soo Young's uniform. He quickly stood up and rushed up behind Soo Young pushing and shoving those in her way as she made it to the cockpit. Soo Young tapped a medical officer seated in the pilot seat on the shoulder and jerked her thumb towards the back indicating for the man to vacate the seat. The man looked Soo Young over for a moment before recognizing the Tac-Conn colors of her uniform and getting up. Soo Young continued the pre-flight check before turning to a pair of tactical officers nearby. "Get these people on in an orderly manner the longer they fight the longer we stay on the ground!" Soo Young said tapping a button on the arm of the pilots chair causing a pair of restraints to stretch over her chest.

Both tactical officers rushed through the wave of bodies and began to try to bring order to this chaotic evacuation. Soo Young shut her eyes for a moment as a fleeting headache assaulted her mind from the multitude of thoughts floating around within it. It was nearly impossible for Soo Young to even hear her own thoughts among the panicked thoughts of the others. She recomposed herself shaking her head before pressing a button on the control board "Thea this is Chief Seung I'm in control of the shuttle, ETA till take off is about 2 minutes if we can get these people on fast enough I'm activating the shipboard HUD I'm ready for the coordinates." Soo Young said.

Re: Crisis #06 | Shuttle Extraction

Reply #2
[Acknowledged, Chief Seung... yet I am afraid you do not have two minutes. Four Reavers are bearing down upon your position and all the shuttles in the air above you.]

True enough, far ahead of Soo Young where she sat by the controls, they appeared; the fast-moving shadows of the Reavers cresting the mountain range. They were approaching the evacuation site without hesitation - opening fire from afar. Bright orange phaser energy practically cut one shuttle in two - spilling personnel and burning plasma before detonating in a blinding flare.

While the heavy shuttles had phaser banks, they were practically defenceless against the firepower of the enemy attack fighters. Yet Soo Young had a slimmer and faster Type-9 model, and added with her flying skills, she might be able to make a difference. Every moment counted, and unless she took off immediately and left the straggling personnel behind, there was no telling how many shuttles would drop out of the sky.

[The Harbinger is taking off right now, yet I can't,] said Thea with human urgency, speaking of herself as a ship in first-person. [The docking clamps of one of the hull cranes is malfunctioning, and Captain Ives is still not aboard the ship, so Commander Rez has not ordered Conn to take off. Stand by, Chief. I will inform all shuttles when I can leave the valley.]

The Theurgy was not moving, which meant that the shuttles might be able to dock with her before she took off. Yet that still meant that the shuttles needed to be protected, or there would be no shuttles left unless Soo Young left the people still on the ground behind.

On the control panel, the bay door controls blinked.

Behind her, people were screaming and clawing themselves forth to get past the tactical officers.

Meanwhile, the Reavers were about to make another fly-by...

Re: Crisis #06 | Shuttle Extraction

Reply #3
Soo Young bit her lip as she spotted the fast moving silhouettes of the Reavers soaring about and firing upon the evacuating shuttles. She gasped shutting her eyes as she felt the horror and panic of those who'd died in the attack. Soo Young bit her lip hard enough to pull herself back to reality and clenched her fist, She didn't have time to mourn the people who were already dead she could only save the ones who were still alive.

She spared a quick glance back at the people still fighting, shoving and clawing at one another trying to fight their way to a slim chance of survival. It wouldn't be long before they overtook the two tactical officers she'd sent to stem the tide. She was out of time and she couldn't wait anymore the needs of the few would have to give way to the needs of the many as much as it tore her heart to pieces to say. Soo Young's finger hovered over the button that would shut the cargo bay doors of the shuttle. Her eyes stared at the blinking button for a moment before she shut them and punched the button causing the doors to close.

The crowd outside screamed in shock and panic as the doors shut. She could hear dozens of hands pounding against the hull accompanied by pleading cries and angered screams cursing her. "Thea I'm taking off now, Inform the other shuttles that I'll screen their extraction efforts." Soo Young said her voice cracking a bit as guilt wracked her entire being as she brought the shuttle up into the sky and pushed forward onto the throttle sending the vehicle flying forward.

The shuttle soared through the air like a bullet. The people who had been fortunate enough to have been inside the shuttle before she had closed the doors had begun strapping themselves into the few seats in the shuttle. As the Reavers approached the position that her shuttle had previously been landed on Soo Young took the attention they paid to the people still on the ground for granted as she put the shuttle on a intercept course that would place the shuttle on the tails of her targets.

