Two Days after Covenant attack on Colonies
Admiral Preston Cole winced as the hot coffee he had been sipping spilled into his mouth faster than he had intended, burning his tongue as the hastily prepared French Vanilla creamer barely covered the poor brew that he had prepared after being awoken at three in the morning by an emergency message from High Com calling him to down from his flagship in high orbit.
"Sorry about that sir. The road has taken a beating recently from all of the drills the Army and Marines are running lately." The driver of the Warthog replied as the Admiral merely nodded.
"Its alright son, I would rather taste rubber than this crap anyway." Cole replied as he looked at his coffee again for a second before simply throwing it out of the open window with a huff.
The sun was just starting to peak over the mountains, which were beginning to be covered in the first snowfalls of Espoz's notorious winter season as the stars began to fade out of existence, though nearly half of them were actually the constellations of stations, Defense platforms and the shipyards that turned out nearly a hundred new warhips of every size each month to throw into the fight against the Covenant.
The Private's reply was driven home as the Warthog rounded a bend in the road to find a squadron of M-1000 Grizzly Heavy Tanks in a line travelling on the shoulder of the two lane highway. Their normally tan armored hides now turned to white as their reactive painting switched their color to match the recent snowfalls as their size dwarfed the diminutive Warthog and took up nearly the entire width of the highway.
The private, knowing that the Admiral was in need to arrive at ONI Sword Base soon, tore around the lumbering warmachines, if 45 miles an hour was lumbering, as the small Urban Warfare sensor suites on each turret of each tank just above the main 110 mm railgun tracked the vehicle and marked it as friendly after running a quick database check on the occupants.
"I don't know why the Army and Marines keep running this drills, if the Covenant win in Space then its all over anyway." The private as the road widened, just in time for a convoy of Cougar Armored Fighting Vehicles mounting dual 30mm Gauss Cannons escorting a huge military gun carriage that held a massive mobile surface to orbit M-HEMRG 3 Mass Driver on its back lumbered on by with several assorted support vehicles and several quad rotor observation drones hovering right above.
Cole turned to the Private, "Well that is one reason son. A battery of those gives us some firepower to hit them back from the surface, as with the larger Mass Drivers now being built into most bases."
The driver nodded as a small gust of wind rattled the Warthog, making Cole thankful they were in a model with an enclosed cabin.
The Warthog finally rounded the last turn as the solid sloping and featureless walls and main gate of ONI's Sword Base came into view.
"Lets see what this is all about." Cole thought inwardly.
Twenty Minutes Later
"So that is all that we know? Any ideas on how long they can last?" Admiral Cole asked as the five others present in the small briefing room located at least a mile under Sword Base shuffled in their seats.
As if on que the holo viewer morphed into a video showing several Colonial warships in orbit of a moon haplessly pounding away at a Covenant destroyer at visual range with every gun they had as the alien ship laughed it off, shields pulsing in electric fire as it simply fired two plasma lances that nearly bisected the smaller Colonial ship before the ship turned into an eyewatering nova as the other, larger human ship, a smaller battlestar lost its port hangar pod as explosive decompression tore through it.
"That was taken from extreme range from the Red Horse before it left system as the battle started, heading straight for Harvest and the 2nd Fleet, arriving there yesterday as the message was sent via the mobile com launcher attached with the 2nd Fleet." Parangosky's elderly voice replied as the video cut off.
Along with himself sat Admiral Stanforth to his left, and General Kits to his left, the highest ranking Member of the Marine Corps on Reach at the moment. Across the table sat none other than Parangasky and Commander Ned Rich.
"So how bad will they fare?" Cole asked simply, though the video sure gave him an indication.
Stanforth simply sighed. "Not good. We usually fight the Covenant on a two to one ratio disadvantage at the best times despite our recent victory, but going off of our estimates of their technology base and how badly one of our damaged cruiser's mauled them, not good at all, we are looking at a five to one ration disadvantage at best. Sure they will get a few of them but at tremendous costs. As surely as we all know more and more Covenant ships will come into their systems and that will be the end of it."
All those present frowned for a brief moment at the thought of billions of humans burning at the hands of the Covenant.
"Just going on your facial expressions I am going to assume that you are not a fan of that conclusion to this plot." Parangosky spoke up as she coolly bore down each of the others expressions like a book.