Piloting the shuttle with one hand she tapped a few keys on the control board and turned to the medical officer seated in the co-pilot seat. "I can't maneuver and shoot at the same time in a shuttle. I need you to get targeting solutions on the Reavers!" Soo Young said as she pursued one of the fast moving death machines attacking the people stranded below. "Tap their image on the HUD and line up the vertical and horizontal lines so they meet on the target after that fire!" Soo Young ordered hoping that the officer was sharp enough to understand her instructions.

Re: Crisis #06 | Shuttle Extraction

Reply #4
Doctor Amelya Duv had taken her place next to Soo Young as she had given some first aid to the people that had gathered at the shuttles before she arrived. During the chaos and panic, she had lost her combadge when crewmembers desperately clamped onto her for medical aid or re assurance. Her outfit was torn here and there revealing some skin, but not that bad enough to provide cover from the hot ash. Her hair was a bit bewildered and her eyes were flashing across the HUD as the pilot took off with the shuttle. 'You can't really leave them all behind?' She thought out loud, not aware of the ability of Soo Young's mind reading.

Once she got instructions to punch in targeting solutions she nodded rapidly and answered on a soft tone "Of course, I'll try my best." Her fingers were trembling a bit as she wasn't really cut out for this kind of job and she did her utter best to do what she was told. The first shot she lined up missed the Reaver in front of them by a few yards. Muttering something about precision with exoscalpels she tried again and the second and third shot were a solid hit. The Reaver, hit by the cannons went down with smoking exhausts and Amelya let out a sigh of relief. Yet he knew the horror was far from over. While Soo Young chased down the next Reaver, Amelya did again what she had been told to do. The first two shots hit, but got deflected by the Reaver's shield. However when she punched the firing button once more a screeching sound shook the shuttle a bit as controls started flaring red. Alarms went off and some of the circuits in the back started to spark.

Due to the ash and horrible flight conditions, the cannons had overheated and jammed in record time. One of them even managed to shortcircuit and explode causing light structural damage. "Uhm... I think something might have gone wrong Chief..." Amelya said with a sigh and she looked worried at Soo Young, hoping she had a solution for them.

Re: Crisis #06 | Shuttle Extraction

Reply #5
Doctor Duv's mention of the people left behind did nothing to help her focus, If anything it only served to further rip apart her already mangled conscience. "If we stayed no one would have made it out." Soo Young said briefly not wishing to dwell on the subject as she put all her focus towards piloting the shuttle. As Amelya attempted to get a lock on the Reaver fighter craft soaring about the battlefield she was attempting to evade any enemy fire that the Reavers sent back. As she saw one of the Reavers spiral downward as it was struck by the shuttles phasers she released a sigh of relief glad that the person she was relying on to be her gunnery officer was competent, Most people would likely be panicking under the pressure of it but luckily her co-pilot was not, Or at least she was attempting not to.

As Amelya lined up the next shot and pressed the firing button she also heard the loud screeching sound, The sound made her heart drop into her stomach as she heard a faint pop likely the sound of some of the circuits overloading. She spared a quick glance back to see fire burning from one of the panels on the wall. "Someone get that fire out!" Soo Young yelled into the back hoping that one of these people knew where the anti-fire suppression device was on the shuttle. "That was our primary phasers they overheated and overloaded! We still have the secondary but we need to be careful if we lose those then we might as well be a flying target!" Soo Young said as she diverted power from the primary phasers and distributed the output to other systems such as the deflector dish and the engines.

"Fire in 15 second intervals to let the phaser banks cool after each shot." Soo Young said, 15 seconds was an estimate even she wasn't sure how long it would take for those phasers to cool in these high temperatures, The panic of everyone around her in the air and on the ground was taking it's toll on her mind it felt like there were thousands of people scratching at the outside walls of her mind as she attempted to keep her own focused. She activated the comms system of the shuttle and tried to hail Thea "Thea this is Chief Seung how long do we need to keep this up this shuttle isn't meant for combat!" Soo Young said as she avoided some phaser fire from an incoming Reaver.

Re: Crisis #06 | Shuttle Extraction

Reply #6
[This is Thea, all shuttles are heading to Shuttle Bay 01,] she said over the intercom as the remaining three Reavers regrouped, momentarily heading back for another sweep. [Yet the opening is only so wide, and since the Harbinger has just taken off from the ground, their shuttles are trying to dock with me as well. The communication chatter is deafening. I can only land my own shuttles via remote control, so I am trying to bring order.]

In the background, three people were struggling to put the fire out, where two was helping those closest to the roaring flames to get out of the chairs they has strapped themselves to. The inertial dampeners had allowed them to remain on their feet, yet right then... they went offline. Now, the g-forces of their mad flight to defend the evacuating shuttles was keenly felt, flattening the two women in the front against their seats. The attempt to put out the fire had been aborted, since everyone aboard that had no seats tumbled head over heels towards the back of the shuttle. People screamed and tried to find things to hold on to. Over the screams and the roar of the fire, Thea's voice emanated through the static of the comlink.

[I have alerted our two Valkyrie squadrons to assist you, yet both are already engaged with the enemy. There is no telling when they can cover you. Please, you need to hold them off a while longer, Chief!]

The three Reavers came back for the area behind the Theurgy's aft. Already, it was clear that they had chosen different targets. Through the volcanic clouds they came, two of them bearing down upon the clusters of personnel that were awaiting to be beamed up by Natalie Stark or Selena Ravenholm. There were security personnel there, the blue skin of Deputy Than'Ida zh'Wann clearly made out against the ashen grounds. Next to her was the new Chief of Security, Lieutenant Ben Vessery. They were both shouldering Isomagnetic Disintegrators, heavy surface-to-air weapons, yet there was small chance they would survive two incoming Reavers.

The third one went for the cloud of shuttles clamoring to dock with the Theurgy. With them all being so close together and not yet behind the Theurgy's shields, it did not take a genius to figure out that a well placed hard-point torpedo had the potential to take out several shuttles at once. Since the pilot and the doctor in the Type-9 shuttle could not protect both targets, the choice had to be made in a split second.

A moment that may be lost, however, if something was not done about the inertial dampening and the fire that was eating up the shuttle interior.

Re: Crisis #06 | Shuttle Extraction

Reply #7
Soo Young let out a grunt as she felt the inertial dampeners power down, She looked down at the control board of the shuttle and could see numerous alerts from failing systems, So far the secondary phasers, shields and engines were still operational along with life support. But this left the inertial dampeners and the primary phasers with no power, The primary phasers were a lost cause but without the inertial dampeners piloting the entire shuttle would become one giant challenge that she didn't want to deal with. But in order to get them re operational she'd need to divert power from other vital systems.

Soo Young flipped a series of switches on the control board with even more panic aboard the shuttle it made it harder for Soo Young to think but at the moment she couldn't let it distract her either. She powered down the secondary phasers and diverted it's power to the inertial dampeners. She turned her head for a brief moment "Just spray the damn thing out!!" Soo Young yelled impatience obviously shown in her voice, She reached across the board to flip another switch cutting the primary phaser out of the power grid entirely effectively cutting the circuit that was currently burning from the main system to prevent it from re-igniting.

She turned her head back to assess the situation infront of her and immediately noticed two things, The first being the pair of Reavers headed toward the people awaiting to be beamed up to the Theurgy or the shuttles attempting to dock with the same ship. The choice weighed on her shoulders with no phasers she'd have to lead one of the damn things on a chase around the valley, She quickly made a decision and pushed the throttle of the shuttle forward quickly gunning the shuttle past the Reaver flying towards the cloud of shuttles outside the Theurgy. She placed her own shuttle on a collision course with the craft but quickly turned at the last moment barely avoiding it as she heard the sound of the shuttle's hull scrape against that of the Reaper's hoping to grab it's attention.

"Thea my weapons are offline I'm going to try to lead one of the Reavers away keep me updated on evacuation status!" Soo Young called into the comms.

Re: Crisis #06 | Shuttle Extraction

Reply #8
Amelya had followed the order of Soo young to fire in 15 second intervals and it seemed to work so far. Yet As the fire in the back couldn't be contained, Amelya looked back a bit worried about the passengers that might get burn wounds. Amelya had no idea what she had to do now, her basic training only offered her very limited combat experience and effectiveness. She looked back in front as Thea informed Soo Young about the direction of the three Reavers. Her mind was wishing that the Chief had a sort of contingency plan to save the people on the ground and them, yet she shook her head as she knew it was choosing one side or the other.