After several seconds Ned Rich nodded, "Agreed ma'am."
"Good, because morally acceptable or not I have just seen a huge diversion for our forces for the time being that we can exploit ."
The realization dawned on the men as General Kits finally chimed in.
"Let me get this straight. We help the Colonials fight the Covenant so we can keep them focused on the Colonial's home systems and buy our own colonies in the invasion corridor more time along with our forces?"
Parangosky smiled as she turned to Cole.
"Yes, we and the rest of the Admiralty see this an opportunity. The Colonials, while technologically behind us, still are just advanced enough to put up a fight that regardless of the Covenant advance will take time, precious time that we can exploit to regroup our forces and prepare for the next Covenant assault on the Invasion Corridor. However if we do help these Colonials their chances for putting up a much longer "stalling" action against the Covenant increases, and will force the Covenant to divert more forces there and buy us even more time."
"But what about the Colonials themselves? They will likely be just as hostile towards us." Cole asked as Parangosky waved her hand.
"If they start shooting at you after you try to make contact then blow one or two of their ships apart and try again. If they need a lesson in respect of power then by all means don't be shy, but we still need their support otherwise this whole exercise is pointless. So use your best judgment."
"Yes ma'am." Cole replied as he leaned forward, "What forces will we be deploying?"
At that the woman smiled.
"We are giving your fleet all the newest tech we have, and every last one of them have been equipped with the new Plasma Barriers and reactant hull plating. As the Covenant appears to want to take these worlds we are giving you three Phoenix Class Planetary Assault Ships, War Hymn, Melbourne, and the Spirit of Fire, all loaded with the latest weaponry for the Marines. The list of the ships we are going to pull for this op are on your data pad."
"You may want to get with HIGHCOM and get you and the Fleet we are going to give you moving."
Cole nodded curtly, "Yes ma'am."
As Cole walked away he pulled out his personal data pad once the doors to the elevator closed.
Even he had to be impressed with the force allotted to him.
As the door closed Parangoski turned to the other admirals.
"Now what of these mysterious contacts around Harvest and the Epsilon Indi system?"
Rich shook his head as he pulled up a list of reports on data pad and with a flick transposed it onto the holographic table.
"Our commanders with the reinforcement fleets at Harvest don't know what it is, but with them just now being briefed on the Colonials the local commander, Admiral Terrance Hood, believes them to possibly be Colonials. Their FTL jumps and flashes of radiation and Gamma particles upon FTL exit match Colonial FTL technology seen thus far."
Parangosky looked at the map.
The contacts had all been small fighter sized contact that jumped into the edge of the now heavily fortified system before promptly dropping back out of the system before a UNSC ship could intercept, which was plenty of time as the 2nd and 10th fleet stationed to guard the now barren world were positioned close to the planet's gravity well.
"Epsilon Indi is far too far away from known Colonial space, but there is the possibility that they are conducting recon out this far for UNSC held worlds. I want our forces on the Invasion corridor to be briefed for a possible contact with the Colonials, even if both us and them are far more busy dealing with these xeno bastards."
The others all nodded.
"If the Colonials do decide to pay a visit to Epsilon Indi what is our procedure? Especially with the fleet we are sending to their home system?" Rich asked.
"Assume hostile until proven otherwise, get that on the Slipspace Com as soon as you can."
Combat Information Center
"More enemy fighters are coming in! They blew right through our first flight of Vipers sir! Lords they are quick!" Tigh shouted as the deck heaved under Adama.
"Get our flak fields established now!" Adama roared as yet another Covenant teardrop fighter shot over the bow of the Battlestar at incredible speeds, peppering the hull with its plasma cannons.
"They are sir! They are having limited effect! Only direct fire from our auto cannons is doing anything!" Lieutenant Geata shouted as the lights flickered for a second before returning to normal.
The Covenant fighters had managed to jump in right on top of them nearly, and the first CAP of Vipers the Galactica had launched had already taken heavy losses from the clearly superior craft, making Adama momentarily grateful the other half of the Viper contingent with Lee and Starbuck was providing escort for the base's shuttles evacuating from the surface.
"Order the autocannons to focus their fire, focus that flak on the targets individually only, there is too much danger of hitting our own people with little effect to those bastards."
"Aye sir!" the lieutenant replied as the wall of explosion surrounding the Battlestar flickered out of existence as the nimble Vipers tried to establish a perimeter around the vessel, dancing in a furious furball with the large and less maneuverable, but exceptionally quicker and tougher Covenant fighters.
Several Seraphs fell to streams of canon fire from a flight of Vipers, the 25mm slugs finally managing to beat down the shields and tear holes into the ship beneath, with one Seraph damaged while another suddenly spun out of formation leaking drive plumes as yet another turned into an eye watering smear in space. Yet another two were felled by a wall of slugs from the Galactica's starboard point defenses.
At the same time five Vipers were simply shattered or torn asunder by energy weapons fire from a streaking flight of angry Covenant fighters.
Adama watched on the DRADIS as two more of his fighters disappeared from the DRADIS as the pilots' last dying screams echoes through the wireless as he slammed his fist on the table.
At the same time another wing of the thrice accurse alien fighters appeared on the DRADIS, speeding towards the Galactica like sharks smelling blood.
"How much longer until those shuttles are aboard! Are any of the FTL capable?" he asked Tigh as the XO nodded while holding a handset in his other ear as he directed a damage control team.
"Three minutes at full burn! And none of them have FTL Admiral Corman's was the last one off." Dee cried out as the great warship moaned as a smaller plasma burst assailed one of the main engine blocks.
"The Covenant ships in orbit of Tauron are moving to intercept us sir! I have a contact incoming at long range, about 200,000 kilometers out and closing, battlestar sized contact!" Geata bellowed.
The CIC shook again as a Seraph slipped through the fighter screen and past the streams of cannon fire and added yet more damage to the worn hull of the warship.
"Hull breach on the port flight pod! Deck Five! Sealing bulkheads!" another officer called out as a much bigger boom rattled the ship.
"Explosive decompression! Agathon reports five deckhands are unaccounted for and ten more wounded!"
"Get a damage control team down there!" Tigh shouted as he picked up the handheld to organize the damage control teams.
"I want a full burn once those shuttles hit the deck. Slingshot maneuver us around the moon and back on course with deep space, and spin our drives up to jump with the rendezvous with Admiral Kaviss's fleet."
"New contacts! Thirty gunboat sized contacts with fifteen more fighter escorts! They are coming in fast!"
"Shoot those frakkers down!" Adama shouted as he took one look at the DRADIS display above him as angry red icons swarmed all around his ship while the icons of Vipers began to disappear at an alarming rate.
Viper Mk VI
"Die already!" Starbuck all but shouted as she held the firing stud on the top of her flight stick down, doing her best to stay on the tail of the much large teardrop of an alien craft as she pumped yet another long burst of 25mm KEWs onto the target.
Yet once more those accursed energy barriers flashed to life as her rounds harmlessly bounced off.
The alien fighter flipped around and fired a double burst of blue energy pulses as her, causing her cockpit to strobe with light as at the last second she slammed down the controls of her ventral maneuvering thrusters and shot "up" out of the line of fire with feet to spare.
"I've. Had. Enough!" Starbuck roared as she flipped the selector switch to her missiles which promptly got a lock.
Just as the advanced alien fighter's nose was tracking her diminutive little fighter to finish it off.
"Go to hell!" she cursed as Starbuck launched all four of the anti-fighter missiles on the Viper's stubby launch rails.
The Covenant fighter didn't have a chance to react as four contrails of flame almost immediately crossed the short distance as hit as one.
Normally such an action would have been an extreme example of overkill and would have the pilot being scolded for the waste of ammunition by the weapons chief, however against shielded enemy fighters it was just enough to do the job.
The Seraph disappeared in a cloud of fire as it went spinning away helplessly trailing blue drive plumes and debris, half of its frame snapped in two.
Satisfied with her kill She flipped her fighter over to race back into the real fight as she took stock of the situation.
It wasn't looking good.
The area of space all around the Galactica was nothing but a constant mess of debris, ion drive plumes and streams of auto cannon rounds and flak and alien energy weapon pulses.
The wireless was so full of cries for orders, screams of victories and status reports that Starbuck had to localize her frequency.
"Starbuck are you alive out there? We got to escort Admiral Corman's shuttle in." The voice of Lee Adama cut through the eerie silence as Starbuck flipped her fighter around the spinning wreck that was once a proud Viper, now holed by plasma.