"Chief... I'm afraid I'm no longer much use to you right now. Would you want me to switch positions with one of the Tac conns? I can see to the injured in the back and try to get those fires out, despite the G forces." She asked her. It was a logical decision she had come to as she thought Tac conns would have more expertise in evading hostiles. Just than, she saw what the brave chief was up to. She braced herself, placing her hands against the panel as they screeching sound of metal could be heard.

Re: Crisis #06 | Shuttle Extraction

Reply #9
[ Meanwhile | Valley Floor ]

Standing next to Lieutenant Ben Vessery, feet planted wide and midnight blue eyes raised to the sky, Deputy ThanIda zh'Wann lips were a thin line of defiant ire.

Reavers may be bearing down on them, her name run in the dirt by being over-protective of her crew, and demoted to Junior Lieutenant for it, yet right then and there - whilst defending the stragglers on the ground that were still awaiting Transport aboard the Bridge - there was only the careful aim and the prediction of enemy movements in the sky. All that was at the forefront of her mind was her duty, and that was her right element. No politics or consideration, no haunting memories of Niga or the shame she yet lived with from that incident, only destruction. This was what she had been training for her whole life, and she could not care one whit that Lt. Vessery had become her new superior officer. All that mattered right then was that he was a decent shot.

They both saw the two Reavers heading their way, and Ida shouted while getting them in her sights. "Incoming!" she called, alerting Vessery as well as the personnel taking cover behind them. They all threw themselves to the ground in panic. Ida bared her teeth and screamed, her disintegrator spewing volatile energy against the grey enemy attack fighters. They opened fire with their phaser pulse canons at the same time. Vessery was also discharging his weapon, and the conflagration of the exchange cast everything in garish light.

It was a moment where fate balanced upon a knife's edge.

World upended, Ida was thrown into the ashen air, yet somehow still managing to hold on to her weapon. She landed on her side, air driven out of her lungs by the impact. Her ears were ringing from a detonation, and that may have meant anything. She struggled to regain her footing, gaze and antennae whipping about to get her bearings. She didn't even know if she was hurt. Her focus was the damage done upon others. Her uniform may have been charred and torn from shrapnel, yet she only had eyes for her fellow crew.

The metallic wreckage of a Reaver had torn a deep rift into the ground as it crashed, barely missing a cluster of crew lying on the ground. The second Reaver was nowhere to be seen. The ashen grounds around Ida were pelted with burns from Reaver fire, concentrated upon the spot where...

...Lieutenant Ben Vessery lay.

His body was riddled with smoking cavities form where both Reavers had shot him. Numbly, Ida realised that the new CSec and her had targeted the same inbound Reaver, just as they had targeted the same shooter on the ground. Just as she had survived, one of the Reavers had too... and she spotted it behind her - turning around for another pass. By Lor'Vela... Have some mercy.

"Stay together yet get out of here! Hurry! Find cover!" she called to the groups that she were protecting. They were no longer safe if she was the only shooter between them and the enemies. She realised that she faced certain death in remaining in the open and draw the fire, yet it was nevertheless her place. Her duty lay in defiance of death against all odds, and given the circumstances, there was no greater chance to do her duty to her ungrateful Captain and crew.

The stragglers ran away, the Reaver at her, and she raised her weapon anew. Her blue hands were not shaking, nor were her eyes blinking behind the sights. Her antennae angled forward, and she squeezed the trigger - purple energy tearing forth to greet the enemy's rapid advance. It came in with canons blazing, throwing dirt into the air. Ida stood her ground in the inferno, a second shot following the first. Her thoughts were upon injustice.

The Reaver was hit before she was.

It was torn apart against the ground - tumbling past her and making her loose her balance. Yet even as she lay there on her side, still alive, she saw the pyroclastic clouds coming in. She had no more than two minutes before she'd die, but right then, the shield reappeared in the sky, and she was relieved despite the fact that there were still Reavers trapped beneath it.

She had no back-up. There had been a Type-9 shuttle seen overhead, yet it seemed to have drawn the attention of a third Reaver - leading it away from the Theurgy in a wild chase beneath the shield dome. All Ida could do...

...was to get back on her feet and raise her weapon against new targets.

- Fin

OOC: This thread is henceforth continued in Crisis #09 [Volcanic Skies]. Your next post goes there, Adakoch!

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