"Im still here! We've got to blow a path through this shit storm." Starbuck replied as if on que Adama's Viper appeared on her right wing, some burns and scoring evident on its hull from near misses.
The Shuttle, a slow and ungainly target never the less was plowing straight towards the starboard flight pod at a full burn, or as fast as the craft could move as Vipers and Alien fighters shot past all around it.
She had to give the shuttle's pilots credit, they had brass ones.
"We do! On me! Targets coming in hot! From our six, they are going for the shuttle!" Lee shouted as Starbuck glanced at her DRADIS.
Sure enough two more of those bastard tear drop fighters had slingshotted around the fight, casually blasting one Viper out of the sky as they barreled straight at the shuttle on an intercepting angle, only miles away and seconds from turning the unarmed ship into molten debris.
The two Vipers slammed their turbos to the firewall, pouring refined tylium into their drives as rocketing forward before cutting their speed and flipping over to face the attackers, placing themselves between the attackers and Corman's shuttle.
"They are almost in range. Fire on the one of the right together, maybe we can drop its shields faster and have time to switch targets." Lee spoke as Starbuck nodded, her HUD switching its target selector to the indicated alien fighter.
"He we go." She breathed.
The seconds seemed to turn into hours as the stars spun around her and the barren surface of the moon Minos hung "below" her.
The Covenant fighters with their superior range and weapons could ave simply struck the Vipers from outside of their weapons range, but for some reason the pilots wanted to get up close and personal, which the Colonials were happy to oblige.
"Fire!" Lee shouted as he and Starbuck's Vipers, now flying "backwards" relative towards their opponents, sent a stream of 25 mm cannon fire at the targeted alien fighter.
The fact that the human pilots had chosen to target one of the alien fighters instead of two had taken the aliens by surprise, and as such the targeted Seraph didn't attempt to maneuver like it normally would have or even fire back.
Giving Lee and Starbuck an unprecedented three seconds of clear aim to pour the fire on it.
The force of two Vipers concentrated fire finally managed to bat down the shields just as the Covenant fighters, now only seconds from flashing by attempted to maneuver around them as the untargeted fighter fired a pulse of high velocity plasma at Lee, forcing him to frantically dodge out of the way and break off his fire as a bolt of plasma clipped the edge of his starboard wing, simply burning it off and nearly sending Adama's son spinning out of control.
"Frak!" Starbuck swore as she kept her nose locked on the first Covenant fighter, which was now barreling straight towards her with energy building from its weapons ports.
It was either going to take her out or ram her.
Without a thought she jammed the firing stud, the Viper ratting as its three auto cannons spat flame and slugs at the now unshielded enemy fighter.
The slugs chewed into the front of the teardrop fighter just as a pulse from the craft's weapons flashed forth.
She had no time to maneuver.
Starbuck's eyes were blinded with blue light as her heart caught in her throat.
It was over.
Death didn't come as she thought it would.
By a stroke of some remarkable luck the twin bolts of plasma went wide…past either side of the fuselage of the Viper with inches to spare as the temperature inside the cockpit briefly rose.
Her cannon shells on the other hand tore into nose of the Covenant fighter, apparently hitting something vital.
The craft exploded in a cloud of debris and bluish drive plumes as the debris and remnants of the Seraph rocketed past her, just barely avoiding her Viper.
"Shit!" she swore as she recovered her senses, taking in the situation.
"Lee are you alright!?"
Several seconds went by before her DRADIS picked up the icon of Apollo's Viper and his tinny voice over the wireless came through.
"Yeah I'm alright, bastard burned off nearly half of my starboard wing….The shuttle!" Lee shouted with realization.
The other Covenant fighter had blasted right by Starbuck.
Swearing and cursing Starbuck flipped the Viper around on its axis with her thrusters to see the shrinking form of the Covenant fighter charging right for the unarmed shuttle, intent on taking it out.
"Frak! I am not in range! No missiles left!"
"I cant intercept fast enough!" Lee shouted back as Apollo got on the wireless for the shuttle's pilot.
"Get out of there! Repeat!"
It was just at that moment as the Coenant fighter was not miles away from simply spearing the Admiral's shuttle with a burst of energy that everyone on the battle field was caught off of their guard.
Four red beams of light speared out, bisecting the darkness of space and the stars and hit the shields of the Covenant Seraph.
Its shields burned bright for two seconds as the beams pulsed at thousands of times a second, appearing like a continuous beam to the naked eye before the shields of the Covenant craft shattered with an electrical spark.
The thinner hull of the alien starfighter simply melted and was cored through as the beams travelled the length of the fighter, hitting the main drive.
The Covenant fighter turned into a smear in space just as two quick streams of bluish orange tracers tracked another fighter, originating out of Starbucks line of sight.
They weren't auto cannon rounds, they travelled at a much higher speed as the two streams connected with another Covenant fighter that was hot on the tail of a hapless Viper, readying to burn it from the sky. The shields of the craft resisted for half of a second before they collapsed and the fighter beneath was shredded.
"What the hell!?"
"I've got a contact! Unknown contact thirty clicks off of the Galactica's stern!" Lee shouted as she flipped over her Viper to look at the craft that was barely within her visual range, using her flight suit's built in 2x magnification to zoom in more.
"I've barely got it on scanners!" another Viper pilot shouted as Starbuck observed this new combatant.
If it wasn't coming over the moon at such a low orbit she would not have been able to see the stark black form of the craft.
She hadn't seen anything like it before.
It looked almost like it had wings, like a bird of prey or one of those manta ray sea creatures that lived in the seas of Picon. It was no larger than a gunboat and she could barely make out the two obvious weapons emplacements, two turrets of unknown design that were spitting out high velocity projectiles at the Covenant fighters with much greater effect than the auto cannons of Galactica.
On the prow of the vessel she could just barely make out writing on its side.
It took a second for her to remember where she had seen the un readable scribbling before.
Combat Information Center
"I swear it just came out of no where. I didn't see it until it started firing!" Geata nearly shouted back at a no furious Colonel Tigh as Adama injected himself into the shouting match.
"Shut it both of you!" he roared as he glared down his glasses at the two.
"Load up our rear turrets and have them target that thing. Get me a lock but DO NOT FIRE!"
"Yes sir. Our DRADIS is having difficulty locking on to them sir." Geata replied as the havoc in the CIC continued while more shouts for orders and status reports echoed in the cavernous CIC.
"Then tell them to go visual but to not fire!"
Outside of the ship more Covenant fighters harassed the Battlestar, its defensive fire just barely holding the Covenant ships back as Admiral Corman's shuttle finally made a hard landing in the starboard flight pod.
"Corman is aboard!" Dee cried as Adama nodded to TIgh.
"Full military thrust. Get us to the far side of the moon and try and contact that thing."
"Sir those Covenant gunboats are closing fast Twenty of them! I think they may be trying to get aboard the port side flight pod!"
"Focus fire on them!" Tight ordered before Adama even had the chance.
Fire from multiple Point Defense Turrets on the port side of the Battlestar stopped as the turrets shifted and their DRADIS and gunners acquired the new targets.
That only lasted a second more as streams of orange traces flew towards the Covenant Dropshipts, known to the UNSC as Phantoms by their callsign.
The much thicker hulls of the Phantoms resisted the streams of 30m fire for far longer as the Covenant pilots began jinking and dodging, trying to throw off the aim as they never the less still kept coming.
"Come on." Adama breathed as one finally turned into an eyewatering explosion as it gave in to the fire, followed by a second as they disappeared from DRADIS.
They couldn't possibly shoot them all down.
"ETA ten seconds!" Tigh called out as another Dropship was gunned down by Galactica's defenses and another was speared by a flight of Vipers, riddling it with holes.
Then another dropship disappeared from the screen as Dee chimed in.
"That unknown ship took that one out with lasers and high velocity cannon fire our Vipers are reporting."
"Can someone get me a link to those people!?" Tigh shouted as Adama turned to Geata.
"Get the Marines ready. We are about to have hostile boarders."
UNSC Wink of An Eye
"Pulse lasers re-engaging. Helix Guns at 95 percent ammunition capacity. Engaging Seraphs. Engines at 30 percent and Reactor at seventy percent." Fallon's avatar announced as the AI ran the ship's weapons, knocking another Covenant fighter out of the sky with a burst of hyper accurate magnetically accelerated slugs.
"We are being targeted by the Battlestar!" Lieutenant Haverson shouted as two of the large turrets on the dorsal side of the huge ship swung around to face the tiny UNSC Prowler.
"Targeting with low bandwith Radar and Lidar. Most waves are being absorbed by the hull. However even if those cannons are electro-thermal –chemical guns like our MA6 rifles and not railgun mounts they still will shatter us at this range." Fallon calmly noted with non-challonce as the AI used the Prowler's minimal weapons to knock another Seraph out of the skies.
Branson was grateful the Covenant pilots were focused on the Battlestar, as the Prowler wouldn't last a minute from an attack by a wing of Seraphs.
"The Covenant fighters are breaking off from the Battlestar and pulling away…" Haverson called out before he cursed.
"Fuck! Those Phantoms managed to land inside the starboard hanger pod of the Galactica! They've been boarded!"
Commander Branson looked on with concern.
If the Colonials had fared poorly against a team of ODSTs and a Spartan, he could only imagine how they would fare against 8 foot tall aliens with energy weapons and personal shields.
"Covenant warship is still closing, range 150,000 kilometers. CCS class Battlecruiser."
Branson looked out the viewscreens as the dart like Colonial fighters or "Vipers" regrouped around the Battlestar as the huge Colonial vessel's main drives lit up as the ship accelerated.
"He is going to slingshot around the moon and into deep space towards the Colonial response fleet." Branson noted aloud as the holographic screen in front of him plotted the Battlestar's course.
However he still frowned.
That Covenant ship was still much faster and could hit them accurately from 120,000 kilometers or more, even with increased speed from the slingshot of the moon's gravity.
They would be cutting it close.
"Matching speed." Haverson chimed as the UNSC Prowler easily kept up.
"Sir! I've got a radio signal from the Galactica. They are hailing!" the comms officer cried out as Branson nodded to her and Fallon.
"Patch him through."
The speakers in the cramped bridge of the Wink of an Eye came to life as the tinny sounding voice of the Colonial came through the speaker with the sound of a command center in crisis mode in the background.
"Translators up and running." Fallon noted as the garbled unintelligible voice morphed into English.
"….is Rear Admiral Adama of the Battlestar Galactica to unknown vessel. Please respond. We are currently engaged with hostile boarders on multiple decks and dealing with multiple hull breaches. We are fleeing the battlezone and sling shoting around the moon Minos. State your intentions or you will be fired upon."
Branson looked at the crew in the CIC as on the forward viewscreen another of the Battlestars aft main turrets swiveled to track him.
He turned to Fallon
"You have control over our emergency boosters. If you detect that those main guns are going to fire the micro second you do get us out of the way if you can and launch one of our remaining nukes at them. Give me a link to this Adama."
Fallon sternly nodded as he did so.
"You are on."
Branson took a deep breath an prayed these people didn't immediately try to blow him apart once they heard who they was.
"This is Commander Steven Branson of the United Nations Space Command vessel Wink of an Eye. We wish to assist in your conflict against the Covenant threat."
CIC Battlestar Galactica
Silence took over the CIC for several seconds as Adama winced as Tigh all but shouted.
"UNSC frakkers! Do we have a shot!"
"DO NOT FIRE ON THEM!" Adama all but shouted at the top of his lungs as the Colonel took a surprise step back.
Adama looked at the crew as yet more status alerts rang out.
The alien soldiers had already nearly taken control of the entire starboard flight pod and the first reports from the Marines did not look pretty.
He put the handset back up to his ear.
"Commander Branson. We have boarders that our threating our control of this ship, and our initial reports do not look good. Just how can your….ship.. help us?"
Tigh grabbed his shoulder and whispered into his other ear.
"You are going to trust the Earthers?"
"We don't really have a choice do we? They know how to fight the Covenant better than we do." He replied simply as the handset again crackled to life.
"We have a team that is inbound on your ship, Starboard flight pod. They are higly trained and heavily armed, but warn your people that they are coming. They will not react well to being shot at by your people." The Earther commander replied with a veiled threat.
Adama took one last look at Tigh before nodding.
"Alright we will take whatever help you can give us."
"Good," the UNSC Commander replied, "They are heading over now."
Geata called out just as a contact from the diminutive UNSC ship came on the DRADIS…no three contacts.
"Sir I have three contacts that just left from the UNSC ship and our heading for our starboard flight pod!"
"His team of soldiers? Are they spacejumping? "
Wink of An Eye
Fallon's avatar nodded in satisfaction as he turned to Branson.
"Grey Team is away."